Time to Remember
Casting Notice (A Horror Story)
by Stephen LaDow
**** CASTING NOTICE - Samhain ****LOCATION: Winston, GA
WORK DATE: Tues 10/31 Rate: $88/10
Currently casting for MEN! Males who appear in their 20's-40's, any size, with no aversion to face being covered. Any ethnicity welcome to apply!
This will be a late evening call Must be available all night! Please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line VIctem. thank you!
Jerrod had been scrolling through his facebook page when his phone pinged with the message alert. He quickly swiped over to his text messages and found the notice. The number was unknown but he had signed up to so many casting websites recently it didn't surprise him. He got at least three to six notices daily and could usually pick up a couple gigs a week as an extra. Georgia's film market was booming and there was ALWAYS something going on. Lately pickings had been a bit slim - he had done pretty much all of the TV shows filmed in the area and had to wait a few weeks before resubmitting- lot's of calls for "fresh Faces" had been filling his feed recently.
This little beauty came as a godsend-by the time the check from the gig rolled in his phone bill would be due. That's how he eked out his meager existence with blind luck- through a variety of random background roles . He definitely had what you called "a look" that pigeonholed him as the working class type .He was a burly fella with a bit of a gut, buzzed short dark hair and ruddy complexion from drinking too much cheap beer, so he had played a construction worker, an orderly, homeless, a cop, and a cable guy and so on.All of which he found a little boring, but hey,it paid the bills.
This would be the first time he played the "victim".
" A fucking horror movie! Fuck yeah! " he muttered under his breath. He couldn't believe his luck.
The call time ended up being eight o'clock on Halloween night which totally sucked- it was Jerrod's favorite holiday- but he wasn't going to complain. Money was money and every little bit counted. Besides, his buddy Richard had gone down to Universal Studios in Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights and Jerrod had no plans without him. Richard had called him earlier that day on his way down to rub it in. Richard was a dork, but Jerrod didn't have that many friends in Atlanta. He had only moved there six months earlier and the fact he was broke most of the time limited his social life or rather killed it altogether Richard lived next door to him at his shitty apartment complex and they had met in the dingy laundry room. It smelled of wet feet and clorox, and they bonded over trying to kill the same cockroach that had skittered between them. Later they realized they also shared a love of gory slasher films and anything by George Romero and Lucio Fulci.
Richard exuded a general air of creepiness- in high school he could possibly be voted "person most likely to become a serial killer" and he'd wear it as a badge of honor. His bald head was speckled with sores and nicks from his razor and his eyes were bulging and exaggerated by his thick black rimmed glasses. He tended to find humor in the most random and strange things (like extremely gory horror movies or nudie pics of fat chicks that he said wanted to fuck him or rather "diddle me", as he says) and was extremely socially awkward in front of just about everyone else. All in all, he was a big dorky mess who made Jerrod laugh and had a great DVD collection filled with hard to find Italian splatter flicks.
"They have a frakkin' Exorcist house this year, man! It is gonna be sick! I watched the walk through on YouTube. " Richard sounded like he was practically salivating. Jerrod could hear traffic in the background on the phone.
Jerrod rolled his eyes. "YouTube? You already watched it on fucking YouTube? Why'd ya do that, dickweed? Now you've spoiled it." He fingered the notepad next to him with the address of the shoot later that night. He tore the paper off and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. Over the phone line he could hear the bleat of someone slamming on their horn and he then heard Richard scream, "Stay in your lane, jerkface! " Jerrod shook his head and grinned at his friends idea of name calling. "You tell him, my friend! Don't fuck with dick!"
"Don't call me that. Anyway, you know that demon stuff freaks me out. I just wanted to be prepared for the house. I'll be fine. HEY! WATCH WHERE YOU"RE GOING!! Listen Jerrod, I've got to let you go. There's some dingleberry trying to run me off the road. Have fun tonight! I know I will. Laterz! HEYYY_" the phone clicked off as Richard hung up.
Jerrod slipped his phone into his pocket and went into the bedroom. Luckily, it seemed, wardrobe was being provided for the shoot so he didn't have to worry about grabbing a bag with changes of clothes. He decided since it was an all nighter he should try to grab a little shut eye before he went to set. It was supposed to be a ten hour shoot but they always had the possibility of going over time, which was cool with him. Overtime was time and a half, and he could use the dough. He lay on top of his covers and soon fell to sleep. He dreamt of Richard in his car, rolled over in a ditch, blood streaming down his face, his eyes sightless and glassy, his mouth agape, and the sound of someone chanting "Jerkface! Jerkface! Jerkface" over and over and over...
The rain was coming down in sheets making it impossible to see. It was almost eight o'clock and Jarrod was starting to worry he was going to be late. Other movies he had worked on frowned heavily on tardiness and even had gone so far as turning folks away if they were late. He slapped his dash clock. "SHIT! MOTHERFUCKING SON OF A BITCH!" He was flying nearly blind- he had no idea where he was save for his trusty GPS on his phone. Winston was booney-ville with not much besides the encroaching green canopy of trees. and the occasional house. The light in the sky had all but disappeared and the torrential downpour made visibility impossible. He was looking for a driveway with a yellow sign posted reading "Samhain" and he prayed to God he could see it in the rain. Google maps said he was only five miles away, but the rain was making him drive slower, especially on the curvy road.
