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Ep.57 – Reaper Requisitions - Death is Only The Grim Beginning!

Episode Notes

Most people fear death, but that is only the beginning. We learn all about the life of a Reaper, the trials, tribulations, and of course paperwork... Lots and lots of paperwork...

Reaper Requisitions by Christopher Dowell

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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She felt numb. She remembered that it was only a short time ago when she felt her breaths slow and her body begin to cool. Everything seemed hazy, almost as though there was a film over her eyes. She couldn’t explain the feeling, but it felt as if everything had become disconnected, almost as though —

Her front door burst open with a loud bang as a mist began to pour into her home. Everything shifted to a pale shade of blue as a bell rang from all around her. Crows began to caw despite there not being any indication of the carrion feeders anywhere nearby. But something strange shook through her body as the tolling of the bell resounded: She couldn’t feel her heartbeat despite the fear coursing through her. Then, with a final ringing of the bell, silence filled her home.

A figure clad in black robes and a hood obscuring its face floated through the room and pointed at her. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls,” the figure in the black robes bellowed in a deep, echoing voice. “It tolls for thee.” As the figure came closer to her, its boney finger motioning in a “come hither” gesture, she screamed and ran as fast as she could to the back of her house and burst out of the back door.

“Listen, running just makes us mad and makes our job harder, okay?” The woman and the figure she now knew as “the reaper” stood in front of an elevator waiting for it to arrive. The reaper’s voice was now higher-pitched than it had been before. “Plus they won’t update our uniform. Seriously, running in these robes is annoying.”

The woman shook. “S-s-sorry.”

The reaper put its hand on the woman’s shoulder. She jumped. “It’s alright. Dying isn’t easy and, well, the show I like to put on makes it a little worse. But you’ll thank me for making your death seem like a memorable and significant experience after you’ve finished the 8,000 years of paperwork it takes to get you properly set up in the afterlife.”

Tears began to form on the edges of the woman’s eyes.

“I’m kidding. It’s not that much paperwork. But it is seriously boring.”

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. The reaper took the woman’s hand and led her inside. An uncountable number of buttons lined the walls of the elevator and the reaper pressed the lowest one. The elevator jerked to life as it descended. The reaper saw the woman clench and her body tighten. “It’s alright. Just because we’re going down doesn’t mean we’re ‘going down,’ if you know what I mean.” The reaper leaned against the wall. “You might as well get comfortable. We’re going to be on this elevator for a while. If you have anything to ask, you’ve got the time before we get you processed.”

“Processed?” The woman turned, her eyes wide as she stared into the black void inside the reaper’s hood.

“Yeah. When we get to the ground floor you’ll get put in the department that best suits you. Or you could always choose to be a reaper, but, eh… ” The reaper trailed off as it stared into the woman’s eyes. “You’re better off just going where they put you.”

“Where they put me?” The woman looked away from the reaper’s hood. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s not too complicated. You see, what you’ve been told about the afterlife is somewhat true, but there are some differences. First off, there’s no Heaven, Hell, eternal punishment, eternal paradise, or so on.” The reaper sat down on the elevator’s floor and motioned for the woman to join it. She didn’t. “What we have instead is a bureaucratic, ‘efficient’ business situation where people are assigned tasks based upon their strengths shown in life.”

“Wait, then why are we going down?”

“Because that’s where the Assignment desk is.”

The woman slumped to the floor, hitting a few buttons on the side of the wall as she did so. “So you’re saying that all the good, all the bad I did in life doesn’t matter? You’re saying the only thing that matters is how good I am at filing documents?”

The reaper turned to look at her sitting on the floor beside him. “Paperwork, spreadsheets, flipping burgers, whatever career you’ve been found to excel at. Yeah. That’s exactly what I’m saying. Also,” the reaper motioned to the lit up buttons on the wall. “You shouldn’t have done that. We’re going to be in this elevator forever now.” 

“Wait, forever?” the woman’s eyes grew wide once more.

“Not literally forever. Maybe like 20 minutes. But it’ll feel like forever.”

The woman and the reaper sighed along with one another.

“Listen, boss, we gotta talk.” The reaper burst through the office door as a man in a pinstripe suit jumped.

“Haven’t you heard of knocking, 7142?” the man said as he rearranged the paperwork on his desk.

“Haven’t you heard of keeping your promises?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, 7142, but if you have an issue, you know the proper procedure.”

The reaper sat down in an empty chair in front of the pinstripe-suited man’s desk. “Listen, boss, I’m not going to go down to Complaints. It will take 70 years before you even get an acknowledgement that there’s a complaint filed, let alone know its content or go to Reparations to ensure that the complaint is received.” The reaper leaned forward. “No, I’m not going to wait any longer.”

“Whatever are you talking about, 7142?” The pinstripe-suited man rubbed at his temples. “You’ve got work to do. Those souls aren’t going to ferry themselves.”

The reaper stood up, knocking the chair over as he did so. “That’s exactly why I’m here. When I took this job I was told I could retire once I ferried a billion souls. The woman I just brought down to Assignments makes 100 million more than that. I’m done, boss.”

The pinstripe-suited man opened a drawer and pulled out a file labeled “7142” and opened it. He licked his fingers as he leafed through the documents, stamping and initialing random pages as he did so. He leaned back in his chair.

“You’re right, 7142. It seems you were due for retirement 100 million souls ago. However,” the pinstripe-suited man slid a form across his desk to the reaper, “if you look at your contract you’ll see that part of your retirement requires you to send in a request to train a replacement before you can resign. I have yet to receive a request to train a new reaper, 7142.”

The reaper snatched the paper off the pinstripe-suited man’s desk. It read the words on repeat and saw — in the smallest print the reaper could read with squinted eyes — that yes, at 1 billion souls he was to send a request form — in quadruplicate — to Reaper Requisitions for a recruit to train as an intern until which point said intern could perform tasks on its own. 

The reaper shook its head. “I need to take a long lunch today, boss. I have some paperwork to fill out.”

The pinstripe-suited man slid a form across his desk. “You’ll need to fill this out and wait for approval before you can take your long lunch. And I’m also giving you an infraction for busting in here without an appointment. You know the rules.”

The reaper’s shoulders slumped, and it shook its head as it took the forms and a yellow paper infraction. That yellow piece of paper meant the reaper would have to bring in another million souls.

61 years after the meeting with its boss, the reaper received approval to take a long lunch. This meant the reaper gained an extra 10 minutes to its break-time. When the reaper reached the Complaints Department, it already had its paperwork filled out and signed in quadruplicate. The reaper didn’t think it would take any longer to include a complaint about the robes. If approved, that complaint would allow the next generation of reapers to enjoy the freedom afforded to them by actual pants. But the reaper doubted it would get approved — at least not any time soon.

After the reaper filed its request for an intern and its complaint about the robes its lunch had ended without it having time to eat anything. It would have to pick up something to eat during its next soul run. It wouldn’t be the first time the reaper had to eat on the job.

“7142,” the speaker rang out as the reaper sat in Reaper Requisitions 124 years after filing his request for an intern.

The reaper stood up and walked to the window where a woman in a pant-suit sat behind plexiglass. She didn’t look up at the reaper as she stamped stacks of papers, which was fine. It allowed the reaper some time to admire the woman's pants and long for the feeling of pleated fabric caressing its inner thighs. The woman cleared her throat, breaking the reaper out of its pants fantasy.

“Get to the point and stop dilly-dallying,” the pant-suited woman said, still not looking up at the reaper. “You have no idea how busy it’s been for the past few centuries.”

“Sorry.” “So you’re here for an intern, right? I hope you’re not here to keep inundating us with that uniform crap,” the pant-suited woman stopped stamping and looked at the reaper. “Do you have any idea how much more work a uniform change would cause?”

“I sure don’t. That’s not my department.”

The pant-suited woman scoffed. “Of course,” she continued moving papers and stamping them. “Just take this form and go down to processing and walk down the hall. There are recruits waiting there. Interview them and pick the best fit." The pant-suited woman slid a form to the reaper, and it took it. 

“I thought you all procured and interviewed the interns. I don’t have time to take off to interview them. Isn’t that exactly what your department is here for?”

“Fine,” the pant-suited woman pushed her papers to the side and pushed a button. A loud buzz sounded as a door opened in the back of the room. “Go in that door. Your boss hand-picked this one as the best candidate. The intern will be in a room waiting for you. Now, let me get back to my work.”

Blinds which had “closed” written on them dropped down before the reaper could reply. 

The reaper stood up and walked to the door. It peered inside to try to see what was in there, but the reaper couldn’t make out anything beyond the dark hallway in front of it. Since the reaper didn’t know where it needed to go it followed the hallway as it twisted and turned. Most of the doors had a red light above them, so the reaper assumed those weren’t the doors it should go into. To the reaper’s relief, it found that its assumptions about the lights were correct when it came upon a door with a green light over top. When the reaper turned the knob, the door opened without any opposition. 

“Don’t come in!” a voice yelled from inside the room. But it was too late, the reaper had already swung the door all the way open.

The reaper saw a soul halfway through the transition from soul to reaper attempting to put on a set of black robes, but because the soul still had most of its human features, the robes didn’t fit. As the reaper walked over to the transitioning soul, it pulled off the robes. The soul yelped and moved its hands to where its genitals once were.

“There’s no need to do that,” the reaper said as it tossed the robes over a chair. “You’re transitioning into a reaper. You’re like a Ken doll down there.”

The now nude soul removed its hands from where its genitals once were and screamed. “Where’s my junk!?” it said as it slapped at the blank spot where its “junk” had presumably been.

“It’s gone. That’s part of becoming a reaper.”

“Well if I would have known that I wouldn’t have agreed to do it,” the soul said as it turned around and began to put on pants and a t-shirt.

While the reaper knew the soul could go back to having “junk” by renouncing its intention to be a reaper, it didn’t want to tell it that. Not with the reaper’s retirement on the line. “Yeah, that sucks. They should have told you that before you accepted the position,” the reaper said, also neglecting to mention that there was far more the soul wasn't told about becoming a reaper. “You ready to go on your first assignment?”

“Not really. I’m more ready to get my junk back.” 

The reaper hung its head. “Just follow me to the surface, okay?”

“All of this seems unnecessary,” the reaper’s new intern said as it set up fog machines around their assigned soul’s home.

Maybe that’s why you’re so jaded you decided to become a reaper, the reaper thought. “It seems like it is, but this is important. It makes their death seem like something that matters. Maybe if your reaper did this for you you’d see why it’s so necessary.”

The intern kicked at the dirt. “I guess you know best.” “Considering I’ve been doing this for more years than you’ve existed, you’re right that I know best.” The reaper queued a CD to play in a boombox next to it. “Now wait by the window and watch what I do. I may even have you take point on the next assignment, alright?”

The intern nodded and began to walk to a window.

After stepping on a hover-board and draping its robe over the device, the reaper pressed a button on a remote and mist began pouring out of the fog machines. Under its hood, the reaper placed a voice oscillator and set it to the lowest setting. Then, when the mist had engulfed the home, the reaper burst through the front door seeming to float, the robe covering the hover-board making the reaper move in a smooth, soundless way. When the sound of bells ringing began to play over the boombox, the reaper made its way into the house. 

As it entered, it said, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for—” The reaper stopped speaking when it saw that there was no one inside. It looked around and noticed that the window where it had told the intern to stay was open. “What the?”

The reaper heard people talking outside as fog continued to roll into the house. It pressed the button on the remote to stop the mist from spewing out of the machine — after all, acquisitions would give the reaper a 20-30 page complaint if it overused supplies like that — and rolled outside on the hover-board. Next to the silent boombox the intern sat next to a man.

“— when I decided to become a reaper,” the soul said. “That’s pretty awesome. Think I could be one, too?”

“Nah, you’re not cool enough to —” the intern stopped speaking when it saw the reaper come rolling out of the house on its hover-board.

“Interesting weather out here, isn’t it?” The reaper said, its voice oscillator making its voice bellow. The intern shook when it heard the reaper speak.

“Yeah, it’s —” the intern stopped speaking when it looked into the void of the reaper’s hood and felt the reaper’s anger flow through it.

“Say,” the reaper looked at the man whose soul they’d come to ferry, “do you mind sitting there for a moment while I talk to my cohort?”

“Sure, I’m dead, it’s not like I’m in any hurry.”

The reaper grabbed the intern’s arm and tugged it behind the house. Once there, the reaper looked over the soul’s shoulder to make sure the dead man wasn’t watching or listening to their conversation. He wasn’t.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the reaper said as it forced the intern to look into its void. “I told you to sit and watch, and what do you do? You messed the whole performance up.” “I told you it was unnecessary,” the intern said as it looked away from the swirling blackness inside the reaper’s hood. “Look at that guy,” it pointed to the man sitting by the boombox. “He’s doing just fine and it took me, like, three seconds to tell him what was up. That’s a lot better than your hover-board nonsense.”

“Alright, since you know best, I’ll let you ferry him down to be processed and then you can meet me back up here for our next assignment. How’s that sound? If you succeed in both of those tasks, well I’ll hand you my robes on the spot and you can be the next reaper 7142.”

“It’s a deal,” the intern held out its hand and shook the reaper’s. They then took the soul to the elevator and the reaper allowed its intern to take the man down the elevator all by itself.

Since the reaper now had some time — a new sensation to him since most of his time consisted of going on assignment, ferrying souls, filling out paperwork, filing documents, or waiting in lines — it decided to write a longer form of its request to give reapers pants instead of the tripping-hazard robes they’d had to wear since, well, the reaper didn’t know how long. The intern would be busy with lines, paperwork, processing requests, and so on. And without the reaper there to talk it through the proper procedure, the intern would most likely have its claims rejected multiple times before it came back for their next assignment.

The reaper put its hood up when it heard the elevator chime. When it turned around to see the doors open, its heart metaphorically grew cold when it saw the soul and a man in a pinstriped suit — the man who was its boss — exit the elevator with the soul. “7142, you have some explaining to do,” the man said as he pushed the intern forward. “Why was this intern spending time navigating the halls of Assignments all by itself without reaper assistance?”

The reaper’s voice caught in its throat — or what it considered its throat — for a moment before it could speak. “I, you see, well, I uh,” the reaper scratched the top of its hood before speaking again. “I gave that intern orders and it didn’t follow them, so I thought as punishment for its insubordination I would make it, you know, have to learn something on its own.”

“That’s all well and good,” the pinstripe-suited man rifled through his pockets, “but you didn’t file the proper insubordination complaint paperwork, nor did you file the request for punishment form, let alone a request for intern access.” He clicked his tongue.

“Sorry, sir,” the reaper grabbed its intern by the arm and pulled it close. “It won’t happen again.”

“It had better not,” the pinstripe-suited man handed the reaper a yellow piece of paper. “For now I am issuing you this second infraction. Should you receive more, it could affect your retirement.” He turned around. “Please don’t make me have to leave my office again due to your shenanigans.”

“Wait! One more thing before you leave,” the reaper handed the pinstripe-suited man the uniform change request form it had been working on. “Can you see that the right person in Requisitions gets this form?” 

The pinstripe-suited man snatched the document from the reaper’s hand then entered the elevator. The door closed with a ding. 

The reaper lifted its head and then screamed as it tried to tear the yellow piece of paper in its hand. The paper stretched and pulled, but no matter what the reaper did, the paper would not so much as tear. This made the reaper scream even louder.

“Come on, let’s get to our next assignment,” the reaper said as it dropped the yellow piece of paper on the ground. “And this time please listen to me, okay?”

“Sure,” the intern said as it watched the reaper struggle to peel the yellow piece of paper off its shoe after stepping on it. “I think I’m starting to like this job.”

“What, no complex setup this time?” The intern said as it and the reaper walked up to their new assignment’s door.

“No, not this time,” the reaper lowered its hood to reveal the face of an older, grandmotherly woman. “Sometimes thi—” “Wait, have you been an old grandma under there all along?” The intern’s eyes widened as it looked at the reaper’s face.

“No. As a reaper I am able to change my face when I need to. It will be something you are able to do as well should you pass your internship.” 

“You mean when.”

The reaper knocked on the door and put in its voice oscillator before speaking in an old woman’s voice. “Stay quiet and she won’t see you, alright?”

The door swung open and a young woman with tear-stained cheeks looked at the reaper. “M-Mom?”

“Yes dear, I’ve missed you.”

“Oh Mom!” the young woman hugged the reaper. “I’ve missed you so much. Things have been awful since you… well, you know.”

“It’s quite alright dear. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to make things better for you, alright? Anything you need, just let Mommy know.”

The young woman smiled and motioned for the granny-faced reaper to come in. The intern followed behind once the reaper beckoned it to. They sat down on a threadbare couch as the young woman walked into the kitchen. The reaper swept bottles of spilled pills into a nearby trash can out of sight of the young woman. It moved into a relaxed position on the couch as the young woman returned with a tray of rolls.

“I know they’re not as good as you make them, but I’ve been trying to perfect the recipe since the last time I saw you.”

The reaper took one of the rolls and smiled as it bit into one. “Oh dear, you’ve outdone yourself. I think these are even better than the ones I make.”

The young woman cracked a smile. It looked out of place on her sad face, but it seemed to brighten up the room. “I know you’re just trying to cheer me up like you always do, Mom. But it’s alright, I remember how yours tasted. These are nowhere near what you can do. ” “Oh hush, dear,” the reaper said as it grabbed another roll from the tray. “A mother’s love adds a certain flavor, but it doesn’t compare to the raw talent you’ve got for this sort of thing.”

“You really mean that?” The woman smiled again, this time it stayed on her face.

“Of course I do, in fact,” the reaper began to motion for the door, but before it could do so, it saw its intern begin to jitter in the seat next to it. It gave its intern a stern look before turning back to the young woman. “I know a place looking for a baker with your talent.”

“Really?” the young woman’s eyes lit up as she looked into the reaper’s own, kind eyes.

“Yes dear. In fact, you may even get to work with me on a regular basis. Wouldn’t that be nice?”

“You mean I’d get to see you again every day?

“Yes. Every day.”

“I would lo—”

“Enough!” the intern stood up from the threadbare couch and pointed at the young woman. “I don’t know what this” — he moved his pointer finger over to the reaper — “is trying to pull by looking like some old biddy and talking to you, but you’re—”

“Who are you?” The woman looked uncomfortable and frightened. “Where did you come from?”

“Me?” the intern pointed its thumb at itself. “I’m nobody. But the one next to me? Well that’s a reap—”

“Sit back down!” the reaper’s voice bellowed, overcoming the voice-changing properties of the oscillator. “You will listen to me or you will be removed from your internship.”

The intern sat down, a smirk plastered on its face. “Fine, but you should get to the part where you tell her she’s dead. Rip that Band-Aid off real fast, you know?”

The young woman looked at the spirit then back to the reaper that still wore her mother’s face. “Mom, what’s this thing talking about being dead? Am I? Am I d—”

She broke out into tears as she realized what was going on. 

As she realized what she had done. 

As she realized what these two things in her living room were. And, at that, her mind snapped and broke into sobbing, wailing pieces.

Outside of the house the reaper stood with its intern standing next to it. Its hood covered its head once more and was again filled with the endless void. It held what looked like a cell phone up to the side of its head. “Yes, one banshee for extraction at my location.” There was a pause as a voice spoke on the other line. “No, the intern’s an inconsiderate — my streak’s still intact.” The reaper sighed as it listened. “Not my call, but if it were, I’d have this intern sent straight to— yeah I got it. We’re on our way back.”

The reaper pressed a button on the phone and placed it back in its robe. It began to walk in the direction of the elevators but did not motion to or in any way acknowledge its intern.

“So uh,” the intern said as it began to walk behind the reaper. “Are we going to talk about what that thing was in there?”

The reaper stopped. “That thing — as you put it — is now a broken soul, a banshee. It can never regain its humanity because of the flood of emotions it felt when you made it realize what it had done t— You know what? Why am I even talking to you?”

“Because you need to train me, of course.” The intern continued walking as it passed the reaper. “I need to know about these weak spirits who turn into barn sheep or whatever.”

The reaper sped up and grabbed its intern from behind. “Those spirits are not weak.” The intern shrunk away as the reaper’s black void seemed to flow through it. “Those spirits had hard lives and took the ultimate step. If you did something like that, I think you would have instantly become a banshee.” “So you’re saying that we have to walk on eggshells because some spirits can’t handle their own deaths?” the intern shrugged off the reaper’s grasp. “It sounds to me like it would just be better to get rid of these ticking time bombs before they turn into those things. When I’m a reaper I’ll—”

“You won’t be a reaper.” 

“What? Of course I’ll be, I—”

“You. Won’t. Be. A. Reaper.” With every word that came from the reaper’s mouth, its voice pitched down an octave.

“Cute trick,” the intern said in a wavering voice, “but I’ve seen your voice box thing. You’re not gonna scare me with it.”

As the intern turned around, it saw that the reaper had grown to cover the sun setting on the horizon. Darkness surrounded as the reaper drew nearer, its arms now turning to shredding talons. Before the soul could scream out for something, anything to come rescue it, it felt the sharp bite of the reaper’s claws sink deep into its head and shred into its mind.

When all became quiet once more, the reaper pulled its phone from its robe and dialed a number on the speed dial. “This is 7142. I broke my streak,” a quick pause as the reaper listened to the voice on the other line. “Yeah. Got another banshee for extraction. This one is also at my exact location.” The reaper looked down at the broken, crying thing at its feet and shook its head. “No, I won’t be sticking around for this one. It’s the sorriest excuse for a soul I’ve ever seen.”

“How could you do that to such a promising intern!?” The pinstripe-suited man turned red as he waved fistfuls of yellow infraction papers at the reaper. “When I’m done with you, you’ll be lucky to retire when you hit a trillion souls, do you hear me?”

“Loud and clear, sir.” The reaper looked down at the yellow infractions covering the floor like confetti. “Should I return to Reaper Requisitions for my daily assignments then?”

“Yes. Get out of my sight. I can’t even stand th—” 

The reaper slammed the door on the pinstripe-suited man before he could say anything else. A yellow infraction printed out by the door and the reaper grabbed it. Oh well, it thought, as long as I’m around no reapers like him will take my place. As the reaper turned to go into Reaper Requisitions, it saw a line of other reapers standing in queue.

Tapping the shoulder of the reaper in front of it, it asked, “Hey, uh, what’s with the line?”

“Didn’t you hear, 7142?” the reaper pointed to a screen toward the front of the line. “We’re getting new uniforms.” “New unifo—” The reaper stopped speaking as it saw one of its co-workers stroll past wearing dark, pleated, two-legged pants.

“I don’t think a trillion souls will be that bad after all.”

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Ep.56 – The Babysitter - The Killer is Watching and You Have No Idea!

Episode Notes

A babysitter is watching after some kids to make some quick cash when the phone calls start... But the killer is closer than anyone could imagine!

