's 2016 Horror Write-off:

Together Forever

Submitted by Daren H

Together Forever

I had always been a good kid. I didn't do drugs or alcohol or all that. Which was why my parents trusted me enough that they left me for about a week and a half, to visit my grandmother who was sick. Yeah, they really trusted me. They did call my neighbours and ask them to look out for me though. I microwaved dinner when I was hungry, and spent most of my free time binge watching Netflix or going for a stroll in the nearby park. But it was during this time when I got my first letter.

It was during Geography class. Mrs Mahone was droning again about the physical features of the Appalachians or something. I didn't really bother listening, I was going home to read the textbook myself later anyway. I reached beneath my desk to look through any stuff I didn't bother to throw away. Paper scraps, a few candy wrappings, and a.......note.

I didn't recognise the pink slip. I unfolded it, and my heart skipped a beat at the words I read:


I wanted to go over and talk to you after your basketball practice yesterday , but you looked so happy, smiling and talking with your friends. When you laugh, your face lights up like an angel and my heart flutters. Your eyes shine brighter than stars when you're close to me. Aaron...I just found out that I love you. I can't bring myself to reveal who I am because I'm so scared you'd push me away. But I love you. I just want you to know that.

Your secret admirer.


"That's awesome!" Emily beamed. "You're a lucky guy!"

Me, Keith and Emily were sitting in the cafeteria over lunch again. I just couldn't help it but tell them.

"Who'd you think it is?" Keith laughed. "She really has the hots for you

"Eh, I don't really know.." I tried thinking of all the girls in my class. I had a small crush on Janelle once, but she had grown way out my league then. There was Liz, our class bookworm. Maybe it was her?


"Just keep it a secret from everyone else for now, okay? I really don't want to scare or embarrass her." 

"Aww. Don't worry, my lips are sealed. But we could help you guess who sent that note." Emily replied. Both of them were enjoying this. I put on my best scowl.

"Suit yourself."

After school was over I quietly snuck back to class. Hmm, empty. I had a hunch you see. I went over to the table next to mine. No one actually sat there, it was an empty seat, but somehow something told me that my admirer would look under there. I slid my own note into the desk drawer and stole away. I kept glancing back to see if anyone entered our classroom after me, but there was no one.


I would be lying if I said I didn't go to school the next day a happy boy. I must have been waving at every familiar face on my way. I reached my locker and-

Another pink note was tucked into the seam. I pulled it out. The handwriting was smooth and flowery, just like yesterday's note.


Thank you! Thank you so much for the poem! I couldnt sleep last night...I kept thinking about you.

I couldnt help but keep looking around during class. Molly, Janelle, Liz...Emily stuck her tongue out at me. I gave her an annoyed look and turned away. Keith had promised he would find out who she was.

"Aaron, are you listening?"

"Sorry Mrs Mahone." I looked back at her. Dang, I needed to stop acting like a lovesick puppy. Let my future date come to me slowly.    

I kept trading letters with my admirer like this the next few days. The weird thing was, her responses kept getting shorter and shorter. I was worried that she was losing interest. But then her latest note arrived, bearing only these words:

Aaron, I'm suffocating, I feel like the walls are closing in on me. Every moment without you feels like torture...

My heart wrenched. I immediately wrote back and stuffed my note under the empty desk again:


Are you ok? You're worrying me....we should meet tomorrow. You can tell me everything, and we'll work this out together. Is meeting under the alder tree behind the shed okay with you? I ll be waiting after class.

Sure enough, I received another note from her the following day. I plucked it from the locker seam with some trepidation, unfolded it and read the words. I blinked in surprise. Was this real? She had simply written:

No. I ll find you when you are alone.

Weird. She had sounded seriously troubled in her last letter. Over lunch, I told Keith and Emily again what I found.  

"Could she be playing a joke?" Keith raised an eyebrow at me.

 I shook my head. "She didnt sound like she was."

"Aaron. Maybe you should be careful the next few days. If there's anything odd, dont hesitate to tell us....." Emily trailed off.

"Yeah, dont worry about it," I reassured them. "I think she was just   

After break was our Physical Education class. Emily went off for volley practice while me and Keith trooped off to the basketball court. We had fun until we heard Emily scream.

Both of us rushed out immediately.

The other girls were helping her up. A large, nasty gash ran across her forehead. "Emily! What happened?!" Keith exclaimed.

"Someone was in the bushes!"

We volunteered to help, and both of us brought her to the school nurse's office. "I'm fine, I'm fine," Emily insisted. "Someone was in the bushes, watching us I swear."

"Did you get a good look at him?" Keith asked. She shook her head.

"Maybe just a prankster," I blurted out.

 Emily scowled "a terrible one. Who the hell thinks its fun to throw stones at people?"

"Must be John, that pervert," Keith snarled. "I ll go have a chat with him later."

No one hurt my friends and got away with it, I thought. I didnt think it was John. I mean he could be weird, but he wasnt the type to hurt people.


I sprang upright, waking from my sleep. My heart was pounding furiously in my chest. I wiped the sweat off my brow. God, another nightmare. My clock on my nightstand read 3:00 am. I looked around my room. Everything looked to be in place, but something I couldn't tell what it was. I froze when I saw there was a dark figure standing in my room.

No wait, that was my coat stand. The positioning of the shirt hanging off it made it look like a standing silhouette of a person. I blinked and laughed it off. Afraid of my own coat stand? Ridiculous.

Thirsty. So thirsty. I needed to go out, recollect my thoughts. I emerged from my bedroom and stumbled into the darkness. The stairs back down to the living room looked like a black mouth. My hands scrabbled against the wall until I found the light switch and flicked it on. Light flooded the stairwell and relief washed over me.

