The Haunted Amusement Park

Writing Prompt

You and a friend reexplore an old, abandoned amusement park. Memories of what happened a few years ago resurface, and you witness firsthand the rumour that surround the theme park with a secret of your own.

The Haunted Amusement Park

You felt a frigid chill lick your skin as the sense of familiarity crawled from the depths of your unconscious. You hadn’t wanted to come back as the guilt from way back then manifested itself in the form of dreams and spontaneous thoughts in your mind.

“Please… don’t leave.”

The whisper from that dreadful night was lost amongst the howling of the wind, but it was as though she spoke through a loudspeaker as those words were forever ingrained in the depths of your soul.

“We shouldn’t be here,” you said to the friend a few feet ahead.

Your friend turned and met your nervous countenance with one of sadness and guilt and said reassuringly, “Nothing is going to happen this time. We’ll be extra careful.”

“No,” the word left your lips before you had a chance to stop it. You hadn’t meant to sound as harsh as you did, but you couldn’t hide the growing fear spreading like wildfire inside. You were simply concerned for the safety of your friend and yourself.

“We’ll be in and out. I promise.”

You watched your friend smile at you and disappear behind the iron gates of the eerily quiet amusement park. Rumours of this strange and abandoned carnival had been the talk of the town as sightings of deceased children and adults had been reported to be still wandering the premises and enjoying its festivities.

That alone had ignited a spark of curiosity in you and your friends at the time, and what started as a bit of teenage fun ended in horrific tragedy.

You slipped through the gates and called for your friend’s name, but there was no response. When you felt the familiar chill, you folded your arms and ran deeper into the carnival.

The murmurs and whispers you heard were all reminiscent of that night, but you trod on as the farther you entered the more you began to believe that facing your guilt and fears would provide some closure.

You saw your friend standing in front of a dark rollercoaster, its seats extremely tattered and safety bars in its upward position.

Your eyes closed for a brief moment, but it only took that moment for it to all come rushing back.

“Rock…”
“Paper…”
“SCISSORS!”

There was laughter, squeals, and low hoots as the winners nudged the losers closer and closer to the eerie roller coaster.

“You promised! Losers have to do it,” one said.

“Are you chickening out?” another one chimed in.

“I’m not,” a girl said annoyingly.

Her male counterpart had already begun approaching the ride. He hopped over the few obstacles in his way and stared for a few seconds at the ripped seats.

“Five seconds,” he said, then turned to his friends, “Right?”

“I don’t want to do it,” she said sternly.

“You’ll be fine,” you said. “It’s only five seconds.”

Your friend sighed softly then followed the boy. The two friends looked at each other and took a seat in separate compartments of the ride.
“Pull down the lap bar,” your friend encouraged.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” you said.

“The worst thing that’ll happen is that it’ll break,” another countered.

You heard the loud creak of the safety bars coming down which was followed by a similar sound. Your male friend sat comfortably in his seat, smiling widely at your friends. However, the other looked extremely uncomfortable as her eyes kept wandering and hands rubbing together constantly.

“Okay, five seconds is up,” you said loudly.

“You got the pictures, right?” you heard a friend asked.

“Yeah, I did. I’m posting it to Instagram right now!”

You were the first to sense that something was wrong. The boy had his lap bar up and was about to stand until an ear-splitting groan pierced the still, cold air. Your friends had stopped talking amongst themselves, their amused countenance instantly replaced with one of sheer terror as the wheels spun and spun and spun.

You didn’t know who screamed. Perhaps it was you, but that was the least of your concerns. The ride was eagerly following its designated course on its tracks and increasing in speed at an exponential rate. You felt your blood run cold as you saw the shadow of a falling figure once the rollercoaster followed the large, impending circle.

The ride showed no signs of stopping. A loud, sickening crack rang in your eardrums. You weren’t sure if your friends had heard it but whatever happened was confirmed once the ride came to a full stop in front of the terrified crowd. It was as if the ride hadn’t moved at all.

Her body was beyond repair. There were multiple areas with skin completely ripped from her being, exposing the raw meat that your friend now was. Parts of her bone was exposed with dry and fresh blood trailing its surface. Her eyes had been completely rolled inwards, and her mouth hung open as if she were a vegetable.

