#EdenLit - (09.2012)-Story Start-Blacker Than Black

#EdenLit - (09.2012)-Story Start-Blacker Than Black

SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
This Summer was one of the hottest on record and it was only just beginning to cool off as Halloween rolled around. The entire town was in a festive mood and the haunted houses seemed extra spooky in the cool evening air. Parties were springing up all over town for at least two weeks before October 31! Tonight, however, was the big night and this party was going to be the best ever.

I had invited all the right people and my naked skin felt cool and comfortable beneath my skimpy maid costume. The party would be held out in the backyard lit by a giant bonfire. Hell, even the Pagans were planning on attending!

As I was walking out and admiring the beautiful large full moon I felt a frisson of fear skitter down my back. I shuddered and crossed my arms over my chest. I tried to shake off the feeling of dread and went back to admiring my decorations. They were really spooky and I was sure that this explained my earlier experience.
My husband, Jake, had suggested we host the party outside on our property instead of the rented hall when he heard the forecast. Clear skies, moderate breeze, overnight low of 68. Pretty warm for a Massachusetts fall night, though the meteorologist said that the temperature would drop dramatically next week.

Jake came to my side and flashed me a smile. “What did I tell you? Didn't I say that out here would be perfect? It's so darn creepy out here.”

I agreed. The field near the woods behind our house always made me feel jittery. Even with someone with me, I didn't go near it if I didn't have to, and I never went alone. Something about the field was wrong, although I couldn't explain it. Even now, with all these people around me, I felt unsettled. Jake knew of my reluctance to be here, and hoped my vibe would be contagious for the rest of the guests.

I looked at our house over my shoulder. My eyes followed the path lights leading from the grassy field up to our deck many yards away. I wanted to run back to it, slam the sliding glass door, and shut out the night. Almost every light in the house was on to guide guests that needed a break or to use the restroom, and the glow called to me.

“Yep, creepy,” I agreed at last, telling myself that I was being silly. I grabbed a tray of drinks from the buffet table and smiled back at Jake. “Time to go be a maid!” I said, forcing a laugh.

I moved through the crowd, wondering if anyone would notice if the hostess went home to hide under the covers. I stumbled into a redheaded woman wearing a fairy princess costume.

“Easy now! You okay?” she said, catching both me and my tray as I stumbled forward.

“Yes, I...”

“Lots of people here tonight,” she interrupted. “Do you really think that's wise? All these people...out here?”

“What do you mean?” I struggled to focus on the woman. A stronger feeling of dread washed over me as I realized I was near the edge of the crowd, and this stranger was not helping matters. Who was she, anyway? Must be a friend of a friend. Someone's date or something.

“I think you know, whether or not you want to admit it. Lots of people equals lots of energy. Strange things happen when there's the right kind of energy in the wrong kind of place,” she said. Her hand wandered to her neck and played with a small gold cross.

“Great, that's all I need,” I thought. “Religious fanatics showing up to my party.”

She raised her eyebrows as if she heard my thought. “Be careful and don't let anyone wander off. That's all I'm saying. This place feels off, if you know what I mean, and I can see in your face that you do.”

“I don't know what you're talking about,” I muttered, but shot a nervous glance at the edge of the woods several yards away. Standing between two trees was a tall man, dressed all in black. I couldn't see his face.

“Looks like someone had too much to drink,” I said. “I'd better grab him before he wanders off.”

“Man?” said the redhead, following my eyes. Her own eyes widened. “No, stop!” she said, and tried to grab my arm but missed.

“Shut up, freak,” I said. I was in no mood to listen to any more prattlings of a crazy woman. With the feeling of responsibility for my guests momentarily overcoming my fear, I headed for the man, tray still in hand.

“You there!” I said as I got closer. “Don't go wandering! It's dark in the woods. Come back to the party! Oh, hey, that's a great costume!”

