Welcome to Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids, where it’s always the spooky season – full of chills, thrills, and spine-tingling spooks! Micro Terrors are family-friendly frights for those ages 8 and up. And while our stories are for younger ears, we are still talking about things that go bump in the night, and some children may not be able to handle what others can. Parental consent is recommended. Now… for tonight’s MICRO TERROR!!!!
I CREATED A HOAX
Little Charlie Russo woke with a start, sweating and out of breath. He had a nightmare, one that felt so real, but there was no way it could have been. He was walking in the woods, searching for Dumbledog — the family’s rat terrier — who had run off. He had been calling out, but his voice only echoed through the trees without a bark or a yip in response. Nighttime had settled over his small town in West Virginia, bringing with it an icy chill in the air where his visible breath was just as present as he was.
That’s when little Charlie Russo saw it. Just ahead, between a thick cluster of bushes and trees, a large white mass sat. It was much taller than he, a lot wider too. Charlie aimed his flashlight at the massive object and called out:
“Dumbledog? Is that you?”
Obviously Dumbledog didn’t respond. Obviously the large white mass that was now rising up and down as if it were breathing was not his family’s teenie-tiny, chocolate-colored rat terrier.
Within the logic of Charlie Russo’s dream world, he moved closer to the strange mass, unable to explain why he would even want to. But none-the-less, he did. And as he moved closer, the beam of his flashlight illuminating a vast majority of the invasive ‘thing’, it slowly turned around to reveal its head sandwiched between two imposing shoulders. The white surface of the thing was covered in red veins that resembled an intricate roadmap. Its solid white eyes were bloodshot and its toothless mouth hung open, continuously dropping further down its body while expelling an unnerving whistling howl.
Charlie screamed. The white monster in the woods lunged forward, and that’s when little Charlie Russo woke up sweating and out of breath.
He spent the day in school thinking about his impossible nightmare. He sketched out the creature on his worksheets, as detailed as he could remember. But as the school day was coming to end, and just like with most dreams, his memory of it began to fade.
“What’s that?” Reuben, a classmate of Charlie’s asked. He looked over his shoulder at the crudely drawn monster. Charlie was annoyed by Reuben. The kid had no sense of personal space for others and was always being nosey. No matter how hard Reuban would try, Charlie didn’t want a friendship with him.
Charlie was quick to slap his hands down on the paper to cover it up. “It’s nothing,” he said. “Just some cool monster I saw in…”
Charlie had an idea. He smirked and looked up at Reuben, lifting his hands off the paper to dramatically reveal the sketch.
“A monster I saw in the woods last night,” Charlie said in a deeper, more ominous tone.
Reuben looked closer at the drawing. “A monster? What woods?”
“The woods behind my house. My dog ran off and I went after him. That’s when I saw it. It attacked me and I barely escaped with my life.”
Reuben swallowed hard, trying not to believe the tale Charlie was spinning. “No way you saw something like that,” Reuben said.
“Oh, definitely way,” Charlie said. “It’s out there. It comes out on cold nights and tries to eat people.”
“What about your dog? Did it eat your dog?”
Charlie thought for a moment, not remembering ever finding his dog in the dream.
“I never saw my dog again…”
Reuben was unsettled, that much was clear, and little Charlie Russo was pleased with himself.
Reuben began passing the story along to other classmates, and before the school day had officially ended, it’s all the students could talk about. Some of them believed the story about the monster, others claimed Charlie made it up. Some kids picked on Rueben for believing such a tale, while others came directly to Charlie for more details.
“Yes,” Charlie responded to some of them, “it was terrifying. It had no teeth, but its mouth just continued to open like a dark cave. It’s cry was like a horrible, whistling wind.”
The hoax continued to spread like a disease, and Charlie sat at home later that day laughing at all of the attention it had grabbed within his social media circle. A girl claimed to see it on her way home from school. A friend of a friend of hers said the monster was going through the dumpster behind the school.
“Won’t find anything there except mushy tater tots and cardboard-flavored pizza,” Charlie laughed.
