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Holiday Horror

The riverbank was lonesome, not a soul in sight, but the critters of the forest are alive and well. The birds chirp, some of them sing, and the others hum. They gather in flocks, and they dance through the air whizzing around each other like dragonflies.

The sun is hot for the fall season, but the South is usually warm around this time of year. Many locals come here weekly; some of the more dedicated ones come daily, but there is no one today. A pair of trails lead to the river; a person may decide they do not want to swim. Instead, they may wish to continue and take a hike, which The trails were not for the faint-hearted, they were rather complex, and they were quite a few miles long. The individuals that came here were strong regulars, and many of them knew of the older man that spent his days bird watching. He’d been here as long as any of them could remember, but no one knew his name.

No one dared to say a word to him, and he returned the favor. The man kept to himself, but this was his park, his trails, his river. This scenery was his abode.

Stinky Keith, that’s what they called him, and since no one knew his actual name, the unfortunate soliloquy stuck. Stinky Keith stared through his binoculars, his eye trailing through the October trees. The wind swirled red, yellow, and orange leaves; the scattered leaves blew through the air, landing in sporadic areas.

The wind combated the heat of the sun, so the weather felt pleasant.

If it weren’t a Monday Morning after school started, loads of people would have been here. Instead, kids are rambunctiously racing each other down the trails, mothers hollering for them to mind their manners, meanwhile pushing a young tot in a stroller. Then there were the athletes; they either came alone or in packs. The loners with their fancy watches geared for fitness and their ears stuffed with earbuds. The wannabe weight watchers wore the too-tight workout clothes that their fat oozed out and barely jogged fast enough to startle the pace of their heart. The calorie counters were decked out in all kinds of gear but were so thin a quick burst of wind might send them sailing.

All walks of life visited St. Rupert’s Park, but some days little traffic moved through. As a result, the animals were a bit vacant, minus the few songbirds that cooed and chirped amongst the trees.

Stinky Keith turned his head to the left, scanning the river bank. Then, finally, somebody joined him out in the wilderness, and a young girl laid a maroon towel out on the bank; her golden hair shimmered in the sunlight. The breeze blew her hair around her face, whipping it in all sorts of directions despite that she tried to tame the mane with a hair tie.

Stinky Keith liked to watch people as much as he wanted to watch birds. He was the equivalent to a homeless peeping Tom, but young folks like the girl shimming out of her shorts and kicking off her shoes weren’t aware of the eyes lurking in the woods.

Stinky Keith studied the young woman; his beady eyes ravage her body in a way that would make her skin crawl if she saw him. She pulls the shades off the top of her head and covers her eyes. Then woman slides her beach bag off her shoulder and drops it at her feet. She plops down on the grass, realizing that her towel is too far from the river to dip her toes in. Then she readjusts her belongings until her toes wiggle in the dark water.

Stinky Keith watches her lips grow into a self-assured smile. Though the park is public, the area could be highly private. For example, the secluded river is remote and shielded by forests on each side, but the trails are wide open.

He took a few steps away from the tree line to conceal himself from the young woman further. Not that she could see him, he camouflaged well because his clothes were so dirty they matched the scheme of the woods.

He aimed his binoculars in the same direction as before; this time, he saw something terrifying.

Stinky Keith and the young girl were not as alone as they initially thought. Lurking in the shadows of the trees was a tall figure wearing a blue ball cap and a pair of faded jeans. Although the person did not immerse himself like Stinky Keith, with the help of his binoculars, Stinky Keith could make out some of the man’s facial features. His nose was straight like a beak, his leathery skin had plenty of wrinkles, and an odd pattern of moles was embedded into his cheek.

Stinky Keith felt his heart race as he watched with a frozen posture and an open jaw. Then, finally, the figure broke through the trees, his arms covered by a red flannel and his bare hands clenched at his side. He stalked towards the girl; one hand slipped into his pocket, and the other still in the form of a ball resting against his thigh.

At first, his movement was slow, but then, quite suddenly, the man bolted towards the woman, taking little time to reach her. She didn’t have the chance to react to being startled because the man was already attacking her.

Stinky Keith watched in numbing horror as the man yanked the woman by her hair, dragging her across the bank, her skin ripping from the rough ground. She screamed, but the man showed little concern regarding her cries for help. Instead, he pulled on her hair once more, just enough that the shaded towers of trees conceal the woman’s body.

Her screams filled the hollowed Forrest, and then, very shortly after, the woods fell dead. The animals were silent, the water was stagnant, and the wind stopped blowing.