He wondered if Richard had made it to Orlando yet. He pictured him cautiously making his way through the Exorcist house, screaming at the Linda Blair dummy spinning her head and spewing pea soup everywhere. He's such a pussy. Jerrod pondered the unlikely thought of them actually keeping the puke bit in and caught himself chuckling at the idea of Richard's sympathy puke response when he heard a loud pop and he lost control of the car in a skid. "What the....FUCK!???"
He turned into the spin as the car skidded towards the shoulder, straightened the wheel and pulled safely to the side of the road. The unmistakeable tha-thump of a flat tire echoed in the pit of his stomach, and he screamed at the top of his lungs." Dammit!!!!" The rain was not abating and there was no light along the road. He sat there for a few minutes, weighing his options. He checked the GPS on his phone and it said he was .2 miles away from his destination. Jerrod had a spare in his trunk and could easily change the tire, but it was almost pitch black out and, of course, rain. Or he could hike the short distance in the rain and just come back and fix it in the morning after the shoot was over and the sun was up. It was ten after eight. He was already late, but they still might give him a break if he got there soon and explained the situation. "FUCK!"
He hopped out of the car and went over to the passenger side, using his phone's flashlight as his guide. His front right tire was shredded, steel-belt strands frayed and sticking out wildly from the carcass of his Goodyear radial. Definitely no patching that. The rain seemed to get more intense at that very second and the brisk October air was starting to seep into his bones. He sighed in resignation and after locking up his car, began his hike.
Luckily for Jerrod the yellow handmade sign for the production wasn't too far ahead- the marker-inked lettering was starting to run, giving the effect of blood running,but it was still legible. The driveway was long and deep as was the case for most of these places out in the country. Rivers of red mud cut through the unpaved drive and Jerrod prayed that he would be provided with dry shoes along with his costume or it was going to be a miserable night.
There was an ramshackle house about three hundred yards in- it looked like it had been abandoned for many years. Jerrod could see a soft glow sneaking through the boarded up windows. Vines had overtaken the sides of the house and snaked through the cracks in the porch. Lightning flashed and Jerrod caught a glimpse of the dilapidated barn that was situated to the right of the house as well as the grey Chevy van with it's side door open parked between the two buildings . A wave of unease swept over Jerrod. Where are the other cars?A quick scan of the yard didn't reveal much, the dark was pervasive and complete. Maybe there's parking in back ,he assured himself. Most likely this is the transport pickup spot to take us to set. But something seemed to be off, he just couldn't put his finger on it.
A figure opened the door of the house and Jerrod could make out the shape of a short squat woman whose outline gave Jerrod the slight impression of a hobbit. The light was behind her so he couldn't make out her face. She looked down at her watch and barked, "You're late." The red embers of her cigarette briefly illuminated her face as she took a drag and he saw her sizing him up. Finally she said, "You look like a drowned rat. " she sniggered . "Well, come on in! Got yer costume and paperwork.It's gonna be a late one." She took another drag and smiled at him. "When you finish, we'll getcha to the set pronto." She turned towards the door and waved her arm towards the entrance of the house.
With that, he followed her in.
"Where's yer car?" The woman crossed the room and sat in a chair next to a folding card table. She faced him now and Jerrod noted to himself that she was a plain woman with an abundance of freckles covering her chubby face. . Her sandy brown hair which had faded green and blue streaks in it was curly and piled in an unkempt mess upon her head with a yellow number two pencil sticking out of it. Curly may have been an overstatement as most of it seemed just matted. She wore a black long sleeve t-shirt that read Nerf-Herder on the front. Her baggy jeans were spattered with red paint and were puddling around her ankles- they were in desperate need of hemming and covering heavy workboots that seemed comically large. She shuffled through a pile of papers on the table and handed one to him along with the pencil she had stuck in her hair. "Someone drop you off?"
Jerrod took them both and replied, "Flat tire. It's less than a quarter of a mile up the road. I figured I'd fix it tomorrow. Um, can I change into my costume? It's cold in here. " He looked around the sparsely furnished room and realized there wasn't anything else in there besides a couple of battery powered coleman lanterns.
She cackled at him-for some reason she found this funny and Jerrod smiled politely , waiting for instruction. "Yeah, through there. You can just leave your clothes in there . They'll be safe. " She gave him an impatient look , waiting for him to go. "We ain't got all night. Everyone is waiting for you. Come on with ya!" As he turned away, he noticed her get a walkie talkie attached to her belt and speak softly into it. "He's here. We'll be there soon."
The light from the Coleman was stark in the seedy bathroom, casting ominous shadows on the paint cracked walls and chipped tile There was a bare rod above the tub where he draped his sopping clothes and a grey mechanic's jumpsuit hung from a hook on the back of the door. It was not Jerrod's first time to don such a get-up. Add that to the list of "roles" he had played in the past. It slipped on easily over his stocky frame and he zipped up, checking himself in the cracked mirror as best he could. His hair was too short to worry about- a quick rub of his head got most of the excess water and he was good to go.
When he got returned she offered him her chair so he could fill out his paperwork. He plopped down and noticed it was a rather casual looking voucher- not the typical three page tri-colored deal but rather an obvious photo-copy of one."So...this is an independent movie?"
