FREE SHORT STORY

IMG_0018“Movie Night” was originally accepted for publication in an anthology about horror in the movies, but that publisher went out of business before the book could be printed, so I ended up publishing the story here on my blog during October 2014, one chapter per week, as a way to give readers a free taste of my work. The story follows a girl named Jill, whose Halloween plans with her boyfriend are disrupted by an uninvited—and completely psychopathic—trick-or-treater. It plays with and pokes fun at some of the conventions of modern horror movies, and is just kind of a fun, scary story. I have compiled the entire story here for easy reading. Enjoy!

 

 

Movie Night

by David Anthony

 
 Jill Casey jumped as a long bolt of lightning sliced open the sky, turning night into day, and briefly illuminating the living room of the old, two-story farmhouse. Thunder boomed in the distance. Sinister shadows stared at her with hungry eyes as the wind howled and the rain pounded against the doors and windows, desperate to get in. Then the room fell back into darkness, lit once again only by the soft glow of the 52-inch, flat-panel television set in front of her. Uneasily, she turned her attention back to it as the credits of A Nightmare on Elm Street rolled down the screen.

“That one was pretty freaky,” she said.

“Which one?” Michael asked. “The movie or that lightning flash outside?”

She let out a nervous little laugh. “Well, both, now that you mention it. It feels like this storm is trying to tear the house down around us. But I was talking about the movie. I know I won’t be falling asleep in the bathtub again, anytime soon.”

He grinned at her. “Does that mean you liked it?”

Jill considered the question for a moment. Horror movies usually weren’t her thing—they gave her nightmares, and some of the scarier ones nearly made her pee her pants—but, strangely, she was actually enjoying herself quite a bit this evening. Maybe it was the movies, but more likely it had to do with the company she was sharing them with. Terror seemed more like excitement with Michael by her side.

“You know what?” she said. “I did kind of enjoy it. I didn’t think I would, but this is actually a lot of fun.”

“See, I told you it would be.” Michael wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer to him on the couch. “This is my favorite part about Halloween: scary movie marathons. No need to even leave the house—the horror comes right to your door!”

Jill allowed her muscles to relax, realizing that she was in no imminent danger from either the storm or the fictional Freddy Krueger. “Yeah, you’re right. Who needs to get all dressed up in slutty costumes and go to out to some stupid Halloween party, anyway? This is way more fun.” She paused, and then added, “It’s funny, though. I used to hate scary movies. My ex was so obsessed with them. It’s all he ever watched.”

Michael snorted in derision. “From what I’ve heard about the guy, he could be in one himself.”

“No kidding,” Jill mumbled. “Or better yet, in an asylum.”

She immediately regretted mentioning Patrick. Even though they’d been broken up for almost four months now, he was still unable to let go. He had become fixated on her—stalking her at home, harassing her at school, calling her cell phone in the middle of the night. When she’d changed her phone number he began calling the house phone, never speaking, hanging up if one of her parents answered. She was certain she’d seen him hiding in the dark shadows of the backyard on several sleepless evenings. She was terrified of what he else he may be capable of.

“What’s on next?” Jill said, trying to change the subject and get her mind off Patrick. “It better be a good one, now that you’ve got me hooked.”

“Let’s find out.” Michael leaned over and picked up the remote off the long oak coffee table in front of them. He pressed the “guide” button and brought up the on-screen menu. “Ah, you’re in for a treat! 30 Days of Night is coming on.”

“Hmmm…what’s that one about?”

He crinkled up his face and wiggled his fingers in a look she assumed was supposed to be scary. “Vampires!”

“Oh, cool! Is it a romance?”

Michael rolled his eyes. “NO! Vampires aren’t supposed to be romantic! They’re supposed to be scary!”

Jill giggled, snuggling up closer to him. “Well, I like the romantic ones.”

“You would.”

She grabbed his chin, gently turning his face toward her. “Didn’t you know? It’s the romantic ones who always get the girl.”

She leaned forward, glancing from his eyes to his lips and back again. He got the hint and leaned in to kiss her. It was slow and soft at first but quickly gained intensity, becoming deep and passionate. Before she knew it they were heavily making-out, his hands roaming all over her body. One hand went up her shirt, fondling her right breast through her bra. His mouth moved down, kissing the side of her neck.

