Scary story contest winners

1st Place Winner

Zachary Melton

I’m Not Her

Identifying the item was an easy task for my father- the aged and rusted shovel I had found was the exact shovel I used years ago when I was tending to our beloved garden. Maintaining my grip, the rusty shovel was lifted as I scanned up and down the rotten wood base- I tried to recall my memories of gardening, this shovel- to no avail. Noting my silence, he spoke, avoiding eye contact, “I’ve always wondered why you ever stopped gardening, it’s a shame- you were a natural green thumb.” Obtaining the item- to my father’s disregard- I decided to take it with me to the garden- once there I proceeded to kneel down and observe the plants. Testing the plants, feeling their smooth, green leaves I decided that it would be okay to replace them- no one could tell the difference anyways. Harvesting is just a general happening in life, whether objects are deemed useful or useless, they are easily disposable resources. Enjoying the beautiful flowers, plentiful plants- many components that would protest the rough stabbing of the ground with my shovel- I dug straight through a patch of glistening tomato plants. Replying to the tool, a solid object was quickly uncovered- a weathered butter knife with a partially rotten wooden handle laid in the indent I had made  in the ground. Implying a close treasure, I dug deeper- until a strange odor resonated from the earth- potent and oddly sweet smelling. Never-ending, deeper stinging coughs escaped my lungs as if I had been stabbed through the chest- I felt as if I was dying. Everything seemed oddly suspenseful- the garden, the digging, the butter knife- it all seemed like an appetizer in a sense. Vandalizing our garden had proven to be a very entertaining and amusing activity. Embroidering could never compete with the pure euphoria I gained from the experience- my lavender dress, frilled white socks, and heavily polished, black boots- were all covered in dirt, and I had never felt happier. Rooting through the soil, I finally found what I was looking for- what i had sought out, purely for a sense of nostalgia. Wasting no time, I clawed out the item with my hands, lovingly and tenderly brushing it off I held it up, examining its shape and solidity, a grin spread across my face. Astonishing, several years being feet under and her skull had remained intact and in stunning condition. Saving me- it was your biggest mistake. “you were the kindest soul I had ever met; you’ve even taken it upon yourself to provide these plants with the nutrients they need to grow. I’m sorry that I had to stab you in the back- you were an amazing person. You never seemed to fail at anything- well, besides one time- you failed the moment you trusted a changeling.”

*Changeling: A child surreptitiously or unintentionally substituted for another

(In folklore) An ugly, stupid, or strange child left by fairies in place of a pretty, charming child.

2nd Place Winner

Alec Benjamin

For two seconds I was trailing my soft, young fingers over what I assumed was my father’s hand as he was rubbing my shoulder telling me to have a good night’s sleep. As the third second passed, I had realized that the hand rubbing my shoulder was not my father’s. The hand felt as if they had been crushed by a cinderblock. I could feel bones protruding from his knuckles and his fingers bending back as if they could touch the back of his hands. Fear had taken over my body. At the fourth second, it began to get harder to breath. It had felt like there was a twenty pound sandbag on my chest. I began to peer over my shoulder only to see this disgusting, disfigured creature crawling out of the window. This creature’s body was so contorted and broken. Now the fifth second has approached, the creature had only one leg out my window. When he noticed me gasping for air he started crawling back inside. His empty eyes reached into my soul and I was frozen. Then, at the sixth second, his arms are completely stretched out in front of him and he breaks into a staggered sprint towards my shocked body. His gruesome fingers around my throat pushing my last bit of air out and I started to fade into a dark tunnel. Within the seventh second, the lights turned on and I was alone in my bed in the presence of my mother who had come to check on me.

3rd Place Winner

Yuki Henderson

Autumn in Red

It’s finally here: autumn. All doors are locked, and barely anyone goes outside. If you are wondering why, it’s because autumn is when the streets run red.

“Shujii, be careful out there; it’s almost that time of year!” her mother called out to Shujii as she headed out the door.

“Yeah, yeah I got it, nightmare creatures are scheduled to awaken on two moon rises,” Shujii called back. Little does she know I’m gonna awaken them early! Autumn is one of the most frightful seasons of the year. Every year on the blood moon, creatures make their way to the surface from Hell. Hell is the home to many monsters, most commonly demons. On the blood moon, a night where the moon is a deep red, the ‘gateway’ to Hell opens up, allowing passage two and from the world.

