How I survived my trip to McDonald’s
Midnight runs to McDonald’s were a religious activity in the Rai household. Mostly because McD’s just hits different during the witching hour… and the little-to-no queues.
A few days before Halloween, on a random Wednesday after binging the Harry Potter series all day, my sisters and I went to get Oreo McFlurries and fries—a must-try combination—at around 2:30 a.m.
When we pulled up to the McDonald’s drive-thru, it was vacant—as expected. I parked at the menu board and waited for the sound of the microphone to greet me.
“Hello?” I spoke, after a minute.
I impatiently drove through to the first window. It was dark inside.
“Bro, let’s just go inside,” my sister, Ben, said eagerly.
I parked the car, and we all headed toward the entrance.
The eatery was ill-lit and empty. The only light came from the food preparation area in the back. The smell of salty fries and cheap bleach was strong. There was an eerie silence. There were no customers or employees in sight.
“Uhhh, hello?” my youngest sister, Jas, asked to no one in particular. “Are they closed?”
“No, it said they’re open 24 hours on Google,” I replied.
“Okay, well I don’t see anyone. Let’s just go home, this place is giving me the creeps.” Jas always got spooked quickly.
After looking around one last time, we all agreed and headed toward the exit.
We walked past the dining area, but stopped abruptly after hearing unfamiliar sounds.
Gurgle. Stomp. Splash.
“Okay what the fuck was that?”
Our heads jerked towards the restrooms. The hallway leading to the men’s room had a faint glow coming from under the door—the only other source of light.
“Hello?” Ben yelled.
“Bro shut up. Let’s just leave,” I said panicking.
The sounds were suddenly replaced by footsteps.
BANG. We all jumped, as the bathroom door opened.
A dark silhouette with a stick in its left hand appeared before us. I couldn’t make out their face, but the body shape indicated it was a man. He was hunched over, and I glimpsed at what resembled a jumpsuit.
I heard Jas whisper beside me, “Can we leave now?”
I slowly nodded, and we all ran out the doors.
“Oh my God, I swear that was Michael Myers,” said Ben.
“Ben, seriously, shut the fuck up,” I replied.
When we got to our car, I unlocked the doors and looked back. The figure stood in front of the door. From what I could see, he was a creepy, wrinkled old guy in an all-black uniform, wearing a black hat with the McDonald’s logo on it, and holding a plunger.
“It is Michael Myers,” I realized.
The Doll Feast
Aïssatou Odia Barry
On this windy autumn evening, all I could think of was sleep. It was 11 p.m. and I had just gotten home from a long day at work. Despite the current mess my room was in, I was going to have the best sleep of my life, even if it meant sleeping next to my pile of unfolded laundry. I removed my ragged Adidas Gazelles at the entrance, locked the door, and walked up the squeaky stairs.
I heard footsteps coming from my own room. Who could it be?
Once I grabbed my doorknob, goosebumps ran down my spine. My gut was telling me not to open this door. But like the stubborn girl I am, I did it anyway.
After taking a deep breath, I entered my bedroom only to see the single most horrifying scene in my life: a herd of life-sized Barbie dolls wandering in my room. Some were lying in my bed, faceless and twitching. Others were standing on my wooden floor, headless, and marching in all directions. Terrified, I dropped my keys, making a noise that alarmed the evil dolls who had invaded my room. The ones on my bed sat up before turning their heads toward me. The wandering ones stopped marching for a second before heading toward me.
I picked up my keys in a hurry, closed my door, and locked my bedroom. I then sprinted across the hallway to get help from my roommate. I banged on her door, hyperventilating from fear.
“Kathy! Help!” I screamed as hot tears ran down my cheeks.
She opened the door, munching on something so hard that her jaw muscles popped out a few times. I entered her room, quickly shutting her door, ensuring that the Barbie dolls didn’t enter.
“What’s wrong?” Kathy asked, while returning to the messy desk facing her pink wall. She continued munching while I tried to catch my breath.
“It’s… it’s…the B-b-barbies…in my room!” I screamed.
“Oh, them… don’t be scared, they’re delicious!” she responded.
“Delicious?” I inquired.
Kathy then turned around with a plate in her hands. In it was a cut-up Barbie head, seemingly removed from the mutilated marching dolls I had found in my room. I could see the veins on her forehead as she chewed. I looked at my roommate in fright and fainted right there, next to her door.