Jill’s pulse began to race. She felt herself becoming aroused, but also a little afraid. She knew what he wanted and wasn’t sure she was ready to give it to him just yet. She needed her first time to be special, and to be certain it was with the right guy. She took a deep breath and put a hand between them, gently pushing him back.

“Whoa…slow down there, Casanova. I’m not sure I’m ready for that just yet.”

Michael pulled back, giving her a sly grin. “It’s cool, babe. I understand. You can’t blame a guy for trying, though, right?”

She took both of his hands into hers, giving him an apologetic smile. “I’m sorry, Michael. You’re being so patient, and I’m sure you’re used to girls who are a lot…faster than I am. It’ll be soon, though. I promise. Okay?”

He shrugged nonchalantly. “Sure. Whenever you’re ready. No pressure.”

She smiled and snuggled back up next to him on the couch as the next movie began. She was glad he’d come over tonight. Michael didn’t go to her school, and he couldn’t come around when her parents were home—after Patrick, they no longer trusted her choice in boys—so she didn’t get to spend much time with him. Usually she had to sneak off in the middle of the night to meet him at some party or at a movie. She was glad to finally have a night to just relax and hang out with him at home.

It was funny, she thought, how different he was from Patrick. Michael seemed to have an endless supply of patience, never putting pressure on her, like he had all the time in the world. Patrick, on the other hand, had done nothing but pressure her. He had a one-track mind and that track went straight down her pants. When she had refused to give in he become angry, accusing her of seeing other guys, giving it up to them. He was jealous and controlling and…dangerous. She was certain if she hadn’t broken up with him he would have become violent, and taken her by force.

The phone rang, snapping Jill out of her dark ruminations. She starred down at portable handset on the coffee table like it was a snake about to bite her. The caller ID read “blocked call.”

Michael hit the pause button on the remote and turned to her, eyebrows raised. “Well? Are you gonna get it?”

Jill looked up at him and cringed. “What if it’s him?”

“Want me to get it? I’ll set that asshole straight.”

She shook her head. “No. If it’s my parents they’ll be pissed you’re here. I’m not supposed to have boys over when they’re out of town…or, technically, ever.”

The phone continued to ring, insistent on its need to be answered. If it was her parents and she didn’t answer they’d become suspicious. But if it was Patrick…she didn’t want to think about that right now. But she needed to make a decision.

“Well,” Michael said. “What are you gonna do?”

She frowned at the ringing handset. “Nothing. The machine can get it.”

The phone stopped ringing. The answering machine clicked on and her mom’s voice drifted in from the other room, telling the mystery caller to leave a message and someone would call them back. The machine beeped loudly and then went silent.

Michael shrugged. “Guess it wasn’t that important.”

“Guess not,” Jill said, but she was still staring down at the phone. The uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach refused to leave.

“Great,” Michael said. “Well, now that that’s over, let’s get back to our—”

The face of Jill’s cell phone lit up. The phone began vibrating loudly on the coffee table in front of them.

“What the hell?” She picked up the phone and looked at the screen. The ID read “unknown.” “It can’t be him. He doesn’t know my new cell number.”

But even as the words left her mouth she realized she wasn’t so sure. Could someone have given it to him? No, that couldn’t be. Only a handful of people even had the number, and none of them would betray her by giving it out to him. Even so, something about the situation didn’t feel quite right.

“So go ahead and answer it,” Michael said. “It’s probably just Tina again, trying to get us to go to that stupid party with her.”

“Probably,” she said, but she didn’t sound convinced, even to herself. Hesitantly, she hit the “answer” button on the screen and put the phone up to her ear. “Hello?”

There was no reply. No one seemed to be on the line. There was just a haunting silence that caused a cold feeling of dread to begin climbing its way up her back, like eight hairy legs upon her spine. She stood from the couch and walked around behind it, the phone pressed tightly to her ear.

“Hello?” she said again. “Is someone there? Tina, is that you?”

