A Belated Halloween story. Inspired by an old online conversation I dug up between me and two friends about how we would die in a horror movie.
A girl’s shrill voice echoed deep within the inside of North Eastern University’s packed parking lot. This voice belonged to Gennie, a voluptuous 18 year old freshmen girl. She shivered in a tight white Crop-top and flip-flops. Gennie’s choices in clothing did not change for anyone or anything including the cold autumn night.
“I’m so over Jackie and her moods. One second she likes me and the next she hates me. She has to be like bipolar or something! Like last night, we’re watching Friday the 13th. No. Not the original. The remake with that guy from Supernatural. She’s all cool with it and then she shuts it off half way through! Cause it’s too violent. Yeah! Just like that!” Gennie said into her phone.
Her boyfriend, Wes was on the other side of the line. The pair had been on-and-off again for far too long. Wes’s lack of fidelity was the source of their splits. Wes was a man of instinct, not discipline. Gennie had decided to give Wes one last chance. She deserved much better and she knew that. As much as she hated Wes’s sexual exploits, she could not see herself with anyone else. He was her first love. He just needed to clean up his act.
Gennie was all alone in the filled parking lot. Everyone wanted to stay at the college for the Halloweekend parties. North Eastern University was famous for the crazy hijinks that would go down during the last week of October. There were parties every night. Campus police had their hands full with each of the five frat houses on campus. Gennie loved parties but the ones at North Eastern were too strange for her liking. People would disappear and not be seen again for weeks at a time. When they were found, they had no recollection of what happened. Campus police chalked it up to underage drinking. There was one student was never seen again after the first week of classes. His Raiders cap was found on a bench the weekend after he went missing. Campus police suspected it to be a suicide, but found no evidence
Gennie wanted out before the craziness started. At North Eastern University, the Halloweekend started on Wednesday. So tonight was Gennie’s last chance to get out. If only she could find her car. She might have parked it on the second floor. Her green Toyota Prius didn’t stand out among the cars in the parking lot.
Gennie was one of the types who tried to care about the environment. She used eco-friendly shopping bags and never littered when she could help it. Wes loved to tease her about her concerns. He’d often say the world was going to end whether she used her little shopping bag or not. But Gennie knew every little bit helped.
“Uh huh. I’ll be home in like an hour. Yeah. They’ll be gone. We can have some alone time. My brother’s upstate with his girlfriend. No chance of him bothering us. I’ll call you back once I get home. My battery’s dying.” Gennie pocketed her cell phone. Someone coughed in the parking lot.
Gennie rubbed her shoulders as the wind picked up. The lines of cars in the parking lot seemed to be endless. None of them were her Prius. Then it dawned on Gennie. She slapped her head to her forehead. How could she have forgotten this? Gennie grabbed her electronic car keys and pressed the lock button on them.
Her car beeped on all the way on the side of the parking lot. Gennie’s purse vibrated. It was a text message from Wes.
“See you soon. :)”
Another cough. This one was closer.
“Is someone there?”
Her voice echoed away. Gennie clutched her purse tightly. Her walk slowly turned into a jog. Footsteps started up behind her. She stopped.
“Hello?! This isn’t funny!”
Halloweekend pranks seemed to have started already. Last year students stalked people in masks and then dumped fish bits on them. The incident made its way on to the local news as a freshmen was brought to tears by the hazing. Gennie caught a glimpse of a shadow moving between the cars.
“I am not in the mood! If you guys don’t stop, I’m calling campus police! I’m not playing around!” Gennie took her cell phone out. The footsteps got louder. The shadow darted behind a car. Gennie dialed campus police’s number into her phone.
“I’m doing it!” She put her finger over the dial button. Something jumped out at her! Gennie’s phone slipped out of her grasp.
The thing was only a cute cuddly kitty cat jumping onto the hood of a nearby car. It creeped away.
“Fuck.” whispered Gennie as she picked up her cell phone. The display flickered and showed a bright pink. The point of impact was the right corner. Gennie touched the crack in the screen and examined the damage to her phone. A white face stared back at her in the reflection. Gennie whipped around just in time to watch the knife plunge into her heart.
