“You know he’s a vampire because he’s so smooth!” Kaci’s mom said in reference to the character that appeared in the first scene of the movie they were watching. There was a twinkle in her eyes and a smile of adoration on her face, glancing once at Jesse before turning her focus back to the television.

Jesse felt the burn of a blush on her cheeks from the comment and tried hard to keep from smiling, excitement sparking from the pit of her stomach like fireworks moving to every part of her body. Even her ears, she guessed, were red. This was one of those moments she’d been waiting for. The acknowledgement to everything she already knew about her favorite movie, and the fact that she’d been waiting eagerly all day to share it with the adults at her best friend’s house.

Kaci’s mom understood it right off the bat. She’d pinned it within a matter of minutes. The stealthy, even strides the vampire took, his demanding presence and the calm collected way he talked, giving off an unearthly quality. Not only that but Jesse hadn’t realized just how important Kaci’s mom’s opinion was until she spoke it out loud. Even the look on her face made Jesse think that maybe, just maybe, she still believed in the make-believe magic a really good movie could bring to a kid.

With that notion in mind, Jesse danced in her seat, nodding her head in agreement. Her best friend did the same, laughing and pointing at the screen as they sat comfortably in the living room. The windows were all open, letting in the warm summer air, slightly cooled by the moon and stars, while strange whistling sounds from the outside echoed in, sometimes overtaking the the small speakers on the old television. Even the soundtrack in its heightened state declaring the oncoming drama was no match. Or rather, it was a perfect match, every now and then mimicking the movie. Yet Kaci’s mom didn’t flinch. Instead, she pulled a cigarette from its package and lit it, smoking casually as the story carried on. 

Jesse felt as though Kaci’s mom could have been a character from the movie and that’s why she was strange and at ease.  A free spirit always inviting the unknown.

Kaci was the same way. Always in the moment and very alive. She made Jesse feel as though there wasn’t anything they couldn’t accomplish when they were together. 

The two girls shared a look as if they’d read each other’s minds and the ants in their pants danced harder. As eager as Jesse had been to bring the movie over, now she was just as eager to get outside and play in the yard. Her and Kaci would take their model horse toys out there and build stalls in the grass for them and run them around in circles like live wild horses, but there was more to it than that. Kaci’s house sat adjacent to a corn field and there were no fences or gates in between it and the house, from the front yard back towards the horse pasture just behind it. That time of year, the corn was still high and created the perfect maze filled with whatever the wild imagination could create.

This led to the second reason the two girls were amped about getting outside in the dark.

At school, Jesse often imagined the vampires from her favorite movie barging in through the front doors, even though it was daylight out, and stalking down the hall to find her. The inner fantasy both excited and frightened her. What would she do if that were a real scenario, especially when these vampires actually killed and ate people?

Then Kaci came into the picture, even though Jesse had never admitted to her daydreams out loud, the bond the two had brought their minds together. Kaci said she had a secret to share, and at recess, behind the school, she told Jesse that those same vampires had been hiding in her hayloft and TALKED to her.

At first, Jesse wasn’t keen on the idea that Kaci insisted her favorite characters, from the movie they were watching almost every night, were actually alive in reality. She thought it was a joke, and not a very nice one, because more than anything she wanted it proven factual and she wanted it to be real. It was the perfect night for it, especially after the magic of the movie seemed to dance off screen and dissipate into the air around the two girls.

They ended up outside as planned, in the yard, a circle of ponies posed to keep them safe. Yet Jesse felt the need to show off and got out of her seat, brushing her pants off before darting into the shadows. She danced, prancing much like a horse around the yard as she imagined the vampires watching them in the trees above. Even if it wasn’t real, pretending melted away the walls that kept older folk from seeing the world for what it truly was.

It was when Kaci joined her in the dance that voices erupted from the corn field. Whistles and laughter echoed, much like the ones they’d heard in the house, and Jesse stopped short, her eyes wide, her mouth agape. “Nuh uh,” she said defiantly, as though her ears lied.

“It’s them,” Kaci declared, her eyes twinkling like the stars overhead. “I told you I wasn’t lying.”

Butterflies danced in Jesse’s stomach. It was impossible, yet at the same time, somehow, the two of them had managed to break all the rules of earth. The sounds were identical to the characters in the movie, that much was true. Jesse wanted to leave her shoes in the dust, run into the stalks and find them and yet the mortal coil of fear that holds all of us back sometimes still left a hint of doubt inside her head.

Kaci whistled and THEY whistled back. Then she grabbed Jesse’s hand and they took off, pushing large leaves from the corn out of the way, ducking in order to escape a clobbering from the unpicked ears.

“Kaci wait!” Jesse was demanding. In her head, she couldn’t help but imagine the worst. Stranger danger had been engrained in her since birth, yet Kaci seemed to have no sense of it. Good thing too, or Jesse might have left the opportunity behind.

The two stopped in a small clearing, Jesse still grasping her best friend’s hand like her life depended on it, hiding behind her with eyes wide as they slowly turned in a circle to see what they could see. It was dark after all, but the light of the moon helped as their eyes adjusted.

Four figures emerged and Jesse felt her heart drop into her stomach. “This isn’t real,” she muttered.

“Isn’t it though?” one of the figures asked. The lead in the movie, the one Kaci’s mom had sized up in the beginning. “Are you afraid?”

Jesse’s breath tickled Kaci’s ear before she could say anything, but the answer was yes, especially if they were vampires. Maybe Kaci’s mom had been smoking something other than a regular cigarette and the secondhand smoke had caused them to hallucinate.

Still, Kaci swiped at her ear, and nudged Jesse a few inches away. “Jess,” she complained, even though it was lighthearted.

