“Come on, Michael, you’re going whether you like it or not. It’s a Halloween party, for Christ’s sake, and you love Halloween,” Stephenie said over the phone.
“Of course, I love Halloween and all the other festive seasons. You know I’m deep into traditions. It’s just that every time I go to parties, things happen.”
“Every time you go to parties? I know we’ve only known each other for a few months, but I’ve never seen you at a party. Heck, I can barely get you out in public, period. I don’t get it? You are so interesting; with your education in anthropology and knowledge of different cultures, you’re a perfect party conversationalist.”
“I know, I know. That’s what you keep telling me. I get nervous around bigger groups, particularly at parties. Many people don’t understand some of the things that I’ve picked up from my travels and immersing myself in different cultures. Many find what I bring is too bizarre for their comfort.”
“Come on. Come with me. Pleeease! I’m not going to stop annoying you until you say yes.”
“Ok. Ok. I’ll go if it’ll keep you from driving me crazy for the next couple of weeks. But I am not to be held accountable for whatever happens, so you can’t get mad at me since I warned you.”
“What, you don’t like become some drunken asshole or something like that, is it?”
“No, no. Not at all. I don’t even drink or take mind-altering substances unless it’s part of experiencing a new culture or research. It’s just when people get me talking about things I’ve experienced, it tends to rub off on them, and some don’t like it.”
“Well, I think it will be fun and a way to get to know you more. You can also meet some of the people I usually hang around.”
1 Week before the Party
“So you see, Doc, I told her that I didn’t want to go. I’ve been flustered about it all week, trying to think of some excuse to get out of going. No matter what I think of, I know that it would let her down. I don’t want to do that and think backing out would damage our new relationship.”
“Perhaps it may hurt her some, but maybe that fear has something more to do with you. And stop calling me Doc. Call me by my first name, as I told you before. It should make you feel more comfortable with me so that you can open up more to me.”
“Right, Shannon. Sorry, just not used to being so informal with my psychiatrist. What do you mean that the fear has more to do with me.”
“The point is to be informal and get you to be as comfortable talking to me as you would a close friend. Then we can get past barriers that you may put up without even realizing that you’re doing so. What do I mean that it’s more about you? You have been coming to me since your episode down in the jungles of South America. And what happened to you there, you keep carrying around with you back here. That is creating fear in you and preventing you from interacting in a normal social way.”
“But the other instances I have told you about.”
“Yes, and what you have told me about them? I believe they were created in your mind. You take your occurrence in South America and carry it as guilt. You then transcribe that guilt onto anything else unordinary that happens around you as to be your fault.”
“It is my fault! As I said, THEY said that it would….”
“Shh…Shh…Calm…Calm. They, them, whatever it was, it’s just in your head. It would be best if you faced that mental fear that you have created in your mind. Now you could cancel from going to that party, and I am sure she will forgive you if there is something romantic between you two. But my advice to you is to go and face that fear. Break down that wall. If you go and feel overwhelmed for some reason, explain to her that you’re not feeling well and leave. The choice is yours, but I would like to see you again after the party. I think you will have made some progress by then.”
3 Days before the Party
“So what do you think of my costume?” Stephenie asked as she spun around in front of him, her enormous silky butterfly wings grazing his face as she spun.
“Nice, I particularly like the spongey antenna dangling from your head and that tight leotard suit with the butterfly abdomen coming off that cute little butt of yours. MMM.” He answered her in a sensual tone.
She threw her arms up around his shoulders and gave him a sexy look nodding her head to the side. In a light gravelly voice, she asked, “So what are you, feathered head man?”
“I am going as an Amazonian Shaman. The headdress is from a Peruvian tribe I spent some time with a couple of years ago working on an ethnography. I will still add some paint to my face and body. I will also be more skimpily dressed….”
“Skimpily dressed, huh? Why don’t you get that way now and make it with a butterfly?” she pulled him tighter against her and dragged him down onto the bed. He started to remove the headdress, “Uh-uh, fuck me with it on!” She ripped his pants and underwear down to his knees then wrapped her legs around his waist.
