COMMUNITY - Story Submission: "Frank"

October 16, 2020

Publisher's note:

The Valley Headliner -, is a community digital news source in Box Elder County. We encourage the community to submit story ideas, event information and more. See's official disclaimer below.

This October, The Brigham City Chapter of the League of Utah Writers were invited to submit a spooky Halloween story to be published at

This is the first fictional spooky Halloween story submitted.


By Mike Nelson - Brigham City, Utah

Larry spotted the doll first. It was just standing there alongside the dusty, wash boarded, gravel road. But then what could a child's toy do besides just stand there? It's not like it could move, or run, or see—right? Yet this wasn't your average cuddly little teddy bear. This thing appeared to be a short representation of the figure that so often introduced terror into the minds of young children—a miniature version of the sewn-together monster of long ago, everyone knew as Frankenstein.

Spence brought the truck to a stop in the middle of the road a few yards away.

The two friends were forty miles from nowhere, in the west desert near Kelton, Utah, ultimately on their way to the Newfoundland mountain range. Their plans—unload their UTV at Kelton and ride from there to the more remote mountain range for a day of hunting and exploring.

Now, standing sentinel-like alongside the road, this creature simply couldn't be ignored. The stupid thing just stood there with its swept-back, half-black, half-white hair, and a dark uni-brow that flowed from one side of its broad forehead to the other. Beneath its heavy brow, sleepy black eyes stared out at them over a bulbous nose. Large scars streaked its face, and a full, lumpy chin squared off its lower jaw. It wore an almost half-grin on its thick lips. Small, shiny bolts protruded from both sides of its neck. A black tee-shirt covered by a black, wide-lapelled suit jacket and matching pants covered its rigid torso. A pair of thick-soled, black shoes completed its ensemble.

Had the doll been six or seven feet tall, it would have sent them both running in the other direction, but standing barely eighteen-inches above the gravel, it certainly wasn't imposing.

Larry loaded his pistol and rolled down his window. Shooting from the road was bad, but shooting from a vehicle was expressly prohibited. On the other hand, who would see him shoot, or for that matter even hear the shot? They hadn't seen another vehicle all morning.

“So, are you gonna shoot the stupid thing or not?” Spence asked as the thick dust cloud that had been following them drifted away.

“I dunno,” Larry answered. “This feels weird. Just look at it. Somebody had to have put it there on purpose. So, what’s the catch? Did they fill it with Tannerite and nails or something so it’ll blow up and blast us with shrapnel?”

"Hey, maybe it's like one of those voodoo dolls you read about," Spence teased. "If ya shoot it, maybe blood will squirt out of your head or something."

“That’s not funny,” Larry complained. “I don’t know what that is, but if nothing else, it’s weird. Who would leave it out here?”

"Maybe it walked here," Spence laughed. "Lighten up, for Pete sakes! People bring all sorts of stuff out here to shoot. If you had that thing sitting on your kid’s dresser, wouldn't you want to get rid of it?"

"I'm not going to shoot it this close," Larry said. "What if it explodes? Back up a hundred yards or so, and I'll use my rifle."

"You probably can't even hit it from a hundred yards away."

“I’ll take that bet,” Larry said. “Just back up.

Backing a loaded trailer along a narrow dirt road wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but Spence finally managed.

At a hundred yards, “Frank” looked like a short black exclamation point sticking up out of the whitish graveled road.

“You know, you’re a little girl if you don’t hit it in the face,” Spence taunted.

“That’s like shooting a golf ball at that range.”

“Girly boy,” Spence teased.

Larry climbed out of the truck, loaded his rifle and turned the rifle scope up to twelve power as he steadied his gun across the rear-view mirror.

“Are you gonna shoot or what?” Spence prodded after a couple of minutes.

“I can’t see its face. I think it turned around.”

"Are you nuts?" Spence exclaimed as he turned off the engine and pulled out his rifle. "Last one to shoot buys dinner."

“Okay, tough guy,” Larry said as Spence rested his rifle on the opposite rear-view mirror. “But I’ll bet you can’t see its face, either.”

"It's a hundred yards away, and it's a little doll. That's like seeing spots on a sparrow's egg at ten feet."

"Well, you can shoot if you want," Larry said as he lifted his rifle. "But this doesn't feel right to me. What if you shoot it in the head, and your head explodes?”

“You’re out of your mind,” Spence grumbled as he thumbed his rifle’s safety off and took careful aim.

"Don't!" Larry exclaimed. "I'm telling you this just ain’t right.”

The crack of Spence’s rifle punctuated Larry’s warning. A hundred yards away, Frank tumbled down the road.

Spence laughed. “I’ll bet I hit it right in its nasty face. Let’s go see.”

They'd driven less than fifty yards when Spence stopped the truck again.

“Do you believe that?” he asked, his voice cracking a little. “The dang thing is still standing up.”

“That’s impossible,” Larry muttered. “I watched it tumble down the road.”

“Maybe it’s got weighted shoes.”

“And just maybe—”

"Oh yeah, sure," Spence interrupted him. "Next thing you're going to tell me is ole Frank is another version of that horror-doll, Chuckie."