California Nightmare

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Set your story at a party that has gone horribly wrong.... view prompt


Funny Science Fiction Suspense

Her left eye squinted as she used her right to look at the slide in the microscope once more. All of her suspicions were confirmed. Would confirmation necessarily lead to action? She really needed to consider her next move, very carefully.

Handling the sample gingerly, she placed it in the refrigerator. Then, taking one of the vials next to it, she held it for a moment, unsure. Then, looking around the lab, she decided to go through with a plan that just had to work. She would make sure it did.

A serious look of anger on her face would soon be replaced by the sneer of anticipated revenge.

Grabbing her husband's shirt from the counter, she would be careful not to touch the lipstick stain on the collar. Tonight, once and for all, she would bring what had been done in the shadows, into the light. A light for the whole world to see. Only a great fool would believe that she could be their fool.

Tonight, her esteemed “better half” would be exercising his capacity for audacity in accepting a humanitarian award, of all things. Apparently, people really looked up to him for volunteering one of his business holdings, a construction company, to rebuild after a fire. A nearby country club suffered great loss after a fire ran through the property. He had been quick to respond in his generosity.

A little too quick, if you ask me Samantha, or Sam for short, found herself thinking. This led to the next thought, he probably got drunk and started the fire.

Though no saint herself, Sam abhorred the consumption of alcoholic beverages, of any kind. She had watched both of her parents succumb to the rages of alcohol abuse, and would never touch a drop. Those few people she could call friend accepted this about her. For everyone else, it would be a punchline.

Including dear old Darrell Cunningham.

Tonight, she, Samantha J. Cunningham would set everything right, and maybe show one or two of his friends that they aren't nearly as clever as they believe. Tonight, she wouldn't even try to discourage him from drinking. Placing her hands on her lab coat pocket, she could feel the small cushioned box that protected the vial she brought with her. Once in her car, she transferred it to her purse. Only one more transfer before the party.

Beginning to back out of her parking space, she looked into the rear view mirror. The smile she saw on her face made her insides jump. She would need to lose that before seeing him.

Back at their palatial estate, her husband Darrell really looked forward to the party. He truly enjoyed socializing, and always seemed to find himself a hit wherever he went.

On this particular day though, he also found himself struggling with a situation he had never encountered before – a loss of time. He enjoyed his alcohol, but rarely got drunk. Yet, the entire night before seemed a blur.

He struggled with a dream he had during the night. In the dream, an exquisitely beautiful woman with flowing blond hair, leaned in to him, then commanded him. Her voice, sweet as honey, seemed to be giving him orders, but in a way that caused him to love her for it. Imagine a grizzled sergeant barking orders through a beautiful female form, and in a voice that would be impossible to resist.

Yeah, exactly like that he thought to himself.

The awards party might help him forget the weird dream. As he heard his wife walk in and go to her room, he scowled. He hated that she seemed to care more about the mysteries in her lab, than she ever really did for him. Otherwise, he would never have cheated on her.

She had become so serious, and when questioned; elusive.

She hadn't always been that way, of course. Years before, they really were a happy couple. Then, it would be as if she flipped a switch. Completely changed overnight.

Darrell, when coming to yet another impasse in understanding his wife simply shrugged and asked himself, who can know the inner workings of woman?

Standing near the foyer, Darrell stood patiently awaiting his wife's appearance. Slowly sipping his first drink of the night, he prepared himself for the inevitable lecture on the evils of alcohol. Usually, he prepared a “quill” full of zinger tipped arrows of sarcasm to fire in his defense. However tonight, he just wanted to get to the party. For reasons he couldn't quite put his finger on, it felt – important.

As she descended the stairs toward him, Darrell felt it. That emotional glimpse of her, the Sam he had fallen in love with so long ago. In that moment, he felt an overwhelming desire to get to his knees and beg forgiveness for everything.

Then, he had a quick memory flash of the blond woman in his dream, and just as quickly, it would be gone.

Making no pretenses with him, she would not even grab his arm as they opened the door and descended down the exterior stairs to the waiting limousine. Once inside the car, she would move against the opposite door, as he slid in, stopping to stay on his side of the seat.

The driver noticed this unusual behavior. He wondered why she had finally decided to stop pretending. He knew a lot about their situation, but kept it quiet. He had his reasons.

On the drive through Bel Air, Darrell tried once to speak to Sam. He opened his mouth, then closed it again. He then reached over to the bar and poured himself another drink.

She didn't even seem to flinch.

Sam sat quietly. She is a terrible liar, and did not want to take any chances in giving too much information out with idle chit chat, so she said nothing. This nearly caused her to explode with emotion as she watched Darrell try to speak, then instead pour another drink.

