If you are only JUST entering Hallow’s Eve Asylum, please go to the introduction first. This is a story that should be read in order! Each story is under 1000 words. Please scroll to the bottom to learn more about today’s author and enter a giveaway! -Katy
Outside the Gate
“New Beginnings” By Katy Walker and Casey Hays
“Don’t be such a square, Mavey! They won’t even know we were there until the morning.” Patrick rubs his hands together partially because the anticipation of a great prank is building, but also because the frosty night air is creeping along any exposed skin. He stands in front of the Hallow’s Eve Asylum, the only streetlight making his already tall shadow look even more elongated and unnatural.
I sigh and give a nervous glare in his direction which he either ignores or doesn’t notice. I’m almost to the rusty metal gate when a howl tears through the silence of the night.
“Wh-what was that?” I whisper, my muscles tightening.
“Aww, shoot, Mavey. Didn’t I tell you? I’m a werewolf!” He jumps at me, lifting his head with a howl, and I do scream then.
The bag I carry filled with cans of spray paint and toilet paper spills open, sending metallic pings echoing around the streets. He buckles over laughing and leaning on the gate for support.
“That’s not funny, Patrick!” I screech.
“All right, all right,” he concedes as he bends to scoop up the fallen cans. “But you know what this place is don’t you? I mean, what it really is?”
I stare up at the tall shadow of a building with a fearful shake of my head. “No.”
He narrows his eyes. “You haven’t heard the stories? About Mr. Scarecrow?”
I frown. “Who’s that?”
“Not who… what. My pops told me all about him. Him and that crazy boy, Timmy Peterson.” He rests his forearm on his knee and peers up at me. “He killed his whole family, you know? And he claims ol’ Mr. Scarecrow made him do it.”
“What does that have to do with this place?” The night air crawls up under the collar of my coat, and I shiver.
“Everything,” Patrick announces as he climbs to his feet and swings the bag over his shoulder. “You see, Timmy Peterson? He lives here now. And bad things happen when Timmy is around. Really bad things.
“And Mr. Scarecrow?” I gulp.
“Oh he’s here, too. You can bet on it.” He nods toward the building. “Everyone locked inside this place knows him even if they don’t realize it. Pops says he lives inside their heads. Makes them believe things.”
“What kinds of things.”
Patrick wraps his fingers around the bars of the gate, rattles it once. “That they’re not crazy, for one. That the things they see and hear and think are real. And there’s all sorts of different kinds of crazy in this place.” He pauses, looks at me. “I heard some of the crazies even think they really are werewolves. Imagine that!”
I swallow and raise my eyes to the gate again. “Are–are you sure you want to do this?”
He glares at me. “You chickening out?”
“All right then. Come on.”
He pushes on the gate once, and another howl pierces the night. It sounds surprisingly human, but I jump anyway and clutch Patrick’s arm, and all I can think of are fangs and blood and a scarecrow, its arms and legs stuffed with hay that pokes out at the ends in the glow of a moonlit field.
“I’ve changed my mind, Patrick. Let’s just go. Let’s go!”
Just then, a boy and a girl around my age appear at the gate. I freeze; Patrick leaps back from the entrance in surprise.
The boy is covered in blood, and in the light of the moon, I see a metal spike hanging from his grip. His other hand clings to the fingers of the girl. Patrick begins to shake. He points, his eyes wide, and I follow his finger to a spot just beyond the gate.
“M-M-Mr. Scarecrow,” he stammers.
All on its own, the gate flies open. The boy lets go of the girl’s hand and steps forward.
“You can see him?” he asks Patrick. When Patrick nods, he turns to me. “And you?” he asks, thumbing over his shoulder at the space behind him.
Shaking like a scared cat, I stare wide-eyed at the blackness behind him. I see… nothing.
“She can’t see him, Timmy.”
I turn. Another girl has appeared next to the first one. The boy faces her.
“Neither could you at first, Katherine.”
“Of course not,” she answers. “You can’t see him until he saves you.” She comes to stand beside the boy, her eyes boring into Patrick. “I know you. Your cell was next to mine. Last summer.”
Patrick shakes his head. “No. No.” He looks at me. “No, it wasn’t me. It wasn’t me. I’m not crazy!”
I take in a breath. Last summer, Patrick’s mom died. Her body was found in the creek, ripped right up the middle by some wild animal. Patrick didn’t handle it very well. And I didn’t see him all summer.
Suddenly, it all makes sense.
The boy raises the spike, points it right at Patrick.
“You’re one of us.”
“No. NO!” Patrick’s eyes fixate on something behind him. He steps back, frightened, pleading with someone I can’t see. “I don’t want to. Please don’t make me. I’m better. Don’t make me do it again.”
“It’s no use,” Timmy grins. “Mr. Scarecrow called you back. You have to do it. We all have to, isn’t that right, Joan?”
The other girl smiles with a tilt of her head and comes to stand on Timmy’s other side. “That’s right. Mother says it isn’t, but she’s wrong. If you don’t do it, he can’t save you.”
Patrick turns towards me, his eyes a sudden bright yellow.
“Run!” he whispers. I stand frozen, unbelieving, until his lips curl back revealing razor-sharp teeth. “RUN!”
I turn and flee into the fog. But not before I hear a rustle of straw and a cackle come from the shadows.
Run, little girl. The voice penetrates my thoughts. And if you survive, I’ll teach you what you really are. I’ll be what you need me to be. Even in this place, I can set you free.
A howl rises up into the night, followed by a second and a third. And I run.
THE END…FOR NOW…
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Casey Hays lives in New Mexico with her husband of 25 years and their two children. A former high school English teacher turned author, she loves Young Adult Fiction as well as supernatural, fantasy sci-fi, and dystopia–all with a twist of romance. She is the author of three works: The Cadence, a YA supernatural romance, and Arrow’s Flight, a YA dystopian sci-fi series: Breeder (Book 1) and The Archer (Book 2). Look for Master (Book 3) scheduled for release in the next few months.
Katy Walker is the founder/blogger of the geek and book blog called THE KATY blog.
She is slowly dipping her toes into more writing projects and is excited to make her author debut in the “Tricks, Treats, and Zombies” anthology. Her favorite stories to read and write are science fiction, dystopian, psychological thrillers, and paranormal type things.