It took a moment for you to realize that your male friend was nowhere to be seen.

“W-w-we have to get out of here.”

“Oh my God,” you heard another whisper loudly.

You felt the strong, adamant pull on your arm, but your feet stayed rooted to the spot. The image of your deceased friend was forever burned in your memory as tears came like waterworks from your red eyes.

“Let’s go… WE NEED TO GO.”

Another was screaming for an ambulance.

Your feet had just begun to move alongside your friends but had stopped when you heard a calming whisper.

“Please… don’t leave.”

It had come from behind you, but there was no one behind. No one alive at least.

A familiar tune made your eyes snap open.

Laughter blended conversation and screams polluted your surroundings. You spun around in confusion as adults with children and snacks were walking in all directions. None were paying any attention to you. Your gaze landed on the active rollercoaster, it’s macabre decor exposed by the glowing lights from all directions.

“Please… don’t leave.”

You recognized the male voice.

“Stay…” a familiar female voice chimed in. “Stay… and play my game.”

The Living Doll

Short Story

This short story was inspired by a creative writing prompt from WritersDigest. Lila stumbles upon an antique store that sells a rare, old doll. She buys it for her younger sister. One afternoon, Lila begins hearing voices.

The Living Doll

Lila was alone in the house.

Her younger sister was at school, and their parents wouldn’t return a month from now from a business trip abroad. Lila’s music was playing softly from her headphones as she finished cleaning the small living room. Perhaps she shouldn’t have procrastinated as much as she did on chores.

It wasn’t until this morning did she notice the dirty dishes piling up in the sink, the thin coat of dust on the furniture and wooden floors, and the mountainous pile of laundry that should have been done last week.

There was a brief pause in her music as her iPod switched to the next song on her playlist. And that was when she heard it: a very faint and childlike giggle.

It was so soft that she shrugged it off, believing to have imagined it. But then it came again… much louder than the first that she swore she heard it as her music played. She pulled off her headphones, letting the cold headband rest against the back of her neck.

Silence.

Lila scoffed softly. Time to lay off the horror movies, she thought. Just as she was about to place her headphones back on, a chill crept down her spine when she heard the muted, raspy call of her name.

“Li… la…”

She spun around. Her lips parted slightly when she noticed the door to her sister’s room was ajar. Lila swore it had been closed and locked when she finished cleaning it a few hours ago.

She pushed open the door and was relieved to find everything still in its proper place: the folded clothes in the white basket waiting to be put away, the blankets neatly folded atop of the bed… the porcelain doll sitting courtly on the nightstand.

The marionette had been a late birthday present from Lila to her sister, and she had gotten it for a great price, too. The owner of the old antique shop she had bought it from had said how much this doll was loved by his late granddaughter, and he needed to find a good owner to take care of it. Lila was not a big fan of dolls, even at a young age. There was something about their eyes that made her anxious. But her sister would love it.

Hand on the handle, Lila was just about to shut the door until she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. A slight raise of a handmade her turn swiftly at the innocuous doll. It was just how she saw it a few seconds ago.

She folded her arms across her chest and walked towards it, her eyes slightly narrowed. Its clear green eyes seemed to be fixed on her light brown ones.

“This is ridiculous,” Lila muttered.

She turned away but a sudden forceful tap on her shoulder made her yelp and spun around in fear. 

She was alone.

“Lila! I’m home!”

A wave of relief washed over her when she heard the call of her younger sister, Ema. Lila came out of the room and greeted her with a smile. “Hey, kiddo! How was school?”

Ema squirmed out of her jacket and replied, “good.”

“Are you hungry? I’ll make something to eat.”

“Yeah! I’m starving!” Ema jumped into a tall, white chair facing the kitchen island. She noticed the door to her room was wide open. “Did you go into my room today?”

Lila took out a frozen cheese pizza from the freezer. “Oh, uh, yeah. I… er thought I heard something.”

“Was it Juno?”

Lila stared at her sister. “Who?”

“Juno… my doll.”

