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HALLOWEEN HEARTH STORIES: Part One




The time has arrived! We are one week away from Halloween, and ready to officially kick off our holiday celebrations with Part One of Halloween Hearth Stories! Grab your favorite fall beverage, a blanket and a cozy spot on the couch, and settle in for some truly satisfying storytelling from our magnificent authors here at Parliament House.


Remember, as a part of our Halloween celebrations, we will be hosting a giveaway! One randomly selected winner will receive a physical copy of a Parliament House Press book (US only at this time). Additionally, three randomly selected entrants will receive an electronic copy of a Parliament House title, open to international entries!


For more information on the giveaway, check out the details here!


Without further ado, let’s dive into the stories! Happy reading!


 

Trick or Treat by Lillah Lawson (Dead Rockstar)

(prompt: Trick or treating)

“Do you have to go tonight?” I asked, my voice becoming a whine. I couldn’t help it. Halloween was my favorite holiday, and I didn’t want to spend it alone. Especially now that I had a new, hot, decidedly undead boyfriend to spend it with.


Phillip Deville brushed his jet-black hair from his piercing green eyes that were fixed on me. Despite my irritation, I felt my knees go weak as his full lips turned up at the corners. His hand grazed my face, and I melted at his touch. “I know I promised,” he said apologetically, his eyes flashing with regret. “But your truck has been making that awful noise for days. When the mechanic said he could get to it tonight…”


It was actually sweet what Phillip was doing. Somehow, he’d managed to hire an after-hours mechanic to fix my truck for cheap. Still, I couldn’t help feeling a little annoyed that he’d arranged this tonight of all nights, on my favorite holiday. READ MORE:


Lillah Lawson - Trick or Treat
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Download PDF • 78KB
 

The Shadowman and the Door (A The Sword and the Hounds Excerpt) by Alex Finlayson

(prompt: a door that must never be opened)


Stories have power. They take lives and shape lives, and they live on long after those lives have ended. They say that no-one ever really dies while their story is still told, which is both oddly comforting and, depending on how literal you are, absolutely terrifying. At around the same moment that a man called Arthur Crazy rapped awkwardly on the door of his family home, thinking no doubt that the main part of his story was over, another door opened. It is not a door familiar to the likes of you or me. To begin with, it isn’t attached to a house or even a wall, but it does lead from inside to out, and so, in essence, it is still very much a door. 


See it now, high on the Yorkshire Dales, a barren and desolate moorland stretching from horizon to horizon full of deep shadows and hidden clefts. Not even the most foolhardy of sheep venture this high on the moors, for there is nothing here except dangerous crevices, abandoned mineshafts, and sharp rocks weathered by time. 


But there is a door if you know where to look. READ MORE:


Alex Finlayson - The Shadowman and the D
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Download • 58KB
 

The Only Way Forward by Sydney Paige Richardson (The Haves of Us)

(prompt: The only way forward is through a dark tunnel.)


Fear is not a feeling.

Fear is a being.

A ‘Miss’ to be exact.

And darkness she attracts.

Her heart was stolen once.

By the brother of Dream, Nightmare himself, for a number of months

There, in a black forest with sharp branches.

On the bones of mortal fools, Fear and Nightmare did dances.


Their love blossomed, their darkness growing.

Sending crimson rivers a flowing.

Creating a fog that covered the land.

Creating a suffocating panic among man.


READ MORE:


Sydney Paige Richardson - The Only Way F
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Download • 86KB
 


Alex McKenna & the Joshua Trees by Vicki-Ann Bush (Alex McKenna & the Academy of Souls)

(prompt: You stop in a small, dark town...)


Margaret pulled over to the side of the road, a flapping thud a reminder of how unplanned their trip across the desert was. Alex got out of the car, stood in front of the shredded rubber, and grimaced


“I’ll get the jack.” Margaret popped open the trunk.


“Do you have a full-size tire or donut?”


Margaret held the bite-sized version of a spare in her hands.


Alex rolled his eyes. “That’s not gonna get us too far. There’s a town about two miles up. We passed a sign a ways back. We can get a new tire there.” He made fast work of the swap and tossed the remains of the now deceased tire into the trunk.


Back on the road, Margaret gripped the steering wheel and kept the speed at an even thirty miles an hour, waiting for the little town to reveal itself in the middle of the seemingly unending carpet of sand and dried brush. READ MORE:


Vicki-Ann Bush - Alex McKenna & The Josh
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Download • 88KB
 

Jack O' Lantern by Ciara Duggan (Awakened)

(prompt: Carving jack o’ lanterns)


The brisk autumn air stung Amelia’s pale complexion as she peered out at the ocean from atop the Bellcliff University cliffside. The waves crashed over and over, and their rhythmic hushing soothed her aching heart. It had been three years since Bryce had mysteriously died at the beginning of her freshman year, leaving an icy coating over Amelia’s once bright and boisterous heart. She had only known him for a few days beforehand, but her heart clung to the possibility of what they could have been. She tried to make the most of her college experience, but it was as though the dark cloud of his spirit followed her with every step.

“Amelia!”


Amelia snapped out of her trance and looked down the cliffside. Her old roommate, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Callan, were on a morning run along the dirt path. Amelia had been suspicious of Callan ever since freshman year. She wasn’t quite sure why, but there was something different about him—something she couldn’t put her finger on. READ MORE:

Ciara Duggan - Jack o Lantern
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Download PDF • 70KB
 

Of Woods and Wind by Kelsey Kicklighter (Of Beast and Burden)

(prompt: investigate an unexplained event)


"This is not a good idea," I huff, though not in complaint. Leaves scatter and crunch under my boots despite how carefully I place my feet.


Delia laughs her wildfire laugh. "When has anything we've ever done been a good idea?" She calls my name to get my attention. “Here, Faye.” She pulls a flask from somewhere and offers it to me.


I shake my head. We're looking for The Folk, and I want to be focused, just in case. We’ve lived on this side of the veil our whole lives, trying to push our way through. Tonight's different. I know it. I can smell it.


The biting wind smells like jasmine, floral and cloying and somehow wrong on the autumn night air.


It smells like magic. I breathe in deep. READ MORE:


Kelsey Kicklighter - Of Woods and Wind
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Download P • 89KB
 

Reflection by Jase Puddicombe (The Life Giver)

(prompt: Someone is living in a mirror...)


Emer first noticed Mairead when she was doing the dishes.


Just a flicker, at first – a shadow darting in the corner of her eye. Emer turned, dark hair escaping her loose bun, but there was nothing – just the mirror propped up against the kitchen wall.

She shook her head and carried on with the dishes.


That night, in bed, she thought about where she was going to put the mirror. An heirloom, grossly ornate, very out of place in her cottage, but it needed a home.


She turned over and tried to sleep.


Waking the next morning was like surfacing through treacle. The colours of the cottage seemed… washed-out. Duller than they should be. The sunny yellow of her dress was almost greyed-out, sticky remnants of colour leaking against her skin.


Emer met her own eyes in the mirror. Even their blue seemed lifeless. READ MORE:


Jase Puddicombe - Reflection
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Download PDF • 53KB