Halloween at Montrose Academy
When writing my fabulous Halloween scenes in The Nexis Secret, I relied on the old adage, “write what you know.” I turned back time to mashup my 2 favorite Halloween-type experiences—the haunted houses my friends and I loved in middle school, and my dorm decorating contests. Montrose Academy is a boarding school, so it’s kinda like college right? And I’ve got the pictures to prove it.
I bet you’re wondering how I combined haunted houses and dorm decorating to create Halloween at Montrose Academy. Okay, here we go.
Fast-forward about five years as one of those friends goes off to college. It’s her freshman year, and her school only has open dorms once a year. So they do it up right. Especially when there’s a title on the line, her floor won last year and they’re determined to win again. They of course choose a fabulous theme, Hollywood, and take it to the next level. They build larger-than-life-sized Oscars, along with the red carpet and an exact(ish) replica of Hollywood Hill. They even make her dress up like she’s heading to the Oscars. (But who’s complaining?)
So what do these two separate and seemingly unrelated stories have in common? Now they’re both part of Halloween at Montrose Academy. One is the essence of the boy’s dorm decorating prowess, the other belongs to our story’s leading lady and her dorm. Did you figure it out already? Of course, our prep-school boys had to build their own haunted house if only to relive their (ahem, my) glory days. Obviously, our prep-school girls went to opposite route, choosing to be pretty, fabulous, and not to mention pretty fabulous in their own little Hollywood. Who do you think wins the Halloween dorm decorating contest at Montrose Academy?
But of course, a Halloween story wouldn’t be complete without a creepy prank right? Here’s a little excerpt along those lines from The Nexis Secret.
Excerpt from The Nexis Secret, Chapter 24 “Grape Eyes”:
I tried to open my door, but something pushed back. I bent down, picking up a silver tray with a paper triangle on top. The note read, Prize for the Best Scream Award. How could that get around so fast? More importantly, who could’ve put the tray in my room? I thought we’d locked it.
When I lifted the paper, a pair of eyeballs rolled back at me.
In a split-second my dorm room disappeared.
The rest of the real word faded away, too.
As if I stepped through a portal to another world, suddenly I found myself in the archway of a Gothic cathedral. With a blonde girl dressed in white staring at me like she needed something. She held up her own silver tray—except the eyeballs were real this time. Lolling back and forth like they were still alive.
When she looked straight at me, I knew who she was.
Her eyes weren’t eyes any more. They sparkled like diamonds.
She was St. Lucia, she had to be, just like the “priest” showed us at the church.
She stretched out her finger, not at me exactly, but over my shoulder. I swiveled around like a marionette.
Something was shrouded in the darkness.
Then the onslaught came.
Shadows laced with sparks and lightning rushed at me. Wraith-like claws lunged for us, shrieking and seething in a burst of fireballs that exploded like fireworks—aimed in my direction.
A flash of light snapped me back into the real world.
Girly jitters erupted down the hall.
I dropped the tray with a crash of metal on hardwood. A peeled grape squished under my heels.
What just happened?
I blinked, dazed and confused but back in my dorm room.
I bolted out of my room just in time to see snatches of brass and honey-blonde hair, along with a swatch of red dress zipping to the end of the hall. The door slammed as the evil blondes disappeared into Monica’s room.
Bryan jogged up to me. “What happened?”
I retreated to my room, plopping with a thud into Shanda’s butterfly chair. “I don’t know, I had the strangest vision. I think Monica and Colleen got a picture of it.”
“What? You’re joking, right?”
I shook my limp head at him.
“That’s perfect.” He threw up his hands. “She’s had it out for me ever since we broke up. It’ll be all over Instagram, Twitter, everywhere, in five minutes.” He scooped the tray off the floor, one grape skittering into the corner. He chucked the metal tray across the room, hard. It clanged against the cement brick. “Were there two of these?”
The expression on his face said it all. The fear in his eyes, mixed with anger. I couldn’t get a sound out. I just nodded again.
“Worse than I thought.” His phone buzzed in his pocket. When he pulled it out it had an awful picture on it. Me, with my eyes half rolled back in my head, a horrified expression on my face. “Much worse.”
“Why would they do something like this?” I rubbed my fingers into my temples, closing my eyes. The vision of St. Lucia flooded back to me, her sunken eyes sparkling like colored diamonds of crystal, amber, and black. Those jeweled eyes seared through me as if they could see into my eternal soul. I blinked fast, forcing my eyes to stay open.
Bryan twiddled his thumbs over his phone’s keypad. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure this gets taken down as soon as possible. But it may be too late.”
Laughter wafted in from the doorway. So it began.