Inspired by Red 3183 words
|Dancing bodies surround me. The smell of perspiration mixed with perfume and cologne is overpowering. Mindlessly, people gyrate to the latest pop song. Tonight is about looking good and being seen and showing how creative you are. There are ghouls and goblins of many varieties. Each person tying to out-do the next.
Looking around it is easy to see who has money, who decided to go the easy way and either hire or buy, who had enough creativity to make their own costume. The prize for the best costume would definitely not be going to the person with a bed sheet thrown over them as a cheap ghost.
Unlike all of the in-crowd, I decided to create my own costume this year and went all out in the hope that I may just win the competition this year. Deciding what to make was hard but after creating the pattern and sewing it all together I think I have done a pretty darn good job. I eventually chose a dress based on my favourite female character of the last twenty years. Going with a basic idea of a vampire slayer I pored over all the images and books I had ever picked up and decided to settle on an eighteenth-century French noble woman’s gown made of black velvet and vintage looking lace. Hidden panels make it easy to run in whilst still looking very much the lady while walking. Built into the pannier, I made slots where I could store stakes and crosses. My purse made of the same material contains a bottle of holy water. I think the judges will be very pleased with my effort.
Starting to feel hot and perspiring in the heat, I make my way through the writhing bodies and head for the refreshment tables. Drinks of many colours and flavours are on offer. Including, but not limited to, blood-punch which tastes a lot like strawberries, black-plague punch in which I detect traces of blueberries. I think we have been duped a little here but I suppose the important thing is they look good and are so refreshing in this heat. It would not do for a lady to swoon. Settling on a glass of Orange Ogre, I wandered around for a little while checking out the decorations and games.
The walls are covered in cobwebs with witches, spiders and pumpkins peeking through. The ceiling has been transformed with twinkling lights and bats flying around overhead. Low lights are set on a random flicker, giving the appearance of candlelight. Looking around it is hard to believe this is the same place teachers use to torture us for the sake of fitness. The dance committee have done an astounding job.
Between the dancing, refreshments and game choices, someone had some great ideas. Of course I doubt the haunted house will be that scary. Surely the teachers would not allow them to go too over the top. Thinking about it, my feet carry me in that direction. Bleached white skeletons guard the blood-red curtained doorway that appears to open on its own as I approach. Looking down, all I can see is a black and fairly smooth surface as the curtains snap shut behind me. Instantly everything goes dark and I jump as something cold and clammy touches my hand. It takes me a few moments to realize it is someone else’s hand.
A voice growls out of the darkness, “Come with me and I will show the horrors that await.” With some trepidation, I allow myself to be swept along in his wake. A spotlight suddenly shines on a mirror, as I look in all I can see is myself horribly distorted. Strangely my companion does not appear. Mirror after mirror the same thing happens only the distortions are different every time. Everything goes dark again and my companion pulls me into another room.
“You have seen the horror of your many faces, now you must experience the horror of sound.” The mysterious voice growls into my ear. Suddenly, a wall of noise hits me and I stumble. It sounds like a thousand cats wailing while someone is running their fingers across a blackboard. More and more horrifying sounds get added until it feels like my ear drums will explode. I try to cover my ears but nothing will drown it out. Then…silence.
I follow my guide to the next room and wonder which sense will be assaulted next. It does not take me long to realise it is touch. My guide places my hand in a bowl, it feels thick and squishy. I want to recoil in horror but my guide does not allow it. He is pulling me on to the next thing. Bowl after bowl of horrifying things are placed under my hand until I scream in terror.
“Very good my dear,” The voice growls. ”You are ready for the next room now,” He says, as he pulls me deeper into this nightmare. “Time for taste and smell my dear,” Rasps out towards me. He places a spoon in my hand and guides it to my nose, the smell is disgusting. When it touches the tip of my tongue I gag as it because it is so sour. The next spoonful smells even worse but burns my lips before it even gets inside. He keeps shoving spoonful after spoonful into my mouth until I cannot take anymore. Finally and with surprise on my part he gives me a spoonful of the sweetest strawberries I have ever tasted.
Leading me out, my mysterious guide leaves me suddenly, so I reach towards the curtains in front of me but stop when I hear voices coming from the other side. Something is familiar about them but I cannot place it until I hear them speaking.
“No, I will not do it, no matter what you offer me.”