The next morning, Marcia ushered Gennie’s floor mates into the dorm living room for a floor meeting. Marcia decided the meeting was to be at 6:45. This was when Marcia woke up for her morning job. It was also about six hours before her floor residents hit the snooze buttons on their alarms.
“Trickle in everyone, trickle in.” said Marcia. She greeted all the sleepy heads with her bright and arguably grating personality.
Shaun, 17 and drunk all the time, jumped into a couch and continued his sleep. He had spent the entire night before on Xbox Live killing noobs and downing beer. A usual night for him. Reese, 18, a skinny dude with poufy hair straight out of a 1980’s rock band cursed Marcia under his breath.
“Floor meetings suck.” whispered Reese as he passed by her.
“I heard that Reese. Floor meetings don’t suck. They’re super fun! You’re going to love my ice-breaker!”
“Ice breaker? But like we’ve lived with each other for like months. Why we gotta like do like another like ice breaker?” butted in Tony. Tony was an idiot. Not the funny kind of the idiot. He was super stupid. The sort of stupid that made you question whether or not humanity deserved to be wiped off the planet by a cataclysmic event. He brought in his favorite snack, peanut butter crackers with him.
Zeus bitch-slapped them of out his hands!
“Bro! What?!” exclaimed Tony.
“Don’t Bro what me bro. You know Dez is so allergic to that shit.” said Zeus.
“Sorry bro. I forgot.”
Zeus was a fierce Korean man. Every man in his family had served in the military except for him. Every family dinner he was chewed out by elders. This had toughened him to the world.
Jackie, Becky, and Mackie followed behind Zeus. A trio of goody-goody two shoes girls. None of them drank. None of them smoked. They even legally bought all their music. They dressed alike and were identical in features. Though Becky and Mackie were brunettes. Jackie was a beautiful blonde.
Sasha and Jessi shoved them aside. Sasha was a sexually free black woman with a high libido and a bad attitude. Not bad like Michael Jackson, but bad like Madea. She and Gennie had the same clothing philosophy. Jessi was Sasha’s “best friend”. They were ebony and ivory.
“Watch it!” yelled Jackie at them.
“Whoops! Sorry! “Replied Sasha and Jessi in unison. They then giggled…
“Why do meetings have to be at this time?” complained Kwame, an African man whose asthma was getting the better of him today. He took in some medicine from his inhaler.
“Because I said so.” said Marcia.
Everyone sat down around Shaun’s couch. Shaun convulsed on the couch. A nasty night terror had taken over him.
“Where is everyone else? This is an important meeting.” asked Marcia.
“Sleeping.” said Sasha and Jessi in unison.
“Dez isn’t even here bro. Can I eat my crackers now?” demanded Tony.
“No.” said Zeus.
“Excuse me. Could you two be quiet? Thank you. We can’t have a floor meeting without everyone here. Could someone please go wake up Jorge? This meeting is really about him and the toilets that he keeps clogging. The plumber is not coming back here anymore. It’s too much work. If a toilet gets clogged, we have to unclog it ourselves.” continued Marcia.
“We can go get him, Marcia.” said Sasha and Jessi together.
“Fine. But don’t take too long. Or there will be consequences.” The pair left off holding hands.
“Is it true that that one band is getting back together for one last show?” whispered Kwame to his buddy Reese. The band in question was Thinking Patterns, an east coast punk band that had been broken up for five years. The band has broken up because the lead singer attempted to strangle the drummer to death in the middle of a set. Fortunately they were deciding to let bygones be bygones and do a show for the fans.
“Yea but tickets are sold out.” replied Reese.
“I should be hearing silence until Sasha and Jessi get back.”
A dual shriek of terror came from the direction of Jorge’s room.
“Everyone stay here and stay calm. I’ll check it out.” said Marcia.
Marcia ran toward the screams. She found Sasha and Jessi were huddled together, shaking.
“What’s wrong? Where’s Jorge?”
They pointed her towards Jorge’s door which was open a crack. A foul smell came from within. Marcia covered her nose and entered Jorge’s room.
