October Writing Challenge Entry- Hell at your Door.

With a swing of his hammer, George nailed the board across his living room window. He looked around inside his tiny home making certain every window and every door had been covered. “They won’t get me this year,” he said to his cat following closely behind him. It was a small thing with white fur with patches of orange and black. However, it had a striking feature of a patch of black around its eyes making its face resemble a raccoon. George hadn’t gotten around to naming it yet since it just wondered in his yard a week prior. After a few days of the cat sitting on his front porch, he brought it inside and fed it. It was the only other creature George associated himself with. The only friend he had for several years. The others… just couldn’t be trusted.

George patted the cat’s head as he walked into the kitchen. He opened a can of cat food and dumped it out on a dish on the floor. The cat eagerly ate it up. George smiled… but it quickly faded as he looked outside to see the growing darkness. It’s close.

He rushed as quickly as he old legs would allow to his back door. He pulled on the boards making certain they would hold. Last year was bad, but this year he was ready. As the sunlight faded and darkness fell, he listened carefully. Nothing. He rushed to the front of the house side-stepping his cat. Peering between the boards and through the window, he saw shadows moving about.

His doorbell rang. Kid’s voices could be heard. “Trick or treat,” they yelled.

“You kids better beat it… if you know what’s good for ya.” He let out a sigh of relief hearing them scurry away. Sure, they thought he was a crazy old man. A scrooge of Halloween but they didn’t know… they couldn’t know.

Most folks would think he’s lost his mind. Maybe thing he has gone senile. But he knew the truth. Ever since his car accident five years ago, the one where he should’ve died… there had been monsters coming to his house every Halloween since trying to claim his life. Last year they banged on his house until the sun came up… and then, like every year before that, they just disappeared.

A scraping noise came from the side of his house. He flinched, gasping. His action made his cat run under the kitchen table. “That’s right cat. You best stay there until morning.”

The noise of the scraping increased, moving toward his front door. He reached over and grabbed his walking cane and waited. Thump…Thump…. Came a knock on his door. “Go away!” he yelled. He held his cane out in front of him. Thump… Thump… it continued. “You ain’t getting in here this year, so clear out!” He waited… but no other sound came. George breathed a sigh of relief and lowered his cane. He turned to walk back to his chair, when another knock come from the door. “Trick or treat,” a child’s voice called out.

He ignored it, walked back to his chair and slowly lowered himself down. Another knock. “Trick or treat,” came the same voice. “Go away! There’s no candy here.”

“We don’t want candy,” the child’s voice called back.

“No?” George replied. “Well, what do you want?”

The voice answered back, “We want you… George.” The tone in the voice grew low from the child’s voice to something unnatural.

George sat up in his chair, his body tightened and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. “No! And you ain’t getting in…” A scrape came from the front door. “We are already in.”

George grabbed his cane with both hands glancing around the room. A scraping noise came from the kitchen… from under the table. George shook his head… “No….” the cat emerged with glowing red eyes. It body grew to three times its normal size. It claws scrapped the floor as he stalked toward him. It’s mouth open in a snarl showing its fangs.

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September Writing Challenge Entry- Martin and the Moose.

Subject: A Simple Story
Setting: Any
Time Period: Whenever you’d like
Length: Less than 500 words
Restrictions: none
Due: September 30th

Hi Moose. I wanted to show you the idea of a story, with a beginning and an end. I actually took what you wrote and wove it into a story. As you can read, the story has a theme of finding one’s home on the field. It is just a simple story but see how it starts, unfolds and ends. Thank you!!


Martin was only 12 when his grandfather passed away. He never knew his parents so his grandparents had been the only parents he had. His grandmother passed just a few years earlier. But the day soon came when the lady in the suit called on him. Without parental guardians he became what the suit lady referred to as “a ward of the State.” They would force him into foster care with a family he didn’t know. He was lost, desperate and didn’t want to live with anyone else. He cried for days and never came out of his room. His foster parents were nice, but they just weren’t his parents.

This next year at school was difficult for him. He stayed to himself, never talking with the other kids. Why should he. They still had parents and their lives were fine. Only his life had been destroyed and ripped apart. His hopes of playing football at school died with his grandfather who would stay up late telling him of the stories of when he played back in the 1930’s. It wouldn’t stop Martin from wandering around the football field after school, stopping for a while and dreaming of how his life could have been different… could have been fun… could have been… normal.