She cackled. "Ya think? Yer lucky yer gettin' what yer gettin', but this is a big scene an' one of the last shots." She fumbled through her purse and produced a bottled water. "No craft services but drink this. Gonna be a long night. " She handed it to him and padded over to the front door. "Come on! They're waitin' for ya." Jerrod took a big swig of his water and followed her out the door. The rain had finally slowed to a drizzle and she motioned him towards the van. He started to go to the passenger side but the woman blocked him. "Get in the back! I got a bunch of shit in the front an' I don't wanna move it."
The back of the van had bulky laundry bags and several rolls of heavy plastic stuffed in the corner. The well worn rust colored shag carpet was nearly threadbare and the lone seat was patched with duct tape. Jerrod awkwardly climbed in. The woman tossed him a burlap sack. "Put this over yer head."
He looked at her, stunned. "W'what?? Um, no! Why?"
"Just do it! It was in the casting notice. You signed on fer this. " She glowered at him. "The shooting location is a secret. Private property, okay? Besides, that's why yer gettin' paid so much. " She smiled at him. "Be a good boy, will ya?"
Jerrod sighed. He had done some weird shit as an actor before, so what was the harm. Money was money. Resigned, he slipped it over his head as she nodded approvingly and shut the van door. "That's a good boy. " She said sarcastically as she cackled again.
Jerrod was really starting to not like this woman.
Being jostled in the back seat coupled with the disorientation of the burlap sack over his head was making him nauseous and slightly dizzy. The burlap smelled musty and there was a strong scent of gasoline permeating the cabin of the van. Jerrod's stomach was in knots. "Are we almost there yet? I'm feeling a little sick."
"Almost there, hun. Just a few more minutes. You gonna whoops yer cookies?" She cackled madly ,tickled by her turn of phrase. Jerrod was glad someone was amused. This woman was really starting to get on his nerves. She seemed a little nutty, but he had met his fair share of eccentric PA's since he had started doing this background artist gig thing. The ones on the big budget sets were usually pretty cool, but he had run across a couple that seemed a few cards short of a full deck.
"What's your name? I'm Jerrod. Sorry I didn't introduce myself earlier- the flat tire really fucked with my night."
"Do ya usually get into vans with strangers, Jerrod? Ya take their candy too? Want some candy, little boy" She howled, slapping her knee. "Oh, I'm jest joshin'. I'm Becky, Becky with the good hair. "she roared with laughter.
At least she's in a good mood he thought to himself. His stomach was now imitating a Ringling Brothers trapeze artist. Flip, flop, flip, flop.. He hoped they would get there soon .
"Well Becky with the good hair, it's a pleasure to meet you. I know..." he trailed off. Something was wrong . His eyes felt like weights were dragging them closed and his ears started ringing with a pulsing wah wah wah wah. "I need to...whu-?"His brain felt like it was in a centrifuge, spinning madly out of control.He tumbled forward out of his seat as Becky cackled, " Whoopsie!"
I really hate this bitch was the last thought he had before he lost consciousness .
There was a dog wailing somewhere close by. Jerrod recognized the pain in the sound. It reminded him of his dog Petey he had lost when he was seven years old. Jerrod had been playing in the backyard (digging holes to bury his green plastic army men who had "died" in battle.)He had his cap gun at the ready to do a twenty-one gun salute (or however many caps he had left on the roll) when he heard a high pitched screech and then the squeal of a dog. He ran to the front yard and saw his teen-aged neighbor Jimmy running around to the back of the car where Petey lay half under the tire. Jerrod fell to his knees beside his beloved beagle. The bottom half of the dog was under the tire up to his stomach which had burst open, steaming guts pouring through the gaping hole. By the time Jerrod had reached him Petey's eyes had gone dull and the sound abruptly stopped. Jimmy was rambling incoherently about It was an accident, buddy! I didn't see him . My phone rang and I was getting it out of my pocket- Jerrod didn't give a shit what he was saying. All he wanted to do- more than anything- was to hug his dog. Instead, he ran and hid in the garage until his Dad came home that and helped him bury the corpse.
The wailing he heard now was piercing the haze in his brain , dragging him slowly back into some semblance of awareness. The clearer his head became he realized it wasn't a dog. It wasn't Petey. It was human.
And it was right next to him.
Pinhole spots of light peeked through the loose weave of the burlap sack over Jerrod's head. The screaming had subsided and had turned into heavy panting. His head was still pounding and his thoughts were still fuzzy as random images flickered through his mind. Petey with his glazed over eyes rolled up into his head so just a fraction of the cornea peeked out, flashes of Becky (with the good hair) throwing back head in a hearty laugh, her double chin jiggling with every move- an image burned into his mind's eye, and his friend Richard in the Excorsist house at Universal screaming bloody murder. As those images faded into one another, he could almost swear he could hear his friend Richard urgently whispering raspily, "Hey buddy. Buddy. BUDDY! Jerrod. You awake? JERROD!"
This last bit he broke him out of his daze as hands gripped his shoulders and shook him. "Richard?!?!?"
The voice replied, "Yeah buddy, it's me."
Jerrod tried to lift his arm and realized it was tied behind his back. His fingers sought out the taut zip tie that bound him at the wrists. "I'm fucking tied up! Richard, is that you? I'm tied up, man!"
"Shhhhh, she'll hear you! Yeah, it's me. You have to-we have to be quiet. There's not much time."
Jerrod began to twist in his chair. "I'm tied up,man!What the fuck is going on? Why are you here? You should be in Orlando!"
