I just finished playing with Suzy at her house.

Me and Suzy are the bestest of friends and there is nothing we don’t do together. We even eat dinner together! Sadly, today I had to go home early to get ready to greet the new neighbors arriving tomorrow morning. But it’s okay; I’m sure we can meet up this weekend to play “dinner party” again.  

I skip my way home, looking around, enjoying the view of our neighborhood. It’s located in the middle of a sycamore forest right outside of Annapolis, bordering a large lake where some of our neighbors choose to fish. The houses are in a cottage style, all the gardens perfectly trimmed and the flowers blooming as beautifully as if they grew in nature. The trees around our houses, although huge, always filter light in the most intricate ways, creating complex patterns all over the windy road.

Even though I live here, I can’t help savoring the view. It’s just too beautiful!

My blonde pigtails swish back and forth as I walk, and the pink skirt that I borrowed from Suzy (because we got our clothes dirty while play-cooking), bounces with every step. 

It’s getting a bit dark, and my walk is pretty long, but that’s okay. I have nothing to worry about since this is a safe neighborhood. At least, that’s what daddy told me. Plus, I know everyone who lives around here!

As I’m walking, I see a poster hanging on one of the street lamps.

I frown. He seems familiar. 

Scratching my head, I shrug and just continue walking. I’ll remember eventually. 

Turning the familiar corner, Ms. Greenwad’s house is already in view. A very nice lady really. Always smiles and waving at me. And I must say, she makes the best lasagna I have ever tasted. The meat is just scrumptious!

I turn a corner and hear the sound of a vehicle. That’s curious. We don’t really drive around here—preferring to walk or bike. 

A dark blue van turns the corner, and I quickly check around me. As expected, there is no one else to see the outsiders arrive. What’s interesting though, is that we don’t get outsiders often. 

I put on a bright smile and continue skipping. Maybe they got lost and ended up in our neighborhood. 

Stopping and waving at them, they pull up next to me, and I can see the window roll down, revealing a middle-aged man. 

“Hi sweetie, isn’t it kind of late for a little girl like you to be out when it’s nearly dark?”

I grin, flashing the man my pearly white teeth. “I’m walking home from my friend Suzy’s house. We finished playing kitchen with her cooking set a while ago and now I have to get home. What are you doing around here? We don’t get a lot of visitors.”

The man smiles, showing me his crooked yellow teeth. I think he missed a few dentist appointments. 

“My pals and I were just driving around town and then we saw you. Say, miss, do you need a ride home?”

Oh, such a nice man. I don’t, since I’m pretty close, but maybe, because they were so nice, they can come over for dinner. 

“No thank you, sir. I live pretty close, only a few minutes away.” I glance behind the man, trying to see his friends. “But maybe you and your friends could come over and have dinner with us? My mom always makes more than enough to feed my family. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you joined. Plus, I’m sure they would be thankful that you took me home when it was dark.”

The man smiles again, showing me even more teeth. Yep, definitely should have gone to that dentist. 

“Would you like to ride in the van for the rest of the distance then?” 

I shake my head. “Thank you again, but I quite enjoy walking. I’ll just walk next to the van while you drive.”

He nods, and I smile. My parents will be very, very proud of me. 

“So, miss, what’s your name?”

“Abigail,” I state proudly, “named after my great-grandma. She was the matriarch of our family. What’s your name?”

“James Smith, but you can just call me Smithy.” 

I nod and continue on. 

“You’re a very pretty girl, Abigail. And your clothes are very cute! I’m sure your mommy is too.”

I nod,.“She really is. All the women in my family are!”

He licks his lips and smiles at me. His friends chuckle in the background. 

We continue to walk and drive in silence for a bit. Then, out of nowhere, I remember where I knew Jonas Schultz from. He joined us for dinner a while ago!

Ah, how could I forget? That meal was one of the most delicious ones yet! Meals with smart people are just so much more entertaining. 

We were approaching my home, and I just couldn’t stop smiling. This evening was going to be great!

“Here we are!” I say a bit louder than needed, and watch as the van parks in our driveway. I’m sure mommy and daddy won’t mind. “Let’s go inside!”

“Lead the way, Abigail,” Smithy says as I watch him and four other guys get out of the van. All grinning. I was happy they were this happy already. It would only make dinner better for all of us.  

“Oh good, there’s a lot of you,” I open the door and motion for them to enter. 

They’re all carrying black, shiny objects in their back pockets or belts, but I’m not worried. Mommy and daddy know how to handle people like them, don’t they? 

I open the door and almost laugh as I yell out for my parents. “Mommy! Daddy! I brought guests!” 

The men seem a bit worried, but there’s nothing to worry about. Mommy and Daddy will love them, no questions asked. 

Shuffling is heard upstairs while I direct the men into our living room. I watch as their jaws drop, our beautiful living room stunning them. And yet, in their daze, they still managed to swipe some of the trinkets that mommy loves having around. Well, whatever, daddy can take care of that later.

I’m not surprised that they’re staring though. Our walls have a beautiful dark crimson splattered pattern on them, as well as our white couches. Me, mommy, and daddy did it ourselves! All of our finishings are done with silver and the paintings are beautiful realistic portraits of my family. It’s a very fancy living room, and I love it!

My parents enter from upstairs, beautiful smiles adorning their faces and accentuating their flawless teeth. We take a lot of pride in our teeth in this family. Cleaner, shinier and sharper! Our motto, made by great-granny Abigail. 

“Oh, Abigail! How many guests have you found for us tonight?” Mommy exclaims and I can see her scan over the guests.  

“Five, mommy! They offered me a ride home, but we were too close to home so I invited them over.”