One day on the field a man called out to him. “You looking for someone?” A thick man wearing a jersey and a whistle around this neck asked. Martin jumped at his voice, not hearing his approach, but he remained silent. “I’m Coach Jackson,” the coach paused, took a breath and sat down next to Martin. “Are you Martin?” The boy looked up surprised and nodded. The coach put his arm around him. “I knew Moose, your grandfather.” The mention of his grandfather brought a smile to his lips. Martin looked up at the coach and saw something in his eyes that showed he truly understood. “Moose was a great man and a terrific player. Are you interested in playing, son?” Martin straightened up, his eyes watering. “Yes! Please, sir. Please!”

The coached hugged him tighter, his own eyes starting to water. “Just call me coach.”

The next year, Martin strapped on the gear and headed out for his first football game. The bulky shoulder pads, the menacing helmet, and the jersey. That jersey meant more to him than anyone could understand. He finally belonged.

Stepping onto the field for the first time was a day he would never forget. Game day, lights on, people in the stands. He could smell the sweet smell of the green grass as it gave way under his cleats. The roar of the crowd all but drowned out the sound of his heart pumping in his chest. His heart raced as he looked around at his teammates. The same boys he had trained so hard with all summer. They weren’t just teammates, they were his family.

Coach Jackson lead his team to the field. The players took their positions. Martin looked up to the people in the stadium and to the players in the field. He felt at home. Soon, the kick off. “This game is for you, grandfather.”

September Writing Challenge Entry- Moose

Thank you Grant for getting me started again! It may take some time to brush the rust off but it feels good to write again!!!

My first time on a Football Field.

      I was 13 years old the first time I strapped on that gear. The bulky shoulder pads, the menacing helmet, and the jersey. Many people who watch professional sports don’t realize what that jersey means to the player. It means you belong to something bigger than just yourself. That no matter the outcome you fought your hardest for yourself and fellow team mates.

Stepping onto the field for the first time was a day I will never forget. Game day, lights on, people in the stands. You can smell the sweet green grass as it gives way under your cleats. The roar of the crowd all but drowned out by the heart beating your chest and in the chests of the men around you. All beating as one as you rush the field prepared for battle. You feel your pulse rate climb and synchronize with 30 other people. You aren’t just teammates, you are family. One entity working together to destroy an opponent.

Coaches lead their teams in pregame warmups and prayers. Asking God for strength, and forgiveness. Strength to overcome this adversary and forgiveness for what we are about to do to them. Last minute stretches, preparing your body for war. Final preparations made, plays adjusted, equipment checked. You scan the crowd and see hundreds of eager faces willing you to perform, to fight your hardest. Your heartbeat fills your throat.

Kick off. The ball booms through the air and you can hear it slam into a receiver. A small ball made of leather, filled with air, cracks through the air like a bolt of lightning. Pads strike pads as warriors collide. There is no sound like it. The straining and sound of forceful impact. The thunder of footsteps resounds in your core. Shaking your very being down to every fiber. This is it, this is your time. Whistles blow. The Play ends, time to breathe.

September Challenge – Click

Here is my September entry; a short story I came up with based on some amalgamation of ideas presented in Stephen King’s story “1408” and Euripides’ The Bacchae.  I like the idea of a person’s descent into madness being the result of external forces, especially because you can always turn a story like that around and see other’s reactions to a person who may or may not be on the same plane of reality anymore.  My apologies for any spelling or grammar errors, but it is late and I need some sleep.


 

Emily wasn’t sure what was worse; the constant changes, his smiling face, or the continual  clicking of his tongue against the roof of his mouth.  That dry, snap-like noise that he made as if he were some kind of metronome.  It wasn’t the kind of thing that would normally bother her, but this wasn’t a normal kind of situation.

She barely even noticed the guy when he first came into the library.  She was busy poring over her ethics book, getting ready for her test later that week.  She looked up for a brief moment and saw him at the far end of the library, smiling and looking directly at her.  She didn’t think much of it and assumed he was smiling at someone near her.

She put her head back down and kept reading.  But after a few minutes, some random flash of light caused her to pick her head back up.  This time the man was standing just a few feet away from her with his mouth closed and that same smile on his face.  Emily could definitely tell where he was looking this time.  He was staring straight into her eyes.  She didn’t know what it was about his smile, but she became immediately uncomfortable.  She gave him a quick “hi, I’m busy” smile and put her head back down.

