The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications

The Student News Site of Stafford High School

SHS Publications


Hallowzine Submission

Lynette Walked down the dark hallway of the manor, passing walls lined with candles set in sconces as the only light source. Her heels clicked against the tiled floor as she studied the paintings that were hung up sparsely between the lights. Each picture had been hand painted by her father and they’d been proudly displayed all over the manor. She hated this little hobby of his. She thought that he wasn’t talented enough to be spending so much time on his art, and should put more effort into his business, the very business that allowed them to keep up their way of life. She shook her head as she continued to walk, turning away from the paintings. 

A pair of urgent footsteps sounded behind her. She turned her head leisurely to see Frederick, her butler, quickly walking up beside her. 

“Lady Lynette,” he said as he took an envelope out of his coat pocket and held it out before her, “this came for you this morning.”

Lynette eyed him flatly then snatched the envelope out of his hand. “Why didn’t you give this to me earlier? It’s well past the afternoon,” she said as she ripped open the seal. 

“I tried to, but you’ve been rather hard to keep track of lately,” he responded hesitantly as he watched her open the envelope. “It’s a letter from the king. He wishes to host a dinner party in a few days, in order to celebrate each manor’s accomplishments in this past year.”

Lynette looked up excitedly, “and he addressed it to me personally?” 

“Well…no. It was addressed to your father, but he was busy in his studio. He requested that I pass the invitation on to you.” 

“Oh.” She turned back to the letter. “So, will I be attending in fathers place then?” 

“That’s the way it seems, my lady.” 

She nodded as she slipped the letter back into its envelope, which was almost in tatters from when she opened it, and handed it back to Frederick. She began walking again, absently. She smiled as she imagined herself at the dinner party, surrounded by high nobility. How wonderful it would be to go, especially without the supervision of her father. Her thoughts were then interrupted by Frederick, walking along with her again. 

“Shall I arrange a carriage for wednesday?” he asked. 

She nodded again, now turning toward a window beside her. She watched the rain fall outside as the sounds of Frederick scribbling on his notepad came from behind her. 

“Excellent,” he finally replied, tucking his pencil into his coat pocket. “I’ll make sure to wear my finest suit! You’ll need to find something to wear as well.” 

She turned sharply towards her butler, frowning, “wait what? You’re going?!” 

“Why, yes. You didnt think youd be attending alone did you? Your father wouldn’t be very happy with that.” 

She let out an exaggerated groan, turning back to the window. Frederick going with her was even worse than her father. Her father was very strict and proper, sure, but at least with him she was allowed to do things. But Frederick was always anxiously hovering over her shoulder. At home she could do her best to avoid him, but at the dinner party she would have nowhere to go. She was going to be stuck with this pathetic man for hours.

The thought of it already exhausted her, but what else could she do? If someone from her house didn’t show up it would look rather bad on them. Plus, she wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity to meet the king, assuming he’d be there. He was a rather sequestered figure it seemed, it was very rare that he ever showed his face to the people, even to the nobility like Lynette. 

She could feel Frederick still standing behind her, uncertain, perhaps waiting for her to say something further or give him some kind of instruction. She, however, remained silent as she continued to watch the rain pour. Finally, he walked off, first heading in one direction, then suddenly changing his mind and heading down the hall behind her. She sighed in relief, then began walking again. 




The weather hadn’t cleared up yet, the rain still poured, perhaps even more heavily as the days passed. And now, it was intermixed with roaring thunderstorms. It was the night of the dinner party, but the weather made no exception even for that. Lightning flashed outside of Lynette’s bedroom window as she laid out her gown. For tonight, she had chosen a sleek, pleated dress, colored a scarlet red and custom made just for her. She wanted to wear something that would impress everyone in attendance, especially the king. She figured that he might not make an appearance, though, but impressing the other lords was also important. It’d been ages since she had last seen them. Every year or so a lord would host a dinner party, only for them and the other lords to attend, not the common people. The last one had been hosted by Lord Warren, which was almost four years ago now. The dinner parties had abruptly stopped since then. Lynette never knew why. 

