A little horror story I wrote for spooky season and posted on social media, with a short entry for each day of October. Now you can enjoy it all in one go!

Day 0

The package is waiting for me outside my door when I come back from the shops. No label, no return address. I take it to my kitchen table. It’s a heavy cardboard box that opens out like a book.

A thinner piece of cardboard folds down from the middle to make a floor, and the whole thing makes something like a tiny stage set. It looks like an old-fashioned cottage. To either side, in the ‘walls’, there are little drawers, numbered 1-31.

On the left hand side, there’s a label made to look like a cross stitch sampler. It says ‘The Spookvent Calendar’. This thing is beautifully made and must have been expensive, and I have no idea who sent it.

Day 1

I’d forgotten about the spookvent calendar until I come downstairs for breakfast and see it on the kitchen table. Oh well, it’s the first of October, so I guess I’ll open the first little drawer.

When I open the drawer, there’s an eyeball staring up me. It makes me start a little bit, then giggle at my own jumpiness.

Of course, it’s made of chocolate. The shell is white chocolate with a very realistic eye design including a hazel-coloured iris. When I bite into it, I find the filling is a smooth praline. Delicious.

Day 2

I remember yesterday’s tasty chocolate eyeball so today, when I come downstairs to the kitchen, I’m enthusiastic about opening the second drawer of the calendar.

A bit too enthusiastic because it turns out to be full of glitter. Orange and black glitter that’s now all over my kitchen, and soon all over the rest of my house. I’ll be hoovering that up for the rest of the month, probably the rest of the year.

Day 3

I open the next drawer carefully. It contains a tiny model of a black cat, curled up sleeping. It’s beautifully detailed and it fits perfectly on the cardboard outline of a rug, making the calendar into the start of a 3D diorama. Cute. This is more like it.

Day 4

The next drawer contains a miniature cauldron. I lift it out carefully and it’s just as well I did because it has green glitter in it, to look like potion I guess. The last thing I need is more glitter on my floor. I place it by the cardboard fireplace, near the sleeping model cat, and I must have spilled a bit of the glitter because it now looks like the cat has opened up a pair of green eyes.

Day 5

Today’s drawer contains a tiny broomstick, beautifully crafted. I put it near the cauldron and the black cat with its glittering green eyes. The calendar is gradually turning into a diorama of a witch’s cottage.

Day 6

Today I find a vial of what initially looks like more glitter. On closer inspection, it’s a green liquid that looks like it’s been cooked up in the miniature cauldron. There’s a handwritten label. It says “Nightmare Juice”.

Day 7

I’m late coming downstairs this morning. I didn’t drink that much last night but I slept badly, tormented by nightmares I can’t quite remember. I feel groggy as I walk into the kitchen and see the Spookvent Calendar sitting there, cauldron and broomstick and cat in loaf mode, and I remember the nightmare juice.

Was it a coincidence? Or a nasty prank? Who even sent me this thing? None of the friends I saw last night knew anything about it – or admitted that they did, anyway.

I’m tempted to stuff the whole calendar in the bin, but I’m too curious about what the rest of the drawers contain. So I open the next one up, and find a piece of paper inside, with a peel-off patch on the back so I can stick it to the cardboard wall. It’s a chart showing the phases of the moon, and it tells me that the next full moon- the Hunter’s Moon – will be on the 28th of October.

I’ve never paid much attention to the moon before, but I know I’ll be watching it now.

Day 8

Today’s spooky little gift is a cute model pumpkin with a carved face. It even lights up with an LED inside. It looks great in the model cottage. 

Day 9

Today I get a miniature chair. Nothing spooky about it, just a chair. I’m building my doll’s house diorama, bit by bit.

No dolls yet though, unless you count the cat.

Day 10

Today’s drawer is empty, which is a disappointment, but then I’m distracted by my post – another letter from the insurance company about that accident I had. It’s not like it was really my fault, it’s impossible to see those cats in the dark!

Day 11

I’m oddly relieved to find that today’s drawer isn’t empty. It contains a tiny model crow in a cage. Another witch’s familiar to go with the sleeping cat.

It was sleeping, wasn’t it?

Day 12

And we’re back to the doll’s house furniture. Today it’s a table that I fold out and place in the middle of the cardboard cottage. It sits there, ready for something to be put on top of it.

