- E. J. Nowicki
Captions: ON - A Spooky Story
3 Spooky Stories to get ready for Halloween!
Ghosts, fearsome creatures, heart-pumping action, and more!
Everyone 8+ will enjoy these fun short stories (Caution: they include scary content, think on the lines of campfire stories)
by: E. J. Nowicki
“What? Your sound isn’t good.” Ned tapped the computer screen. It didn’t do anything—he knew it wouldn’t, but he tapped all the same.
“Sort of,” he said. The pixilated screen showed a disfigured image of his best friend in his bright green hoodie. They were video chatting.
“Out and in…” Ryan’s screen disappeared and Ned followed suit. He clicked off and then dialed again.
Video chatting was great, they could share screens to show what they were looking at or share any of the games they decided to play. But when it didn’t work it was as maddening as trying to find a chocolate chip in a pile of raisins.
Ryan popped back up. “Now?”
“Yeah, better—wait!” Ned laughed. A row of writing flashed on screen.
Yeah… better… wait
“The captions turned on!” Ned said.
The captions turned on
“Really? Do they work?”
Really… do they wart
Ned grabbed his side, he was laughing so hard. “It said wart!”
It said wart
Turn off the computer
“Wait! Ryan, why’d you say that?” Ned leaned closer to the screen before the words disappeared.
“It just wrote, turn off the computer.”
“I didn’t say that.”
Turn it off
It just wrote… turn off the computer
I didn’t say that
Ned blinked. His eyes raced across the screen. Ryan was still laughing.
It’s making him stronger
He’ll be able to get you
“Stop laughing!” Ned ordered. “Someone’s whispering behind the computer! That’s it!”
“No, there’s not,” Ryan’s irritating laughter continued.
Ned’s heart pumped faster. It had to be a joke. “Ryan, don’t mess with me.”
“I’m not! You look so scared! What’s it saying?” Ryan’s bright green hoodie covered most of the screen as he leaned forward. The bottom edge looked darker.
I’m not… you look so scared… mashup saying
The computer gives him strength… he’s trying to reach out… turn it off
“You don’t think… like, ghosts could talk with the captions?” Ned said. The black crept up the screen, dulling Ryan. “I mean they use fancy machines in those ghost hunting shows…”
“Yes! That’s it! It’s a ghost!” Ryan’s grin was black and gritty.
“Your screen is going black—Ryan turn off your computer! A ghost is using it to try and get you!” Ned shouted.
A shape swirled in the blacks and grays. It mesmerized Ned where he almost missed the next message.
It’s been on too long… he uses the power
HAHAHA… I will grab the kid… I will be free
No… turn it off
Ryan… the computer’s been on too long… turn it off
The last one was his own echo as he yelled at his friend.
“What? I only just turned my computer on to talk,” Ryan sounded confused. “Are you okay?”
Ned froze. His blood turned to ice. If it wasn’t Ryan’s computer… it was his! “I’ve had mine on all day! I played that game and then I watched videos and then I played that other game…”
The swirling shape in Ned’s computer took form. Five long fingers, a wide palm, a thick wrist. A hand moved forward.
Ned screamed as a gray fingertip reached toward him. It broke through his computer screen and into the air. He screamed again.
Turn it off
It’s too late
The ghosts argued as the hand grew longer. Its fingertips wiggled as they pressed out of the computer.
Ned shook himself out of his shock. If he slammed the laptop shut it would just go to sleep. Was that good enough? Maybe normally but this was… there was no chance to take.
The fingers grew longer, reaching toward his own hand.
He used the touchpad to navigate. It was hard. The screen was dark and he couldn’t see the little white arrow.
The wrist was out, the hand shook from side to side. A blast of cold air had Ned’s teeth chattering.
There! He found the cursor and rammed it to the side.
The arm was getting longer. Cold fingers brushed the back of Ned’s hand. He shook them off.
The power button! He pressed with all the force he could muster. The dull click was the most satisfying sound ever.
A box popped up: Are you sure you want to power down? You’ll lose any unsaved information…
Ned’s growl turned into another scream. The hand was reaching for the touchpad. If it took control… there would be no stopping it!
Ned took a deep breath. One more click. That’s all he needed.
He reached forward, the cold fingers clawed through the air trying to stop him.
Click! He’d done it!
Ned raced backward as the computer started to power down. It took a minute… it wasn’t the fastest… The arm had almost gotten to its elbow but Ned was on the other side of the room, out of reach.
And then the computer went silent. The hand and arm flashed out of existence with a zap.
Ned let out a shaky breath. His bedroom was quiet. His blue carpet and gray quilt soothing sights. If the ghosts were there, they couldn’t do anything. He was safe.
His laptop lay on his desk and he carefully closed the lid. He’d just have to watch his computer time, that's all…
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