Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.
Stella glanced down at her phone, watching the post notifications increasing second by second, before returning her gaze to the vanity mirror. This was the crucial stage of her eyeliner after all, ruin this and she might never make it to Ben’s annual Halloween party extravaganza. Whoever was blowing up her phone could wait. Knowing her luck, it was probably just Alice double checking for the one hundredth time today whether they were still dressing up as sexy Mario and Luigi. Stella finished off her last flick of red eyeliner and reached into her dresser drawer, pulling out a fake moustache and sticking it above her lips.
Knock, Knock, Knock.
“Come in!” Stella yells, putting the last of her water bottles filled with vodka in her bag, her dad comes through the door, opens his mouth like he was going to say something, but stopped immediately as soon as he saw the moustache on Stella’s face. Stella could tell he was holding back a fit of laughter, a cheeky smirk kept resurfacing on his face before he had the chance to straighten out his lips and act like everything was normal. “Whatever joke you were going to say, just say it.” Stella groaned, she was going to be stuck in a car with him for thirty minutes, and she knew he wouldn’t be able to keep his mouth shut for that long. Her dad looked directly at the moustache, this time letting a huge grin completely engulf his face.
“Oh, nothing dear, you know I just never realised that sexy Mario would have such a big moustache.” He just about managed to hold in his laughter. Stella rolled her eyes, as she walked out her bedroom door, bag filled with vodka by her side. Her dad caught a glimpse of one of the ‘water’ bottles and furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. “I didn’t realise that water would be so popular at a high school Halloween party?” He announced as he followed Stella down the stairs. The grin gone from his face and instead a look that said, ‘I know what you have in those water bottles Stella Barton, and I don’t think it’s going to be very hydrating.’
“I know right!” Stella exclaimed as she walked out the front door and across to the car, opening the door and jumping into the front seat. “I thought It was strange to, but you know, you’re asked to bring something to a party, and so you do, no questions asked.” Stella said, eyes widening with every word that came out to her mouth. In all honesty she wasn’t sure how her dad would react to his seventeen-year-old daughter taking litres of vodka to a party, but she sure as hell wasn’t going to risk finding out tonight. Her dad nodded slowly as he got into the driver’s seat and started the car, pulling out onto the main road.
Her dad pulled up next to Ben’s house, where the party looked like already to be in full swing, She could see people standing out in the front lawn, already on a smoke break, she looked down at her phone, ignoring the thousands of messages and instead looking at the time. It was only eight o’clock, she wasn’t even late.
“Thanks for the ride.” Stella said as she opened the car door
“Hold on there a second kiddo.” Her dad said, she looked back at him, slightly fearful that after seeing how crazy the party had already become, he was just going to drive her straight home now. Her dad sighed, “just stay safe, and I know you said Alice was going to drive you home, or you were going to stay over at Ben’s, put please call me no matter the time if you need a ride back home, okay?” He said, his eyes darting back and forth from window to her, window to her. Stella nodded, and gave him a quick hug before getting out the car and walking towards the front door of the house. She watched her dad drive away before opening the front door and walking through towards the kitchen. She had been to Ben’s house plenty of time, she was dating him after all. It also just so happened that her best friend Alice, and Ben’s best friend Jason were also dating. So of course, it was the boy’s idea to do a four-way couples costume, her and Alice as Mario and Luigi and the boys as Princess Peach and Daisy.
“Stella you made it!” Alice shouted excitedly from the kitchen, before running over excitedly to wrap her up in a tight embrace. Stella couldn’t help but laugh at the sexy Luigi costume that Alice had on. “Come on, Ben and Jason are through here, we’ve been waiting on you…” Alice said tapping her fingers together, slowing backing away from Stella and towards the living room. Stella followed, Alice a big grin on her face.
“Hey guys!” Stella greeted as she walked into the living room behind Alice and she saw Ben, Jason, and two more of their friends Lacey and Steven sitting on the floor in a circle. They all looked round, saying their various hello’s to Stella.
“Come sit next to me babe, Ben chastised. “We’re going to play a classic party game, you did bring that vodka right” Stella nodded, as she sat down next to ben, taking the water, or more like vodka bottles out of her bag and putting them in the centre of the circle.
“let me guess, were playing never have I ever?” Stella said with a hint of boredom in her voice, She hated party games like this, they were just so boring and unoriginal to her. It was always just a competition to see who was the sluttiest or had done the most drugs etc.
“Ah, so close.” Ben said, a small grin now building on his face, “We’re playing Truth or Dare of course!” He finished, the grin now formed and full on his pale lips, bright white teeth shining through like a shark who had just laid eyes on its prey. Almost menacing. Everyone else started cheering as the cracked open the bottles of vodka she had brought and started pouring them into classic red solo cups, passing them round until everyone had one.
“I’ll start!” Lacey shouted eagerly, taking a gulp of vodka before the game had officially started. She laid down one of the now empty plastic bottles of the floor in front of them, and spun. Everyone enchanted by the bottle, watched it spin, and spin, and spin before it eventually came to a stop. “Steven! Truth or Dare.” Lacey said excitedly, one eyebrow rising carefully as she awaited his answer.
“Truth.” Steven said, squeezing his eyes shut as he awaited his fate from his girlfriend. Lacey nodded, taking another gulp of vodka, despite that technically not being the rules.