“Who is it?” Michael asked. He sounded concerned.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s the storm. I can’t hear any…” Her voice trailed off as she realized that it wasn’t just silence on the other end of the phone. There was a sound: a faint, rhythmic, familiar sound…breathing.

The hairs on the back of Jill’s neck stood up. “Patrick, is that you?” she said, her voice coming out a rush of fear and anger. “Goddamn it, Patrick. I told you to stop—”

A scream exploded through the phone! It was loud and harsh and clearly feminine. Jill’s heart began to pound in her chest. Her left hand gripped the phone like a vice. She felt a warm, wet trickle run down her inner thigh.

The line suddenly went dead.

Michael stood from the couch, coming around towards her. “Jill, are you okay? What the hell was that noise?”

She just stood there, gripping the phone in shocked silence. The only sounds were the angry rumble of thunder outside, the rain pounding against the windows, and the frantic beating of her own heart. Numbly, she pried the phone away from her ear and stared down at it, unblinking, that hellish scream still ringing in her ears. Slowly, she raised her eyes to meet his.

“I think something happened to Tina,” she said. “Something terrible.”

***

Patrick hit the power button on the cordless phone and tossed it unceremoniously to the floor, and then leaned back in his office chair, putting his booted feet up on the desk in front of him. His eyes turned to the muted TV screen up on the dresser, where a masked killer chased a screaming girl through the forest with a machete.

“This is one of the originals,” he said. “The originals are always far superior to those shitty remakes Hollywood seems so fond of these days. There’s just something about them—a chemistry that can’t be duplicated, the way they so perfectly reflect the fears of the time era in which they were filmed—as well as the usual screams, death and dismemberment.” He looked over his shoulder. “Wouldn’t you agree, Tina?”

The half-naked blonde on the bed behind him said nothing. She just stared at him, tears streaming down her make-up smeared face, unrestrained terror evident in her eyes. She couldn’t have answered him if she had wanted to. Her mouth was gagged, her hands and feet tied to the bed’s head and footboard with rope. Her only clothing was a tiny pair of lacy, aqua-blue panties—the sexy witch’s costume she’d been wearing now in tatters on the floor. But the source of her anguish came from a sharp carving knife protruding from a deep gash in her left thigh. Blood soaked the sheets beneath her, dripping down and saturating the once-beige carpet.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Patrick said. “By the way, I’d like to thank you for playing your part in all this so nicely. That scream of yours was very convincing.” He stood from his chair and began slowly walking toward her, a leather-gloved hand trailing playfully up her wounded leg. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you actually were in some pain back there.” Patrick grabbed the knife handle and viciously twisted the blade.

Tina’s back arched from the bed, her bare breasts thrusting for the ceiling as she tried to cry out through the gag. The cords of her neck stood out sharply, her entire body writhing and contorting in agony. He released the blade and her screams stopped. Her muscles relaxed and her body fell back down onto the bed. Tears began to flow anew as she sobbed quietly into the gag.

Patrick smiled with perverse satisfaction. “You are quite the actress, Tina, I’ll give you that. You should be in a movie—maybe even a horror movie.” He sat down next to her on the bed, putting a thoughtful finger up to his chin. “Hmmm…what part do you think you should play? The heroine? No, that wouldn’t work out right. The villain? No, not really your style. Oh,” he said, as if a new thought had suddenly popped into his head. “Here’s something you might not know—but I have to warn you, it’s a bit unpleasant. Do you know who Jill’s with right now?” He made as distasteful face. “Michael!”

Tina only whimpered in response.

“I know, I couldn’t believe it either. But his car is over there right now.” He pointed an accusatory finger toward the house next door. “And I heard his voice in the background when I called her—thank you, by the way, for giving me her new cell phone number.” He glanced down at her iPhone on the floor, the contacts page still up on the screen. “I couldn’t have done any of this without you.”

Patrick paused for several long seconds, his eyes staring off into the space. The violent fury of the storm had somewhat diminished, and the only sounds in the room were the quiet rumble of thunder outside, the rain pattering softly against the bedroom windows, and the staccato drip…drip…dripping of Tina’s blood hitting the carpet. When he finally looked back up his face seemed to have darkened. All the amusement drained from his voice.