She tried for a brief moment to get back to reading, but she couldn’t.  All she could do was think about the man.  She could feel him still standing there, his presence demanding her attention.  She let out a slight sigh and picked her head back up.  “Yes?” she said with a hint of annoyance layered in.

The man didn’t say anything back, he just kept smiling and staring at her.  Emily couldn’t tell if it was the man’s greasy black hair, his slightly wild eyes set in deep, dark sockets, or his strangely heavy and rhythmic breathing, but she no longer felt safe, despite how many people there were around her.

“Do I need to get a librarian or security over here?”  She spoke a little louder than she typically would for a library, but she was hoping to attract some attention from the other students.  It didn’t work.  Instead, the man’s lips parted and his smile extended to its full length.  His teeth weren’t well cared for; they were deeply yellowed and caked in plaque from meals past.  His teeth were separated by small gaps and, in some places, they overlapped each other.  

His mouth was opened enough so Emily could even see his tongue.  She wished she hadn’t though, because the moistness of his mouth made her instantly feel ill.  It was in that moment that the man touched his tongue to the roof of his mouth and started making clicking noises.

He seemed as though he were keeping a rhythm, but he wasn’t holding on to it well.  He had the semblance of keeping a beat yet he would be slightly too fast or too slow with each beat.  The lack of timing was instantly starting to get on her nerves.  Emily was about to ask him to stop when she noticed the first change.

One of the bookshelves behind the man switched from a plain metal rack to an ornate wooden shelving unit.  It didn’t even make a noise or take the time to change shape; it simply went from one thing to another in an instant.

Emily blinked several times, as if the problem were her eyes.  The change was unsettling and she couldn’t even trust whether she saw or just hadn’t realized it was always there.  She would have kept staring at the bookshelves, but the clicking brought her back to the immediate problem; the man in front of her.

“I don’t know what you want, but if you don’t leave in the next couple of seconds, I’m going to call security.”  Her voice had raised a few decibels more than the last time.  She wanted to get the attention of as many people as she could.  She wanted someone to get involved.  She just needed someone to look up.  No one did.

Instead, the clicking continued and the changes became greater.  More metal racks changed into wooden shelves.  Some had trees growing out of them that touched the ceiling, some were carved directly out of wide tree trunks that merged perfectly with the laminate floor and tiled ceiling.  

Emily felt herself starting to panic.  She shut her eyes tight and took a deep breath.  None of this is happening, she told herself.  It’s obviously a dream.  You’ve been in here for a long time studying and you’ve just had too much.  So in a second, you’re going to open your eyes, wipe the drool off your books, and go take

Her self-assurance mantra was cut short by the realization that the clicking hadn’t stopped.  It snapped her out of her own head and brought her back into the terror of the situation.  Determined to find some help, Emily reached into her purse on the seat next to her and pulled out her cell phone.  She dialed 911, put the phone to her ear, and stood up to meet her opponent eye to eye.

“911, what is your emergency?”

“Hello,  I am here in the student library on campus and there is a man here threatening me.  He hasn’t attacked me yet, but I think he might.  Can you send an officer to help out, please?”

“Hehe,” the responder’s voice went from professional to mocking almost instantly, “Sure, sure. We’re gonna get you set up real quick.  Don’t you worry about nothin’.  Don’t worry about nothin’ ever again…”

The phone lost all power instantly and the battery began to heat up in her hand.  Emily shrieked and tossed the phone onto the desk.  It melted through the middle of the desk, catching it on fire along the way.  The phone dropped to the ground and sank through the floor.  The desk she had been sitting at, as well as her books, burned away within seconds as though they were all made out of flint.  She looked over to the other seat to grab her purse, but found the back of the chair slamming down on the seat, crushing her purse and everything in it.  The chair back raised a few more inches and Emily noticed small, sharp teeth protruding out of it in multiple rows.  The chair continued eating her purse, although without a throat, the pieces of her purse and it’s contents just kept falling to the ground.

Emily lost her ability to rationalize her situation anymore.  All she could do was stare at the insanity around her.  She turned her head to look at her own chair, only to see it hungrily waiting for her to sit down.  She watched it for a brief moment, uncertain of whether she should try sitting down again or not, but before she had the chance, her chair dashed at the chair eating her purse.  The purse chair yelped like a dog and ran forward.  There were no tables in the library anymore and the floor was now a mix of laminate and soil.  The purse chair continued its run, but stumbled on a student that had been sitting four rows ahead of her before all of this began.  He was now lying face down on the ground with his chemistry book attached firmly to his face.  Emily couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead, but she didn’t even have time to think about it as her chair leaped over the man and brought its face directly down onto the purse chair.  Splinters flew as her chair devoured the other one.

