One Hell of a Party

By: Brian Baker & Trevor Abbud

Out of town and on the run, David Myers felt his inner gauge of fear reach dangerous heights as he navigated himself through the wooded backstreets of Shadow Hills, New Jersey. A vampire, werewolf, and zombie continued to gain ground on him from behind the hood of the roaring engine of a black Mustang Cobra.

David increased his pressure on the gas pedal and watched as the red speed dial of his Volkswagen Jetta touched 50 and began flirting with 55 mph. He did his best to concentrate on the dark and narrow roads that were sprawled out in front of him like some haunted corn maze, but the luminous eyes of the swerving black Mustang streaming through a thickening fog did not help his vision. He couldn’t help but look back at the lights that followed his every move.

The distortion of light, fog, and unknown terrain caused his head to ache. And, of course, to make matters even more troubling, it was night. Something about nightfall always seemed to have a way of exacerbating fear, and David could hear his every heart beat as he kept his hand tightly gripped around the steering wheel. The color of the Mustang blended in with the night, and its headlights lit up the fog like the scouring eyes of a tiger laying low in the brush while stalking its prey, following his every twist and turn while handling the vehicle.

David leaned forward to peak through his windshield and above the street to catch a glimpse of the dome of red oak trees that protected the road. Through a small break in the red leaves, he noticed a lustrous half-moon that appeared to be giving him a menacing grin before disappearing behind the dark curtain of red fall foliage. Chills popped along his flesh in the same way the yellow dash of lines lit up the road under his headlights while the speedometer reached 60 mph.

With his foot married to the gas pedal — till death do them part — David searched for the bridge his sister mentioned as a landmark. A fork in the road followed and he swore his sister said to stay to the right, although he couldn’t remember exactly. The loud music blasting in the background, teamed up with the fact that she already sounded halfway through a bottle of something strong, did not help. He searched his aching head to remember the conversation, but only found pain and fear- the usual of late for himself.

After crossing the bridge, David turned his headlights off to help loose his predators and feel a little more optimistic about the chase. As he crawled through the darkness, he came across the famous fork in the road. David skipped usage of his blinker, steered the Jetta to the right, and continued driving down the long winding road through the darkness.

Christ, what a night for this, David thought while realizing it was the night before Halloween, Mischief Night. His narrow jawline tightened with the thought and his deep-set green eyes strained to focus on the unknown and shadowed road. Unfortunately, no streetlights bordered the roads, but he knew this was a blessing in disguise since his predators wouldn’t have the benefits of street lamps to stalk him with ease. The ache in his head began to spread, but he pressed on, using the light of the moon to guide him through the tricky woods.

Every two seconds David gave his rearview mirror a peak, wondering if he’d finally lost the monsters chasing him. For now, he appeared to have deceived them while taking them on a wild goose chase on the path through no-mans-land and into the heart of a midnight that none of them had ever seen before.

*-*-*

As a newly minted single man, David had been looking forward to this weekend getaway for the past few weeks. After his five-year relationship came to an abrupt ending at the realization of his girlfriend cheating on him, David’s sister Nichole took on the burden of bringing him back out and onto the market. She invited him every weekend for the past month to come stay at her place, but David always fell silent before mustering up a cheap excuse over the phone.

Growing up, David always enjoyed Halloween, and his love for the holiday continued as he dressed up each year even while in his mid-thirties. This was going to be the year he broke the trend, until his sister mentioned a Halloween party that would be decorated with lovely single friends of hers. It didn’t take long for David to give in to the idea.

“Bet you’d like to do some trick or treating with my friends Dave?” Nichole had joked to seduce her brother into attending. And although he didn’t let Nichole know it, David was excited. Especially excited for the images playing in his head that might come to fruition, if he had the guts to show up of course.

However, the start of his weekend had been anything but exciting and positive thus far. Bad luck seemed to follow David from the moment he left work early. Something about the particular sickness of a broken heart seems to poison oneself as they rot from the inside out. The rotting turns into a breeding ground for bad luck and plight. Such was the case for David, whether he wanted to acknowledge the symptoms or not.

