A halloween party is always the best place to reveal a secret or two.
Prompt#2 "The Time Warp"
Charles could here the festivities in full swing as he walked up the stone drive to the mansion. Before him, several men stood out front of the two large ornately carved wooden front doors. One held a clipboard and was speaking into a headset. They others seemed to be standing around giving silent support.
As Charles approached the group, the one with the clipboard motioned with his head, triggering one of the other men to step forward and block his advance.
“Can I help you, sir?” he was not only tall but quite wide. His shaved head glistened in the cool October evening.
“How the hell do you fit in that suit?”
“Don’t be. Listen, I’m here for the party. Gina Westinghouse invited me.”
The big man didn’t budge but Charles watched as Headset flipped through his papers. He obviously spotted something and looked his way. “Can I have your name, sir?”
“Nope, but I’ll tell you what it is.”
“Wha…I don’t understand.”
“Nevermind. Charles Kippler.”
“Very good, sir. He’s on the list. Let him through.”
The big man stepped to the left, turning at the hip to expose the front doors.
“Ah, there it is. Just like magic.” Charles moved past and up the short flight of steps. One of the other men opened the door for him.
He entered without another word and was greeted by a lovely young woman. “May I take your coat, sir?”
“Would you just hang it up for me instead?”
He smiled at her, sliding the jacket from his shoulders and passing it over.
“Thank you, sir. Just head forward through those doors and enjoy your evening.”
Charles thanked her and headed down the hallway. The floor was covered in plush brown carpeting, the walls hung with various works of art. At the end of the hallway were two more large ornate doors. A classically dressed butler was patiently waiting for him.
“Evening,” he said to the old man as he walked up, “how are things tonight?”
The butler smiled at him. “It's early yet, sir. Really, the festivities are just getting started.” He turned the knob and pushed the door open. It revealed a wide staircase that lead down to a grand ballroom. Over a hundred people dressed in all kinds of costumes were mingling, dancing and having a good time.
“Huh.” Charles tipped his head at the old man and slowly descended the stairs. He heard the door gently shut behind him. A loud burst of laughter brought his attention back. He recognized that laughter. No other woman made such a throaty robust sound. It was genuine and frightening all at the same time.
He spied Gina about halfway down the room. She was surrounded as always by several admirers, both male and female. She was dressed as a 20’s flapper, or at least her version of it. Her short dress fell in multiple layers, each a different shimmering color. One thin strap hung off her shoulder as she listened intently to some tale being told to her. A sparkling elastic band wrapped around her forehead with a trimmed peacock feather jutting up from behind. She shifted her legs, and he noticed the slight leather that poked out from under her slip of a dress. He smiled knowing what secret she hid.
Charles slowly made his way over, stopping by a small bar to grab a double whiskey, neat. Gina spied him and smiled. She put a hand on her tale teller’s shoulder, signaling for him to be quiet. Charles walked up, his drink slowly swirling in his palm.
“You finally made it, Charles. Everyone, this is Charles Kippler, a dear, dear friend of mine.”
Everyone took turns introducing themselves and shaking his hand. He was courteous to each in return. He noticed their dress and was about to comment when, as if on cue, the telltale opening notes of an electric guitar began. Gina clapped and giggled while her small group set their various drinks down and made their way to the dance floor.
Gina stepped over to Charles and they watched Riff-Raff and Magenta sing and dance against Brad and Janet.
She watched her friends perform the Time Warp a moment longer before leaning in close to Charles. “I was afraid you’d stood me up.” Her breath was warm and wet against his ear and he caught the faint scent of spiced rum.
“Oh, I wouldn’t miss this for the world, Gina.” He kept watch, Gina’s friends were doing an excellent job at mimicking the movie. An array of partiers joined them on the floor and proceeded to “jump to the left” before “stepping to the right”. Just as the song required.
“I haven’t seen this movie in ages. We should go to a midnight showing one of these days.”
Gina placed a slim hand on his shoulder. “You asking me out on a date, fella?”
Charles snorted, finally turning to look her in the eyes. “I’ve given up on that dream my dear, and resigned myself to being your friend.” He smiled after saying that to make sure she knew he was only being playful.
She made a pouting face in response. “So what’s up with your costume? You look like you came straight from the office.”
“I’m a werewolf.”
“Um, no.” She pointed further down the room. A person in what appeared to be a gorilla costume with a wolf mask was twerking against a slutty school teacher. “That’s a werewolf.”
Charles flipped a hand in their direction. “Please, I’m a werewolf in disguise. I just haven’t changed yet.”