The Babysitter by Rob Fields

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

Get Cool Merchandise http://store.weeklyspooky

Support us on Patreon http://patreon.com/IncrediblyHandsome

Contact Us/Submit a Story twitter.com/WeeklySpooky facebook.com/WeeklySpooky WeeklySpooky@gmail.com

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


I’m walking down Sheffield Avenue, which is located over in Strickfield Commons. As I’m looking at all of the beautiful homes that line each and every block here, I remember that everybody and anybody who lives in Strickfield knows that this is where the rich people live. Further down this street, I can see the wall that surrounds the properties where all of those Mirrens live. It must be nice to have the kind of money that they’ve got. They sure don’t have to take babysitting jobs just to be able to make money. “Kelsey?” a woman calls out to me. I quickly come out of my thoughts and turn to see Mrs. Nancy Marsden standing in the front door of the house I’m supposed to be babysitting for. “Sorry, I guess I got lost in my own thoughts,” I say to her in my mousy voice. She gives me a little smile. “Well, come on in. My husband and I are getting ready to leave. We were just waiting on you.” I turn and walk to the front porch. I walk up the steps and Mrs. Marsden steps aside to let me come in. This house always smells like potpourri. Definitely a pleasant smell. This beautiful house isn’t one of those mansions the Mirrens live in, but I would live in a house like this if I had that kind of money. The potpourri smell is overtaken by the smells of something savory, which makes my stomach growl. Then Jonathan Marsden himself comes out of the kitchen. “Kelsey, glad you could finally make it.” “Um, aren’t you two going out tonight?” I ask. “Oh, we are,” he says. “I’m actually putting dinner on the table for you and the kids.” One of the perks about babysitting for the Marsdens? They feed me real good. Either they give me money to order something to have delivered or Jonathan makes dinner. I take off my coat and let Mrs. Marsden have it. Then I go into the dining room and see three very nice turkey dinners on the table. “Oh, you’re way too kind,” I say. “I’ve got to take good care of you, Kelsey, since you take good care of our kids,” he says with a wink. “Sit.” I go and sit at the table. Then the two children I’m babysitting come in and sit. Stephen and David are across from each other, nine and ten. They both give me those dirty looks. “Can’t you get a better babysitter?” Stephen complains to his dad. “Yeah, she’s such a nerd,” David adds. “Kelsey wears those stupid glasses and she can’t even play video games that good.” Jonathan gives them a gentle sigh. “Now, you two . . . Kelsey takes good care of you both, doesn’t she?” They give me their dirty looks again. As you can tell, they really don’t like me that much. Still, they can’t tell their dad that I hurt them in any way. No, I treat them with kid gloves and pretty much let them do whatever they want. When the kids don’t reply, Jonathan tells us to go ahead and eat. Nancy comes into the kitchen. “We’d better get going, dear. We don’t want to be late.” “Right!” Jonathan agrees. When Nancy leaves, Jonathan comes up behind me and pats my shoulder. “You’ve got this under control. As always, I’ll pay you when we get back. You’ll probably get a bonus if there are no issues.” Jonathan and Nancy leave. Now it’s just me and the kids. They start giving me a hard time again about my glasses and how I suck at video games. Then Stephen tells me the only reason their dad hires me to babysit them is because he says I’m a cute little thing. Then David tells me I look like a little girl. Sigh . . . I sure wish my body would have developed as much as my brain. They’re right when they say I look really young for my age; I’ve been told that I look like I’m twelve, when I’m really much older. I can’t even get into R-rated movies without having my I.D. with me. After we finish dinner, I go ahead and do the dishes. The kids are running around and acting like . . . kids. I have to tell them to settle down. When I’m done with the dishes, I join the boys in the living room. Then they attack me and start wrestling me. I end up getting a little rough with them, not enough to hurt them of course. In time, I get them to sit down and we watch a couple of movies (their choices). When it gets to be around ten o’clock, I tell them it’s time to head upstairs and go to bed. Of course, they always have to ask me if I can let them stay up a little later. I bend a little and give them another half hour. Then I finally make them go upstairs. In fact, I make sure they’re both in their pajamas and getting into bed. One other time before, I caught them messing around in their parents’ room. “Don’t even think about raiding any of the other rooms up here,” I tell them. “I can hear you downstairs and I’ll be up.” “Yeah, you’re just waiting for Dad to get home,” David quips. “Well, yeah,” I say. “He’s got to pay me, right?” “And then you can show him your boobs,” Stephen teases. I open my mouth wide. “Stephen! You are much too young to be talking about things like that!” I point at both of them. “Now get to bed! Remember, I’m downstairs and I’ll hear you if you’re messing around up here. And if I hear you . . . I’m coming back up here and killing you both.” They both give me pouty sighs and finally get under their covers. I wait a bit before I turn out the light and head back downstairs. I sit in a recliner and turn on the TV. I turn the volume down enough so I can hear it and not disturb the kids. There’s a news program that shows the Statton house, which is just a few blocks away, still here in Stickfield Commons. A reporter is talking about a murder that happened there just last night. Turns out the three children who lived in that house were all murdered – violently! They’ve been reporting on a lot of kids being murdered in the last few months. They obviously haven’t caught whomever did it. I click the remote and try to find something to watch. It’s one of those nights where nothing’s on. I adjust my new glasses and wish I hadn’t broken my other ones. I guess that’s what happens when you get careless, right? I turn off the TV and pull out my smartphone. Just as I’m about to mess around on it, I hear the telephone ring. It surprises me that the Marsdens still have a landline, as rich as they are. I get up and answer the phone. “Hello? Marsden residence.” “How are the children this evening?” this weird voice asks me. “Excuse me?” “How are the children this evening?” the voice repeats. “Um, can I help you with something?” I demand impatiently. CLICK!! “Stupid crank callers . . .” I mutter as I hang up the receiver. I go back to the living room and sit down with my smartphone. I open up Facebook and check out my notifications. Then I mess around on Twitter and post a few responses. After that, I look at some of my pics. After a while, the telephone rings again. I groan and get up to go and answer it. I pick up the receiver. “Hello? Marsden residence.” “Don’t you think you should be keeping a closer eye on the children?” It’s that weird voice again. “Seriously, what do you want? The Marsdens aren’t home right now. You’ll have to call back later. Preferably tomorrow morning,” I say, with a bit more impatience. “I wouldn’t get too comfortable if I were you.CLICK!! I groan and hang up the receiver. I realize I have to go to the bathroom. After I finish, I’m washing my hands. Then I’m looking at myself in the mirror. “Yeah, right. I’m a cute little girl? Give me a break,” I mutter to myself. I look myself over in the mirror again. The best I can do to describe myself is that I look like a small beanpole version of Velma from “Scooby-Doo”. I’ve got the same dark hair as Velma, except mine is straight and goes halfway down my back. I also have freckles on my cheeks. Then I look down at my chest. I can’t believe that Stephen would attack me and talk about my boobs. Okay, I’m not endowed like many of the cheerleaders at Strickfield High, but I’d like to think that I have enough to at least tell people I’m really a woman and not a little girl. So frustrating . . . I turn away from the mirror and leave the bathroom, turning off the light. And . . . the telephone’s ringing again. I groan again and go pick up the receiver. “Yes?” “Did you even check to see if all of the doors were locked?” A pause. “Kelsey!!” My eyes open real wide! “Seriously, what do you want?” “I’d be checking those doors if I were you.CLICK!! I growl and slam the receiver down. Then I move and check the doors. They’re all locked up tight. I even check the windows down here. I mean, the Marsdens wouldn’t have them unlocked anyway, right? Not in the middle of November. Seriously, what does this person want? Why does he keep calling here? I take a deep breath. Keep it together now. It’s just some idiot who’s trying to scare you for some cheap thrills. I return to the telephone and wait for it to ring again, which it does. I pick it up. “Now what?!” “You should have been checking the doors to make sure you could UNLOCK them. I’ll be coming for you very soon, Kelsey. There will be NO ESCAPE for you.” This time I’m the one who hangs up on him. I need to go and check on the kids. Then the telephone rings again! I swear I am going to rip the phone cord out! I pick up the receiver. “Leave me alone!” I yell. “In a little while, you’ll be more alone than you think . . . permanently! I’ll be coming for you in just a short while! You will belong to me!CLICK!! I have had it! I hang up the receiver and then pick it back up again. I dial 0 for the operator. Yes!! I can’t believe I actually got an answer – from an actual person! Must be the phone service the Marsdens are using. “Yes, I’ve been receiving these harassing phone calls. I don’t know where they’re coming from, but the caller’s been threatening me.” The operator tells me to call her back again if it happens again and she would try and trace the call. And that’s the end of that conversation for the moment. Not even thirty seconds after I’ve hung up the telephone, it rings again. I pick it up and hope it’s maybe the operator giving me a big break and telling me she’s found the creep who’s been calling me. No such luck . . . “You’re a very bad babysitter, Kelsey! Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you should go and check on the children?! You’d better hurry . . . because I’m coming for you. NOW!!CLICK!! I quickly call the operator back and tell her what happened. She tells me to hang up and she will call me back shortly. After hanging up, I turn to go and check on the kids. I hold myself at how scared I really am. I shriek when the telephone rings again. I quickly turn and pick up the receiver. “Leave me alone, God damn you!” It’s the operator calling me back! I quickly apologize! There’s no time for pleasantries as she tells me that I need to get out of the house immediately! She’s just told me that . . . that . . . the calls are coming from another line inside this very house!! She tells me she’s already got the police coming. I hang up and quickly make my way to the front door. I’m already hearing the sirens coming. As soon as I’m outside, the police car parks right across the street. Two police officers get out. Then the driver opens the rear door and lets a college-aged girl get out. I rush to the officers and explain everything that’s been happening. “I can go in and check it out,” the girl tells the officers. “Maybe clues got left behind.” “Not without one of us backing you up, Devereux,” Officer Strowe tells her. “Remember, even though you’re working with us, you’re still a college intern.” “I understand,” Devereux replies. “Which one of you is accompanying me?” “I will,” Officer Shuldon offers. Officer Shuldon accompanies the Devereux girl to the house. They both go in and look around. It’s several minutes later before they come back out. “There’s nobody upstairs,” Officer Shuldon tells us. “Devereux and I both checked out the upstairs.” Devereux says, “The two beds in the kids’ room were slept in, but they’re not there now. Officer Shuldon heard me calling for them, but we never got an answer.” “They’re really not there?” I shriek. “Are you serious?!” I run away from them and head back into the house. I don’t even hear the officers calling out behind me. I race up the stairs and into the boys’ room. Sure enough, Stephen and David are nowhere to be found. “Oh, my god!” I scream. “What am I going to say to the Marsdens?!”

It’s a little after 1:00am when I cut through a yard and walk into the wooded area between there and my house. Boy, did I ever hear about it from the Marsdens after the police called them and got them to come home. Needless to say, they refused to pay me. How did somebody just come inside the house and take the kids like that? How?! I’m halfway through the woods when I hear some twigs breaking just behind me. I gulp and turn in another direction. Seriously, who did I piss off? Who wants to kill me? Where did I go wrong? I run out of the woods and back out to well-lit streets. I keep moving and know I’ll be home soon. Just then, a car pulls up to me. The passenger window rolls down. It’s Devereux, that police intern. “Are you all right, Kelsey?” she asks me. “You want me to take you home? I don’t mind.” I look back in the direction of the woods and know I don’t want to face down that creep, if it turns out he’s really following me. Without a second thought, I open the door and get in. After pulling the door shut, Devereux starts driving. “Thank you!” I exclaim gratefully. “No problem. I just want to make sure you get to where you need to be.” “I remember who you are now. You’ve been on the news before. You’re Raigen Devereux. When the cops said you were in intern, I thought your name sounded familiar. You’ve been helping the Strickfield Police Department solve their hardest cases.” “Why, yes, you’re right,” she says. “I’ve certainly earned plenty of credit hours, that’s for sure. I was just told today that there would be a detective position waiting for me at the Strickfield Police Department after I graduate from the university.” I feel sad. “Too bad you couldn’t solve what happened to Stephen and David.” There’s a brief silence. Then Devereux talks to me. “I wouldn’t be too worried about the Marsden kids. When it comes to them, they’re just fine. In fact, there’s really no mystery to solve regarding them. I’d even be willing to bet that they’re explaining everything to their parents right now. But make no mistake, Kelsey Bishop . . . you are in a world of shit. I told you I’d be coming for you.” I gulp as she reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out something that looks like a little speaker. Then she says into it, “Didn’t I, Kelsey?” It sounds just like the voice I heard over the phone. She drops the voice changer. “And now . . . you belong to me.” And before I can do anything, Devereux lashes out fast and punches me hard in the face. Hard enough to knock me out . . .

I wake up and look around. I find that I’m secured to my dining room table. Then I recognize where I’m at. The next thing I know, Raigen Devereux comes into the room from the kitchen and is looking right at me. She looks so . . . evil! I’m so scared now! “What do you want with me?” I cry. “Why are you doing this to me? What have I ever done to you?” Raigen pulls up a chair and sits down beside me. “Let’s answer those questions, shall we? First question: What do I want with you? Answer: To punish you most severely. Second question: Why am I doing this to you? Answer: Because punishing the wicked and the corrupt, such as yourself, is what I was born to do. Final question: What have you ever done to me? Answer: Nothing to me personally. However, you made the most unfortunate mistake of attracting my attention, Kelsey Bishop.” Raigen stands up. “So tell me . . . How does it feel to make the news? How does it feel knowing that you’ve viciously murdered so many children?” “I didn’t – !” I start to protest. Raigen raises her hand sharply to quiet me. “My proof!” She turns to a little table she’s got set up that has multiple instruments on it and picks up a pair of broken glasses. She has plastic gloves on her hands. “Recognize these? You should. They’re yours. I discovered them at the last crime scene, which was just last night – at the Statton house. I could have easily handed these over to the police. They would have fingerprinted them and found you themselves. But I decided that you should be next to satisfy my bloodlust. Of course, I have to make sure that I have sufficient evidence. I must make sure that you’re a hundred percent guilty before I pass sentence. “After secretly conducting my own investigation, I discovered one commonality with all of the child murders that have been happening here at Strickfield Commons. You! In every interview that the police have conducted, each parent said that you were the babysitter at each of the murders. You see, I’m there at each crime scene when the parents are being questioned. Remember, I work with the police. I’m not just there to gain credit hours. They rely on me to help them solve cases. Not to brag, but I do make the papers quite a bit with this beautiful brain of mine. On the one hand, I gain honor for solving the cases. But what the police don’t know – that you are finding out – is that I make the papers in a second way.” Her stare is really scaring me now. “I am also known as the Angel of Death! Your society has labeled me a serial killer. Perhaps I am. But you certainly are. Why would you kill children? They’re still innocent and haven’t tasted corruption yet. Yet, you viciously slaughtered them without a second thought. Please, Kelsey . . . enlighten me. Why children?!” She raises her finger. “And stop denying it. I found blood on these broken glasses and did a match with one of the victims. It’s definitely not yours. But the true evidence is indeed in your fingerprints. And your name isn’t really Kelsey Bishop. It’s Mindy Arkman. You escaped from the Glennview Correctional Facility, which isn’t far from North Ridgeway – where I’m from. You’re much older than you appear. I believe your true age is actually twenty-eight!” Now I’m very angry! “Those fucking brats deserved everything they had coming to them! Why should they get to grow up in luxury while I was forced to live in poverty? All their parents do is leech off of us ordinary people. We bite away! We fight and claw! And we can never get ahead! Because fucking rich people make sure we’re put in our place. My mom gave up and blew her fucking brains out when she realized she couldn’t afford to care for me. I bounced around from one foster home to another. I got the living shit beat out of me from one home to the next. I finally saw what I needed to do and started taking my revenge. You’re right! I am twenty-eight! But I’m small enough to look like a brat, so I used that to my advantage. I made myself look like different girls and took babysitting jobs for rich families so I could fucking kill their brats and make their parents pay for putting me where I am now. I even steal their cash they have lying around when I find it. There! Is that what you want to hear?” Raigen gets up and turns on some more lights. She’s got photos taped up all over the dining room. So many photos. All of them are kids I’ve murdered over the years. She raises a mini- recorder and turns it off. “I turned this on once I saw you were going to confess. The police will find this here when they find your body.” She puts a note on the recorder that says PLAY ME and sets it down. I also see my smartphone. “The police will find all of your pictures on your phone as well. Seriously, why do you people insist on taking pictures of your victims?” I laugh scornfully. “Oh! You really expect me to believe you are the Angel of Death? You? You’re going to kill me? Look at you! You’re way too hot – like a fucking porn star, especially with those big tits!” Then I growl and start thrashing wildly. “Struggle all you want,” I hear Raigen say. “The tape is industrial strength and I’ve perfected my technique with the bungee cords. You’re staying right on that table, Mindy Arkman. And this is where the police will find your body. And, yes . . . I am going to kill you. I must!” I look her over again. It finally registers that she’s wearing a rubber apron. She’s even wearing . . . a fucking bathing suit on underneath her apron. “Oh, you finally noticed the swimwear,” Raigen says. “Killing you is going to be quite messy this time up. But . . . this is how it has to be.” Raigen takes a huge cutting knife off her table and approaches me. Oh, God . . . ! Why does she scare me so much with the way she looks at me?! She’s fucking pure evil living in this beautiful girl’s body! “Wait!” I scream. “You have to tell me what happened to Stephen and David Marsden! I looked in their bedroom. They weren’t there! You said they were both still alive! You owe me that before you kill me!” Raigen shakes her head. “I owe you nothing, except for the death you so deserve for each and every one of those children that you murdered in cold blood. All you need to know is that I will leave you in the very same way that you left all those kids. After that, I’ll take a shower and put my clothes back on. When I’m long gone, I’ll make my usual anonymous phone call to the Strickfield Police Department to let them know where to find you. It’s time to satisfy my bloodlust now.” I shriek as she raises the knife above me. “And now, Mindy Arkman . . . let the punishment fit the crime!” And then I scream as the knife comes down and plunges deep into my stomach. I think I even feel the tip of the blade scrap my spine! I feel her withdraw the knife. I scream again as she raises the knife again and stabs me hard one more time. I manage to hold on for one more raise of the knife before I finally die when the third thrust cuts into me. 

  • *                         * I stabbed Mindy Arkman a few more times before my bloodlust was content at knowing that I had claimed her life. Then I proceeded to keep stabbing her and making her look as bloody and horrific as she had made each of her child victims look before their parents had found them. I was a real mess by the time I was finished. Having done my work, I went into the bathroom where I had my shower stuff set up. I removed the apron and gloves and placed them into a garbage bag. I removed my swimsuit and placed that into the garbage bag. From there, I got into the shower and cleaned myself off good. I was still wearing my flip-flops. I always made it a point to never leave prints of any kind behind. When I finished my shower, I dried off and put fresh clothes on. I remembered to drop the flip-flops into the garbage bag. After leaving the house, I went to where I had my car hidden. After loading up the garbage bag, I left to dispose of the evidence. What’s that, you’re asking? Oh, you want to know what happened to the Marsden kids, don’t you? Okay . . . Earlier, I had traced Mindy Arkman to the Marsden house. I knew the children would be safe for the time being. When they were finally put to bed, I came into the house through an upstairs window. I had to move quickly and quietly and make it to the boys’ room. I managed to keep them both quiet and to tell them why I was there. Believe it or not, they actually trusted me. I took the boys out of their room and told them to hide up in the attic. I gave them one of my burner cell phones and told them to wait for my call. Once I knew the boys were fully safe, I found the upstairs landline phone and started making the menacing phone calls. When I knew that I had scared Mindy enough, I left the house and made my way back to Strickfield University, which was a little over a mile from Strickfield Commons. You see, I knew Mindy would eventually call for help and play the scared little babysitter. Right on schedule, I was called by the Strickfield Police Department – on my normal cell phone. From there, the two officers, Shuldon and Strowe, came and picked me up. Then it was back to the Marsden house. Ah, classwork . . . So, when Officer Shuldon and I went upstairs and went through all of the rooms . . . Well, we never went up into the attic. But you’re getting the idea. The kids weren’t around. Mindy was to believe that the person who was calling her from inside the house, using the upstairs landline, was the one who had taken the children. Mindy was really scared by then. She must have figured someone was out to get her, because she played the scared victim very well when she tried to explain to the Marsden parents what had happened. Anyway, after the officers dropped me back off at the university, I went to my car and went back to Strickfield Commons. On the way, I called the boys and told them they could come out of hiding and to go find their parents. The boys would never know my identity, because I was wearing a mask. The phone I gave them was an untraceable burner phone. I found Mindy and picked her up. And you know the rest of the story from there . . . As for me, I’ll just have to dispose of the evidence of my involvement in Mindy’s death. Then I’ll head back to my dorm and go to bed. Having said that, I bid all of you . . . GOOD NIGHT!!

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Ep.55 – The Dead Thing Under the House - Sometimes Death is Only the Beginning!

Episode Notes

Blake has been tasked with going into the crawlspace to find the source of a putrid odor, but that was only the tip of the iceberg of morbid insanity that awaits him.

