Is there an objective evil in the world? Some sinister force that seeks to enforce its will on others? Could that force take on human form bringing together a group of friends for the sole reason of killing them off one by one? I mean villians in a movie always have a motivation, at least the good ones do. Darth Vader wanted a peaceful galaxy seeing the Republic paralyzed by its bureaucracy determined to make a change. Thanos wanted to balance the scales of the Universe bringing an end to over-population and suffering. This though, no amount of reasoning could justify what was done to Jennifer’s body.
Becky’s sobs continued to echo, more for show than anything, it was selfish weeping. Kelly was right about that at least. Kelly was trying to bring her downstairs, but even I knew that type of crying only compounded irrationality. As if on que Becky ripped out of Kelly’s grasp, running down the long hall. She was gone before Kelly or I could get to her.
Kelly looked at me with disdain as if I should have done something. “Did you want to go after her?” I asked.
“No, Fuck her.” Kelly replied, “She wants to die then so be it.”
Without another word we made our way down to the living room, where we had all been before. The large vaulted room offering no comfort from the cold sinking into the lodge. I was proud at how well the boys seemed to be holding themselves together through this, but it was obvious that even they couldn’t take much more. Michelle had tears down her face, but unlike Becky she seemed sincere.
“So, why was she in the bathroom alone?” I asked.
Everyone looked around the room as if someone else would be able to enlighten me on the reason. Michelle was the only one who did, cold faced she said, “Everyone assumed it was you, so we ditched the whole wait here in place. People wandered around alone, took showers, what have you. Jennifer…”
“Jennifer had been gone for a long time, we all went looking as a group. Fucking Becky found her.” Kelly said.
“Where is Becky now?” Blake asked.
“She ran off.” Kelly said,
“Shit Kelly, and you didn’t go after her? What if something gets her?” Blake asked.
Kelly was about to rip into Blake again. It was amazing how he could just jump right under her skin without any effort. It was always so awkward being around them because of it. I decided to jump in before it completely blew.
“The killer had a mask.” I said.
Everyone was looking at me now, well at least everyone that was left. “I was going to search my room for clues, or figure a way to get out. I ended up passing out though. The stress had got to me, but I couldn’t stop dreaming about it. Each time there was always something out of the corner of my eye. Something that I had been missing each time, but I focused on it. It was a glitter bunny mask, like those ones that freshmen in the sorority wear during pledge month.”
“You’re retarded.” Kelly said, “what are you even talking about? No one would just have one of those, it’s not like it’s the best of days when you have one.”
“I don’t do Greek, what is a glitter bunny mask?” Andrew asked.
“It’s basically what pledges wear when entering into the sorority. The’re servants. They clean their sisters room, cook their sisters food, you know stuff like that.” Jennifer replied.
“Get raped by the football team…” Blake said.
If looks could kill Kelly’s would have Blake. She huffed up her chest like she was about to say something, but Jennifer beat her to the punch.
“That was Tina Tanner. It wasn’t the team but one guy, and there was no proof that it even happened. He didn’t even go to trial.” Jennifer said.
“Oh…oh I remember that. I was a freshman, she was the one who wrote slut on her chest and took a dive off the economics building. Holy shit, no one ever talks about that.” Andrew said realizing that he said it a bit too enthusiastically quickly shrinking down into the couch.
“So, what do you think Steph? Tina Tanner’s back from the dead to get her revenge on us?” Kelly asked.
“No, not Tina, but maybe someone like her. You guys know how brutal those months are, maybe someone. Most of those deaths on campus are pretty Greek related.” I said.
Andrew and I were maybe the only ones who were not in Greek life, and for a good reason. Wind River University was a rough place for the Greek life. Wyoming was pretty well cut off from most of those centralized Greek charters, and the University’s Administration policy was more of no news is good news. That left a lot of hormone ridden teens with too much time on their hands.
A loud crash echoed from upstairs. No one really knew what to do, and looks were exchanged by everyone. The crash was followed by a scream, and I ran toward it. Blake, came up from behind me on the stairs passing by me quickly. He was down the hall before before I reached the halfway point.
I rounded the hall seeing the open door, and Blake cursing coming from it. Inside Blake held Becky’s arm that was bleeding. There were just tears coming down her face, no weeping. At least none yet. Becky was shaking like she was in shock. We heard footsteps coming down the hall from the others. Each one entering the room. Kelly had a towel in hand, prepared for the worst. They began attending to Becky’s wound her eyes on the window that was shattered. The glass laid about all over the carpet.
“What happened?” I asked.
Becky not taking her eyes off the window replied, “Tina…Tina Tanner.”
The dark, damp, dreaded, really messed up why are we even here hallway awaited me. It was one of those moments when life goes from puking on your first kiss to having said kiss go viral online collecting a million views. Both of which happened to me. You might say, “David, why are you walking down a big scary hallway that is most likely full of monsters?” I would answer “because that is my job.” Not the walking down terrifying halls part, but “ghost” hunting. Big emphasis on “ghosts” as it’s usually just props, and subpar acting. However, after years of desecrating graves, and messing up old houses the universe decides to take a large steaming dump on me like last night was taco Tuesday.
