We’re another week closer to Halloween, and that means that all of the haunted houses are finally open, their halls filled with whispered threats, terrified screams, and the heat-stopping roar of chainsaws. Horror movies are starting to haunt our television screens and our dreams. People are flocking to costume shops to find that perfect scary–or sexy–outfit for the big party. And it also means that it’s time for me to post the penultimate chapter of my free Halloween horror story, “Movie Night.” If you’ve missed the first two you can find One here, and Two here.
And now, for your reading pleasure, I present to you:
Movie Night: Chapter Three
by David Anthony
Rain stung his skin and soaked his clothes as Michael hurried through the shadows between the two houses. Lightning crackled ominously overhead. In his right hand he carried an old wooden baseball bat. He didn’t plan on using it, didn’t think he’d need it, but Jill had insisted he take it. If it was Patrick over there, there was no telling what he was doing right now or what kind of weapons he may be armed with. She wanted him to be prepared for anything.
It had been his idea to go over there. Neither of them had wanted to call the cops—Jill because of pride or uncertainty or whatever conflicting emotions were causing her to hesitate, and Michael for his own dark reason: He wanted this confrontation. He wanted this thing with Patrick to finally be finished, to be done with this dark shroud of suspicion Patrick was casting over their relationship. He wanted to set Patrick straight once and for all, regardless of what that meant or what he’d have to do to accomplish his goal. Michael’s eyes were fixed on the second floor bedroom. He watched as the only light in the house went out.
Patrick knew he was coming.
Michael approached the front door. Several jack-o-lanterns sat on the covered porch, their candles long ago extinguished by the strong winds and blowing rain. He reached for the door handle and then stopped. The door was firmly closed and there was a large gothic cross affixed to the door—another Halloween decoration he assumed. He frowned at it as he considered his options, and then moved off the porch and back out into the rain, continuing on around to the back of the house.
As he turned the corner, Michael found the back door hanging open, banging back and forth in the gusting wind. He and Jill had entered this way many times, invited inside by Tina or one of her parents, and it made him sick to think something may have happened to her, that somewhere in this house her body may be growing cold, her skin turning grey, her blood cooling and congealing wastefully on the floor. He grabbed the door in mid-swing and stepped inside, pulling it closed behind him.
He stood in the back foyer and let his eyes adjust to the gloom. He faced a large kitchen with an island running down its center. Black Whirlpool appliances hummed quietly in the dark. The air was redolent with the smells of seafood, spices and vegetables, ghosts of a dinner from hours ago…maybe the last dinner that Tina would ever eat. The kitchen was empty of life, but several of the larger knives were missing from the block on the countertop. In the dishwasher, perhaps? Or did Patrick have them, hiding somewhere in the house with them…waiting for him?
He stopped and listened. There were no sounds. Nothing moved in the house.
“Come on, Patrick,” Michael said into the seemingly empty house. “I know you’re in here. Why don’t you just come out so we can get this over with? I’ve got better things to do with my night than play games with you.”
There was no answer.
“Fine, hide and seek it is, then. But you’re really not gonna like it when I find you.” He began walking deeper into darkness of the old house.
He passed under an archway and found himself in the living room. A sectional couch and recliner sat facing a blank TV screen. Incense burned slowly on the coffee table. There were deep pockets of shadow everywhere. Patrick could be in any of them.
A stereo suddenly came on, blaring loudly from an upstairs bedroom.
“Ah-ha! Got you now, asshole!” Michael turned and stormed up the staircase to the second floor. The music was coming from behind a partially-closed bedroom door. He kicked it open and stepped inside.
The music pounded at ear-shattering decibels, shaking the walls and rattling his bones, but it was the smell that stopped him in his tracks. It was a familiar smell…thick, sour, and coppery. He realized then that it had been there from the moment he’d set foot inside the house, but was masked by the other smells that were present.
The smell of blood.
Michael had only enough time to catch a brief glimpse of the vaguely human shape beneath the bloody sheet before the blade of a knife pierced his back. Pain surged through his body as he dropped to his knees. The weapon pulled free and came down again, stabbing him over and over. He fell to the ground, dropping the baseball bat. Crimson liquid ran down his body to pool beneath him. He could feel the presence of someone standing over him.
“She’s mine, Michael,” a man’s voice hissed at him from above. It was barely restrained, on the edge of hysteria. “She was always mine. You shouldn’t have tried to take her from me.” He gave Michael a fierce kick to the ribs, sending a sharp spike of pain racing up his side.
The man stood above him a few seconds longer, watching him and savoring the moment. Then there were footsteps on the hardwood floor, moving away from him, and descending the stairs to the lower level. Moments later the backdoor opened and slammed shut, shaking the entire house.
Michael lay on the floor, slipping in and out of consciousness, only vaguely aware that a madman had just escaped out into the storm, and the final seconds of Jill’s life were quickly ticking away.
END OF CHAPTER
That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed Chapter Three! Stop by next week for the terrifying conclusion to “Movie Night!”