The Dead Thing Under the House by David O'Hanlon

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Old Man Jennings ventured from his home on Sundays. He’d amble down the gravel path that led from his porch to his mailbox for the weekly accumulation of sales ads and bills, and promptly retreat into seclusion. In Blake’s thirty-one years, he’d never seen anyone come to visit Meadowview’s mysterious hermit. Once a week, a lawncare service came out to take care of his yard. Twice a year, someone power washed his siding. He paid them all with a check, slipped through the mail slot, when they were finished. A barred door with two locks hung on both the front and rear of the house and they stayed shut. He would open the ornate front door with its beveled stained-glass window to enjoy the weather, but never the security door. His windows were much the same with heavy, blackout curtains on the inside and bars on the out. His groceries were delivered promptly at one in the afternoon, every Thursday for as long as Blake could remember. A little doggie-door, for lack of a better term, would lift out and Jennings would pull the bags through to the obscure solitude of his self-imposed prison. Theorizing about what went on inside the home was a Meadowview pastime as familiar as the annual crawdad boil or the town’s community yard sale. Depending on who you asked, Old Man Jennings was a Satanist, a serial killer, or a space alien. Some people even believed he was already dead and his ghost was just stuck there. Blake didn’t believe any of it. The ancient coot would have to leave the house to murder people, after all. As kids, Blake and his friends dedicated enough hours spying on the man to know that never happened. As an adult, his divorce had forced him to move back in with his mother… directly across the street from Jennings. Blake found himself peering through the blinds out of habit and the geezer still stayed locked inside, just like he always had. So, it would be an understatement to say Blake was shocked to find Old Man Jennings standing on the porch when he answered the geriatric’s frantic knocking. Jennings’ hair was an explosion of white that jutted from his dark scalp in all directions. The mane was much more ample than Blake’s own, which was retreating faster than a chubby kid at fat camp. Jennings stood on the porch with the grim stature and utter silence of an animated skeleton. Blake shut the door, removed the chain lock and opened it fully. “Mister Jennings, are you lost?” “No,” Jennings said. “There’s something dead in my crawlspace.” Blake squinted at the elderly man. “Pretty sure there’s people that take care of that.” “There is, but I don’t like strangers.” Jennings pointed a bony, accusatory finger at Blake. “That’s why I came to you. I’ve known you longer than anyone.” “We don’t really know each other, though,” Blake muttered in confusion. “Then how did you know my name?” Jennings’ lips peeled away from toothbrush-commercial quality chompers in what might have been a genuine smile. “Is your mother home?” Blake shook his head. “She’s in Toledo, visiting my sister.” “Oh? How is Sharon? Still married to that banker?” Jennings looked away and tsked. “Sorry, about your own divorce, by the by.” Blake’s jaw dropped open. “How’d you know about that?” “Just because I don’t leave my house doesn’t mean I don’t talk to my neighbors.” Jennings shrugged. “Your mother’s been my pen pal since 1984.” Blake looked over Jennings’ shoulder at his home. “My mom sends you letters? From across the street?” “She respects my eccentricities.” Jennings jabbed his thumb toward the street. “Speaking of, think you can help me with the dead thing under the house?” Blake sighed. “Yeah. Let me change into something else first.” He shut the door and headed upstairs. He wasn’t about to mess up his favorite self-pity outfit crawling around in the mud and spiderwebs that surely occupied the crawlspace. The thought of all those spiders hiding in the dark prickled his skin with a wave of primal terror. He pulled the Ghoulies II t-shirt away from his goose bumped flesh. Blake Sterling’s father gave him the most heroic name in history before he split. However, it wasn’t a name he ever lived up to it. Spiders were only one of his many phobias. Stretch marks peeked over the band of his sweat pants from a childhood full of expired Twinkies and Ding Dongs his mom brought home from her job at the gas station. Years of bullying led ‘Blake the Blob’ away from the sweets… and food in general. He looked like one of those kids the infomercial people feed for a nickel a day. His dainty form lacked definition or distinction, minus a single tattoo. His ex-wife’s name was coiled around a rose over his heart. He got it the day she said she’d marry him. The mirror inside the closet door reminded him of all the reasons Kayla left. Blake grabbed a black t-shirt from a drawer and pulled it over his head before changing into a battered pair of Wranglers that were already stained from painting his kitchen. His face soured. It wasn’t his kitchen anymore. He threw on his sneakers and didn’t bother tying them. The crawlspace was going to be more fun than his usual day of self-imposed purgatory. Blake slumped down the stairs and met Jennings on the porch. The two men made their way across the street and through the gate of Jennings’ chain-link fence. A piece of the butterscotch lattice was removed from the side of the house to reveal the access point between the cinderblocks. The mid-morning sun was blocked by the trio of white oaks in the front yard leaving Blake to unravel the mysteries of the crawlspace on his own. The putrid-sweet stench of rotting meat lingered leisurely from the opening. Blake knelt down and groaned. “A bit tight,” he said. “It’s called a crawlspace for a reason.” Jennings tapped him on the shoulder with a small, metallic flashlight. “The smell is strongest in my bedroom. Straight ahead fifteen feet and then hang a left. You should find whatever it is in that area.” “Right.” Blake took the light and let its beam stab into the tangible darkness. “Mister Jennings, are you sure you don’t want to call someone that knows what they’re doing?” “You’re a grown up now, you can stop with the ‘Mister Jennings’ stuff. My name’s Harp. And you do know what you’re doing, Blake. You’re pulling a carcass out from under my house for me.” He turned to leave then twisted back. “Oh, I’ve got an apple pie cooling right now for you too. Come get me when you’re all finished.” Blake shimmied into the space. The flashlight revealed a few broken spiderwebs dangling from the floor. Whatever died had crawled in along the same path that Blake now took and the goose bumps quickly returned. He clamped the flashlight between his teeth and crawled along, panning his head from side to side looking for the vagrant spiders as much as he was the dead thing. Once he made it what he surmised to be fifteen feet, he turned as Harp had instructed. A wave of steam swirled in front of his light and he paused. Blake took the instrument from his mouth and huffed hard watching the breath fog. He crawled forward slowly, shivering at the sudden bite of cold pressing against his face. The progression was like stepping into a meat locker as he left the warm summer air behind him. The temperature continued dropping with his advance. Something jutted out of the earth in front of him. He squinted at the shape, trying to discern its nature. It didn’t help. Harp’s pungent guest spread its perfume with exponential intensity as he inched closer. The light flickered and dimmed before it could reveal the source of the growing stench and then went out completely. Blake continued onward, shaking his head like a dog in an attempt to bring life back to the tool. It worked… And he wished in hadn’t. The illumination fell on the mound of disturbed dirt and then onto the arm—the very human arm that reached out of the shallow grave with its fingers furled into the soil. Blake followed the limb to the naked shoulder, up the livid flesh of the neck to the face. Between the strands of dirt-caked, blonde hair the dead woman’s expression was frozen in a final moment of stark terror. The flashlight plopped next to the corpse with Blake’s panicked screaming. He scurried backwards until he was far enough away to risk taking his eyes off the corpse and turned in a mad dash for the exit. Blake collapsed onto Harp’s porch swing. The neglected chains called out in a demented screech at the arrival of its first guest in decades. Harp pushed open the security door and watched Blake shudder with heaving breaths. “There’s a dead woman under your house,” Blake whispered. Harp leaned on the porch rail and crossed his arms. “Just the one?” “What?” Blake took his eyes off his shaking hands and looked at Harp. “Was there only the one body down there?” “I… I don’t know. I didn’t keep looking after I found that one. Why would there be more than one? Why are there any?” Blake shot up. “Why the fuck are you so calm right now? Exactly how many dead bodies under your house would you consider too many?” “Three,” Harp answered, matter-of-factly. “Three would be very bad. Did you bring the body out?” “I’m not disturbing a crime scene!” “Do you know she was murdered?” Harp raised an eyebrow and held his hands open waiting for an answer. When Blake shook his head, he continued. “So, it’s not a crime scene. She might have crawled under there on her own. I need to see the body to be sure.” “I’ll draw you a map, because I’m not going back down there to get her.” Blake paced the porch. “She was partially buried so that rules out your theory.” “And she was pale.” Harp opened the security door and held it ajar. “She looked scared and there was no blood around her. That sound right?” Blake nodded. Harp gestured for him to enter the home. “You’ll be my first guest since 1981.” “Did… did you kill her?” Blake watched the old man’s face fall. “No, but I know who did. One body means he’s found me. Three would mean he’s not alone, so let’s hope you didn’t miss any.” Harp Jennings nodded for Blake to come in. “The pie’s ready. We need to talk.” The tangy sweetness of the pie reminded him of the ones his mom served him every Saturday morning. It soothed him from the shock of his discovery. He speared a chunk of fruit and raised it to his mouth, savoring the smell after the one he faced in the crawlspace. It went down a lot easier than Harp’s tale. “So, a psychic vampire killed the girl and buried her under your house to say hello?” Blake asked around a mouthful of pie. “Moskon isn’t a vampire. He’s a moroi.” Harp stood up from the faded, thread-bare cushion of his couch and walked away. “They leave their bodies at night to eat the souls of the living.” “That’s definitely more believable.” Blake got up and followed Harp down the hallway. Pictures hung with yellowed pieces of tape along the corridor. One showed a smiling, young, Harp Jennings sitting atop a camel in front of a pyramid. Blake skipped the next few and found another showing Harp in furs with a pack of sled dogs. Harp passed through the archway of the kitchen. “I wasn’t always a homebody.” “Why aren’t the pictures in frames?” “The moroi can travel through mirrors.” Harp pulled a pitcher from an archaic Frigidaire. A single picture hung on the door from a heart-shaped magnet—Harp and a woman standing at an altar. He touched her face lightly. “I learned that one the hard way.” “Let’s pretend like I believe any of this. Why is Moskon pissed at you?” “The last time I saw him, I stuffed his mouth with garlic and sewed his lips shut before burying him.” Harp sat two glasses on the counter. “I’m pretty sure that might have been what did it.” He poured the tea and handed a glass to Blake. “I need you to help me kill him.” Blake sipped the tea and shook his head. “We need to call the cops and report the body.” “In the morning.” Harp pointed at the floor. He continued before Blake could protest. “Look. She’s been there this long, one more night won’t hurt. You think I’m crazy and I think there’s a monster coming to kill me. Give me until morning to prove one of us right.” It was a quarter past three in the morning, and Jennings was clearly insane. Blake’s chin dipped closer to his chest as he nodded off once again. Harp poked him in the thigh with a sharpened branch from the front yard’s oak trees. Blake snapped awake and clutched his makeshift spear, ready for a fight—not that he’d ever won a fight in his life. The garlic bulb crinkled as Harp rolled it in his bony fist. “We have to stay awake, boy. That bastard’s coming tonight,” Harp whispered. His eyes jumped around the room, looking for signs of movement. “You said the bars keep him outside. And there’s no mirrors he can use to sneak in here through.” Blake stood up and dropped his spear on the coffee table. “Even if he comes, we’ll never see him.” “Damn.” Harp licked his lips. “I wanted to keep him out for so long that I never about needing to lure him in. Think we should open the door?” “Yes, we should.” Blake squeezed Harp’s arm gently. “So that I can go home and call the cops to come get the girl. There’s no monsters, Harp. We’ll get this sorted out in the morning and get you somewhere safe where you can get the help you need.” “The help I need?” Harp pushed Blake away. “You foolish boy. I’ve seen things that would make your asshole pucker so tight, you’d shit spaghetti noodles!” He stormed to the door and threw it open. The stained-glass motif shattered as it struck the wall and fell like colored hail. Harp worked the locks open and pushed the security door out of his way. He spun back into the house and lobbed the garlic at Blake. “I’ll show you I’m not some demented old coot, Blake.” He pointed into the night. “We’ll just let him in. Then you’ll see a real monster. Oh yeah, you’ll see alright. This all ends right here when we push stakes through Moskon’s heart and trap his demonic soul in a prison of rotting flesh for eternity!” “I’m not sure how that was supposed to change my mind about the demented part, Harp.” Blake started toward the door. “I’m going home, now.” Old Man Jennings barred his path and pressed the point of his stake into Blake’s breast. Harp’s dark eyes narrowed with an intensity that made Blake shrink back. “You’re a coward, Blake. That’s why the kids used to bully you, why you’re always the first one laid off, and why your wife left you! You don’t take risks. You don’t challenge yourself. You never step outside your well-defined bubble of bullshit!” “Fuck you!” Blake slapped the stake from Harp’s hand and pushed the old man to the floor. “You’ve been locked in here longer than I’ve been alive and you call me a coward because I don’t want to stay and play pretend with you? I may have failed at everything I’ve done, but at least I’ve done something.” Blake glared down at Harp and realized what he’d done. He extended his hand to help him up, but before he finished his apology, Harp’s boot caught him dead between the legs. Blake gasped and fell to the floor, trying not to return Harp’s apple pie. The old man stood and dusted off the seat of his trousers. “You’re right, boy. I’ve been hiding in this house for thirty-nine years, but for the forty-eight before that I was goddamn Harp Jennings!” Harp dragged Blake upright by his collar. “I swam with sharks in the wreckage of the Saratoga. I climbed two of the world’s tallest mountains. I pilfered the pyramids of forgotten pharaohs. I dedicated my life to adventure and dangers and reaped treasures the likes of which you can’t even imagine!” “Then why are you hiding?” Blake wheezed. “Because Moskon took my greatest treasure.” Harp’s voice cracked. His lips quivered and the fury in his eyes turned to miserable sadness. “I killed a lot of monsters and a lot of men that weren’t no better. But I couldn’t stop him from taking my Mable. I didn’t lock myself in here because I’m afraid of Moskon killing me, boy. I locked myself in here so he wouldn’t kill no one else that I loved.” “I… I don’t know what to say.” Blake threw his hands into the air. “Maybe you murdered the girl under the house, or maybe there is a soul-sucking monster coming to get you. Either way, I’d feel a lot safer as far away from you as possible.” Blake hung his head with a sigh and walked around Jennings, straight out the door. He didn’t look up until he was safely through the chain-link gate. His muscles tensed against his attempts to look back at the home. The image of Old Man Jennings rushing down the gravel path with a stake over his head rippled Blake’s flesh with goosebumps. He turned slowly, expecting the worst. Instead, he saw Harp leaning on the doorframe in defeat. Blake gave him a curt nod and crossed the street quickly. In his haste, he completely overlooked the man in the black peacoat strolling down the sidewalk. Blake bumped into the man and apologized. “No worries,” the man said. His voice was winter fog, low and cool. He looked Blake over. “It’s quite some neighborhood here. Like a postcard, really.” “Yeah, it’s pretty nice. Have a good evening,” Blake said as he hurried up to his porch. “I see why my old pal Harper, chose this place,” the man called after him. Blake turned to find the sidewalk empty once more. He hurried inside and locked the deadbolt and the chain-lock. He kicked his shoes off and padded up the stairs to his room. He was going to put his comfortable clothes back on and raid his mother’s gin collection until he forgot all about the dead body, Harp Jennings, and the creepy man on the sidewalk. He peeked through the blinds at Jennings’ home. The old man waved at him and pulled the security door shut. The blinds snapped together noisily as Blake turned and went to the closet. He jumped away with a scream that would have made Dee Wallace jealous. His haggard reflection glared back at him in the mirror. He laughed at his own panic and bent down to retrieve his sweats and t-shirt from the closet floor. Blake paused, dropping the clothes and rubbed his fingertips together, observing the damp soil that came off them. His quivering breath fogged before him and he fell over backwards. Filthy blonde hair poked between the hanging jeans and slacks. The lamplight reflected pathetically on the cold, lifeless skin that stretched forth and crawled along the floor. Blake’s panicked breaths perverted his words to inarticulate squeals and grunts. He found his voice as the frigid fingers curled around his ankles and jerked him across the carpet. The dead thing was no longer under the house. ** Blake’s screaming would stop soon. The newly risen were full of such insatiable hunger. Harp sighed and clicked the locks into place. A man grasped the bars of the security door and leaned in close. A series of small scars lined his tanned lips where they’d once been sewn together. His hands smoked as they wrung the iron, but the man in the black peacoat smiled through the pain. Harp recoiled away and raised his wooden stake. “It seems there’s a vacancy across the street,” he hissed. “What do you say, Harper? Won’t you be my neighbor?” Harp lunged forward and the stake jabbed between the bars. Moskon took a calm step away and shook his head. “Meadowview is such a lovely place to raise a family, Harper. You’d know that if I hadn’t killed yours.” Moskon turned with a chuckle and crunched along the gravel path. “There’s such potential in these small towns.” “Come inside and let’s finish this,” Harp growled. “No.” Moskon held his arms wide. “See how easy it is to walk away from a fight, Harper. You could have done that once. Now, you’re going to hide behind your bars and your stakes and your garlic and you’re going to watch as you become the last man in Meadowview. Then when there’s no one left for you to care about, I’m going to turn you and bury you right there in your crawlspace. I’ll stitch your lips around garlic cloves with a stake in your chest so you can’t do anything more than spend your eternity rotting away in stillness—just some undead thing under the house.” Harp watched Moskon’s clothes fall, empty to the sidewalk as his body twisted into a tower of fog that disappeared into the predawn sky. Harp opened the security door and push it out of his way. Moskon was a monster of his word. Harp ambled over to his porch swing and sat down to the symphony of squeaks and pops of the neglected chain. It groaned as his long legs pushed him into a gentle rhythm and Harp stared at the stake clutched in his arthritic hands. Maybe he still had one more adventure in him.

The End

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Ep.54 – Another Mischief Night - She's Loose and She's Ready to Kill You!

Episode Notes

This is our Halloween Episode, so on top of our haunting story we have some fun skits and music as well to celebrate our favorite holiday!

On Halloween things aren't so good at the Forbe's mental hospital as their star pupil has escaped and gone on a rampage to quench her thirst for blood and carnage!

Mischief Night by Shane Migliavacca

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Support us on Patreon http://patreon.com/IncrediblyHandsome

Contact Us/Submit a Story twitter.com/WeeklySpooky facebook.com/WeeklySpooky WeeklySpooky@gmail.com

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


Fresh from nursing school, Kay Farris had only been at Forbes Sanitarium for three months… yet, she was already sure she’d never get used to the building or the psychotics that dwelled within. 

Lightning flashed outside, it’s crooked fingers searching for the ground. Halloween was a few days away, but for Kay it may as well be tonight. The dark hallways and stillness of level 5 were creeping her out, and the damn storm wasn’t helping matters. 

Dr. Chandler had all the patients on level 5 sedated early; something to be thankful for, she thought, as she made her rounds. But with the storm it was really the only course of action as bad weather tended to knock out the sanitarium’s power… and since the doors were locked electronically, if the power went out, all the doors would unlock. The cheapskates in charge refused to pay for a backup generator. 

She stopped. 

Ahead was the end of the hall… and the last door on the left behind which sat Patient  15. 

Patient 15; that girl in the mask, Amanda Williams… she was worse than all the others. The girl just sat there, day and night in her white mask, never making a sound. Chandler, who had treated the girl since she’d first arrived, said she wore the mask out of shame… shame that her brother was murdered in a botched robbery while she stood by, paralyzed with fear.

Kay heard noises coming from the room late at night… not surprising since Amanda was the only patient that was never sedated as Chandler felt it unnecessary. Kay suspected the old man thought of the girl as a daughter. She chuckled, picturing them sitting down for a Sunday dinner. 

She started down the hall again when there was a bright flash of lightning, followed by a loud crash of thunder. The lights dimmed before finally flickering back on. 

“Spooky shit huh?”

Kay jumped, she spun around to see Johnny Earl behind her. The husky orderly smirked and she felt her face turning red. “What?”

“Down there. The last cell.” His loud booming voice trailed off into a whisper. “Patient 15.” 

“I guess.” Kay shrugged, not wanting to let on how freaked the girl made her feel.

“All the ghosts and goblins will be coming out soon. “ He made eerie sounds. “I can protect you.”

“Save the trick or treat shit for Halloween night, Johnny Earl.”

Thank god Halloween was on a Saturday this year Kay thought, safe in the knowledge she had the day off. 

“Hey, I’m sorry. How about I make it up to you?” He touched her arm, making Kay flinch.

“There’s some empty rooms downstairs, we could take a little break.”

She pulled away from the big orderly. “Not a chance.” 

“Stuck up bitch.” Kay heard him mumble as she walked away. 

Smiling at his disappointment, she walked back to the nurse’s station. An older nurse sat watching a small TV which sat next to a large Jack-o Lantern. Lightning flashed, causing the lights to dim again. The woman looked up as Kay approached. 

“Don’t worry.” The older woman took out a cigarette, lighting it up. “Happens every time there’s a big storm.”

A sinister laugh erupted from the TV. 

“31 Days of Halloween will return with: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter after these horrendous arcane adverts!” 

Mrs. Bradley was the senior nurse on the 5th floor, which meant she could do whatever the hell she wanted… so, the old nurse spent her shift watching old horror movies and smoking.  

“How are all our little chickadees?” “Sleeping.”

“Good.” Mrs. Bradley coughed. “Sit down for a bit. They ain’t going anywhere.” 

Kay sat, stifling a cough. She hadn’t talked to the older nurse much since staring at Forbes. Bradley intimidated her, and Kay had heard stories from the other nurses that the old woman could be quite the tyrant if you crossed her… so Kay did as she was told and kept her head down.

“You like it here?” 

She felt her throat tighten as Kay strained to think of the appropriate words.


“It’s a shithole.” Mrs. Bradley laughed. “Don’t worry about trying to kiss my ass and say this is a great place. Do your job, put in your time, and if you're smart you’ll use this as a stepping stone.”

After a few moments of silence, Kay worked up the courage to ask a question.  

“How come you stayed?” 

Before answering, the old nurse tapped some ash into a coffee cup. 

“Big fish small pond. If I’d gone somewhere else, I’d have to start over again.” 

Johnny Earl sauntered towards them. “Well, well. Nobody told me it was break time.” He made a hurt face. 

Standing, Kay adjusted her uniform. “Well, back to it.” She walked by Johnny Earl, giving him the cold shoulder. Kay could feel them both watching her as she walked away. She listened to the squeak of her sneakers on the cold linoleum floor. 

Outside lightning  flashed, the brightest one yet. On its heels was a building-shaking rumble as thunder rolled above the earth. 

The light’s flickered and hummed again before going out. This time, they remained dark. 

“Oh fuck.” Kay muttered to herself. She stood alone in the hallway, darkness surrounding her. Kay used the faint light from outside to find the wall. Slowly, feeling along the wall, her hand glided over the concrete of the wall and the metal of the doors. 

She continued on this way until she bumped face first into the wall at the hall’s end.

Embarrassed, Kay headed back. She could see the pumpkin grinning there by the now dark TV. A fiery face grinning at her… a beacon in the dark.

Another sharp blast of lightning revealed the older nurse sitting there in her chair. Kay’s eyes strained to adjust after the bright flash of light.

“This is something.” Kay said, feeling a little better in the veteran’s presence. “I’m sure the power will be back on soon, right?”

Unable to see but the faintest outline of the older nurse, Kay turned the face of the Jack-O-Lantern towards the woman.

“Mrs. Bradley?”

The woman’s head slumped to the side, her eyes open and wide. Her swollen tongue hung limp from her mouth, which was frozen in a silent scream.

Nearly tripping over her own feet, Kay backed away. 

What should she do? Find Johnny Earl… call the cops? 

Slowly turning, Kay came face to face with a blank white face mask. Narrowed eyes sized her up from behind it. 

“Amanda.” Was all Kay could spit out before strong muscular hands gripped her by the throat, lifting her off the ground. Amanda’s eyes met Kay’s… cold, deep and somehow innocent. 

Suddenly there was a deafening crack and it was over. Kay’s body hit the linoleum floor with a dull thud. Amanda stepped over the body without a second glance. She had much to do. 

Kyle Williams felt guilty as he put on his Halloween costume. Amanda would want him to go out, have a good time. The thought of her made him touch the side of his face as he ran his hand over the scar on his cheek. 

If only he’d done something to help her that night. 

“Come on lead ass!” 

Trevor, his impatient roommate stood in the door dressed as Dracula. 

“Them wild wild women ain’t waiting forever.” 

“Sure, almost done.”

Truthfully, he was glad to be going… it was a chance to get out of the dorm, instead of sitting around by himself while everybody had fun.

“I can’t believe you're going as a hobo.”

“I’m not a hobo.” Kyle groaned. “I’m Dr. Who.”

“I’ve seen Dr. Who, he doesn’t dress like a hobo.”

“The second one did.”

Trevor shook his head. “Whatever man, I’ll take your word for it. Let’s go.”

As they pulled up the driveway, Kyle was amazed by just how many people were there.

“Holy shit.” 

“Got that right.” Trevor said, looking for an open spot on the lawn to park. “I think the whole collage is here and then some.”

Finding a spot on the outer edge of the lawn. Trevor parked. They got out, both marveling at the lit up three story house. Halloween lights crisscrossing it’s front.

A pretty Latino woman in a revealing red dress and shoddy black wig, a close enough approximation of Sigourney Weaver from Ghostbusters, brushed past Kyle as he and Trevor made their way towards the house.

“Sorry.” She said, turning to look at Kyle, before disappearing behind a van. 

“No prob.” Kyle replied. Watching her go.

“Dude, she was checking you out.”

“Yeah right.”

“Fuck, she was. Trust me.”


Trevor nods. “Go on. I’ll be inside.” 

Kyle hesitated for a moment, before going to look for the girl in the red dress.

Poking his head around the other side of the van, Kyle scanned the rows of parked cars.  A guy, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, dressed in a karate gi and a blonde girl in a cheerleader uniform stared at him as he prowled around looking for the girl.

He headed back towards where they’d parked. It was like the girl had vanished into thin air. “Hey. Over here.”

Kyle turned to see the girl in the red dress leaning against a tree. “Hi.” He stammered. 

She beckoned him over. 

“Kyle Williams?”


“Come with me if you want to live.”


“I always wanted to say that.”

A man cleared his throat, stepping from behind a tree. “Officer Mortez, we don’t have time for shenanigans.” 

The man rubbed his hands together. His thinning white hair was combed back. Kyle was very familiar with the little man.

“Dr. Chandler?” Kyle said, perplexed. “What are you doing here? Did something happen?”

The doctor stroked his chin. “Your sister escaped… after killing two nurses and an orderly.” 

“And later she stole a car after killing a motorist.” Mortez added.

Kyle looked at the pair dumbfounded. “What… why?”

Mortez scanned the area. “Let’s get to the car. We can talk about it there. I don’t like being out in the open.”

She hustled them to an unmarked car. 

Kyle stopped. “What about Trevor? I don’t want to just ditch him.”

Mortez pushed Kyle into the back seat in response.

Chandler slid into the passenger seat just in time as Mortez peeled out. 

“How is this possible doc?” Kyle asked. “I thought she was harmless?”

“It’s complicated. Something must have been triggered within her.”

As the doctor tried to explain his theory, Kyle became aware of headlights bearing down on them.

“Are we… ” Mortez cut him off. “Being followed? Yes, since we left the party.” 

“So, you're a cop?”

“Sure am.” She said, their eyes meeting in the rear-view mirror. 

“Great legs for a cop.” Kyle said, under his breath as he looked over his shoulder.

Mortez took a radio from the dash. “Got the kid and the doc, heading in. Over.”

“Kid?” Kyle mumbled. “I’m in college.”

Kyle could hear the other car gunning it’s engine as it accelerated before pulling up alongside them. Kyle made out an all too familiar face in the driver’s seat… his sister’s blank white face mask stared back at him.

Amanda swerved the car into them. 

Mortez fought to keep the car on the road as the car struck them again. 

“Why the hell is she doing this?” Kyle screamed over the scrapping of metal.

Mortez managed to shake off the other car for a moment, but Amanda hit the gas and rammed their car again. 

“Your sister is getting on my nerves!” Mortez snapped. 

As Amanda continued her assault, Kyle leaned over the front seat. He looked at Chandler who was sweating profusely. 

“Why is she doing this doc?” 

Chandler looked ready to faint.

“She wants to kill you.”

Before Kyile had a chance to process this, Amanda sent their car flying off the road and into a ditch. Kyle wasn’t sure which one of them was screaming at the top of their lungs, before he realized it was himself as darkness descended upon him.

“Hey, Great Gatsby, wake the fuck up.” 

He looked up to see Mortez hovering over him. As she pulled him up he saw Chandler nursing a nasty gash on his forehead.

“Where is she?” Kyle asked, feeling a sting of pain in his back. 

“Don’t know. We gotta get out of here.” Moretz pulled a pistol from a thigh holster, flashing a bit of leg. “I radioed in our situation, there’s nobody close and I’m not hanging around here waiting for your crazy sister to show up.” 

She popped the trunk open. Rummaging around, she pulled out a tire iron and offered it to Kyle.

“Merry Christmas. Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

He took it, turning the dingy looking metal bar over in his hands.

“If I can get close enough… ” Chandler spoke up. “…you won’t need violence.” He pulls a syringe from his jacket. “I can sedate her.”

Mortez frowned. “We’ll see doc. Can you walk okay?” 

“I think so, officer.” 

Kyle helped him forward as they headed into the treeline beyond the ditch. Mortez took point.

Kyle leaned in close as he helped Chandler step over a tree root. “Why is she doing this?” 

“As you know, your sister believes you died in that home invasion.” He wheezed between words. “Think of that time you visited her in the hospital, when she became agitated… ”

Agitated was one way to say it, Kyle thought. 

He could still remember that day. Not that long after that Halloween invasion, the doctor had ushered him into her room. Upon seeing him, Amanda had started screaming at the top of her lungs. A wild, terrified look in her eyes. Since then, his visits consisted of seeing her through two way glass. 

The doctor cleared his throat before finishing. “What I learned is, your sister feels you are an impostor… a phony duplicate of her brother. A doppelganger.” 

Kyle let the words sink in as they made slow progress through the heavily wooded area. His sister, the one he loved more than anything else in life, truly wanted to destroy him.  

Mortez motioned for them to stop. 

“There’s a field up ahead. Sit tight. I’ll take a look.”

“Not a good idea.” Kyle replied. 

“Chill kid, I’m just going five feet.” 

She slipped through the trees as Kyle shook his head. “I’m not a kid.”

After a few minutes, Mortez came back.

“Looks like a farm in the distance… can’t tell if there’s anybody there. I think it’s our best bet. There might be a phone or a car.” 

Beyond the trees was a large field, overgrown with tall grass. As they started across, Kyle felt his heart beat faster. Amanda could be anywhere out here, lying in wait… the grass was over waist high… tall enough to conceal one very pissed off sister.

A cool autumn breeze rolled over the field. The grass swayed back and forth. 

Kyle’s eyes darted back and forth as he gripped the tire iron tightly. 

Suddenly he caught a black shape off to their left in the field, just sitting. Moonlight gave it a vague, ominous shape. 

“What the hell is that?” 

“What is what?” Mortez asked. 

“There.” Kyle pointed with the tire iron.

“Tractor, maybe.” Chandler offered. 

They kept going. 

Like some great beast opening its eyes after a long slumber, headlights flooded the field as the dark shape roared to life… the car’s tires peeling out as it shot towards the trio.

“Shit!” Mortez spat as she took aim. 

She fired off a round as the car screamed towards her. 

Mortez dove to the side as the car barreled by, headed straight towards Chandler and Kyle.

Kyle grabbed Chandler and pushed the startled doctor to the ground and out of the car’s path.

The vehicle spun around for another attempt. 

Kyle was running and screaming before he even realized what he was doing. All that he knew was he had to draw the car away from them. 

“Amanda!” Kyle screamed as he ran full tilt towards the farmhouse. Maybe there was something there he could stop his sister with. 

Adrenaline was the only thing fueling his flight. He ran, huffing and puffing, until the world slipped out from beneath his feet and he fell face first to the grass. 

Regaining his wits, Kyle rolled at the last possible minute out of the way of the oncoming car.