Richard grunted. " I was on my way when this jerkface ran me off the road. When I got out of my car to check my tires, this freaky little woman" he spat out the word like a bad taste in his mouth "came up behind me. I turned around to ask her what did you do that for? and she tased me. TASED me!. When I came too, I was in this barn."Richard started crying. "She-she tortured me, buddy. She's got this big knife and she just started...cutting on me, you know? " His cry had a shrill tone to it as he started blubbering. "I don't think we're getting out of here!"
"Fuck that shit, Dick. We're getting out of here! "Jerrod tried to kick out his legs and realized his legs were zip tied as well. "As soon as I figure this shit out." He started to thrash his head back and forth, the hood inching up slowly with each whip of his still throbbing skull. "Help me with my hood, man."The sound of a creaking door slowly opening stopped him in mid whip.
Richard hissed "There's no time, She's back!" Jerrod heard the muffled pad of footsteps approaching. "What do you have behind your back? That's-oh my. Oh my. Come on, you don't want to do this. This is stupid. Just let us go and-HEY! Come on! Stop it. Stop right now! I'm begging you! NO!!! Aaaahhhggghhh!" Jerrod heard a dull thump like punching a melon resolving into a squelching moist sound and felt warm sticky wet liquid spray him. Richards voice had turned into a girlish squeal , high pitched and sustained.
Jerrod resumed his thrashing when he felt a hand grab the sack on the side of his face. It was pulled taught, limiting the movement of his head. He yelled, "DON"T YOU FUCKING TOUCH ME! I"M WARNING YOU, BITCH! DON'T YOU FUCKING TOUCH ME!" His breathe was ragged and harsh and he was on the verge of hyperventilating.
He could feel Becky's breath on the back of his neck . He shrank away from it, straining against the zip ties. She smells rotted. This bitch is fucked up. He twisted his head away from her but she grabbed him by the back of his head and stopped him, surprising him with her strength.
The sack was being slowly pulled from over his eyes and he saw Richard sitting in the chair next to him panting , his intestines piling out of his torso, his eyes wide and glassy. The shrieking was getting softer as if he was being deflated.
Jerrod felt warm and wet spreading at the crotch of his pants. He Had pissed himself . A scream formed on his lips.
Richards head jerked toward him and his eyes bulged, his mouth widening into a howl. "AhhhhhHA! Booga-Booga!!!!" He looked at Jerrod, eyes clear and a grin sneaking across his "blood" spattered face. "Boo. " he stated, erupting into a fit a convulsive giggles.He pointed shakily then forcefully at Jerrod and started screaming, "I got you, I frakkin' got you buddy!"
Jerrod slowly turned to Becky who was smiling creepily behind Richard.
What the fuck was going on?
"You should see your face! WHOO! Oh, jeezum, that's priceless. Ah, man, that's good stuff." Richard was scooping his "guts" (which had turned out to be rubber tubing with some sort of fake blood mixture) out of the hole in the front of his shirt and flinging them to the ground. Becky crossed behind him, a smirk stretched across her mouth. A large dagger was dangling from her stubby fingers, her arms swinging loosely at her sides.
"WHAT THE FUCK, MAN????" Jerrod was shaking-not from terror, but with unbridled rage. "What the FUCK is going on?" He pulled at his wrists, the plastic zip-tie cutting into his flesh. "Let me go NOW, Dick! I swear I'm gonna fucking kill you." He glared at his friend, face flush with anger.
Richard stepped back . "Whoa there, pahdner. It was just a a joke. I mean, like the best practical joke ever! I got you, buddy! Oh, jeezum, but good. Just ...chill out, okay?"
Jerrod shook his head in disbelief. "Who the fuck is she?"
Richard beamed, a grin stretched from ear to ear as he wrapped his arm around her.. "This is my girl!" He bent down and gave her a peck on the cheek. " I told you someone wanted to diddle me!"
Jerrod sat in silence for a few seconds."That's great, Dick. I'm thrilled for you. Hell, I'll by ya'll a drink later to celebrate. But right now all I want is for you to FUCKING LET ME GO!! Because now? Now, I think I want to beat the living shit out of you." Richard blanched."And your girl is lucky she's a woman, because I'm not too happy with the bitch right now."
"HEY! No need for name calling." Richard protectively pulled Becky close to him .Becky seemed unfazed and seemed to enjoy the interaction. " Maybe you need to calm down a little before I let you go."
Jerrod took a deep breath and decided on a different approach. "Okay, Richard, my bad. I just want to know in what alternate reality you thought it was okay to drug me? Becky? Anyone?"
Richard looked down at Becky. "Um, yeah dollface, what was up with that? We didn't talk about that. I thought you were just gonna put the hood on him and lead him here. "
She smiled innocently at him, the slightest hint of a shrug,flexing her shoulders.
"She didn't mean any harm. Oh man, it was the perfect plan. Becky was the one that sent that casting notice first. That was good, right? I just copied one from FaceBook and changed the deets. Then I faked that call earlier- we were already here setting up."He motioned around them and Jerrod took notice of the candles surrounding them. "Becky got this book online and copied all that writing you see around us." Runic symbols were painted on the bare wood walls and Jerrod's chair was in the middle of a painted circle." This is some Hollywood lookin' stuff, right? She got that dagger online too. Show it to him, Becks. " She waved it around. It looked like your standard prop house version of a "demonic" dagger, or even like something you would find Spencer Gifts at the mall, carved with snakes and skulls."We had a lot more scary stuff planned but whatever she roofied you with lasted longer than she thought it would. I had been sitting there for two hours already before you woke up. The blood is just made with red dye and karo syrup, fyi. That stuff is way sticky, my friend. Anyhoo, , we frakkin' got you! Oh, so good. " He practically beamed with pride, a shiteating grin on his face.He crossed over and knelt in front of Jerrod. "You got to admit, it was a heck of a lot scarier than Universal, right? " He pulled out a pocketknife and cut the ties around his ankles.