“You know she’s having sex with him, don’t you? She’ll have sex with that piece of shit, but not me!” He stood up again, getting agitated. He began pacing back and forth, waving his hands aggressively, his voice growing louder and louder.

“Well, all that’s about to change. My dad always says you have to take what you want in life. He didn’t get to where he is by letting people walk on him. He took it by force—by any means necessary! And that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Jill knows I’m here now but she won’t call the cops. Even if she knows it in her gut, she has to be sure she’s right. She’ll send him over instead. And guess what’ll happen to him?”

Patrick grabbed the handle of the knife and yanked it out of Tina’s leg. She screamed into the gag as blood spurted from the gaping wound, running down her leg in thick rivulets. He pointed the bloody knife menacingly at her.

“Oh!” he said suddenly, his face lighting up. “I’ve got it! I’ve come up with the perfect part for you!” He leaned over her, a sadistic glee shining in his dark eyes. “You can play the part of the pretty blonde bimbo who always becomes the first victim in the movie.”

Thunder boomed as Patrick raised the knife and savagely drove it down into her bare chest. A thick crimson stream shot across her face onto the headboard and wall. Lightning painted the room in mad shadows as Patrick yanked the blade free and drove it down again and again, blood spraying over his face and clothing. On the fifth strike the weapon got caught in a bone. He screamed obscenities as he twisted and pulled and yanked on the weapon. Finally it came free.

Panting, he stood back to admire his handiwork. Tina lay there gasping for breath, a gurgling sound coming from her chest as blood spilled from the corners of her mouth onto the pillow. Her eyes were wild and terrified. After several seconds her body stopped moving and her eyes took on a distant, lifeless stare.

Patrick smiled maniacally as he moved to the window and looked out into the storm, towards the house next door. He’d be coming soon. He needed to get ready. He just needed to deal with this one last obstacle…and then she was his.

***

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.

***

Jill stood motionless in the darkened living room, peeking out through the vertical blinds. She wished she knew what was going on over there. She could barely even see the house through all of this rain. There were no street lights out here in the country, making the night impossibly dark. The lights were off over at Tina’s house, that much she was sure of, and she thought she’d heard something bang over there—a door, maybe? The roar of thunder? Or it could have been a gunshot.

Jill glanced down at her watch for the thousandth time. He’d been gone too long; something must have happened. Her cell phone was clutched tightly in her right hand. She chewed on her lower lip as she stared down at it, considering her options. She knew she should call the cops. She felt like such a horror movie cliché for not calling them. She was becoming that stupid girl who always got hacked up by some psychopath, because she didn’t do the smart thing and just call the cops!

But what if she was wrong? What if she was just being paranoid? Maybe they were playing a Halloween prank on her. It was hardly unlikely, on a night like this. Her dad was always on her to not be so emotional, to use her brain and think before she did something potentially dangerous or embarrassing. Of course, calling the cops wouldn’t be dangerous (unless they sent out some psycho cop!), but she’d certainly look like a fool if Tina and Michael showed up in a couple of minutes, alive and unharmed. No, it was best to just wait. They’d probably be back any second now.

The TV screen suddenly flashed off. Jill jumped, dropping her cell phone. The time and lights on the satellite box also disappeared, leaving the room in silent darkness.

An icy wave of fear settled over her, raising goose bumps all over her body. She knelt down on the ground and began feeling around in the dark for her phone.

“Shit,” she muttered. “Where the hell are you?” Her hand hit something metallic, sending it skidding across the room. “Damn it!”

A shadow flashed by outside the window. Jill froze. Her heart began thundering in her chest. Could it have been Michael? She hoped it was him. She prayed it was him. Slowly, quietly, she stood and backed away from the window.

The doorknob rattled, and Jill gasped, putting a hand up to cover her mouth. She stood there silently, holding her breath, unable to move. Someone was out there…trying to get in. The knob rattled again, and the locked door shook in its frame. Then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped. She stood there motionless, silent, listening for movement. She crept closer to the door.