She slipped on her gown and accessories, an assortment of gold rings, bracelets, barrettes, and necklaces. She had decided not to do anything with her hair. It was too much of a hassle to put up, so she left it down, long black curls spilling out over her shoulders. Finally, she finished the look with a pair of gold heels, then she paused in front of the mirror. She smiled as she swished her dress around. How could anyone ever compare to me? She thought as she examined her features, making sure everything looked perfect. 

A knock came at the door.

“Yes?” she called, still admiring herself. A tall figure entered. Frederick, dressed in a suit, came in and quietly stood in the doorway. She watched him through the mirror. Everything about his looks seemed to contrast with hers. He was scrawny, with graying hair that Lynette noticed had begun to thin in the past years. He smiled at her, causing his wrinkles to deepen. Lynette finally turned to address him, annoyed. 

“Are you ready to go, my lady?” He asked politely, though she could see the anxiousness behind his eyes. 

“Yes,” she replied curtly as she moved past him and into the hallway. He followed quickly behind her. 

“You have everything you need, correct?” 

“Ugh, yes.” 

She followed the dimly lit hallway down to the main entrance. She paused at the large double doors as Frederick hurriedly rushed up to open them for her She stepped out onto the porch.

“Did you say goodbye to your father?” Fredick asked as he brought out an umbrella. 

“No, why would I do that?”

“It’s the polite thing to do, I suppose. I said goodbye to him, as well as the kitchen staff and the gardeners.” 

“Waste of time,” she said as she motioned for him to follow her. They carefully made their way down the steps, which were slippery from the rain. Down the steep driveway, there was a carriage waiting for them. The coach hopped off the front seat of the carriage and loudly greeted them, causing a flock of crows to fly away from their perches. 

“Hello there!” the coach exclaimed. He and Frederick, with one hand still on the umbrella he held over Lynette, clasped hands. 

“Hello to you too, Herbert!” Frederick said, smiling. “Quite the weather we’re having, eh?” 

The coach didn’t have his own umbrella, and stood drenched in water. 

“Really? I didn’t even notice,” Herbert said, laughing and clasping hands with Frederick again. 

Lynette impatiently tapped her butler on the shoulder. He turned towards her, a bit supposed, as if she had forgotten she was there.
“Let’s go,” she said, folding her arms. 

“Right!” Frederick said with a snap of his finger, “Herbert, please take us to the palace, my good man.” The coach nodded firmly and hopped back in his seat. Frederick placed a hand on Lynette’s back and led her towards the carriage door, which he opened for her. She settled into the cushioned seat inside, placing her hands in her lap. Frederick then entered on the other side, and the carriage began to roll away. 




The ride to the palace wasn’t long, perhaps only thirty minutes. Each manor was situated on a hill, with a winding road that led up to the palace. The townspeople lived down below. It was a rather bumpy ride since the road hadn’t been ridden on or maintained for about four years. The scenery hadn’t been taken care of either, it seemed. The trees, now colored in autumn oranges and reds, looked raggedy. The fences and street lights didn’t look any better, they were overgrown with plants, gnarled. Along the way, Frederick had tried to make conversation with Lynette, but she refused to participate, preferring to stare out the window. So instead, he hummed the rest of the way there. 

The carriage finally rolled to a stop, they had arrived. Frederick opened her carriage door, holding the umbrella out before her. She stepped outside and took in her surroundings. Along with several other carriages, they had parked on the steep driveway that led up to the grand entrance of the palace. It seemed the majority of the other lords had arrived. None of them had brought their servants or butlers with them, like she had, instead they were helped by the king’s own staff. Most of the lords were accompanied by their wives, who stood daintily by their sides. 

“Ready to head in, my lady?” Frederick asked. 

They made their way up the driveway, along with several other people and servants who attended to them. As they drew closer to the palace, Lynette noticed its intricate decoration. The palace was dark in color, large and imposing. Its slanted roof held stone statues of gargoyles. They bore twisted faces, expressions dark and disturbed. The statues sat in crouched positions, some of them with their arms stretched outward, as if reaching towards something that she couldn’t see. Suddenly, she felt a sense of dread. Lynette felt a chill down her spine and forced herself to look away from them. She looked over at Frederick, who still seemed cheery as usual. Had he seen those awful gargoyles?