Thirty-five minutes into his trip, David realized that he forgot his Halloween costume at his house. By the time he had the costume and left his house in upstate New York, the GPS said he would arrive in Shadow Hills around ten. He texted his sister Nichole: “Heads up, will b hour late..fashionably late..” and he followed the message with a ghost emoji.

Unfortunately for David, his troubles didn’t stop with tardiness, but had only just begun. He left work early to beat the thickness of rush hour, but his costume ordeal had cost him and he ended up sitting in the rush hour madness anyway. Next, he realized his phone wasn’t gaining a charge from the cheap USB cable that seemed to have worn itself out. Cheap fucking cords, he thought. So he switched his dying phone from normal to low battery mode to conserve its power.

After a five-hour car ride, David turned off the interstate parkway and made his way into the town of Shadow Hills. All the while, darkness had gently settled itself over the northeast in slow motion. David watched as the horizon of blues turned into yellows and oranges before giving way to the engulfing blackness of the night that slowly sucked the last of the light out of the skies.

After finding a side road, David flicked on his hazards and pulled over into some cold lying gravel and dirt. It was as good a time as any to call Nichole before his phone died, and to get dressed into the voodoo priest costume that he borrowed off of his buddy. The top right corner of his phone displayed a red “8%” so he made it a point to keep it short on the phone. He turned the battery draining GPS app off, vowing to use Nichole’s landmarks and street names instead to conserve what was left of his battery, just in case.

After hanging up with his sister, David typed some of the street names and landmarks into his “Notes” app and began putting on his Halloween costume. As he turned his hazards off and began turning back onto the road, a blinding flash of light beamed through his windshield. The blinding light caused him to close his eyes and a second later came a loud, whack! Then another quickly followed the first. David jumped, and when he opened his eyes he was staring at two yellow eyes of goo that began to run down the glass of his windshield. Raw eggs.

Teenagers, either drunk or high, but probably both. Mischief night, David thought while flicking on his windshield wipers for a little help. A black Mustang revved its engine while speeding past him with its bright lights on. David noticed a pale-faced vampire with all black contacts laughing maniacally behind the wheel of the car. Next to him, and behind a plume of a thick smoke, sat a werewolf. The egg-tossing zombie stood with half of his skinny frame sticking out of the sunroof window, with his celebratory arms dancing in the sky like flags on a windy day.

David flicked his wipers off and flicked up his two middle fingers as the Mustang passed him. Feeling out of sorts and pissed off, David put the Jetta in drive and spun wheels while entering the blacktop road causing a mini twister of gravel and dirt to blow across the road. The black Mustang skidded into a one-eighty turn causing the tires to screech. The scream of the wheels echoed off the trees and into the nearby woods, perhaps awakening whatever hides in the night. David heard the tires scream and immediately checked his mirror to see two tiny dots of light appear in the dark like the opening of eyes from a sleeping beast.

Recalling his phone call with Nichole, David remembered her saying to look for a corner antique store called ‘Anna’s Age-Old Treasures’, and that it would be green. David began to replay the conversation in his head, ‘turn onto Valley Road and take it until the bridge takes you to the fork in the road.’

After half of a figure-eight twist in the road, the blacktop appeared to straighten out for what looked like a hundred yards or maybe more. David gave the pedal some added pressure before the high beams of the Mustang re-entered his review mirror. He knew that after a short while the car would be breathing down his neck. He pinched his lips together and cursed under his breath. Stay the course, Dave, he told himself, you’re almost there.

Up above, in the stark and starless sky, the half-lit moon continued to leer down at him with its evil glow of light. The horn of the Mustang began beeping as the vampire closed the distance between the vehicles.

The clock read twenty after ten, so David made the rash decision to mislead the monsters rather than outrun them. His rage fueled the idea that these punks needed to be taught a lesson, and he wanted to be the one who gave it to them. Confession too, he admitted to himself with a creepy smile while steering the car. Besides, if the monsters were as intoxicated or high as he assumed, he wouldn’t have any trouble losing them before crashing the party and trick or treating his way to the bedroom with a friend or two of Nichole’s.