I went to the kitchen, poured myself a glass of water and glurged it down. Ah, so cool and sweet. I thought back to the events at school the past few days. The notes I shared with my admirer. Emily's incident during volleyball.

Gah. I hoped my admirer had picked up the note I'd left for her. I decided that we'd meet on my terms-

Wait. Wasnt that my coat stand? It was sitting just under the stairs, near the storeroom door.

Yes. Yes it was. I had remembered taking it downstairs.

I crept back up the stairs. My heart pounded frantically against my chest. Good god, my own home never felt as unfamiliar as it did that night.

I tore open my bedroom door and flicked the light switch-

Nothing. No shadowy silhouette. Everything looked to be in order. But what was that...earlier? Must have been my overactive imagination. Monsters dont exist after all. I breathed a sigh of relief and cuddled beneath my blankets again.


"Aaron? Is everything alright? You look tired."

I looked up from my macaroni platter.  "Yeah, Im fine, Keith. Just been wondering about something." Truth be told, I hadnt slept at all since that incident. There was also this damned branch that kept hitting my window somehow.

"She didnt reply your note, did she?"

I shook my head dejectedly. "Yeah...maybe she lost interest."

"Aww, dont feel too bad. There's lots of other girls out there. You got all the time in the world to find Miss Right," he punched me on the shoulder lightly. I giggled. I still couldnt shake off my worry though.

Emily hadnt spoken once since yesterday. She just looked blankly at us and murmured something from time to time. I noticed dark eyebags beneath her once bright blue eyes.

"What's it with you two.." Keith looked at us both. "Dont look so sad. Wanna grab some ice cream later? Its one me..." Emily nodded.

"Thanks," I smiled. Emily didnt.


I woke up in the middle of the night again. My entire body was drenched in cold sweat. I forced my breathing down and my gaze shot around the room. Nothing. Was it another nightmare? I couldnt remember it clearly, only her sweet singing voice....

Damn. I tossed the sheets aside and clambered out of bed. I was thirsty again.

At the steps I paused. Wait......

A chill ran down my spine. There was a humanoid figure, perched at the bottom of the stairwell. I couldnt make out any distinct features. I could tell it was female though, based on what appeared to be long hair covering her entire face. I...wanted to run back to bed, lock the door and call the police. Instead, I moved on impulse. My hand moved to the light switch and flicked it on.

Nothing. Just an empty staircase.  

But what was that? I could have sworn I saw something. I blinked and rubbed my eyes. Still nothing. I went down the stairs and checked the living room, kitchen and storeroom. Yup, no one.

 But deep down, I just didnt feel safe anymore. I needed to get back to bed. I switched off the lights-

She was there again. But this time, she was running up the stairs towards me.

I screamed and ran. The walls passed me in a blur. The door was so far- so far away! If I could only-

Then I felt it. Cold hands gripped my shoulder. I fell and darkness washed over everything.


I jolted awake again. Weak light shone in through my window. Good god. I always forgot my nightmares, but that was so vivid, so real. My hands were still shaking. My alarm clock read 8 am. It didnt ring somehow. I was going to be late for class if I didnt hurry.

I showered and got dressed as usual. Before I left the house I checked my alarm again. Weird, it was still stuck at 8 am. No time to look up what was wrong with it. I had to go.

It was a grey and misty morning. My heart kept racing as I hurried along the sidewalk. I wasnt going to forget that nightmare a long long time. My fear must have been really getting to me, the buildings around me seemed so distant and blurry. I felt a bit nauseous as well.

I managed to reach the gates of my school just as the bell rang. I hurried along past several other students. Everything looked so blurry. No one even paid me any mind. I checked my phone as I climbed the stairs. Weird, no signal. Whatever.

I reached my classroom and pushed open the door-

There was no one.

I took a step back. Wait, where was everyone? I looked back out to the corridor and walked along the rows of classrooms. They were all empty. It was Thursday. Not even a public holiday. It was when I looked outside the corridor window, and saw what appeared to be something hanging outside, on the alder tree.

No, it wasnt something. It was someone. I almost fell to my knees.

Keith and Emily were hanging from the tree by their necks. Their bodies swayed in the wind.

Oh god. My whole body was trembling. This wasnt happening. This couldnt be happening. I took out my phone to call the police. No signal. No, no, no, no. I prayed I was still asleep, that I was still trapped in a nightmare. God, wake me up, please, wake me up.

I turned away and ran. As i sped along, I spied those words written on the floor:

Sorry for Scaring You

"What-what- leave me alone! What did you do to my friends?!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I ran and ran....the path to the stairs was so far, so far away....

We don't need them anymore. It's just the two of us now.

Oh god. Oh god no. The sky outside was darkening. It was like night was falling fast. I had to get out of here.

The classrooms sped by in a blur. Nothing made sense anymore.

I reached the stairs and bounded down the steps. So close, if I could only-

The ground floor was dark. Utter blackness swallowed everything. It had been morning just now.

Nothing was right anymore.

 I opened the flashlight app on my phone and moved along. The weak light of my phone was all that led me through the blackness. I knew she was here somewhere. I prayed I would not meet her again.



All of a sudden my phone rang. It was Keith. I picked it up, forcing myself to stop trembling.

"Keith?! KEITH?!" I screamed into the phone. A series of distorted voices and static rang through my ears. Then I heard it. A single phrase from Keith:

"" the line went dead.

Tears were streaming from my eyes. It was my fault. It was all my fault. I moved past the empty classrooms. The world beyond the windows was black. No stars, no streetlights.

The door, maybe I could try it.....maybe I still had a chance to escape.....

Someone was standing in front of me.

I didnt dare look. I moved backwards, towards the stairs.

Come here, Aaron. You're so warm........hug me please.

My phone flashlight began to flicker. My grip turned to ice. Dont look....dont look.....

The light went out.