Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #10

TITLE: She Came From the Hill
GENRE: YA Horror

Clay just returned from camping at Strawberry Hill where his friend was filming a ghost investigation. Something attacked several members of the group but Clay still didn't believe the hill was haunted.

“Now what?” Clay asked. He ran out in the hall and collided with his little brother.

“A monster,” Ethan whispered. He lifted his freckled little face and tears streamed down. “There’s a monster in my room.”

“Shh,” Clay said. He put his arms around his little brother. Could the ghost girl be real? Of course not. Ethan watched too many scary shows.

“Calm down or Mom will come down here again.”

“I . . . want . . . Mommy!” He opened his mouth to scream and Clay put his hand over it.

“Ethan, please don’t scream. I guess Mom was right. You’re too little for Ghost Watchers.”

Ethan scrunched his eyebrows together and blinked away a tear. “I’m not little.”

“Is there a monster in your room?”

Ethan hesitated and then slowly shook his head. “No. It must have been wind blowing stuff around. My window is open.”

Clay brushed a clump of red hair from Ethan’s eyes. “So you are big after all. We both know ghosts aren’t real.”

A girl’s laughter traveled through the air like fragile bubbles. “I’m not a ghost. I’m a Bonny Rose.”

Something crashed to the floor in Ethan’s room. Clay had to convince his legs to run after his little brother to see what happened.

Toy cars were everywhere.

“You dumped out my cars!” Ethan said, forgetting he was scared. “Look at this mess.”


Clay looked around his brother’s room and let go his denial. Ghosts were real. And one followed him home. “Well, Ethan,” Clay fought to keep his voice steady. “It looks like I brought you a souvenir after all.”

“I’d rather have dirt.”


  1. I love the last exchange! Ethan sounds like a spunky kid with a great comeback :)

  2. I think this is a great concept, though it seems a little more like 'paranormal' than 'horror' just now.

    The prose feels a little stilted in places, like "He lifted his freckled little face and tears streamed down," which could be cut to "tears streamed down his freckled face."

    For someone who seems dead set on believing that ghosts aren't real, Clay changes his mind fairly quickly. How did he explain away the previous attacks as not being ghostly in nature? Would he question our mischievous Bonny Rose and the fallen toy cars a little more before deciding that 'ghost' is the most likely answer?

    Ethan is great, he's got that little boy charm and mercurial nature.

  3. Scenes like this are extremely difficult for me, when a character suddenly switches beliefs/belief systems. I think the trick is in adding plenty of interiority so we get all the character's reasoning. For Clay we just get, "Ghosts were real. And one followed him home." Maybe more of his thought process here, as he comes to terms with the revelation and digests what it might mean for him and (the utterly charming) Ethan? And who knows, maybe this gets covered in the next few paragraphs.

    So, it might be worth a try. I don't know - I'm here to learn this time around.

  4. Ethan seems fairly young, but Clay seems a lot more adult-like. Perhaps this is explained in the novel.

    A bit of clunky wording here and there but overall a fun passage, and I loved the last line.