Jorge lived alone in his dorm. He had had a roommate at the beginning of the year but the boy had withdrawn from the college. He had only lasted a week as Jorge’s roommate. It wasn’t that Jorge was a bad person. He was needy. Jorge had crawled into bed with his roommate every night and attempted to cuddle with him.
“Jorge?” asked Marcia.
She flipped the light switch on. The room looked like a hurricane went through it. Clothes and papers all over his bed and desk. The light to the bathroom was on. The smell was coming from there. Marcia knocked on the bathroom door and stepped in a pool of water.
“Jorge? Are you okay?” She knocked again.
“I’m coming in.”
She tried the knob. The door was unlocked. She slowly pushed it open. She fell to her knees at the sight before her. There was Jorge. Naked and bent over the toilet. His head shoved into the toilet bowl. Marcia touched him. His body was still warm. She checked his pulse. He was dead. “Oh my god.” exclaimed Marcia.
Marcia had dreamed of being Community Administrator one day. It was the same as position she had now but with many more hours, much more responsibility and marginally better pay. With one of her residents now dead, she could kiss that dream goodbye.
And it’s alright (It’s alright)
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright (It’s alright)
Bright lights and the big city
Halloweekend had come. Jorge’s floor mates decided to honor him by doing what Jorge did best, get completely shit-faced. Much like other college parties, this one was a den of degeneracy. Every terrible thing one could expect to happen did happen. Underage drinking, premarital sex, elbows on the table. All sorts of horrible shit went down.
In the tradition of North Eastern’s Halloweekend, every party was a costume party. If you showed up with a costume, you would be shown the door. At certain frats, you’d be left black and blue. Sarah and Jessi followed the North Eastern traditions. They dressed up as sultry versions of Dr. Seuss’s Thing 1 and Thing 2.
The night had gone awry for the two young women. They had lost their purses, cell phones, and their blue hair. Sasha had seen someone leaving the party with blue hair, but she was far too drunk to stop them. She was far too drunk to do much of anything. The night was becoming a blur quickly.
The women settled in on a couch and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of their night. Tony crept in behind them. He was Thomas the Tank engine. His costume was custom-built with electronics.
“Hey hunnies. Want to ride the Tony train. All aboard. Choo-Choo! ”
“Fuck off, Tony.” said Sasha and Jessi in unison
“Aw come on. It’ll be fun.”
“Fuck off Tony.” They repeated.
“You girls are going to regret this.”
Tony stormed off into the sweaty awkward dance floor. People were trying to groove to the beat but had no style or grace. It was a sad sight to see. A man with a notepad dressed as Sherlock Holmes (1984 not 2010) made his way to the women. It was their floor mate, Kwame. He was making a rare appearance at a college party.
“What are you doing here, Kwam? Don’t you hate fun?” asked Jessi.
“Do you ladies buy Marta’s story of Jorge’s death being a suicide?” inquired Kwame.
“He was like depressed. He failed that one test.” said Sasha.
“Don’t you think that his method of suicide was weird? I mean who shoves their head into a toilet and flushes themselves to death?”
“A depressed person” said Jessi.
“Yeah, Kwam. He was depressed. Depressed people do crazy things.” said Sasha.
“I don’t mean to worry either of you but I don’t think that he killed himself. I think that his death was MURDER!” Kwame screamed murder at the top of his lungs. The music stopped. Everyone stared at Kwame.
“I don’t think this is the best place to talk. Come to my room once you sober up. We have to go over the details of what you saw.”
Kwame disappeared as quickly as he came. The music and the senseless grinding and/or dancing started up again.
“Jessi, could Jorge have been like murdered?” Sasha asked her gal pal.
“Sasha, Kwame has an over-active imagination. He watches Law and Order: SVU all day. ”
“I’m beat. Let’s go home. Our stuff will turn up.”
“Yeah. It’s about that time.”
“Let me run to the bathroom first.”
Luckily for Sasha, there was no line at the bathroom. She locked the door behind her and then proceeded to vomit the insides of her stomach out. Everything came back up. The pizza she had for lunch came up in chunks. She wiped the vomit from her mouth.
“Somebody’s in here.” She went right back to work. She heard a light cough.
Knock. Knock. Knock. The coughing became more violent.
“Somebody’s in here!”
Knock. Knock. Knock. More coughing.
