Folyosó Autumn 2020 - Page 3

The Maybe-Friend

Alexandra Klaudia Süveges

It was a lovely, hot summer day, and little Levi was sitting on the edge of the bed watching TV. He was getting bored and started focusing on other things. All of a sudden a little creature flew into the living room; it was small and fragile, funny-looking. Levi’s attention was immediately caught by the black-and-yellow-striped flying mini-creature. He couldn’t have known what it was; he had never seen such a tiny thing. It landed next to him on the coffee table in front of the TV. At this moment all of his focus was on it. He said “friend?” in a quiet and doubting voice. It walked onto his hands, and he held it. “Mom! Mom! Look I got a new friend!” his voice so cheerful and happy, he was a lonely child after all. As he ran, it started moving between his palms, he suddenly pressed them together tightly, and it happened. The creature stung him. He yelled out in such pain that his mother ran up to him quickly. “Sweetie, what happened?” she cried, worried. Levi was just holding his hand and crying. “I just saw this flying mini cute thing and… wanted to become his friend…then it bit me! Why did it do this? It hurts so much!” He was getting bandaged when his mother saw the bee land on the ground. “I am so sorry, it was just too shy to become your friend, sweetie.” – “She never told me how bees die after they lose their sting… I am just so sorry for that bee, I just wanted a friend, that’s all,” he said to me as I bandaged his sting. This is just the second time he has gotten stung by a bee in sixteen years.

All Should Be in Order

Gergely Sülye

All should be in order. Of course we never think about that because it is a given in our lives, for most of us. I say most of us because there are people out there, in less-developed places, who live without order. They live per se, but not for long, not without order. Thus their chances of seeing this letter are really thin, making it appropriate to assume that the person this reaches lives in a civilization with successful guidelines. After all, a civilization is fully dependent on an orderly structure with its rules and regulations.

This is what the me of yesteryear would have said.

My coming-of-age ceremony was held in winter. I received my share of the heirloom that Father had left behind, and I departed to the West, on the same passage my older brothers had walked before me. Despite my appearances I never wanted to be a wild man. Building a shack and hunting animals for the rest of my life while trying my best to stay alive, I never wanted that. Apparently an easy life is a cowardly one, according to my family. They despise the Southern people, but it is a mutual feeling. The South hated us too.

Somehow, in my gut, I knew that fitting in someplace where I was unwelcome would still be much easier than managing alone. A rebellious feeling to be sure, but it was rational. Seeking to live under order instead of the chaos our homeland offered.

I don’t remember much after taking that sharp left turn. I travelled through forests and plains for a while, taking some time to camp and regain my strength. I eventually found a road. It was the first time I had ever seen anything like that. Strong and elegant, it reminded me of my image of the destination it inevitably led towards and gave me hope. I encountered some merchants; they weren’t natives but they sure acted the part. They offered to let me ride along, in an odd fashion as if I threatened them, but I was actually trying my best to be as kind as possible.

That ride was really long. I counted neither the nights nor the days, since I trusted the merchants would do it instead of me. They were men that I aspired to be like. Intelligent, calculative, without physical strength but always with full pockets. They had routines and plans and together they formed something even greater. I learned that they were scouting the area in search of settlements or villages that they could mark on their maps. They started at the northern edge of the known maps and went back down from there, coming upon me in the process. They told me a great number of people came from the North like me, although they had their own horses and moved in larger groups. I never knew there were like-minded people living in the nearby regions, so it took me by surprise. Perhaps they could help me find a stable place within civilization, as they should have already settled by the time I arrived. Or so I thought.

The first notable thing we came upon was smoke. A small town near the road we were traveling on, empty and in ruins. The merchants insisted on going past, but I couldn’t help it, so I hopped off in search of remains or survivors. There was nothing. Not even corpses. It was as if something had consumed everything that moved, and left behind nothing but ash. In lower spirits, I went back to the road. They were gone.

