Suspense Fiction Mystery

This story contains sensitive content

CW: Sex, Violence, Profanity, Sinister, Murder.

 Standing, high above in the amphitheater balcony, is the host of the costume party, Monty Stickle. His guests don't know who he is. Monty is wearing New Orleans themed, Shakespearean make-up and a blood red, velvet costume. Holding a wireless microphone, Monty speaks as he looks down at his masquerading guests. Each signed RSVP invitation to the festivities are bow-tied and rolled up like scrolls on the table beside him.

“I hope everyone enjoyed the six-course meal and left room for dessert.” All the guests clap and speak praises of the extraordinary food. “Fantastic!” bellows the host across the speaker system.

“Enjoy the music and remember dancing is encouraged, so feel free to let it all hang out on the floor while the table is prepared for dessert!”

Shakespeare turns on the digital media receiver, “I Only Have Eyes For You,” by the Flamingos begins playing. All the masqueraders take to the floor: Napoleon Bonaparte holds Marie Antoinette tightly by her waist, Marc Antony takes Cleopatra by the hand, Romeo Montague does likewise with Juliet Capulet, and Alfred E. Neuman hugs Horatio as they clumsily prance around laughing, not taking each other's lack of dance skill too seriously.

Several waiters come out and remove the dishes, clean the expansive table while simultaneously setting up for dessert. The change-over is done with a grandiose flair by the workers.

Shakespeare directs a waiter to pass out a single red rose to each of his guests as the next song “Everybody, Loves Somebody,” by Dean Martin plays.

Everyone, Please Be Seated

Shakespeare dims the lights and slowly phases the music out while workers, in ceremonial marching order setup many standing candelabras which create a romantic ambiance to the banquet hall. “Everyone, please be seated, dessert is served.”

The banquet table is styled and outfitted with Elizabethan tablecloths, goblets and dinnerware. The stunning showpiece at the center of the table is an enormous, decadent, black chocolate cake which has become the topic of discussion among the partygoers as they take their seats. Bottles of sparkling, gold flecked champagne is poured for each person which gives them more to awe and talk about. Shakespeare continues to stand, brooding as his guests' revel, enjoying themselves immensely.

An hour passes, confectioneries, hors d'oeuvres and libations are refreshed to the delight of the unusually hungry crowd.

“Attention!” requests Shakespeare. “A toast!” Each person stands with their full glasses raised. “Here's to staying positive and testing negative!” Everyone breaks out in raucous laughter. Shakespeare waits a moment, stoic, before he addresses the crowd. “Sorry, just kidding, let's try this one more time, raise your glasses again please.” The partiers do so, “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy. Cheers!” The crowd clinks their glasses together and lightly chuckle as they drink.

Let The Games Begin

Shakespeare leaves the balcony using the rear exit heading downstairs to the kitchen and meets with the event coordinator.

“You and your employees have performed exemplary. Please wrap things up ASAP and leave out of the back as quietly as possible.”

“We shall do so right away. It was a pleasure doing business with you and hopefully we can serve again in the near future Mr. Stickle.” Monty smiles and passes the woman a check as he goes to join his guests.

With everyone seated and in good spirits, Alfred E. Neuman starts a lively game of truth or dare. Shakespeare finds it amazing what drunk people will admit so easily. He stands by listening as he awaits for event coordinator to gather her team and leave. Once they are gone he locks the building up.

Walking out to the partiers, he finds everyone in a festive mood and chanting for him to join them. Shakespeare is polite in his refusal as he addresses everyone. “Are you ready for a slice of chocolate cake!?” Cheers and clapping with chants of: “Cake! Cake! Cake!” echo in the room. Shakespeare complies with the wishes of the crowd and cuts a slice of the chocolate cake; it's beautifully made and decorated to the point of being hypnotic. It has sparkles of fine crystallized sugar within the cake and the inner frosting is a shiny silver that separates the multiple layers. As the knife slowly slides into the moist, rich, velvety dessert, everyone grows silent; clearly, the cake is the star of the party. Serving the first piece to Cleopatra, she seems unable to contain herself from eating some.

Shakespeare turns on his microphone. “I do recognize how excruciating it is to wait but please do, so everyone can partake of this sinfully delicious cake together. Thank you.” Everyone takes their seats and wait to be served. Shakespeare presents a slice of chocolate cake to the women first, then the men. Taking a pause to look over the masqueraders, Shakespeare grins seeing the desire of his guests to begin the luscious dessert.

He takes a dramatic pause before speaking, “Everyone, please enjoy.”

There is a consensus of gratification and high praise for the cake as the partiers delight in their repast. Shakespeare refills the glasses of everyone with special champagne and encourages them to eat, drink and be merry.

Marie Antoinette offers a cheer, “Let them eat cake!” Holding her empty plate and glass up, Shakespeare quickly replenishes both.

With everyone full and intoxicated, conversations become lewder. Shakespeare excuses himself from the group leaving them to their merrymaking. Several minutes pass of an unsuccessful attempt at charades by the group until Cleopatra garners the attention of the partiers. She stands adjusting her Egyptian style, body fitted golden dress and mask, “Well, since we're being so damned honest about things, let's step this game up with a round of: My Confession.” Everyone at the table claps in approval with added drunken commentary and sexual innuendo.

Cleopatra continues, “My Confession is: I haven't been sexually satisfied since I was broken-in nice and rough at my college dorm. Unfortunately, I married an okay man, with a good job but he's little down in the middle, if you know what I mean.” Chuckles emit from everyone.