“Are you deaf?! I’m in here!”
Whoever they were, they got the hint and left her alone. Sasha washed her hands. The soap had a lovely scent to it. Sasha read the label. It was pumpkin. They could give everything a pumpkin flavor, even hand soap. She washed her hands a second time and used some of the mouth wash left by the residents. She ran her hands through her hair. She regretted not just dying her hair blue.
Sasha unlocked the door. Two white hands clenched themselves around her throat.
It took only a few minutes for campus police to arrive after Sasha’s body was discovered. Sasha’s body was taken away by an ambulance. She was pronounced dead on the scene. They ruled her death a suicide. It was the only thing that made sense. She had to have become distraught over a class she was failing and then did herself in. The poor thing.
Jessi bawled her eyes out as the officers tried to comfort her.
“I’m sorry for your loss, ma’am.” said a police officer.
“Can you believe that? Third suicide this week. That one girl who stabbed herself in that parking lot, that guy who flushed himself to death, and now this girl strangles herself. There’s way too much pressure on kids today. The school needs to do something about this.” replied the other police officer.
Sasha’s body was carried out and taken away by an ambulance. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
“It’s a tragedy. Look at the time. Dunkin’ Donuts is closing in five minutes man.” pointed out the first officer.
“Let’s roll!” The officers sped away in their car.
The tears on Jessi’s face dried up. There was a killer out there. And they’d taken her best friend from her. The time for mourning would have to come later. Now was the time to catch a killer. After sobering up, Jessi knocked on Kwame’s door. He welcomed her into his world.
Kwame’s room looked like your average conspiracy theorist’s room. Loads of pictures with dots connecting them all. They were of the two crime scenes where the bodies had been found. Kwame was wise to Gennie’s death. He had charts and graphs of the likelihood of the identity of the killer. A giant signed poster of Elliot Stabler from Law and Order: SVU watched over Kwame and Jessi as they went to work.
Neither had change out of their Halloween costumes.
“And then Sasha said that guy is cute. And then he started talking to some other girl.”
“Did he get mad?”
“No. He didn’t even know she was there.”
“Who else did you guys bump into?”
“Jackie, Mackie, Becky. Reese and Shaun were there. Dez, Zeus, oh and Tony.”
“Tony? What did he say to you guys?”
“That the Tony train was ready. I think the train was a euphemism for his dick. ”
“It might have been. What did you say to him then?”
“We told him to fuck off.”
“Did he seem angry after that?”
“Yeah, but I think he left after that.”
“You think or you know?”
“I don’t know.”
“You know what I know.”
“No. I don’t know what you know.”
“I know who the murderer is.”
“He has the connection to everyone! Jorge clogged his toilet. Sasha rejected him and Gennie said he was kind of chubby that one time.”
“You missed the e-mail about the body found in the parking lot, didn’t you?”
“That was her? Oh my gosh. That’s three people from this floor, Kwam.”
“Yes. And they were all MURDERS!”
“How do we stop Tony?”
“I’ll catch him in the act soon enough. He’s bound to kill again.”
“Shouldn’t you tell the campus police about your theory?”
“They’ll need evidence before they can move. I’ll snap a picture of him in the act and then send that to them. Now Jessi, do not tell anyone that we talked about this. Okay? You and I could be in danger if the killer figures out we’re unto them. Don’t tell anyone. Not even Dez.”
“But he’s such a nice guy.”
“Don’t tell anyone!”
Back in the dorm living room, Reese and Dez were causing a lot of noise playing ping pong. Jackie, Becky, and Mackie tried their best to study as balls flew by them. Dez apologized for the commotion.
A distraught Tony in a white track suit barged in.
“Marcia’s such a bitch.” whined Tony.
“What’d she do?” asked Reese.
“I was like jogging in the hall and then she like said me there’s no jogging allowed.”
“Why were you jogging in the hall?”
“That like doesn’t matter, it was how she like she said.” complained Tony.
“Marcia’s not bad. She’s just a little high strung.” said Dez.
“Three of her residents did kill themselves. Cut her some slack.” added Reese.
“Oh. I’ll cut her slacks all right.” joked Tony.
