THE BRIDES – Halloween story 2017

He punched before he even thought twice about it. It just happened. A reaction, something clicking in him and in an instant his fist shot out and returned a satisfying crunch and ‘Uh’ when it connected the idiot in the mask that had jumped out in front of him. The satisfaction was short lived though as he heard movement behind him and turned to see a short stocky guy in a mask quickly moving towards him. Tam smiled, shook his hand to get the sting out of it, and hurried out of the room. The room lead to a long hallway with flashing lights and two more idiots in ghost-sheets moving in at him. He pushed the first one into the wall and then the second he kicked in their junk before leaving the room and entering a makeshift basement. A family was huddled around a crib that had red light flashing within in.

The punchline.

He’d picked up some of the story as he was going through the haunt but he hadn’t been paying much attention if truth be told. He was trying to find Karen. After their fight she had stopped answering her phone and he knew that she must have gone out with her stupid friends. They had wanted her to come to this stupid haunt since they started over-hyping it in the summer. And it was all hype. Big production with cheap thrills. This point was hammered home as four actors in alien costumes, big gray heads and shiny suits, popped into the scene after a flash of light blinded him for a moment. Thirty bucks and all you got was a fifteen minute walk through a dark maze with a bad joke for a story. He could have gotten this from basic cable He went up to the closest alien and pushed them hard. They flailed, not expecting the blow, and fell into prop boxes and then through them in a heap. He didn’t smile this time, just pushed past the other aliens and out the exit and into the world. He’d caught no sight of Karen or her friends. He felt a dozen things at once and now that the anger was dissipating the most prominent thing he felt was shame. Shit. On her birthday. He pulls the stupid, jealous boyfriend shit on her birthday. Genius move.

He stormed out the exit and past the gathered groups as they huddled together and told tales of their survival. The air was heavy with the scent of a nearby bonfire and donuts which were being sold in a booth beside a seating area. He looked over at a couple holding hands and kissing in the line to get in and he wondered if they knew they were doomed. That it’d never work out. That he’d screw it up some day. It was inevitable.

“Tam?”

He turned, a distant smile on his face, and saw Karen standing with her friends. They were clowns.

“Babe? I’m an asshole. I am so sorry. I…” He held a hand out to her and she returned the gesture, though her hand held a long, thin knife which slid deep into his belly.

Tam took a staggering step backward and looked down at himself and the place where the blood was pouring out. He looked back up at Karen, hand still outstretched and the knife dove into his side and was pulled upward. The blade was pulled free and plunged in again. Tam fell forward and Karen caught him as Carly and DeeDee moved close to help hold him up. He opened his mouth to speak but Karen shushed him and gave him a soft kiss on the forehead. DeeDee looked around and then nodded to her friends and the three of them gently laid Tam on the ground. Karen was tearful but it had to be done. This was the pact. In the O’Leary woods someone would find the body of DeeDee’s girlfriend someday. In a car at the end of a cu-DE-sac was the body of Carly’s boyfriend of four years. This was the pact. Taken at twelve. An oath by blood to be repaid with blood when all three had entered their seventeenth year and today was Karen’s birthday. Today was the day. The pact was complete and they were now the brides of darkness and would reap those benefits. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But some day. That was what the book DeeDee had found in the woods had said and that was how it would be. Some day. She had found the book deep in the woods, near an old door that stood silent vigil, leading to places none of them dared dream into existence. A Book Of Dream was its name and where it came from and who had written they would never know. They only knew the power they had felt holding the book, and the power of the blood they had each spilled on it upon making the oath.. And soon their dreams would come true.

Carly wiped away the tears on Karen’s left cheek and DeeDee wiped away the tears on her right cheek and with the knife put away they each took a hand and the three of them started towards the long line that lead towards the haunted house. The Possession, the haunt, had been hyped since July ad they had been looking forward to experiencing it since they had heard the first radio commercial. They started giggling as a masked chainsaw killer walked by and then up ahead fire belched from the top of the building. Slowly the line wound forward, the snake of people being swallowed by the yawning mouth of the haunt and the closer they got the more their anticipation grew and in no time it was time to face the darkness.

…c…

 

Author: Chris Ringler

Writer, blogger, reviewer, artist, arts and cultural events coordinator, and semi-professional weirdo. Author of a heap of books from horror to fairy tale to kid's.

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