Fiction

Practical Joke

Based on a true story

Matthew Donnellon
The Inkwell
Published in
3 min readJun 6, 2024

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Boredom is something I’ve personally never been good at dealing with. If I am left up to my own devices I frequently find myself getting into trouble, idle hands and what not. This is especially true for vacations in which I would be cooped up with my family at our cabin for at least a week and maybe more.

Also, this would coincide with the first time I had discretionary income and the ability to purchase things without having to go through an intermediary. So, while I was surfing the Internet I found a device that would play spooky noises. It was also incredibly small and easy to hide, and this gave me a great idea.

Fast forward to my summer trip up north. One day, while everyone was outside, I snuck back into the house and into my cousins’ room. There, I unscrewed the grate for the heater and pulled out the noise generator. It had different numbers that corresponded to different sounds, and I chose the children laughing, as I thought it would provide the most eerie feeling. It had a magnet on it, and I stuck it inside the vent. Once it was sealed back up, it was impossible to tell it was there.

Now, all I had to do was wait.

And wait.

It took longer than I thought, but later that night, we heard screams from my…

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Matthew Donnellon
The Inkwell

Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.