Lila was silent for a moment. Ema had told her multiple times that Juno was talking to her. And Lila had always brushed it off. “Oh… no, I don’t think it was her.”

Ema cocked her head to the side. “Are you sure? Because I talk about you to her. She often says she wants to meet you.”

Lila angrily pushed the pizza into the oven. “Dolls don’t talk, okay? So… be quiet about it.”

“Just because you can’t hear her doesn’t mean she doesn’t talk! I’ll prove to you that she can!”

“Ema!” Lila shouted as her sister jumped off the chair and into her room. “You don’t need to prove anything! I believe you, okay? Just… come back please!”

But Ema emerged with the doll in her hands, and Lila’s brows furrowed as she stared at it more closely. Its eyes were blue, the same colour as her younger sister’s

“Wasn’t… what kind of a doll can change its eye colour?” Lila said quietly.

Ema smiled widely, and as she spoke Lila could hear the voice she heard before merge with hers, “one that is very special… my dear.”

Want More Short Stories?

A short story can help increase your reading comprehension and enhance your vocabulary.

If you’re interested in other stories, U-Dictionary’s Writing Club has entertaining stories that help you with reading comprehension.

Tip: The U-Dictionary APP provides entertaining stories in our Writing Club that enhances your English reading comprehension skills.

The Face Outside and Labyrinth are the two stories we have so far!

The Face Outside

Short Horror Story

This short horror story was inspired by a creative writing prompt by WritersDigest. It tells a story of a girl named Mel who lost her twin sister, May, due to a tragic accident fifteen years ago. One rainy night, her dog, Chivo, began to bark at the window. For what reason?

The Face Outside

“You killed me…”

Mel trembled in her sleep.

“Murderer… murderer…”

A muted gasp left her lips.

“You’ll get what you deserve!”

Her eyes flew open in shock.

Thunder rumbled in the distance as Mel ran her hand through her short, red tresses. She licked her lips, her gaze on the large window that was sprinkled with raindrops. A muted gasp left her lips when she felt a nudge at her feet. And when she glanced down she smiled and ruffled Chivo’s black fur.

The continuous nightmare was entering its fifteenth day, and she was awakened every time by those same words that had been haunting her since her sister’s death fifteen years ago. Mel held her head in her hands, her figure hunched over on the large round chair. She closed her eyes but snapped them open when the image flashed in her mind. The image of her sister’s betrayed countenance drenched in water.

“That’s mine! Give it back!” A child’s voice echoed throughout the empty pool.

“I had it first!”

Two small and identical children wrestled with each other on the pool deck for the doll that was held in the hands of the girl whose back was facing the pool.

“I won’t let you have it!”

With one forceful pull on the doll’s hair, the head snapped off and fell into the water. The girls stopped. May pushed her sister off and reached for the fallen part that was just beyond her grasp. Mel grabbed her sister by the shoulders and pulled her back, but May resisted using both of her hands to fend her sister off.

Driven by anger, Mel pushed her sister into the water, not expecting May to grab onto her shirt and pulling her down with her.

The air was dragged from her lungs, and her eyes blurred as her head entered and re-entered the water, her loud gasps muffled by the incoming waves of water.

The burn enflaming her lungs was her determination to survive. But her consciousness slowly began to fade. Her eyes now glassy, and gradually, she sank lower, her arms no longer having the minimum amount of power to keep her barely afloat. And the last thing she saw was the seemingly lifeless body of her sister drifting into the unconsciousness with her.

A sudden breath of fresh air pulled Mel out of the blackness. Hunched over and desperately coughing up water, she clung to the first thing she could get her tiny hands on, which was her mother’s blouse.

Her mother hushed her, tears flowing down her cheeks. “I shouldn’t have left the two of you alone…”

Mel struggled to her feet, her balance unsteady as her gaze swept the area for her sister. And then she saw her: May’s body on the deck, a stranger desperately trying to save her. Mel scrambled to her, tripping multiple times.

The stranger looked at her and said, “I’m sorry… she’s gone.”

Mel had her favourite cup of English coffee held in her hands, finding comfort in its warmth. She took another sip, attempting to erase her sister’s lifeless countenance from the depths of her mind. But she knew that it would never be possible.

