Age Range: 12 and up
Approx. Length: 5,329 Words
Have you ever wondered about your neighbors? A teen learns the terrible truth about the house next door in this comically chilling Halloween frightfest.
Home alone on All Hallows Eve, Kat Mandou is being creeped out by the family that lives next to him. Why is a child often screaming over there? And what’s with those crazy signs in their front yard? Feeling alienated from peers and parents, intimidated by his new pet, he decides to get to the bottom of the weirdness of his neighbors. What he discovers will haunt him. A fun and humorous horror story that proves you never can tell what might lurk in the house Next Door. From The Macabre Mind Of Lori R. Lopez, a collection of thirteen bizarre tales.
Kat noticed the tree because pomegranates were his favorite food, scoring three on a scale of ten. All else rated zero. He was generally indifferent about everything, meals included.
~ from Next Door
An interlude of tense biding. A suspenseful aching hush.
Hinges creaked upstairs. Eyes bulged in terror. A dervish spiralled to the base of the steps.
~ from Next Door
THE FINAL DAY of Kat Mandou’s life commenced as tedious as most. The only thing out of the ordinary was that something peculiar seemed to be going on at the house next door.
Not that he was inclined to snoop. Quite the opposite. He preferred to ignore the world, and seldom heeded the inhabitants of the dreary olive-planked eyesore — accidentally glimpsed on occasion because they left the drapes wide like they had no secrets, no skulking chain-rattling embarrassments to hide. Kat doubted it. Everyone had a skeleton or two.
Impressions consisted of a couple always grinning at a toddler. If they were so happy, why did he hear so many blood-curdling wails? A decrepit geezer toward the rear of the abode was a permanent fixture, seated on a musty-dusty tattered-battered sort of chair. Kat wondered in an especially idle moment if the fossil might be stuffed like a museum exhibit, the victim of a mad Taxidermist.
Today their drapes were inexplicably drawn, which seemed stranger than the disturbing signs. (Actual signs, spelling trouble in capital letters!)
“As always, Lori R. Lopez gripped my interest with her technique of writing after about five paragraphs in. Maybe from now, I’ll learn to keep the neighbors to themselves, not like I relate much anyway. It was a steady and interesting read. Might need to be reread before completely grasping the situation.
Well done, Lori. I’ll always love your work.”
“Creepy. Who lives next door? Sometimes it’s better not to know. There [are] strange things going on next door to Kat, a kid with no interest and no emotions, but his curiosity is peaked. After hearing noises coming from the house and never meeting the neighbors, Kat goes to investigate. What he finds… Read on..”
“This story is an interesting affair, a mix of understated bizarro and good old-fashioned ghost story that starts with a physical, sickening vibe, before veering off sharply into the realms of chilling suspense — something I am all in favour of. Crucially we see a well-rounded character in the story’s hero (for want of a better word) Kat. He embodies that general malaise that I think most of us experienced in our teen years, where he feels an outcast, but lacks the drive to do anything about it. The first half is well-anchored in the weird side of the horror spectrum, but the second buries the needle in the macabre, sending unmistakable shivers down my spine.”