The man before me wasn't only dressed in black, but even his skin was as dark as the night around him. Not dark like African descent, but dark like a shadow. A three dimensional shadow.
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SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
The man tilted his head and I saw that his face had no features. It was just a flat black space. A hole that was even blacker than black opened where a human's mouth would be and let out a horrified, tortured shriek. I echoed it with my own as I dropped the tray and turned to run.

“No, no, no!” I screamed as I saw where my party had been just moments before. I didn't understand. It was daylight now. The party was gone. My house in the distance was gone. I looked down and realized I was standing on some sort of wooden platform several feet off the ground. My hands were behind me and I couldn't move them. I twisted my head to look all around me and found that my maid costume was gone, replaced by what looked like a man's clothes from hundreds of years before. Something rough stung against the flesh of my neck and I realized, to my horror, there was a rope around it.

I tried to cry out for help but no sound came out. On the ground in front of the platform stood a crowd, all with featureless, flat faces in varying hues.

“You knew that Edith Bradshaw would get sick before she did, and now she is dead. Do you deny it?” a voice said. I couldn't see the speaker.

“I don't even know who Edith Bradshaw is!” I tried to scream, but the words wouldn't come. Instead I said, “I don't deny that there was something about her that made me think she was not well.” The voice issuing from my lips was now a man's.

“And the fire. You warned everyone to stay out of the town hall yesterday, and that night there was a fire. How did you know there would be?”

“I don't know,” my man's voice said again. “I don't know. Something felt wrong. Something told me it was dangerous.”

“Something told you?” the disembodied voice sneered. “Something told you?! You take your news from demons!”

I looked out into the crowd of empty faces. A dark hole had erupted in each one, and out of the darkness came the cry of, “Witch! Witch! Witch!”

“Back to hell, demon!” the disembodied voice screamed. I heard the click of the trap door under me open, felt myself falling, the rope yank at my tender skin. I saw my death coming.

Then I felt the cool grass under my hands and knees. I raised my head and looked around. Night had returned. In the distance, I saw my party, and beyond that, my house. My tray lay next to me, the drinks spilled all around it. The redheaded woman was kneeling next to me, holding her cross in the air like a talisman. The delicate gold chain was broken where I assumed she had yanked it from her own neck. She grabbed my arm and helped me up, at the same time scanning the woods behind me for any further signs of danger.

“I think it's time to call an end to your party,” she said quietly.

“Me, too,” I said. My breathing was ragged and my voice hoarse. I rubbed my still aching neck. “I called you a freak,” I began as we hobbled back to the safety of the group. Tears of shame mixed with terror mingled in my eyes.

“It's okay,” she said. “I get that a lot. And, I'm sorry to say, now that you know your feelings mean something, you will, too.”

I cast a worried look over my shoulder back at the woods. I thought I saw a dark figure moving through the trees.

“I think I may need a priest,” I murmured.


“Do you know any good ones?”

The redhead chuckled. “Several.”
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
WOW! Just wow...usually the "freak" is a pagan sort but I like your different take on an old tired literary trick! You really took this story start and made it your own. BRAVA!

I am stunned at the simplicity and the raw spooky power....also I want more. I'm greedy that way.
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
WOW! Just wow...usually the "freak" is a pagan sort but I like your different take on an old tired literary trick! You really took this story start and made it your own. BRAVA!

I am stunned at the simplicity and the raw spooky ...
I was actually thinking the other day that I would love to flesh this out more, but I try to keep it on the short side so people have time to read it and I don't take up tons of room on Eden.
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
I must have scared myself. I had a nightmare about a faceless person last night.
travelnurse travelnurse
That is absolutely awesome, great going. I have writers block, maybe I could give someone a medical condition and go from there. Your writing is great sneakers!
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Originally posted by travelnurse
That is absolutely awesome, great going. I have writers block, maybe I could give someone a medical condition and go from there. Your writing is great sneakers!
Thanks! But I am so very out of practice.
Total posts: 7
Unique posters: 3