I continued towards the capital on foot. The road made it easier to travel. It was delicate and smooth, unlike the harsh terrain I had faced in the forests and plains. I stopped time and time again to camp down and take some rest, although less frequently than before. There were more villages just like the first one. With the intention to find food I inspected the first few but found nothing, as expected. I don’t know when, but I stopped even caring. Sometimes the smoke was dense, and in some places the fire was still burning, but I ignored them, focusing on the road ahead.

And there it was. After a long time of seeing nothing but the road getting swallowed by the horizon ahead of me, that scenery finally changed. A giant town, no, a city! Buildings I had never seen before. The beautiful architecture you’d expect from a civilized group of people living together. The great columns, delicate bricks, perfectly chiseled shining stones.

The chilling empty roads that connect everything, buildings that are partly destroyed, but standing proudly. The great dense smoke in the sky, the bright flames coming out of every window, the screams. The screams. I didn’t want to believe it. After coming so far, I only saw the ruins of my dreams. Maybe if I had come with them, those who had embarked before me? On their own horses, in their own groups. Of course not. I knew they were the cause of this, but I didn’t want to accept it. I wanted to see the order I had always wished for. That was how I witnessed it. The fall of Rome. Back then, I didn’t understand that the way I went about things was close to the truth but still far. Civilization exists because of order, yes, but my people still managed to organize themselves and take down something great. That makes their efforts greater, and their order even more commendable. Order is made to ward off chaos, but chaos is required to then create order. And once its time is up, order shall become chaos once more.

Tall Tale

Gergely Sülye

I’m telling you! He pulled up in his Trevita, and at that exact moment every single car left the parking lot. Fearing for their lives, avoiding his gaze, surrendering from instinct. He parked closest to the entrance and, as if waiting for the right moment, just stayed in his mighty chrome-painted machine. Exactly at the moment when the clock hit midday, his doors opened — the sound of which, if heard by an unsuspecting passenger, would have caused an instantaneous cardiac arrest. Not like it was a hazard though, since every mortal had already left the scene in their primal fear. As one would suspect, next came an even bigger disaster. His shoes shone brighter than the Sun itself, even though they were just reflecting its rays. The first step resulted in a gentle thud, calming yet sudden. He lifted his body out of the seat and stood there, admiring the wind that was conveniently coming from behind him. The doors closed behind him as he started taking even more steps. Sounds coming in rapid succession, their powers growing more severe yet never stopping. The shoes, tapping, shifted their tone after they reached the pavement and arrived at the front door. Now, I know doors don’t have feelings, they don’t have instincts, but this one knew what was up. It opened the instant he walked up to it. Not even acknowledging this effort, he just casually walked through. The pressure suddenly started fading away outside, and a new fleet of cars started making their way to the lot.

Taller Than Tall

Bernadett Sági

I was driving to see my family. I was twenty-five years old, had been working very far from home. It was late evening and everything was dark; I just saw the dirt road in front of me. It was a very calm time. There was no sound besides the buzzing of the car. I stared at the dark trees around me. The top of the trees merged with the gloomy sky, where there were many shining stars. I saw something lighting up out of the corner of my eye first, then my phone started ringing. I took a look at it and saw that my sister was calling me. I picked up the phone.

“Where are you?” asked my sister. “You should be here by now.” I heard in her voice that she was upset.

“I’m sorry, something came up and I left home late,” I explained to her. Then I heard some beating sounds from the top of the car; it had started raining. “Awesome,” I said to myself.

“You will be late for mom’s birthday party. She will be very disappointed if you aren’t there.”

“It’s okay, there’s nothing to worry about. The party isn’t until tomorrow, I will be there in time,” I said.

“I hope so. Now I have to go to prepare everything. See you tomorrow.” And then she hung up.

The rain became a storm, and lightning started flashing too. I could see nothing through the windshield. Then I noticed something light on the right side of the road. It was a little inn between the tall trees. I stopped in front of it with the car and ran into the building. It was really friendly and nice within. It was built of wood and had a tranquil atmosphere.  I planned that I would wait there until the rain stopped. I looked around; there were many tables and chairs, and at the opposite wall there was a counter. To the left there were narrow, white stairs. “Maybe there are rooms upstairs,” I thought. I walked to one of the tables and sat down. There were some men at the table next to mine. They were drinking and talking with each other and laughing a lot.

