My New Halloween Short Story, “Rap Once For Yes” is now up at WattPad

I didn’t think anything would really happen when Joey suggested we have a seance. I mean, who hasn’t seen that kind of thing in the movies? It’s all old ladies rapping on tables and weird lights in crystal balls.

So when Joey suggested we go to the local cemetery on Halloween and try to talk to the dead, I played along. I figured it was just an opportunity for the two of us to spook the others with our special abilities.

“I think it sounds fun,” I said. “We can wear our costumes and bring candy and stuff. And if anyone else comes lurking in the cemetery, we’ll scare the pants off of them.”

 What the rest of the group didn’t know is that Joey and I didn’t just study at R. Bradbury Middle School. We had classes after school and on the weekends. We were honest to goodness wizard’s apprentices. My mom was a healer and a seer, so I was learning plenty about how to keep people in good working order and find things that are hidden. Joey also lived with his master, but it wasn’t one of his parents. All the other adults just called him Joey’s “guardian.” Joey’s master was a necromancer.

Continue reading at WattPad. There are zombies!

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2 Responses to “My New Halloween Short Story, “Rap Once For Yes” is now up at WattPad”

  1. Jon Says:

    Finally got to read this, sorry for the delay!

    I like that you captured the voice of a kid – it’s been a while, but it felt just about right.

    I was puzzled by the fact that Sarah could doubt the talking-to-the-dead thing; they’re studying at a wizard school, and one of the guys is studying under a necromancer who, wait for it, talks to the dead! What’s to doubt? (Loved the middle school name, btw.)

    Structurally, it might want a bit of tightening – non-essential things like startling the other group of kids, while a nice grounding detail, slowed down the pace of the story for me.

    When they’re in the woods, with the “cozy” outing…. would our middle-schooler, 11 or 12 years old, start maybe looking differently at the filling-out girl? In an “I don’t know what to do with these feelings” sort of way, I mean?

    I’m sure it was just an accident of electronic placement, but I love the way the Oija jerked JUST before the page break. How could I not turn the page?

    The nice tension continues through page 3. Good work. 🙂

    For me, starting with the planchette attack, the story goes over the line into melodrama, just FYI. Sure, it’s Halloween… but for me, it was too much. Not to much gore… it’s just that the story completely switched tones, and went from a more personal story to chaos and violence. Also, the characters didn’t really seem to earn their deaths; these are 11-12 year old kids getting butchered, and while this doesn’t bother me in the (fictional) abstract, in context of the previous tone of the story it just feels wrong. I guess I was expecting more of an exciting-escape thing than a mass-carnage thing.

    Thanks for the read!

    • Eric H. Says:

      Only Seth and Joey are wizards’ apprentices. The rest are normal middle-schoolers.

      The tone change and causeless slaughter seems to have worked the way I intended, though obviously not to your preference. For me, “bad things happen to people that really don’t deserve it” is one of the hallmarks of some of my favorite horror. It is also a function of the word count limit – I pretty much had to choose between setting the ambiance of the “outing gone wrong” and any kind of serious backstory.

      I also indulged a bit in the fact that horror is one of the rare instances where it’s okay for the antagonists to win.


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