The loud bark of Chivo coming from her bedroom startled her. Mel placed her cup on the counter and went to find her black labrador. Chivo was facing the window, his barks loud and violent-like.

She flipped on the lights. “Shh.” Mel stared at the blind-covered window as she hushed him. When Chivo’s barking failed to cease, Mel attempted to drag him out of the room but the animal refused to move. “I’ll give you a treat okay?”

The barking continued.

Mel placed both hands on either side of her hip and sighed. She looked out the window and slightly cocked her head to the right and approached it with haste. She swiftly opened the blinds and peered outside.

Nothing.

She faced her dog. “See, there’s nothing there.”

Then lightning flashed and thunder roared. And in that split second, she saw the window’s reflection in the large mirror placed on the opposite side of the room. And what she saw made her face turn pale, limbs unable to move.

With wide, glassy eyes, her eight-year-old self-met Mel’s petrified gaze. Her wet and thick black hair clung to her pasty face and the corners of her lips were turned upright into a malevolent grin.

Mel instantly spun around. But the face was gone.

Raindrops trickled down her window as lightning flashed again, the thunder booming in the distance. And all she could hear was the loud spatter of rain and her own racing heartbeat.

Chivo was still facing the window when Mel was brought herself out of her reverie.

“Come on, let’s go,” Mel said breathlessly.

He didn’t move.

Mel was already at the doorway when she snapped, “Chivo!”

He still didn’t move.

Annoyed and agitated, Mel began walking towards him, ignoring the shiver that had suddenly crept down her spine. She reached out to him, her fingers just grazing his fur when his head suddenly snapped around.

And she screamed.

The same glassy stare stared back at her, water forming at the rims of his eyes, and the corners of his mouth turned upright into a sinisterly innocent grin.

What’s mine is yours…

Enjoyed This Short Horror Story?

Short stories are a great way to make learning a language engaging and fun. If you enjoyed this short horror story, let us know! If you’re interested in other stories, U-Dictionary’s Writing Club has entertaining stories that help you with reading comprehension.

Tip: The U-Dictionary APP provides entertaining stories in our Writing Club that enhances your English reading comprehension skills.

If you’re interested in reading other short horror stories, Labyrinth is another one we’ve written.

Judge A Book By Its Cover

English Idiom

Judge a book by its cover is a popular English idiom. It’s cautionary advice to not make assumptions or jump to conclusions based on appearances. We’ve written a short story surrounding the theme of this English idiom.

English idiom judge book cover

Judge A Book By Its Cover

It was her first time breaking the rules, sneaking out of the dormitories after hours. Her curiosity got the best of her. What was hidden within the restricted section of the school library? Rumours of ghosts and secret information became the talk of the school population. She had to see for herself.

“I wish I could come with you,” her friend had said. “I’m so curious what’s in there!”

As she peeked around the corner, she saw the guard making his last rounds before heading up the stairs. When she couldn’t hear his footsteps anymore, she lightly dashed through the hall and turned right at the last corner, unaware of the pair of eyes following her swift movements.

Expertly, she pulled a bobby pin from her hair and began picking at the lock with ease. After shuffling it a few times, she tried the knob to which it opened with ease. For a restricted section, security was lax, she thought.

After fishing the flashlight out from her pocket, she switched it on and gave a quick sweep of the area. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a light switch but didn’t dare flipping it on for fear of attracting attention.

It looked strangely ordinary. She pulled a book from the shelf and glanced at the cover: Fiends And Where To Find Them. The hideous mix of colours provoked her to place the book back in its place.

“Can I help you?” She almost jumped at the unexpected, low, monotone voice behind her. “What’s a student like yourself doing out at this hour?”

It was a professor, a professor notoriously known for his strict punishments on students.

“Well?” he prompted, his drawl sounding almost menacing.

“I… I was looking for something,” she replied hesitantly.

“In a place like this?”

She bit her bottom lip, unsure where this lie would take her.

“I suggest you head back to your dorm before I change my mind. Before she could respond, he continued, “Next time it’ll be expulsion.”

She didn’t need a second warning.