I woke up to the smell of fresh sandalwood. To my surprise, I was lying in my bed wearing my pyjamas instead of my work attire. My room was clean and free from any evil dolls, which I assumed (and hoped) Kathy had taken care of. I then heard an overpowering noise coming from downstairs. It was the sound of the front door slamming. I swallowed my saliva and for the first in my life, I prayed that it was someone breaking in—a human preferably.
It was midnight a decade ago, and my older sister and I went ghost hunting. We had just moved into our new house from an apartment, so the idea of basements was entirely foreign to us. Of course, having watched too much TV, we just assumed that all basements were haunted. Plus, my sister said she read it in a book, so, to little me, that was solid proof.
We also got a bunny when we moved in. We used to keep her pen in the basement, along with all her toys.
Mind you, this was back when flashlight apps on iPod touches were peak technology. Having said that, we did what any other tech-savvy ghost hunter would do—we downloaded our flashlight app and ghost detector app, and began ghost hunting in our basement. I insisted that we get a little snazzy with it, so we turned on night vision mode, making the scene green.
Not long into the hunt, we started hearing little taps. Neither of us would admit we were scared. I felt something tickle my feet. I whispered to my sister (I didn’t want to spook the ghost), but we couldn’t see anything with our sophisticated set up. My sister felt something claw her leg—it was definitely a ghost.
We ran through the dark, straight to bed, frightened. The basement was haunted, we concluded.
The next morning, we made a ghost-battle plan (we even drew it out on chart paper). But first, we had to save our bunny from the perils of the mysterious entity.
We headed to the basement only to see our bunny’s cage open, her small body cozied up on the ground outside the cage.
I guess it would be logical to say that she was the one tickling our feet with her whiskers and rearing on my sister’s leg, but I must say, it was exhilarating to think we had seen a ghost.
A tender nightmare
“Would you help me with these posters?” a stranger asked, stopping me as I walked down the hallway.
I had no clue where I was heading.
“You just need to stick them onto the wall. Simple task,” she said.
She stood so close to me that I could feel the texture of her clothes—the soft chiffon touched my skin. Her fragrance reminded me of the roses that I planted in my backyard when I was a kid—the scent of home. Her familiarity made me want to do everything she said, or simply be around her.
“Here, just take these posters and use the tape, okay?” she asked.
I grabbed the posters and looked up, but I couldn’t see her face clearly—her face was blurry.
As she said, it was a simple task. Within a few minutes, I had stuck all the posters up on the wall. I quickly realized that these posters were printed pictures of different people. Their faces were so familiar, but I just couldn’t think of their names.
“I see that you are confused,” she said as she leaned forward and held my hand. Her voice was so soft that I drowned in its tenderness. My body relaxed. Now I knew what she felt like: the breeze of a sunny autumn day.
“Do you trust me?” she asked.
I nodded, too soothed to open my mouth.
She seemed pleased with my reaction and gently touched my face.
“I know you are tired, and you want to forget everything you know in this world—all the places that you’ve been, all the people that you’ve met, but most importantly, all the things that you’ve experienced,” she said. She sounded so emotional, almost like she was about to cry.
“But there is only one way to forget,” she added. Her voice was so firm, but I felt a sense of empathy in it.
A knife stabbed my chest—blood flowed like a river. As I lost consciousness, I started to see her face clearer.
It was mine.
The mysterious light coming from the forest
Living in the countryside, it is not uncommon to see something suspicious in your backyard. This particularly spooky encounter happened over the summer, in the middle of the night.
That night, my younger sister called me many times. When I finally picked up the phone, she spoke in hushed tones and made no mention as to why she needed me, but begged me to come up to her room. She would not hang up until I finally said okay.
As I walked into her bedroom, she immediately told me to look through the window. No one lives anywhere near our backyard, so when I saw a light beaming from the middle of the forest, I freaked out. It could have been anything from a person to some sort of ghost—the light seemed to be floating in place.
We rushed downstairs to see if the light looked different from the bay windows on the main floor, but it seemed to be shining from the same, random spot in the middle of the forest.
Noticing that the light was brighter, we immediately started running upstairs to wake our parents up and alert them. But, as soon as my sister and I got to the hallway by our parents’ room, the light from the forest was gone.