“Yes you will, if you value your job.”
“And what can you do that is going to hurt me?”
“If you don’t get them to pick my costume, I will tell them about what I saw Tuesday night at the cinema.”
“What did you see?”
“You know what I saw. If you don’t want everyone else knowing then you better do what I say.”
I realised at this point, it was the most popular bitch in school and the new sports teacher. I briefly wondered at what they could be talking about. Then I realised what the consequences of their conversation was. If he did what she wanted, I had no hope of winning the costume competition. After all my hard work, that bitch would win because she knew something she wasn’t supposed to. I didn’t really speculate too much on what it could be because I was too infuriated at the thought of all my good work going to waste.
Somehow I had to make sure she did not win, but what was I to do about it? Wondering over towards the refreshment I pondered what I was to do. I could expose her but that would put the teacher at risk too. I could ignore it but I was too pissed off at the thought she could blackmail her way into winning. Or I could bring the bitch down. Yeah, that would be the best choice. How was I going to do it though? I needed to come up with a plan fairly quickly because it was judging time soon. I could feel an idea coming together. It was diabolical but it just may work.
I made my way to the art room. I was happy that I had remembered those slits in the skirt because they sure were coming in handy now. Grabbing the first couple of tubes of paint that came to hand I was quickly off again. Racking my brains I went through all the people I knew trying to work out who would be willing to help me. I finally settled on a girl I knew fairly well from my art class. She had been the butt of many of the rumours the bitchy crowd came up with. I had to find her though in the crowd. Lucky for me I knew her style. Dressed in nothing more than an art smock and prairie skirt I found her hiding in a corner.
I explained quickly and she agreed to my plan. We had to separate Miss Popular from her friends. Going up behind her my friend blindfolded the bitch then whispered in her ears that she was going to take her to the guy we all knew Miss Popular was crushing on. My arty friend managed to get her into the House of Horrors so I could take over. By this point I had already had a word with my mysterious guide and he agreed that it would be a fun trick to pull. So he guided her through the place. However, when they got to the touch room I was standing by waiting. I managed to squeeze the paint tubes all over her pretty pink dress and made a really big mess with them.
Then while she was led through the rest of the way, I slipped out and disposed of the tubes quietly. I made sure I was in a prominent spot when she came out of there. I had done a fantastic job. All down the back of her dress you could see the rainbow of paints. It looked like a colourful mess. Just the result I had been hoping for. Watching her make her way to her friends I noted the smiles and laughs that followed her. I was pretty surprised though when none of her friends commented on her dress though. I know they had noticed it. So why didn’t they say anything to her?
It was soon time for the costume judging and I watched with interest while the Principal did his goofy introduction and invited the judges up on the stage. It was with interest that I paid close attention to the sports teacher’s face. He looked a bit uncomfortable. The Principal asked us for all the people who were entered to make their way to the side of the stage. I made sure I was somewhere down the middle. Not too close to Miss Popular but close enough to see her reaction when she realised she had no hope of winning.
Each person made their way onto the stage was asked what their costume was and how they had created it. They then did a little pirouette and made their way off stage. I waited with bated breath as Miss Popular went through her turn. Apparently she was supposed to be a Rose princess and she had made her dress with her mum’s help. I bet she got her mum to have it made. My moment of triumph came when she twirled around like nothing was wrong and absolutely everyone, including the judges, started laughing. I knew there was no way she could win now. The best part was she could not blame the sports teacher for her failure. She was absolutely livid as she walked off stage, swearing revenge and saying she would find out who was responsible.
My turn soon came and I wow the judges with my dress so was not surprised when I won after all. However then Miss Popular insisted on the Principal searching the Haunted house because she swore that must have been where her dress was ruined. It was amazing watching them come back out and to hear him say there was no sign of fresh paint it the entire place. I don’t think the smile left my face for the rest of the night as I danced with anyone who was willing.
It wasn’t until the next morning I heard of any trouble. Someone rang me to tell me Miss Popular had not been seen since the night before when she ran out of the party. We all agreed that she was probably just too embarrassed to show her face in public. There were already jokes going around about how the red was not just on her face and other stupid things teenagers say. When the hours became days though, we all started to worry. Where could she be? Her parents had not heard from her and her friends were gathered together trying to work out where she could be. My arty friend and my mysterious guide spoke to me but none of us could shed any light on her disappearance. It was like she had vanished into thin air that night.