The rank odor of eggs sifted through the dashboard of the car. Finding his route, David slammed his foot on the breaks and spun the vehicle on the asphalt into a graceful drift. As the monsters would soon find out, drunkenness and K-turns aren’t a pretty combination. David’s sudden James-Bond-like-maneuver gave him the head start he needed to escape the monsters for the foreseeable future. You are messing with the wrong Father tonight boys.

Two minutes later he made a left past the old green store “Anna’s” and onto Valley Road. David glanced once more at the review mirror, seeing no signs of the intoxicated monsters. He adjusted the collar of his priest costume, thank God, before blessing himself with the sign of the cross.

*-*-*

A cozy neighborhood was spread out around David as the Jetta crawled towards the end of the street. The houses along the way were all undecorated and dark, but from what David could see, he assumed that the homes were brand new. Each of the houses had a high-sloped driveway where the big estates stood like Gods on the top of their hills. At the end of the street stood an architectural masterpiece. He turned left into the long and winding driveway. The towering ‘midnight-black’ Victorian home was fully lit with bright lights that gleamed through each window with a vibrant reflection. I bet you could see this house from space its so damn bright.

David climbed out of the Jetta and found instant relief in the air. After spending hours in the vehicle, with the added anxiety throughout his journey to the party, he could finally begin to unwind. The air smelt of fire and fall, a perfect flavor for trick or treating with the women inside of the home. While thinking about it, he began hoping for a sexy nurse costume inside. He always had a thing for that damned costume, as cheesy as it might be.

The car beeped as David hit the lock button twice. The air was cold and thin, but dark. A stray cloud covered his previous accomplice — the moon — so he squinted until the large front door of the Victorian home swung open, bringing with it the blinding light of a party inside as well as music and laughter. David shielded his eyes with his hand until the door closed shut a second later. He paused while looking up at the house one last time, taking the second to adjust his costume a bit before trotting up the steps awkwardly. The doors to the home were massive, at least twice the size of him. He felt small and stray while ringing the doorbell after he popped a breath mint into his mouth.

Two minty breaths later, the front door opened to a tall man with dark eyes and long black hair that was pulled back into a slick ponytail. His face was long, matching his long and lanky frame. David figured the guy had to be pushing 6’6. The feeling of being stray increased even though the man wore an inviting smile while looking David up and down. His teeth were a set of perfectly crafted pearly whites that were so white, they glowed like the fresh powder of a fallen snow at night in the heart of winter. David extended his hand and introduced himself.

“Hi, I’m Dav-”

“Father?” the colossal man asked, cutting him off and gesturing towards David’s costume.

David frowned, a bit confused at first before understanding that the man was just making an inference towards his priest costume.

“Oh, oh, of course,” David answered, and offered a weak smile.

Without moving, the man reached his seemingly endless arm around David’s back and patted it while guiding him inside the house. The size of the home shrunk David’s sense of comfort. He secretly hoped it was a smaller sized party so that he would stand out a bit while preying on the friends of Nichole.

“You’re early, we weren’t expecting you for short while yet”, the towering man said.

David pressed the home button on his phone, 11:06. He also noticed the battery percentage: 3%.

“Really? I made it as fast as I could. I ran into a little bit of trouble. I guess Nichole gave you guys the heads up, I told her I was running late… fatherly late” David replied as a sheepish laugh escaped his lips.

But the joke fell flat, as the man had either the sense of humor of a mummy or he just didn’t understand it at all. Right over the guys head, David thought, ironic considering it’s halfway to heaven.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name?” David pressed, breaking the short, awkward silence.

“Oh, excuse my manners Father, I’m Danli… Daniel. Well, everyone tonight is just calling me Dan, for short…” the man answered, stuttering his name half way through. He extended his lengthy arm once more to shake David’s sweaty palm.

The man’s large hand felt cold against David’s as it swallowed his smaller hand.

