The Ruins

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Destry asks, shining her flashlight onto the ruins of the castle.

(Online exclusive! Spooky Story to Tell in the Driftless submission)
By Naomi Kutz
Decorah Middle School
Youth Fiction Entry

“Are we sure this is a good idea?” Destry asks, shining her flashlight onto the ruins of the castle.
“Why not? It’s just a little adventure,” Adene says, shrugging.
“Fine, I just don’t understand why we’re doing this in the dark,” Destry whines. All of a sudden, the crickets stop chirping. Everything goes eerily silent and a fog rolls in.
“What the fudge?” Rose whispers.
“Eh, it’s probably just an animal.” Amberly shrugs and leads the group into the empty doorway.
They walk into a large circular room with vines growing from the cracks in the stone walls. Moonlight shines through the broken roof and broken sconces litter the floor.
“Woah,” Destry breathes. “Look!” She points to a statue in the center of the room.
“She’s ugly,” Adene deadpans.
“She’s Artemis. You know, the Greek goddess of the hunt? She has her bow and arrow!” Destry retorts.
She strides forward until she’s a foot away from the statue.
“It’s…” Destry starts before she screams. An arrow sticks through her abdomen and blood starts dripping.
For a second, the scene glitches, looking completely normal, with no blood or statue or ruins. Amberly blinks, and she’s back in the crumbling castle.
“Destry!” Rose screams, running forward. Destry falls to the ground and is gasping in pain. They all look at the statue, which has disappeared.
“Shh! It’s gonna be alright, Destry! It’s…” Adene murmurs before Destry goes limp.
“Oh my gosh,” the three say in unison.
Suddenly, Rose goes rigid and stands up. There is no emotion in Rose’s eyes as she steps toward Adene. The ruins flash again, like a glitching TV. Destry and Rose stand normally with no statue behind them…
“Rose? Rose!” Adene says, backing away. Cornering her, Rose puts a hand to Adene’s throat. Her eyes go wide and she thrashes desperately in Rose’s grip. Adene goes limp and Rose lets go. Adene falls to the ground, lifeless.
Again, the scene blinks with Adene, Destry, and Rose all in front of her, with no blood or signs of harm. A yell snaps her back to the present.
“What happened?” Rose cries.
“You killed Adene.”
“I didn’t mean to, I swear!” she sobs.
“I believe you,” Amberly says, and hugs Rose.
Abruptly, Rose is torn out of Amberly’s arms by cold hands. The statue pulls Rose to the wall and starts bashing her head against it, but every time she’s slammed against the wall, the scene hitches and Rose stares calmly as if nothing was happening.
But then Rose lays dead on the floor. The statue turns to Amberly. She frantically scrambles for the exit, wishing she could bring her friends as well as survive. Amberly lunges for the doorway as the statue launches an arrow. She ducks, bracing for impact, but right before the arrow strikes, it glitches and disappears. Her friends stand in front of her, smiling, but she soon blinks back to the ruins. The statue stands in front of her, reaching out to grab her…


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