"Untitled" by Nikki Carter

Artist: Edgar Degas
I remember dancing.
I remember pointe shoes and partners.
I remember the dedication and the pain.
I remember stretching and hurting and pushing.
I remember grace and shame and lonely nights in empty studios.
Most of all, I remember a different time.

"Your Turn" by Nikki Carter

Some people swore that the house was haunted.  Jack was brave.  He stayed in that house for a whole hour.  Timmy lasted three.  Jane was determined to beat the boys.  They said she'd be part of the group if only she'd stay in there for a whole night.

An hour passed.  The house creaked and groaned.

Two.  Windows flickered.  Power lines sparked.

Three.  The roof shingles fluttered.  A few tumbled.

Four.  The cellar door rattled.  The lock over it shook.

Five.  The front door swung shut, and the lock clicked.

Six.  The power lines sparked again, and the dead tree caught fire.  The wood collapsed and the house burned like a matchbox.

Seven.  The smoking fizzled and hissed in the rain.  The body was brought out in a box.
Jack and Timmy swore up and down they didn't know why she was in there, and they felt cold fingers on their necks.  At home, their rooms were trashed, mirrors shattered, and written on the walls was the message.

And nothing was ever the same again after that.

"Untitled" by Ben Read

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci
Some people swore that the house was haunted.  I know the truth.  I went in only on a dare from my best friend, Ty.  It was dark, and rain battered the house.  Why did I have to choose this night? I remember thinking as I climbed the creaky staircase, the carpeting rotting away under my feet.  As I came to the top floor, I heard a whimpering.  I was tempted to turn and run, but my curiosity was stronger than my fear.  My hand shook as I reached for the doorknob and turned it.  I entered the room and noticed a dark shape quivering in the corner.  As I approached, I saw the outine of a cat, curled up fast asleep.  I took another step forward and the floorboards groaned beneath my weight.  The cat jumped to its feet and in the moonlight, I saw the creature was little more than skin and bones.  Something drew me to him, maybe it was the haunting look he gave me, a look of sorrow and hopelessness.  I put my hand down, and the cat came to sniff it, but when I tried to stroke him, he ran under the bed.  I made a vow to myself that night to take X into my care.  I came back every day after school, until he let me stroke him and eventually I took him home.

When I returned, Ty greeted me with an expectant, "Well?

"It's haunted," I lied, trying to sound as convincing as possible.

I never told anyone about that night; it didn't seem like something to be told.  Whenever someone asked where I got my cat, I said I found him in the alley.

But I always remembered.  And nothing was ever the same again after that.

"Untitled" by Ben Read

I remember its bloodred eyes, filled with hunger.
I remember pain, suffering, and disbelief.
I remember the darkness and the fight going out of me.
I remember kicking and screaming and falling.
I remember what it felt like to die.
Most of all, I remember my desire for vengeance.

"Untitled" by Shayna Beeching

Artist: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Some people swore that the house was haunted, others swore that it was just being overtaken by the years of neglect.  But only two people know its true story, the one of pain and joy, hate and love.  I walk past it most every day, but this is the time I finally muster up the guts to walk across the dried brown grass and grasp the cold metal handle with the ivy carved around it.  I don't have to push hard for it to come swinging open, a cloud of thick dust coming with it.  Boxes line the walk and white sheets hang over the couches.  Something moans in the corner where a leather armchair sits.  My heart pounds as I make my way over to it, fist clenched and feet ready to run.  An old woman, frail and grey, stares out at the window, screaming.  I sigh.  There's not much an old woman can do to me, right?

"Loved and lost.  Lived and died," she whispers to herself as she rocks back and forth.  "Loved and lost!  Lived and died!"

Then I see it.

He hangs by the window by his neck.  Decay has made him almost inhuman.

"You stay away!  Save yourself from such pain!  Love will only kill you!"
I run from the house, crying and shaking, and nothing is ever the same again after that.

"Untitled" by Shayna Beeching

I remember ink.
I remember thoughts and words.
I remember the pain and the joy.
I remember laughing and crying and most of all feeling.
I remember a love.
Most of all, I remember you.

"The Vampire's Haunted House" by Marie O'Grady

Some people swore that the house was haunted. 

I, myself, didn't believe it, so I decided to go check it out.  I went on Friday night with a group of friends.  When we got there the place was completely dark on the outside.  We went to the door and walked in.  I went down the hall and they followed me.  I thought they were pathetic, but once they were all near me the front door closed on its own.  We walked further into the house and then split up to see different areas of the house.  I ended up in a very old fashioned looking dining room, like from Dracula's castle, so I was definitely freaked.  I looked at the hanging portraits and saw some very interesting people; then someone put their hand on my shoulder.  I would have screamed, but I was too shocked.

There, standing beside me, was a good-looking guy.  He stoof before his own portrait on the wall, a very old one.

The first that he said was, "Miss, you must go save your friends.  They've gone to the basement and have got themselves stuck."

I nodded and he escorted me out of the dining room.  When we got to the downward stairs, I heard them all screaming.  I tried opening the door but it was locked.

"How am I supposed to open the door?"

He told me that the house had ghosts that loved to hear children scream, and that the only way to set them free was to do something for the ghosts.

"So it really is haunted by ghosts and I'm standing next to a vampire.  This is just great."

He laughed at me and I called the ghosts to me.  They slowly one by one came forth and asked me if there was anything that I could do.  They said that the only way was for someone living to inhabit the house.  I nearly dropped to the ground.  All these creatures needed was a companion?  After scaring my friends, that's all they needed?  I said that I'd agree to it, but they'd have to let me get my stuff and say goodbye, and I'd also need a library full of different books to keep me busy.  They agreed and my friends were let go.  My friends were confused as to why they were freed but they decided to ask my later.  We left.  I went home and gathered my belongings and left a note for my mother saying that I'm moving out.  When I finished, I walked back to the haunted house.

And nothing was ever the same again after that.

"Days of a Werewolf" by Marie O'Grady

I remember my first day as a werewolf.
I remember the pain and agony of my first change and my first fight.
I remember the quick recovery and the will to tear something apart.
I remember jumping and running and hunting.
I remember having to keep secrets.
Most of all, I remember the freedom for one night of every month.

Artist: Paul Gustave Doré

"My Collection" by Ben Read

I walk along my garden path, admiring my trophies, triumphing in their fear.  I stroke one particular centaur's head, now cold stone.

Artist: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
"Oh, what a lovely statue you make, not the miserable scrap of life you once were," I breathe, though I know he can't hear me.

I stroke the cold skin of my snakes.  They hiss happily.  I turn back the way I came.  My servant awaits nervously.

"Medusa, your dinner's ready."

"Good," I say, without looking at her.  Amalia is a good servant, too good to lose.

She remains standing on the spot.

"Away with you," I hiss.

She jumps and quickly walks down the path back to the house. 

I hear a scuffling noise.  I turn to look at the rat, which immediately turns to stone.  I smile.  Another trophy for my collection.

~ short story inspired by Medusa ~