Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Blog & Giveaway with Heather Marie Adkins

A Close Encounter:
My Funniest Halloween Memory

Heather Marie Adkins

    I grew up down the street from an empty house that the neighborhood kids swore was haunted.
    You know the house.  Permanently dark with broken windows covered by cheap plywood or ragged curtains.  Listing porch posts on a cracked concrete stoop.  Knee-high grass in the yard and a giant oak tree that never seems to grow leaves. 
    I ran with three kids back then—Pamela, Kristina, and Matthew.  We used to ride our bikes down the road and try to see who could go the fastest.  Usually it turned into “who could have the bloodiest injury”.
    Despite our thrill-seeking in speed racing, we gave The House a wide-berth.
    It wasn’t that we were chicken… Okay, yes it was because we were chicken.  We were just shy of ten years old.  At that age, you think you own the world, but in reality, the world just scares you.
    It started with a dare.  Doesn’t it always?
    There were a couple days still until Halloween.  We were on our bikes in the middle of the street just a couple yards away from The House.  Kristina—who wasn’t usually an arrogant twit—was in a bratty mood.  When I mentioned the 100% I got on my spelling test at school that day, she scoffed at me.
    “I always get hundreds.”
    Now, I’m very competitive about my grades.  School has always been a source of pride for me.  I might have snarled something not quite so nice at her.  You know how kids are.
    Pamela was the peacemaker.  Her peace offering?  “Let’s break into The House.”
    Oh dear.
    The details were worked out.  Why do it now when Halloween was only two days away?  Some of the high school kids usually busted out the basement windows on The House every October.  Easy-peasy for some pipsqueak grade-schoolers to get in.
    I remember it was a suitably chilly Halloween.  17 years ago, the month of October actually felt like autumn in the Ohio Valley.  Nowadays, it feels more like summer.  I met them in the street in front of The House; probably the first time we were ever bike-less together.  As far as my dad knew, I was at Kristina’s house.
    Night had already fallen, as it does so near the time change, and we were full of sugar—sugar that probably gave us a lot more bravery than we normally would have had.
    As we expected, one of the windows had been broken; it was even already open.  It was one of the kinds that flipped into the room, like an old schoolhouse window.  The four of us argued for a good ten minutes about who was going in first.
    It wasn’t me :)
    Matthew, being the only boy and thus the “bravest”, was forced in first. 
    “What do you see?” Pamela called, shoving her head through the window.  Kristina and I were halfway down the driveway (and I know I felt like we weren’t far enough away).
    His answer was unintelligible from my standpoint, but Pamela gestured for us to come over.
    “It’s empty,” she told us.  “Come on.”
    I admired her bravery then; I don’t think it took much to impress me as a kid.  Now, I’m pretty sure we were just stupid.
    It was ridiculously dark inside The House.  Kristina, Pamela, and Matthew had remembered to bring flashlights—I, however, had not.  (I’ve yet to lose that airheaded-ness.)
    It was a very innocuous basement.  There wasn’t any furniture.  There weren’t even any rooms.  It was a gigantic concrete box.  Light seeped through the dirty windows, illuminating the room’s only occupant—the water heater.  It did look suspiciously like a person hulking in the corner and waiting to gnaw on my shoulder, but I kept that thought to myself.
    Matthew had already walked upstairs.  I remember thinking how creepy his footsteps sounded above us because they echoed in the empty basement.  If we hadn’t known it was him, we’d probably have stepped on each other’s heads in our haste to exit back through the window.
    We three girls huddled together and ascended to the first floor, Pamela and Kristina’s flashlights playing over the walls around us.  It was freaking cold.  There was little temperature difference between the basement and the upstairs.  Probably because there were a couple broken windows letting in that lovely fall air.  Matthew was waiting for us at the top of the stairs.  He shined his light in our eyes.  Boys.
    The rest of The House was nearly as empty as the basement.  A single couch, covered in a thin layer of dirt and sagging in the middle, sat in the living room area.  There was a sooty fireplace in one wall but only an outline where the mantle should have been.  Being older and wiser now, it occurs to me the place had probably been foreclosed on—weird stuff gets taken by the angry owners.
    We wandered down the hallway and into the darker recesses of the house.  The windows on the bedrooms had been boarded—there was no ambient light, only the small beams of the flashlights to illuminate our path.
    One bedroom had nothing but a metal bed frame, minus the mattress.  Another had a single wooden chest—the kind my grandparents had that held all the extra household blankets (and mothballs). 
    The third was empty, and it was the only room to still have a door on the closet.  You ask why this is important, huh?
    Because no sooner than we had stepped into that room, the flimsy wooden door creaked open on its own.
    And now you’re wondering how this creepy story has anything to do with my funniest memory.  Surely, this must be my scariest memory.  Flimsy closet doors in empty, abandoned, possibly haunted houses should NOT open on their own.
    We screamed, turning to run as if the devil were lighting hell fires beneath our feet.  I had no flashlight.  I also had no coordination.  In the melee of scrambling down the hall, I tripped over a piece of warped carpet and went down hard.
    I was on my stomach and facing down the hall, towards the living room where my friends had disappeared.  I swear, I thought I was about to die.  I was terrified that a ghost was coming from that closet and it was about to swoop down on me and whisk me away.
    As I was pushing myself to my knees, something heavy landed on my legs.  I screamed again, and kicked.
    My foot connected with something solid and a reowr ripped through the air.
    It was a cat.
    I don’t know how he got into the house, nor why.  He was rather large, fluffy, and black as midnight.  And he was angry that I’d kicked him across the floor.  If looks could kill, his yellow eyes would have made me as stone-cold dead as The House.
    “It was a cat!” I yelled to the others before collapsing in laughter.  At myself.
    Of course it wasn’t a ghost.  It’s easy to let the imagination take over when you have expectations of a place.  I think a lot of our fears have more power than they should simply because the mind is powerful enough alone—couple it with irrationality, and we humans sure can be stooopid.
    It’s not a knee-buckling hilarious story, maybe—unless you’re me.  Then you realize you were terrified and nearly peed your pants over a cute, fluffy cat.  He managed to get over his anger and rub against me for a good five minutes.  Ah, the irony.
    It was the first (and last) time I broke into an abandoned house.
    I blame the cat.