Dan led David further into the spacious dwelling. Hovering above was an exuberant and beautiful, large chandelier. The three-foot long stem of the chandelier looked to be constructed on four crystal balls and below that, more than a dozen white candles blazed from each of its wavy arms. David thought it looked like the crown of a great and powerful goddess. He gawked at its size, imagining it must have cost a fortune.

Next, beyond the lobby, David saw a spiral staircase with marble stairs that twisted its way to the next floor, which stood about twenty-five feet above. White spider webs twisted around the railing of the stairs. To David’s right, a dining hall with a large table that appeared to be set up with beautiful flowery designed ceramic dishes and plates. To his left, an enormous fireplace with a roaring fire glowed in the dimly lit living room. Above the fireplace hung an enormous clock that didn’t match the more modern furnishings of the home. The room was decorated with couches, tables, a bookshelf, a vintage jukebox playing some tunes that were hardly festive, and an odd assortment of what must have been Nichole’s costume-cladded friends. Spider webs attached itself too much of the furniture, something David thought was a bit tacky and certainly a touch overdone.

Nurse, nurse, where you at?

“Make yourself comfortable,” Dan told a curious David.

David was busy checking out the guests and Dan smiled at his ignorance.

“Enjoy, Father”

David, hearing the voice, nodded his head. He kept looking around, tugging at his costume and feeling uncomfortable while studying everyone else’s attire. He figured about thirty people were at the party, though he would soon count thirty-four, including himself. He nodded at some of the guests who wore a variety of random outfits. He noticed a postal worker, a baseball player, fireman, a sexy business woman who wore a short skirt with legs that seemed to never end. She was chatting away to a chef, whom she towered over, and who was taking tiny sips from the drink he held. Oddly, the man used his tongue to dip into the drink rather than pour it into his mouth. David took note of this and continued his observation. Directly across from him stood a doctor and a construction worker who appeared to be engaged in a rather funny conversation. In the next instant, the doctor slapped at his knee as the construction worker began spraying his drink from his puckered mouth while white foam raced out of his nostrils.

For the most part, the men and women around him looked rather boring and ordinary given the complexity, or lack thereof, of their costumes. Awkwardly, David continued to scan the room. As his eyes were busy scoping, he caught glimpse of a pretty looking nurse with a pair of red glasses that matched her hair and the straps of her revealing outfit. The two made eye contact for a split second, and she winked at him. David’s blood boiled in the best of ways.

Looks like the babe from that Blink-182 album.

David contemplated finding the bathroom and taking off his voodoo priest outfit and sticking with the dress pants and dress shirt and playing himself off as a businessman. Then he would make his way over to the nurse’s office for a routine checkup. But it didn’t seem right for Halloween, certainly not for someone who felt as passionate about the holiday as David. The way David saw it, Halloween was the one time in the year to bring out the monster inside yourself. But his thought snowballed into the reality of the situation, where is all the monsters…

A man dressed as a pilot came stumbling up to David with a beverage in hand.

“Howdy-do, Father?”

“I’m quite alright, yourself?” David looked the man over, and immediately noticed his pale and waxy skin, almost as if he’d melt if he went too close to the dancing fire.

“I’m just dandy, excited of course for later. Never actually seen it opened before.”

“Seen what opened?” David asked.

“Oh come on Father,” The pilot said and before David could challenge again, the man extended his glass for David to take.

“Oh no, I couldn’t. I’m — ”

“Now, now, Father, go on. We’ve got plenty. Tonight’s an exception for us all. Go for it.”

“I’m really just looking for my sister Nichole, actually. Do you know where she is at?”

The man kept the drink extended and stared at David with a smirk.

The tension from the long eventful trip hadn’t completely worn off yet, but the newly added strain from another encounter of awkwardness didn’t help his composure, so he caved.

“What the hell, one drink won’t hurt. ” David took the cup out of the man’s hand and was easily cheered by the man’s contagious laughter. He figured a drink would be a good idea to settle into the party. The commute and asshole kids were behind him and this was a nice man offering him a drink to calm his nerves. Act the part, and put out a good vibe.

