by Devon Queer
When Mutt, Luther, and Pete go see a special feature they are in for more than a movie...
|I jump out of bed as soon as my phone lights up. It's Mutt, of course. "On my way," his text reads. "Be outside in five or you aren't coming." I scramble to find my jeans in the dark. Pulling them on,I creep to my bedroom door and crack it open, my ears straining. Perfect! My parents are fast asleep; I can hear my dad's lawnmower snores and my mom's grumbling breaths coming from their bedroom. Smiling, I shut my door and tiptoe to my window, patting my pockets to make sure I've got my phone and wallet. I slip my shoes on and push the window open, climbing out deftly. Landing softly, I bend over to tie my shoes. Headlights appear around the side of my house just as I stand up.
Jogging quietly, I get to the front of my house just in time to see Mutt slow his small, beat up car to a stop. He kicks the passenger seat door open as I approach. "Get in, Pete," he whispers, "I'm getting Luther next."
I climb in, pulling the door shut behind me. As I tug the ratty old seat belt tight around myself, I glance over at Mutt, watching him flick his golden hair out of his blue eyes. One thing I like about Mutt, is he doesn't call me "kid" the way Luther does. He calls me by my name, Pete, as if we're on the same level.
See, I'm only thirteen. Mutt and Luther are both eighteen, so for them to let a kid like me tag along with them is pretty cool. And for the record, I've got nothing against Luther - he's a cool, tough dude. He just doesn't treat me as an equal the way Mutt does.
We reach Luther's house, and I unclick my seat belt, climbing into the backseat as Mutt pulls to a stop. Luther opens the door a moment later, throwing a nod my way. "Thanks, kid," he says, as Mutt starts to drive once more.
We're going to the midnight feature at Phantom Cinemas, the best movie theater in town. Every month, they do a midnight feature, where they show a horror movie at midnight on a Friday night. Supposedly they only show the scariest movies at these features, movies so scary they can't show them any other time. Movies that scare people so much, they can only go to a feature once. They won't go again, they're so scared.
I'm super excited, and I know Mutt and Luther are too. This is our first time going to a feature, and we're determined not to let it be our last. We won't be like those other wimps.
The two of them are arguing about what type of movie it has to be, for it to be so scary. "I'm telling you," Luther argues, "It's gonna be like the Halloween movies. Or Chucky."
Mutt scoffs. "Slasher movies are overrated," he retorts. "It's gotta be paranormal. There's so many more options than just some crazy dude slicing people up." He meets my eyes in the rear-view mirror. "What do you think, Pete?"
I consider it a moment. "I bet it's a monster movie," I finally say. "Something no one has seen before."
Luther waves me off. "Monster movies are so played out."
"And slasher movies aren't?" Mutt replies before I can say anything. He smiles at me. "I think you may be right, Pete. I hadn't thought of a monster movie."
I grin, pleased, as we pull into the Phantom Cinemas parking lot. Mutt parks the car and we walk in, following a stream of other teenagers. I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest one here. We buy our tickets, and the cashier hands us each a pair of 3D glasses, which makes us grin at each other excitedly. We'd never thought it would be in 3D!
Once we're loaded down with popcorn and candy, we're ushered into the theater, where we find seats at the end of the front row. Everyone around us is chattering, just as excited as we are. They're not showing any movies, just letting everyone find seats before they start the movie. After what seems like ages, the lights go out, and everyone cheers.
I put my 3D glasses on, shoveling popcorn into my mouth as the movie begins to play. Just like there were no previews, there's no opening credits, either. It jumps straight into a scene of giant wolves running across a gray field toward the screen. As they get closer, I see that the wolves are nearly as tall as I am! They're huge! And I've never heard the sound system here work so well! Their snarls and snaps and growls sound like they're coming from all around us, and they sound super realistic! The sounds get louder as the wolves get closer to the screen.
It's when the wolves reach the screen that the horror starts, though.
The wolves leap out of the screen, and I hear everyone in the audience gasp. I see the wolves' paws hit the carpet floor in front of me, and at first I'm in awe.
See, at first we all think it's just hyper-realistic 3D.
But then we feel it.
One wolf slashes out at me with its claws, and I feel them slice into my calf. I scream as burning hot pain lances through my leg, and vaguely, I hear other people screaming around me. I try to stand, but can't get out of my seat. It feels as if a powerful magnet has connected me to the chair.
More and more wolves jump through the screen into the audience, and with every slash and bite, more pain shoots through me. I hear Mutt screaming next to me. I try to kick at the wolves, but it's no use. How is this happening? Squeezing my eyes shut, I reach up and pull my 3D glasses off. They're useless anyway, considering the wolves are somehow real.
However, as soon as the glasses slip off, I nearly fall out of my seat. Whatever had been holding me in place is gone now!
I look around, realizing I can no longer see the wolves. I just see an audience getting ripped to pieces by invisible creatures! I can feel the wolves rushing around me, occasionally bumping into me, but I'm no longer getting clawed.
"It's the glasses!" I scream, reaching and yanking Mutt's off his face. He looks at me wide-eyed, then looks around the room. "It's the glasses," I yell again, and he seems to understand. He screams at Luther, pulling his glasses off of him.
Together, we stand and limp to the emergency exit. We're almost there when one of the now invisible wolves slams into me, knocking me off my feet. I feel teeth dig deep into my shoulder, and I scream and kick. I can see Mutt and Luther trying to haul the invisible wolf off of me, and eventually they succeed, and the wolf scrambles on to the next person. Mutt wraps an arm around me, and we make it to the door, pushing our through it and stumbling out into the night.
Once outside, we pant, bending over to catch our breath.
"What was that?" Luther exclaims, clutching his arm where a wolf got him.
"I don't know," I groan, looking down at my shredded jeans. I press a hand to my throbbing shoulder, and it comes away slick with blood.
Mutt shushes us, holding his hand up, and we hear voices. Creeping around the corner of the building, we see two ushers standing outside, talking.
"Man, I hate working for the features," the shorter one grumbles. "Mopping up afterward sucks."
"I know, but someone has to do it," the taller one sighs. "And anyway, I'm glad we fed them tonight. They were getting antsy. A month is a bit long for them to go without feedings."
Mutt, Luther, and I share a glance. So this was what the features were about every month? Feeding those...things?
The taller one checks his watch. "We should get back inside," he says, ignoring the shorter one's groan. "They're probably almost done."
The two of them go back inside, and as soon as they're gone, the three of us scramble to our car as quickly as we can manage.
Once inside the car, I sag in relief. My legs pulse like my heart has relocated into my thighs, and I'm shaking. "That was crazy," I say, breathing heavily. "I can't believe that just happened!"
"Are we sure it did?" Mutt asks, voice trembling. I realize that for the first time since I've known him, Mutt looks scared.
"Oh, it happened all right," Luther responds, holding up his bleeding arm as proof. I press my palm to my shoulder and nod in agreement.
"What do we do now?" I ask, and Mutt takes a deep breath.
"We go home," is all he says.
"We have to tell someone!" Luther argues. "They can't just do that every month!"
"I know," Mutt sighs, running his fingers through his hair. "I just - who would believe us?"
"He's right," I say, my voice cracking. "No one would believe us."
Luther falls limp against the seat, groaning. "So that's that, then? We just go home?"
"Yes," Mutt responds after a moment. "We go home. And we think of something."
And with that, he starts to drive.