Jerrod let out a long sigh. Dick was such a freak. He'd probably beat the shit out of him another time, when he least suspected it, but for now he dorky friend was safe. "Yes. It was scarier than Universal."
Richard looked at his friend for forgiveness, smiling tentatively until his eyes widened sharply in surprise, and he jerked forward as if pushed. His neck started to bulge, cords straining, and his eyes turned to Jerrod questioningly. Jerrod couldn't comprehend what was happening until he saw the the blade of the dagger plunged into his friend's neck. He looked up to see Becky (with the good hair) behind his friend , grinning .There was something wrong with her eyes- it was as if they were solid black with no reflection but Jerrod thought it had to be a trick of the light. Richard crumpled like a sack of laundry with a muffled thump on the ground.
Becky turned her attention to Jerrod and he could see her eyes clearly, black as obsidian and glittering in the candlelight , Whoopsie!
Jerrod's brain went into overdrive. Becky had disappeared up the stairs for a while , giving Jerrod a few minutes to process.None of this made any sense to him, but he had to shift his brain into survivor mode and figure out what to do next. He scanned the room around him- searching for clues as to where he might be. It was a large room with a low ceiling. It was quite obviously old houseand extremely dusty with cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. The unpainted planks that made up the walls were cracked with age. A windowless room with no furnishings save for a few broken wooden chairs in the corner piled like kindling. Candlelight danced on the walls, highlighting the strange symbols painted there. He couldn't make out what they said( if they said anything at all-it looked to him like a bunch of random shapes and marks) but they were precisely written and densely covered the entirety of the walls. He heard her again from somewhere high above him, clomping down stairs with something heavy dragging behind her Tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump, until she reached the bottom. Becky was muttering something that was just outside of his comprehension- it sounded more like vocal tics than language. Then the distinct sound of something being dragged across the floor behind him. He looked down at Richard who was still laying crumpled at his feet, unmoving, a dark stain spreading beneath him. He nudged him with his toe . No response. Shit.
After dropping whatever she was dragging behind him with a thud, he could hear her padding away from him and going back up the creaky stairs. In time, the silence was deafening.When it seemed evident that he was alone, he did his damndest to focus. Okay, this is it. Think! What are you gonna do? THINK Goddammit! He tentatively tried to get up, his legs weak and shaky. His feet had gone to sleep and he nearly collapsed on the prone form of his friend. He hopped over him barely missing his head and stumbled into the wall. His shoulder took the brunt of impact, the chair hanging to his wrists behind his back. The chair was the same wood variety as the broken ones in the corner and Jerrod had an idea. After a few minutes of stomping his feet trying to get the circulation in his legs going, he went across the room and then ran back, full speed towards the wall and twisting into it with the chair taking full impact. It rammed into his back knocking the wind out of him with a harsh woosh and the zip-ties attached to the side posts sliced into the flesh of his wrists. He grimaced with pain, stifling a moan threatening to escape his lips. Blood started to trickle down his fingertips. The chair was still in one piece, but it's joints were a little looser. He made the run again, this time to successful results, the chair in pieces at his feet. The wooden dowels slipped from his blood slicked wrists and his arms were free.
He ran to the stairs and looked to the top-there was a closed door which upon closer inspection he unsurprisingly found locked. He went back down and sat with a thud on the bottom step. Examining his wrists, he could see they were pretty sliced up. He shook his hands and blood spattered the floor. It wasn't life threatening, so he went back to sizing up the room. His eyes fell upon the sole of a work boot attached to the shape of another body sprawled on the floor. The other foot was bare and small.
Becky had been busy.
Becky's (With The Good Hair) Story
Two weeks earlier
"Are you shittin' me? Who in their ever-lovin right mind would fall for this bull-hockey?" Becky's arm was starting to get achy and tired. "Who is this numb-skull?"
Richard was leaning back on the couch with eyes closed, his head against the wall. He didn't want to talk about Jerrod but Becky was insistent. Besides, she stopped stroking his wiener every time he paused and he needed release. Jeezum, it had been a long time since a woman had touched him that way. Heck, it had been a long time since a woman had touched him in any way, so he figured he could try to concentrate on words as well. "He's an actor frie-"
Becky interrupted him, resuming the thwacking motion with renewed gusto. "ACTOR?? Yeh, that figgers. THAT explains everything. He's a moron." With a well timed flick of her wrist and a subtle application of pressure he came with a soft moan. "okay then. Just tell me what I got to do. I ain't got nothin' better goin' on. This could be fun." She nestled herself into the crook of his arm, her frizzy hair pressed deep into his neck.
Richard brushed her stiff hair away from his mouth where curly tendrils were trying to poke and smiled gleefully."This is going to be frakkin' awesome!"