Screeching to a stop, the car now blocked his path to the farmhouse. Amanda met his gaze behind the wheel of the car. 

Getting to his feet, Kyle felt the sting of a skinned knee and a twisted ankle acquired from his tumble.

Hobbling towards the barn, he heard the car slowly turn around. No rush, she had plenty of time to kill him. The brake lights bathed the landscape in a bloody red hue. 

The place looked deserted… a good thing; no one else to get in his sister’s path. Kyle pushed open the large barn doors, the headlights of the slowly approaching car at his back illuminated the dusty interior. 

Kyle entered the barn as the car crept further towards him. 

He could feel Amanda’s eyes fixed on him.as well as the weight of the tire iron in his hand. 

He turned as the car lurched forward and stopped... then moved forward again. It was halfway in the barn now. She was taunting him… playing with him. The high beams stung his eyes as the car drew closer.


Mortez pushed tall stalks of grass out of her way. When she’d gone down after the car had nearly clipped her, she’d lost her gun… a fucking rookie mistake. It had to be here somewhere. 

She glanced up, across the field. The light from the car was still visible.

“Stay here doc.” She ordered. “I gotta help the kid.”

Chandler tried to say something and she cut him off.

“You’ll be a bigger help finding my gun.”

“Take this then.” He handed her the syringe. “It’ll put her out quick.”

She took off running. 

If the kid was dead when she got there, Mortez would make sure his sister was too. “Fuck knocking her out. No going back to a nice cell for that bitch” she thought, and if Chandler didn’t like that he could take it up with her captain. 

The car stopped a couple feet from where Kyle stood. 

The roar of the great beast died as Amanda turned the car off. The bright blinding headlights faded, leaving spots in Kyle’s eyes. 

Spots or not, he could see the pale white mask watching him from behind the wheel. 

“C’mon.” he taunted. “You want me? I’m right here.”

The car door swung open as Amanda exited the vehicle. Her eyes blazed behind the mask, studying him.

“It’s me.” Kyle said. “Don’t you recognize me sis?”

As Amanda moved away from the car, Kyle could see she was holding a large knife in her blood stained hands. 

He held out the tire iron at the end of his trembling arm.

“I don’t want to hurt you… okay?”

She moved forward. Her gaze never left him.

“I’m not some copy you know? It’s me, Kyle.” 

Raising the blade, she advanced. 

“Remember when Bobby Iver stole my bookbag? You threatened to kick his ass after school if he didn’t give it back.” 

Amanda stopped. Her eyes locked on him.

“C’mon, there has to be something there.” Kyle pleaded. “Remember when you were hung up on Stevie Lee? You were crying in your room and I sat with you? You have to remember.” 

She raised the knife over her head, ready to strike. 

Kyle touched the scar on his cheek. “See this? That man did this. He lied about killing me to his buddy. Lied to save me. I didn’t die that night.”

Amanda’s hand shook. She started to lower the knife. 

“Don’t you fucking move, you crazy bitch!”

Mortez stood behind the car holding a broken board. 

“Stay away!” Kyle warned. 

Amanda turned towards the young cop and let out an inhuman howl. She leapt onto the car’s roof in two swift movements. She crouched there, scraping the car’s roof with her knife. 

Kyle rushed forward, trying to put himself between the two. He was too late as Amanda jumped off the car, towards Mortez. Kyle caught a glimpse of the blade as the two women collided. 

The two struggled as Kyle tried in vain to separate them.

Kyle was pushed away from the skirmish but managed to see Amanda stand, holding Mortez by the throat. His sister’s fingers tightened like a constrictor on the cop’s neck. 

For her part, the struggling Mortez managed to land a solid punch to Amanda’s face, stunning the woman and cracking her mask in the process… but her grip remained firm.

“Let her go!” Kyle pleaded. “We can go home… I’ll take you.”

Amanda let go of Mortez, and turned to her brother, half of her mask gave way revealing the pale beautiful face of a young woman. 

Still gasping for air, Mortez jammed the syringe into Amanda’s shoulder. Amanda responded with a backhand that sent Moretz violently to the ground.

She started to walk away from them, staggering as she went, until finally collapsing against the side of the car.

Kyle took her in his arms, sliding her into the back seat of the car.

“What are you doing?” Mortez asked, barely able to speak. 

“I’m taking her home.” He said getting into the car.

“She’ll kill you.”

“We’re family.” he said, starting the car. 

Mortez could only lean weakly against the barn door, and watch them drive off into the black October night. 

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Ep.53 – The Pumpkin King - Hungry Zombies Are on the Prowl!

Episode Notes

On Halloween Night two of the most unlikely heroes you could ever imagine are tasked with fending off the undead and coming face to face with the impossibly evil Pumpkin King!

The Pumpkin King by David O'Hanlon

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Barley and Clyde Sawyer were not the nicest men in Boucher, Arkansas. If they were, they never would have found themselves in my employment. The rural community of Boucher was somewhere between a large town and a small city and had attracted, throughout its years, a veritable rogues’ gallery ranging from petty thieves to serial killers. The Sawyer cousins fell somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. The boys worked any number of odd jobs, but often supplemented their income by... creative means. The cousins were the perfect partnership, seeing as Barley was strong as an ox and Clyde was, well almost, smart as one. What Clyde lacked in intelligence he made up for in loyalty and tenacity. Qualities found rarely in men of his ilk, if they’re ever found at all. Clyde brought a heart of gold to the team— fool’s gold, as it may have been. And damned if he wasn’t the best shot, I’ve ever known. Barley on the other hand, was not. In fact, if the boy managed to hit the broadside of a barn, you could safely bet he’d been aiming the opposite direction. Luckily for him, he was hellfire in a brawl. Barley also served as the thinker of the two—a meager accomplishment, to be sure. It was, as it turns out, Barley’s bright idea that led the boys to my doorstep. My name is Barnabas A. Lambert and I will do my best to relate to you the events that would later bring me to employ Barley and Clyde. Some of the details may have been exaggerated in their recollections, so please try not to hold that against me—I’m only telling you, how I heard it. “Well sumbitch, Clyde,” Barley said. He said it a lot. It was only by the inflection that Clyde Sawyer knew exactly how to take it. The slow, drawn out tempo of the catchphrase told him Barley was not at all impressed by the turn of events. Clyde never missed a shot, not even on purpose. It was like every bullet he fired magically found the bullseye. The fat man’s head leaked across the truck bed. “Could’ve at least wrapped him in plastic,” Barley griped. “I ain’t have none.” Clyde wheezed and dug in his pocket for his inhaler. “That bastard weighs a ton and I had to pick him up all by my lonesome.” “If you hadn’t shot him in the head, you wouldn’t have had to pick him up at all.” Barley grabbed the man’s collar and jerked him out of the back of the truck in three tries. The body poured over the tailgate into a contorted heap. “Ugh! He squirted brain juice on me. I didn’t say anything about shooting him.” “Ain’t say nothing about not shooting him either.” Clyde straightened the corpse out. “Things got a little out of hand. I had to improvise.” Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 3 “Out of hand, my ass. You just needed to give him the brick and get the bag of money.” Clyde sighed. “I got the money and we can sell the brick again.” “Ain’t the point, Clyde.” Barley shook his head. “What kind of drug dealers can’t be trusted to keep their word?” Clyde scratched his head. “All of them, I reckon.” “Well, that shit’s gotta change.” Barley grabbed the man’s ankles. “Lift with your knees. We ain’t got no workman’s comp.” Clyde hooked the body under the arms and they began the arduous trek down the levy with their portly cargo. Thanks to Clyde’s hair-trigger and Barley’s short-temper, the duo was getting good at disposing of unwanted bodies—a skill they sold to others, as well. “Clyde, make me a promise.” Barley wrestled to fix his grip around the gargantuan thighs. “What’s that, Barley?” “Make the fat ones run a bit before you shoot them.” Clyde laughed and lost his grip, sending Barley and the body rolling to the bottom of the incline. He stopped laughing when he heard the splash and trotted down quickly. Barley shook off the water and unraveled the plastic sheeting from his pocket in silence—near silence, anyhow. A low hiss alerted them to another presence. “Clever bastard.” Clyde pointed behind Barley. “That’s the same one as last time.” The alligator inched closer, but stayed to the water’s edge. Gators were smart critters and knew the sound of the Sawyers’ 1978 Dodge Warlock meant a free meal was coming. Barley laid the sheet out and rolled the man onto it. “If they’re working, they might as well be getting paid for it,” Barley said and unsheathed the knife from his boot. “Hell, we might even get a couple of them to keep at the house. Be a damn sight better than coming way out here to dump a body.” Barley ripped open the man’s shirt and set about the grim task of hollowing the corpse while Clyde went up top to retrieve the bags of landscaping rocks. By the time the younger Sawyer brought the duffel back, Barley was finished with his end. Barley tossed a kidney to the gator to thank him for waiting patiently while Clyde stuffed the body with stones. They wrapped the plastic around the man and secured it with duct tape before loading him into the camouflaged johnboat. As they rowed away, the gator went for the viscera left ashore. The channel wound around a series of bends and into the maze of swamps that occupied the southeast of Fagan County. There was little in the way of civilization in that nook of the Natural State. Barley and Clyde paddled until they reached a tiny island known locally as Frog’s Ass—so called because it was bare and wet as an amphibian’s behind. Arkansans can be quite colorful in their colloquialisms. They rolled the body into the water before mooring the boat to the ramshackle pier. Frog’s Ass used to be a popular spot with the peculiar church of Ebenezer Whitt. The sinister minister, and founder, of the nearby community of Whitt’s End was something of a local boogeyman. The Spanish Flu found its way into the tiny village and spread amongst the congregation like wildfire. At least that’s what they say. Fact of the matter is, like most stories in the South, there’s the truth... and then there’s what really happened. Whichever version you believe, the ending is the same—everyone in Whitt’s End died badly. As the years went on, some of the yokels began venturing to Frog’s Ass Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 5 to party without the nuisances of local law enforcement. Reports of strange occurrences were rampant, as were the disappearances. The island, not much larger than a Walmart, was eventually forgotten about except by those of ill repute—those like Barley and Clyde. The boys got off the boat and stretched their legs. Rusted beer cans poked out of the dirt like headstones of fun times long since dead and served as the only proof anyone had ever come to the isle before them. They didn’t use the small motor when carrying anything of legal ambiguity and the two hours of rowing took its toll, so they rested on the island whenever their work took them so far into the wetlands. Barley laid back and let the cool mud sooth his tired muscles. A single cloud drifted lazily across the full moon. “Hey, Barley,” Clyde called as he urinated noisily against a stone protrusion. “Come look at this.” “I reckon I’ll pass.” Barley sat up and pulled his shirt back on. “Best keep it away from the water though. Some snapper might think that little white wiggler of yours is a minnow and bite it off.” “This is why you ain’t got no friends, Barley.” Clyde’s zipper punctuated the statement. “I meant come look what I was peeing on.” “This better be good.” Barley left his flashlight sticking out of the mud and joined his cousin. He took of his ball cap and scratched at his shoulder-length hair. “Yep, that’s definitely interesting.” “It’s one them devil altars, that’s what it is,” Clyde informed him. “That’s just lies they tell in movies, Clyde,” Barley felt the carved lines of the knee-high stone pillar. “The pentagram means good things, most the time. Folks used it to symbolize the Five Wounds of Christ, for example. It’s even big in China.” “Damn, you always learning me something, cuz.” Clyde spat tobacco juice across it and inspected it with his penlight. “So, this is a good thing, then?” Barley checked his watch and grunted. “Well Clyde, I don’t reckon this one is actually.” “How’s that?” “You see, Clyde, we was here two nights ago... and it weren’t.” “That is a bit worrisome.” Clyde leaned closer to the symbol. “Maybe we just overlooked it.” “Could be.” Barley snugged his hat back on his head. “But it’s been Halloween for about three hours now and it’s a full moon and I’d much rather we didn’t fuck around with the pentagram in the swamp if it’s all the same to you.” “Big Barley scared of an old star? Ain’t that something.” Clyde pointed at an indentation in the center of the star. “What you reckon that is?” “Looks like a hand. Let’s get on back to the house. We promised we’d do them hayrides for the kiddies tonight.” Barley turned to leave. “And don’t touch the—” A cypress exploded in a flash of lightning across the swamp. The animals went silent, like scalded children cowering before an angry mother. Barley rubbed his eyes to clear the spots from his vision. Frog’s Ass shuddered twice and the muddy bank bubbled. The ground shook again and Barley’s boots sunk into the liquifying soil beneath him. He exhaled sharply and shook his head before looking back at his cousin. Clyde’s jaw was hanging open—and his hand was pressed firmly in the middle of the bizarre altar. “Well sumbitch, Clyde!” The carved star glowed brightly and the younger Sawyer jumped away, immediately sinking into the island up to his knees. Barley plodded over quickly as he could and pulled him Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 7 free. They made slow progress to the johnboat as the ground sucked at their legs, trying to pull them inside. The edge of Frog’s Ass dissolved into drifting clumps of muck as the landmass became nothing more than sludge and broke apart before them. The remnants of the dock collapsed entirely. “I told you not to touch it,” Barley exclaimed. “But you knew I was gonna!” The island broke away in a flash and dumped them into the swamp. Barley clung to Clyde’s back, trying to stay afloat. Barley swam slightly better than a boulder, after all. A pillar of fog rose from the dying island, crackling with its own lightning storm inside its swirling mass. The moon dimmed and, over the symphony of horrid destruction, the Sawyers could hear something much worse. It wasn’t laughter, as we’d call it, but rather the perverse imitation of the act by a thing born in a place where joy did not exist. Clyde took great motivation in this and got them to the boat right quick. Barley kicked his feet to keep his head above the black water while Clyde submerged and cut them free of the shattered dock. They clamored inside the boat and Clyde shook water from his inhaler for three puffs of salvation. The remains of Frog’s Ass drifted lazily in all directions and the tower of fog spread out across the sky, blotting out the moon for all of Fagan County. “Think that’s a bad omen, Barley?” Clyde spat swamp water. Barley clicked the switch of the spotlight mounted on the nose of the boat and shined it across the swamp. A piece of plastic sheeting reflected it back as it floated away. Bubbles popped next to the boat and a pudgy face rose silently above the surface. Water streamed through the bullet hole like a broken faucet. The man gripped the rim of the boat and jerked it down, sending Clyde into the water with him. Clyde bobbed up in time to see the obese corpse breast-stroking to his revenge. Zombie- teeth snapped at the air in anticipation of Clyde’s flesh. Clyde shut his eyes tight. The trolling motor hummed to life and he knew Barley was skinning out before the corpse could eat him too. Then the motor bogged down in an entanglement, whining as it tried to break free. Sticky chunks pelted Clyde’s face. Barley must have gotten stuck in the broken remains of the isle Clyde feared. The revenant would have his vengeance on both the Sawyers, soon enough. Clyde opened his eyes and watched the headless body sink into the swamp for the second time that night. Barley shut off the motor and slung it over his shoulder with a grin. “You swimming home, or you wanna get yourself in the boat?” Barley remounted the motor to its bracket. Clyde pulled himself in and sighed. “There’s a chance this might be my fault.” The rest of the day was without further zombie attacks and the boys felt assured the incident on Frog’s Ass was an isolated one. With it being Halloween, they didn’t have any jobs lined up and focused on the evening’s task—preparing their truck for the hayrides. The Dodge Warlock growled into the daycare’s gravel parking lot. Barley stepped down from the lifted pickup and the much shorter Clyde slid out. The screen door swung open and clacked against the siding as she came out to meet them. Barley stumbled, drawing an amused snort from Clyde. Everyone in Boucher was in love with Maude Beaumont. The streaks of green, cascading through her blonde French bob, shimmered in the late afternoon sun. She waved to the cousins with her slender fingers dancing playfully and smiled in the way that only she can. It was a tactic that melted the hearts and befuddled the minds of men across the county. One had to be careful Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 9 with Maude, for if you looked into the depths of her eyes you might not ever return in the same manner you left—as was the case for Barley Sawyer who fell into those eyes in the seventh grade and found himself perpetually entwined around those playful, slender fingers. I must admit, I myself have fallen for her charms on some occasion which has kept the boys employed... and alive. As he rounded the vehicle, Barley spotted a hunk of brain clinging to the tailgate and quickly tossed it into the bushes before Maude could see it. She’d convinced Barley to pull the trailer through Driscoll’s Corn Maze for the daycare’s annual hayrides. Three trips through the field and Barley would be in a position to finally admit his love for Maude, though he wouldn’t because he’d been in that position on at least thirty-three other occasions and chickened out every time. “Hi Barley,” Maude said sweeter than Georgia tea. “And Clyde, of course. Are y’all set for the rides?” “Howdy, Maude.” Clyde pulled the trailer hitch from the bed of the truck and slotted in below the bumper. “We are now. Is Driscoll gonna have them damned scarecrows out this year?” “Just like every year since 1963,” Maude assured him. “Fuck.” Clyde’s face soured. “I don’t like them, not one bit. Ain’t no reason Halloween needs to be scary. After all, we’re taking little kids through that maze.” “Language, Clyde.” Barley shook his head. “I can’t take you nowhere.” “I’m used to him by now.” Maude smiled and gestured to the trailer with its square bales arranged into benches amidst a bed of loose straw. “I figure we can take them in groups of ten, except the pre-K kiddos. There’s eleven in that bunch.” “Sounds like you got it all planned out.” Barley smiled and took his trucker cap off. “Will you be riding in the truck with me... me and Clyde, I mean. Unless you’d be more comfortable if it were just you and me. Clyde don’t mind riding in the back none.” Clyde’s face twisted in confusion. “I definitely mind riding where them scarecrows can see me.” “Man up, Clyde.” Barley’s shoulders sagged. “I reckon I mean to ask if you would like to ride up front with me, is where I was going with that.” “I was thinking Clyde could sit up front, where he’s safe.” Maude squeezed Barley’s arm. “And that you might like to ride with me in the back. I even got a special Halloween blanket we can sit on.” Maude looked up at him with those damned blue-green eyes and Barley went toppling down into them. His affirmation came out in a squeaky, bashful yip of excitement and he quickly set about moving the truck and getting the trailer hitched to it while Maude went inside to prepare the plastic pails the kiddies would be carrying on the ride. Clyde wrestled loose bales into the bed of the Warlock for Barley and Maude to ride on. The first carloads of kids pulled into the parking lot and went inside to get their baskets. Clyde slipped the aluminum bat from under the seat and patted it against his palm. “The hell do you need a baseball bat for?” Barley asked. “Well, I reckon we got attacked by a zombie this morning and I might’ve sank an island after fiddling with that magic doohickey, so we should have some protection tonight.” Clyde beamed with pride of his forward thinking. “There’s also the time to think about.” “What about the time, Clyde?” Barley checked his watch. “It’s a quarter-to-six.” Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 11 “Exactly, cuz.” Clyde pointed up at the sun, or where it should’ve been anyhow. “Why’s it dark already?” Barley looked at the dense blanket of clouds folded across the sky. Somewhere beyond the fluffy barrier, the sun struggled to come through, staining them a hellish red. The screams of excited children swarming out of the daycare interrupted the cousins. The little gremlins piled into the trailer with their haggard parents shuffling behind to wish them a plentiful bounty. Maude strode up to them. Barley, forgetting the rest of the world existed, lifted her gingerly into the bed of the truck before joining her. He leaned over the edge and tugged Clyde to him by the collar. “It’s probably just a storm blowing in, but keep your eyes open nonetheless.” He glanced over his shoulder at Maude before turning back to his cousin. “Give me your gun.” “I ain’t bring one.” Barley stared at Clyde until he begrudgingly pulled the revolver from his boot and handed it up to him. “Don’t know why you want it,” Clyde said. “You shoot straight as the letter S.” “Just drive and watch for out for the dead.” Clyde made the turn into the corn maze. Sure enough, Driscoll’s scarecrows were waiting at the entrance. The whole Driscoll clan was there as well, tossing candy into the trailer to the joyous wails of the children. They were deep into the maze before the lightning started. Clyde slowed the truck to a crawl and watched the clouds crackle with tangerine bolts of electricity. He mashed the brakes and put her in park before leaning out the window to whistle for Barley. He jerked a thumb at the storm. Barley stood up and looked to the clouds. They rolled like waves, cresting in saffron strobes. The laughter echoing from around them turned to harmonious singing—a hymn known only to the forgotten cult of Whitt’s End. The stalks rustled with sudden excitement. Clyde sucked his finger and held it up to the sky. “Ain’t no wind blowing, Barley.” He slipped out of the cab with his bat in hand. “Nope. There sure ain’t, Clyde.” Barley climbed down from the truck and looked to Maude. “Best you wait here, my dear.” The miniscule forms, adorn in temple garments, ambled out of the maze, not much higher than Barley’s waist with pumpkins resting atop their scrawny shoulders. Clyde took tentative steps toward the nearest of the infernal carolers and swung for the fences. The singing stopped in a collective gasp as they watched one of their number drop flat. “Well sumbitch, Clyde!” Barley pulled the pistol and kept it trained on the mob. “You can’t just go whacking little kids with a bat for being creepy.” “Weren’t no kid.” Clyde pointed at the shattered remains of the pumpkin and slithering worms oozing out of the neck. “It’s an imp. They’re like goblins but they serve a... oh shit.” “Serve a what, Clyde?” Barley asked. A earth-shaking roar answered. The imps shrieked in agreement. A vine whipped out of the maze and twisted around Barley’s legs, jerking him under the truck. He screamed for help, clutching the corn stalks while the vine pulled tighter. He drew the pistol and fired into the maze. Still the vine fought against him, snapping the stalks and pulling him deeper inside. Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 13 Clyde found himself swinging at the swarm of charging imps, unable to aid his cousin. Maude jumped into the trailer and ushered the terrified children into the truck bed. “Stay here, we’re leaving soon,” she promised them. The tire iron screeched across the bed as she pulled it to her and joined Clyde in the game of demonic whack-a-mole. More gunshots cracked in the maze. Clyde cursed the whole situation and smashed another pumpkin, spraying Maude with the wriggly contents. She swiped the worms from her hair and slapped Clyde hard enough to dislodge the tobacco glob. “Watch where you’re swinging,” she shouted. “We need to get the kids out of here and rescue Barley. You got a plan for that?” “Barley does the planning.” Clyde kicked one of the creatures between the legs and laughed as it collapsed. “Imps got nards too!” “That’s not helpful!” “Get in the truck and tell them crotch-dumplings to hold tight.” Clyde winked. “I think I got me a plan after all.” The Warlock bounced violently through the field, following the bent and broken path of Barley’s abduction. The truck was designed for off-road shenanigans, but the trailer slid and twisted, tossing hay bales into the field like mortar fire. The truck jerked hard, narrowly missing Barley as they caught up with him. Clyde pulled the truck alongside and Barley grabbed the chrome nerf bar. “This is not a plan!” Maude shouted as she tried to keep the kids from bouncing out of the truck. “Well it’s working like one!” Clyde shouted. Clyde leaned out the window. “Told you, Barley, you can’t shoot for shit. Now, hold on.” Clyde jerked the wheel and pulled Barley away from the vine, snapping the tendril in two. The agonized scream drowned out the roar of the Warlock’s big engine. Clyde stopped the truck and got out. Barley handed him the revolver and went to check on the kids and Maude. Clyde opened the cylinder and cursed. “Only left me one bullet?” he asked. “You ain’t never needed more than the one.” Barley climbed into the truck bed and tried soothing the children. “What do imps serve, Clyde?” A wall of corn dropped away with a swish and two scarecrows staggered forward with scythes held high. Maude hopped out of the truck and cocked the tire iron back. Hellfire burned in the mouths of their jack-o-lantern heads. Barley broke a board free of the Warlock’s bedrail and joined Maude. “You boys can fuck right off,” Maude warned them. They didn’t listen. They reaped the air with their blades and ambled closer, side-by-side in their pursuit. The gunshot silenced the wails of terrified kiddos. The two pumpkins wilted and their fire spread, engulfing the straw bodies. “I hate scarecrows.” Clyde spun the pistol on his finger and blew smoke from the barrel. “Barley’s right. I ain’t never needed more than one bullet.” Lightning crashed to the ground in scores. The maze ignited in their wake and twisting vines, curled out of the flames like snakes seeking mice. The ground split open, crazing in fissures that stretched to the boys and Maude. The sulfuric fumes rising out from them stung their nostrils and brought tears to their eyes. “Imps serve the royal family of Hell,” Clyde grumbled. Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 15 “How do you know that?” Maude whispered. “Learned it from the YouTube.” Clyde pressed a wad of tobacco into his lip. “Really wish you ain’t wasted my bullets, Barley.” “I was trying not to get killed, Clyde.” Barley hoisted the two-by-four. The three-story jack-o-lantern tore out of the earth on the verdant, coiling vines sprouting from the white fuzz along its spongy, orange belly. A great guffaw resonated from the pulpy mouth of the beast, matched by the torso of a man rising where its stem should’ve been. Tiny gourds grew out of his flesh like tumors and more greenery sprouted amongst his white hair. “I was Ebenezer Whitt, prophet of the Ascendant One, Hammodai!” he bellowed. “For as the angels fall, so shall the demon rise.” “That sounds bad,” Barley whispered. Maude ran over to the truck bed. “Kids, I’m going to need y’all to get on down from there and sit in the trailer nice and sweet. Can you do that? Just like when we play the Quiet Game.” “For my sacrifice and the lot of five-hundred souls, I am beyond the limitations of the flesh,” the creature continued. “I am the Pumpkin King, Pontifex of the Temple of Blight and the Harbinger of Famine.” Clyde spat tobacco juice down a fissure. “How about you come on down off your pumpkin and Barley’ll just go ahead and whoop your ass?” Barley nudged him with the board. “Why me?” “Damn it all to Hell, Barley.” Clyde threw his hands in the air. “I took care of them scarecrows and Maude helped with the imps. Carry your weight some.” The vines lashed out and Barley rolled away from them. He tossed the board aside, switching it out for one of the sickles lying on the ground. Clyde wasn’t as nimble. The creeper constricted around his narrow figure. The blade flashed before him. Chlorophyll sprayed his face as the tentacle shrank away. “What’d YouTube say about killing this guy?” Barley swiped at vines, cracking like whips at the boys. “Need virgin blood.” Clyde jumped over a fissure and grabbed the other scythe. “I think we’re in trouble then,” Barley grunted. “Got a whole trailer full, I reckon.” Clyde cut down an attacking appendage. “We’re not feeding the kiddos to the pumpkin.” Barley grabbed Clyde’s collar and swung him to safety as the field cracked open beneath him. “I’m never gonna get a second date now.” “Fools!” The Pumpkin King lunged forward. The jack-o-lantern mouth stretched wide, unleashing a wave of orange and green bugs. Millions of aphids poured across the ground. Their tiny bodies sliding across one another like sand in an hourglass. “This is entirely your fault, Clyde. I told you not to fiddle with that damn thing!” Barley stomped at the early arrivals. The cousins stood back-to-back while the famished horde besieged them. The Warlock’s engine revved, rumbling through the smokestack exhausts. The aphids slowed their advanced and halted altogether when the engine roared again. The cousins looked at the truck. The rumble of the motor shook the gold-striped body. Through the window they saw Maude, wringing the steering wheel in her fists as she pumped the accelerator in an uneven rhythm. The aphids turned, Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 17 the movement imperceptible on account of their size, and seemed to rewind into the coriaceous flesh of the Pumpkin King. The Warlock’s tires spun, flinging dirt across the kids hunkering in the unhitched trailer, before jumping forward. The engine roared like a lion pouncing at its prey. The bull-bars struck the cottony peach fuzz growing along the demon’s belly. The rind collapsed under the full force of the redneck limousine’s V8. The cousins, dumbfounded more than usual, stared at the brake lights glowing within for the moment it took the whole thing to collapse on top of it. The house-sized gourd putrefied in a puddle of pie filling that heaped over the truck, swallowing it like the tide takes the beach. The pickup pulled out in reverse, its smokestacks bubbling hot pumpkin puree as it slid in a j-turn beside the Sawyers. Maude jumped down from the driver seat. Orange goop covered her body and dripped from her hair down her stained blouse. She wiped her lips and muttered, “Clyde left the windows down.” “Maude,” Clyde started and then snorted with restrained laughter. “You look gourd- eous.” “Fuck you, Clyde” Maude slapped her hands over her mouth and looked to the trailer. “I’m sorry, kids! Miss Maude shouldn’t have used that word.” Most of the children were sobbing or calling for their mothers, others simply rocked silently. I’m sure they’ll recover eventually. After all, nothing builds character like supernatural trauma in early childhood. I wouldn’t be the man I am today, if it weren’t for such events. Barley watched the mutated form of Ebenezer Whitt pulling himself out the puddle, dragging his entrails behind him. Clyde charged at him with the scythe overhead. Whitt slithered down a fissure. Clyde narrowly missed, sinking the curved steel into the earth. Clyde threw his trucker cap to the ground. “Damn it all to Hell!” Tubular, yellow flowers bloomed around the blade and Barley knelt to inspect them. He plucked one and stood up. “Pumpkin flowers.” He slipped it behind Maude’s ear. “I reckon that means this is just the beginning.” “Whatever comes next,” Maude said, lacing her sticky fingers between his. “We can handle it, just like tonight.” “How did we handle it?” Clyde asked. “Aphids don’t like acoustic stressors, so I used the truck to drive them away.” Maude pointed at the remains of the former Pumpkin King. “And that was just a case of phytophthora blight, obviously.” “Obviously,” Barley agreed. “You know, I was thinking, after we get these kiddos home, we should go on over to Orville.” “Oh, no.” Clyde shook his head. “I know what you’re gonna say next. We ain’t never going near that shack again.” “What shack?” Maude asked. “There’s an old woman lives in the woods outside Orville,” Barley said. “She’s a witch, or a ghost, we ain’t too sure which one. She used to scare the bejesus out of us as kids. She’ll know what Clyde done did.” “I ain’t going!” Clyde crossed his arms. “You know what happens when you mess with ghost-witches?” Author’s Surname / Barley and Clyde Meet the Pumpkin King / 19 Maude shook her head, splattering Barley with pumpkin juice. “Me neither and we ain’t finding out. I draw the line.” Clyde swiped his hand, making an invisible line in front of him. Barley hitched the trailer and got behind the steering wheel with Maude snuggled up against him. Clyde pouted on a hay bale next to the kids while they drove out of the corn maze. They told the parents the scarecrows had been extra scary that year and promised the children would stop crying eventually. Then they headed out across the old highway to Orville to see the Crone of Cock’s Call Holler... I told you, they got some colorful names for things in Arkansas. It was Barley’s bright idea to see the Crone and it was that idea that brought them to my door. Sometimes, things just work out. And that’s the story of how Barley and Clyde first met the Pumpkin King. It might not all be true, but that’s how I heard it. The End