“Drink!” The man cheered.

David peered into the cup and couldn’t see his reflection in the beverage, which he thought was odd. The cup felt heavy and the odor coming off of the drink was coppery, a dry wine perhaps? He truly wondered.

“Captain” David said, and threw the liquid into the back of his throat. Instead of burning its way down, which in this case he would have preferred, it tasted of dirty bath water mixed with cooking oil. He wanted to barf, and seconds later he needed barf. But he wouldn’t let it up just yet. Not in front of the guests. After all, David hasn’t thrown up in front of strangers since college.

David looked towards the other side of the room, where construction worker was still yapping. Beyond him, and just past the high archway, was the entrance to the kitchen. He spotted the long table, which he figured to be the juice bar — the origin of his awful beverage — courtesy of Captain crazy laugh. Dozens of bowls lined the tables in rows with an assortment of different flavored drinks. The only thing in common with the bowls was the fact that each was a brand of crimson colored drink. Each and every label on the bowls were scripted with a foreign language written on them. David walked nearer to get a better look at what he had just swallowed. Beneath the foreign language was the names of different animals and people, all of which were written in standard English. He stopped in his tracks, his stomach forbidding him to take another step or else vomit would be the latest decoration for the party. So he stood, squinting in pain and from the angle he was standing at, David was able to read a few of the names: Worms, Frog, Bat, Rabbit, Deer, Male 45, Female 11, Male 85, Snake, Cat, Squirrel, Dog, Newt, and Lizard.

Suddenly something rumbled around in his stomach like a ship in a stormy sea. David dashed towards the nearest bathroom. The pilot stood in his way with another cup in his hand, extending it towards David.

“How about another Father? That cat you just swallowed ain’t very good, but I’ll tell you what, the eleven-year old kiddie is to die for!” The pilot said and burst into cackling laughter.

David skirted passed the laughing man. When he reached the bathroom he locked the door behind him and looked at himself in the mirror. He fingered his gums and noticed his teeth were glazed with stains of brown and red from the drink. Dizziness stirred in his head and his insides began to boil. The room around him began to shrink and his equilibrium faltered. He stumbled across the bathroom in a daze before falling into the shower curtain and crashing into the tub, taking the curtain down with him.

*-*-*

When David finally opened his eyes, he saw red. The white shower curtain he’d tackled into the tub with him was now stained with splotches of red. He caressed his head and hair to make sure he wasn’t bleeding, but the stench quickly told him it was just his throw up, not a flesh wound. Sweat surfaced across his face and dripped as he stood up from the bathtub. He washed his face with cold water for a short while to cool down the hot headache that burned at the back of his eyes. He checked his phone after drying his hands and saw two missed calls and three text messages from Nichole. Hey, where are you? Are You Okay? HELLO?

He typed a message: SOS. Wrong party, must have taken wrong fork in the road. His index finger tapped the send button as the screen turned black.

Getting a grip on his whereabouts and bearings, he noticed that he no longer heard music being played in the house. He unlocked the door carefully and made his way towards the lobby. Thirty-two guests stood with their eyes closed and hands raised in praise while facing Dan who was on the top of the staircase. All at once, they began chanting a creepy Shakespearian quote like gospel. David watched in awe, but with fright as well. He knew something was wrong, but now he didn’t just feel it, he watched it.

“Eye of newt,

and toe of frog,

Wool of bat,

and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork,

and blindworm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg,

and owlet’s wing,

— For a charm of powerful trouble,

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”

With his head and heartbeat pounding, he figured this was as good a chance as any to tip toe his way towards the door and sneak out.

As the chant continued he reached the towering doors behind the guests. With one hand on the knob —

“Father!” Dan’s voice echoed across and above the high ceilings just as the chant ended.

David’s eyes closed as he winced in pain from Dan’s loud voice. His chance had passed him by and he knew it. He reluctantly turned to face the group.

“Lead us, please” The tall host offered.