Becky layed her paintbrushes neatly in front of her as well as a couple cans of paint and a box with the Amazon logo on it. . She sat cross-legged on the floor in the basement of an old farmhouse Richard had found, illuminated by Coleman lanterns she had placed in the four corners of the room. She ripped off the packing tape and dug out the contents, tossing aside the foam peanuts. A wooden box with some kind of odd writing on it's lid and sides, and an old book. She smirked. You really can find anything on Amazon. Inside the box was some sort of knife/dagger thing. She pulled it out, gingerly turning it over in her hand."Blessed mother that's fucked!'She exclaimed, running her finger along the intricately carved hilt. "OUCH! Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!" She dropped the knife, blood dripping freely from the pad of her thumb. It bit me! She thought, than giggled at the absurdity of the notion, There must have been some ragged piece of metal that had poked me. she rationalized. It was dripping pretty freely, spattering the front of the leather bound book in her lap. "Whoopsie daisy! Don't want to get this piece of shit messy." She got up, knees creaking, and she struggled to stand upright. She swayed, feeling lightheaded. No time fer this, she thought. She had a lot of painting to do. She grabbed a rag, wrapped it around her finger , scanned the room to map out what she was going to do.
She was a little annoyed Richard wasn't there to help her out, but he claimed the devil stuff freaked him out. She had lent him her phone and he was gonna take care of texting the casting thingie to his friend. He was pretty specific about what he wanted in the room- a large pentagram on the floor and a bunch of writing on the walls. He told her to copy the text from the book and when she asked him what part specifically, he said "Doesn't matter. It'll look real enough to scare him. Just whatever. I mean, you could make it up, but I want it to be real, like at Universal studios!" She wanted to tell him that it wasn't real at Universal but decided it wasn't worth the effort. Geeks. Gotta love 'em.
She grabbed a paintbrush and a small can of Spanish Red. It was dark and rich enough to look like blood in the candlelight they planned to illuminate the room with. She started with the large circle on the floor, crawling on her hands and knees, humming softly to herself. She stopped as she connected the circle sat back on her ass with a plop. A buzzing filled her ears and she felt ...floaty. Paint fumes, she thought. The room was unventilated, the air still and stale save for the acrid fumes of the paint. The buzzing grew increasingly louder until it was all she could hear, effectively drowning out her the sound of her thoughts. Her eyes started to glaze over and she blinked , trying to clear them. She squinted, scrunching up her brow , trying to will away the haze. When she opened them she was sitting at the foot of the stairs. The paint cans and brushes were gone, as well as the Amazon box and the packing peanuts. In the middle of the freshly painted pentagram in the center of the room was the wooden box with the dagger laying on top of it. She looked around the walls that now held the text of the book, every square inch covered in writing.
Becky shook her head in disbelief. She had no recollection of doing any of it.Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw a hole in the middle of the pentagram painted floor closing like an aperture of a camera. When she turned to look it had disappeared. Freaky deaky.
Becky figured she was still tripping, after-effects of fume inhalation. "Okay, let's go get ready for this hoedown!" She grabbed a coleman lantern and climbed the stairs and slammed the door shut behind her.
The shadows thrown on the room from the remaining lanterns seemed to dance and swirl, dripping down the walls to meet over the pentagram, rising and writhing into solid form.
Jerrod wasn't sure if he wanted to investigate the newfound body wrapped in a painters tarp. It was definitely smaller than Richard, and Jerrod had a sinking feeling of dread that it could be a child. Possibly a pre-teen, not that that made it any better. The bare foot sticking out the end looked to be at least a size six . Not even the sight of his friend lying face down in a pool of blood disturbed him half as much as the sight of the petite foot. He shook his head, trying to clear the images away, and focused on forming some kind of plan.
He definitely didn't want to be caught at the top of the stairs- the actual stairs were narrow and he pictured being greeted by Becky there with no railing to hold on to and her pushing him back down. Not gonna give that bitch any advantage. The fact that the room was bare did not help . No place to hide, save for beneath the stairs. Jerrod supposed that would have to suffice. He really didn't have any other choice.
An idea started popped in his head as he looked over at the pile of broken chairs against the wall. He pawed through the pile, looking for anything that could be used as some sort of weapon. Mostly the pieces were small and splintered, but finally he found a supporting back leg that had run the length from the foot to up the back- it was at least four feet long and seemed sturdy. He gave it a swing, feeling the weight in his hands. It would work, but he just needed more to feel prepared. Protected.
Something was nagging at him, hidden deep in the recesses of his brain- like a thought at the tip of your tongue. It almost hurt to push it forward. All that was coming through was the sound of Richard's voice repeating Jerkface! Jerkface! Jerkface! He looked down at his friend with a twinge of sadness. He was a pretty good dude. Little bit of a freak, but an okay guy. Jerrod had already forgiven him for dragging him into this mess (amazing what being murdered does for ones's friend karma) and was at least gratefull to Richard for cutting the zip-ties around his ankles, otherwise he might still be stuck in the-
Yes! Aw, man, yes! He had totally forgotten about the knife Dick had used to cut his ties. It was a decent size- Richard had actually been quite proud of it. As well as the extensive collection of slasher flicks, he had quite an array of knives along with a few swords plus, a light saber that lit up and made whooshing sounds. But the knife! The knife had a titanium blade and Richard bragged how easily he could gut someone with it if anyone ever messed with him. He assured Jerrod he never was pushed that far, but he was ready for it if it happened. Jerrod knew his friend was full of shit, but right now all he cared about was that knife. He scanned the floor to see if it had slid anywhere. Nothing. Nowhere.