“…..and then he fell into the pit,” a man finished his story, and everyone started laughing again. His clothes were all brown, and his head had a well-worn, dark baseball cap on it.  The story he told next made the others stop laughing and changed the whole atmosphere of their conversation.

“Last week I did my work in the forest, cutting trees and bringing them to the designated place that my boss had specified. It was like any normal day of mine. But then I saw somebody” – he took a break – “or something, I didn’t even know what it was.”  He squinted as if trying to remember every moment of the happenings. “It was tall, really tall. And maybe because it was late evening, it looked like that this thing was pitch-black from head to toe. I saw no eyes, no teeth. At first I thought it was a man.” He looked at the eyes of everybody sitting around the table. “I yelled at him, because he was shouldn’t be there. And then It turned to me; that was the moment I realized, It wasn’t a man, or even close.” His friends  listened to the story open-mouthed.

I just sat at my table and didn’t know what to think. I didn’t use to believe in things like Big Foot, monsters, aliens and things like that. But the story of this man really got me. I was curious how it would end, but at the same time I didn’t want to know. I heard the storm getting worse, so I had no choice; I stayed and continued listening to the man.

“When It turned around I saw the face of it. It was nothing like a human’s face. I can’t characterize it, I have never seen anything like that. I couldn’t move when It stared at me; I could feel those eyes even though I couldn’t see them.” He stopped talking for a moment. “I thought I was going to die,” he whispered. “But I’m still alive as you see,” he said with a strained smile on his mouth. “I don’t know why, but It just started running in the opposite direction from me. And that’s the end of the story, my friends,” he said, staring straight at the table. He raised his head and waited for the questions from the others. But everybody was quiet. I was quiet, too. It couldn’t happen, this story…. This story was like a tale, things like that don’t happen in real life. I couldn’t move; that story was really strange. “Maybe the man lied.” I started finding believable explanations. But the man was too frightened; he wouldn’t have said things like that if they hadn’t happened to him. I have read articles about strange, unbelievable things before, but when somebody tells it next to you, it is much different. I stared at the top of the table; everything around me was quiet. I realized that the quiet meant that the rain had stopped. The company of men started talking again, but I couldn’t hear any beating of the rainstorm. I stood up slowly and went toward the door. I looked back when I reached it. At that moment the men at the table started laughing. “How could they forget the last few minutes?” I was still shocked, but they acted as though nothing had happened. The only man I noticed with emotions on his face was the man in the cap who had told the story. But after a second he also started laughing at a joke that one of his friends made. I held the door handle and went out. The rain really had stopped; there were just puddles everywhere, and some raindrops were falling from the trees to the ground. I went to my car, sat inside, and continued on my way homeward. During my journey I drove along many forests, and I couldn’t get the story I had heard out of my head.

A Bright Future

Laura Mora

There was a high school in a small town called Clinton in New Jersey. The population was about 2000. There was only one landmark, the Red Mill. At school there were some really smart kids, for whom every teacher predicted a bright future. Once a week a private class was held for these students: Mondays for freshmen, Tuesdays for sophomores…

The was a guy called Ryan who was always prepared for every class. He wasn’t just brilliant in class; he had a lovely personality, he was always smiling and made everybody smile, you could always rely on him, and his kindness made the day better. His parents had taught these things to him; everybody wanted a family like his, as it was perfect in its own way. He was in junior year so they had their class on Wednesdays.

One day he came to class late, apologized and sat down. The teacher asked for his essay; he looked at her with a frightened face, and everybody knew what that meant. He had forgotten to do it again. Lately he had started acting differently; he rarely smiled or talked with anybody. If somebody asked what was wrong with him, he said “nothing” and “don’t ask me this again.”

As you might suspect, his behavior continued like this, so action needed to be taken. So the headmaster called him in. Ryan sat down in front of him in an office where he had been many times but which he had always left in high spirits, as he had never done anything wrong until now. The headmaster said he was disappointed in him, his grades were going down very fast, and if he didn’t change this, he would be kicked out of the private classes, and without that, he hadn’t a chance at Harvard, his dream college.