Their lovemaking was intense, and he became savage with his thrust. She bent her head back in orgasmic spasms, and as they climaxed, she looked into his face. She yelled out in both fright and pleasure. His face had become devilish looking, and his mouth splayed a smile from ear to ear. A forked tongue stuck out between his lips, flicking right in front of her face. Saliva dripped onto her lips and chin.
“Uh, uh, oh-God, uh!” she came just as she did. She closed her eyes tightly and then reopened them, looking back into his face. His face was back to normal, only flush red from the sexual excitement.
“Whew, that was incredible. You had me coming so hard I swear I had visions. You devil. Haha!” He collapsed on top of her, both of them breathing hard and covered in sweat.
“Told you weird things happen to me and they rub off onto others.”
Night of the Party
“A trench coat? Really? In that get-up?” Stephenie mocked him as he walked into her apartment. He opened his trench coat up, revealing his nearly naked body. He was covered only with some bodypaint and a loincloth around his genitals. A couple of banana-type leaves tucked into the sides of the briefs. Palm frond sandals covered his feet. He had painted his face with orange, black, and white grease paints, and his head topped with the feathered headdress.
“Wait to you see how my ass cheeks hang out of this girdle. I only hope my junk doesn’t fall out of this thing at the party.”
She reached down and coped a feel through his cloth, “Well, I better stop that before you do start poking out. You look awesome! And later, I want that junk to fall out of there. Come on, let’s go!” She grabbed him by the belt of his trench coat and started to pull him along.
“Wait one second. First of all, you look just gorgeous; what a beautiful butterfly you make. You know shamans and butterflies have this… I’ll not go into it now, maybe at the party. But please, I really like you, and if anything weird happens at the party, I hope that you will still stick it out with me.”
“The only thing weird happening at that party is that I’m with a new beau, and everyone’s going to know it tonight. Come on. Let’s go have some fun!”
They arrived at the party and spent some time mingling around as Stephenie introduced Michael to people she knew.
“Sweet costume bra.”
“Dan, this is my new beau, the Shaman. He’s been to the jungles of South America, an anthropologist. This here is Dan; he is the one that set this party up.”
“Hey Dan, nice party, and thanks for having me. Dig the Hawaiin look ya got going.”
“No problem bra, A friend of the butterfly is a friend of mine. Say, you two meet us out back around the fire in a bit for storytime.”
“Come on, let’s go get ourselves a drink. Dan has a complete bar, several in fact, and I know the location of one that he stashes his best bourbon at.”
“You know I told you I don’t drink or take other mind-altering substances?”
“Yeah, but you also said that you do in the name of research; well, this is a cultural event, so you are going to partake in the festivities, Mr.”
“You are right. In the name of research. Lead the way, butterfly.”They made the way through the house to a backroom that was unoccupied by guests.
“Here we are. I love this room. It’s Dan’s study, full of books, trinkets, and this exquisite private bar of his. Let’s see if I push on this side of the shelf, it should open to…Wa-la! Look at those beauts. There’s such a fine selection. I think I will go for a Woodford bourbon. And I will pour you a drab too…There you are. Cheers.”
“You certainly do know a lot about Dan. Mmm…that is some good stuff. Give me another.”
“Whoa-ho-ho! Look at you, cowboy. Here you go,” Stephenie poured him a double this time, “Yep, I know a lot about Dan; I use to fuck him. But don’t go getting bent all out of shape on me. It was just a tryst. Dan likes too many women for me. You and he are alike in a lot of ways. He likes to travel and go on these adventures all over; only his parents are freakin loaded, so he doesn’t have to worry about money.”
“No, I am not worried about your relationship with Dan. It was just an observation. My experiences and travels have developed a very libertine mindset on my ideology about life. Whew…this stuff gets right to you, doesn’t it?” he shook his head a bit.
The whiskey began working on his mental state within moments. He looked around the room full of shadows cast off from furniture, shelves, stuffed animals, and other decors. He could see slight movements of the things in the shadow. The things he feared that would come out if he came. They were appearing out of the shadows then ducking back into them. He remembered what his psychiatrist had said to him about if things got too uncomfortable, he could leave.
“I should go. I’m feeling tense.”
“No, no, no, no…you are not going. Just take a breath and calm down. Here let’s have one more and then head out to the fire pit and see if storytime is about to happen.”
