(no subject)

I decided to take part in caddyman's Halloween Ghost Story challenge. Briefly, the challenge is to write a Halloween story of exactly 500 words, based around a song lyric.

My entry is below. If you'd like to guess at the song lyric, feel free; I think it's glaringly obvious :-) This is also my first attempt ever at anything like this, so please if you can't say anything nice about it don't say anything at all :-)

I'm leaving it public so it can be linked from caddyman's post.

It was about a year ago that the first unreals turned up. Newcomers settling in corners of suburbia, small inconsistencies in their backstories were noticed. Initially, their new neighbours naively assumed they were under witness protection programs, or even criminals on the run under false identities.

Then the rumours began: packs of dogs running through the streets in the night; people with them who seemed to melt into and out of the pack. Spied on by brave / foolish (take your pick) citizens, the entire pack would simply turn a corner and vanish into thin air.

The first definitive incident occurred shortly before dawn one morning. CCTV operators, observing a teenager stood by a bus stop with a felt pen, saw him challenged by a police officer. The officer was shredded instantly, but her colleagues, visiting her family home at 8am to notify her next of kin, were greeted by her smiling face, blinking in the sunlight and asking them cheerily what they were doing there.

It wasn’t long before the world understood that these unreals were some unholy new variety of the ancient fictional werewolf. By day, they appeared normal; they blended in to society, and were not at all threatening. After dark, however, they would be out, their howling merging with the scream of sirens, and their numbers swelling nightly with transformed victims.

Every now and then, a headline would report that scientists were one step closer to a test to identify the unreals during the daytime, or a vaccine to prevent their victims from becoming like them; but it was all spin, pushed out by politicians desperate to be seen to be Doing Something. Despite the curfew (and the attacks by mobs of vigilantes on anyone who didn’t quite seem right) the rise of the unreals continued relentlessly as the months passed.

This week, though, something is different. There's a buzz on the street and even more rumours than usual have been circulating on the internet: there really is a test! At last we can identify the unreals during safe daylight hours and dispose of them by whatever means it takes.

Today the news tells us we are all to attend special clinics where the test will be administered. We are assured that unreals in daytime are not violent and will meekly comply; the result of the test is immediate and anyone identified as unreal will, quite simply, not get to leave. Furthermore, we are informed that the test is highly accurate: a 0.001 false positive rate means that in every thousand reals tested, just one will be incorrectly diagnosed as unreal. Everyone agrees it's a small price to pay for cleansing society.

Me? I'm more worried about the false negative rate - it's not nearly high enough for my liking. I won't walk out of there.

I'll be running with the dogs tonight, but for now I must hide. You won't get rid of us that easily.

Okay, I can't work out the lyric (but leave it with me). But the story? Short, succinct, leaves me wanting more!
PSB, Suburbia

The first hint was the dogs, the second was the felt pen. The third is knowing you like them. :)

Thanks for writing - I intend to group them all together as links on my LJ and on just_writing on Halloween so people can read them all together.

I have no idea what lyric inspired your story, but it's suitably creepy! ;-D

I will probably ask people to tell me what the lyric was under cover of a screened comment, so I can put a poll up, asking people to match lyric with story!
Jolly good! So it looks like you come from Shrewsbury - me too! I moved over to Cambridge when I was 18 and have been here ever since but 17 of my first 18 years were in Shrewsbury :-)
Hello - I have friended you after reading your fabby story - hope that's ok?