“Lead us? Lead us in what exactly, Dan?”

“The arrival of course!” One of the guests shouted with a sort of “duh” attitude.

David scanned the strange guests. A frown bent itself across his face as he studied the peering faces of the crowd. They all seemed to have a fake eeriness about them that David had overlooked before as whispers sifted their way through the group.

“Silence for the Father!” Dan demanded.

Through the skylight window above him, David could see that the moon had not yet escaped the blanket of stray clouds that covered it earlier.

David walked slowly towards the coil of stairs with a single bead of sweat racing down the center of his forehead. He had read stories about cults and religious radicals before. He assumed that these people must be someone along those lines. Some sort of strange clan. Maybe Satanist or cannibals or perhaps both, he wondered.

When he reached the top of the stairs where his host stood, he faced the guests below him and Dan gave him a pat of confidence on his back. He noticed the spider web that followed him up the railing was home to a variety of wicked looking spiders. No fake spider crawled as creepily as the ones he was staring at. They’re real

“Father…”

David cleared his throat, but his nerves stayed.

“I’d like to start by thanking everyone for this wonderful and unique invitation,” David said while he searched the room for any concerned or disagreeable looks. But the crowd nodded their heads, and many mouths grew grins and many eyes widened with a sparkle of awe and anticipation, excited for the ensuing moment.

Out of the corner of his eye, David saw the large smoking cauldron above the wide mouth of the fireplace. The vintage clock read 11:47. He forced the corner of his lips not to droop.

They think I’m some kind of real priest…

“I’d like us each to make a sacrifice… ” He added while waiting for disapproval to erupt from the crowd.

Instead, a thunderous cheer of approval exploded from the guests.

Just keep going with it, he told himself.

“Blood!” David declared, thinking back to all of those different labels displayed at the juice bar that he noticed earlier.

“Bring your sacrifice to the fire and pour it into Lucifer’s Pot!” He commanded, fabricating a tone of confidence.

The crowd formed a line. Many of the guests bowed their heads in reverence, while others raised their hands to the sky in a gesture of praise. Dan stood at the back of the line, watching the guests make their sacrifices. One by one the guests took their cup, filled it with blood from one of the many bowls, and poured it into the caldron.

After every cup, except Dan’s, was emptied, they all gathered in a half circle at the foot of the spiral staircase. Fortunately, they had bought into David’s made up fantasy so far. But David knew he couldn’t cheat them for long, so his mind raced for an exit strategy.

After Dan poured his cup into the black caldron, the guests turned their eyes and attention back towards David, waiting on his next word.

“Close your eyes, my children,” He said, keeping his voice low but confident.

Time… time… buy yourself some time, he urged his mind.

“Let us pray to the… darkness, while we wait for the blood to… boil” He continued his improvisation.

When he was sure that every last eye was closed, he took the first steps towards his great escape through the front door. He vowed to himself that he wouldn’t look behind his shoulder once he made it through those doors. He’d run for as long and as hard as his body would allow him. But in the awkward silence, he remained a bit unsure if he should sprint or sneak during this crucial step in his great escape. Thinking back to earlier in the night when he had to use stealth to his advantage against the teenage monsters, he decided to use the same method to escape these monsters. He started to tip-toe towards the front door until a loud obnoxious chime sounded —

The fucking doorbell

The loud chimes of the bell caused each and every eye to snap open. David heard a car door close in the driveway.

“The kids,” David whispered in fear. His heart began to sink in disbelief, knowing how unfortunate it was going to be for the teenagers who had followed him here. Wrong place, wrong time, he thought. This was true, but they had also ruined his getaway.

The tall double doors spread open. David’s heart officially sunk, bringing with it his jaw, as the innocent face crept from out of the darkness of night and into the wicked light of the lobby. Pain, pity, and fear began to circulate through his blood. He dry-heaved and watched the beautiful angel walk through the doors.

Nichole, dressed in a glistening light blue gown with a sparkling silver tiara, fixed in her natural blonde hair, entered the tense abode. Glitter gleamed around her gorgeous and terrified eyes.

