Scary Stories–Halloween Edition

In the final edition of the 2006 Scary Books series, I take a critical look at some of my 11th graders’ scary stories.

First up is Niki H*nry’s “The Book of the Dead.” This tale is indicative of most of the students’ stories: unwitting protagonists stumble into inexplicable situations that are not of their making. After some confusion, the writer runs out of ideas and the protagonist is killed, usually with a knife. Readers of “The Book of the Dead” will be left wondering just what the book of the dead is–although it does have the power to turn a reader into a zombie.

Freud M*ltinord captures the terror and confusion of change in “Home Alone,” wherein a ten year old boy is left home alone in a strange new house. The real horror though is Freud’s inscrutable handwriting.

I truly enjoyed Chris Tutwil*r’s “Donna’s Reward,” featuring an infanticidal psychopath named “Doom” who carves up his victims–disrespectful teens–with a knife. Again with the knives.

Brittany H*rndon’s “On a Midnight Train to Georgia” illustrates the fear and confusion of a teen on the run from…? Who knows? Brittany didn’t quite finish the assignment. Still, this story expresses the same teenage fears that Roy Orbison immortalized in his classic “Running Scared.”

Anakar*n Diaz’s aptly-titled “Scary Story” (aside: I wonder if Anakar*n is making a postmodern gesture with the title here, perhaps alluding to some of John Barth’s work) features an evil scarecrow who transforms bad boys into scarecrows. Diaz turns a striking phrase: “the scarecrow spirit felt the pain of his life of being an outsider.”

In “The Gods,” Pam*l*rin Ajani recasts the origin stories of her native tribe, the Yoruba. This was very interesting for me, because her story intersected with my own current reading, Lydia Cabrera’s Afro-Cuban Tales.

Seymone Rams*y’s untitled piece is a highly sexualized vampire story (again, I suspect the refusal to title her work, to give a name to horror, is some type of fancy postmodern thing on Seymone’s part). Best line: “Baby, you know you’re my dark chocolate don’t you? So you don’t mind if I take a bite?”

Hannah F^jardo’s “Be Careful Before Wishing” is a reframing of the classic cautionary tale that people should be careful before wishing. Because wishes can come out, y’know, bad and stuff.

Rayna Sm!th’s “The Deaths” I thoroughly enjoyed. Rayna casts herself as the reluctant Sherlock Holmes (she even has a pipe with bubbles) in a murder mystery plot set in the family home. It’s just like I always tell these kids: familial spaces are always haunted spaces!

Similarly, Carolann* Dona explores murder in familial spaces in the excellent tale “The Cloaked Murderer,” in which a princess works out her rage by killing her parents. Her plot to rule the kingdom is foiled by a younger sister who reluctantly saves the day.

Lizbeth Martin*z tackles the revenge story in an animist motif in “The Bear’s Revenge,” in which a jilted teddy bear murders a young girl. I especially like Lizbeth’s use of present tense–it creates a mood of immediacy and suspense.

I regret that I have not the time to expound further upon the works of these young scholars; suffice to say that this random sampling should serve to illustrate the general plots, motifs, and tropes at work in the seething, horrific crucible-minds of teens.

10 thoughts on “Scary Stories–Halloween Edition”

  1. […] Everyone have enough of Halloween? Neither have I. I was on the Ricotta Park blog, and loving books almost as much as pasta, decided to check out one of the blogs on their list — Biblioklept. To my delight, I see a post titled Scary Stories — Halloween Edition. The post gives a nice rundown of a group of Halloween stories with plenty of kid appeal. […]

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  2. This is hilarious. In hindsight not everything about that school was bad (except the whole leaving-without-a-decent-education thing.)

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  3. …and randomly saw a picture of you online with a flower that was linked to this page… and then i read this and thought it was funny. I always wondered what teachers really thought!

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