Was it Michael out there? If it was, why wasn’t he saying anything? What if something happened to him? What if he was hurt? Panic flared within her, pumping red-hot through her veins, as the dark questions continued to form in her mind. She had to know who was out there.

“Michael?” she called out softly.

Something slammed into the door! Jill screamed, jumping back a step! Whoever—whatever—it was, pulled back and slammed against the door again. They hit the door again and again, harder and harder, like the storm itself was finally demanding entry, coming to drown her with its fury. The wooden frame began to crack and splinter.

She looked around frantically. She had to get out of here. No, she had to find a weapon. Wait…the cell phone! Where the hell was the cell phone?

The door was about to give. She had to do something now! She had to hide! She turned and raced up the stairs, taking them two at a time, hoping she wouldn’t miss any in the dark. She reached the top and hurried into her parents’ darkened bedroom. The closet door stood wide open, inviting her in. She ducked inside, closing the door behind her, just as the sound of shattering wood exploded through the house.

Jill held her breath, trying to calm her nerves. She needed to stay perfectly still, as silent as the dead. But her body betrayed her, shaking violently with fear. Her heart pounded so loudly she was certain he would hear it. Carefully, quietly, she leaned forward, trying to see through the narrow slits in the door.

The shades were still up in the bedroom, and rain pelted against the windows, obscuring her view of the outside in a watery haze. Brief flashes of lightning illuminated the room, and she was able to make out the nebulous shapes of furniture in the gloom: a king-sized bed, an oak dresser, an end table. None of the shapes looked human. None of them moved…at least not yet.

She let out the breath she had been holding and tried to get hold of herself. She couldn’t play the part of the victim. She had to find a way to escape. She looked around the room. Maybe, if she could get to one of the windows, climb down and run to—

Footsteps!

Coming up the stairs!

Jill stood back from the door as the intruder reached the landing at the top. Slowly and methodically, it continued on down the hallway, the nerve-grinding sound of its footsteps growing louder with each step. It turned the corner and entered the bedroom where she was hiding. Jill peered out through the slits of the closet. A tall, dark-clothed figure stood lurking in the doorway, dripping rainwater onto the hardwood floor. The thing’s face was a terrible, grinning red devil. It looked around the room, grinning mischievously as it searched for her, a sharp carving knife clutched in its right hand.

It turned and looked straight at her.

Jill slapped a hand over her mouth to stop the scream from escaping, and backed away from the door. She prayed it couldn’t hear the small, whimpering sound coming from her throat. It just stood there, staring at her, for what seemed like forever, never making a sound. She thought she would faint from the terror pounding through her veins.

Finally, it turned away.

Maybe it hadn’t seen her, she thought. The room was dark, the slits in the door narrow, hardly enough for a person to be seen through…or so she hoped. It leaned down to look under the bed and she saw her chance. Lightning crashed across the sky and she threw open the closet door and raced for the stairs.

But the devil-thing was much faster than she’d anticipated. Its hand shot out and caught her by the arm, swinging her backward, and throwing her down onto the bed. She screamed as it climbed on top of her, pinning her down with its weight. It pressed the razor-sharp edge of the blade to her throat.

A soft chuckling began to emanate from the thing’s grinning mouth. It reached a gloved hand up and pulled off the wet latex mask. “Sorry about all the theatrics,” Patrick said. “But I thought it would be appropriate, being Halloween and all. What do you think of the mask?” He held it up. “I thought it would be a bit more original than using any of the classic ones from the movies. This is, after all, my movie.”

Jill could hardly comprehend what was happening. Her body was trembling, her eyes clouding with tears. “Patrick, please,” she said. “Please, don’t do this…”

“Don’t you dare tell me what to do!” he screamed at her, his eyes flaring with anger. He pointed the knife down at her. “This is your fault! If you had just been a good girlfriend, done what you’re supposed to do…none of this would have happened.” He pointed the knife at the house next door. “And they’d still be alive.”

The blade was stained with blood.

“Oh, God!” she cried out. Tears streamed down her face.

“I know…terrible, isn’t it?” he said with mock-sincerity. “But don’t worry, you’ll get the chance to make it up to them. I’m going to give you one more chance to be a good girlfriend. And if you cooperate, I’ll make sure your death is quick and painless. If you’re not…it might take all night.” He put the blade back to her throat and sat up, taking some of his weight off her. He reached down and started unbuttoning her jeans.

