I’ve written this flash fiction piece in honor of October for Turning The Pages’ October flash fiction contest. You can visit their blog by clicking here:
Photo Prompt Courtesy Turning The Pages
The Old McCreedy House
By: Joni Lynn
Word Count: 1,052
Nothing ever happened in Blythewood. A small town outside of Boston, it’s population was less than 5,000. The only thing the teenagers looked forward to was the annual Halloween party at the old McCreedy house. It was a tradition as old as the town itself.
That’s the funny thing about traditions. After a while, outsiders tend to take notice of them. And this year, in the woods, someone was watching.
The front door creaked and moaned before slamming. “Damn it, Alice. If I have to listen to that door all afternoon I’m going to have a headache by tonight. Can’t you just prop it open?”
“Sorry, Meg. Trying to carry in the decorations. I thought James and Alex were going to help?”
The door slammed again and both girls jumped in unison. “Did someone mention us?” Alex snickered.
“Very funny. Now that you’re finally here, how about unloading the truck?” Alice asked.
“Why, yes ma’am! James and I are at your service.” They both bowed before propping the door open with a large rock. It didn’t take long to get everything inside.
Turning up the radio, they lost themselves in the party preparations. Because there was no electricity they had bought battery-powered lights and enough candles to burn the old joint down.
Taking a step back, they admired their work. The room had been completely transformed. Fake spider webs competed with the real ones in the rafters while orange and purple lights illuminated the worn wood, casting shadows everywhere. Over thirty pumpkins of various sizes had been carved and set around the room. Their eerie faces flickered with a luminous glow. A long table was filled with ghoulish delights. Jell-O brains, swamp water slime-green punch, and other assorted treats were arranged on the black tablecloth.
“We’ve outdone ourselves this year,” said Meg. “I’m going to start on the porch. You guys finish up in here. Everyone will be arriving in about an hour.” Knowing it would grate on their nerves, she slammed the door on purpose and laughed when she heard something drop and cussing in the background.
“She certainly doesn’t practice what she preaches,” grumbled Alice.
“Don’t worry about her. How about you and I go check out the other room and decorate in there?” Alex whispered suggestively. Laughing softly, Alice let him drag her into the dark room.
“That’s right. Everyone just leave me to do all the work. Whatever…” James fiddled with the radio until he found his favorite station. “Hell yeah—love this song.” Singing “Highway to Hell” in a low, off-key voice, he continued putting out pumpkins and candles throughout the main room. “That dude on Supernatural has got nothing on me…”
Grabbing a beer, he twisted off the top, flicked the cap across the room and sat down on the dusty floor. “I do damn good work.”
The Provincetown Police have issued a warning tonight for all residents to stay indoors after recently discovering a double homicide yesterday. Again, residents should stay inside and trick-or-treating has been cancelled. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more…
“Hey guys, did you hear that report?” James yelled. “That’s over fifty miles from here. We don’t have anything to worry about. Nothing ever happens in this crappy town.” Leaning against the wall he chugged down the last of his beer and grabbed another. He tapped his foot along with the radio but soon grew impatient. Leaping to his feet he went outside to check out the porch.
Meg had gone all out. Cornstalks graced the columns and haystacks stood in front of each window. A gruesome scene was displayed on each. A grim reaper with a long, bloody scythe. A scarecrow with only a burlap bag for a face. And a twisted-looking clown perched at the end sat staring at him; its bells jingling wildly in the wind. “I hate those creepy things,” he muttered.
Cupping his hands together he shouted Meg’s name but was only greeted with silence. And the maddening jingle of those stupid bells. Turning to face the clown, he saw it was now standing. It’s face had been painted with grotesque, sharp teeth. “Knock it off, Meg. You know I hate those things.”
The clown jumped up and began to dance. Each step inching closer to him. “I said stop it.” The clown suddenly ceased as if obeying his command. “Meg?” He inched closer. Unless Meg was wearing really high heels it couldn’t be her. The clown was too tall.
Striding toward the clown, James said, “Okay, joke’s over. We can use your help inside. Nice to see someone else has—”
James crumpled to the ground, blood pouring from his stomach. The clown laughed and licked the blood from the long blade. “Nothing ever happens here,” it hissed sarcastically. Grabbing the body, the clown dragged it out of sight.
“We’ve been searching for over half an hour. Where did Meg and James go?” Alice whined.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure they’re just trying to scare us. Let’s go outside.” Grabbing a flashlight he shone it on the front door leading outside.
“Holy—” The words Something is happening tonight were written in red on the door.
“I—I wanna go home,” Alice managed. Her fingers grabbed the doorknob. Yanking her hand back she screamed when the fresh blood smeared her hand.
The room began to grow darker as candles flickered out and a jingling noise echoed around them. Only the dim glow of the Halloween lights remained.
“Meg…James?” Alice whispered. “Alex?” The jingling grew louder.
“Boo!” yelled Meg.
“Geez you gave me a heart attack,” Alice said shoving Meg. “Very funny. You got me.”
Meg shoved Alice back sending her sprawling to the floor. “Yeah, you got that right. No more complaining ‘nothing ever happens in Blythewood’ anymore,” Meg hissed.
“What are you talking about? What’s got into you?”
“Did I ever tell you my real last name? I think it’s time I introduced you to my family. The McCreedys… My dad just escaped from Provincetown’s home for the nuts and we plan to give everyone a Halloween party tonight that they’ll be talking about for years…” Meg said.
The room went black and something grabbed Alice and dragged her into the other room. The last sound she heard was a jingle of bells.