from The Babadook

Scary Short Stories and Soundtracks


the copy team is here for your halloween dose of fear with scary stories and soundtracks to match. 

Stories by Davis Dunham & Katie Kane

Soundtracks by Emory Kemph, Lily Crandall, and Taylor Stout 


10.30.2021

Morning

by Davis Dunham


“Did you find another?” Marilyn asked me. Her lips curled slightly around the edge of her mug. Steam obscured her face.

I nodded. “Two this time.” I walked into the kitchen and grabbed the coffee pot. “Decaf?”

She shook her head. “Not like this.”

It was an obscure response, one that didn’t quite make sense, but I knew what she meant. The loose danger that had successfully assimilated itself into the air over the past few days made you want to be alert.

“Don’t say anything, Mark,” she said. “I know I’m not supposed to have caffeine. The doctor made that very clear.” I just shook my head.

“I’m most scared about how he finds them,” she continued, turning to me. “How do you find so many stillborn deer?”

“As far as I know there’s only one way,” I said. “The two or three I’ve ever seen only came when I shot a pregnant deer by accident.” I looked out at the yard. “You’re not supposed to kill them on purpose.”

“What are you supposed to kill on purpose?” she asked.

I shrugged. We each sat in silence for a while, drinking our coffee, looking through the back door out across the yard. You could see them out there—two little lumps on the grass right before it swelled up into the hay fields. Their tiny, weak forms exaggerated every acre that sat between our house and the next.

“If he knows I came here, why doesn’t he just do something?” she said, spitting out her words quickly.  Her mug slammed down against the table. I heard it crack and, a few seconds later, felt a warmth spread around my hand. I traced my fingers through the spilled coffee while she got a towel to clean it up.

“I think he is doing something,” I said, staring at the fetuses.

“Thanks, Mark.”

I smiled at her limply. “Anything for you, sis.”

There was another long moment of silence. Finally, she turned to me. “I hope he stays out there.”

I just looked out at the lumps and nodded.

The next morning, I found two puppies, one hung by its neck from the limb of a tree, the other cut in half on the ground below. Its intestines, no wider than a phone line, spilled out on the grass.


MUSIC PAIRING BY EMORY: 

“Neighbors,” Lucius: This song evokes the specific sense of dread that comes from looking at the outside world from behind your own window. It feels like “Morning,” where the danger is on display but just beyond reach.



Climbing

by Davis Dunham


I enjoy climbing, I always have. I like to pretend other kids can climb like me too, but they can’t. Sometimes I tell them they can, though. Younger ones. I climb up and tell them to put their feet where I put mine. And we’ll get to the top and I’ll kick a branch down on them. Just to scare them. I think it’s funny.

You should see how scared they get. I’m not going to let anything happen to them. And so what if it does? It’s not that long of a fall, even for a six-year-old. I’m sure they’d be fine.

Sometimes I have dreams where the little boys fall off the tree and land on the branch. It sticks through their heart and kills them like a giant bee sting. I think it’s really interesting to watch.

Dr. Prentiss asked me if I think that’s because I want something to happen to the boys. He also asked me if I fantasize while I’m awake, which I don’t. Just when I’m asleep. He also asked me why I don’t have any friends. I told him probably because I make them all climb trees with me then kick branches down on them, which made him laugh. I don’t think he likes being rational.

Sometimes I have dreams where everyone comes and chops down all the trees and I just sit on the ground. There’s fire everywhere but I don’t know why. Maybe they’re burning the trees. This town hates me.

My mom says it’s ironic that my name is Jack and I’m as big as a giant. The giant falls at the end. That’s how it ends, right?



MUSIC PAIRING BY LILY: 

“Do You Realize??,” The Flaming Lips: This song, like “Climbing,” starts out playful and charming, but it only lasts a moment before the gut punch is delivered.

“Do you realize / That you have the most beautiful face?
Do you realize / We're floating in space?
Do you realize / That happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize / That everyone you know someday will die?” 


Untitled

by Katie Kane


The Blackwood Funeral Home director John Rosemary was the most feared resident in town. He lived alone, in the little yellow house up on the hill. He was a tall, stately man, with light caramel skin, broad shoulders, and a husky, dark voice, resembling the stock of Chief Bromden. You could hear him roar for his dogs to come inside from no matter where you were in town.

He was a widower. Once a respected pillar of the community despite being a quiet, reclusive man, John Rosemary was vilified after his wife’s death. Rumor had it that Eva Rosemary’s body was found sitting up straight in a chair and that she had been dead three days when John finally arrived home from an embalming conference... so he claimed. There was no clear cause of death, so John quickly became an easy target for news reporters and hecklers alike.

His once-a-day rendezvous outside the house was to the grocery store to pick up the daily newspaper, a pack of Camel Lights, and glass bottles of Mexican Coke. He kept the same routine every day and you could always hear him coming down the street, thwapping the box of Camels against his cushy hands.

Per his profession, it was heard around town that John tasked himself with the honor of preparing Eva’s body for burial. No one else would dare. Apparently, rigor mortis had set in so bad that John had to strap his wife’s body down in the coffin for her viewing. The kids started hearing from big kids who heard from bigger kids that the belts were too weak and her body broke through and sat up straight at attention in the coffin.

One day, John Rosemary stopped going to the store. Days turned into weeks. Garbage gathered on his lawn. Reporters stopped standing in shifts to harass him. Trash collectors stopped coming. The neighborhood kids decided that someone had to toughen up and sneak into the house to see what may have happened to old man Rosemary.

Casey was a tough kid. He was only twelve years old and eighty pounds, but he had three older brothers and was beaten up enough by them to know how to fight. Everyone in his grade agreed that he should be the one to see what happened in that house, if the rumors were true, if Mr. Rosemary was dead.

It happened rather fast. Casey slowly walked onto the property glancing over both shoulders, his friends hiding behind the street’s willow trees as lookouts. When the coast was clear, he made a run for the porch, slipped on a leaf of newspaper, and hit his head on the stone walkway rather hard. He didn’t get up.

His friends started screaming for help. A pool of blood was forming around Casey’s head. One of them looked into the window of the house and saw a figure sat up straight, staring directly at him. The air smelled like death.


MUSIC PAIRING BY TAYLOR:

“Ain’t No Grave,” Johnny Cash: If you’re trying to make a gospel song sound absolutely terrifying, Johnny Cash is the man for the job. It’s perfect for a spooky small town and dead who won’t stay down. Cash even has a trademark “husky, dark voice” to resemble John Rosemary’s.


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