Truthfully, there really is a killing to be made online for scary stories posted on a site called Paranormal Nights, shot in grainy footage, with hot young people running away in fear. Every tween goes crazy making reaction videos of our videos where their screeching becomes like a banshee striking its kill. At most it takes twenty minuets to get enough footage to last a week. We get in, fake it, tape it, then bank off it. As you can obviously tell that wasn’t the story this time. Nope, instead of fake blood and cheap rental costumes, we walk into some other worldly nightmare bullshit that now involves me walking down a hall that looks eerily similar to every horror film.
The wallpaper was peeling off revealing the rotted wood behind it and the strong smell of decay. Hung on the walls was a collection family memorabilia letting anyone who came to visit know how batshit crazy they are. Family pictures with eyes crossed out. A horse race with mutilated horses screaming out in pain forced to run. Who the hell even paints something like that? All the way past the dimly lit hellhall stood a glossy red door that for some reason was lit up by a beacon of light from a source I couldn’t find. Hope, was the word that an optimist would use for what was being held behind the door. Certain death, and dismemberment were the words I thought of. Either way I had to go down it (Other choices were made prior to this).
I Gripped my axe the blood now dried from where I pulled it out of Lenny’s head (one of the pretty ones), I marched forward. Everything becomes so clear at times like this. Its like the entire body goes into overdrive. Hearing becomes clear, eyes pick up every moment, every painstaking movement done with the upmost precision all in the hopes that one could somehow sneak through the house unnoticed by the devils whose one job is to torment people who try to sneak down scary halls.
The floor creaked under each of my steps, even trying to slide my foot made a long squeaking noise. Obviously, I thought about running, but that seemed wrong somehow. Like if I tried running down the hall the beast would come out and kill me for running. Not that I believed for a moment it wouldn’t do that while I was sneaking. A giggle came from behind me, a million invisible ants crawled down my back. Oh shit.
There are two people in this world. The ones that when a monster knocks over the lamp in their room they stay under the covers pretending the monster didn’t want to be heard, the other kicks open the door greeting death with arms open wide. I turned to face the giggling sound hoping it didn’t want to be heard, but instead saw the door close. Was that a clown?
I walked backwards now a bit quicker the wrongfulness of sneaking worn away by whatever new horror awaited me.
“I’m right here.”
Oh no, nope nope nope. I didn’t want to look. There came a sound of what I can only imagine as a knife scraping against the carpet inching toward me. Hit it with the axe. Just swing and run. The sound of the dragging stopped. I slowly counted in my head. One…Two…Three I turned quickly bringing the axe down where I heard the noise. Nothing. The axe hit the ground splitting the rotten wood below.
“Oh no, you missed me. That’s ok I won’t miss you.”
I looked back, yep it’s a clown. It had the clown makeup, the clown suit, and terrifying clown smile that showed razor sharp teeth. It stood at two feet tall with a knife half the size of its body. We made eye contact. I was trying to calculate how many steps it would take to get to the door. The little clown lunged at me before I could get an estimate. It was difficult to tell who was screaming at the time. I sprinted down the hall occasionally taking a moment to chance a glance behind. The little bastard was running hard, its stubby legs pumping so fast almost tripping over the knife. It would have been a kind of funny sight if it wasn’t happening to me. Reaching the door, I turned the nob throwing my whole weight into the door without it so much as moving an inch. I kept pushing and hitting hoping that it would move somehow. The clown was closing the gap fast.
Fight or flight only works if you have the choice of flight. If not it’s only fight or die. I was left with no choice but to take the axe and charge. Overall, I felt pretty confident. I was larger and had the bigger weapon. I ran toward the tiny clown bringing that axe across my body to cut it in half. At the last moment it jumped past my axe as I brought it across flying right onto my check stabbing my shoulder. There was no question who was screaming at that point.
I dropped the axe yanking the clown off me it still holding onto the bloody knife that was stabbed into me multiple times. I threw it down into the ground immediately began stomping on it until I was completely out of breath. Looking down should have revealed a mangled clown body not a stuffed doll with a plastic knife. The knife wound was still there burning away at my body. I had to get out of there.
There was nowhere left for me to go in the house but that red door. The whole house was completely ruined complete with shattered windows busted doors, and a gaping hole in the side. It was when we tried to leave that everything became blocked. Literally every exit that we saw on the outside was filled with bricks. We were all in different rooms waking up and we couldn’t remember how it all went down. How the hell does that happen?
The massive expanse took hours for me to go through looking for some hope of escape other then that door. Each person I came in contact with were dismembered, and killed in increasingly creative ways. Like some sort of scrapbooking of human limbs. Everything leading back to this damn red door.
I took the nob of the red door in hand about to shove my way in then I took notice of the hinges. I pulled opening the door right up. Damn it. The entrance was completely black. Not the normal its dark or hard to see. The door was literally absorbing all light sucking it into an infinite void. I started to miss the little clown.
I put my hand in first because that was better then losing my head. The darkness was powerful like it was an actual substance with a living mind. It began pulling me in because why not, and immediately all was lost.