When they reached the entrance, they were greeted by two servants who took position by the doors, which they opened for Lynette and the other guests. Upon entering, she was welcomed by a gust of heat, a nice change from the cold, rainy weather outside. There were even more servants inside. How many did the king have? They ushered the guests out of the foyer, and into a hallway to the left, most likely the way to the dining hall. As the group walked down, with servants anxiously urging them on, the lords began to finally chat with one another. They spoke of how excited they were to be there. They talked of the weather and the economy and what not. Boring things. 

The servants eventually halted the group, then opened a small door to the side. Inside, there was a large room with marbled floors. It had a long dining table in the middle, with a massive crystal chandelier hanging over the top. On the ceiling, there was a mural, it depicted horrible beasts and monsters. Griffons, dragons, cockatrices, ghouls. The king certainly had an odd taste in decoration. Around the room, there were more stone statues, but this time of people. Each one was set in a different, dramatic position. 

At the servants request, she and Frederick, as well as the lords and their wives, took a seat at the dining table. More people trickled in and sat down to join them. Soon it seemed that everyone had arrived. That was quick, Lynette thought. Perhaps nobody wanted to be late. It was, after all, a very important night being the first dinner party hosted in years. Conversation soon began to increase, the dining hall becoming filled with voices and laughter. 

“So,” a voice said from across the table, “where is your father, young lady? Is he perhaps ill?” 

Lynette looked up to see a familiar face. Lord Beckett. His question didn’t sound as sincere as he probably intended it to be. It was no secret that Lord Beckett hated Lynette’s father, envious of his great success. Of all the Lords, Lynette’s father was among the richest with the most successful business, with Lord Beckett being a close second. 

“Perhaps in the mind, Lord Beckett. He spends all his time boarded up in his studio, painting,” she said frankly. What did it matter if Lord Beckett knew of this and perhaps used it against her father? He didn’t seem to care about his business anymore, so why should she?

Painting you say?” 

To the side of her, Frederick paled slightly. “Of course not!” he said quickly, holding up his hands, “Lady Lynette only jokes. Her father was just too busy to attend tonight, I’m afraid.” 

“I see,” Lord Beckett said, narrowing his eyes. 

“What a shame,” a woman sitting next to Lord Beckett, his wife, said, “I was looking forward to speaking with your father.” 

Lynette shrugged and Frederick gave her a look of disapproval, which she ignored.

To Lynette’s side, another man joined the conversation, “yes a shame indeed,” he turned to face Lynette, “and how are you young lady? You’ve grown a lot since I saw you last.” 

She recognized his face, Lord Warren.She opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the sound of the kitchen doors slamming open. A stream of servants rushed out of it, pushing carts of steaming food in front of them. They wheeled the carts over to the table and began to set it. Oddly, they seemed to be in a hurry tonight. In the past, dinner parties usually had an hour to talk before they began eating, then afterwards, when all the food was gone, the party would still last several more hours into the night. 

On the table, plates of roasted chicken were set down, along with lobster, bowls of mixed greens, pork smothered in gravy, potatoes, breads, fine wines, and roasted vegetables. There was even more food down the table that Lynette couldn’t see. People began to exclaim excitedly, then greedily fill their cups and plates. The talking subsided, and sounds of chewing and clamoring of silverware took its place. Lynette sat disappointedly in her chair as Frederick uncomfortably waited for her to fill her plate like the others.  

“Do you wish for me to get you your food?” he asked, raising his hand to grab her plate. 

“No, she said, waving him off, “I’ll be back in a minute, Frederick.” She stood up, scooting her chair out causing it to squeak against the floor. Eyes turned towards her, both of lords, ladies, and the servants as she made her way to the door. A servant girl quickly rushed up in front of her, looking nervous. 

“Do you need something, my lady?” she said.

“Yes, where are your washrooms?” 

The servant hesitated, then gestured for Lynette to follow. She led her outside the dining hall, then through the hallway. They arrived at another door, which the servant gestured to, then walked back to the dining room. 