Once Shujii traveled enough distance where the house was no longer visible, she hurried down a small pathway in a sea of freshly fallen leaves; there she followed the path until it broke into a tiny clearing with a gravestone dead center. Cracking a smile, she bounded towards the center, barely placing her foot on the ground. Her smile soon turned grim, for it was time for them to awaken. The gravestone was cool to the touch, almost as if it had just been taken out fo a freezer.

“Eins, Zwei, Drei…” She spoke softly, gritting her teeth as the stone suddenly became hot. “Vier, funf, sechs, sieben.” Shujii’s han burst into purple flames, the flames of Hell. “Acht, neun, zehn!” The flames slithered up her arm, quickly consuming the fuel from it’s energy source. The charred carcass fell to the ground, all life drained.

Hours passed; a dusk had marked it’s territory in the sky, soon followed up by the blood moon. A seal of some sort suddenly became visible in the clearing, as it it was invisible ink and the sun was ultra-violet light. Suddenly, the seal started to glow, and in a flash the ground disappeared. A miasma soon clouded the air, followed by the creatures of Hell. Those with wings shot up into the air, getting a quick scan of the area. And with  signal from a harpy, they headed off.

“They’re here; the nightmare creatures have come!” shouted a man who was standing to the fields. It didn’t take long for the townspeople to disband, frantically trying to get in their homes. Before they could, hound-like creatures thundered towards them, ripping them into chunks of flesh. The humanoid ones, demons, tortured their victims to death; ripping their skin off the bone. Blood curdling screams filled the air, only making the creatures more excited. One by one, the town withered away, bits and pieces flew in every direction. A few bits of flesh clung to the wall where some had their skulls bashed in. This lasted until the end of two full moon cycles. AFter that, the blood moon lowered, and the gateway to Hell is closed once again.

No one really knows why it happens, but when it does, red will be the last thing you see.


Does Halloween deserve more recognition?

Michelle Christian

Christmas Break, Spring Break, Summer Break, Halloween Break?

Halloween becoming an official holiday could provide a much needed break during fall, allowing students to have a break during all of the seasons.

Halloween should be viewed like all of the other holidays. As a result, students should not have to attend school on the day of, before and after Halloween. These three days would provide efficient holiday break time to properly celebrate Halloween.

“Halloween should definitely be made into a holiday. Christmas is considered a holiday and it has a break, and Halloween is like my Christmas, therefore Halloween should be considered a break as well,” senior Brittney Nadeau said.

To begin, Halloween requires a day of preparation. Gathering the appropriate supplies like costume pieces, candy, candy bags and last minute decorations is strenuous and important. These preparation activities should not have to be rushed in the morning of Halloween as a last ditch effort. This prep day would allow for the general population to ease into this beloved spooky holiday. It’s not fair that Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are accepted and celebrated as holidays, yet Hallows Eve is not.

As for the day of Halloween, there are obvious reasons to designate it as an official holiday. This is the day that all of the preparations and planning gets to pay off. Depending on the level of dedication one puts into a costume, properly putting it on could take a while. Makeup and hair routines that go along with these eerie ensembles could be an entire hour or two themselves.

When night starts to fall upon us, the real fun of Halloween begins.Halloween night provides an escape like all of the other holidays do. On Thanksgiving, one gathers with family to feast on the day’s meal arrangement. Christmas is celebrated by opening presents, parties and dinners. Halloween night is no exception to this. Many people celebrate the festivities with parties, candy hunting and specially prepared spooky dinners for friends and family to share.

With all of the food, sugar and dancing the night before had to offer, there is no surprise as to why the day after Halloween should become a holiday. Many students do not attend school on Halloween or the day after because they wanted to celebrate an amazing holiday that the United States has not yet accordingly designated an official government holiday. Allowing for one to unwind from all of the chaos of the day before, the day after Halloween is a great time for people to get ready for work or school.

The inside scoop on Halloween Haunt

Aaliyah Pounds

It’s finally Halloween, where fear is brought out when the sun sinks behind the horizon and the moon rises. That can only mean one thing: Halloween Haunt.

