Fiction Horror Thriller

Trigger warning: Murder, death, violence, blood.

I hate Halloween. You could call me whatever the orange and black version of the Grinch would be because I wanted to trip every little sticky brat filling the sidewalks demanding to have treats thrown into their pillowcases. I wanted to rip down every stupid, gaudy decoration and take a bat to the jack-o'-lanterns lining my street. Those crude carvings of faces in bright orange, circular fruits never kept the evil away like it was supposed to, anyway. But that would make me a monster, and Bellingham has had its fair share of those.

        Closing the blackout curtains that overlooked our street, I turned and plopped down on the old thrifted couch that took up most of our living room. The fluorescent pink cheetah print clashed with everything else in the small townhouse. Amy Perkins, my roommate and the closest thing I had to a friend, insisted that it was the personality we needed to liven up the place. 

"Stupid old houses. Stupid Halloween." I mumbled before reaching for one of the fluffy white pillows to cover my ears and drown out the screams and giggles pouring through the too-thin windows.

I used to love Halloween. For weeks, I would sit hunched over a sewing machine, putting literal blood, sweat, and tears into a costume to rival all Halloween costumes. The last costume I ever made was an almost exact replica of Queen Hestia from the book, A Court so Deadly. I had painstakingly hand-stitched every star and crescent moon into the sheer, oil-like material. The crown was the best part, with crystals dangling from golden spikes I made from skewers. No one was going to beat me at Omega House's costume contest. But then I forgot my crown and had too many drinks to get it. Being the best big sister ever, my sister Katarina offered to get it for me before the contest started. She never came back.

        "Hey, Seph? You ready to go?"

        Amy stood behind the couch and plucked the pillow from my hands despite my protests. A senior and captain of Bellingham U's cheer team, she was an all-around knockout, especially in her Medusa costume. Red curls piled on top of her head, and snakes that she sprayed painted gold stuck out in all directions. Her tunic pooled low on her chest to show off her cleavage, and the gold chain she wore dangled loosely on her hips. Even her makeup was flawless, with carefully placed green and gold scales on her forehead and cheekbones to give a snakelike effect. And here I was, in my usual black attire with homemade, flimsy cat ears I cut out from a cereal box.

        "Dean is going to lose his shit."

Dean West was an idiot and her ex. Tonight's mission was to flaunt what he gave up for a tumble with a freshman and make him sorry for it. 

        She preened under the compliment and sat on the back of the couch. "Thanks. He better," she giggled mischievously before giving me her signature up-down.  

        "That's what you're wearing?" Judgment flashed in her evergreen eyes, but she tried to hide it by plastering on her biggest cheer smile. It was too late, though. I saw it just like every other time she thought I wasn't paying attention.

"I mean, you just were always so good at making costumes. I thought you would wear something more than a black shirt and yoga pants."

        "It's more than just an all-black fit," I flicked one of the ears on my headband. "Besides, I don't feel like putting time into a costume since the last time I did, it kind of killed my sister."          

        Amy shifted uncomfortably. She always did when I brought up my sister.

        "Fine, I'll go add some whiskers or whatever." She squealed behind me as I made my way down our tight hallway to our somehow even tighter bathroom.

        "Red lipstick," she called after me. "Oh, and you should also change into those leather pants in the back of your closet! I know they are still there!"

        I rolled my eyes, but I knew she was looking out for me. Yoga pants probably weren't the best idea to wear to a college party, and I had enough reasons for people to talk about me at this school. I looked into our cloudy mirror and barely recognized the girl in front of me. Lifeless hazel eyes stared back at me, rimmed with dark circles. My complexion was one shade away from being considered vampiric, and my mousy brown bob hung limply around my face, making my sunken features appear sharper. It used to be an ashy blonde that fell in waves down my back, but I couldn't stand looking in the mirror and hacked it, haunted by features too similar to Kat's.

        "Do you want some of my foundation?" I jumped, not realizing that Amy had been watching me. I reached for my makeup bag beside the sink and pulled out a tube of liquid lipstick.

        "Unless that shade is called morgue, I don't think your foundation will match me." I fiddled with the tube of red lipstick in my hands, and Amy took a step closer as if she could sense the apprehension that was rolling off of me in electrifying waves.

        "I know you aren't the biggest fan of Halloween, and I get why." Amy rested her hip doorframe. "But I promise you. This will be fun. A night you will never forget."

        She was right. It would be. But everything in me was screaming to stay home, not to do it. Batten down the hatches with my weighted blanket and craptastic romance television until we made it safely into November. But it's been two years since that night, and Amy has been begging me to go. She needed a battle buddy to make sure she didn't end up back with her ex. If I was good at anything, it was killing the vibe and causing people to perish under the weight of my resting bitch face. I could do one Halloween party for her, especially since it would be her last. Besides, I didn't have to stay long. Get in, deal with Amy and Dean, and then back home to binge several episodes of the prime romance trash.