He knew where it had to be. Somewhere under his dead friend.
"Goddammit!!" He knelt at Richard's side and gently rolled him over. Jerrod had forgotten about the fake intestines underneath his friend and picked through them, searching.Real blood and fake blood intermingled beneath the pile, swirling around each other in varying consistencies. Nothing there.
When Jerrod had turned Richard over, his friends arm and plopped to his side, outstretched, and clenched in his hand Jerrod spied his treasure. Bingo. He pulled up the limb by it's sleeve and began to peel Richard's stiff fingers away from the knife.
With a start Richard sat bolt upright, a gutteral moan expelled from his lungs, his eyes wildly dancing around. Jerrod jumped back from his friend, clutching his chest.
"What the fuck??" Jerrod scrambled to pick up his wooden dowel, putting distance between his friend. and himself. He watched cautiously as Richard grabbed at his own neck and sputtered, circling him with his makeshift club raised. Richard's eyes followed him, a look of confusion and shock stamped on his face.
"Wha-" Richard started, his voice gravelly and choked. He cleared out his throat and spat out a large ball of bloody phlegm. "What are you doing?"
Jerrod stopped and pointed his chair leg menacingly at him. "I don't know.Making sure you're not a zombie." He jabbed it at him.
Richard looked at him incredulously. "What???" Despite the excruciating pain in his neck, he started to giggle. "Ow! What are you talking about, man? A zombie? " he stopped abruptly, the smile gone from his lips. "Have you lost your mind? Are you totally de-ranged?" He burst out laughing, choking out a chortle. "Oh Jeezum, ow ,man OW! Don't make me laugh. It hurts too much. "
Jerrod eyed him suspiciously, still not totally convinced. "I know it sounds stupid but some pretty weird shit has been going on." He gestured around the room. "So, how do I know you're not a zombie?"
"Um...I don't want to eat your brains AND I'm speaking, so ergo I can't be UNDEAD! Sweet baby Jesus, I'm hurting here. A little sympathy please!" He stretched out his hand for Jerrod to grab, waggling his fingers. "Help me up already!"
Jerrod stood still for a moment considering his wounded friend. Dick was pale, but shit, he was always pale. He never went outside unless absolutely necessary. His eyes were bloodshot but again, nothing too unusual for him. Dick was always rubbing at his eyes. He grabbed his hand and pulled him up.
"Thank you. "Richard sniffed. Jerrod smiled ruefully and punched him in the arm. "HEY!!! What ya do that for?"
"Are you fucking serious? What the hell is all this , Dick? I'm a little hacked off right now. I thought I was getting some work and next thing I know I'm tied to a chair in some basement in the middle of east bum fuck because my friend thought it would be a funny practical joke and then his psycho girlfriend goes all Evil Dead on us and-and..."
"How do you think I feel? She stabbed me in the neck, man!" Richard pulled his hand away from his wound. "By the way, how does it look?" Jerrod examined it- the slit was small and the flow of blood had mostly stopped. He was lucky. An inch to the right and she would have pierced the carotid.
He gave him a thumbs up and a weak smile. "I think you're gonna live. Now come on, we gotta get ready for that bitch. Give me your knife. "
Richard shrugged."I don't know where it is." Jerrod pointed to the floor next to the body- he had dropped it when he woke up. "Uh, who is that?" Richard's voice sounded strangled as he backed away towards the wall.
"I dunno. I didn't want to look. Just get the knife."
Richard glared at him. "I don't want to. "
Jerrod gave him a look. "We're in this mess because of you. Pick up the fucking knife. "
Richard sighed and knelt beside the body. "Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no! " he fell back on his butt and sat with a thump, pointing at the corpse. "It's Becky."
Jerrod shook his head. "No it isn't. I saw the bitch. She went upstairs. We gotta get ready for her."
"It's Becky, dude, it's Becky! That's her boot. She was wearing those stupid work boots that are too big- look!. Her tiny little feet- Oh jeezum, I think I'm gonna puke." He covered his mouth as his stomach flip flopped.
"It's not her , I'm telling you. Look, I'll prove it." Jerrod grabbed the end of the tarp and pulled it, rolling the corpse out like a table cloth trick of a really bad magician. Ta-da! Richard gagged, vomit spewing through his fingers.
The body of a short plump woman lay between them. She was naked except for one paint spattered work boot. Jerrod still couldn't tell if it was Becky or not because someone had peeled all of the skin off her head including her scalp and her face.
As if it was a mask. Her face is gone as if it was a mask!!
The door to the cellar opened slowly with a screech and time seemed to pause, causing everything to appear in slow motion. Jerrod grabbed his friend by the shoulder and pushed him into the corner under the stairs. Richard started to object but Jerrod placed his hand over his mouth and shook his head, pointing to the top of the stairs. He spotted the knife next to (?) Becky and scrambled for it . Luckily the Becky thing was in no rush to come down or time had stopped altogether- Jerrod couldn't tell anymore. Adrenaline was pulsing through his body at an alarming rate, his heart beating out of his chest.He looked at Richard whose eyes were watering and darting around like a panicked animal. Jerrod shoved the knife into his frightened friend's hand, nodding encouragement as he did so, fully aware that it was a last line of defense in case he failed.
Failure was not an option.