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Ep.52 – Bad Cop in a Small Town on Halloween Night - Mayhem and Blood Rain on All Hallows' Eve!

Episode Notes

Halloween is the last shift for a bad cop, but on his final watch he stumbles upon something truly sinister... Can he rise to the occasion and do the right thing for once?

Bad Cop in a Small Town on Halloween Night by John Oak Dalton

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Faron didn’t know what a viral video was, until his daughter showed him a recording of him sleeping in the patrol car in the parking lot of the school.  Some asshole kid had shot it on a cell phone and sent it to a friend who posted it on Twitter and the rest went how it went. That was on a Wednesday morning and by that night there was a dance club mix with Faron’s loud snores and a sample from Junie Morrison’s song “Suzie Thundertussy.” By Friday night the memes were in full swing—there was a screen cap of Faron sleeping in the patrol car and the text read “When you’ve been racial profiling all day and the donut shop is out of coffee.”  And a lot worse than that. Monday night was the town council meeting, and if Faron didn’t know anything about social media he sure didn’t think the town council did.  But he was wrong. It was a three-person board who met once a month at the library with a handful of old people and a few cranks in the audience.  Ellen Soames was the board president and also the town librarian which was a tough combination.  Joe Linseed was a retired farmer who held court at the gas station out by the highway most mornings but didn’t do much here.  Buster Winsome was the son of a retired teacher named Ann Winsome and when she passed away Buster filled the rest of her term and then nobody could think of any reason to vote him off. Faron gave his usual monthly report about his speeding ticket quota and one or two domestic calls and one or two drunk driving stops but he skipped over the fight at the high school because he didn’t want to mention the high school.  The town board seemed to be listening unusually closely and afterwards Ellen asked him to stay and talk. “We’ve got some changes that have been in the works for a long time,” Ellen started. Faron didn’t bother to ask what changes, he just stood there. Ellen started back up.  “The county has agreed to drive through town a couple of times a day.  And the high school has been wanting to hire their own resource officer anyway.  So we will need you as town marshal through Halloween on October 31st but that’s it.” Now Faron reacted.  “That’s this Friday.” “It’s been in the works for a long while, Faron.” “Can I at least get my insurance through December?  That’s for Abby.” “It isn’t going to work that way.” Ellen looked at him with sorrow on her face but Faron knew it was for herself.  When her son got back from Afghanistan it was Faron who talked him through what it was like to be a civilian.  Faron had gone from high school to Desert Shield and then had been town marshal ever since so maybe he wasn’t the best bet but he was all Darren Soames had.  It still didn’t stop Darren from ending it all with a Tokarev pistol he shouldn’t have been allowed to bring back from in country. “We can let you resign,” she said. “I’m going to need the unemployment,” Faron answered. “Nobody is going to know until the week after Thanksgiving.  That’s the next meeting.” “It’s okay, I don’t got my daughter for Thanksgiving.” Faron walked out. The next day Faron was sitting in his patrol car by the flashing light on the main street.  It was Highway One but through town it was called Hadley Street although everyone called it Had Been Street.  Like there Had Been a grocery store there, and that Had Been a Bank, and that empty field Had Been the school before consolidation. People were speeding and doing rolling stops but why did that matter now?  He was talking to his daughter on his cell. “Has the teasing died down at the school?”  he asked. “It was never that bad.  Mercedes dressed her dog up in an octopus costume and put it on TikTok like Wednesday or Thursday.  People got into that.” “Well, thank Mercedes for me.” “Are you going to get in trouble, Dad?” What Abby was really asking was her father going to be able to pay for her college, which he agreed to do as part of the divorce decree five years ago and was happy to make happen.  He worked as a bouncer at a bar called the Red Triangle in Ohio on the weekends, which was outside his agreement as a law officer in Indiana, and was why he was asleep Monday morning at his third job as resource officer at the high school. “If I get in trouble I can get out of it,” he answered.  “I’ll see you on Halloween.  I’ll have candy in the patrol car.” “I’m a senior, I’m too old for trick or treating.” “Well, walk down there anyways.” “Okay.” And they hung up. Faron turned on the radio in the patrol car and put it on the country station everybody listened to.  His ex was the mid-day DJ and had done a lunchtime request show for years that Faron still liked.  Dolly was singing about how hard it was to be a diamond in a rhinestone world.  But then she played Willie singing about the Red-Headed Stranger and the Yellow-Haired Lady and his heart fell in his chest.  Faron was a redhead and his ex was a blonde and they danced to this song at their wedding.  So that’s how Faron knew that news had spread through the little town already about his firing; his ex was playing the song because she was thinking of him. Faron didn’t want to think about what it would be like to be an ex-cop.  Everybody he’d pulled over and ticketed, when pretty women were let go after a smile and sometimes the promise of a drink or more, all the guys he knew had hit girlfriends or wives or kids or all three and might have accidentally bumped their face on the patrol car, or found their paperwork lost for days when they got dropped off at county, all the dealers who were busted because they weren’t his dealer.  That was all worth thinking about but having the pity of his ex-wife was the worst. And then his thoughts turned to Abby.  He could pick up more bouncer shifts at the Red Triangle, but not too many more, and he could go back to doing security at the big outdoor venue where they had stock races in the fall and concerts in the summer, but it was an hour each way and the tweakers were bad, you could put them in choke holds and kick them in the balls over and over and they just didn’t seem to feel any pain or care.  At least the Red Triangle had mostly drunks and stoners and only a biker once in a great while.  And anymore most of the bikers were cops and firemen running wild on the weekends, and they always got a pass on behavior. He might be able to scratch together money but he wouldn’t have insurance, medical or life or anything.  He had it all until October 31st and then there was nothing. And a little thought squatted in the corner, and he only looked at it out of the side of his eye until Halloween night. Then Faron sat in his cruiser at the flashing light on Hadley starting around 6 o’clock and gave out candy,  He waited until Abby came by and she had dressed up after all and dragged out a couple of girlfriends and it was all meant to be ironic but they were having fun.  Faron ribbed them but told his daughter that he loved her, because of the thoughts that had been growing in his mind all week.  She was wearing a mask so he couldn’t gauge her reaction. As soon as she was gone he put the patrol car in gear and drove south out of town and then a little farther.  Two summers ago during the town bicentennial they had closed the main road through town and had a carnival come in.  But a night or two in there was an immigration raid of some kind and all the carnies were dragged off or ran off.  After a few days of complaints, and nobody from the carnival coming back, Joe Linseed rode his tractor into town and dragged the rides off one at a time to a farm field the government was paying him to keep fallow. There those old rides rotted away, along with some busted-up trailers and some other ragged odds and ends.  It’s where Faron pulled in and parked, and saw a little campfire in the dying light.  He knew Joe Linseed’s nephews or cousin’s kids or some kin hung out here all the time but Linseed was kind of his boss so Faron did nothing.  Even though he had an idea what they were doing out here. Faron took a Remington 870 shotgun out of the trunk and started walking towards the campfire where several figures crouched or sat in broken-down patio furniture.  Young guys still shirtless in the fall chill.  There was a chemical smell in the air. “Hello, Walls.” The call from the gloom brought Faron up short.  Only one person called him that, and it was his childhood friend and adult weed dealer Rickey Webb.  He knew his mother had named him after her favorite singer Faron Young and had loved his hit song “Hello, Walls.”  Rickey was a nephew on Joe Linseed’s wife’s side but never came out to this little encampment people up the road called Rustytown. Faron thought for a moment, but kept coming. “You look damn serious, Walls.” “And all you hillbillies out here look damn jumpy.” The energy shifted towards Junior, though who he was junior to Faron couldn’t remember.  He was the lead dog in this younger group and went from juvie to county to state prison and only recently returned from the grand tour.  The shining whites of his eyes stared out at Faron and his neck tattoos looked like bruises in the blue light. “If you want some of that Leopold Gold I done brought up from Tell City last week, come by my place tomorrow.  You don’t need to be out here,” Rickey said. “Neither do you.” “I ain’t never out here but I got business tonight.” “I do too.  So maybe you can slip out past that tilt-a-whirl and I’ll come holler at you tomorrow for that grass.” Somebody snickered. “He said grass.” “Shut up, Garwood,” Rickey said easily, his eyes trained on Faron. Faron gestured with the shotgun. “I tell ya what, leaving out Rickey, if there is eight teeth between all of you I won’t take you whole passel of dickheads in for making and dealing meth.” Junior, Garwood, and the others began to move, but Rickey put up a steadying hand.  It dawned on Faron for the first time that Rickey, despite his easygoing demeanor, might have been the O.G. of this loose band of related, feral criminals.  It was just one more thing he had overlooked, not paid attention to, let slide. “Walls, why don’t you ease on out of this here job, everybody knows this is your last night as town marshal?  Let somebody else worry about this tomorrow,” Rickey suggested. Junior blinked.  “Hell, if he ain’t found until tomorrow, it ain’t like killin’ a cop.” Junior had a gun in his hand, and then Rickey did too.  Faron just stood with the shotgun loose in his own hands. “We don’t need to think like that, cuz,” said Rickey mildly. “He knows,” said another voice from the growing darkness. Junior nodded for emphasis.  “What else would he be doing out here on his last day?” Rickey studied Faron. “That’s it, isn’t it?  It’s your last day.  God damn, Faron, don’t let it go down this way.  Think about Abby.” “You know I am thinking about Abby.”  It was the truest thing Faron had ever said.  “And get her name out your mouth.” Rickey blinked, and Faron swallowed. “Then tell your idiot half brothers or second cousins or whatever this Island of Misfit Toys is to stand over against that Hall of Mirrors with their hands behind their backs and make this easy.” Rickey shook his head.  “Head on back to town, ole hoss.  I’m tryin’ to talk these kids outta makin’ a bad mistake.” “It’s my mistake.  I been too easy on these young dirtbags because I took most of their mommas behind the football stadium at one time or the other.” Junior finally lifted his gun, a Hi-Point nine millimeter, just as Faron had hoped.  Only Rickey lifted his his own Bersa Thunder 380 and shot his cousin in the face.  Garwood fired, and Rickey tipped back in his chair and his legs kicked the air.  Garwood turned and fired at Faron next, and Faron felt a hot bite take the bottom of his right ear off. Rickey was up and on his knees pointing his gun at Garwood when somebody stepped out of the shadows and fired at Rickey.  A geyser shot out of Rickey’s neck but he still shot again, and Garwood’s jaw disappeared in a cloud of red and his teeth peppered the campfire.  Garwood convulsed and fired, hitting another man in the shadows who started screaming. Faron stood and waited for the bullet, but the new gunman turned and ran for the trailer, flannel shirt flapping behind, and the last man broke and run as well. Faron watched for a moment, then threw his shotgun on the ground.  The Remington had been empty but the Glock-19 in his holster wasn’t and it turned out he needed it.  It was one thing to die in a hail of gunfire and another to die in prison.  So he walked up and shot the screaming man and then followed the other two towards the trailer. The one in the flannel banged the door open and ran in but the other veered off.  He figured he had the flannel guy boxed in but had better catch up to the second guy.  That guy ran hellbent towards what was labeled the Funhouse, a big sheet metal box that had been built on the back of a flatbed. The Funhouse had some sort of zig-zag gangplank held up with chains, and Faron watched for a moment as the guy—who Faron finally recognized as a recent high school dropout named Peyton Sanford—tried to navigate the wobby platform in the dark.  He stepped into the round O of a painted clown’s mouth, and the brake must have been off on that tunnel, because the gears started moving and the opening rolled up like a hamster wheel.  It would be funny, if Faron wasn’t trying to die in the line of duty. Faron fired into the clown’s mouth and missed, but the bullet spanged around and finally hit Sanford and knocked him flat.  He tried to get up, but just flopped around in there until Faron drew a better bead and shot again, and Sanford stopped moving. Faron turned away, and saw some weird shapes dancing in front of him.  He triggered his gun without thinking and heard shattering glass. He had shot right into the stupid half-assed Hall of Mirrors.  When he saw his own image splintering a hundred times he kept going. Faron beat it for the trailer, and quickly realized he made a mistake.  When he stepped through the door, the chemical smell strong, he saw a hole had been knocked in the back wall with a blue tarp strung over it, and taped over onto another trailer parked right behind.  So Faron bolted through the trailer and out the back, hoping for the bullet that would blow up the trailer behind him and everyone around to the world beyond. But instead he found the last gunman standing in an open field nearby, next to a beat-up 1980 Plymouth Volare Road Runner. Faron knew the beater belonged to a kid everybody called Baby Gates, because once he got so drunk his friends gated him into a kitchen to sleep it off, and he couldn’t figure out how to undo the latch, even when sober. Baby Gates had popped the trunk and had the gun pointed inside, which Faron immediately flashed on:  dogfighting.  Even Baby Gates couldn’t think he could get out of trouble by shooting up a trunk full of drugs. But Faron went ahead and killed him anyway, then walked over to see what Baby Gates could have possibly been thinking. Inside the trunk was a very thin and pale young woman, wearing clothes you would throw in the dumpster behind the Goodwill.   The stench of human smells was strong, but the young woman was alive. Faron bent over and vomited in the grass, then he felt better.  It was the killing of the young men and the finding of a young woman so close to Abby’s age.  He had sometimes vomited after killing in Iraq and knew that was part of it. He reached a hand out to the cowering, feebly-moving woman but finally just reached down and lifted her out and set her on the ground.  She was a flat five feet and didn’t weigh a buck ten by Faron’s eye. “What’s your name, miss?” The young woman just stood and shook, her teeth chattering. “Can you tell me your name, miss?  You’re alright now.” The young woman slowly opened her mouth, and Faron saw a darkness within. It took Faron a minute to realize the woman had no tongue. Faron looked into her eyes. “Okay.  We’ll go back to my patrol car.  I got paper and pencil there so you can write your name down.” The young woman shook her head. “You don’t want to write your name down?” She shook her head, harder. The truth punched Faron between the eyes. “How long ago did you get taken?” The young woman lowered her hand until the flat of it hovered around her knee. Faron felt the bile rise in his throat when he thought about the enormity of what had happened to the young woman. “Okay, well, we still need to get back to the patrol car.  Just keep your eyes on me when we walk that way and don’t look at nothing else.” The young woman nodded, and Faron led her away from the Road Runner. But as he neared the campfire once more he saw movement again. He raised a hand for the young woman to stay where she was, and Faron approached the fire, where his old friend Rickey was somehow still alive, holding a bloody hand to his neck. Faron stood over him. “You ain’t callin’ this one in, are ya, ole hoss?”  Rickey asked. “No.” Faron could see Rickey’s eyes slide sideways in the glimmer of firelight. “I’m glad she’s still alive.  If it means anything to ya I thought Baby Gates was talkin’ shit.  Some stupid internet thing.  I didn’t think he could really go and get a girl from somewhere.  I was here to make Junior let her go.” “That does mean something.  Where was she from?” “I don’t know exactly but they bought her in Indianapolis.  But I know where she was going.  They sold her to them people out at Comfort Farm.” “Comfort Farm?  Where they had those retreats?  My ex went to a writer’s group out there.” “Them people went bankrupt two years ago, this is a different group.  They’re from Jersey.” “Jersey?” “East coast people, man.” Faron thought on this for a moment and when he looked down Rickey was dead. The young woman was just standing and looking.  She didn’t resist when Faron put her in the front seat of the car.  He started the patrol car and turned and looked at her. “I’m gonna take you into town and drop you at the flashing light.  There are good people there and somebody will call the police and county will respond.” She grabbed onto his bicep and wouldn’t let go. “I can’t take you with me because I’m going out to the farm they were gonna take you to and I ain’t planning on coming back.” The young woman grabbed and clawed at him so hard that instead of making a big U-turn to town he turned off the car and started walking back towards the Road Runner with the young woman a ghost trailing behind. He took the keys out of Baby Gates’ jeans pocket and threw his uniform shirt on the ground and put on Baby Gates’ flannel which only had some blood on it.  He didn’t say anything when she got in the passenger seat.  Then Faron bumped over the farm field and onto the highway and straight into darkness. Comfort Farm was right at the very edge of the county and probably out of his jurisdiction if he was thinking hard about it, but what he was thinking was that he should have noticed somebody building a watch tower on the other side of the big cattle gates. Faron idled there and finally honked the horn and damned if a big spotlight didn’t shine out of the tower and point right at the Road Runner.  Faron and the woman sat very still.  After a long moment he heard a deep-throated rumble and here came a 1987 Chevy El Camino, black on top and silver on bottom, that he couldn’t help but admire. Some long-haired guy with a leather vest over a bare chest came out with a MAC-10 in one hand and a gym bag in the other and stood on the other side of the cattle gates.   Faron waited, knowing he had a flannel up top but uniform pants and gun belt below. The guy squinted at the Road Runner. “You were supposed to keep her in the trunk, idiot.” Faron said nothing as the man started to undo the chain holding the cattle gates together.  Just for fun Faron revved the engine and gunned it as the chain fell away and banged the gates open and knocked the long-haired guy backwards and watched his limbs turn counter-clockwise.  He heard a gunshot from above and so he drove straight on into one leg of the tower and crushed the grill of the Road Runner.  He heard a crack and a creak as the wooden leg gave way, but what happened next was hidden in a cloud of radiator steam. He opened the driver’s side door in time to see a guy fall from above and bounce off the hood of the car, an AR-15 going flying.  The guy scrabbled for his weapon and slid off the hood of the Road Runner, and Faron shot him before he could get his feet under him. The long-haired guy was somehow on his feet and firing into the steam.  Faron bent down and scooped up the AR-15 and let it rip into the darkness.  He liked it better than the MAC-10 anyway. He heard the long-haired guy scream so he walked over to the El Camino, accidentally kicking the gym bag on the way.  Money spilled out onto the dirt.  Faron couldn’t believe what he was seeing but he picked up the bag and threw it in the back of the El Camino anyway. Somewhere down this dirt road the big barn you could rent for weddings was all lit up.  There were two guys walking down the path towards them.  All the little cabins they used to rent to church groups were all boarded up on both sides of the overgrown track.  They had definitely heard a commotion but weren’t in a full-tilt panic yet.  These east coast types didn’t think much of Midwesterners, Faron thought sourly. He climbed into the El Camino and there was the young woman sitting there already. “You got to get out of here.  You got me through the gate but that’s as far as I was planning on you going.  There’s a bag of money back there.  Take it and walk to town.” She started grabbing at him again so Faron just put the El Camino in gear and started slowly rolling down the dirt road towards the men and the barn.  This one was absolutely not a patch on the 1970 El Camino he had lovingly finished restoring when his older brother got sick of it.  But it was better than no El Camino at all. When he got close the floored it, then braked hard and knocked both men down in one swing from the long back of the car. Faron got out and reached into the back where he had seen a tow chain laying.  He pulled it out and hit one guy with it and watched the hook hit him on the ear and yank part of his face onto the ground.  Then Faron got the other guy as he was standing up and wrapped the chain around his neck. “What’s in the barn?” Faron asked, pulling the chain tighter. But he must have pulled too hard because the guy went limp, blood running from his mouth, and Faron just dropped him in the dirt. Faron climbed back behind the wheel and told the young woman to duck.  Then he floored it one more time and drove right at the big barn doors. They didn’t bust open as dramatically as he thought, since he was pushing 45 or 50 by the time he reached them, but they splintered well enough that the El Camino went on through and went into a long skid as Faron pumped the brakes. Faron jumped out with the AR-15 and the Glock-19 pointing straight ahead and saw he was in the middle of a big space all painted red—the barn beams, the floor, everything.  There were big bright lights everywhere and little cameras with red lights.  There was medical equipment in the corners and chains hanging down from above.  There were men and women in animal masks. It was the stupidest thing Faron had ever seen.  He felt tired.  He had gone this whole night and hadn’t met anybody with the juice to kill him.  He didn’t think any of these people could either. Then somebody stepped up with an ornate-looking knife and when Faron stuck his hand up to block it the guy drove it right into Faron’s palm. Now something was happening, he thought, and he lifted the Glock and blew a hole in the masked man’s face.  Bone shards blew back and cut his cheeks and he realized it was a real skull of some kind, not some Halloween town plastic shit like he thought. Faron tried to steady himself on the hood of the El Camino and work the AR-15.  Somebody with a metal pole ran up to him and too late Faron realized it was a cattle prod.  He tried to kick and it hit him in the leg and jolted him clear to his balls and he went down on his back involuntarily. The masked man threw the prod aside and came thrusting downward with another fancy knife, but Faron scrambled under the El Camino and popped up on the other side shooting.  Faron could hear a low keening from the front seat and realized it was the young woman, but could not do anything but kill everyone in front of him and hope she would get it together enough to finally run away. Some woman in flowing red robes rose up from behind a bank of computer monitors and started saying some shit Faron couldn’t hear between the rumbling of the El Camino and the sounds of gunshots and the keening of the young woman and the screams of the dying.  He shot her thinking the rest of them might stop fighting when they saw it but they didn’t, and somebody stabbed Faron up around the collarbone and the blade deflected off and screeched across the El Camino’s paint job. The Glock was out of ammo and so was the AR-15 and now he wished he hadn’t thrown that Remington shotgun on the ground, but it was alright, he felt about done.  But then he started thinking about what that young woman, or even his daughter, or both of them, could do with a bag of money and he grabbed the guy who stabbed him around the neck and beat his head on the car hood until he dropped the bloody knife. Then Faron took it and tried to slit the guy’s throat, but it skittered off the bone of the guy’s mask, and then he thought maybe this was just a shitty knife and threw it on the ground. He picked up the cattle prod and used the business end on some asshole with a big hooked knife and then swung at the computer monitors and it sparked and sputtered and, surprising everyone, started a fire. Then there was a sharp pain in his back and he half turned and saw somebody whose wolf mask was half hanging off was stabbing him with a scalpel from that table full of medical instruments.  And it was some guy he had seen a hundred times jogging on the historic trail out where the old railroad had been. Then Faron got pissed, because it was one thing to die in the line of duty and it was another thing to die of a thousand cuts from a bunch of dirtbags who got all their ideas from beating off to death metal videos.  So he head-butted this guy and clawed at the scalpel but couldn’t get it loose. He heard a loud K-CHACK behind him and saw some douche holding a Mossberg pump action shotgun pointed at him.  Faron grabbed the barrel and forced it upwards, upwards, until he forced it under the guy’s chin.  The blast showered Faron with gore but he had lost track of whose blood was whose. There was somebody running away from the growing flames and Faron brought the barrel of the Mossberg down on his head and the guy stumbled and fell.  Faron wiped blood from his eyes and didn’t see anyone else running or moving at all, just the steady red lights looking at him from every angle of the room, and so he lay down next to the last corpse and let the fire warm his feet and waited to see if anything else would happen. Unfortunately Faron woke up not in that red room but in a white room.  The county hospital, and there was a little boom box covered in stickers on the bedside table and his wife was talking on the radio, and he knew that the boom box belonged to his daughter and she must have left it there and he must be alive. His daughter came in and started crying and he did, too. Not for the same reasons. After a few minutes he asked:  “Who’s the girl?” “They don’t know yet,” Abby said. “Everybody’s somebody,” her father whispered. “You’re a meme again,” Abby said, showing him her phone. The video was called “Sleepy Cop Wakes Up” and somehow there was heavily edited video of the massacre at Comfort Farm. “What is this?”  Faron asked, pushing the phone away.  “You shouldn’t be looking at that.” “You busted up a red room.  It’s where they take girls to be tortured and people pay to watch it on the dark web.” “The what?” “The bad part of the internet.” “There was a good part?” “Somebody put the video out.  They said they thought the red room was a hoax so they were recording it but they are probably just saying that because they are trying to stay out of jail.” “Speaking of which, that guy outside the door looks like a fed.” “I don’t know what he is, dad.” “I reckon he wants to talk to me.” “He does but I had to get in here first.  By the way mom has your phone and is taking all your calls.” “She’s doing what?” “The password is still your anniversary, dad.” “Okay, okay.  What calls?” “People want to interview you.  Pay for your story.  A big podcast called.” “What’s that?” “It’s on the internet.” “You can get paid for that?” Abby snuck a glance at the door, where the man in the dark suit and red tie loomed. “Dad, I think they want your help.” “I’m not a cop any more.” The town council extended you.  Mom got on the radio and raised hell because you were all stabbed and whatever and wasn’t going to have insurance.” Faron felt like crying again.  It had to be the drugs.  “Well she’s a good woman.” “The town council still sucks, they only extended it to December 31st.” Faron tried to shrug.  “Small victories.” Faron closed his eyes and when Abby left and the fed came in Faron was sound asleep.

