As part of MP!’s Halloweek, Lou Morgan, author of Red Eye’s ‘Sleepless’, recalls her most frightening Halloween:
We were 12 – or, if we’re going to be honest, I was 12. My best friend, Becky, had been 13 for five days. It was her idea. Of course it was: she was 13, and I wasn’t – which meant when she suggested that we camp outside for Halloween, there was no way I was going to say I didn’t want to.
Her garden had a huge conifer hedge all the way around it, and her dad put up a tent for us outside. We piled sleeping bags, blankets and torches inside ready for the night – along with a stack of horror stories.
Thinking about it, the horror stories probably weren’t the best idea.
It was fun at first. We both loved urban legends and ghost stories, so we tried to freak each other out telling those. And that was great – until we realised that a lot of them seemed to involve people camping, blissfully unaware of the escaped maniac with hooks for hands and a taste for human flesh heading right for them.
Still. We were in a back garden with a big hedge round it, on the edge of a small town. We were fine. It was fine.
Except… hedges are surprisingly noisy when you try to sleep next to them. They creak. A lot.
And some time around midnight, you do start wondering how much of the creaking is just the trees in the hedge moving in the total-lack-of-wind… and how much of it is one of those hook-handed cannibal maniacs trying to push through.
So, there was the creaking.
Then something brushed against the outside of the tent. I couldn’t just hear it; I could feel it against my back.
There was something outside the tent.
Were those… footsteps I could hear? I couldn’t be sure: not through the sleeping bag that I had by this point entirely pulled over my head.
And then there was the scream.
It sounded like it came from everywhere all at once, and it was terrifying. It sounded exactly like the sort of scream you’d make when a hook-handed cannibal maniac found you. You know, just as a random example.
The two of us were out of our sleeping bags, torches on, sprinting back to the house before you could count to five. From the safety of Becky’s kitchen, we peered back outside. A minute or two later, a fox trotted out from the shadows of the hedge. It wandered round the tent, sniffing, then stopped. It looked right at us, then opened its mouth… and it screamed. It was a fox that had made that sound. The whole thing had been a fox. (I hoped.)
Didn’t stop the two of us spending the rest of the night in Becky’s living room, though, did it? Because – fox or not – it was still Halloween, and there was no way we were setting foot outside again until the sun came up.
Want more news and info on the Red Eye horror series? Check it out right here.
More bookish articles?
- Why you need to read ‘Monster’ if you love ‘Scream Queens’
- Twitter Highlights: ‘Daughters Unto Devils’ is “one of the best of the year”
- Worldwalker series top 10 quotes: “Witches don’t die quietly”
- Read the first chapter of ‘Glass Sword’ right here, right now
- Top 8 Bookstagrams: initiate full throttle book lust
- ‘Monster’: Would you survive a spooky night in Bathory House? Find out here!
- How to survive a horror movie with author CJ Skuse: “Don’t go to sleep – ever”
- Get costume tips from cosplay queen, Lucy Saxon