Finally, he swirled the ice around in the crystal glass to get her attention.

“So, no lectures tonight concerning my drinking?” he asked her, finally speaking.

“No, I feel I have said all I need to say on the matter.” she answered succinctly. Then, she felt that smile creep on to her face, so she quickly turned to look out the window. The last vestiges of her own humanitarian effort within her moved her to give him fair warning.

Speaking loudly enough to be heard without turning her head, she spoke once more.

“However, if I were you, I would keep your drinking to a minimum tonight. This is after all, a very special night for you, Darrell.” she said.

She couldn't turn and chance him seeing this permanent grin. It would be all she could do to keep from laughing aloud.

Darrell, in the moment found himself thinking that maybe she had begun to really care about him again.

Wanting to reach out to her, he started to put his hand out, to hold her. He then thought better and quickly withdrew it.

The driver observed it all.

At the party, she would resume her place on his arm. They walked in with smiles aglow as if electronically controlled. Well, mostly smiles, a few noticed Sam's grin, and wondered it she had finally broke down and had a few drinks.

There would be a small dinner, only a few courses. This would be to keep the beginning of the night as short as possible. Then, the awards ceremony itself, would only be allotted about fifteen minutes. Then, on to the party! That would not be given a time limit, after all, it was only Friday night, with a whole weekend to enjoy.

The dinner for Sam went well enough. Well trained in the art of social graces, she simply moved by rote. As the dinner ended, the hostess for the evening stood and welcomed everyone there for the awards ceremony for the Humanitarian for the Year, Darrell Edward Cunningham.

Sam watched as he stood there with all his charm, pretending everything is alright. She nearly laughed out loud as the hostess referenced him as a “truly caring individual”. Oh yeah, he cares alright! Careful...she couldn't risk being obvious. Nothing could ruin her little “surprise” for all of Darrell's boozing friends.

As he began to wrap up his acceptance speech, Sam took the vial slowly from her purse. Slowly, imperceptibly, she inched it slowly up her hand, over her wrist, and under the sleeve of her dress. She then looked around the table, waiting for any one of them to make eye contact with her. Once they applauded Darrell's final words, they turned to see her rising, saying she would be right back.

No one else rose from her table, as Sam pressed on toward the punch bowl in the other room. As she neared it, Sam could hear the hostess invite everyone to try the punch, as she had used a secret ingredient. She also dared anyone to guess what it might be, even offering a prize for a correct guess.

Pouring the entire contents of the vial into the punch, Sam would chuckle. You have no idea, sister! Using the ladle, she carefully stirred the serum around without any discoloration.

Then, pouring herself a cup, she stood waiting for everyone to walk in from the dining area.

As they walked in, several guests gasped. There, standing by the punch bowl would be “Carrie Nation herself”, actually about to take a drink. They quickly called Darrell into the room to witness this very strange event.

Laughing as he did, he would be caught in mid sentence.

“What do you mean, Sam's drin...” he said, stopping as he saw her there, holding the cup.

With everyone watching in silence, Sam lifted the cup, and turned it up. Coughing as she drank the last of it, the room froze.

Looking up, she saw everyone staring at her. Including her. The one who stained her husband's clothes with lipstick. Sam then grinned as she looked at the hostess and admitted the truth.

“Not a clue. I don't have a single clue what's in your punch, Cindy.” she lied, then poured another cup. Holding it aloft, she looked right at Darrell.

“Sweetheart? May I interest you?” she asked in a seductive tone.

The entire room exploded in laughter. Then, the oohs and knowing uh huh's that followed would be all the goading Darrell needed. She really had been trying to reach out to him. He hadn't imagined it possible!

Walking over to her, he took the drink, downing it in a single gulp. Throwing the cup to the floor, he then took Sam in his arms, dipped her and kissed her hard and long.

Spontaneous applause exploded as everyone cheered them on.

Soon, everyone had partaken of the serum laced punch. For Sam, the party was just getting started.

She encouraged Darrell to enjoy himself and join his friends, they could talk later. Things were looking up for him! Left up to him, everyone would remember this night!

Then Sam found a corner with optimum viewpoint of the room, and watched. A few people walked up to her, encouraging her to join the fun, now that she's “one of them”. She nearly laughed in their faces. She would never be like “them”.

It had not been the alcohol she needed from that cup. It would be another dose of the serum. Now, she could see everyone in the room, for who they really were – nothing remained hidden from her vision now.

There would be only one person she needed to watch. The one that everyone would be able to see soon enough. The female whose true self would be revealed in!

Sam's eyes moved up from her watch to catch everyone's reaction to their new “vision”.

A reporter with red hair and beautiful face had kept a relatively low profile all evening. Sam knew her true identity. Now everyone would know!