Beginning on September 23 and ending on October 29 at Kings Dominion, Halloween Haunt is a special occasion where creatures that are only ever seen on tv and read in books come alive. Over 400 monsters spread themselves all over the park. Situated in either one of the eight mazes or one of the five scarezones, they are likely at every corner.

Most have seen the scarefest in its entirety, but not many know exactly how it all works and unfolds unless they are a part of it. There’s a lot that has to be set up and gone over before it starts. Everyone must be on the same page and in check.

“I love it. I think it’s incredibly fun and I go all the time with my friends, but I’ve never known how it’s all put together,” sophomore Taylor McGrew expressed.

Haley Parrish, a former Hanover student, just so happens to be a talent coach at Haunt.

Considering her four years of experience, she knows a lot about the process, stating, “We go through multiple rehearsals and scare 101, a four hour long powerpoint that goes over all rules, policies, safety guidelines, etc.”

The monsters will not and are not allowed to touch you, which is why Parrish urges people to stop assaulting them.

Besides that, makeup artists have approximately fifteen minutes to do every monster before they are released to their assigned areas. Prosthetics and airbrush machines help the artists stay within the time limit. However, sometimes it can take a bit longer depending on what’s needed for the character.

Most monsters write a backstory for their characters. All of the mazes and zones have backstories, which helps with inspiration. So, not only do the monsters prepare and get into their character, but they also have to remain in character.

“We can’t break character unless someone is freaking out and needs to exit the maze or there’s an emergency,” Parrish informed.

Despite all of the rules and hard work, working at Halloween Haunt is enjoyable, and so is the scaring factor.

Riots break out in Charlotte over racial divide

Laura Swain

In this past month, a Mechanicsville resident, David Swain, was in the face of imminent danger while he was on a business trip in Charlotte, North Carolina.


After the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, on September 20, local members of the social movement, Black Lives Matter, were in an uproar. Violent riots soon followed as people paraded through the streets, chanting and damaging property as they went. Continue reading “Riots break out in Charlotte over racial divide”

Homecoming parade celebrates spirit of the student body

Callie Robinson


Freshman students enthusiactically cheer for the freshman class on their float during the Homecoming parade. Photo by Caroline Fornili

Nothing sets the excitement level
high for a football game like a preceding
parade. The HHS Homecoming
Parade has been a long withstanding
tradition that is anticipated
by members of all types of HHS activities.
This year was no different.
About two hours before the
Homecoming game against Highland
Springs, the parade participants
began lining up.
The Homecoming Court nominees
that had been announced at
that morning’s pep rally milled
around chatting with each other,
putting finishing touches on their
car setups.
“You get to walk down in front of
everyone at the pep rally that morning
and then people see you at the
parade. It’s a lot of preparation getting
the car and decorating it, but it
makes for a fun and busy weekend,”
Erin Watkins, senior and returning
nominee, said.
Meanwhile, club participants began
arriving, finding their groups
and getting ready to show off their
floats. A large variety of clubs are
featured every year, from foreign
language clubs to the SODA Club.
“Since I’m involved in several
clubs, I’ve been in the parade before.
I like it because it’s a ton of
energy and I like showing school
spirit,” senior Stephanie Mayle said.
Clubs meet together weeks before
the parade to begin volunteering to
design and participate in the float.
While many clubs choose to walk
the parade route, some still get together
to build a vehicle-based float.
The grade level floats are always
some of the largest, with volunteers
from each graduating class grouping
together to decorate a large float
with their peers.
The marching band was also a
part of the float lineup this year,
as always. The homecoming parade
is the first of several parades for
the band throughout their season,
as they will go on to participate in
multiple Christmas parades as well.
“It’s a different experience being
in the parade because you get
to see it unfold from start to finish.
You get to have a moving viewpoint
of the parade instead of just being
a spectator,” band member Sophie
Harrison said.
After putting on another successful
parade, the participants joined
the rest of the supportive Hanover
community to cheer on the Hawks
in their 13th Homecoming game.
. At halftime, Marcus Bazala and
Mary Grace Broaddus were crowned
Homecoming King and Queen.
And while the game was a tough
loss, school spirit wasn’t diminished
in the least and HHS students went
on to enjoy a fun night of dancing.


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