But what?

Day 13

Friday the 13th. I’m not usually superstitious, but I’m slightly nervous about opening the drawer today. I find a tiny sickle. Despite being careful, when I lift it out, I cut my finger. This thing is razor sharp! A few drops of my blood fall onto the calendar and soak in. It must be made of something absorbent. I put the treacherous little sickle on the miniature table and go to find a plaster for my finger.

Day 14

Today the drawer contains a severed finger, very detailed and realistic. It’s amazing what they can do with marzipan.

Day 15

Another vial today, but the contents aren’t glittering like before. It looks like… soil? The label says “Grave Dirt”. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with this, but when I open it and take a cautious sniff it smells like chocolate. 

I try some sprinkled on my mid-morning cappuccino. It’s good.

Day 16

The crow is out of its cage, flapping wildly. The cat must have knocked it, I think, but then I realise, the cat shouldn’t be moving either, it’s curled up asleep. No, it’s stalking along, green eyes glittering, reminds me of that other cat, glimpsed in the headlights the moment before-

I blink a few times and shake my head. Both cat and crow are still, nothing but wonderfully detailed models. 

I’m not sleeping well at the moment. I make myself a coffee, sprinkled with chocolate “grave dirt”, before I open the next drawer. It contains a little bookshelf, filled with books, so detailed I can read the titles. It even has my favourites, like Austen and Tolkien. So much care taken, and I wonder again- who sent me this calendar? And why?

Day 17

The sky was very clear last night and I went outside to look at the stars. I couldn’t see the moon though, which according to the lunar chart should have been a thin waxing crescent. Just starting to grow towards the Hunter’s Moon.

I get a nasty shock this morning when I open the drawer- a live house spider jumps out and skitters over my hand before running down the table leg and vanishing into a crack in the skirting board. I suppose it’s the time of year when they come indoors, though I don’t know how it got into the calendar.

I realise later that it must have bitten me because my hand is red and itchy.

Day 18

After yesterday’s experience with the live spider, I don’t really want to open the drawer, but something compels me to anyway. Curiosity I guess. 

Luckily, today’s offering is much more pleasant: a miniature armchair. I put it next to the bookshelf, making a cosy little display. That’s more like it.

Day 19

Today’s drawer contains another vial. This time the liquid is red. The label says “Fresh blood”. I decide not to drink it. I’ll stick with my grave-dirt cappuccino.

Day 20

Today I get another addition to the doll’s house furniture collection: a tiny Welsh dresser, complete with plates and cups, a teapot and even – when I open up the doors – jars of ingredients. As with the bookshelf, the level of detail is astonishing.

Day 21

Today’s offering is a small bone, made of white chocolate. I’m not an expert on bones, but I think it looks like a finger bone, or maybe a toe. Either way, it’s delicious.

Day 22

And today I get another miniature addition to the doll’s house: a cushion with embroidery done in minuscule stitches. When I peer at it carefully, I can see it reads “when justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous” and underneath that, “Proverbs 21:15”. A bible quote seems slightly out of place with the witch’s cottage vibe, but the cushion looks super cute on the miniature armchair.

Day 23

I saw the moon last night, very clearly. A perfect semicircle, or so it seemed to me.

Halfway to the Hunter’s Moon.

Today’s drawer contains another addition to my miniature menagerie: a tiny bat, complete with a hook to hang it upside down from the top of the calendar. Cute.

Day 24

Another vial today, this time full of purplish glittery liquid. The label says “Poison”. I’m not drinking that, but it looks pretty.

Funny thing is, I’m sure the miniature cauldron had green potion in it before, but now it looks more purple.

Day 25

I saw the moon again last night, clear and bright and waxing towards the full.

This morning, when I open the next drawer in the calendar, there’s a lovely smell, like a wildflower meadow. And I see that today’s offering is a tiny vase, filled with dried flowers and herbs. A perfect centrepiece for the miniature table. The weird thing is, the plants look and smell so real, it’s hard to believe they’re imitation – it’s almost like they’ve been shrunk.

Day 26

Another clear night last night, another view of the bright swelling moon.