“That doesn’t make sense.” said Dez.
“You know what I mean.” replied Tony raising his eyebrows.
“Could you guys keep it down? We’re trying to study here.” asked Mackie politely.
“Go study somewhere else. We have a right to be here too!” said Tony. The Trio left to go study elsewhere. Jackie sneezed loudly as the door shut behind them.
“Nice one, Tone.” stated Dez.
“You want to join in this match? Get Zeus and we can play dubs. Where’s he at anyway?” asked Reese.
“Might be out for a smoke, breh.” said Dez.
“What was that?!” exclaimed Tony.
“Sounds like it came from my room.” said Reese with a sense of urgency. The boys rushed out to go see what happened. They started their way down to the end of the hall where Reese and Shaun lived. Down that hall was a collection of murals from the college floors of years past. Students were given a chance to paint anything their hearts desired so long as it was not offensive. The last mural had been completed last spring. Tony rubbed against one of the murals. It left a streak of red on his white tracksuit.
In Reese’s room, they found Shaun with his head beaten in with his own Xbox 360. His arms and were legs still moving about like the limbs of a crushed centipede.
“Shaun, you okay bro?” asked Tony.
“Oh no. My records!” shouted Reese. Shaun had gotten his blood and brain bits all over everything in the room including Reese’s vintage records.
A violent cough came from behind them.
“He’s dead.” said a voice. It was Kwame. He battled a coughing fit for a moment. He inhaled from his inhaler before continuing. “He died not too long ago. You ought to know.”
“I should know?” Tony scratched his head and turned to Dez and Reese for an explanation. But Reese was scraping pieces of Shaun off his early 00s records and Dez was checking out Reese’s totally sweet new laptop…
“Why Shaun, Tony? What did he do? I get why you did the others, but he was a chill guy. Didn’t hurt anyone. Played Xbox all day. What’d he ever do to you?”
“I know what you are, Tony. It’s all only a matter of time before I catch you in the act. ”
“Bro, I’m a rapper not an actor.”
“Don’t play dumb!” Kwame grabbed Tony’s sleeve. It was red with Shaun’s blood. “Explain this!”
“Aw! No! I just like bought this bro.”
“You-” Kwame took a step and slipped on Shaun’s blood. He splashed Shaun’s blood everywhere!
“Dude! Watch it!” yelled Reese as he polished a record.
“Bro, you need help?” Tony extended his hand.
“Not from the likes of you.” Kwame left in a huff. He had just screwed up his big confrontation of the killer and gotten himself all bloody with the blood of a victim. Way to not be cool. Elliot Stabler would be disappointed in him.
Kwame dragged his feet to his own room. He turned his door knob. His room was unlocked. His roommate must have forgotten to lock it before heading out to class. Kwame headed to the bathroom and wiped himself off with a towel. He washed Shaun’s blood out of his hair. He shook his head dry. A piece of Shaun’s orbital bone fell out. Kwame started to dry off his face and walk back to his desk.
The sun had started to go down. Kwame flipped on the light to see. Someone had been in his room. The pictures of the crime scenes were torn apart and sprinkled on his bed. His poster of Elliot Stabler had the eyes and mouth cut out of it. On Stabler’s chest was a dripping red arrow pointing upwards. Kwame’s eyes followed the direction. On the ceiling above there were two words painted in blood, “Not Tony”.
Kwame backed away from the scene. He took deep breaths. He started to wheeze. He took his medicine and then sat down on his bed to think. His bed was wet. Kwame jumped off and ran across the room. He could someone was lying in his bed. He took a few steps toward the bed. He grabbed a broom and prodded the person lying there. He ripped the sheets off.
Jessi lay there with her throat slit and her face carved up like Elizabeth Short. Kwame crawled into a corner and curled up like a ball. This was not how he expected things to turn out.
“I called this floor meeting today to talk about being positive. I know how hard it can be being a college student. But you can’t let the pressure get to you.”
Marcia had gathered what was left of her floor in the dorm living room. Kwame, Reese, Tony, Jackie were all that remained. They were all on the old couch that Shaun had slept on. Dez had been found with a jar of peanut butter rammed down his throat early that morning. Before that, Tony discovered Zeus’s head in a microwave. The rest of Zeus had yet to turn up. Though a dog had been found chewing on what looked to Zeus’s small intestine. Becky and Mackie were thrown off the top of a building.
