Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Ladder Down by Joanne Galbraith - Halloween Writing Contest Winner!

Justin hadn't heard the stories about old Mrs. Klein. Darkness swelled as he trooped along the path toward her black house, sweating in his Yoda costume. He swallowed hard, gazing at the gnarled bushes and slanted stair that led to her door.

"Good evening, young one." The gravely voice startled a peep from him. "You must be new to Crossroads. Most others are afraid."

"A- afraid of what, ma'am?" Justin backed away.

"Why, me of course." She cackled a laugh.

He flinched when she offered a shining apple.

"You are in luck, for I am feeling generous on this beautiful Samhain. Eat the flesh and plant the seeds in a place rich with moonlight. You will find what you have lost."

With wide eyes, Justin snatched the apple, cradling it gently in his hand as he bolted down the path. At home, he found his father passed out, stinking of whiskey. Nothing new. Justin didn't believe in fairy tales, but he'd lost so much he wanted to believe. He closed his eyes and bit into the apple, praying to whatever spirit may be listening.

After finishing the last bite, he moved into the back yard and dug a hole where the moonlight shone. He planted the core, lay down on the damp grass and waited, tears wetting his cheeks.

A sweet voice woke him hours later. A ladder poked out of a narrow hole in the ground beside him. As he scrambled down the rungs, he shouted, "Mom?"

Congratulations to Joanne Galbraith for winning the writing contest!

More from Joanne Galbraith: Joanne Galbraith, Aspiring Writer

Image by Patrick Hoesly on Flickr.
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