Emily tried to take a moment to think, but the clicking just kept bringing her back to “reality”.  Another student began to walk between the few feet of distance between her and the smiling man.  Emily’s eyes shifted focus from the chair-eating chair and slowly drew up towards the student’s face.  She surveyed the woman’s conservative clothing that covered what was a very firm and tight body.  As Emily’s eyes drew up, she saw a large pair of breasts hidden under a thick sweater (which seemed an odd choice for the summer), and a neck covered in brown and red feathers.  When she finally looked straight at the woman, she realized she was looking at human female with a robin’s head.

The woman continued to walk, but turned her head toward Emily.  The cold, black eyes stared back at her, never breaking contact as the woman continued her march forward.  She kept walking past Emily’s right, turning her head to face Emily as she went.  The robin’s head has turned fully backwards to continue its stare at Emily as the woman diligently walked between two bookshelf trees.

“Yeaaaaaahhhhhh…”

Emily snapped her head to the left as she heard the low, breathy sound.  She found her face was inches away from a human-sized fox wearing a police officer’s uniform.  It would have seemed almost cartoonish to her, if it weren’t for the disturbingly realistic features on it’s face.  The nose was wet, the teeth were bright white, and the mouth was drawn back in a sinister smile.

“Yeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh…”, it continued, “I’m gonna take care a you, just like you asked me to, lady.  Just as soon as I get a piece of that hot chick over therrrrrrreeee….”  The fox darted past Emily, sprinting toward the bird-woman.  As it did, it lifted a dull, rusted axe over it’s head.  The fox got between the bookshelf trees and continued its pursuit of the bird-woman.  Suddenly, the trees slammed shut against each other.  Emily couldn’t tell if it simply closed, or if it crushed the people between them, but she wasn’t sure it even mattered anymore.  Her attention was inexplicably drawn to something different even farther to her right.

She turned to see another male student.  This one seemed to be the only person left sitting at a chair, but he wasn’t studying.  He was leaning forward and weeping.  He sobbed and moaned down onto a photograph he was holding.  His tears poured onto the picture and he didn’t seem to be stopping.

“She was so young…  Just so young…” His voice was cracking and frail.  “She could have stopped it, she could have done something.”  The man continued to cry onto the picture and stare down, but his wrists turned to the picture outward toward Emily.  Given his position, he shouldn’t have been able to turn his wrists very far, but he continued to turn them as they each gave a loud crack as they popped out of their joints.  He stopped when the picture was fully turned toward Emily.  

For the first time since the insanity began, Emily produced a reaction. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened.  She couldn’t believe she was staring at an antique black and white photograph of herself.  She was wearing clothes that suggested the picture came from somewhere just before the 20th century.  Her own eyes stared back at her from the photo and terrified her.  She wanted to scream, but found she couldn’t.  

The man continued his wailing and moaning.  “She should have made it stop.  She COULD have made it stop!”  The man’s voice began to raise and Emily thought for a brief moment that the picture of her went from a stoic face to one that was smiling.  It was too much for her to bear so she began to turn around.  Before she could face completely forward again, the crying man was standing directly in her face.  “YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT STOP!!!!!”  He screamed.  He pulled his head back and threw it forward violently, attempting to head-butt her with the full force of his weight behind it.  Instead, he disappeared the moment he was about to make contact with her forehead.

Emily felt the scream well up inside her throat.  She took a deep breath and prepared to let every last ounce of terror come shrieking out of her.  Just as she was about to let her last vestige of sanity slip, she heard the clicking again.  It drew her back, just as it had always done.  She turned to see the smiling man standing exactly where he had been the entire time, clicking and smiling away.  Things continued to change around her and the world continued its slide into dementia, but all she could do now was stare back at this man.  She began to realize everything was happening because of the clicking.  The snap of his tongue on the roof of his mouth started this confusion and that it wouldn’t stop until he did.  He had control of this situation, him and his rhythmic clicking.  All she had to do was reach out and make him stop.  All she had to do was wrap her fingers around his neck and strangle him until the light faded.

But she didn’t want him to stop anymore.  She didn’t want it to end.  She had heard the clicking long enough and had come to realize the beautiful symphony of sounds within.  For the first time since the man had walked into the library, Emily began to smile with him and she began to dance.