He went home and started thinking. After an hour, he decided that he was going to be his old self, so he did all of his homework immediately. The next day he apologized to his teacher but didn’t explain his behavior.

His two best friends, Ava and Justin, were worried about him. They started talking about him, how they wanted to help but couldn’t. Ava said that they should talk to his parents, so they started with that. When they arrived at his house, they knocked on the door. Ryan’s parents opened it with big smiles on their faces. Ava and Justin started talking about how weird Ryan had been lately, but his parents didn’t know anything about it. After a lot of thinking, Justin had an idea. He said that they should follow Ryan after school, because he had told his parents that he was always with his friends after school. Ava hesitated, as it isn’t right to follow someone, but they comforted themselves with the thought that they were doing this for a good reason.

It was four o’clock on Wednesday, they had finished their last class, Ryan quickly left the school, and Ava and Justin followed him. After a twenty-minute walk they arrived at a boxing club. It smelled like sweat and stinking socks—disgusting, but they stayed out of curiosity, since Ryan never worked out and didn’t play any sports. It was nine when Ryan left the building; he had been there for nearly five hours. They ran to him and questioned him. They asked him to explain this, all of this.

“I’m sorry guys, I really don’t want to talk about this, I’m fine.”

“Listen, Ryan, we love you and care about you always and we know you are not okay, so tell us what is wrong, and maybe we can help,” Ava said.

He hesitated, but he looked into his best friends’ eyes and started talking.

“I have been boxing because one night somebody wanted to steal from me and the fact that i could’t defend myself was terrifying. I haven’t told anybody about that night. I just came into this boxing club and started boxing. After a while I started to like it, but it is overwhelming on top of school, and I don’t know what I should do.”

They talked for an hour, and many good ideas came up.

After two months he managed the school and the boxing together; he had harmony in his life again, thanks to that night when his friends talked to him.

The Real

Adél Mihályi

“So… Do you confess that you are a murderer?”

To be honest, the question hit me hard. To be exact, not the question – because I knew what I’ve done – but the fact that they didn’t ask Lorelai the same. She was my victim, but she did almost the same thing I did.

She was the one and only person in my life. Others would say that we were ’best friends’, but Lorelai was my parents, my siblings, my neighbours, and also my enemies.

Until one point, everything was fine. We had an almost perfect relationship, but after one time that I was late for our meeting, and got angry when she asked me why, it changed. Until that, I was showing her my flawless self, the side of me she liked.

She started to isolate me not from people – because I haven’t had anyone since she appeared in my life – but from the world. She believed that she wasn’t important to me, and did everything to reach the opposite; she stayed with me continuously.

And with this, she became unimportant, unvaluable. I didn’t miss her anymore. The missing was missing from our relationship.

Once I got fed up with being with her 24/7, and murdered her.

I didn’t realize that we were soulmates, and as I killed her, her death killed me.

While I killed some body, she killed somebody.

We are some-bodies. We are both dead.

“Did you ask her this question?” My words made the small room even colder than it was; I felt like I was buried in Antarctica.


“She wasn’t innocent either,” I said calmly, with no tone in my voice. I have only known physical feelings since Lorelai ended my life.

But I wanted to know what it feels like to kill your killer. At the end, I was alone with the emptiness in myself.

“How do you know that?”

“We killed each other. The difference is that while I killed her body, she slowly killed my soul. I’m also dead. But I’m the one who’s punished, because you all could see that her body was bleeding. But you can’t see my spirit’s deep wounds. I had nothing except her. If Lorelai was my life, I could say that life killed me.”

The Damned Man

Gábor Medvegy

Father Brown lived for his small flock.

As a pastor in his early forties, he gave the sermons for his small town every Sunday, knew most of the townies on a first-name basis and — perhaps his most important task of all — listened to the confessions of those who had wandered off the righteous path, gave them a momentary relief from their sins, and offered them — once again — absolution in the name of the almighty God. The townspeople respected him, and even the somewhatisly renegade teens attended the small chapel’s sermons regularly out of admiration for Father Brown.