“By the way,” he began, “I would suggest keeping your secret ventures to yourself next time. Talk travels fast.”

Other English Idioms?

What other English idioms do you know of? While they are popular amongst those learning English, it’s unlikely for them to pop up in conversational English. For more English idioms, be sure to check out some phrases on our APP for fun and engaging ways to learn English!

English Short Stories – Labyrinth

English Short Stories

English short stories are a fun and engaging method for beginners to learn English. Short stories have one key benefit: they are short. They are meant to be fast-paced and concise. In addition, English short stories introduce readers to a variety of different genres and bring back the habit of daily reading.

A piece of advice often given to beginners looking to improve their language skills is by reading to which U-Dictionary agrees as well. Reading boosts one’s comprehension skills and helps you get a better grasp of vocabulary. Many blogs you read will often say the same. Therefore, reading English short stories will give an easier transition to developing a daily habit.

To boost your daily reading habit, U-Dictionary has written a short horror story below. The following story is based on a writing prompt from Writers Digest!

english-short-stories-labyrinth

Labyrinth

The large hands around his shoulders were his only guide as the world in front of his eyes was shrouded in a thick curtain of darkness. The coldness of the concrete could be felt through the soles of his shoes as his inept steps became more and more of a tedious effort.

He felt no energy, no adrenaline, no life running through his exhausted body as he heard hushed whispers that blended together as if they were all one voice. 

“Sleep, my friend,” came a honeyed murmur next to her ear. 

When he no longer felt the warm supporting touch, his weakened body almost instantly collapsing onto what felt like an ice patch on a cold winter’s night.

His fingertips slightly grazed the cold ground he laid upon as his consciousness dawned upon him. 

“Open your eyes,” came a haunting voice.

The boy’s eyes shot open, his adrenaline spreading like wildfire as he saw nothing but darkness. He reached for the back of his head in hopes of finding a blindfold of sorts that was cruelly responsible for hindering his vision, but all he felt was the short strands of his brown hair.

Suddenly, he felt a presence. 

Its brief and frigid touch against his abnormally warm skin was borderline seductive. Cries of help became lodged in his throat which was immediately replaced by a choked and helpless cry. 

The next words of the voice raised a slight alarm as he caught the familiar drawl in the voice, “What do you see?”

The boy swallowed and said with a wavering voice, “Nothing. I see nothing.”

He heard a low chuckle before the voice replied with the same drawl, “What do you want to see?”

A touch. He shivered.

“Anything… I just want to see!” he pleaded then added, “Who are you?”

An agonizing scream left the boy’s dry throat as a fierce flash of light suddenly appeared in his darkness. Spontaneous flames began burning away the frightful ambiguity until the boy was met with a figure that made the blood in his veins run cold.

 “You’re asking questions you already know the answers to. Didn’t you know?”

The boy himself stood in front of him. His short brown hair was soiled and his tattered clothing revealed much of dry blood and old and sewn up scars. Fresh blood ran from his dirty ears which followed his sharp jawline until it no longer could.

The red liquid dripped onto the chilly concrete into a small, black puddle. His dark lips were smiling but sewn shut. And in replacement of his brown eyes were dark empty sockets.

His right hand was placed neatly over his left which was resting on his lap, the skin on his hands peeling away. He wasn’t standing but sitting in a weathered wheelchair, his legs appeared skinnier than the rest of him. 

Underneath the stormy clouds, large, gray concrete walls were seen on either side of them, and where the boy was was a fork in the path. 

“I am you,” the doppelganger said with a ghost of a smile, “And you are me.”

The boy screamed but heard nothing. He froze and allowed his frantic thoughts to run amok in his exhausted mind.

“You cannot hear,” the boy heard his doppelganger said then added with a drawl, “At least not your own voice.” The boy opened his mouth but hadn’t a chance to speak as his other half continued, “How does it feel to lose a sense we often take for granted?”

“Give it back,” the boy pleaded, “Please. I beg of you.”

“This is only the beginning,” the doppelganger whispered. “It’s the beginning to one of my favourite games.” 

The boy stared in fright as the wheelchair moved closer and closer to him with the words, “Welcome to The Rift,” echoing in the back of his mind.