September Challenge: Scary Without the Violence; Pete’s Promise

Subject: Scary Without the Violence
Setting: Anywhere that isn’t covered in bodies and blood
Time Period: Whenever you’d like
Length: Let’s keep it short
Restrictions: no blood, no guts, no horrifically disturbing images
Due: September


Pete’s Promise

Pete sat on his couch watching the football game on TV. He reached over sticking his hand into a half-eaten bag of chips, plucking them into his mouth as pieces fell onto the white T-shirt he wore. He yelled his frustrations to the TV when his team made a fumble, as if the couch or anyone actually at the game could hear him. Pete had money riding on this and had considered it a sure thing. However, as the game played on he came to terms that he would likely never see his hundred dollars again.

He sighed heavily and reached over to grab the bottle of beer on this table and took a drink hoping it would help numb the pain of his loss. He noticed long dog hair stuck to the wet bottom of the bottle and batted it away with his hand. The hair reminded him of his promise he made to himself this year, and he hung his head in contemplation. Last year had been a massacre and he couldn’t bear dealing with that again. The images quickly flashed back to his mind almost making him drop his bottle. “No!” he cried, throwing the beer bottle across the room. “Never again!”

His heart raced as he fumed at himself, desperately trying to clear the images from his head. He looked over at the chains on the wall next to his chair hoping it would be enough to hold the beast. He looked outside seeing the day light of late of afternoon. There was still time. Today was Halloween and he knew the neighborhood children wouldn’t be around until early evening. Pete took a deep breath trying to calm is nerves. He focused back on the TV as the game drew to a close. Although his team had no chance to recover, the money he was about to lose no longer had any meaning to him.

The several beers he had drank, the bag of chips he ate and the lack of excitement of the game caused him to become drowsy and he soon slept. Pete abruptly woke with a sharp pain in his abdomen. What! He looked up at the TV that was showing a Cop drama. Where’d the game go?  He frantically looked outside to see the darkened sky and the full moon rising in the distance. No, no, it can’t be time already!  

His doorbell rang and he could hear the voices of the children laughing and talking. panic stricken, he rushed to the wall doubled over in pain. His teeth clenched and sweet rolled down his face. He struggled to place his hands in the cuffs attached to the chain and could just barely shut it as he fell to the floor convulsing.  He looked up trying to place his other hand in the cuff but his body shook uncontrollably. No… He lay on the floor desperately trying to fight the transformation.

The cool evening in the small town was filled with the sounds of laughter from the children dressed in their costumes running from house to house. The night was hushed by screams of horror and anguish … and then howling.

 

 

June/July Challenge – Grusom Twosome

Subject: Suspenseful Cliffhanger
Setting: Make it exciting!
Time Period: Dare to try anything
Length: Let’s keep it short…
Restrictions: You know no boundaries!
Due: June/July

This is a salute to Quark Newsom, a creation of Stephen Hancock.


Quark Grusom in The Mastermind in the Evil Tower.

It was midnight when Quark Grusom reached the ominous dark tower. He knew the evil masked fiend known as Grantonian, the mastermind behind the sinister plot to take over the city, was inside. A poisonous gas was set to be released on the City of Indiapapi at morning’s first light giving him only hours to act. His other concern was that his faithful sidekick, Stella had been taken captive just the day before. Quark knew he had to save Stella and defeat Grantonian this night … or everyone would perish.

Quark looked up at the tower with narrow eyes as he cliched his hands into fists. “He will pay,” Quark said under his breath.

He reached into the lime-green backpack on his back and pulled out his lime-green grappling hook. He carefully eyed over the area and then aimed the gun toward the tower. With the pull of the trigger the hook shot up into the air and over a ledge. Quark tested the connection by pulling on it. With a smirk of satisfaction, he climbed up the side of the tower.

The sound of moving rock caught his attention. He looked up to see large pieces of the rock wall falling toward him no doubt caused by the hook and rope. Quark swung from side to side as the stones flew by. Rocks scraped his shoulders and back as he swayed trying to protect his head.

Reaching the top, he tried to pull himself over the ledge. A large portion of the wall gave way causing Quark to lose his grip. He started to fall. He quickly reached out taking a hold of the rope once again. In doing so, he slammed into the side of the tower. As he hit the rock wall his shoulder rang out in pain.  His grip loosened sending him sliding down the tower. His mind raced, his body ached… he could’t allow himself to fail. The safety of the City hung in the balance. And Stella… he needed to save Stella!