* * *
Everybody has a funny Halloween memory :)
If you share yours, you could win a copy of my ebook, “The Temple”! Just comment with your sordid, hilarious tale…
Anna and I will decide whose tale is funniest!
To Enter: Leave your Halloween memory along with your email address. Open to
everyone. The winner will be announced on October 31st.

The Temple

    Vale Avari has a mysterious past and a laundry list of super-powers, but that's nothing compared to what she finds upon moving from small town U.S.A to even smaller-town England.
    A chance dart throw lands her in Quicksilver, an off-the-map place with a big problem - people are dying, and word is, it's supernatural.

    At her new place of employment, a temple dedicated to the ancient Mother Goddess, Vale learns something even more shocking - women guards are disappearing at an alarmingly patterned rate; women who possess special gifts like her own.
    Supernatural powers aside, Vale isn't ready to believe in the Wild Hunt as the culprit, and she's determined to prove the deaths are acts of human violence.

    Plagued by a brute with a history of domestic violence and lusting after a dark-eyed man with a secret, Vale has a limited amount of time to discover the killer before he strikes again. In the process, she'll learn things aren't always what they seem and the supernatural might not be so extraordinary after all.

    The Hunt could ride for her.

The Temple online…

About Author:
Heather Marie Adkins is an independent fiction novelist and avid bibliophile with the library to prove it. She writes across genres and began self-publishing her work in June of 2011—much to the chagrin of her mother. Heather has five published books and two more coming out this year. She loves to garden, cook, and travel, and would give anything to live in a cottage in Ireland. She currently resides in Kentucky with the love of her life and 15 pets.

Find me online!


  1. Thanks for having me, Anna! I can't wait to hear what visitors may have to tell us... :)

  2. sounds like an interesting story!

    My Halloween is not funny but I'll tell u anyway. I dressed up as "Modern Mother Earth" (i made it up) and met my friends. We didn't go trick or treating but we did walk miles to get some food and then realize the restaurant was already closed. Did I mention I was in 3" boots? We tried to order on a KFC drive thru and the associate asked where was our car and we said we don't have any. Long story short, no food for us. On our way back home, something developed and that was the start of my ex courting me. The end.

  3. One year my older brother dressed up as my Mom. He wore a pair of heels and it was really funny watching him try to walk in them while we went trick or treating.

    sgiden at

  4. Last year was the first year that I dressed up with my hubby. It was such a blast! While we didn't go as a couple costume it was still a first. One memory that will stick with me!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  5. Thanks for sharing! @Arianne -- I think that is too funny! A few of my friends and I tried to walk through a drive-thru when I was in high school. Needless to say, we didn't get food either :( LOL!

    @Sandy Oh my goodness, I obviously don't know what your brother looks like, but I have this image of a 6 foot man with hairy legs in heels. EEK!

    @Vivien That's so cute! I think would be so much fun to dress up with my boyfriend!

  6. Great story! I have no such fun stories as I wasn't allowed to participate in Halloween (my parents were VERY religious). I can only remember the year my parents made me hand out religious tracts instead of candy to the neighborhood kids. If looks could kill ... lol

  7. Well my halloweens have mostly been spent throwing parties but one year my dad made a hall of terror thru his workshop and we had the employees work that night to sit in different places to scare all of my friends as they walked thru. You had to walk thru this hall to get to the party. Anyway it was so funny to see so many of my friends get so scared!!


  8. @Shea - EEK! I can't imagine not being able to celebrate Halloween :( The costumes, the haunted houses, the CANDY! This is why you write paranormals now, isn't it? ;)

    @Alicia That would be awesome! And definitely a neat way for people to get to the part at the end. I think that's very creative :)

  9. I remember staying up late and having horror movies marathon. There was candies involved too :)

    Cambonified {at} yahoo {dot} com

  10. hahaha, awesome story! I bet that cat was there just for the sheer purpose of frightening people. It's what cats are best at. ;)

    My story's not nearly as awesome as yours, but one year, I went dressed as a a 1920 flapper, platinum blonde wig and all. Unfortunately, everyone thought I'd dressed up as a stripper.

    Thanks for the giveaway op!


  11. I love Halloween and it's my favorite holiday. I don't have a funny story unfortunately but I have a weird one. I normally have a party for a bunch of friends every year but a few years ago there'd be some trauma and we weren't in the mood to celebrate so just my hubby and I were home to handle the trick or treaters. After most of the kids had come and gone we had a teen come to our back door quite inebriated and he yelled at us to get out of our house because "we didn't live there." Long story short, after trying to get him to go away we had to get the police involved and they took him away. So we spent Halloween in the Sheriff's office to take care of that situation.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com



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