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Ep.51 – Photosensitive - You're the Focus of a KILLER on Halloween Night!

Episode Notes

A new house brings a new lease on life until mysterious photographs begin showing up on the new owner's cell phone... but that isn't the only thing happening at night while she sleeps!

Photosensitive by Joe Solmo http://pennedinblood.com

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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For everything else visit WeeklySpooky.com


Lacey set the cardboard box down at the door’s threshold and took a minute. This was the last box, and she was finally moved in to her new home. It really was a long time coming, she had saved up for years to afford a house of her own. No more apartments with noisy neighbors, she was on her own out here in the country. It really was a steal; nowhere could she find a three-bedroom house for this cheap. She had been looking for a while. The best part would be the commute. She was now only five miles from work, as manager of the tabletop game store, Dragon’s Den. She had been there since high school, working her way up to her position. “Get a move on, bitch,” came a voice from behind Lacey as her sister Simone, bumped into her. “Are you trying out your future as a door?” “I’m just taking in the moment. This is kind of a big deal,” Lacey said and moved into the house. Her sister was always the impatient one, but as far as older sisters go, she wasn’t half bad. There really wasn’t much of a rivalry growing up together. When Simone and her friends got into witchcraft, they would let her sit in the corner and watch them. She had no idea what they were doing back then, the age difference was too much. An eight-year-old can barely understand what the high school seniors were doing, but it seemed exciting to Lacey. They entered the kitchen and Lacey put the kettle on the stove, the cold late October morning chilled the bones. The furnace guy was coming later today to clean it and make sure it was good, and she didn’t want to turn it on until he said it was okay. “So which bedroom will be mine when I leave Dan?” Simone asked, pushing her auburn hair out of her face. “You can have the basement. Seems more your style,” Lacey joked.” “You have all the luck, little sis. You know that right. Single, owning your own house. I envy you.” “Ha, I will be lucky if I can afford groceries after the mortgage. You don’t seem to have a problem with that though,” Lacey joked poking her sister in her belly. “I miss this. Living in North Carolina kinda sucks, to be honest,” Simone finished. “Well at least I got three more days to hang here with you in New York. I fly back on November first.” “Don’t blame me, you’re the idiot that decided to chase your dreams,” Lacey said as the tea kettle began to whistle. They spent the rest of the day putting Lacey’s belongings away and making the house feel more like a home. She was getting worried about the furnace, the guy they sent over had been down there a long time. He had startled her when he showed up, one minute she was in the kitchen, putting away the dishes that didn’t get broke from Simone’s lousy packing, the next he was standing in the doorway. Neither sister heard him enter the house. When she saw him there, leaning against the kitchen doorway, it made her jump. She hadn’t heard a noise from the basement in a while and went downstairs to check on him since Simone decided to take a nap on the couch. She always could fall asleep anywhere. It was like turning a switch off. Lacey used to tease her and call her a robot. She descended the wooden basement stairs slowly. She always hated basements. She didn’t like the dark open space. She knew the fear was irrational. In her imagination, once a space was empty and dark, that’s when spooky things could fill the space.  She decided that she would just leave the basement lights on from now on. That would give her peace of mind, at least. “Almost done. The furnace looks good. Even for sitting as long as it did. I put a heavy-duty air filter in there, because of the dirt,” the furnace guy said pointing next to the loose dirt near the washer and dryer. His name tag on his blue work shirt said Brad. “Thank you. I wonder why they never finished the basement,” she replied. Brad kind of gave her a weird look, like the answer should be obvious. “It’s going to be ninety dollars for the service. I just need to pack up my tools. Cash or check works, I don’t have a way to take credit card,” he said as the furnace kicked on for the first time since she moved in. She couldn’t wait for the warmth. She shivered from the cold. She headed upstairs to get the man the money. She had enough cash to cover it. Simone was snoring, so Lacey took a few seconds to record it on her cell phone to blackmail her later, like sisters would do. She giggled with glee at the thought. A moment later Brad entered the kitchen where she was taking the cash from her purse. She handed over the cash to him. She noticed he wore a gold ring. Too bad he was taken. He was a little older, but was good looking. “Thanks. I ran out of receipts. I will have the office send one over in the mail, if that is okay with you,” Brad asked her with a smile. “Yeah, that’s fine. Thanks for coming on short notice. The office said they weren’t sure if they could send someone that quick. I definitely will be calling you guys for all my furnace stuff. Let me walk you out,” Lacey said. “Sure thing,” Brad said and turned towards the front of the house, his tool belt hit Simone’s tea cup, which fell to the floor and shattered. “Oh damn. I am so sorry. I can be a klutz sometimes,” he said apologetically. “Let me pick this up.” “No, it’s ok. I will get it,” Lacey said grabbing some paper towels for the spilled tea. She got down on her knees and began to clean it up. “Ok then, I will just show myself out,” Brad said and left the kitchen. Simone entered the kitchen a second later. “Hey. What happened?” she asked. “You left your mug on the edge of the table and Brad knocked it over on his way out,” Lacey said picking up the broken pieces in her hand. “Who is Brad? Do you have a secret boyfriend you haven’t told me about?” Simone joked and helped her pick up the pieces of the mug. “You must have seen him. He was just here. He fixed the furnace,” Lacey explained. “I just woke up. Must have just missed him,” Simone said. “Was he cute?” “He had his charm. Now that we have heat, let’s get a pizza and watch some cheesy horror movies. I think I am done for today,” Lacey said. “Fine with me!”

Later that night, Lacey washed up for bed. It was fun having her sister around. After living alone for so long, it was good to have someone to talk to. She hadn’t realized how lonely she actually was. Simone had passed out halfway through Chopping Mall. Lacey left her on the couch, even though they had set up one of the spare rooms for her. She crawled into bed and checked her phone. No new messages. She really was lonely. She decided she would try to be a little more outgoing and make an effort to meet someone. It didn’t have to be romantic, just someone to watch movies with or something. She placed her phone on the night stand and closed her eyes.

The next morning Lacey woke with a start. She had had a nightmare. She couldn’t remember it, just the uneasy feeling it gave her. A sleezy, greasy feeling. She got out of bed and looked for her phone. She shook out the blankets and it fell to the floor. She looked at the nightstand for a moment and then shrugged. She had been pretty tired last night. She heard Simone downstairs in the kitchen and smelled bacon cooking. Her stomach rumbled in agreement with the delicious odor. She went downstairs and sat at the table. The kettle was already on. She checked her messages again. Still nothing. Simone looked at her with a cocked head. “Someone special getting ahold of you?” she asked. “No. No messages,” she said with a sigh and put her phone on the table. “I’m sorry Brad hasn’t sexted you,” Simone said and set a plate of food down in front of her little sister. It reminded her of when they both lived at home and she had to babysit. “Wait until I go back to North Carolina before having him spend the night. I need my beauty sleep and I don’t need you two keeping me up all night!” Simone joked. “Me keeping you up? That’s rich. Do you know how loud you snore?” Lacey said and reached for her phone. “I certainly do not snore!” Simone said loudly. “Dan would have told me when we moved in together.” “I have proof!” Lacey said and opened the photos on her phone. Her face went pale and she dropped her phone onto her plate of eggs and bacon. “Lacey? What is it?” Simone said. “That wasn’t very funny!” Lacey said cleaning off her phone. Simone gave her a confused look. “Taking those pictures last night,” Lacey finished. “I don’t know what you are talking about, let me see,” Simone said and grabbed her phone from her. There were half a dozen picture of Lacey sleeping in the same pajamas she was wearing now. Except the last one. The last one Lacey’s top was pulled up exposing her breasts. “These are from last night?” Simone asked. “Yeah, that’s the new room around me. When did you take them?” Lacey asked. She looked at her plate, but she had lost her appetite. “I swear it wasn’t me, the last thing I remember is falling asleep during the movie and waking up like a half hour before you. I didn’t do this, I swear!” Simone said. “You better not be fucking with me,” Lacey said and got up. They both went to the bedroom and looked everything over. The windows were still locked. Lacey explained to her sister how she thought she left her phone on the nightstand and when she woke it was on the bed. Both of them agreed that it was really creepy. They got dressed and went to the hardware store to get new locks for all the doors. As the day grew long, Lacey dreaded going to sleep in that room. The more she thought about it, the close to a panic attack she got. Around eight she came up with the idea of her sister sleeping in there with her. Before they went to bed, they checked every window and door in the house to make sure they were locked. Satisfied everything was secure they went upstairs. “I don’t know what’s going to keep me up more, the thought of those pictures, or your snoring,” Lacey joked as she put her phone in the drawer on the night stand. “I don’t snore!” Simone refuted. Lacey’s eyes cracked open. It was light out. She rubbed her eyes and looked at Simone sleeping next to her. She didn’t realize what a comfort her sister had been. She rolled over towards the door, thinking about going back to sleep. Startled, she sat up straight in bed. Her cellphone was on the top of the nightstand. She reached for it with one hand while the other instinctively itched her side. She lifted her shirt and look at the spot that itched. There were scratch marks across her side. Did she just do that? Her eyes darted to her cellphone. She quickly opened it and looked. “SIMONE!” she said, and without taking her eyes off the phone slapped her sister in the face. “Get up!” The panic in her voice snapped Simone out of her sound sleep. “What is it?” her older sister asked. “It. It happened again,” Lacey said and dropped her phone into her sister’s lap. “It couldn’t have. I was here all night,” Simone said with disbelief. She began to scroll through the pictures, her eyes widening with each one. The first two pictures were just like the night before. After that they got more perverse. Again, a topless photo of her. A wide shot. Simone was in the photo as well, but asleep and undisturbed. The second topless photo showed the scratched on her side. They were from the middle of the night.  Four gouges across her belly and off to the side. The next photo showed a close up on her face. A hand from the photographer could be seen holding her head to the side. The back of the hand was obscured by a blue blur that continued out of frame. “What’s this?” Simone asked. “That’s a shirt, I think. Like a work...oh shit, oh shit,” Lacey said and started to hyperventilate. “I know who it is. It’s Brad,” she cried. “Ok let’s call the cops and nail this fucker!” Simone said and dialed 911 from Lacey’s phone. They got up out of bed to meet the police at the door. She explained everything to the officer that came to take her statement. His named was Officer John O’Neil and he was a new transfer and therefor sent on things like this. He said once he reports back, they would make this case a priority.  He paid attention to Lacey as she told him every detail she could remember. He genuinely seemed like he cared and that made her feel better. He left with a promise to get back to her later that day with whatever he could find out. “Maybe I can stay a few more days. Until we get some answers,” Simone said as they hung the last of the Halloween decorations up. This used to be their favorite holiday, now neither of them could stop thinking about those photos. “You don’t have too. I am sure Dan is waiting for you to get home,” Lacey said, but the tone in her voice revealed she felt the opposite way. “It’s no problem. He will just have to cook for himself a little longer,” she said. “Probably just order out every meal, to be honest.” “If it’s no bother. I would appreciate it,” Lacey said. “Hey. Do you still do that witch thing like you used to back in high school?” “No, I haven’t talked to those girls in years. They were really into it. I was just there to be the third witch, I think. They probably watched too much Charmed. Although I would turn lesbo for Alyssa Milano. Sorry Dan,” Lacey’s older sis said with a smile. They sat in silence for a moment. “Wait. Were you thinking of doing some protection magic or something?” “I don’t know. The cops are on it, but I would feel safer,” Lacey said and grabbed a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup from the candy dish next to the front door. “I don’t think we knew what we were doing. We were just being edgy and different. Nothing ever happened with that stuff,” Simone explained and grabbed a Reese’s too. “I can look them up on Facebook and see what they say, if you want?” Lacey nodded her head and went into the living room. She plopped down on the couch and wondered when Officer John was going to call her. In a few hours it was going to be dark and she wanted some progress. Maybe him calling to tell her that Brad was rotting in jail and would never bother her again, that would be ideal. Her dream house has been turning into a nightmare. What had she done to deserve this? “Snap out of it, sis. It’s ten minutes to go time,” Simone said pointing at the clock. Trick or treating was about to start. It was supposed to be a good feeling, the first time she could give out candy from her own home, but she felt emotionless inside, distant. The last two days have taken the fun out of everything. A quick phone check showed that no one had called her. No news was good news? That was the saying right? Ten minutes passed, then twenty. She could hear kids in the street, but none rang her doorbell. She began to eat the candy. She was a little disappointed, to be honest. Seeing all the happy children would be a good distraction. “You want to watch something?” she asked her sister. “Sure, what did you have in mind. By the way, Rachel got back to me. She told me what to do to protect the house and keep danger out. I might have to run out to the store really quick. Do you mind being here alone while I go?” Simone asked. “Well, I guess. As long as I am awake, I seem to be safe,” she joked. The doorbell rang and they both looked at it. “Well answer it,” Simone said with a shooing motion. Lacey jumped up and ran to the door, excited to get her first trick or treater. She pulled the door open and presented the bowl of candy. She did so a little too eagerly and two Twix went overboard towards Officer John on the front step. He caught them instinctively and held them up. “If I catch them can I keep them?” he asked playfully. “And who are you supposed to be little boy?” Lacey joked with him. They both smiled. Simone pointed from Lacey to the officer and made a whistle noise out of sight of him. Lacey rolled her eyes at her sister. She was always playing match maker. “Officer, can you stay with my sister for a few minutes while I run to the store. She would really appreciate it,” Simone said and winked at her sister. “Sure,” he said an turned to Lacey. “You can call me John. I am off duty. I just wanted to give her some information that I discovered today.” “Well by all means, give it to her!” Simone said and slipped out the door. “I took your car keys be back in like an hour or so!” she said as she ran down the driveway. “Come in. Would you like anything?” Lacey asked. “Oh, this Twix was plenty. I couldn’t ask for anything more,” he said as they entered the living room. “Listen, what I need to tell you is kind of scary. We better sit down.” They both sat on the couch and Lacey turned off the cheesy movie she was watching, Rubber. She just wasn’t in the mood for a killer tire story. “So, I did some research because the guys at the station didn’t seem very helpful. I am still new enough for them to prank me. Anyway, this is what I found out. The furnace company does not have an employee named Brad,” John explained. “What? I saw him,” Lacey said. “There’s more. Not only that, but it seems your house has an interesting history. Did the real estate lady tell you about the murders?” he asked.  Never mind, by the look on your face I can see she didn’t. It’s not actually illegal to not tell you, I looked into that as well. At least not in this state. Although it is shitty, in my opinion,” he continued. “What happened here. I am not sure I want to know, actually,” Lacey said looking around the room as if for the first time. “I think you should. There was a serial killer that lived her about fifteen years ago. He used to bring women here and torture them before strangling them and breaking their necks post mortem. There was a police report from a woman who said she escaped this house and told the police about him, but nothing was done. The man’s name was Brad. Retired Police Chief Brad Crawford. He opened a HVAC company after retirement. We think that’s how he found his victims. Anyway, they both went missing right after that, and they discovered a map and photos in his bedroom. All the photos were in their beds alive, then the rest were taken here, in your room, after he broke their necks. Several had scratches on them when they struggled. The map lead to the forest out on route nine where they found the bodies. All but one woman in the photos were accounted for. The one they couldn’t find was the woman who filed the report. It was all kind of swept under the rug because the small community didn’t want all the attention. He had fled. The HVAC company went to his nephew ad they doctored a death certificate to close the case. That last part I learned from the court records janitor who was around back then. When I told them of your case, they thought it was a joke someone was playing on me and ignored it,” John explained. A tear rolled down Lacey’s cheek. John reached and held her hand. “I swear I don’t think this is a joke. I won’t let this happen. Even if the assholes at the station will,” he said and squeezed. Lacey laid her head against his shoulder and began to cry. A little while later, Simone returned and prepped the house as her friend instructed. After that was done all three of them settled in to watch a few movies and put a dent in the candy that no trick or treater had come for. It didn’t take long for all the stress to overtake Lacey and she fell asleep on John’s shoulder. Simone made herself scarce and went into the den where she kept all the supplies that Rachel had told her to get. Sometime around midnight, Lacey woke. She felt the warmth of John next to her and started to settle into him, but goosebumps spread across her skin like the wind on the lake’s surface. She opened her eyes and saw Brad standing in front of her. She tried to speak, but was frozen in fear. He held her cellphone in his hand, and took a picture of her, a wicked smile on his face. He leaned in close to her and placed his icy fingers on her neck gently, tracing the lines of her veins. She shivered from the touch, which was enough to wake John. “What the fuck!” John yelled out and reached into his sock. Brad turned and sneered at John. The change of attention broke Lacey from her fear and she jumped over the back of the couch and away from Brad. She called out to Simone. John stood, with a pistol drawn, and pointed it at Brad. “Back off. It’s over, asshole,” John said. He called out to Lacey over his shoulder. “Are you okay? “Yes John,” she said and called out for Simone again who came running from the other room. She stopped dead at the sight in front of her. Brad leaned in close to John, his chest mere inches from the gun pointed at it. John swallowed hard. “Not another step. Or I swear to god I will fire,” he said. “You guys get out of here,” he called over his shoulder. “Call the state boys in.” Brad stepped closer and John fired as promised. The bullet passed through Brad as if he was made of air. He gripped Johns neck in his large hands and twisted. Lacey screamed as she watched John’s body drop to the ground after the sickening snap. She grabbed Simone’s hand and pulled her towards the hallway. That was when she noticed Simone’s other hand held a backpack. They ran into the kitchen, since Brad was between them and the front door. In their panic they fled to a dead end. The only other door in the room led to the basement. They heard a furious scream from deeper in the house, and as quietly as they could, went into the basement. The lights were already on, thanks to some preplanning anxiety from Lacey. They ran over to the washer and dryer set up by the unfinished dirt floor. They wiggled behind the dryer as best they could. There wasn’t really enough room for both of them. Lacey had to balance herself by placing her hand in the dirt. They heard the basement door open and they both jumped a little bit. The footsteps sent chills down their spine. Why didn’t John’s bullet stop him? The footsteps stopped and that was even worse. They didn’t know where he was. The washer began to shake. She knew they had been made, but she didn’t know what else to do. Simone on the other hand was digging in the backpack she had, looking for something. She glanced up at her sister. “Stall him,” she whispered. Lacey grabbed a handful of the dirt and stoop up. Brad was on the other side of the washer. He gave her a predatory look. She tried not to panic as she faced her stalker. “You want me?” Lacey said. “You can’t have me!” she called out and threw the dirt into his face for a distraction. There was a flash of something in the dirt as it flew, something shiny. Brad took a step back as if the dirt had hurt him and she started to gain some hope, that she wouldn’t die tonight. “Hate that do ya?” she asked and reached down for more dirt, but her hand found something more unexpected. Something stuck in the dirt. She glanced down to see what it was and was shocked at what she saw. It was a hand sticking out of the dirt. Her eyes went back to the shiny object on the floor. It was a ring, just like the one Brad was wearing! “Simone. Look at the dirt!” she called out and grab some more earth to throw at Brad, who had recovered from the first toss. “Gross!” Simone called out as she pinged the hand’s fingers with hers. “I think it’s him. It’s why he disappeared. The woman who reported him came back and got revenge! Does that make him a ghost? You know about that kind of shit, right?” Lacey asked. “I don’t know. Maybe, hold on, let me ask Rachel!” Simone called out as Lacey pelted Brad with the dirt from his grave. “We don’t have time for a fucking online chat. What do we have to do?” Lacey called out, irritated. “Rachel says we need to consecrate the grave,” Simone answered after a moment of frantic typing. “Oh ok, that sounds easy enough. How the hell do we do that?” “I am on it,” Simone said and began to pull stuff from the backpack. Lacey could hear her bad pronunciation of Latin as she kept Brad at bay with the shower of his own grave dirt. She had a rhythm going, bend and grab, toss, wait two seconds, bend and toss, it kept him from getting any closer, and the contact with the dirt seemed to hurt him. It was like figuring out a boss strategy in a table top or video game, which she had years of experience with. A few second later, the Latin stopped. Lacey gave a quick glance over her shoulder, her sister shrugged at her. “That should be it,” Simone said. Suddenly a rumble shook the basement as the dirt swirled around Brad, an eerie red light shone from under the dirt and rocks on the floor. Black hands reach up and grabbed Brad’s legs. He looked down in horror and clawed at the hands gripping him, trying to break free. Lacey stepped back against the wall of the basement to get as far away as she could. More and more hands reached up and a demonic cackling could be heard from the swirling dirt. In a quick second Brad was pulled straight down into the earth and everything returned to normal.  A second passed as the sisters caught their breath. “Holy shit,” Simone said. “Holy shit,” Lacey repeated. “Guess he is done for, dragged straight to hell?” “One would imagine,” Simone said with a wild-eyed look. “Good.”