Charlie then felt nervous when he saw the news had officially spread to the local police’s social media accounts. His hoax was in the big leagues now. How a simple dream made it this far into the awareness of his small, mountain town was unreal.
The power of words and gossip, little Charlie Russo thought with a smirk.
Charlie’s parents came home from work not long after his hoax had spread its wings on social media. While Charlie’s dad started cooking dinner, his mom called for Dumbledog to come eat his supper.
Charlie sat down at the kitchen table where his dad had his phone propped up, playing the six o’clock news. He wore the same ornery smirk on his face that he had all day.
“Hey Dad, guess what,” little Charlie Russo said with a grin.
“Um, you found a treasure map and dug up the ground where the X had marked the spot and found a hundred gold bars?” his dad playfully answered.
“Nope,” Charlie said. “I created a hoax.”
His dad’s playful smile went away and he cocked his head at his son. “What do you mean you created a hoax?”
Charlie retained his smile, although his fathers lack of one was concerning for the outcome of the story he was about to tell:
“I had a dream last night where I was in the woods looking for Dumbledog and I saw a monster. I drew some pictures of it today at school and told some kids that it really happened. Now, it’s blowing up all over social media.”
“Wow,” his dad said. “That’s, uh…”
His dad’s attention turned to his phone where breaking news was coming across the tiny screen. His dad turned up the volume and held it in his hands. Little Charlie Russo could see the images on screen reflecting off the lenses of his dad’s glasses. He listened to what the reporter was saying:
“The reports started coming in less than an hour ago, bringing authorities to this section of woods near the outskirts of Grafton. Frantic onlookers claimed to see what they described as a large, white beast. As the police continue to comb the woods, I can only tell you that there has been a constant whistle, or howl of some kind, coming from the forested region behind me. What that is, I don’t know, but authorities are currently aware of it and promise to get answers. These reports come mere hours after an online panic described a monster here in Grafton. We’ll continue to—”
His dad turned the phone off and flew to the kitchen window. He pulled the curtains aside to see snow steadily falling in front of the wooded region depicted on the news.
“That’s our property,” Charlie’s dad said. He turned back to his son. “Look what you started, Charlie.”
Little Charlie Russo didn’t know how to respond. He didn’t know what to say. He felt embarrassed now. “I didn’t mean to…I didn’t…”
Charlie’s mom came into the kitchen. “Where’s Dumbledog?” she asked, concern on her face. I’ve been calling for him. I looked outside, downstairs, in the bedroom; I can’t find him.”
Charlie’s dad looked at his son again. “You did find him last night, right Charlie?”
“Last night?” Charlie asked. He tried to remember last night, but all he could picture was the dream. He was looking for Dumbledog in the woods, but that was his dream. He remembered the cold on his face and the snow in his hair. But that was the dream. He remembered seeing the monster. He remembered it lunging for him. He remembered—
—Little Charlie Russo remembered dodging the monster. He remembered it reached out for him and grabbed his leg. He remembered kicking himself free and running home as fast as he could. He remembered jumping in bed, covering his head and trying as hard as he could to remove the monstrosity he’d seen from his consciousness. It was horrifying, bone-chilling …he didn’t want to remember. He didn’t want to believe something like that was real and lurking out in the woods behind his home.
“Where’s Dumbledog?” Little Charlie Russo’s mom desperately asked again, beginning to tear up.
Just then, from the woods behind their home, the Russo’s heard screaming and shouting. They heard gunshots and an ear-splitting howl.
Charlie’s parents looked at him, wide-eyed and mouths agape.
“But I…I created a hoax…” Little Charlie Russo stuttered. “Didn’t I?”
Thank you for listening to Micro Terrors!!! Join us each Saturday for another scary story! For more fun, visit our website at MicroTerrors.com where we also have spooky games you can print out and play — like wicked word searches, mysterious mazes, and more! MicroTerrors.com is also where you can find us on your favorite social media and even send in your own scary story for us to tell! Plus, you’ll learn more about our author, Scott Donnelly, who has other horrors for both young and old! I hope you’ll join me again soon for Micro Terrors: Scary Stories for Kids!