Jill squeezed her eyes shut tightly and tried not to scream. Nobody could hear her, anyway. The neighbors were too far away, her boyfriend and best friend both dead, her parents miles away. It was like she really was in a horror movie…the kind that didn’t end well. She just hoped it would be over quickly.

Her thoughts turned to Michael. She regretted bringing him into all of this. If she hadn’t asked him to come over tonight, hadn’t allowed him to go over and check on Tina, had just done the smart thing in the first place and called the cops…he’d still be alive. She wondered if that was his blood on the knife.

Wait—a knife?

Her eyes snapped open. Patrick was pulling her jeans down over her hips. The knife was no longer at her throat. “Hey, Patrick?”

“What?” he said, sounding annoyed. “I hope you’re not planning on becoming…uncooperative.”

“No. I was just wondering…is that the same knife you used to kill Michael?”

He looked up at her, smiling triumphantly. “Why, yes, it is—thank you for asking! I wish I could keep it as a trophy, but it will have to be disposed of…evidence and all. Michael got what he deserved. He should have known better than to try and steal from me.”

Jill felt a wry smile creep onto her lips. “Then you fucked up…he’s not dead.”

Patrick’s smug grin melted away. “What the hell are you talking about, you stupid bitch? And why are you smiling? Of course he’s dead. I stabbed the shit out of him.”

“No…I’m not.”

A pair of strong arms wrapped around Patrick, pulling him off her. The knife fell to the floor and Patrick was dragged out into the darkness of the hallway. She could hear his legs pounding frantically on the hard-wood floor as his screams echoed throughout the house. There were other sounds—savage, inhuman growls, the sickening crunch of breaking bones. There was a loud, sharp snap, and then all went silent.

Moments later, Michael walked back into the room. His clothes were dripping wet, tattered and bloody, but he appeared uninjured. Jill ran to him, wrapping her arms around him in an elated embrace. Tears rolled down her face.

“You have a thing for dangerous men, don’t you?” he said. “You okay?”

“Yes,” she said. “Just barely.” She pulled back and looked him in the eye. “I was so scared. You hear so many things. I wasn’t sure what was really true and what was, you know, movie stuff. So, a knife…”

“Can’t kill me. A stake to the heart, chop off my head, sunlight, plenty of other nasty stuff…but not a knife.” He gave her a sly smile, brandishing sharp, white fangs. “Patrick thought of himself as the killer in a slasher movie, but he ended up the victim in a vampire movie.”

After a few minutes, Jill’s body stopped trembling. She began to relax, the danger now passed. They moved to the bed and sat down.

“What about Tina?” she asked. “Is she okay?”

Michael grimaced. “She will be…but she’s seen her last sunrise.”

Her eyes widened with alarm. “You turned her?”

“I had to. She was almost dead when I regained consciousness. She’ll be fine, though. I’ll go over there and clean up before I leave, take her with me when I go. I’ll help her get acclimated to her new ‘undead’ lifestyle. What do you think? Will her parents buy it if I have her leave a note saying she ran away with some guy?”

Jill laughed. “Definitely. That sounds exactly like something she’d do.” She frowned. “What about Patrick?”

“Yeah, he’s going with me, too. I have some friends who can…dispose of him.”

She crinkled her face in disgust. “I don’t think I want to know how.”

“Trust me, you really don’t.” He grinned. “See…I told you we’re scary.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, looking him in the eyes. “Well, you did save my life. I’d say that’s pretty romantic.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.” He leaned in and kissed her.

She pulled back and said, “You know, we do still have a few hours left before sunrise…and my parents aren’t coming back tonight.”

He arched an eyebrow. “You mean…”

She gave him a seductive smile and pulled him down on top of her onto the bed. She closed her eyes as they kissed. His face moved down and began kissing her neck. He paused, and she felt a brief moment of uncertain anticipation, and then she felt it—a sudden, sharp prick as two points penetrated the side of her neck.

And she knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

END

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