's 2019 Horror Write-off:

The Halloran Sisters: Unearthing

Submitted by Shakara

Laoise trod out into the sunny garden, holding a small trowel, and wearing a home-made pirate hat. The night before, she had read Treasure Island and had enjoyed it thoroughly.

Nearing the flower bed, she sat down and began to dig, visualising herself as the great and grand explorer. 

“Captain Laoise, sailing the seven seas and discovering new islands!”

She laughed in joy at her fantasy. What would she find under the earth? 

“Gold doubloons? Rubies? Sapphires? Emeralds? Silver? A magical sceptre?”

The 6-year-old was lost in her imagination, idly digging. Her trowel scrunched into the dirt, heaving up a patch of petunias as she tossed them aside into her ever-growing soil pile. The pink petals were shredded as she dug deeper.

Laoise stopped as she heard her trowel clink against something hard. She dusted the powdery brown soil away from the object. A box! And a large one, too! She dug further, sacrificing more flowers. Caoimhe would be angry, but she didn’t care. She’d found treasure!

After digging more, thoroughly staining her dress and her hands, she had lifted up the box. 

It was big, almost as big as her. It was old, with rusty hinges. She looked, defeated, at the heavy padlock. In anger, she struck the trowel against it, only to gasp as it cracked open!

How old was this big box? 

“It’s probably 100 years old or something.” 

She set down her trowel, rubbing her hands together eagerly.

With all of the girlish strength she possessed, she lifted the lid up, only to be greeted by a milk-white skull, sitting atop a pile of bones and staring at her with empty black eyes. She stared back at it, and gingerly lifted it up. It was a big skull, with a lot of teeth, some metal. Fillings. Bad teeth. She looked at the other bones. Arms, legs, fingers, hip, ribs, shoulders… A whole skeleton.

“No gold? No rubies?” she stared at the ground, crestfallen.

She looked at the teeth of the skull, remembering something about fillings and silver. 

“Silver!” she cried in excitement.

She set down the skull and jogged back to the house, acquiring a pair of pliers. Silver wasn’t as expensive as gold, but it was still valuable! She crouched near the box, and spent some time plucking out the silvery teeth from the mouth as rust-brown liquid dripped out. There were 7 in total, and she poked through them in her small palm. Perhaps she could make her own necklace?

She set the skull back in the box, and carefully pushed the box back into the hole. With the trowel, she covered the box in soil once more, never to see daylight again. When the garden had become reasonably normal again, aside from the ruined petunias, she made her way back to the house to find a necklace chain.