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Ep.50 – Halloween Heist - Sex and Revenge Go Hand in Hand!

Episode Notes

A womanizer tries to go for a sleazy hat trick on Halloween by seducing three beautiful women when things don't get exactly as planned...

Halloween Heist by Rob Fields

Grab our new book! http://unclehenny.com

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

Get Cool Merchandise http://store.weeklyspooky

Support us on Patreon http://patreon.com/IncrediblyHandsome

Contact Us/Submit a Story twitter.com/WeeklySpooky facebook.com/WeeklySpooky WeeklySpooky@gmail.com

This episode sponsored by HenFlix.com

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I don’t mind telling you how great it is to wake up to a nice warm female body most every morning, especially during the fall and winter months. Take this morning for example. I’m kind of in between sleep and being awake, but I can feel the soft, warm, naked body I’m spooned up with. Then I hear her moaning softly and feel her move to lay on her back. Okay, now I’m fully awake! I start feeling her up and then we kiss. Soon we’re having some really awesome morning sex. I usually only do morning sex when the night before was just as incredible. We end up going a couple of rounds before we finally decide we’re satisfied. Now I remember the girl I brought to my loft. Her name is Kitty. Oh, yeah! I remember the names of all the girls I’ve ever slept with, and for good reason. I’ll get to that. I met Kitty at Shaker’s, a bar that Strickfield University students tend to hang out at. I usually frequent a few of the local bars, and even a few outside Strickfield, to find that perfect girl – or the occasional woman – to take to bed, at least for a night. Kitty really stood out for me last night. I mean, this girl is perfectly stacked: great body, great face, awesome rack, hot ass . . . Normally, I only have to turn on the charm to get a girl to come to bed with me. But once in a while, the girls just come right to you. That was Kitty. I bought Kitty a few drinks and just talked with her about whatever she wanted to talk about. See, that’s one of the ways you’re guaranteed to get girls into your bed. They need to know you’re genuinely interested in them. They just want to know you care. And, of course, you need to make sure you keep your body finely toned, which means watching your diet and making sure you work out most every day. Getting back to Kitty, the girl was practically begging me to take her to bed. She wore a very form-fitting dress that basically told me she wasn’t wearing underwear. I was right when I got her back to the loft and got her dress off. Kitty and I pounded each other many times last night. We just couldn’t get enough! Normally, after I’ve had a girl for a night, we part ways. Sometimes I’ll get a girl that wants more than just one night. Sometimes I make an exception or two, depending on the girl and how good the sex really was. But most of the time, I just tell them I’ll call them, just to get them the hell out of my loft and out my life once and for all. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. These girls aren’t altogether out of my life. No, they end up being part of my collection. See, I’ve got cameras set up all over the loft that record and store the content onto servers and hard drives that are rigged up. When it’s time, I’ll go and edit the footage and make some quality homemade adult movies that you just can’t find anywhere else. Oh, I can only imagine what kind of quality porno I’ll make from Kitty’s footage. While I’m thinking about it, getting girls into my bed has been so much better for me since my roommate, Jacob Lavigne, and his stupid girlfriend, Genevieve Van Sant, both ended up getting murdered in this loft months ago. Yeah, it freaked me the fuck out. I was staying at Rayleen Jones’s dorm that night. One, I forgot a term paper that was there. Two, I’d already had sex with Rayleen before I left. As I was about to come into the loft, she called me back and offered to let me spend the night. Guess we both wanted more of each other, and I needed that term paper. So there you go. The funny thing was . . . I came back here the next day and found this message written in blood that told me I was glad I didn’t actually come in. Knowing I had the loft all to myself, I quickly got that blood off the walls and got the room repainted. Since Jacob wasn’t there anymore, that meant I could keep whatever he had. I mean, nobody in his family ever came to claim anything. That included all the cameras he’d set up. See, Jacob and Genevieve were making homemade porn together. Yeah, she knew about it, because she knowingly looked at the cameras. As for me, I managed to cleverly hide the cameras well enough after I took over the loft. Not a single girl I brought here ever discovered them. But you know what the beauty of being able to make homemade porn is? There are actually a few websites . . . I won’t say which ones . . . that’ll pay some damn good money for these movies. Being a Mirren, I’ve got more money than I’ll ever know what to do with, but enough’s never enough, right? Every now and then, I’ll just sell a video to one of those sites and make some damn good money. As for the girl in the video, who really cares? She ought to be happy that she’s getting a lot of attention. Talk about getting to the height of your popularity. And if one of them ends up catching a lot of shit for it, oh well . . . Come to think of it, Kitty has about the same build as a girl I remember sleeping with that I sold a video of – Katherine Pierce. Not only did Katherine get expelled by the dean of Strickfield University himself, her parents disowned her. Now, I do know the thing about the dean is true, but the thing with her parents might be just rumors. Still, not a single girl ever came back to find me. Why would they? They can’t prove that I was in the video. I’m very careful to keep my face out of them. All they see is my body, all of her face and body, and all the compromising positions that we did. What are these girls going to do? Take me to court and sue me? Let them try! What people fail to understand is that I’m Calvin Mirren! That’s right, I belong to the rich and powerful Mirren family. We’ve got so much money that we actually own a whole section of Strickfield Commons, a housing community made up of mostly rich people on the east side of Strickfield. We even have our own section walled off to separate ourselves from everybody else. It’s been said that we’re the top one percent of the top one percent! That’s the kind of money I’m talking about. Just being a Mirren means that I can get away with . . . pretty much whatever I want. But okay, I’m getting too much into myself here, which isn’t really a bad thing. Kitty and I finish our morning sex. I roll off her and onto my back. Then Kitty turns over and gets on top of me. “Happy Halloween!” she cheers. Then she kisses me. I go ahead and kiss her some more. No! I can’t let this girl become a part of my life. But she’s so fucking hot! Okay, maybe I can keep her around for a little while longer. I have made a few exceptions like this in the past. “You’re in a pretty good mood today,” I say. She pecks my lips. “Well, we just had fucking incredible sex. And . . . it’s Halloween! I love Halloween! That means trick-or-treating and all kinds of other fun things – like parties. Oooh! And costumes!” I roll my eyes. “Oh, come on, you’re telling me you go trick-or-treating?” She groans. “Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me, Calvin. Strickfield has their yearly tradition of trick-or-treating. It’s not just for kids here. Anybody can do it. No questions asked and no judgments.” She’s telling the truth. Many years ago, Strickfield got to be this big Halloween town, in addition to being a big college town. Normally, in most other parts of the country, trick-or-treating is basically limited to just kids. But in Strickfield, it doesn’t matter how old you are. Anybody’s welcome to do it. People of all ages drive in from other towns just to trick-or-treat here. Just don’t ever think about coming to our part of town to do it. The gates of our part of Strickfield Commons are never open unless we want them open. “Okay, you’re going trick-or-treating,” I reply. “Well, not just me,” Kitty reveals. “I’ve got my two roommates coming, too – Jamie and Leena. We’re going to go trick-or-treating and then to a Halloween party afterwards.” “Sounds like fun,” I say, just to make conversation. Then Kitty’s face brightens up. “Ohmygod, you should totally come with us tonight! Come on, it’ll be fun!” I raise my hand a little and shake my head. “No, I don’t think so. I’m not much into Halloween.” Kitty moves and sits on me. I have to admit, I love Kitty’s naked body from this angle. Then she caresses her tits a little. “I know my girls would just love to meet you. They’re going to ask why I never came home last night. Come on, baby. They’re both hot – like me. It’ll be so much fun.” “Fine . . .” Kitty’s just guaranteed another night with me tonight. To be honest, I won’t mind taking this fully stacked babe to bed again. Kitty squeals with delight and finally gets off me. I actually let her take a shower here, which I usually never let girls I don’t want to see again do. I get in the shower with her, and we make out some more. When we finish, we both get dressed. Then we make arrangements on where to meet. Then we go our separate ways for the time being. That night, I’m waiting for Kitty at Wilder Hall. I’m wearing my costume, which is a pirate. I just finish with an energy drink and toss the can away when I see Kitty coming in through the doors on the other side. She has two other girls with her. I can already tell this is going to be a great night! Kitty points to me and then the three of them come to me. “Glad you decided to come!” Kitty says excitedly. Of course she would be dressed up as a sexy kitty cat: a full form-fitting bodysuit that tells me she’s still not wearing underwear and shows lots of her ample cleavage, a long tail, stiletto boots, and cat ears on her head. Seeing all three of these babes in my sight at once . . . Imagine if I could get all three of them together in my loft. I’ll bet one of the sites would pay big money for a video of the one of me and the three of them. Kitty motions to the girl on her right. “This is Jamie.” She’s dressed up like a sexy nurse: seemingly plastic uniform that shapes to her voluptuous body nicely, white knee-high boots, a pink wig, and more cleavage. Then Kitty motions to the girl on her left. “And this is Leena.” She’s dressed up like a sexy version of Little Red Riding Hood: revealing outfit with more cleavage, face nicely made up, red panty hose with garter belts, red shoes, and red hair (dyed maybe). Kitty and Jaime have those plastic pumpkin baskets. Leena has a small picnic basket that matches her costume. All I brought was a pillowcase. “Ready to go, babe?” Kitty asks. “Oh, I’m definitely ready,” I assured her. The four of us leave Wilder Hall and go trick-or-treating. We go up and down one block and then several others. These girls want to get as much candy as they possibly can. We all end up getting some good hauls. Along the way, I learn some things about Jamie and Leena. Turns out Jamie’s into having a good time more than anything. “I’m definitely looking to hook up at our little party tonight,” she says in her sexy voice. “I’m always looking to play the nurse and . . . let a good doctor take my temperature.” Then she winks at me. Now I feel Leena move up right next to me. “Oh, but, Jamie . . . why should he limit himself to your bubble-butt . . . when he can have these!” Leena makes sure nobody’s around before she pulls down her top and shows me what she’s packing in her upper basket. She covers them back up shortly after. “You total slut!” Jamie cries and unzips her top a little to show me her perfect tits. Then she covers them back up. “I’m more put together than you are anyways.” Kitty groans. “Come on, you two, the cops are out here patrolling tonight. We don’t need to be getting arrested before we get to have our party.” “Oh, shit, you’re right!” Leena agrees. Then she wraps her arm around mine. “You are coming to our party when we’re done trick-or-treating, right?” “Well . . .” Some deliberate wishy-washiness. Remember, you have to make it about the girls if you want to get laid. Jamie wraps up my other arm. “Of course he is. Especially since I’m going to be the one fucking him tonight.” But Kitty has something to say about that. “Bitches! If anybody in our little motley trio here is taking him to bed – again, it’s going to be Yours Truly. So back the fuck off!” Now I get to hear these three fight and argue about who’s going to be the lucky one. Yeah, I definitely want all three of them. I just have to work my charms on them, but I’m sure I can easily pull this off. Besides, three girls at once isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? I’m already imagining the kind of money I’ll get for this foursome video. It’s time to make this about them, if I want to make this about me. “So . . . what do you lovely ladies do? I mean, I know you’re students. Kitty told me you all were. What are you all majoring in?” Turns out they’re all former med students who came to Strickfield University on scholarships, because of the excellent medical program there. Now they’ve moved on to bigger and better things, applying what they’ve learned. I’ve definitely slept with plenty of med students. I even took a class in medical terminology just to be able to keep up with their conversations. They each tell me about what medical fields they’re in. None of them say anything about being nurses, but the only one who says she’s a surgeon is Kitty. “At Strickfield, I clocked in some decent class hours just doing surgeries.” “What have you operated on recently?” I ask Kitty. “I actually had to do kidney removals a couple of days ago,” she says. “The patient I was working on had non-functioning kidneys. I had to remove them both. The patient is on machines now, waiting for new donor kidneys. Once they come, I’ll be putting them in.” My eyes widen a little. “Is doing surgeries scary?” Kitty shrugs. “A little. But then it’s always scary when you’re doing different surgeries for the first time. I mean, you’re always afraid you’re going to fuck something up. At least when I was at Strickfield University, Doctor Pratt was there to supervise me for every surgery I performed.” Jamie giggles. “Probably letting him take her temperature afterwards.” “Oh, fuck you!” Kitty groans. “It was never like that. It was strictly a mentor / student relationship between us.” So we keep talking it up until it’s eleven o’clock and trick-or-treating is officially over. “Now it’s time to get to the Halloween party!” Jamie cheers. “Where are we going again?” Leena asks. “To Shaker’s, where else?” Kitty answers. “Remember? We’re having a private party there. In fact, we’re not far from Shaker’s now.” Kitty’s right. Shaker’s is only a block’s walk from where we are. As soon as we get there, there’s just one van in the parking lot. Usually, this place is hopping on every holiday, or any reason to celebrate something. I remember picking up chicks from here every Halloween, and it’s always packed. When we get to the door, there’s a sign that says CLOSED FOR A PRIVATE EVENT. As soon as we get to the door, it opens and the owner comes out. The owner and Kitty exchange some pleasantries. Then the owner hands her the keys and tells her to make sure to clean up and lock up before leaving. Kitty promises she’ll bring the keys by first thing. The four of us go inside. Kitty locks the door behind us. Then we put their hauls of candy down on a table. I turn to face them. “Wait a minute, there isn’t anybody else coming?” “Nope!” Kitty chirps. “It’s just the four of us.” Leena moves to the jukebox. “Wow! There’s nothing but Halloween songs in here.” “Go ahead and play whatever you want – no quarters needed,” Kitty tells her. “This place is paid for and is all ours for the night, including jukebox, pool tables, video games . . . and all the food and alcohol we want.” As soon as Leena gets some Halloween tunes going, Jamie steps behind the bar. “What do you all want?” “You’re a bartender?” I ask her. “Not here, but it’s great spending cash when I’m working,” she says. We give Jamie our drink orders, which she makes up quite professionally. So now we’re dancing to Halloween music and drinking and having an awesome time. After a while, we’re all starting to feel a little drunk. Leena starts laughing and climbs up onto the bar when a Halloween song with a really fast beat starts playing. She’s dancing it up as she’s taking more sips of her drink. Jamie looks up at her and grins. Then she and Kitty both start squealing loudly when Leena exposes her tits. Kitty hops up onto the bar with her and dances, exposing her ample assets too. I feel Jamie’s hand on my forearm. I look to her and see she’s got her tits out also. “How about another drink, honey?” I quickly down the rest of my glass and hand it to her. “Top me off, pretty lady!” Jamie gives me a very sexy smile and turns around to make my drink. I keep my eyes on the show above me. Then my eyes grow wide as Kitty and Leena come together and lock lips. They kiss hungrily for a little bit before Jamie returns with my drink. Then Jamie also gets on top of the bar and starts dancing. All three of them take turns kissing each other in front of me as I take sips of my refill. “Man, what I’m going to have tonight!” I say to myself. I down my drink and keep watching the show. After a little bit, I start to wonder if maybe I should have slowed down with my drinks. I try to keep my composure and keep watching the show. It’s when I see Leena wrapping her arms around Kitty from behind that I’m really starting to lose my grip on things more. If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear I was feeling really tired. It’s becoming harder and harder to focus on these three sex kittens. Then I can’t help myself. I just lower my head on the bar and feel myself fade away. 

As I’m starting to wake up, I’m feeling really, really cold*! I have to force myself to wake up completely. I have to see where those three lovelies are! But they’re not here. “What the fuck . . . ?” I groan. I see that I’m in a bathroom that looks like it’s in some cheap motel room somewhere. Then I look down to see the tub’s completely filled with ice!! “What the fuck?!” I yell. I’m ready to pull myself out, but then I see a little table set up next to the tub. My smartphone’s on it and has a message taped to it. DO NOT LEAVE THE TUB!! CALL 911 FOR AN AMBULANCE NOW!! I don’t fuck around and quickly call 911. I tell the operator what’s going on and don’t know where I am. She’s able to trace the call and says she’s sending an ambulance now. When I finish the call, I just sit here and wait. It’s only a matter of minutes before I hear the door to the motel room opening up. Then two paramedics come in. They both gasp in surprise when they see my situation. They quickly come to me to look me over. Then one of them points behind me. “Look at this!” The other paramedic comes over and sees what his partner sees. “What?” I demand. “What is it?” Then they both look me in the face. “We need to get you to the hospital – stat!” One of them says. “We’ll go get a stretcher and come right back.”                     *                    So now I’m stuck here at Strickfield General Hospital. I just can’t *believe this shit! I’m stuck here in this fucking hospital bed with all this shit hooked up to me. The paramedics brought me here. The doctor looked at my back and quickly examined me – told me that I had fresh stitches in my lower back that looked professionally done. After an X-ray, I practically shit myself when the doctor told me . . . told me . . . my fucking kidneys are gone!! Yeah, that’s right! I’m fucking stuck here until I can get at least one new kidney, which I’m told could take quite a long time since I’m on a fucking waiting list and they have to wait for a kidney donor match for me. I keep telling these fuckers I’m Calvin Mirren! I don’t belong on a fucking waiting list! A lot of good my name does me now . . . ! Just then, the nurse brings me what looks like a tablet and says it was sent here with specific instructions to give it to me. I snatch the tablet from her and glare at her for a minute before she leaves. I turn on the tablet and see only a few apps. I tap the one that says PLAY ME 1st and immediately recognize one of the porn videos I made. I see the familiar face and now know who ‘Kitty’ is. She was definitely Katherine Pierce. Not long after her video posted, she got in some serious shit with the dean at Strickfield University and ended up being expelled. I tap the app that says PLAY ME 2nd! and see a second porn video that I made. And then I recognize ‘Jamie’ . . . or rather Belinda James. She ended up in the same boat as Katherine: went before the dean . . . ended up getting expelled . . . became disgraced . . . parents threw her out . . . not my problem . . . The PLAY ME 3rd! app just brought up a PDF of a term paper. I saw the big red words COPIED FROM ANOTHER STUDENT written all over the paper and discovered that ‘Leena’ was really Rayleen Jones. The night Jacob and Genevieve were both murdered, I went back to her dorm and spent the night with her. We were both in the same World History class and had a term paper due. I stole her term paper, retyped it in my own words, and submitted it as my own. When she reprinted and submitted her paper, the professor later submitted it to the dean. Rayleen pled her case, but she got expelled anyway. I tap PLAY ME 4th! and get a video of the three of them – no Halloween costumes. Katherine had grown her hair longer than I remembered – and dyed it dark. I remember Katherine was a blonde. Rayleen and Belinda had been wearing wigs; they both have shorter brown hair. Katherine speaks up first. “Surprise, asshole! Now you know what this is about. You took from us – disgraced us – so we took from you.” Belinda speaks up next. “You have all the money in the world, and yet you just kept right on taking. It wasn’t enough for you to exploit us for sexual gain, you had to keep exploiting us for even more! Well, like Katherine said . . . now we exploited you. Do you have any idea how much a pair of perfectly good kidneys like yours sell for on the black market?” Rayleen speaks now. “Must have been nice to have slept with me and then get away with stealing my term paper and submitting it as your own – all while pinning what you did on me. You took from us and didn’t give shit. But guess what? You’re going to be stuck in that hospital bed for probably a very long time. And then . . . there’s going to be another place you’re going to be stuck in for a very long time, if you ever get another kidney. Tap the last app and you’ll see.” I tap the FINISH ME!! app and see a video of the police going through my loft and finding all of the cameras. Another angle shows them finding my hard drives and servers with all of my homemade porn videos. Then I hear Katherine in the background. “Maybe you’ll rot in prison and maybe you won’t . . . But we took our revenge against you. Oh, and don’t bother trying to look for us. We’re somewhere where you’ll never find us. We’re applying our medical experience on the black market now. So we’ll just keep looking for more rich pieces of shit like you and harvesting whatever’s needed. So this Halloween . . . you got the trick and we got the treats. Thanks for your pillow sack of candy, by the way. Also, that kidney patient I was telling you about will benefit greatly from your kidneys. In fact, I’m putting them in right now as you’re watching these apps. Have a nice life. Whatever’s left of it . . .” The video ends and then the apps all disappear. The next thing I know, two detectives from the Strickfield Police Department are here to see me. And I’m sure they’re not here to ask me if I’m all right. 

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Ep.49 – Boxed In - You Can't See the Light and You Can't Breathe!

Episode Notes

Two friends explore an urban legend by taking a wrong turn on a bike path, but what they find may lead to no escape!

Boxed In by Morgan Moore

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Produced by Daniel Wilder

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It was an average day in the small town of Xenia. The weather was warm and humid. In the sky the sun was just beginning to set, bathing the small town in a mix of blue, orange and pink light.

Two boys, both in their mid teens, walked down one of the bike paths, holding gas station slushies. They walked and sipped until they reached the town bike hub and moved over to a shaded area for a bit of rest.

“Jeez it’s hot today.” 

“No kidding. I feel sticky and grimy too. Definitely going to need to wash up when I get home.” 

“Well then we should get going.” 

They started down the paved path, but they soon stopped when confronted by a diverging pathway. The path wasn’t paved like the rest of the trail they were on, rather this part of it led off into trees and bushes. It almost looked like a jungle to the boys. 

“What is this Kyle?”

“Oh… it’s just this path… it always creeps me out… ” Kyle replied, his voice soft but his words were heavy and hung in the air between the two.

Kyle peered down the path, but to Daniel it looked like any other part of the land surrounding the city… dirty and overgrown with wildlife, the ground covered with dead leaves and trash. Normal everyday Xenia.

“What about this is creepy?” Daniel asked.

Kyle turned his head away from the pathway to look at his friend. “You’ve never heard about Patty Short Daniel?” Kyle asked.“Who?” Daniel responded. Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, I guess that would make sense. How could you have heard of it with you having only lived here for a few months now.”

He was right. Daniel had moved to Xenia in March and while his dad was quick to get comfortable in the town due to his job, he and his mother had mostly just been at home when not running errands. 

Daniel had only met Kyle since they lived on the same street, his parents electing not to have him start in a local school since the school year was almost over. As such, Daniel hadn’t really interacted with anybody else his own age.

Kyle took a loud sip from his slushie.

“Well, it’s hard to say how much of it is true, I only heard it from my friend’s older brother, but it is something really messed up.”

“Then why bring it up?” Daniel questioned before taking a sip from his own cup.

“‘Because you asked about why that path freaked me out. Aren’t you a little curious? Or are you just scared?” Kyle replied, his tone still the same soft and heavy mix, but it gained a bit of its normalcy when he questioned the bravery of his friend.

“Well if you stopped to tell me then you might as well finish the story. Besides, I’m not scared… ” Daniel told Kyle.

“Alright… alright. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Kyle responded before taking another sip. The two boys looked at each other and then towards the path. “There was this girl named Patty Short. My friend’s brother and her went to the same school together when they were about our age. Anyways I guess she started to uh, develop early, if you know what I mean, and she started getting attention from a lot of people.

Well I guess she started to lean into it and became popular… like mega popular with everybody; boys especially. So she starts to date a lot of boys and I don’t mean seriously date, just go out with them and mess around. Time goes on, and she eventually found somebody she liked. Liked liked.

Things got intense, and while she seemed to be really happy, there were some who were totally jealous. Well one boy in particular really didn’t take kindly to the idea that this girl he was head over heels for was now unavailable, and this pissed him off royally… and he began stalking her… staying in the distance and trying not to be seen by her everywhere she went. Really freaky stuff.

Just before school let out for the year, Patty vanishes. Some people say they saw her around town, some say they saw her leave town one night on the bike path, but nobody knows for certain… she just disappeared. 

Now my friend’s brother said he knew the truth… that the boy who would follow her saw her walking one night down here and somehow got her to go down that path. They walked on and come to an abandoned house, and Patty got talked into going inside. 

Things didn’t go as planned, and when Patty tried to get away from the psycho he knocked her out, stuffed her in a rain water barrel, and buried her in the backyard… but she wasn’t dead! Well, he kept her alive down there with just the tiniest hole for air and whatever food and water he brought her. She was now completely his.”

Kyle finished and took another loud sip. 

Daniel however stood in silence… stunned, horrified silence. He had gone pale, and goosebumps popped-out all over his arms and legs…and his expression… pure terror.

“You… you can’t be serious.” Daniel finally spoke out.

“I am. I mean as serious as I can be… it’s an urban legend after-all… or some crap like that.” Kyle replied nonchalantly.

There was a silence between the two, amplifying the growing cricket song as the sun sunk low in the sky.

“So… what happened?” Daniel asked. “What do you mean?” “Like, did they find her?” “Oh… I mean obviously they tried to find her… but some people say she was dead… or that her family had found her and kept it secret… moved away. Most believe she may still be alive in that barrel, waiting for her boyfriend to find her.” Kyle explained.

“What about the boy… did they catch him?” Daniel questioned.

“Nope. Everybody knew it was him, but I guess the cops could never pin it on him.”

Silence once more fell between the two boys. 

Daniel occasionally took small sips from his drink, his stomach feeling uneasy due to Kyle’s story. It couldn’t be true… could it? The story he had just heard was too horrific… yeah bad things happened to kids, but he just couldn’t wrap his head around this one.