“Nichole!” David tried to shout, but it came out weak and flat.

Behind him, he heard Dan begin to laugh. In the same instant, David screamed his sister’s name again, this time with fear and rage that propelled his voice to louder heights. He pointed behind her in the hopes she’d run the way he had planned to.

Dan smiled, the fire popped as it boiled, and the guests began to grin one by one at the realization of their fortunate turn of events.

Nichole opened her bright red lips to speak but before she could, a bony hand with gray hair poking from its flesh wrapped itself around her mouth. Yellow tainted fingernails decorated the tips of each bony finger.

The voodoo priest had arrived.

“So very sorry I’m late everyone. I just had a little run in with some children on my way in. I had to teach them a little lesson about how to properly use raw eggs for a prank.”

The priest leaned his staff against the wall and reached into his pocket.

“To do so, I must confess, I gathered them around and asked for their attention. And I took it…” He said with a sour laugh and raised his boney hand so all could see. Six eye-balls dangled from strings of reddish-pink muscle tissue like some malevolent and grotesque wind chime.

David noticed one of the six eye balls had half of its black contact ripped out and recalled the vampire who had driven the Mustang that passed him earlier, sporting two black eyeballs. A cold hand fused of ice clawed at David’s spine.

“I am Porta Inferi. I go by either Doctor Inferi or Father Porta, whichever you like. I am your witch doctor and voodoo priest for this celebratory evening. Prior arrangements between Danlion and I have been made for this epic night.

The crowd and David looked at Dan. The priest began inching himself further into the house shuffling the angel forward with him. The voodoo priest’s grip had moved from her mouth to a clump of her flaxen hair, which he had in a tight grasp. It appeared the harder his hand flexed, the yellower the stains of his fingernails glowed.

“It truly is so very nice to meet you all. I see I’ve arrived just in time. Looks as if you all have already made your offerings. The angels of hell will be delighted to feast once the doorway is open.”

The crowd cheered. David watched a flashback to his conversation with the pilot play in his head like a scary movie.

“Doorway to what?” Nichole asked after the applause grew silent.

“The doorway to hell, of course,” Dan replied. More praise from the guests followed.

Porta Inferi spoke, “Each and every year, for a short minute, the stroke of midnight gives birth to the flames and light of hell, the gates open… a portal is made, and we feed the new beasts that Lucifer releases into this world. That’s what our cauldron is for, of course. Tis the portal and plate”

“Portal and plate!” The guest repeated, as if a prayer.

“For the beasts that are soon to enter. We are the hand and ladle.”

“Hand and ladle!”

“For midnight approaches…”

David was horrified at the sight of this Porta Inferi. It was scary how close his own costume resembled that of the witch doctor’s attire. It was almost as if he was meant to be there, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. He kept his stare on the man’s white complexion, his tall black top hat with brown and gray feathers that were stitched onto the front like whiskers. His long black dreadlocks looked just like David’s wig, but only his were real. In the hand that wasn’t choked around Nichole’s long blonde hair, the priest held a long, skinny staff made of wood. On the top of the staff was the skull of a small monkey. Around the man’s neck was a necklace made of rotted fingers and toes.

David couldn’t hold back the fear any longer and began screaming with all the might and power he had wanted to put into running away. Tears streaked across his face.

Danlion felt the rush of emotion and grabbed David in anger who, in return, gave him a sobbing look of disappointment. Danlion began to shake David violently until he shut up completely.

Nichole watched with tear filled eyes. A moment later, Danlion inhaled and let David go tumbling to the marble floor rolling head over heels down the corkscrew steps.

Somehow, he hadn’t been hurt too badly. He was slow to get up, and when he finally did, he wished he couldn’t have. He knew he would have been better off being knocked unconscious. He knew he was at the mercy of beings he did not know or understand.

He watched in disbelief and horror as Danlion began to peel his skin around his neck, and after ripping through the layers of sinewy flesh, he tore away the mask and human body disguise, revealing the large monster he truly was. The monster within the costume was actually folded in half like a demented transformer, and when he unfolded himself into the beast he truly was, he stood with his head next to the chandelier.