Lynette stood at the door for a moment, watching her go. She then turned around, placing her hand on the doorknob, when suddenly, she thought she heard voices. She paused, looking around in suspicion. She noted a staircase a little ways ahead of her, which seemed to be where the voices were coming from. Curious, she left the washroom door, and quietly made her way up the staircase. At the top, she was met with yet another hallway, lined with several stained glass windows. On them, were colorful depictions of more beast, like the ones she’d seen on the ceiling mural in the dining hall. At the end of the hallway, there was a sharp turn, leading to the source of the voices. She got the same sense of dread she had before. But, this was certainly more interesting than that sorry excuse for a party down there. So she crept forward down the hallway, the voices growing clearer. 

“I just don’t know…” one of the voices said. 

“You’ll do as I say, or have you forgotten who is in charge here?” 

“Of course not, my king. I’ll have the archers ready.” 

Archers? What were they talking about, were they planning some kind of show? 

“Make sure it looks like an accident, the townspeople cannot know of this.” 

“Yes, my king.” 

There was a brief moment of silence. The king then spoke again.

“You know, I’ve done my best to hold it off as long as possible. All that’s done it made it grow angry, though. The creature is insatiable.” He paused again, “It has to be this way. It will be easy to replace the nobility. This batch should hold off the creature for another couple years.” 

Lynette stood around the corner, confused. She tried to understand what she was hearing, but had trouble. They sounded crazy, talking of the nobility and creatures in this way. Perhaps she should return downstairs. 

Suddenly, a man rounded the corner, then abruptly stopped upon seeing her. He yelled, grabbing her arm and pulling her back the way he came. She was thrown into a large room, mostly absent of furniture. Half of it was shrouded in darkness, with the only light coming from a fireplace. 

“Your majesty, someone was eavesdropping!” the man said, panicked. He held her before the king, still gripping her arm tightly and forcing her to the ground. 

The king regarded her flatly. Lynette opened her mouth to explain herself, but stopped as she saw something behind the king. A grotesque creature sat in the back of the room, faintly lit by the fireplace. It looked humanoid, but everything about it was wrong. It was enormous, its fleshy head reaching the ceiling. Its face was emotionless, its mouth slightly hung open. It had two beady eyes. They were dark, but Lynette could see it peering right at her. 

“You know what to do,” the king said softly, still watching her with cold eyes.

The other man hesitated. Then, in a quick motion he struck Lynette’s chest, knocking the wind from her. She was left gasping on the floor as the man placed his foot on her throat, pressing down. She tried to get up, tried to move his foot off of her neck, but she was far weaker than him. She turned back towards the king, searching for help but he only watched in silence. Her eyes then drifted back to the terrifying creature behind him. It watched her hungrily. 

Then everything went dark. 




Frederick had barely finished his dinner when the servants began to collect the guests plates, then move onto dessert. He hadn’t had much of an appetite anyway. He was too worried about Lynette. She had been gone for a while now and had missed dinner. What could have taken her so long, what could she be doing? He only hoped that she hadn’t gotten herself into trouble. She was good at that. 

He sighed as he watched the servants bring out carts of dessert. Lynette and him used to be close, back when she was little. He’d never had a child of his own, but he had always thought of Lynette like a daughter. But now for some reason she’d changed. Perhaps it was just the stress of having to deal with a lot of her fathers business, now that he was investing all his time into his art. Whatever it was, he hoped it wouldn’t last forever. 

He idly balanced a fork on the table as the rest of the guests dug into the desserts. He’d noticed that Lord Beckett had been whispering to his wife a lot throughout the night, occasionally glancing at Frederick. They were probably making plans to undermine Lynetts father now that-

A sound flew over the table. Startled Frederick looked towards the noise. A small blur shot towards the chandelier above the table, cutting the rope attached to it. This caught the other guests’ attention. Everyone paused as they watched in horror, the large chandelier barreling down towards them, with little time for them to react. It crashed to the ground, collapsing the table. The guests’ screams were stifled as it crushed them, then silence.

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