“More like you haven’t changed into a costume. I’ll admit, it's a little disappointing.”
Charles rolled his eyes. “Please, you’ll be over it any minute now.”
Suddenly the music ended and everyone on the dance floor fell in a heap to the floor; the only two standing being Brad and Janet. Charles and Gina clapped along with everyone else. Charles half hoped “Sweet Transvestite” would start but was disappointed when something modern and electronic began pumping out of the speakers.
Gina punched him in the shoulder. “You’re an ass, you know that?”
Charles grinned back at her. “And you’re a brat. But I still love ya.”
Gina leaned forward and hugged him from behind. “I’ve missed you.” Charles didn’t reply.
The group of friends arrived and picked up their drinks. Gina congratulated them on a fine performance. One of the woman looked Charles over. “So, what exactly are you supposed to be anyway?”
“He’s an ass.” Gina replied before Charles could speak. Again, he rolled his eyes.
“As I was telling Gina, I’m a werewolf in disguise. I just haven’t transformed yet.”
“Oh,” the woman replied, “but it’s already a full moon out.”
“Doesn’t work that way. Its about desire and knowing the consequences.”
Gina stood. “Don’t listen to him, Andi, he’s just lazy.”
“Say’s you,” was all Charles replied.
The group moved down the room, people running over to greet Gina and thank her for the party.
The rest of the evening went smoothly. Gina and Charles danced a few times and took turns dancing with others as the night progressed. When the large grandfather clock behind the main bar chimed in at midnight, it was announced that the festivities would be winding down. Though there was a disappointing uproar over it, people thinned out quickly. By one o’clock, Charles, Gina, her five friends and six others were still mingling about.
Gina stood up on the bar. “Everyone, can I have your attention please.” The music had already ended some time ago and all conversation stopped. Charles looked around and realized all the help had vanished; it was just the twelve of them. “Its time for the real festivities to begin.”
Charles quietly walked over to a side door and turned the knob. It was locked.
“Oh, Charles.” He heard Gina’s voice but it sounded different. Hesitantly he turned around.
They were all standing together across the room from him, staring. Some of the men were hunched over, their arms dangling almost to the ground. Gina stood at the front of the group.
“You’ve been such a good friend to me over the years.” Her voice became gravelly, raw. “I need your help again, my dear Charles.”
“What’s going on, Gina? What’s happening to your voice?”
She chuckled as her face slowly expanded. Her arms stretched impossibly long, hair sprouting along the surface.
“Whoa! What big hands you have, Gina.”
She stared at him, her head tilting to the side. “Really? You’re cracking jokes?”
The rest of them started changing as well. In a matter of minutes Gina and her friends had transformed into oversized wolves; their clothes torn from their bodies as they changed.
Though it was difficult, Charles could barely make out the words Gina growled.
“I’m sorry it had to be you Charles. But your flesh will complete the binding.”
“Answer me something, Gina. It's a full moon. Why didn’t you change until now?”
Again, the growls were almost indecipherable. “Spell to keep us human. Just long enough to enjoy the evening. Now its time to enjoy the morning.”
The wolf that was Gina leaped forward easily clearing the space between them. Charles threw his arm up and her jaws clamped down hard, intending to bite completely through it. Nothing happened.
Charles chuckled, reached out and gripped her snout in his other hand. She yelped and released his arm, trying to pull back. Charles didn’t let go. Instead, he stood and lifted her up by her snout. She whined in pain and fear. Her pack watched, each emitting a whine in response.
“Stupid animals,” he said, “witchcraft and trickery to play pretend.” He tossed her back across where she bowled into the pack. “Happy Halloween!”
Charles walked towards them, his body contorting and shifting. His clothes dissolved into hair and he grew taller, wider. By the time he’d spanned the distance he’d transformed into a hulking nine foot beast, all razor sharp teeth and claws.
His voice hadn’t changed, didn’t sound guttural or primitive. It was clear and human, as it had been all night. “From the moment I walked in, I could smell each of you. I was wondering what this was to be. Silly, stupid wannabes. You insult me.”
The pack tried to run but Charles was having no part in it. The doors were locked and the servants gone. Charles took his time, saving Gina for last.
The police arrived the next morning after receiving a call from one of the employees. Twelve victims, including the homeowner, had been ravaged by what could only have been several wild animals. Unfortunately there were no animals to speak of. No prints, no fur, nothing to help them figure out what happened. Also, it was noted all the doors had been locked from the outside. No one could get out, so where were the culprits? The investigation never panned out and it's still unsolved to this day, a cold case waiting to be reopened.