Heavy footsteps started clomping their way down the stairs. Jerrod held his breath as he saw the muddy work boot through the wide slats of the stairs.Those were supposed to be my boots he realized. Inspiration clobbered him over the head and he jammed his hand through the slats and grabbed hold of the boot, sending the Becky thing flying down the stairs with a booming crash. He swung around to the foot of the stairs with Richard close at his heels to find...nothing. Well, that wasn't exactly true. There was a small pile of clothes and one empty boot (the other was still on the stair where Jerrod had grabbed it) but not a trace of the wearer.A bush of frizzy hair with blue and green streaks peeked out among the folds as well of lump of pink flesh that he assumed was the remains of a face. He turned to Richard who was staring across the opposite side of the room, his jaw slack and a tiny bit of drool dribbling out of the corner of his mouth. Jerrod followed his gaze and gasped.
Jerrod couldn't tell what he was seeing-his brain couldn't process the thing before him. It was like a shadow yet somehow solid and tangible,looming and stretching up the wall and across the ceiling. At first the thing seemed to have human form but as it grew and elongated, it resembled nothing Jerrod had ever seen. If dread had a physical form, this would be the embodiment. The shape swirled and pulsed, sending shockwaves of misery and despair.The temperature dropped precipitously and his fingers and toes tingled as the feeling started to drain from his extremities.
The club uselessly fell to the ground with a clattering roll. Jerrod looked over at his friend-Richard stood transfixed, his head cocked at an odd angle, his eyes wide and his mouth working as if trying to say something but no sound escaped."Richard. Richard. RICHARD!" Jerrod called to his friend, trying to break the spell."Hey DICK!"
Richard eyes flickered and his head snapped upright. He turned sharply towards Jerrod. "Don't call me that! OW!" He clutched at the wound at his throat which started to ooze blood ."Ah Jeezum, what the frak is that thing?"
"I don't know, man, but we need to get the fuck out of here. Come on!" The floor inside the pentagram started to shimmer like a mirage, the floor buckling in waves, until it became a gaping maw plunging into an infinite abyss. "You have got to be fucking kidding me."
The dark had nearly reached them and tendrils started creeping splaying out, searching for purchase. towards them. The first landed on Richard wrapping around his wrist. The smell of flesh sizzling permeated the air and Richard's screams soared higher into a feminine pitch as the thing sank into his flesh to the bone.
Jerrod grabbed his friend around the waist and pulled him away. Richards hand popped off cleanly as if it was meant to be detachable. What the ever-loving fuck?? Richard's knees buckled and he looked like he was going to pass out. Jerrod spun him around and slapped him in the face. Richard yelled "OW!"
Jerrod barked "Come on! " as he pushed his friend to the foot of the stairs. He looked back to see the thing preoccupied with the hand it had taken, giving them a moment to flee. Jerrod tried to ignore the fact that this wisp of smoke like being was melting the flesh right off the bones of Dick's hand.
"Move it, Dick! Fucking get your ass up those stairs! " he barked. Richard struggled with his good hand, pulling himself up the railing. Jerrod pushed up into his ass with his shoulder, frantically trying to get him to move faster as the tendrils turned their attention back to them. Richards legs gave and he fell too his knees with a wailing howl. "Crawl goddammit! Crawl!" Richard started pulling himself up the last few stairs, but it was too little too late for Jerrod. There was nothing he could do.
Jerrod smelled his burning flesh before he actually felt it. Bands of searing pain marked his back as if he had been struck with a cat o'nine tails coated in acid. His agonized scream was cut short as the thing sliced through his spine as easily as a knife through butter.
Richard had reached the top of the stairs and turned back to see his friends eyes roll back into his head and his body went limp. The blackness snaked around him and enveloped him entirely until Richard couldn't see him anymore. It's almost like it's eating him. He choked back a sob, unsure of what to do next. Then he saw the tendrils unfurling towards him, stretching, reaching-
He cleared the doorway and kicked the door shut.
Minutes later he was in the van peeling down the driveway.
Two days later
The maid was nearly at the end of her shift- only three more rooms to clean and then she would drop off the linens and restock her cart. Usually she would stay until the laundry was done but today she had to get home early to take her daughter to the dentist. She rapped on the door and when no one answered, she used her paskey card to open it. She called out , "Housekeeping!" and waited a moment for an answer before she stuck her head in.
There was no sign of the strange bald man that was staying there. The day before he had left once she got there and didn't come come back until after she left, which was fine by her. He creeped her out- she couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was about him that made her uncomfortable, he just did.
He certainly is a pig! she thought as she grabbed a handful of hamburger wrappers off the floor. Several empty Coke cans and empty fast food bags were strewn across the dresser. She grabbed a trash bag from her cart and started filling it . Just like my husband. Men are pigs.
There was a sound from the bathroom - she realized she forgot to check it out before starting. She went to the closed door and gave it a light knock. "Mister? It's housekeeping. I'll be just a minute. " The knob jiggled and clicked, the door swung open. The maid averted her eyes politely. I'm sorry to disturb you , I'll come back later-" she glanced up and froze.
There were three people in the cramped space- the bald man towering in the back, another man to his side, and a short woman with frizzy multicolored hair in the front. Their eyes were black as night. The woman in front smiled a smile so disturbing the maid's heart skipped a beat.
The womans lips curled back and she opened her mouth wide revealing an infinite void. The men behind her followed suit, darkness pouring from their mouths, spewing forth, swirling and merging-
Though no words actually came out of their mouths, a word seemed to float in the air, unsaid but still distinct.
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