Marc Antony stands holding his crotch under his Roman, leather-armored skirt while gyrating. “Don't worry Cleo, I will give you everything under the fig leaf tonight!”

Alfred E. Neuman interjects, “Be careful Cleopatra, diddling with his fiddle might cause you to burn like Rome did under Nero!” A cacophony of laughter ensues as Cleopatra awkwardly stumbles back into her chair.

“Okay, okay, my turn!” shouts a drunken Napoleon as he tries to stand, staggers some then settles back in his chair. “My Confession is: I'd go bum hunting during my college days. Taking my hockey stick with me, I'd ride up to a vagrant, get out the car, pretend I was gonna hand them some money, but instead I'd beat the shit outta the homeless bastard. It became a cathartic ritual of mine. Man, those were the good ole days!”

“That's incorrigible and inhumane!” shouts Juliet stiffening in her chair.

“Why aren't you still doing it?” asks Horatio. “Crisis of conscience?”

“Alas poor Horatio, I got too much to lose: money, a stockbroker job and a Bentley. Otherwise, I would bum hunt for daily exercise!” replies a laughing Napoleon. “Off with their heads in my opinion!”

“Bonaparte, you got some serious issues that need to be addressed.” responds Romeo.

Most of the partier's nod in approval of Romeo's comment.

“My Confession is...” interrupts Marc Antony, “I had 'One Way, Do Not Enter' put on my old man's tombstone.” The room erupts in laughter.

“Wait! I'm not done! Every year, on his birthday, I piss on his grave hoping it rains on his head in hell!” The room erupts in an odd, tense laughter as the partygoers find it difficult to express themselves.

Marie Antoinette and Juliet drop their glasses to the floor as their arms stiffen unexpectedly.

Alfred E. Neuman bites his tongue all the way through while he chews cake. Clamped jaw muscles have become seized clenching his teeth and neck muscles. In pain, murmuring is all he can muster as blood runs from his mouth dribbling onto his chin.

And All Shall Be Revealed

Shakespeare appears standing at the balcony center, microphone in hand and speaks. “This is My Confession. My name is Monty Stickle, you might remember me from the computer department a few years back when we all worked at the Renaissance Advertising and Marketing Agency.”

With a dramatic pause, murmurs and hushed whispers circulate among the masqueraders.

“Yeah, that geek you all made fun of. You sabotaged my meals with urine, cat food, ground-up roaches and the coup de gras of your evils; hiring a diseased hooker to act as my fanatical and obsessive girlfriend. I fell madly in love with her, she returned my affection entrusting me with a devotion of gonorrhea, herpes and AIDS.” A sinister grin overtakes Monty's face. “By the way, she died yesterday, from complications unrelated to those diseases.” His eyebrows bounce up and down playfully.

The guests murmur once again and attempt to both talk, move and stand but are unable to do so, paralyzed in their seats; the poisoned slices of chocolate cake have taken deadly effect.

“Sodium pentothal, ecstasy, liver of the puffer fish in the proper concentrations and mixture makes a delicious set of baking and cooking ingredients that will remove a person's inhibitions; have them blabber the truth and eventually shut down all body functions from a lethal paralysis.”

Monty smiles at each person while he lets the words he spoke sink in. “Know and accept the certain inevitability---you are all about to die.”

“Now, what I must thank you for is perspective. You've given me that and assisted in unveiling my true passion in life---being a serial killer. Given my current health, however, I won't have the longevity of a Jack the Ripper or the Zodiac but you, vain and cruel people, will serve a much shorter death sentence than my own.” Pausing, Monty stares for a few moments before continuing, he raises a champagne glass and makes a toast, “To hell: may the stay there be as fun as the way there!” With terror in their eyes, low murmurs echo throughout the chamber as masqueraders stare at each other, helpless. Monty turns on the digital music receiver. “Ain't That A Kick In The Head,” by Dean Martin resounds throughout the amphitheater as he sits down, speaking on the microphone one last time...

“I hope you all enjoyed your slice of chocolate cake; it's truly to die for.”

December 08, 2023 22:19

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Radek Michalik
19:03 Dec 22, 2023

I really enjoyed the stylized narration and the dialogue, even the staging of the party feels very stylized, almost like players on a stage. I also enjoyed guessing where it was all going. When Cleopatra took a bite of her cake early I had an inkling of what was to come, but that didn't ruin the surprise. One thing you might consider adding is using the character moments in the party to establish that all of the guests are indeed vile people. You nailed it with Napoleon, I'd love to see that side of each of the guests, that way the ending w...


Roger Scypion
23:39 Dec 22, 2023

Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading my story and offering ideas.


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Daniel Brandt
06:43 Dec 18, 2023

I would have liked some form of hint of a conflict earlier in the text to hint that something needs to be resolved. The reveal felt a bit disconnected from the rest of the story. This is a matter of taste, but I prefer when text does not use underlining or bold to indicate something. Good language and tone, and a nice classic revenge story.


Roger Scypion
04:31 Dec 19, 2023

Thanks for reading my story, the constructive criticism and liking it as well.


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Hazel Ide
14:46 Dec 16, 2023

Very interesting. I like the tone set in the beginning, I kept waiting for the MC to reveal his intentions, glad it happened at the end. Nice job with tension build up.


Roger Scypion
22:37 Dec 16, 2023

Thank you for the much appreciated comments and interest in my story.


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