Nichole and David screamed.

The crowd of people followed Dan’s lead and started to unzip their fake flash to reveal the beasts they truly were. One by one, they unzipped and stepped, hopped, or flew out of their human costumes. Tendons could be heard popping and echoing off of the lobby walls as muscles lengthened to their abnormal sizes. In the midst of the bizarre scene that literally unfolded, David caught a familiar wink from the corner of his eye.

No, not you too

The sexy nurses’ red wig burst into the air like a firework, her pair of glasses fell to the floor, and that pretty face began splitting in half, continuing all the way down her long body and slim rubber legs. The end result was terrifying as she became a burnt and charcoaled looking beast with wings that unleashed and flapped themselves to life with shrieks so loud they partially deafened David and Nichole. In the blink of an eye, the winged creature used its webbed feet to grab the two siblings before flying through the front door and into the midnight sky in one graceful lunge. David found false hope, thinking the nurse had perhaps secretly liked him, and was saving him and his sister. But a moment later, the silence within the home broke with a large thump on the roof that rattled the foundation of the house, sending vibrations that broke glass windows and shook picture frames off the walls.

David cried and sobbed as he dangled in mid-air, noticing that the evil smirk of the moon that had returned from the clouds. The siblings were momentarily released from the monster, falling against the roof and more than likely breaking a bone or two, though neither knew which bone or where. Nor did they seem to care. The creature turned its back to them, and began extending its long black tail that looked like a pitchfork. And with one smooth jab like the bite of a snake, the siblings dangled in the October air with the tip of each pronged tail through their stomachs like a spear. There was no pain, only fear. David looked at his sister who dangled like a shish kabob, and she looked back at him. The tail lifted into the air and swayed like a backhoe. Eventually the tail began lowering the bodies slowly into the top of the chimney, side by side. As they dipped through the chimney hole, droves of smoke and heat began to blind and distort their vision. The fear only worsened as their grand exit from this world started to come clearer and clearer with every foot they were lowered. Their cries fell silent against the walls of the chimney as the caldron below loomed nearer and nearer. As they reached the bottom of the shoot, David heard the chant from the house:

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Towards the very bottom of the fireplace shoot, the falling brother and sister halted for a moment, forced to listen to the chant that increased in pitch and passion each time they completed a lyric. A second later the tail began to lower one side of its pitched fork. Tonight, it would be Nichole first to burn into a bloody-goo on this hallowed evening.

The large clock above the fireplace began to ding. The gates of hell were open, hungry, and waiting.

David, through smoke and fire, watched behind a silent cry as his sister burst into flames beneath him while reaching her arms out towards him for mercy. From his cheeks to the pot, David’s tears fell into the soupy blood broth, which sent a hiss of flame back at his face.

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

David felt the tension in his stomach alter, and at last, his moment to stare down death and the gate of hell had found him. Dangling upside down, he was lowered head first closer and closer to the bloody fire. Around him, he could hear the chant that had now turned into a thunderous ovation that increased the closer he got to the thrashing flames. The awful stench of death had reached his nostrils as his last seconds arrived before his tormented eyes. The gap from the brick fireplace gave way to the view of monsters chanting, but he looked beyond them. From one of the windows, he saw the headlights of the Black Mustang peering through the night and gazing upon David’s arrival with death. Above that window, watching from the skylight window above, David recognized the moon snickering at him. As his hair dipped into the broth he thought, one hell of a party, and returned a smile with his reddish brown teeth at the face of death that had greeted him wholly, at last.

A short moment later, nimble clouds began covering the face of the moon, which continued to glow behind the streaking black clouds. The climax of the chant gave way to a spirited silence as David Myers became nothing more than a bubble waiting to be popped- swallowed whole by the unholiest of demonic beasts from hell that the flames of the cauldron would soon give birth to on this year’s Hallows Eve during this one hell of a party.

The End