That day started off like all others, or at least it seemed as such. Father Brown — in his cassock — walked down the main street with energetic steps, bought a croissant from Lewis’s Bakery, and, half-chewing on the delicious crescent, stepped inside the moderately run-down, but positively beaming chapel, murmuring a short prayer. It was Saturday, the birds were chirping outside, the weather was lovely; with the Wesson’s kids playing ball on the field across the parsonage, Father Brown could feel the gentle touch of God across the landscape. In an inner room of the building he put down his hat and his umbrella (he brought it in case the weather would turn about), straightened his soutane and stepped inside the confessional, patiently waiting for any penitents in need of his assistance. That was when the damned man showed up.

If I were not to tell you this information, you would never have had guessed that the man who so sheepishly stepped inside the echoing halls was damned. He wore jeans so blue they might have been ripped down straight from the skies, his chocolate-brown jacket tightly squeezed around his narrow frame, his wrinkle-free face and dirty-blonde hair hidden deep under the comfort of a grey hoodie, his unusually emerald-green eyes wandering tile to tile on the heavily decorated floor of the parsonage as if he were searching for something precious. He moved slowly; even an unassociated observer could tell he was not a regular guest of buildings like these. He passed the cross of the Messiah without acknowledging it, reaching the confessional Father Brown was residing in currently, grabbed the curtains, ready to step inside, but then hesitated. He turned away either in shame or looking for assistance, and let out a deep sigh, common to those with problems so large nobody can solve them. He shook his head in dismissal, not sure what to expect from this encounter, stepped inside the booth and sat down.

There was silence. At this point, those confessing say something like “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” mutter a silent prayer under their noses, or at the very least cross themselves. The damned man did none of these, which struck Father Brown as an odd detail. As a pastor, he felt like he was the one who had to break the silence, as the stranger seemed so unwilling to start.

– Can I help you, my child? Have you sinned and thus you’re seeking forgiveness from our holy Father?

– My faith is long broken.

The damned man’s words were short, on point and unforeseen. Father Brown was about to say something, but his mouth just couldn’t seem to form the right words. If his faith were broken, why would he willingly come and sit down in a confessional? He recollected his words and said what any other would have asked:

– Then what is it, you seek, my son? Shall I help you find our Lord again?

– I seek an answer.

Father Brown was still more confused, if that was even possible.

– An answer to what, exactly?

It seemed that these were the words the damned man was looking for, as he let out a pain-filled sigh, which seemed like a gust of wind in the silent room. He became much more talkative,

– You see, Father, I was a faithful Christian. I resented the path of Lucifer, I lived enlightened in the glow of God, or so I’ve been told. I was learning to become a priest, to spread the words of the Holy Bible, to teach the masses. I welcomed the light of our Savior in my heart and felt rueful towards those who took His name in vain. But then, one day, a friend of mine, whom I tried so hard to lead down the path towards everlasting life as he was a non-believer, asked me a question. A question that shattered my faith to this day, a question, which still haunts my every living hour. That is the question I seek an answer for.

Father Brown felt suddenly at ease. He had heard many stories of people questioning their faith; he had been anticipating something much worse. Audibly relieved, he spoke.

– As John 3:16 reads: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God loves you even in a moment of peril, on the verge of corruption for you are his creation. If you seek absolution, you must ask him this ques…

– I’m asking you.

The damned man’s interruption showed that perhaps he had participated in a scene much like this one. The pastor was still in the rhythm of the verse; the rebuff from his fellow man caught him completely off guard. His voice shook as he spoke.

– I’m sorry?

– I’m asking this question of you, Father. Not God. Not anyone other. You.

– Wh- Why me?

– Because this question is something even God couldn’t deal with. A question only a pastor like you answer.

Father Brown grew increasingly curious; his human nature slipped through his usually calculated speech pattern.

– And what is this question?

The damned leaned closer towards the latticed opening through which they spoke.

– Are those who are only good in life because they fear God’s judgement, truly good?