"See, the whiskers and red lip are great!" Amy tossed my leather pants at me. "Here, I grabbed them for you. Shimmy your fine self into those, and let's go! Our Ryde driver is out front waiting!"

           She sauntered to the door to grab her oversized fur coat from the jerry-rigged coat hanger we kept in the corner. I shut the light off to our bathroom and followed her, grabbing my own ratty peacoat. I slipped my hands inside one of the front pockets and pulled out a pair of gloves that I glued metal tips to. Amy arched a brow in question.

"What?" I slid each hand into the stretchy black material, flexing my fingers to get a feel for my range of motion.

"Killer Cat. I like it. Now let's go!"

I almost went back inside after opening the door to our Ryde. The tiny Honda Accord reeked, and I couldn't tell if it was our sweaty driver or the stains in the upholstery. Amy shrugged, saying it was the cheapest way to get to the party and something about holiday up-charges. I crawled in after her and made a note to make her pay for it later. 

Despite our driver driving like a lunatic, he still managed to avoid the little costumed gremlins running in and out of the street of our cozy coastal town. Bellingham was the kind of place you saw on a postcard. The mountains, lush forests, and a snow-capped volcano were perfect for a picturesque getaway. Or hiding a body. The Bellingham Butcher, and the other monsters of this town, sure thought so. 

I held my breath as we rounded the corner and started driving towards the dingy blue sign that signaled the entrance of Comet Trail. Two years ago, I stood at that sign, waiting until they brought out my sister's body. Dogs found her about a mile in, crumpled and sliced like the Butcher's victims. Having already found four other victims, they didn't investigate even though Katarina wasn't found in the same area as the others. None of the circumstances in which my sister was found made sense, but they just added her to the count for the media to go crazy over. The Bellingham Five was all they could talk about for months, spinning wild conspiracy theories on who did it and why police couldn't catch them. All they had to go off of was some people claimed to see what looked like a man in a butcher's apron and crimson tragedy mask. 

"Alright, ladies." The car jolted to a stop in front of the BU's quad, and several beer bottles rolled out from under the passenger and driver's seat. Lovely. "This is you. Can't take you any further cause the fine for messing up that grass ain't worth."

The walk to Omega House from the Quad wasn't long. Usually, I wouldn't mind it if it wasn't for the biting cold of this time of year. Bellingham has a wet cold. The kind that seeped into your bones, and no matter how hard you tried, you couldn't seem to get warm again. Even the changing leaves weren't spared. They lay shriveled up in damp piles along the crowded sidewalks. Most of them were in questionable costumes and heading for the same place we were, so we followed them up to the prestigious steps of Omega House. It was so packed that I lost Amy at some point trying to get through the front door. Armed with elbows pointy enough to be lethal, I began fighting for my life to get in. I was almost taken out by a wolf chasing a girl in a red cape, but a strong hand grasped my forearm and yanked me into a group of bloodied cheerleaders.

        "Seraphine Darkwood. To what do we owe this pleasure?" Dean West waggled his eyebrows at me suggestively, and I imagined pulling them off and shoving them down his throat. I never understood what Amy saw in him. He causes pain wherever he goes without regarding anyone else. "Finally decided to stop hiding from the world, little kitty?"

He winked at me then handed me his beer so he could pull a crimson tragedy mask down over his face. Bile rose in my throat, and I curled my gloved fingers into my palm until I felt the bite of the metal tips. How dare he.

"Wow. That's really tasteless, Dean." Amy seemed to materialize out of nowhere and fixed him with a half-hearted glare. Tasteless didn't begin to describe it. I shoved his beer into his chest, splashing amber liquid down his butcher's apron.

"Relax! It is the coolest thing about this stupid town." Dean took a swig of his beer and slung an arm around Amy's shoulder, who melted into his side. "Serial killer whacks five hot girls to suit his desire."

"Four," everyone in our group except for Amy and Dean swiveled their heads in my direction, but I kept my eyes on Amy and Dean. There wasn't any confusion on their face. Amy shrugged out of Dean's hold and backed away from us.

"This is getting kind of depressey. I'm gonna go find the booze." A nervous laugh escaped her lips, and she smoothed shaky hands over her tunic. 

Dean watched after her as she disappeared into the crowd. He seemed like he wanted to follow her, but then one of the bloodied cheerleaders pressed hot pink lips to his neck. Not wanting a free show, I made my exit from the group as well. 

After what seemed like hours, I finally found Amy upstairs in a room crying. She had been making out with some guy who wanted more, but she refused because she still wasn't over Dean. After dealing with her, I left her in that room to come back downstairs to clear my head again. Well, as best I could, with crappy pop hits and "chug, chug, chug" echoing through the house. 

"Hey, little kitty." Dean lifted his mask to pin me with an amused expression. "Seen Ames around?" His words were slurred, and his pupils blown out.

