It was a dark and stormy Halloween night in Cape Girardeau. As the trick or treaters turned in and the adults hid in their homes, the city streets grew empty. A pale of silence enclosed the town, leaving only whispering wind and intermittent thunder, and parents everywhere were left with disappointed children dressed as monsters. So things were getting pretty bad out there. Still worse was the fact that a killer was stalking the streets, a terrible blight that everyone knew, but didn’t dare speak of.
Meanwhile, in the Center for Writing Excellence, graduate assistants Maggie, Austin, and Zach were spending the holiday in style. Which is to say, in the building, not in the rain, so things were going well. The hour was growing late, but not too late, because the Center closes at 8. They commented on submissions in silence, as the soft sound of rain smacking into the building lulled them into a mild hypnosis. Paper after paper piled up on the computers, but the office itself was dead.
“Why do you think no one’s coming in?” Austin asked.
“Probably the killer,” Zach replied.
“You mean the one that everyone knows but doesn’t dare speak of?”
“…yeah. That one.”
As the debate began to grow heated, Maggie stepped out of the office, and into the hallway, to avoid the inevitable migraines. As she walked back from the water fountain, she noticed a cloaked figure standing in the rain in front of the building’s door, and made a note of that before returning to the office.
“Hey guys,” Maggie began, but the sound of breaking glass finished her sentence. The employees stood up, ready to run, but before they could, the figure closed in.
“Oh no!” said Austin. “It’s the Tell-Not-Show Murderer!”
“It is me!” the Killer said. “I have stabbed you!”
“I have been stabbed,” said Austin.
The Killer went after the other two. They fought him. The cops showed up. The Killer ran away.
With the Killer gone, the police were able to handle the situation. As Austin was loaded into the ambulance, something besides the knife struck him about the night. The true meaning of Halloween is unrelenting terror, and by golly all of the telling instead of showing was enough to make him feel that. So remember, if you too want to instill a sense of genuine horror into whoever reads your paper, just gloss over the most interesting bits.