Throwing his doubts and pain aside, he grabbed the rope with both hands as it tore into his skin. Slowly, he lifted himself up the rope and over the ledge. He cast aside his rope and look at his rare hands. His anger began to build, his eyes narrowed once more. He opened the large door in front of him with determination. He had a job to do, and that was to save everyone tonight!

Inside the large room, the masked Grantonian worked on a giant machine with several of his minions. He looked up. “Quark,” he spoke, seemingly anticipating his arrival. “You are just in time to witness this City’s destruction,” he said with an evil laugh that rang in Quark’s ears.

“No!” a voice called out from the side of the room. “Don’t let him do it.”

Quark looked over to see Stella in her lime-green outfit tied to a large chair. “Don’t worry Stella, I’ll stop him.”

Stella flashed him her soft eyes and smiled.

Quark focused back on the masked madman. “This ends now!”

“Get him!” Grantonian yelled out to his minions.

Quark reached behind to take out his bamboo shinai sword. While it would not kill his opponents, it would certainly leave a bruise. As the five minions rushed Quark, he danced around them like a cat, striking at them with this lime-green shinai. Soon, all five minions lay on the floor moaning in pain.

“What now, Grantonian?” Quark said with his Trademark smile.

The masked Grantonian frantically looked around the room. As Quark approached him he spoke, “you will not attack me.”

Quake stopped directly in front of the madman. “Oh yes I will.”

Grantonian said, “Oh no you won’t.”

“And why not?” Quake asked as he readied his shinai for an overhead strike.

“You  will not attack me …” Grantonian started to speak as he reached up taking a hold of his mask. “For I am your brother!” he said taking the mask off to reveal his all too familiar face.

“No! Tony! What have you become?” Quark cried out, falling to his knees dropping the shinai.

TO BE CONTINUED… Tune in next time…

April/May Writing Challenge – The Real Monster

Subject: Add Some Humor
Setting: Any
Time Period: Any
Length: 500 Words
Restrictions: None
Due: Next Month

So I got a little dark in writing my comedy.  Let’s make a new niche genre and call it “dark fourth wall comedy”, shall we?  If you’ve never read the book this story is based on, then either your parents never loved you or you never loved your children.
—————————————-

Grover let out a deep sigh.  He had made it to the end of the book and all he could find was himself, the words “The End”, and the reader.  It felt like he had spent an eternity worrying about the monster, but nothing had come to pass.  He was thinking inwardly to himself about the long nap he would take after the light would fade and thinking outwardly about how embarrassed he was.

As these thoughts passed through his head, he heard the terrifying cries of “Again! Again!”  Before he could even react, Grover felt a heavy rush of wind and found himself walking casually down Sesame Street, passing by a sign that read “The Monster at the End of This Book”.  A line below the title read “starring lovable, furry old Grover”.  “That’s Me!” he exclaimed, looking outward.  It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and here he was, taking a walk with his best friend, the reader.  He wanted nothing more in the entire world.

Grover felt a small wind rush past and for a moment he felt as though his consciousness was split in two.  Like there was two of him existing at once.  It didn’t make sense to him though.  There’s only one lovable, furry old Grover and that’s him.  The feeling passed after a second.  He tried to recall what it felt like, but he couldn’t. All he could remember was how happy he was, walking past this brick wall with a sign on it, here with his best friend, the reader. 

There was some text at the top that read “The Monster at the End of This Book” as well as a lot of much smaller text that didn’t seem particularly important to him.  Grover kept walking by the words.  He told his friend, “This is a very dull page.  I wonder what is on the next page?”

Grover suddenly felt that feeling again.  Like he was a copy of himself and the original at the same time.  He also felt shocked and completely calm all at once.  He tried to wrestle with his emotions and after the feeling of a dual existence passed, he came to a horrible realization.

“WHAT DID THAT SAY?” Grover shouted to his friend, “On the first page, what did that say?  Did that say there will be a monster at the end of this book?”  Grover heard his friend reply “yeeeess” with an elongated “e” sound that almost seemed to be teasing him.  Why would his friend be that way with him though?  Wasn’t his friend always looking out for him?  Then the realization of what his friend said sank in.  “IT DID?” he shouted, “Oh, I am so scared of monsters!!!”