Father Brown was about to cite the corresponding passage from memory, but as he began to open his mouth, air didn’t seem to flow through it. The words seeped into his mind; analyzing their meaning but to no avail, he remained speechless. He was about to formulate an answer, but the damned man, as if he had read the mind of the priest, continued.

– And I want a direct answer. Nothing about the enigmatic nature of God, no cited verses from the Bible. I need an answer that is open and to the point.

The priest hesitated a bit. Then, unsure of his own words, answered.

– No.

– No?

– No, they’re not. Those who put up a façade shall be seen through, for God is all-knowing. Those not true in heart will not fool him. That is my answer.

A moment of silence ensued, much like the one when the stranger stepped in the booth. Then he spoke.

– So that is your answer.

– Yes.

– And do you agree with it?

– Of course I do!

He spoke with confidence, but deep inside he too was unsure if that was the right answer to the man’s question. He was about to offer him redemption, thinking this was the end of their discussion….

– May I ask another question?

Fear. That was the feeling that these words evoked in the father. He feared what the strange man, who felt more distant from him by the minute, might ask of him. He held his hands together in prayer, and as much as he wanted to refuse, he let out a short “yes.”

– If I were to say my questions have been all answered, I declare my everlasting love towards God and I welcome Him back into my life, would I be going to Hell still for my transgression?

Rocks were dropping from the heavily beating heart of Father Brown as a rush of relief came over him. His answer seemingly satisfied the penitent.

– No, you wouldn’t be. God loves his creation and offers them salvation should they recognize the path they stepped on.

– And if I say no?

– Then I guess, my son, you have no other options but to walk the path you chose for yourself, the one towards Hell.

The damned man, again, leaned in close.

– Then answer me, oh Father, how should I love a god who throws his own creation towards endless suffering just because they do not rejoice in his name?

– Get out!

Father Brown sneered whilst gritting his teeth against each other. He lost all apprehension, all empathy towards this man. His entire being lit up in flames as he repeated those two words, for which the damned man — without a flake of regret in his eyes — stood up and left the confessional. The priest opened the door of his booth, to catch one final glimpse of this accursed man.

– And don’t you dare ever come back to our Lord’s home if all you want is to take his name in such vain! You’re damned! You hear me? Damned!

The damned man didn’t look back. His hoodie once again hid his features, as he stepped sideways to avoid colliding with the Wesson kids who were just now entering the parsonage and only catching the end of the conversation. They both looked at the upset priest, who was shaking with anger as blood rushed through his veins.

– Father, are you up…

– Don’t speak. You should be at home now, helping your mother. She must do all the laundry by herself again, you two lazy slackers!

Even he didn’t know why he was so aggressive with them at that moment; he spoke with spite, but he had nothing to be spiteful about. He had removed the rotting influence from the chapel, yet he did not feel good about it. The final question of the apparition of the Devil — as he deemed it — was still echoing in his mind. He looked through the window. Outside, the wind blew stronger now; dark clouds were beginning to litter the horizon. It would rain soon.

Many weeks, months passed since that fateful day; autumn turned to winter, then to spring. Every Sunday, the white-walled chapel of the small town awaited those seeking guidance, there were always people praying silently among the pews, and Father Brown held sermons and occupied the confessional regularly. Life moved on.

But in those moments when he was alone, he was still disturbed. He read the Bible thoroughly every single day, contacted many notable scholars who were known for studying the Holy Books, even asked for advice from his own past teachers. There were those who scolded him for these thoughts the exact same way he scolded that man. Others referred to the enigmatic nature of God, but none offered salvation. He prayed so deeply, the likes of which the locals had never seen before that day. He begged God to ease him from the questions, to lead him back towards the path from which he was diverted, but those words offered not even temporary relief as day after day the question seeped back into his mind, whenever he was praying, listening to confessions, or even walking towards the chapel or his own residence.

