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That’s the Silver Bullet I’ve Been Looking For

November 1, 2013

If you are not a teacher and just want to read a scary story, skip down to the line to find the story.

Teachers:

Here is an assignment I’ve done in the past with 5th graders, and I’ll be doing with my 7th graders if I get the time.  It’s a scary story creative writing assignment.  You can use it to teach paragraphing, using 5-senses details, using details and similes to create mood, and using transitions between paragraphs.

First, I give the students a series of 5-7 events which must occur in their stories (this forms the skeleton of the plot, so that they are focusing more on the other elements of the story, like description and mood).  Each event should take up at least a paragraph.  Each paragraph should have 5-senses details and/or similes to create a creepy mood.  There should be transition sentences between paragraphs. 

(Before they write, I give them a talk about suspense and saving the monster/zombie/ghost until the end to make it scary rather than cheesy.  I also tell them no violence, where violence is defined as someone actually shown getting hurt in your story…otherwise, their stories can get way out of hand.)

Here are the events I’m using this time, followed by my model story.  I would recommend that you write a model story because it’s fun, and it will give you some insight into the challenges your students might face with the assignment.  Also, in my model, I put the transitions in bold.  Anything you want to feature in your model (or in mine, which you are welcome to use), you may want to put in bold.

7 events:

1.) I walked through the yard of the house, onto the front porch.

2.) I opened the front door.

3.) Inside, I saw a room.

4.) I heard a noise.

5.) I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

6.) Something else happened.

7.) I ran back out of the house.

_______________________________________________________________________________

                The large, gray house slanted to the right against the night sky.  The front gate had boards missing, and as I opened it, I tried to avoid the rusty nails which protruded from it like rotten red teeth.  I walked through the burnt grass of the yard, my feet crunching over broken glass.  Large black objects, which looked like automobiles that had been flattened in a junkyard, lay stacked on either side of the path.  I ducked down so as not to hit my head on a thick, dead tree branch which stretched over the path like a giant’s arm.

                After moving beneath the branch, I stepped up onto the leaning porch stairs.  As my feet hit the steps, I heard creaking and sighing, and the wind gushed suddenly like a cold hand against my neck.  I jumped quickly onto the porch, my heart pounding like an executioner’s drum.

                As I landed on the flimsy boards of the front porch, I noticed that wooden chairs covered in plastic sheets, which looked like death shrouds, were scattered across the porch floor.  A large, dark stain had seeped into the wood beneath one of the covered arm chairs.  Looking at the stain made me shudder.

                Still shaking, I turned to the behemoth front door.  Gray paint peeled off of it in strips.  The large brass knocker had been carved into a gargoyle, and its beady metal eyes seemed to follow me as I looked at it.  I lowered my eyes to the brass doorknob and placed my hand on it slowly.  It felt as cold to the touch as a dead body, frozen in a lake.  I closed my eyes and turned the knob.

                When the door swung open easily, my eyes popped open in surprise.  Why had it been left unlocked?  The door had not even creaked as I had expected it to.  It had opened smoothly and silently, as though its hinges had been recently oiled. 

                Closing the smooth-hinged door behind me, I walked forward into the darkness of the house, knocking cobwebs out of my hair as I went.  I moved confidently, because ahead of me, in spite of the darkness, I saw a light.

                I followed the light through darkness, debris, and cobwebs for what seemed like many minutes, until finally, I reached a dim yellow hall light which illumined a gleaming, cherry wood door with a shiny gold knob.  Bright light leaked from beneath the door. Wanting out of the darkness, I turned the knob and walked into the light of the room in front of me.

                Blinking in the brightness, I looked around and took account of my surroundings.  A blood-red velvet couch with gold trimming lounged like a sleeping lion against the wall.  The wall paper seemed brand new, white, covered in red flower petals, which looked almost like drops of blood.  The wardrobe and the tables, made of cherry wood, had been polished until they gleamed gold.  The air smelled like furniture polish and something deeper.  Something earthier.  Something which I couldn’t quite place.

                As I breathed the air deeply, I began to feel suddenly sleepy.  I walked dizzily over to the soft red couch and sat down, barely able to keep my eyes open.  Just as I lay back into the deep folds of the couch, I heard something which made me sit bolt upright.

                Sitting straight up, I listened keenly to the house, ignoring the tiredness of my body.  I heard it again, closer this time.  It sounded like something dripping.  Something like water, but thicker.  It was outside of the room but inside the house.  And it was coming closer.

                As my heart hammered at the dripping that moved ever-closer, my eyes were still strangely heavy.   “Go back to sleep,” my mind offered me, seeming to tug me further into the plump cushions of the blood red couch.  “Sleep is what you need.”  In spite of myself, my eyes began to droop.

                Just before my eyelids closed completely, I thought I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a flash of silver on the table next to me.  I reached out a weary hand and clasped my fingers around the silver object, but I was asleep before I could see what it was that I held in my hand.

                As I slept, my dreams were strange and nightmarish.  I dreamt that a giant she-wolf, so monstrous that she was forced to bend over in order to get through the door, lumbered into the room where I slept.  As she moved, her mouth dripped blood heavily onto the floor.  She saw me sleeping on the couch and began to laugh in a low, rumbling way.  She crawled over to the couch, opened her mouth with its layers and layers of blood-stained teeth, bent over, and swallowed me whole. 

                After being swallowed, I noticed something odd about this dream.  In the past, when I have had nightmares, I have always been able to wake myself up at the moment of death.  But with this nightmare, such was not the case.  I felt myself swallowed.  I smelled her breath, like countless corpses.  I felt her hot saliva.  I tried to scream, but I could not.  Out of terror, I dropped the object in my palm, the one which had flashed silver on the table next to me before I had fallen asleep.

                As soon as I dropped the object, the nightmare was suddenly over.  The wolf was gone, as if she had never been there, and my sleep continued, uninterrupted, for the rest of the night. 

                When the night ended, I woke up to sunlight trickling in through a window high in the white and red wall.  I blinked my eyes groggily.  Why had I spent the night in this nightmarish place?  A dare?  Why had I been stupid enough to accept it?  Well, either way, I had won, I thought.  I had survived.

                Smiling from my success, I sat up and glanced around the room. But when I saw the place, I began to shake. Large red drops lay scattered across the floor. Lying in a heap beside the couch where I had slept was the gray but empty skin of the wolf from my dreams. And lying next to her was the silvery object I had picked up from the table just before falling asleep. The object that I had dropped in terror and which had landed inside of her guts as she was swallowing me. The object which had saved me. I saw now what it was: it was a silver bullet—the only way there is to kill a werewolf.

                Knowing now that my nightmare had been true, I dashed out of that house forever. I still carry the bullet with me, though. Always in my hand. Because, sometimes, in dreams, I still hear the dripping.

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