Grover felt that odd wind again and the feeling of duality pass through his entire being.  Somehow, he knew he was walking, yet he felt as though he was cowering on the floor.  The feeling passed yet again and he realized he had been on the floor of the book the entire time.

Grover shushed his friend as loudly as he could, emitting a noxious cloud of green smoke from his mouth as he did.  He wanted to apologize, but he didn’t have time for that.  He had to save himself and his friend.

“Listen,” Grover implored, “I have an idea.  If you do not turn any pages, we will never get to the end of this book.  And that is good, because there is a MONSTER at the end of this book.”  Grover thought for a second, then decided to add “So please do not turn the page.”

The duality came back once again.  Grover was cowering on the floor, begging for silence and screaming right at his friend all at once.  Once it passed, all he could do was to shout “YOU TURNED ANOTHER PAGE!!!”  He felt betrayed and horrified at the same time.  His friend was turning against him and disobeying his pleas for help.  How could it get any worse?

Grover’s duality happened faster this time and he found himself discovering exactly how it could get worse.  He had worked hard to tie ropes to the edges of the page to keep the reader from turning the it, but something about the ropes bothered him; it was the colors.

All he could see out of one eye was a bright shade of green and nothing else.  The other eye seemed to be fine, but from it he could see that some of his ropes had been erratically colored green.  Lines across his fur had been colored as well.  The waxy look to the color made him assume it was some sort of crayon.  Had the reader done this to him at some point?  He couldn’t remember.  As far back as his memory would go, this was the first time he had ever gone through this book with his friend, so it didn’t seem likely.

Grover had just started to explain to the reader why he had to tie all of the ropes when he felt the duality and rush of wind yet again.  Suddenly, his ropes were broken and stars, lightning bolts, and dark clouds were spewing from his mouth.

He screamed at his “friend” and demanded that they stop turning pages.  But somewhere deep inside he knew his “friend” wouldn’t listen.  Grover’s heart filled with dread as he accepted the inevitable betrayal. 

The next wind left him feeling more confused than he had ever felt before.  This time it wasn’t the duality that bothered him, it was the situation itself.  Grover had set up planks of wood and a table to saw them on, but he was building a brick wall instead.  He even found himself telling the reader (he refused to think of the reader as a “friend” at this point) that he was nailing the pages together.  If he was nailing the pages, then why was he building a wall?  The dichotomy perplexed him.  It was as if several events in his life were missing, but he just couldn’t figure out what.

The next rush of wind hurt Grover in ways he couldn’t have possibly prepared for.  He had gone from building a wall while talking about nailing pages to being buried alive under the rubble of his careful construction.  The pain was excruciating.  He mustered what strength he had to ask the reader “Do you know that you are very strong?” 

Just then he heard the reader exclaim “I turn page! Not you, mommy!” Grover knew this wouldn’t end well.  From under the pile of rubble, Grover could see the very fabric of reality being torn apart.  This was more than just the edges of his world being cartoonishly ripped and tattered, this was destruction on a level that introduced a frightening new dimension to his flat sense of reality.  He felt the world around him coming apart.  A loud shredding sound deafened his ears and shook the bricks he was piled under.  Without any time to react, Grover felt two of his fingertips being ripped off and whisked away onto another plane of existence, never to be seen again.

It was less than a second later that he felt even worse.  He was still buried under the rubble and missing his fingertips, but he also felt those same mauled fingers buried deep into the left edge of his own face.  He was buried and yet also standing up, pleading with the reader at the same time he was lying in a heap with almost no energy to move or speak.  He no longer felt himself commenting on the reader’s strength, instead all he could do was beg from the one side of his face, like a meek little puppy that’s been scolded.  “PLEASE do not turn the page,” he begged from under the destruction and while standing and sweating profusely at the same time, “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

The wind came once again and Grover welcomed it.  Whatever monster awaited him had to be better than the monster he was currently facing.  His whole existence was a jagged mess of pain and pleading and he was powerless to make it any better.  His betrayer had total control over him, like a puppet master forcing a puppet to do sick and painful things.  All Grover could do was wait and see what horrors would be unleashed upon him by the monster at the end of the book and hope that his end would come quickly.  But as the wind continued to sweep over him, he got a small sense that everything would be alright.

When it passed, Grover felt true elation.  He had made it to the end of the book and all he could find was himself, the words “The End”, and the reader.  His kind, helpful friend, the reader.  Grover was so glad to have such a good friend with him at the end of his story.  He had never trusted anyone more in his entire life.