“Did you cheat on me at summer camp with Molly Brambles?” Lacey demanded, her piercing blue eyes tearing through Stevens pale face, seeping into his body, making his blood, and sweat run cold. Stella’s mouth dropped open. Everyone else in the circle remained silent. None of them looked phased or even surprised at the question, well everyone apart from Steven who now had the skin tone of Casper the friendly ghost.
“Fuck this! Steven shouted as he stood up quickly, if perhaps a little off balance, throwing his full cup of vodka across the room, narrowly missing Jason’s head as it smashed against the ash white walls. He stormed out of the room, pushing past crowds of people, the group heard the sound of slamming door in the distance.
“Holy shit Lacey.” Stella remarked, now taking the first sip of her own vodka, it felt like the perfect moment to do so. Lacey smiled sweetly turning her head towards Stella, but saying nothing. “Did you guys know that was going to happen?” Stella addressed the rest of the group, everyone nodded in unison.
“I’ve been planning this for weeks.” Lacey said joyfully, "anyway who’s turn is it next?”
Stella looked around the circle trying to make eye contact with at least one another person but neither Alice nor Ben was giving her the chance to make a ‘what the fuck is going on’ face like they normally would do if something like this were to happen. I’ll go Ben said confidently reaching over and spinning the bottle. Stella took another sip of vodka before glancing down at where the bottle was pointing, which thankfully wasn’t at her.
“Jason, truth or dare?” Ben asked, a sly look on his face, as Jason began laughing. In a normal game of truth or dare Stella knew she would be doing the same if the bottle landed on her, she would prepare herself for questions like; ‘where is the weirdest place you and Ben have done it?’ or others along those lines.
“I dare you to take a knife and carve a ‘B’ into your own forehead.” Ben said, eyes narrowing jaw clenched, his muscles tensed like any second he could spring into action like a tiger. Jason laughed, a slow, small laugh which quickly fizzled out when he saw Ben slowing pulling a knife from his pocket and pointing it at Jason, the smile still plastered to his face.
“Ben, stop it, put the knife down.” Stella murmured. ‘was this some kind of sick joke?’ Ben shook his head, moving the knife closer and closer to Jason who sat still, not knowing what to do or how to react. Stella looked at Alice, who for the first time tonight looked like she might vomit. But Lacey. Lacey still looked as cool as a cucumber, healthy colour filling her cheeks, the same sick smile plastered to her face as it was to Ben’s.
“Okay, Ben that’s enough, put the knife away man.” Jason said as he shuffled his seat closer towards Alice and away from the shining knife that was following his move at Ben’s hand. Ben began to withdraw the knife, Stella watching him closely, he was still smiling. Suddenly he threw the knife at Lacey, Stella couldn’t help but let out a scream as the handled grazed her nose. Lacey caught the night square in her palm and stood up. Now hovering in front of Alice, who was now wrapped in Jason’s arms. The two of them looked terrified. Stella stared back at Ben whose eyes were fixated on Jason. Unmoving focus, unmoving intent.
“Do it.” Ben said, a spit of venom covering the letters. Jason shook his head. “Well, I guess your girlfriend will just have to do it instead.” Ben’s eyes moving ever so slightly to meet Lacey’s, who was still holding the knife tight in her palm.
“What the fuck man, this isn’t funny anymore, come on Alice were leaving.” Jason announced as he stood up, holding Alice’s hand in his owns, helping her to her feet. Her legs shaking, Stella could see her knees almost collapsing in fear, unable to hold up her own body if it wasn’t for the help of Jason.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Ben murmured, Jason looked at him with a mix of fear and confusion, as he began to strongly walk away, dragging Alice behind him. Stella wanted nothing more than go with them to pick herself up and run after them, but she couldn’t move, she felt frozen to the ground, she couldn’t even drink anymore vodka. This all seemed so wrong and she couldn’t move. Paralysed by fear, confusion, and sadness.
Lacey looked down at Ben who nodded, eyes still fixated on Jason and Alice who were moving out of a now near empty living room. Lacey moved like a cat, knife between her fingers like one dark claw of fate ready to bring darkness on whatever or whoever it touches, She crept up behind Alice and before Stella could understand what was going on. Lacey moved the knife in front of Alice’s throat, pulling it back towards her own body. As a tidal wave of red poured down Alice’s neck and she fell to the ground in complete silent, her soul gone before herself could even notice. Screams ran out throughout the house as teenagers fled from the murder scene. Jason fell to his knees beside Alice. As he was quickly met with his own fate. In the Madness, Ben had now moved so he stood behind Jason’s crumpled body, a gun in his own hand. Smiling across at Lacey, whose white top had now been sprinkled with blood, as she wiped the bloody blade on her face, laughing. Stella felt tears rolling down her cheeks, but no noise was coming out of her now dry lips.
Ben put the gun to the back of Jason’s head and pulled the trigger, as if in slow motion his body fell on top of Alice’s more blood spraying onto Lacey who now had her mouth wide open, laughing. As if she was trying to catch the blood and brain splatter. But not Ben, he wasn’t laughing, it was still that same smirk plastered to his face as he looked back at Stella who was still glued to the floor.
“It’s Stella’s turn now!” Lacey started clapping, jumping up and down on the spot, the knife blade now cutting her own skin as she began swinging it around manically. Ben nodded, as he began walking towards where Stella sat.
“Truth. Or. Dare.”