“Good job, Aby.” My dad pats me on the head and places his other hand on my shoulder to give me a small squeeze of approval. 

“Here, why don’t you two follow me in the basement to get some beer for us hmm?” my dad asks, motioning for the two stronger-looking men to follow him downstairs. One of the men is holding one of those shiny black things, slowly pulling it out of his pocket, but I know daddy can handle it. They are going to have a fun time with daddy. 

“And you three can come with Abigail and me into the kitchen. Now that there’s more of us, we need a few extra helping hands.” The remaining men follow us quietly but with smirks on their faces. Usually, our other guests are a bit more… how to put it…talkative? 

Me and mommy enter the kitchen first, while the men dawdle in our beautiful dining room. I could already see all the tools for the meal-prepping set on the table. This was going to be great! 

“What are we using tonight, mommy?” 

She just grinned and showed me her hands. 

“Great choice, mommy!” Hands made the job so much messier.  

Behind us, the three men enter, and I can hear all our stuff jingling in their pockets, but that doesn’t matter. Just means a bit more arranging to do once dinner is over. 

Suddenly, one of the men yells out, “Turn around slowly or we will kill you!”

Me and mommy turn around and look at the smirking men as one of them points a knife at mommy. 

“Aw, what a nice knife you have there,” mommy sneers, “It’s so tiny and cute.”

“W-what d-do you m-mean tiny a-and c-cute?” the man frowns in confusion, clearly thinking he had the upper hand. And oh how wrong he was. 

“I mean, look at that compared to these?” I giggle loudly as my mom’s long and beautiful claws slide out of her fingers, lengthening her already delicate hands. She flicks them around a bit, showing them off to the terrified men. I hope that my claws will look like her’s some time in the future. 

While the men are distracted, I rush behind them, locking the door back to the dining room. Don’t want anybody interrupting our cooking session. 

From the basement, a loud shriek is heard, followed by a loud gurgling yell and then silence. I’m sure daddy is fine. No matter how many times I hear the yells and screams, his techniques never cease to impress me. But I must say, with all the things he had downstairs, I expected nothing less.

“Uh, I think it’s better for us to leave. Didn’t mean to cause any trouble,” they all turn around towards me, their eyes wide and breaths leaving them fast. 

“Oh, but sirs, we haven’t even started cooking yet.” I smile again, making sure that the sharp edges of my now longer fangs are visible. “Won’t you stay for the best part?” 

The men all begin backing away from me, straight towards mommy, which is perfect. She’ll start us off, and I’ll finish!

My mommy begins approaching Smithy from behind, careful not to make a noise since all the men are focused on me and my short but sharp claws. They’re almost exactly like the Wolverine’s claws, but better. This is just so much better than what me and Suzy used this morning!

I laugh as the blood splatters our walls. The smell is just the best! Especially when fresh. 

“Hurry, mommy, I think daddy is almost done!” She smiles at me, her beautiful black eyes shining red from the sight of blood. “Can I take this one? He seems easy.” I giggle as I see him back away, the black shiny thing from his belt now pointed at me. 

Oh how pathetic. 

Dinner is my favorite part of the day, especially when I brought the ingredients. 

Tilting my head, I approach the man, claws, and fangs at the ready. 

More bangs and screams were heard from downstairs as I approached the man. “Don’t worry sir, I just want to play with my dinner a bit. You know how children are! We love playing with our food, especially when it’s as fun looking as you!”

“St-tay away f-from m-me,” his gun is shaking in his hands now. 

He can’t hurt me with it, but I’ll let him keep it if it makes him feel better.

The deafening sound of a gunshot stops us all, but only for a moment before I’m stalking him into a corner, ignoring the sting of the bullet and the black blood that trickles out and onto the floor. 

Other than the wound, I can’t say it did much damage, seeing as I’m still getting closer to him. 

He takes one good luck at my blood-red eyes and falls, scrambling away from me but closer to the corner, the death screams behind me spurring his actions. 

I should hurry and catch up with mommy, but this moment is just too delicious.

Now he’s completely cornered. Just how I like it. 

I lick my lips in hunger and let the light catch my long claws, showing the man just what he’s dealing with. 

He screams bloody murder as my claws dig into him. 

I giggle at my own joke as I carve further into him, tearing him into perfect-sized pieces.   

Me and mommy continue to work, the blood pooling everywhere, but we don’t care. We’ve cleaned up this kitchen dozens of times before, so we’ll do it again. It’s worth it anyway, for such delicious meals. Screams echo throughout the kitchen, each one louder than the next, until they completely die out, replaced by just the dripping of blood from our walls. More wall paint! 

Sunrise has already begun when we are done. 

The food from today will last us for at least two weeks, maybe even more. I’m sure we can even share with Ms. Greenwad so she can make us more lasagna. 

We freeze when we hear a knock on the door, but quickly smile at the new scent, reminded of our new neighbors. I run out of the kitchen, blood dripping off my clothes and onto the tile floors. 

“Yes?” I say as I open the door. 

There stands a little boy, probably not much older than me. He looks healthy, plenty of meat on his bones. 

“I-I’m your n-new neighb-bor and I j-just w-wanted to s-say hi. Me and m-my f-family j-just moved in.” He waves a tiny hand and glances at me a few times. 

“Ooo that’s nice. Would you like to come in? Me and my parents were just cooking dinner. I’m sure they would love for you to join us.” 

He smiles and nods, following me into the house, towards the kitchen. 

This scary short story was written by 8th grader Nina C, in her creative writing flex time activity. While it was inspired by Halloween, we think it’s a great read any time of the year.