“Wanna go down there?” Kyle asked suddenly. “What?” Daniel responded, startled. “You want to go down the path… see for ourselves if the story is true or not?” Daniel looked on in disbelief. “But I thought you were creeped out by it… why do you want to go?” Kyle chuckled a little bit. “Yeah, but you know what they say… you gotta face your fears! Are you too scared to go down there?” He asked Daniel teasingly.

Daniel gave his friend a scowl and started down the path without him. Kyle chuckled again and started down the path as well.

The duo walked through the trees and overgrowth for a while, batting away at mosquitoes. By this point the light was scarce, but there was enough to see where they were going. 

Minutes passed and Daniel was beginning to think the story was simply made up, and this uneventful walk through the overgrown weeds of Xenia wasn’t helping.

But after one final stretch of bushes, the boys found themselves standing before a dilapidated house surrounded by a half-standing fence and piles of trash… but most menacing of all were the blue plastic rain water barrels that stood at various locations in the yard.

Daniel couldn’t believe his eyes... everything Kyle described in the story was here and then some. 

“Jesus…” He muttered, the slushie in his hand dropping to the ground.

“It’s true. Everything is true.” Kyle said flatly.

The two boys looked at each other, and in a move spurred by adrenaline and youthful stupidity, began wandering the property.

They poked their heads into some of the barrels only to find them filled with brackish water. They looked at the house in unison.

“What do you think… wanna go check it out?” Kyle asked his friend.

Daniel looked at his friend and then again at the building. He couldn’t believe that Kyle wanted to go in… this was the guy who had said he was afraid of the path to begin with. 

“Well?” Kyle asked again.

Daniel found himself unable to speak. On the one hand he was scared utterly shitless and wanted nothing to do with this horror show… but, and he hated to admit this, he was curious. He had already gone this far, why not go just a little bit more? His eyes fell on the garage attached to the house.

“The garage. I say let’s check out the garage.” Daniel responded sternly. “Alright, it’s your call… lead the way.” Kyle replied.

Daniel gulped… of course Kyle would make him go first. He had been egging him on for the majority of the day. As much as he wanted to leave, he had told himself he simply had to close this chapter, he had to have the knowledge if the story was true.

The young man began to move towards the garage slowly, his heart pounding faster and faster with each step. 

When he reached the garage, Daniel found himself unable to reach out and open the door. His fear paralyzed him, as his heart began to feel like it was going to burst out of his body. Standing there he could feel every inch of his body tensing up and sweating bullets. 

He forced himself to throw an arm forward and open the door with a fury.

Daniel walked inside and looked around. The floor was unpaved, only dirt and some weeds covered the surface. 

Besides some broken shelves and trash, nothing else was present… no girls in barrels or maniac kids… just good ol’ neglect. Daniel sighed and scolded himself for being such a scaredy-cat.

He turned around to leave, and stopped in his tracks. In a corner by the door was a chunk of earth that had been dug up. Thunderous heart pounding became the soundtrack to Daniel’s own private horror film… one he was living in!

His brain told him to run away, but his body didn’t listen… and unbelievably moved towards the hole. 

When he got to the hole he peered into the darkness. Inside was a wooden box, half covered with dirt and looking just as decayed as the vast majority of the garage and yard. But that didn’t catch his eyes the most… no, that dubious honor would go to the puncture holes in the box and a rectangular cut out near the upper edge of the box… through which Daniel saw two, cold eyes. Dead eyes.

Daniel backed away quickly, his breathing becoming ragged. His mind raced in every direction… It was true, everything Kyle had told him was true. 

Daniel finally gained enough of his faculties to move towards the door. 

WHAM! Daniel found himself on the ground face down. Blood began to spill from the back and side of his head. Standing over him was Kyle, a shovel gripped in his hand.

“I’m sorry Dan, but I have to. You should have just said ‘no’ to coming down here. Shame, I liked you, I really did. That’s kinda the problem though. We’re starting school soon and, well, I just know you’re going to be popular with everybody and that would mean we wouldn’t have any time together, and we can’t have that. So, here we are. But don’t worry, I’ll visit you as often as possible. Besides, you’ll have company when I’m not around.”

Kyle smiled, tossed the shovel down, and exited the room. 

The young man exited the garage as Daniel laid there, blood pooling around his body. His eyes were wide open as his body twitched. 

After a minute or two Kyle returned, dragging one of the barrels with him. He laid the barrel down on it’s side and with some effort, and a few well paced kicks, managed to stuff  Daniel inside. 

Kyle righted the barrel, walked over to the door and exited again as the sun set and night took over.

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Ep.48 – The Lady in the Germ Box - Your Wish is Her CURSE!

Episode Notes

A young boy encounters the famed "Lady of the Lake" in the most unusual of places. She begins granted his wishes but they come at a very high price!

The Lady in the Germ Box by Killian Crane

Buy the book Campfire Stories to Tell in the Dark

Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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It’s too hot, Greg thought. He and the other poor kids sat in Squirrel Lodge, packed like rats in foldout chairs. Some of the “rats” laughed, some of them cried. B.O. fumes and chocolate breath stagnated in the heat. Greg doubted he could take this for two weeks.

The head camp counselor, Marty Hartman, took to the stage. His mustache wriggled as he checked something off of his clipboard. “Alright, kids,” he exclaimed, “let’s play the quiet game as I give the Camp Thohmatatchi Safety Talk!”

It was all Greg’s parent’s fault. His father, a pro golfer, won a big tournament and used the money to get his helicopter license. His parents went on an awesome helicopter trip around Europe, while he was forced to learn the importance of rules or whatever for two weeks. He was ready to go home.

Greg didn’t listen as Marty droned on about emergency exits and procedures. He was caught in a game of cat and mouse, digitally.

His fingers danced over the portable game system he held, making his avatar dash across a bridge. A giant fish chased him, mouth gaping.

If he could just get the star over the water, he wouldn’t have to worry about that stupid fish at all, he could sprint all the way to the end. It came down to one, single jump…

Someone bumped him hard on the shoulder, and his avatar miss-stepped. He fell into the water, paddling like mad, but in the end he was pulled down to a watery grave.

“Ugh… ” he grunted as the infamous game over music played, “ …what the heck?”

He turned to see Russel smiling nefariously down at him. Russel had a fire red mullet and was twice the size of any kid in the room. “Pay attention to the assembly,” the fat-head said, sitting back and enjoying himself.

When Greg’s parents had dropped him off, they’d made a fatal error… they’d arrived in the family’s luxury SUV. As Greg brought his things to the cabin, a large chalky hand stopped him.

It was said fat-head. “Hey, was that your ride?”

“One of them… ” Greg corrected, “… we have five.”

The fat-head smiled, his pasty face somehow darkening. “Oh, we’re gonna have some fun, you and I.”

Marty raised a finger. “Before we continue, I will stress to you children, absolutely no pranks and or bullying will be tolerated here at Camp Thohmatatchi!”

Something told Greg that the fat-head behind him would be breaking those two rules, most likely breaking them over his head.

Marty did a cartwheel. “Let me introduce you to your camp counselors!”

There were five underlings total. All of them big kids, probably high-schoolers… and probably losers if they were here and not doing cool kid stuff. Greg didn’t bother learning their names. 

The only person he wanted to get to know was that blond girl over there. Natalie, he thought her name was. Boy was she something. Girls had cooties and whatnot, but Natalie seemed different. Her hair was like strands of gold, and her emerald eyes could start wars. She was walking, talking treasure. Greg just had to know, like, what was her deal?

“Give it up for our Squirrel counselors!” Marty shrieked, clapping madly. Greg gave a golf clap, the one his mother used at his father’s tournaments.

As Marty droned on about how much fun they were all going to have, there was a tap on his arm.

It was the kid next to him. He had thick glasses and scraggly hair. “I’m Simon,” he whispered, “Simon Biles. From upstate. First time on the yard?”

“The yard?” Greg asked low.

“Yeah,” Simon said, “you know, the yard. That’s slang for prison on TV.” 

“Ah,” Greg said nonplussed, “uh, yeah first time.”

Simon smiled, pushing up his glasses. “This makes year three for me. The ‘rents just don’t trust me around the house while they’re gone. Wanna be bunk mates?”

Year three, Greg thought. This guy looked like he could use a friend, and Greg could use some information. He nodded at the blond girl possibly named Natalie. “What’s her deal?”

Simon’s eyebrows danced. “That’s Natalie Carver, real looker, eh? She’s Queen Bee around these parts, sure to get the leading lady role of this years stupid play.”

Greg was intrigued. “Play?”

Simon nodded. “Every year, we put on a play for our parents the day they pick us up. Marty says it shows that we learned about teamwork and dedication, but I think he’s trying to live out some fantasy through us.”

“And you think Natalie will be in this play?”

“We’ll all be in it,” Simon said, “it’s mandatory. But yes, she’ll probably get the leading part.”

Greg could feel himself coming down with a case of the acting bug. Where there was a leading lady, there was a Prince Charming opposite her. And possibly a kiss…

It was clear that Simon was a wealth of information. Greg wondered what else he could tell him about the camp, and more importantly, Natalie.

Greg put out his hand. “You got a deal, bunk mate.”

“Sweet,” Simon said, and they shook on it.

When Marty finally finished the Squirrel Safety Talk, he announced that they would all have hot dogs for dinner, followed by activity sign up.

“But first,” he neighed, “let’s all come up onstage for our camp group photo!”

Cheesy music played. Kids ran to the stage… Greg ran too, stopping next to Natalie. He smiled wide for the camera. Maybe he’d been wrong about this summer camp thing. Maybe this would be the best summer ever.

At 07:30 sharp, Marty Hartman’s bugle woke the dead.

Greg brushed his teeth, thinking about the night before. By pure coincidence, he and Natalie signed up for the same activities, even the same time slots. The play this year was The Wonderful Fairytale. According to the script, a witch casts a spell on a beautiful damsel, and only true love’s kiss could wake her…

Greg would study the script every evening after activities, really getting into the mindset of the prince. He was already rich and handsome, he was a shoe in. He couldn’t wait to show Natalie how amazing he was at literally everything.

He dressed for the day, satisfied with himself. Then he stepped into his shoes… and grimaced. Dollops of shaving cream foamed from around his ankles.

Greg sighed.

Everyone else was already outside. His shoes sloshed as he sprinted.

A camp counselor raised the flag as Marty slid his bugle away, put his hand over his heart and led them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Greg couldn’t help but look for Russel. He found the fat-head was grinning at him.

Well, he thought, this isn’t gonna be good.

The week went on much in that fashion. Each time he tried to impress Natalie or even just get her attention, there was Russel to ruin it for him. It didn’t matter what sport they played; dodgeball, volleyball, kickball, basketball, tennis… when Russel was on the serving end, Greg was always on the receiving end. And when Greg had the ball, he had to either get rid of it immediately… or be crushed by a stampeding fat-head.

Sprinkled in between being humiliated at every event, Greg kept discovering little surprises.

And every time he discovered them, Russel wasn’t far away.

Bugs in his backpack. Sand in his toothpaste. A toy snake in his nightstand. Worst of all was when he learned that Russel could sew. He’d sewn all of Greg’s underwear together.

He wanted to report all of this to Marty, but he didn’t dare give either of them the satisfaction. He just accepted Simon’s help getting rid of the evidence and moving on.

“Bunkmates,” Simon would say. And it would genuinely make Greg smile.

Greg didn’t shirk his studies for the play. In drama class, he was by far the loudest and the most expressive. He knew he was a shoe-in for the prince, he just needed to seal the deal. He couldn’t understand why people were laughing, but he was getting a reaction. The evening before auditions, Greg and Simon sat on the sandbar of Lake Thohmatatchi, talking shop.

Simon shuddered. “That thing is so creepy.”

Greg followed his gaze. There was an electric blue port o potty at the edge of the forest. Marty explained that, because the cabins were so far from the sandbar, they’d installed a blue box in case of “emergencies.”

Greg felt unease knotting his guts. It was fact those things contained all kinds of sickness and disease. And they stank. No one with any sense would ever use one of them. At least that's what his mom said.

“Those things really give me the heebie-jeebies,” Greg said. “I wouldn’t go inside of that thing in a thousand years.”

Behind them, a tall fat-head with a red mullet burst from the bushes. “Really?” Russel asked. “The heebie-jeebies?” He lifted Greg by the shirt, grinning ear to ear. “You don’t say?”

He hauled Greg in the direction of the electric blue germ box. Greg pumped the brakes, digging his bare feet deep into the dirt. His shoes were far behind, next to Simon. No, he thought, no, my bare feet can’t touch that floor in there. NO!

“Put me down, fat-head!” Greg shouted.

Simon, on his heels, echoed “Put him down, fat-head!”

Russel backhanded Simon, sending his glasses flying. The boy quickly shuffled to all fours, searching madly for them.

Greg tried to put up a fight, but Russel shook him like a sack of marshmallows. His brain careened in his skull, making him see double.

The door of the germ box swung open. 

“No,” Greg cried, “please Russel, no!”

Russel threw him inside and shut the door. Greg kicked and yelled, but it wouldn’t budge. He heard Russel laughing as he shoved something against the door, blocking it good.

Greg’s bare feet touched the floor. Germs, he thought, I can feel the germs between my toes!

He screamed. 

“Simon, help!”

“I’m running for Marty, Greg!” 

“No you don’t, snitch!”

Two sets of running feet faded away.

Whatever trapped him was jammed solid. He wanted to hyperventilate, but he didn’t dare breathe. The toxic fumes might kill him.

Actually, he thought, it didn’t smell too bad. It was… relatively clean, for what it was. But grime began to seep between his bare toes…

What would the prince do? He thought.

He raised the toilet lid. Some brave souls had definitely been here already. Waste floated in the blue liquid below. He gagged, slamming it closed.

Anger welled inside of him. “I wish Russel would just… disappear.” There was a knock.

Greg looked at the door. Maybe someone heard him screaming. “Hello? Can you help me?” There was another knock.

It hadn’t come from outside. It came from the toilet. From under the seat. 

He hesitated, his heart thudding in his neck. “H-hello?”

The knock came again, louder. 

Greg lifted the lid.

There was a woman down there looking up at him. Her long, wet hair knotted in clumps, and her skin was stained a dark blue. She smiled thinly. “Hello.” Greg wanted to scream but he couldn’t.

Her head bobbed out of the toilet bowl, into the light. He backed as far away as he could, but they were basically face to face.

“Who are you?” he uttered.

The lady cocked her head to one side, and blue liquid ran from her ear. Greg barely kept from losing his lunch.

Her voice was soft. “I’m the Lady of the Lake. I heard your wish.” 

Greg was stunned. “My wish?”

The Lady nodded enthusiastically. “I can help you. Tell me what you wish, and it will be so.”

Greg thought of his game. Was this his chance to grab the star? With Russel out of the way, he’d have no problem impressing Natalie…

“Fine,” Greg said. “I… I wish that Russel would disappear.” The Lady smiled, bowed her head, and disappeared with a splash.

Marty Hartman opened the door, holding a large board and a pair of boy’s shoes. “You okay, Gregory?”

Greg wasn’t sure how to answer that. “We’ll see,” he guessed.

Russel got a “stern” talking to about why bullying is bad, but by dinner he wasn’t in trouble anymore.

The fat-head smiled at Greg.

Greg smiled back. He couldn’t help himself. Either he’d gone crazy in the germ box, or after tonight, Russel wouldn’t be a problem.

As the bugle woke him, Greg felt wonderful.

He looked to where Russel slept. The bed was empty. He got ready fast. There were no bugs in his bag, no snake in his nightstand, no sand in his tooth paste. When he put on his shoes, there was no shaving cream.

The flag was raised, and they said the Pledge of Allegiance. No Russel in sight. As they split into groups, Greg stopped Marty. “Hey,” he asked, “where’s Russel?” Marty checked his clipboard. “I’m sorry… who?”

Greg blinked. “Russel… ”

Marty checked his clipboard again. “Who?” 

Greg smiled. “Oh, no one important.”

That day was amazing. With no fat-head interference, he was able to put in some time with Natalie. She didn’t seem all that interested in talking, in fact she seemed to try and avoid Greg. But Greg was confident that would change soon.

At auditions, Natalie killed it, drawing applause from the entire crowd. She was a shoe-in for the part of The Damsel.

Greg put in the performance of a lifetime. He didn’t just pretend to be the prince, he was the prince.

Instead of a standing ovation, people laughed. He didn’t understand what they thought was so funny. Still, he was confident.

That night, he had two Sloppy Joe’s to celebrate. It wasn’t long before Marty posted the roles on the Squirrel Bulletin.

Bodies buzzed excitedly around the results. Greg couldn’t see through them, but it was clear by murmurs that Natalie got the part of The Damsel.

To his confusion, a lot of people were congratulating Simon. He supposed that Simon got the part he wanted; Borkley the comic relief. He shoved through the crowd and scanned the list for his name… but there had been some mistake.

Simon Biles- The Prince

Gregory Gaspard- Borkley.

His jaw hit the top of his shoes. How could this happen?

Simon, looking dejected, put out a hand to shake. “You gave it hell, bunk mate. You’ll be an awesome Borkley!”

Greg stared at the hand. Shaking, he squeezed a bit harder than he intended. “Congrats, pal.” He hid the storm cloud in his heart. He needed to walk, clear his head.

And then, the storm cloud had a flash of lightning. Lake Thohmatatchi… the sand bar.

He went straight to the germ box, locking the door behind him.

The darkness magnified the smell. He was terrified, but he was out of options. Simon had simply forced his hand.

He lifted the lid of the toilet, swatting the fetid air. Tentatively, he said, “I wish I was the lead in the camp play.”

The stark outline of a head, dripping blue liquid, floated out of the toilet bowl. “Is that so?” 

Greg swallowed hard. “Yep.”

Before, when he’d made his wish, she’d disappeared almost immediately. This time she lingered, floating ghostly quiet. Greg could hear his breathing.

After an eon, she cut the silence. “Anything else?”

The words surprised Greg. “Yeah, I suppose so. There’s this girl, Natalie Carver. I wish she liked me. A lot.”

She gave a low bow, then disappeared.

Greg quickly shut the lid. “Well,” he said to no one, “that’s that.”

He crept back to Squirrel Lodge. Among the kids running wild, Simon was talking to Natalie.

She was smiling at him.

Greg had enough. He left and went to bed.

He tossed and turned for a long time, wrestling with the night’s events. When he finally dreamed, he was at one of his dad’s golf tournaments. His swing was perfect. The ball plunked into the electric blue germ box. Hole in one!

The bugle sounded, and everyone rose to greet the day. 

Except Simon.

A medical emergency was declared. Simon was wheeled out of the cabin by EMS. His glasses dropped from his face, skittering on the ground. Greg picked them up.

Simon reached out to him with a red and white striped hand. He was striped like that over his entire body.

“Thanks, bunk mate.” Simon said weakly, putting on his glasses. He gave Greg a pitiful smile. Even his teeth were striped. The ambulance doors were shut, and the vehicle roared away.

Greg felt genuinely terrible about what he’d done… until he locked eyes with Natalie Carver. She looked at him in a way that made steam whistle out of his ears.

Marty walked up to him, shaking his head and looking at his clip board. “Sorry to ask like this,” he said, “I know he was your friend. But… the show must go on! It’s what Simon would have wanted. How do you feel about being The Prince?”

Greg’s eyes never left Natalie’s. “Yes,” he said, “I think Simon would want that.” 

Marty checked something off his clipboard enthusiastically. “Fantastic!”

During activities, Greg and Natalie were inseparable.

Instead of participating, they doted on each other, laughing at everything the other said. More than once, camp counselors separated them.

During the afternoon break, they stole away to a secret alcove near Lake Thohmatatchi, far from camp counselor eyes.

“Oh, Greg,” Natalie said, “I don’t know what it is about you. You’re just so funny!” 

Greg shrugged. “What can I say, m’lady?”

Natalie lost it. Greg laughed himself. He was pretty funny.

“It’s too bad,” she moped, “in a few days… I’ll have to go back home, and you’ll have to go back home. And we’ll probably never see each other again.”

Greg had other plans. They locked eyes for a long time. “Never say never.” 

They kissed.

It was just one, and it was over fast. But to Greg, it lasted a lifetime. He felt woozy as they rubbed noses.

“We better get back,” he said, “they’ll be looking for us soon.” 

“I know,” Natalie said tittering, “we’re so bad.”

They walked holding hands, the sand bar crunching under their feet. 

The germ box loomed ahead.

“I’ll catch up,” Greg said, “I need to pee.”

“Oh,” Natalie said, “I can wait on you.” 

“Uh… don’t be ridiculous! I’ll catch up.”

She hesitated, not wanting to move. Then she gave up, pouting. “Fine. But seriously, don’t take too long. I’ll miss you.” She sulked away.

Greg went into the germ box and locked the door. 

“I wish… I never had to go home.”

He raised the toilet seat. She smiled up at him, content not to come up. 

“You sure about that?” she asked.

Greg cleared his throat. “Yes.”

The Lady nodded, then sank into the dirty abyss.

That night, Greg’s dreams were filled with hand-holding, hugs, and best of all, kisses.

He got his star power-up. He was unstoppable.

No bugle screeched that morning.

Instead, Greg was called into Marty’s office. He thought maybe he and Natalie were in trouble, but Marty looked too grave for that.

“Gregory…” he said, tears welling in his eyes, “I really don’t know how to say this…” 

Greg grew impatient, ready to spend the day with Natalie. Ready for another kiss. “Well? Spit it out already!”

Marty blew his nose. “I’m so sorry. We got a call that your father crashed his helicopter.

Your parents are… ”

Greg sank in his chair.

Marty handed him a tissue. Greg looked at it, not sure what to do with it. Not sure about anything.

Eventually, he was able to speak. “I need… I need to go home.”

Marty winced. “Actually… ” 

Greg’s eyes went wide. “What?”

“Your neighbor called. There was a fire, something electrical. Your house was… totally destroyed.”

Greg laughed unbelieving. It wasn’t a happy laugh.

Marty shook his head. “I’m sorry, Gregory. I can counsel you through this. Do you need a hug?”

Greg crumpled the tissue in his hand. “No! What… what am I supposed to do?” 

“Well, you can stay here. We have everything you need… ”

“No!” Greg shouted.

“Now, Gregory,” Marty said, “it’s lovely in the winter… ” 

“This wasn’t the deal!” he shouted. “She tricked me!” 

Marty mustache twitched. “Who tricked you?”

Greg stormed out.

“Gregory,” Marty shouted, “come back! I’m not finished counseling you!”

Greg almost sprinted past the kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Natalie seized him by the arm.

She had a crazy look in her eye. “Greg, don’t you ever scare me like that again! Where were you?”

“Get off me!” he yelled, pulling away.

Natalie’s face went from hurt, to fury, to pleading, to love. “I’ll never leave you, Greg.

What’s wrong? Let me help you!”

Greg was crying. “Leave me alone!”

He ran towards Lake Thohmatatchi, Natalie close behind him. She was frothing mad. “Greg!

Don’t you run from me! You can’t get away from me!”

He locked himself in the germ box. She pulled and banged, even head-butted the door. “Get out here so I can help you!” she shouted as her claws scraped down the electric blue plastic.

The smell was horrible. Greg lifted the lid, releasing a swarm of flies. “Get out here!” he commanded.

A face bobbed out of the blue liquid, floating among the waste. It was grinning with thin, sharp teeth.

Marty mewled outside. “Greg, come out here, let me counsel you!”

The box shook as Natalie assaulted the box. He could see her wild eyes through the crack. It wouldn’t be long before she pulled the door off the hinges. “Greg!”

When Greg turned back to the Lady, her head stuck high out of the bowl. She seemed to bulge from under there, barely contained.She was big, he realized. He wondered, with some horror, what she’d look like hauled up on land. Gills ran the length of her serpentine neck. “You called?”

“You cheated,” he said. “My wish didn’t come true!”

Her blue tongue licked dripping liquid from her lips. “You wished you didn’t have to go home… ”

The door flexed, the plastic nearly buckling. His parents, his house, this camp… it was all too much for him. He had to escape. He wanted out.

He looked at the Lady, his voice a fury. “Get me out of here!” 

She cocked her head. “Are you sure about that?”

Greg gestured behind him. “Yes! I wish I could disappear!”

The Lady’s pupils grew massive. “Very well.”

Her head lurched forward, biting into his fingers. Shocked, Greg screamed as the needle like teeth sank into his knuckles. Her gills opened, and she blew ultramarine liquid everywhere. Slowly, she slid into the toilet bowl, cackling as she did. Greg pulled and protested, but she wouldn’t let go.

He reached for the handle, but he was already too far.

He flailed madly as he was was pulled into the darkness, into a sea of ultramarine blue. The bowl muffled his screams as he slipped.

Marty mewled from outside. “Greg, let me counsel you!” 

Natalie screeched, “Greg, let me help you!”

The Lady’s slid below the surface, her eyes glowing in the dark liquid. Dread seized Greg as the greasy fluid ran up his arm. He squealed as his grip failed and he was pulled fully into the bowl with a great splash.

Natalie pulled the door off it’s hinges, throwing it to the side. Greg was nowhere to be seen. She and Marty held their noses as they looked down the open lid just in time to see a grouping of bubbles float to the top. One by one they popped, and the waste floating on the blue sea grew deathly still.

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