“Ok. Just a small one?”
She poured him another double. They sat and drank in the quiet of the dark for a few minutes. She managed to joke with him a bit and get him to laugh.
“Ha-ha. That was pretty funny. I didn’t realize you were in the bathroom at the time,” he began to feel at ease from the booze and he no longer saw the shadow creatures.
“There see. There’s that smiling guy I know. Hey, let’s head out and see what’s shaking at the fire pit.”
They got up, giggling and stumbling, feeling woozy from the drinks. They headed out to the rear yard of the house, where a small fire pit was burning. A group of about 15 people was gathered around the fire sitting on stumps and lawn chairs. Dan was standing nearest the fire and talking to them.
“Here comes the butterfly and our new friend now. Come on over, guys, and grab a seat, except for you Shaman, come on up here with me.”
Dan put his arm around Michael while holding a bottle of beer in his other hand. Stephenie sat on a stump just in front of them.
“Alright, everyone, it’s storytime!” Dan announced holding his beer high arm still around Michael’s shoulders.
Everyone cheered and laughed. People were dressed in various costumes, 5 were dressed in Native garb of traditional Hawaiin and Pacific Islander attire and paint. A couple of them had bongo-type islander drums, and they drummed on them as Dan spoke.
“I would like to introduce our guest of the evening,” a drum roll came from the bongos. “The Shaman. I won’t say his name to keep with the tradition of storytime. Let the storyteller reveal himself. Besides, I only know him as the Shaman anyway,” everyone gave a little laugh, and a couple of slaps on the bongo echoed in the night air.
“Now Shaman, this is storytime, and what we do is you get up in the center of the fire ring, where you are, and tell us a story. It’s a little tradition we do at our parties. So without further ado, I give you the Shaman!”
Dan bowed to the group and lent his arm out toward the Shaman as a guest host introducing a new act to the stage. The group applauded along with drum slaps and whistles. Michael stood frozen for a moment like a deer caught in the headlights of an upcoming vehicle.
“Well…well…I don’t know if I can do this. I’m so nervous. Got me off guard here.”
Stephenie began to chant, “Shaman! Shaman! Shaman!” soon, others joined in, following along with the beat of the drums.
Michael cracked a smile and regained his composure. He thought to himself-I, shouldn’t do this, but she told me to face my fear, and it was all in my head-.
“Ok, ok. So, I was in South America a couple of years ago in the lower jungles of eastern Peru. Being an anthropologist, I had received a grant to study the culture of an indigenous tribe deep within the jungle. From them, I learned this chant doing much as we are doing here tonight around a fire. I will start, and I would like for you to join in with me. Here, it goes…Hmmm-umm…hmmm-umm…mmm-hmm….”
The Shaman began to chant, and others started to join in, and the drummers picked up the rhythm on the drums. Before long, the whole group was chanting in one voice, and the sound was mesmerizing. Everyone went into a trance-like state. Michael could see the firelight dancing off the faces of the group, giving them an eerie appearance. He began to see them. The figures he saw in Peru came out of the dark shadows of the flickering firelight. They began to enter the bodies of those chanting around him.
“They’re not real. They’re only in my head,” he thought to himself, closing his eyes while still chanting. Sweat began beading on his forehead.
Stephenie stood up and began to dance and remove her costume. It wasn’t long she was completely naked and gyrating against Michael, swaying to the chant and the drums. Others got up and began to dance around, and from the darkness beyond the fire, 3 naked men covered in body paint carried forth a long wooden pole and laid it by the fire near Michael. Stephenie coaxed Michael to lay down on the log as she removed his loin breechcloth, leaving him completely exposed. The chanting and drums intensified, and the whole group gathered around Michael on the ground, while the 3 nude men tied him to the pole. They dragged the pole with Michael tied to it toward the burning fire pit. Michael began to shout out.
“No! No! This isn’t real. It can’t be. Stop! Please, stop!”
The 3 men raised the pole to erect onto the fire with Michael tied to it, who gave one final shout.
“I didn’t want to go in the first place!”
Dan stood out in front of the engulfing inferno of screaming human carnage.
“Ladies and gentleman, the star of our show!” he flung his hand out toward the burning pyre.