He felt increasingly unwell as the weeks passed by. He constantly tossed and turned in his sleep at night; more than once he woke up covered in cold sweat, awoken by his own yelling. In his dreams he saw the damned man’s face, whose glowing green eyes craved deeply into his soul, his mouth uttering that wretched question again and again, not loudly, but loud enough that Father Brown could always hear the words no matter how hard he tried to ignore them. He shook the malicious influence off off his shoulders, with more and more struggling each time he prayed, as his prayers felt less sincere with each verse. He cursed him and the day they met countless times but could not escape the doubt he embedded deep within him, nor could he escape the question, which like dark blood slipped slowly through the cracks of his forever broken faith.

Last Summer

Ilona Králik

Last summer on a hot Sunday big things happened. That Sunday seemed to be just an ordinary day. Emily was talking to her friends on her phone. They all agreed to meet in the park later that day. After the call ended, Emily watched a movie and then started getting ready for the meeting with her friends. She was thinking of taking her dog, since he loved going on walks with her.

She went outside to put the leash on her dog, since she had decided to bring him along. When she stepped outside she saw three younger boys trying to hurt the dog; they were throwing small stones in his direction. She started shouting. When the boys saw and heard her, they ran away. Emily was very disappointed and sad; she could not believe that someone would do something like that. She took the dog inside her room and called her friends to tell them that she would not be going to the park. She lay down on her bed; the dog lay next to her. She wanted to take a nap but could not stop thinking about what had happened.

She was thinking so much about it that she realised that what happened to her dog could happen to any other animal; moreover, maybe those animals were not as lucky as her dog, and no one would be there to help them. She decided that she could not let that happen. She loved animals and wanted to help them in any way she could. She was thinking for hours and hours until she fell asleep.

After she woke up from her nap, she called her friends, since earlier she had not given a reason for deciding to stay home. After her friends heard what had happened to her dog, they said that she just overreacted to things. Then Emily told them that maybe other animals were not as lucky and someone could actually hurt them. Her friends laughed at her and said that she was way too dramatic. After the phone call, Emily was disappointed and mad at the same time. She was so mad that she could not do anything other than go to sleep. So she lay next to her dog and fell asleep.

On Monday, the next day, when Emily awoke, she decided that she would help animals and would not care what anyone thought about it, not even her friends. She started searching for animal protection clubs, and when she found the perfect one for her, she joined it.

In that club she made new friends, people who thought in the same way she did. She realised that this was the best decision she had ever made.

A Mysterious Forest

Fanni Kepenyes

Emily was walking alone in a forest near her home. She loved spending time there. It was always calm and seemed to be another world, far from the noises of the city. Suddenly she heard a strange noise. It was like a whisper she couldn’t understand. The girl was very imaginative, and her mind immediately started to wander.

The forest was magical. This was the place where people could meet spirits and ghosts of their loved ones. However, only a few came here. Most were too scared. The forest had stood there ever since the city was founded. It could be seen on every painting and picture; all the citizens knew it. In the beginning, it was like a normal place where people would go to get closer to nature, to spend some time with their families in a peaceful environment. It was like this until decades ago when children were playing nearby. They were laughing and happy to be with their friends. Suddenly they heard strange noises and whispers. Than a strange woman appeared in front of them. The kids started yelling and screaming, and the woman disappeared immediately, but this didn’t change anything. The kids ran home crying and said the place was cursed. Their parents and other citizens went to the forest. At first they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The birds were singing the sun was shining and they thought the whole tale had been made up by the kids. They were very angry. They wanted to get home and tell the children this joke was not funny. Before they could turn around, everything went cold and silent. Then they heard whispers, and the voices became louder and louder. Everyone started running. After this experience, they never let their children go close to the forest.

Years later a girl was standing here. She was the only one to go there, and she didn’t mind. A ghost appeared in front of her. It was a strange woman.

“I didn’t want to hurt them. I just wanted to see my son. I died in an illness when he was only one year old. I just wanted to see him. I ruined everything. Ghosts can’t see their loved ones anymore. It is all my fault. I shouldn’t have shown myself, I just wanted to tell him I love him.”

She started crying.

“It isn’t your mistake,” Emily said. “People should have listened to your whispers, but they were afraid of everything unknown to them. This place is amazing. If they had waited, they would have seen everyone they had lost. Don’t blame yourself!”