“If you ever feel down or depressed, you can just talk to me. Okay everyone?”
Tony raised his hand.
“I’m hungry. Can I go to my room and get a snack?”
“Absolutely not, Tony. This is an important conversation.”
“But I’m so hungry!”
“Fine, but be right back.”
Jackie raised her hand.
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
“Sure thing hunny.”
Tony left with Jackie right behind him
“Kwame. Reese. Do either of you have anything you would like to share?”
“Marcia, these might not have been suicides.” asked Reese.
“I know it can be hard to think about your classmates doing what they did, but denying it is not a healthy way to cope with their deaths.”
“It was MURDER, Marcia! All of them! There’s a murderer around here!” screamed Kwame.
“You’re both in such trouble. Do you need hugs? As a community adviser, I’ve been trained to give good hugs in the case of an emotional emergency.”
“Hugs can’t stop murder, Marcia. You know it is funny how you keep saying these deaths are suicides. ”
“Because they are.”
“Somebody is a killer around here. It’s either one of you, Jackie or Tony.”
“I’m the killer, Kwame.” said Jackie from behind the couch. She held Tony’s head in one hand and a machete in the other. Half a chocolate bar hung out of Tony’s mouth. It was the last snack he’d ever have. Jackie’s blonde hair and fair skin were drenched with his blood. She gave a bright smile to her next victims.
Reese, Kwame, and Marcia screamed. Jackie threw the machete. It whistled through the air and nailed Marcia in the forehead, killing her instantly.
Reese and Kwame sprinted toward the door and tried to turn the knob. They banged up against the door, but it would not budge. Jackie tossed Tony’s head aside and then ripped the machete from Marcia’s skull. She sliced the ping pong table in half.
Reese got a running start and ran into the door, knocking himself out. Kwame kicked at the door. Kwame stood to face Jackie. She held the machete at her side. Kwame’s eyes moved between the blade and the window. She took a step closer. He took a step back.
“Why Jackie? Why?”
“The degeneracy of our generation. Video game addictions. Drinking. Sex. Excessive Snacking. We are a generation of gluttons. We suck up all pleasure and never do what we’re meant to. We are the generation that has fallen far from the tree. We have desecrated the traditions that came before us. We are a generation of sinners and sinners must be punished.”
“What about thou shalt not kill?”
“I will turn my blade on myself after my work is done. Only two to go. You and Reese. I know I will be forgiven in the end for what I’ve done.” Jackie coughed. “Excuse me. I’m getting over a cold.”
“Me?! What have I done?”
“You enabled me. You could have reported your findings to the police. They might have stopped me. But you wanted to be the one who took down the killer. You wanted to catch me in the act. You were willing to let more people die just so you could look smarter than everyone. Isn’t that why you told Jessi not to tell anyone?”
“How do you know about that?”
“She told me so much as I sliced her face open in your room. She and Sasha were the worst degenerates of the bunch. I should have saved them for last. Oh well. You and Reese will have to do.”
Jackie shrieked like a banshee and went ballistic. She chased Kwame all over the room, swinging for his head. Kwame dove over the broken ping pong table. Jackie rushed after him. She tripped on the ping pong net. Kwame made a break for the window. He pushed up on it as hard he could, but the window would not move. It was locked. His hands raced to the window locks. He twisted them until they clicked into place. He tried the window again. It lifted up. He punched out the screen. He started to climb out the window.
Jackie dragged him back in.
“I don’t want to die!”
CRACK! Tony’s head smashed into the back of Jackie’s. It was being use by Reese like a cement block. He went completely savage on Jackie, smashing Tony’s head into her face. Jackie could do nothing to defend herself. Reese beat her to death with the head of his former friend.
He panted heavily, covered in the brains and eye goop of Jackie and Tony. The threat was over. The Killings in the North East had ended.
It is said by some that those men never forgot what occurred that Halloweekend. Those who say that are wrong. Both men have left that event in the past and moved on with their lives. It was for the best.