Jonathan walks up a hill, wondering when he’ll see it. The night is dark and quiet, but the full moon is bright. In a way, that made the night creepier. Jonathan shivers. He couldn’t help but think of all the stories he’d heard of things that go bump in the night as he walks along in this remote, forgotten part of his country. He feels like he has been walking for ages, his car so many kilometers away.
As he walks farther up the hill, he sees it. Sighing in relief, he continues the long trudge up. The ruins of an ancient medieval castle come closer into focus. He walks around the now desolate, grassy ruins. Its walls are scattered and covered in ivy, marking the castle a shell of its former self. Yet, despite it all, the walls still stand tall, retaining their aged grandeur and ancient history on the remote hill.
Jonathan shivers again. The night is getting colder and the castle is haunting with its beautiful yet eerie air. He just wants to take the picture and be done with it. His friend Quincey dared him to come here, telling him of an old legend of a unusual creature that haunts the castle at night, killing those unlucky souls who realize its danger too late. Quincey himself says that just last year, he came here himself and saw it. Jonathan didn’t believe him, since Quincey is a teller of tall tales. To prove to Quincey that he really did come here, Jonathan had to bring his fiancée Mina’s jack-o’-lantern. She didn’t have much time (or the tools) to carve the pumpkin and does not have great artistic ability. It looks…interesting. It is supposed to be a cat! The picture of it (Quincey begged for a selfie, but Jonathan refused out of pride) in the castle would prove that Jonathan didn’t chicken out of the dare.
Jonathan walks into the castle, or really the few walls and old stone floors vaguely echoing the shape of the building. Jonathan decides to put the jack-o’-lantern on the top of a wall whose deterioration led it to be above as tall as he was. He places the jack-o’-lantern on top and then takes out his lighter. He lights the candle inside and takes the picture. Click! The candle makes eerie shadows along with walls.
After he reaches up and grabs the jack-o’-lantern, blowing out the candle, he turns around to leave. He jumps. Something, a creature is in front of him. It looks like a grouchy, vaguely-alien-like, vaguely-bat-like, vaguely-old-timey/British monster. Jonathan blinks quickly and rubs his eyes. He can’t believe his eyes. Were the legends true? It didn’t seem particularly threatening. It was a little over a meter tall, with gray fur and leathery wings, and was smoking a pipe.
The creature gets closer, takes a look at him, and flies up to the top of the highest wall. It stares down at him, smoking its pipe. Jonathan is surprised how high it went, considering it wings are much smaller than its body. It is a bit creepy, but doesn’t seem very dangerous, with its gray top hat and giant, discomforting human-like feet. They stare at each other for a few minutes, then Jonathan starts to walk out back to his car, like he had been doing before.
As he starts to walk out, he sees a flash out of the corner of his eyes. It’s the creature! He ducks, and as the creature flies above him, he can see razor-shape, vampire-like teeth, disturbingly stained red, in it’s open mouth. Jonathan pales, and then races out of the doorway and into the grassy hill. He races down the hill, too scared to look back, as he bolts to his car. The distance, seeming so long on the walk over, seems even further away.
In the distance, Jonathan spots his car on the side of the road. Suddenly, overheard, he hears flapping. He looks behind him. The creature is coming after him, and quickly! Jonathan wills everything in him to run faster. He gets to the car and throws the door open, just closing it before the creature slams into it. The creature hisses and screams angrily at him, sounding unearthly. Jonathan is never happier for an animal to not have opposable thumbs.
He tosses the jack-o’-lantern onto the passenger seat and starts his car. He drives off, glancing at his side view mirror often as he speeds away. He sees the creature start to fly after him, but then turn around, back to the castle. Jonathan takes a deep breath, and then sighs in relief. Apparently, Quincey hadn’t been lying after all.
I notice that my three Daily Creates of this week all have a somewhat spooky tone (a ruined castle, a jack-o-lantern, and a monster), so I figured that this was a great opportunity to make a Halloween story! I love Halloween! Though I don’t trick-or-treat anymore, I have always loved the Halloween aesthetic.
I chose not to make this story involve my character Maria, as I want her stories to be based more on “reality”. All of the cryptids, stories, and folklore in her stories are “real” (in terms of that they exist in some folklore or that there legitimate belief in them-basically, I didn’t create them) and I try to get everything that isn’t legend, myth, or folklore as accurate as I can. Here, the creature is something I created, so it’s a new character.
I chose to make this a third-person narrative as I write a lot of text, mainly explanations, on my tweets, which would get in the way of storytelling. This story has all of the tweets and all of their details, but in third-person. I tried, as best I could, to adapt all of the wording from the tweets into the story, just changing the point of view to third person and changing who the wording is about.
The name Jonathan is from the character of the same name in Dracula. I was stuck on a name and googled “name that means halloween”. Not sure why I thought that would help, but after going through a few websites, the name “Bran”, as in the author of Dracula, came up. I remember reading Dracula in 10th grade, and that one of the characters went into Dracula’s castle int the beginning of the story and gets into trouble. That was Jonathan. As this story features a character going into a castle (though, this one is ruined) and gets into trouble (though, much more minor trouble), I thought the name fit. Jonathan thinking kilometers instead of miles is a nod to him being English, as the character in the book is English. I had to use Google to convert, since as an American, I think in miles! I didn’t even think about it before I started writing, but the creature is somewhat bat-like, and Dracula, and vampires in general, are connected to bats!
The name Quincey is also from Dracula. I chose Quincey because he is the american, and the US celebrates Halloween more than the UK. According to his Wikipedia page, he also tells tall tales, so I incorporated that.
The name Mina is also from Dracula. I chose Mina because that is Jonathan’s fiancée (and later wife) in the book.
While Dracula take place in Transylvania, I based the first tweet about the castle on castles in the U.K. and Ireland, and with bat monster I made looking slightly old-timey, and with the pipe British, this takes place somewhere in the U.K. and Ireland. The reason why the pipe reminds me of Britain is because it reminds me of Tolkien!
Speaking of Tolkien, the feet of the creature remind me of hairless hobbit-feet, so I made the creature a little over a meter tall, as apparently hobbits have the average eight of 3 ft 6 in/107 cm, which translates to a 1.06/1.07 meters.
So, when I looked at my tweets, I decided that they worked well in chronological order. So, first I set the scene with the hill and the castle. I decided to start the narrative when Jonathan is still walking up the hill, since it seemed like a good place to start. I copied my tweet and used it exactly in my narrative, except changing the “I” to “He” and “walk” to “walks”.
I then, after establishing more the setting, brought in the jack-o’-lantern. I copied everything but the “I” in the first sentence, touched on my (and Mina’s) lack of artistic skills, and then copied the last sentence exactly. I wanted the jack-o’-lantern to have some purpose to the plot, so it is a big part of Jonathan’s plan at the castle.
Finally, after all of the setting and jack-o’-lantern stuff, then comes this thing. I copied from my tweet everything from”grouchy” on. I was originally going to have it (it’s a him) talk, as to charm so it appears not dangerous, but I looking at it, it doesn’t seem quite human enough to do so. Hissing and screaming seem more up its street, and scarier! The danger is that it looks weird, not dangerous, with the top hat and the rather wimpy wings.
This was a fun narrative to do! It’s definitely different than what I normally do. Normally, I have a more researched, less made-up-by-me story. It was fun trying to connect the three stories, while also bringing in a little Dracula! This got me right in the mood for Halloween!
The featured image is the bat monster Daily Create. See above!
I made it with http://gamesolo.com/flash-game/create-a-monster.html