It angered Jesse that her security blanket was suddenly gone, especially when one of the other figures was laughing and it was directed at her. 

“Not a hallucination girl. We’re as real as real can get!” He was wily, tall, and danced in his spot, proud of the fact that he could read her mind, yet there was no mockery in it.

A questioning burned in Jesse’s eyes due to what just happened, but his exuberant smile made the corners of her lips dance upwards.

“There it is!” he said, directing both pointer fingers towards her.

Two of the other’s laughed and so did Kaci, but one remained standing in the background behind the leader. He was tall and dark and could hold a scowl. His presence was scary. Enough to make Jesse drop the playful smile and pretend to hear Kaci’s mom in the distance calling to them.

“We’re not going to hurt you,” the leader assured. “You are the ones, after all, who brought us here. We’re thankful for that.”

The fourth member smiled.  He was shorter than the other three, but angelic and dangerous at the same time. “Come play with us?” he asked.

“Well,” Kaci sounded doubtful. As much as she fancied the fact these vampires had been manifested by them, baby steps were needed as a precaution. High spirited yes, and a little teasing, but not stupid. She sensed a certain predatory reflex in his jaw as he asked this, and whether or not he meant it to come across as such, kids had to be careful with characters come to life. Again, she grabbed Jesse’s hand, ready to hightail it back to the house.

Before she could move her feet, the leader grabbed her hand and jerked her towards him. “Don’t mind him,” he said, his tone even, his voice soothing. “That’s just his way. How about some introductions? I’m David. That’s Tyler,” he pointed at the tall blonde dressed like a rock star. “Alex, and Billy.”

Of course, the girls already knew that, but hearing it out loud made it official. They couldn’t resist turning into each other with a squeal and a bounce. 

“But you’re vampires!” Jesse exclaimed, turning back towards the wild, tall blonde.

“Holly shit!” he exclaimed back, patting the shorter one on the shoulder before leaning against him. “Yeah, we know.”

“I mean, you don’t exist.” Like every other person in the world had probably already figured out at some point in their life, it seemed obvious.

He proved otherwise by doing a small dance before her and then bowed dramatically. They were face to face when his tongue raced over his fangs and he gave her a wink.

“What I mean is…”

“Jess,” Kaci implored, carefully taking her hand back from David’s. She smiled back at him. “What does it matter? They’re here!! In my field!!” There was a small pause and then, “How are you guys here?” She chewed a nail and tapped her foot.

“You ever heard of Tulpas?” David asked.

Jesse shook her head no. It was enough of an answer for the both of them.

“Thought forms created by sure willpower and energy from a human who wishes it into existence.”

“What?” Kaci crinkled her nose.

“You willed us into existence, girl,” Tyler confirmed. “Straight up from the silver screen! Now are we gonna party or what?”

“How long do we have?” Kaci asked, turning towards Jesse for approval of what she’d just asked.

Jesse was just as curious. She found herself enthralled by Tyler and eased forward, mindlessly reaching to touch a couple of the bracelets he wore on his wrist.

He was happy to oblige and held his wrist out for her, glancing back at Alex who was still smiling, his hands held behind his back.

“Okay,” Kaci mused.

“Till sunup,” David answered finally, turning as if he were about to walk back into the corn.

“What happens then?” Jessed asked, her amusement withering already at the thought of losing them that fast.

“We go back to the silver screen.”

“No,” Jesse caught herself whimpering.

“Aww, cheer up girl!” Tyler sang. He slung his arm around her and pulled her towards the back where Billy the ‘bodyguard’ stood. He nodded his acceptance of the girls but refused to move just yet. “We got all night!”

“I’d like to know more about this Tulpa thing,” Kaci said, a slight sarcastic tone in her voice. “Anything you guys would like to do in the real world while you’re here?”

“Eat a Twinkie,” Tyler said, giving Jesse another reassuring tug.

To which she responded, “Gross,” and he laughed.

“Who said this is the only night we’ll be around?” David asked. He was walking a straight path now, through the darkness and the others followed. His feet made no sound and neither did the others, but the girls crunched over long dead leaves, their heavy bodies hitting against the stalks like dead weight.

“So, we will see you again?” Jesse asked.

“Like the night before,” Alex turned partially to glance back at her and all she could do was stare.  It was amazing how well defined they were. How unique. Every detail outlined and perfect just like their personalities, direct if not better than the movie itself.

Jesse longed to drink them in, like the blood they drank to survive. She wanted to study them, pick their brains and learn every detail there was to learn about who they were and how they came to be both in reality and in fiction.

Alex snapped his fingers and her daze slipped away. “Right,” she continued. “Kaci told me, but I didn’t believe her.”

“You believe her now, right?” Billy asked. It was the first time they’d heard him speak and just like his dark expression, his voice was deep and well defined.

Jesse nodded. She’d lost track of Kaci who was up in the front with David.

They walked and walked, and it seemed the corn field had no end and with no end came questions. Most had answers, a few didn’t, but each one faded into the night after, just like the girls and their fantasies.

When morning came, the field was silent. A soft fog covered the area mid ground and there were no footsteps left in the soft dirt.

Inside the house, the video player was stuck on repeat. It kept playing one scene over and over again until Kaci’s mom, who’d fallen asleep on the couch, woke up to it and went to push the stop button. There, in the background of the first scene, frozen on the screen were the two girls amidst the large crowds of the amusement park.

March 12, 2020 23:55

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Bruno Lowagie
07:16 Mar 20, 2020

Keep those horror stories coming! I like reading them!


Jenny K
06:37 Mar 22, 2020

Thank you!! They are fun to write. :-)


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