She hugged the ghost, and at that moment another ghost appeared and another. They came to the place where for centuries they had tried to tell people they meant no harm. They looked like humans, they wore clothes from different eras, and all of them were crying and glistening with a mysterious silver colour. It was the most beautiful moment Emily had ever seen.

“I will tell them all of this, I will show them that there is nothing that can hurt them here.”

The ghosts whispered, thanked her, and disappeared, but the girl still heard their whispers for a few moments, and then everything went silent. Then a voice brought Emily back to reality.

“So you are hiding here! Everyone was looking for you!” Ashley said. “Do you want to spend your birthday alone?”

Ashley, Emily’s best friend, was standing nearby, a confused look spread across her face. She never understood why Emily liked to spend so much time in the forest.

“Of course not! Let’s go!”

The two girls walked out of the forest and didn’t look back. They didn’t see the strange woman standing there silently and smiling.

Haunted House

Lilla Kassai

I lived in a family house in the suburbs. It was one of the most comfortable and calming places ever: the warm coloured walls, the garden full of flowers in the spring, the modern and technically well-equipped kitchen and the Victorian furniture in the living room created a perfect balance of old and new. I always felt comfortable and calm when at home. It was the most calming, relaxing and friendly atmosphere ever.

Although I’m sixteen years old now, I still shiver when I have to go down to the basement. Unlike the upper floors, the basement was neither calming nor friendly. It was dark, and there was never enough light in the lamp to illuminate the whole place, so every time I went down there to do laundry or to find a tool that would help us fix a damaged object, I got scared. When I was little, I was afraid of even going near the basement door. The door was rarely closed: it was a long process to close it, because the lock was damaged easily, and that place was always in need of fresh air to avoid the mold on the walls, or the stale air, or even the smell of must. As I walked past the basement door, I had the strange feeling that someone was watching me from down there. I turned around, so I was “face-to-face” with the door. I swear, sometimes I heard some weird noises coming out of it, when it opened with a creaking sound. Then the scenery would turn into a nightmare: the door became a monster with razor sharp teeth, who wanted to eat me up, and the unexposed stairway downwards was the monster’s throat, leading to complete darkness. To the hopeless, everlasting darkness, from which people can never return. Then I screamed for my mom, and she had to convince me that there was no monster in the basement.

It was a very common action ten years ago, but sometime I still have the same feeling that someone is watching me from the basement. Now, I just ignore it, because it is a stupid childhood fear, and I am almost a grown-up woman! I don’t have time for this!

All the same, I still consider my house the most calming place ever. My family, my friends who come over at weekends are the most precious things. They help me in studies, or in overcoming something traumatic, like my dog’s passing.

But there was one person whom I hated when she came over: the chambermaid, who did the laundry or cooked for us sometimes. She had medium-length, wavy, greasy grey hair, and a look on her wrinkly face as if she were always smelling cat piss. And she hated me, what a surprise. She called me a Satanist for being into metal music, and always told my parents that I would rot in hell for listening to the “Devil’s Music.”

One day, everything changed, mostly my attitude to my home. The chambermaid had agonising pain for years that she couldn’t bear, so she ended her life. She hung herself in the basement after putting in the laundry. She didn’t leave a note to explain to us why she did it. My mom found her body; she is still visiting the psychologist regularly, like most of us. By now, I can’t see the same calming, and friendly place in my house that I used to see.         

The image of my home that now lives in me is the dark stairway leading to the basement. I often dream about that dark place, and I feel that my home is now haunted by the chambermaid. Around midnight, I always wake up to a creaking sound, and shortly afterward, I hear footsteps walking around in the house and the whistling of an old song that she used to whistle. An hour later, the basement door creaks again, and I hear footsteps going downwards, and sometimes the groaning of someone in agonising pain.  I know she is still here, and as a sixteen-year-old teenager, I am still terrified. It’s not like a fear that you feel when someone scares you in a prank. It is like when a soft sound sends shivers down your spine, the feeling that you are not alone, that someone is watching you from a dark corner and following you. After that, you turn around and see no one, but you still have the phobia that someone‘s always there.