Darrell had been joking with someone about a drilling accident at a construction site when he saw her. The red headed reporter. Only she wasn't her. Her hair had turned blond, and actually began to glow. Seeing the way Darrell stared at her, caused it to glow slightly brighter.

Then she looked over to Sam and glared in rage. In her anger, her skin then began to glow. Only bright enough for people to see that she was not a reporter, and probably not even human. Unless, of course she had become radioactive. Everyone now saw her and shrank away from her.

Except for Darrell, who walked up to her in wonder.

“You? I mean, you're real. It really wasn't a dream.” he said, feeling like he might be experiencing a 60's style flashback.

Her hair moved in a slow dancing motion, as if she were underwater. She rose slowly off the ground, then looked at them all, inviting them to sit on the floor.

Everyone, except Sam, sat.

In that moment, Sam took the opportunity to speak out.

“I don't know who, or what you are, but you leave my husband alone. Do you hear me, or is all that hair in your ears?” she yelled. Studying the figure for a moment, Sam would then add sarcastically, “do you even have ears?”

Everyone sat in a yoga position on the floor, looking to this new being as if she were a goddess. The goddess knew she could either take care of that meddling Sam, or she could control the crowd.

She decided on both.

“Ladies and gentlemen, what you see before you is a simple reporter. I am not what you think you see. Samantha has added something to the punch to cause you all to hallucinate. You all know how much she hates alcohol, right? Well tonight she is paying you back for all your jokes. Isn't that right, Samantha?” she asked as she looked into the eyes of her adversary.

“No! I only gave them a serum based on your DNA. Alien DNA! I found that in the lipstick on Darrell's shirt collar from last night!” Sam exclaimed.

A couple of guys from the party gave Darrell the thumbs up. Darrell felt like he had become a major celebrity. He never wanted the moment to end. Without her lips moving, he heard the blond's voice whispering that Sam wanted him to be with her.

Then the door to the party room burst open. A man and woman in suits walked in, moving to stand next to the reporter with red hair. The guests, still entranced, watched as she produced a badge and identified herself. The music seemed to stop on it's own.

“I am Special Agent Kirza, these are Agents Reynolds and Frye. We're with the FBI.” she said as other agents stood next to her. Everyone else saw the agents standing next to the floating blond Special Agent Kirza. The agents only saw their red haired mission leader.

Darrell jumped up, and walked over toward the three “agents”. The floating one winked at him. He smiled. She then moved her lips.

“We are here with a warrant for the arrest of Samantha Cunningham.” she announced, holding a piece of paper aloft. Agent Reynolds walked over to Sam and placing her hands behind her back, handcuffing her. Sam would look deeply into Agent Frye's eyes.

“I am telling you, she is an alien, seriously. Take a drink of that punch, and you'll see!” she exclaimed. Then recognizing Agent Reynolds as her limo driver, Sam yelled in rage at Special Agent Kirza.

“No! This can't be happening!” Sam cried as she was being pulled from the room by an undercover chauffeur and some FBI lady.

The Agents took the nod from Special Agent Kirza and escorted Sam from the building.

With Sam gone, Kirza looked over the crowd of her adoring fans. She would then make an announcement from her midair perch.

“Alright! Let's party!”

“Yeah!” the crowd yelled out, as the music came back up.

Kirza grinned. Her time had come, and she would not waste it. She had a room full of toys and she would be playing all night. There would be no one to stop her.

She probably wouldn't kill them. She needed soldiers to guard this area. Just to maintain her local claim. With the right training, they could protect her so much better than her last crew.

Well, except for the hostess. She sent Cindy flying through the window. The crowd roared.

It bothered Kirza that she had been found, again. By the same tracker.

Game on.

Shape-shifters. Kirza really detested shape-shifters. It's true they are the best intergalactic trackers. Slow, but persistent. Especially the one she called sister.

Kirza herself had to use disguises. Disguises that were not easy to come by. Not like sis. Looking up, she decided to find a warrior in training.

For Kirza, the best part of training: no complaints, no screaming. They were all happy to do whatever she asked.

Darrell would have a brief second of clarity. His entire being forced him to scream out. Then, he relaxed.

Miles away, a radio crackled in a parked sedan on the side of the interstate. As cars ran past them, Agents Reynolds and Frye lay unconscious in the front seat.

In the small town that lay just off the exit, a single figure stood on an old country road. As a pickup truck approached, the figure moved to the middle of the road. The young man driving the truck slowed to a stop as he saw the woman.

Walking over to the driver's side of the car, she produced a badge and identified herself as Agent Frye of the FBI. She would need him to drive to the nearest police station.

Game on, sis.

May 12, 2021 01:11

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