Stinky Keith watched for several minutes, waiting for the woman to reappear, waiting for her to run out of the woods in an attempt to escape her doomed fate. But he knew the sudden quiet was not good, that the silence only meant one thing.

For the first time in decades, Stinky Keith had enough bird watching for the day.

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One day of the year, I let loose. I take the day off of work, and I take a vacation to another town. A town I have never been to before, and while the streets crowd with hungry trick or treaters. I linger in limbo, hiding in my regular clothes.

I stalk through the day and night, waiting for any unsuspecting victim to arise, and as soon as they do. I snag the kill.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and no one ever suspects that these murders are ever linked. That these killing are not rituals but unfortunate coincidences. Last year, I dragged a girl through the woods, a pretty young thing with fabulous hair and skin. Indeed she belonged to someone, but no one ever reported her missing.

The man watching with his binoculars across the way did not say anything. She vanished without a trace, and the desolate town of Greenville never stopped to notice. That was a bummer, almost as if the murder was all in vain.

When no one noticed that something was wrong, I felt like my time was wasted. If no one cared that little Amy Smalls disappeared, why did I take her in the first place?

I left her in the woods, hoping she would be discovered, I dumped her bag on a city bus, but no story ever came out about the young girl that disappeared while visiting St. Rupert’s park.

So tonight, I would take someone that wouldn’t go unnoticed, someone they would immediately look for. Someone special.

A family member, maybe a parent, or even better, someone’s child.

The sunset was about an hour ago, and the new moon left little light, so the outside world was not exactly visible.

The night sky is full of dense clouds, so the specks of diamonds do not twinkle from above. I am wearing my usual attire for this particular evening, a ball cap, a pair of jeans, and a dark black t-shirt. My clothes are opaque, so drivers will have a tough time seeing me, and pedestrians will think nothing of my boring old costume. Other simpletons like me wear their everyday clothes, and we stick out among the trick or treaters. However, we blend into the crowd when we are all crowded together.

Tonight I am downtown, crouched in the bushes of a residential neighborhood. My first victim will be a stray, a person all to themselves. So I sit and wait.

People pass by in gradual intervals. Their laughter sounds like a banshee screaming, and their voices are all jumbling together in a chaotic chorus. My legs are beginning to cramp.

Then right after ten, when all the little ones have found their way back home. A young boy stumbled down the street, tripping over his dress robes. A Darth Vader mask covers his face, and a red lightsaber is clutched in his left hand.

He carries a basket in the shape of a pumpkin, and he walks alone. No one else is out; this spot wasn’t perfect for scouting. But I suppose this area is private enough.

The boy trips once again; this time, I move quickly and carefully towards him. But, unfortunately, he’s still on the ground, with his face buried in asphalt, by the time I reach him. The boy curses himself, then, with a heavy sigh, pulls himself up onto his feet.

All the while not realizing that I was standing right in front of him. The boy gathers his things; his lightsaber has rolled a few feet away. He forgets about the pesky toy of his when he finally eyes me out of the corner of his eyes.

The boy jumps with fright, and I smile with my back to the sky, my body conceals the kid in front of me from view, and I stalk closer, hoping that the boy is smart enough to run.

I like a good chase, but he is frozen. As if he just pissed himself, he is too scared and reluctant to move out of humility. His orbs are wide with bewilderment, and his lips are broken apart in the shape of a capital O.

He makes a run for it, but out of instinct, I grab him by the hood of his costume. I cover his mouth with my hand, and I push on his pressure points until the boy slips into unconsciousness.

I had already skipped town by the following day, but I still listened to the local news. Waiting for the frenzy that stems from a missing child, it is not long before the six o clock morning news reports Gabriel Young missing.

“A nine-year-old boy by the name of Gabriel Young disappeared last night around nine p.m. Officials report that the child had been trick or treating alone and that the boy vanished without a trace. Parents have notified Officials that the boy has a tendency to wander but has never gone this long without returning home. We ask that anyone who knows anything step forward and speak with officials.” I smile, knowing that the boy will be found by this afternoon. Well, if the search team is worth a damn, he would be found.

It was a lovely day for the first of November, and it was a beautiful day to go back home.  

October 30, 2021 02:39

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4 comments

Graham Kinross
22:20 Nov 17, 2021

Creepy!

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Kaylee Aleece
02:31 Nov 18, 2021

Thank you!!!!

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Unknown User
10:38 Nov 03, 2021

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Kaylee Aleece
13:23 Nov 03, 2021

Thank you for your feedback, Ivy. That means alot to me, that you stopped by to tell me how my story made you feel. I agree with you, the girl deserved more of a limelight! Thank you so much for giving my story some time, and your feedback is superb! Thank you, thank you!

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