"I think I saw her head up the stairs with some guy."

Dean gripped the railing, and I watched as his jaw tightened. He took a step forward but stumbled, the contents of his cup splashing all over the staircase. I reached out to steady him. He jerked at the pinch of my gloves, and I felt a thrill at knowing it hurt him. 

"Let me go with you." Uncertainty flashed across his face, and he looked back up the stairs. He started to move again, but I dug in a bit more. "Look, dude. You really seem out of it. Let me help you up the stairs, at least."

We headed up the stairs and down the hall to the last bedroom that belonged to the fraternity's president. No one was around because everyone knew to stay away from this room. Dean didn't seem to care about rules either because he burst into the room, nostrils flaring like some crazed animal. I quietly closed the door behind us and turned the lock. Amy lay on her side in the president's enormous bed. Dean reached for her shoulder and flipped her over. Blood coated her neck and now his hands. Her throat had been slit, and a heart carved into the shoulder he used to turn her. 

"Oh my, God! Ames!" his voice wobbled with fear and disbelief.

Seizing the opportunity, I grabbed the heavy metal lamp by the bedside and tapped on his shoulder. He whirled to face me, and I used all my strength to hit him in the temple with it. Even with the help of the drug I slipped into his drink when he handed me his beer, Dean went down easier than I thought. I followed him to the ground and straddled his hips. When he tried to sit up, I hit him in his temple again. 

"Did you know that the coroner said Katarina was still alive when the killer cut into her? He also thought it was strange that Kat had the cuts like the other girls, but then several broken bones from what appeared to be a high-speed impact."

Dean visibly paled. He tried lifting his arms to fight me off, and I laughed as they fell back to his sides like limp noodles. I could almost hear his brain working to put it all together as I did.

"You know, I remember you having a mustang." I slid my hands into my coat pocket and pulled out a kitchen knife I bought early today. "You told everyone you hit a deer on Halloween two years ago because a fight with Amy distracted you" I placed the knife in his hands, and we both cried out as I shoved myself onto the blade. 

"You're insane!" he slurred.

"Me?" I cried. "You hit my sister that night, and instead of helping her, you and that worthless hag cut her up to make it look like the Butcher did it!"

"I'm so sorry, Seph! I liked Kat. I couldn't go to jail and lose my scholarship. You have to believe me I–" 

"Shut up!" 

"Or what? You going to kill me like you did, Amy?" He tried to buck me off but could barely lift his hips off the ground. "You won't get away with it. They won't believe you! Know I was drugged!"

The laugh that escaped me was maniacal. "Why wouldn't they believe me? Surely they wouldn't think something so sinister of a scrawny girl in a homemade cat costume." I leaned in, licking the tears streaming down his cheek. "Bellingham doesn't ask too many questions if they have something they can spin for national news coverage. Besides, I'm not the one dressed as our infamous hometown serial killer. You know, the one who was never caught?"

He opened his mouth to speak, but I was done listening to him ramble. I already let him live longer than I intended. Heaving the lamp back over my head, I brought it down over and over until I was satisfied he was dead. I made sure the knife stayed in his hand and rolled off of him to begin messing up the room to look like a struggle ensued. It had to look like I tried fighting him off. 

My head was starting to feel a bit woozy from my adrenaline crashing and the amount of blood I lost. I needed to find someone and quick. I unlocked the bedroom door and burst into the hallway. Tiny black dots began to prick my vision, and relief flooded through me when I noticed a few people standing by the top of the stairs. 

"Help! Call 911!" I made sure to sell it by letting fear and desperation seep into my voice as I grabbed the arm of a zombie football player. "He..he killed Amy and tried to kill me," I sobbed. "I think I killed him. Oh, God help!" The black dots that had been pricking my vision flooded my eyesight. I was starting to go under. The football player cradled me in one arm as he pressed on my wound with his other. He told me everything was going to be okay and that I would be safe now. I listened to his reassurances, fully believing that everything would be okay now that Amy and Dean were gone. 

I let the darkness wash over me, my last thought being that I had a reason to love Halloween again. 

October 30, 2021 03:03

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03:04 Jan 30, 2022

Ms.Stacks, do i have to enter a contest to publish a story?


Kenna Stacks
18:01 Jan 30, 2022

Hey! No, you don’t. You just upload on your profile!


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Corey Melin
20:01 Nov 05, 2021

Quite the spine tingling story. Kept you reading to find out what kind of macrabre act will take place. Well done


Faiza Iman
12:50 Nov 06, 2021

Exactly Corey indeed it is an amazing story


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Faiza Iman
12:50 Nov 06, 2021

Exactly Corey indeed it is an amazing story


Kenna Stacks
14:11 Nov 06, 2021

Thank you so much!


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Kenna Stacks
14:11 Nov 06, 2021

Thank you! That is one of the best compliments to receive!


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