There really isn’t a way to explain what I saw going through the door. The only proper way to describe it is the spinning sensation when you get really drunk, and go on that ride that pins you against the wall turning so fast the vomit just goes right back into your face fast forwarding you to the moment you wake up full of regret and lost memories of cleaning up the vomit.
I awoke in a daze. The room had shifted around me. Instead of molded walls full of disturbing images of incredible abuse I was greeted with a giant pulsating blob of flesh stuck to the ceiling like gum. It latched onto the gray dungeon like walls, and moved in and out as if it was actually breathing. The walls had lines of flesh latched onto them similar to an ivy plant growing. In the distance I could hear a faint chanting, but was too far away to determine any of the words. I assumed that the blackness absorbed me taking me to hell. I learned that it would have been better if it did.
The ocean wave crawled up the shore licking Jessica’s feet. The sun beating down upon her burnt body, chapping her lips, and making her eyes sore. She hasn’t eaten in so long, and yesterday was the last of their water. She corrected that thought, last of her water. Everyone else was dead. Thirst, and hunger sat like an untouchable itch in her mind. No matter how hard she to tried to think of something else her thoughts always returned to water. Drinking it, bathing in it, hell downing in it. The itch grew until she could no longer take it, she would die without any water. Getting up she pushed forward to the edge of the jungle peering in.
The entrance met her with complete silence. She had never been to a jungle, but it should make some sound. Bugs, birds, or even rustling of trees nothing moved, all that awaited her was the silent dark. She played with the plants in front, her body in pain from the hours in the sun. Exposed for days her once perfect skin became blistered scared. Nowhere close to the jungle was safe. What she would give to just to go in. She knew what happened in there. She saw what it did.
It watched the meat on the edge, heart throbbing in anticipation. The meat had been on the edge of the water too far away from reach. Now it was closer, so close it could just reach out and grab her. It wanted the meat, it needed the meat. The meat would be rewarded. Drooling it blew its nectar out toward her.
Jessica smelled the sweet nectar. Pulling her hand away quickly from the plant she felt her insides warm with pleasure. Her body wanted to go deeper into the jungle toward the smell. That’s how it consumed the rest of them. The sweet smell that lured them away. They laughed in delight as it tore at them. Jessica teased more of the entrance. She just needed to get in their and fill her skin of water. She could last three weeks without food, but she had been too long without water. The lake was close to the entrance. They had made it before when there were others to target, but it was just her now.
It watched her, drooling over itself hungry, so hungry. It wanted to feast, needed to feast, it has been too long. Such a vibrant place this was and so full of meat to eat, but the meat was gone now all gone, gone away come again another day. It hummed to itself blowing more nectar out toward her. She would feel good, oh so good like a good meat she would be pleased, happy meat is good meat.
Jessica smelled the nectar again, stronger this time. A surge of adrenaline flowed through her as she cringed from the sudden pleasurable feeling that was overwhelming her. Her mind screamed in fear knowing it was just beyond her sight. They tried hiking everywhere around the island trying to get away from whatever the hell it was. It just followed, always following. Always on the edge watching.
Digging her boots into the ground with the water skin in hand she sprinted toward the opening of the jungle, pushing everything she had to reach lake inside unscathed. It was a straight shot, but the once quiet jungle awoke immediately with the snapping of branches. It was right behind her chasing for its kill.
This meat moved the fastest, it was the hardest to feast. Fast meat, lean meat, delicious meat. Soon lean happy meat. It will have its meal. Jessica pumped her arms dashing toward the lake, pain in her chest rose as her burnt exhausted body pushed forward. The pain was almost overwhelming. She forced herself to keep her mind only on the water. The snapping came closer as the sound of something massive flew through the trees.
The faint trickling of the river could be heard, hope began rising in her chest. The lake in sight, its cool dark waters welcoming her into its embrace. She dived into the water plunging deep down. Opening the skin, she filled it while readying herself to spring out. It watched her jump into the lake. Jessica knew it wouldn’t go in, knew she would be safe if for only a moment. It became frustrated it wanted to eat, it couldn’t wait to eat.
Jessica came up, and out of the water the smell of nectar filled her nose, but she pushed down the euphoric feelings it gave her. She looked toward the shore knowing it was on one end of the pool. Jessica looked around everywhere trying to find some clue to how she could get away. She came to the opposite of the stream and began her sprint out. The smell became more intense as her mind became clouded. The jungle melted away as the warmth built up inside of her. She kept sprinting as the world around her changed. She kept running in fear, but suddenly her running stopped.
Awaking from the horror of the nightmare she lunged out of bed. She quickly reached for her phone and started calling the others. Each one picked up saying they had the same dream. Jessica sat back down on her bed relaxing some. She let out a long laugh relieved to be home. She got up going to take a shower after the experience. Her neck tickled, and then felt bitten. She slapped where the bite was, but it wasn’t a bug.
It dangled down from the trees biting Jessica’s body wrapping it up like a cocoon. It hummed to itself as its feast laughed. Such good dreams make meat taste the finest. No more meat after this feast, it would grow hungry. The island will provide though. It will bring more meat, and it would feast again.