Days soon turned into weeks and weeks into months, It was not long before the next Halloween party was about to happen. This time I could not make myself get excited about it. Somehow the disappearance of Miss Popular the year before had dampened my spirits. I ended up just throwing together a basic costume. Not even the fact I would lose my crown was enough to inspire me.
When I arrived at the party this time I stayed away from the haunted house. It just didn’t feel right going near it. The decorations seemed tacky after the year before and the drinks just tasted flat. My mysterious guide had graduated the year before and my arty friend had moved for family reasons so I was all alone at this party. I half-heartedly danced for a while but I just couldn’t enjoy myself. When they went through the process of the costume competition I stayed at the back of the room, I just had no interest in it.
Wandering out into the hall, I thought about going home. Suddenly something was covering my eyes and I was pinned by a strong pair of arms. Struggling I was unable to escape and screaming did not do any good because of the filthy tasting in my mouth. I was dragged down the corridor, not knowing where I would end up. Being dragged down a lot of stairs I finally realised I was in the basement. But who had hold of me? Whoever it was, was not saying anything at this point. Al I could do was keep struggling as I was dragged along. Being thrown onto a bed, I tried to fight but my attacker bound my hands and feet pretty quickly. Whoever this was did not intend on me getting away from him.
I was trying to think of a way out but the only thing going through my mind was that I must not die. Listening very carefully I could make out the sounds of the party very faintly mixed in with the boiler doing its job and a weird scraping noise. Writhing on the bed I struggle to escape my bonds but nothing works.
Throwing my head from side to side I managed to move the blindfold enough to see part of my surroundings. Covering the wall on one side are posters taken from a myriad of calendars and porn magazines, all depicting women in a various states of undress. A table is pushed up next to the door and it is covered in magazines and plates. On the other side of me the wall is covered in numerous pictures of Miss Popular, a couple of other girls I know vaguely and me. There are so many I have to wonder who could have taken them all because they are in so many different settings. Who has been following me like this? What sort of weirdo takes pictures like that?
I get really nervous when the door opens and in he walks. It is the sports teacher. No, I must be imagining it. He could not be the one responsible for my being here. Surely not. And yet, he does not appear surprised by my being here. This is all too much for me to take in and I mercifully pass out. Waking with aching limbs I quickly realise it was not all a bad dream. I am tied up, on a bed, in the school basement. Perhaps there is some way I can persuade him to let me go. If not, I am going to have to try escaping.
At some point he comes in and takes the gag out of my mouth. I gag at first because my mouth is so dry. Holding a bottle to my lips he forces me to drink the foul tasting liquid inside. Falling back onto the bed, I start feeling dizzy. Feeling a large weight, some part of me feels his body next to mine. I black out at this point and when I awake I feel achy all over and my mind refuses to think of what he did.
Sometime later he returns and whispers in my ear, “I am sorry I have to do this but I cannot afford for you to tell people about me.” Feeling his fingers around my throat I struggle to breathe. As the fight leaves my body I see an angel above me. She looks an awful lot like Miss Popular.
She says in the most beautiful voice I have ever heard, “You are not going to die, unlike me. Last year I knew what he had been doing to another girl, so I tried to use it against him. When that failed I ran away. He found me though and dragged me down here. He hurt me over and over again then he killed me and put my body in the furnace. That is why my body has never been found.”
I look at her in disbelief but know she must be telling the truth. I cannot talk to her but that is ok as she does all the talking for both of us. “You must lie still and pretend to be dead. When he thinks it is over he will leave you while goes to get a cart to move your body in. This will be your only chance.” Miss Popular explained. “Be quick because I know the janitor is nearby and he will help you if you can reach him in time.”
My guardian angel disappears and I lie still appearing to be dead. I notice that he doesn’t seem to pay too much attention. He is probably thinking he has gotten away with it again. As soon as I hear his footsteps disappear I am on my feet and out of the door. I don’t think I have ever run that quickly. Suddenly, I can hear running feet behind me. I am almost there now. Falling around a corner I come face to face with the janitor. He takes one look at me and the sports teacher behind me and punches the sports teacher in the face before picking me up and carrying me up to the nurse. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see daylight ever before. At this point I sent up a prayer of thanks to my guardian angel and vow never to be petty about thinks that don't really matter again.