This morning I get another chair to add to my doll’s house diorama. I feel like I’m treading water, waiting for something, but I don’t know what.

Day 27

Today I get a tiny crystal ball, purple-tinted and mounted on a stand. I hold it up to my eye and try to peer into it to see the future, but it’s cloudy.  It looks good on the miniature table though.

Day 28

Another vial today, but instead of liquid, it has a tooth inside. A long, sharp, tooth. The label says “werewolf fang”. And I remember, it’s the full moon tonight.

Day 29

It was cloudy last night, so I didn’t see the full moon after all. It felt oddly anti-climactic. 

Then this morning, I get a vial of moonlight. It fills the kitchen with a silvery glow, and I can’t figure out how the effect is produced. In the end I put it in a cupboard, because there’s something unsettling about it. I keep it away from the werewolf tooth.

Day 30

I sleepwalked last night, for the first time since I was a child. Woke up in the kitchen with my bare feet on the cold floor, moonlight flooding through the window, and my hand on the door to the cupboard.

I figured I must have been looking for snacks in my sleep. The fact that it was the same cupboard where I put the werewolf tooth is just a coincidence.

The drawer this morning gives me a tiny embroidered cushion, the pair of the one that’s already on the tiny armchair. It reads “but terror to evildoers” which I guess is the other half of the quotation from the bible, although taken by itself it’s not a very reassuring message.

Only one drawer left in the calendar, for tomorrow. It’s a big one.

Day 31

Hallowe’en at last. I haven’t bothered carving a pumpkin or anything like that, we never get any trick or treaters round here anyway. I come downstairs, make myself a morning cappuccino – sprinkled with the last of the chocolate ‘grave dirt’, and open up the final drawer of the spookvent calendar.

It’s a bed. Not just any bed, either – it’s my bed. A perfect miniature replica of the bed I’ve just left, complete with rumpled covers and my Cthulhu plushie. The only thing that’s missing is me.

There’s a knock at the door, which makes me jump and nearly drop the bed. I put it down carefully before going to the door. Who could it be? It can’t be trick-or-treaters this early, and I’m not expecting a package.

When I open the door, I find a witch on my doorstep. She’s not wearing a black hat or riding a broomstick, but there’s something about her, some crackle of power, that makes me know immediately what she is. I try to close the door, but she puts out a hand and stops it.

A hand with only four fingers. She looks at me balefully with a single hazel eye, the other covered up with an eyepatch, and she shuffles forward, limping a little. And I remember the chocolate eyeball, and the marzipan finger, and – oh no – the white chocolate bone that could have been either a finger or a toe.

‘You,’ she says.

‘What do you want from me?’ I squeak, instinctively backing away from her, even though that means letting her into my house.

‘You ran over my cat,’ she says.

‘It was a mistake!’

‘You drank too much, you were looking at your phone, you were careless, I don’t care. You killed my cat, and now you must pay the price.’

‘What price? I have money in my savings account, I’ll pay whatever you want, just please leave me alone!’

‘I don’t want your money,’ she says, advancing on me, and I realise we’re in the kitchen now, and the spookvent calendar is on the table behind me. She holds up her mutilated hand, and all the cupboard doors fly open at once. Moonlight spills out into the room, and the vials of blood and poison and the tiny cauldron are all bubbling like mad. The werewolf tooth is rattling around like it’s alive. The tiny cat is meowing frantically, the crow is cawing, the bat is flapping… this can’t be happening…

The witch pulls her hand down again, and I’m knocked off my feet.

I land on my bed.

For a second I think it’s all been a dream, and then I look around me, at the crystal ball and the bunch of dried herbs on the table, and the armchair cushions with their biblical message, and I-

Oh no. Oh no.

A huge face looms over me and examines me with one eye.

‘That’ll do,’ says the witch. ‘You can stay there, nice and cosy, and I’ll keep my eye on you. You’ve even got your favourite books to read. Just watch out for the spider.’

The spider?

And, with a sick rush, I remember the spider that leapt out of the calendar It was probably about the same size as – as I am now.


Thank you for reading my spooky little tale! If you’ve enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it with your friends, enemies, and co-workers, and you can even buy me a pumpkin spice latte (with our without grave-dirt sprinkles) here: https://ko-fi.com/hesperleveret