Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Halloween

Instead of talking about scary stories, I thought I'd write a short one. Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Halloween, y'all. Mwaahahaha

Trick or Treat

Pam knew that Texas was a big state but God, she had been driving on this highway forever. This was going to be the longest part of the drive; she knew that when she started out of Texarkana. But that was little consolation when she had to roll down the window of her VW Beetle and turn up the radio to try to stay awake. She couldn’t find anything but country music stations, and she hated country music. The monotonous drive of the desert of West Texas was wearing her down, and now that it was dark, it was even worse. She couldn’t see beyond her high beams. Hadn’t they ever heard of street lamps in this state?

She kept telling herself that flying would have been too expensive. Over $600 to fly from Texarkana to Alamogordo, New Mexico, when it can be driven in one long day. One very long, through the middle of nowhere, day.

She should’ve stopped in Odessa for the night. She decided that the next town she comes to, or the next hotel she sees, she’s pulling off for the night. Her sister will be disappointed because “Miss Emily wants to meet her Auntie Pam.” But how much can a newborn change in one day? Better to get some sleep in a bed than behind the wheel, while the car was still in drive.

A sign for Kent reflected off her headlights. Kent. As in Clark Kent? A town named for Superman can’t be all bad she decided, so she turned off the Highway and onto a single-lane road, heading into town.

It didn’t seem possible, but it was actually darker here than on the highway. Pam slowed down because she had the feeling this was going to be one of those “if you blink you missed it” towns. The road was bumpy, and if she didn’t know better, she’d swear she was on a dirt road.

The air felt cooler than she expected. Yes, it was October, but October in Texas doesn’t mean that much of a change in temperature. But there was definitely a chill creeping into the car.

She realized that there was nothing but static on the radio. She hit seek a couple of times, but it was no good, so she turned it off. She must be in a radio dead zone.

Dead zone? Surely there was a better name for that, she thought. She could just make out a sign on the right-side of the road ahead of her, but couldn’t read it from this far away. Hopefully, it was a sign for the town; it had to be around here somewhere.

Pam thought she heard laughter. She reached over to turn up the radio, thinking maybe a station was coming in, but the radio was off. She stopped the car to listen. Nothing. Not even crickets. She shivered in the chilly air and pressed on the gas to drive forward while she began to roll up the window.

But there it was again. Pam stopped the car again. That was definitely laughter. Kids trick-or-treating? That’s silly, there aren’t any houses around—that she could see anyway. Maybe sounds carry over vast, flat land and she was hearing kids from some nearby neighborhood.

It was louder now. It was definitely children laughing. Pam looked to her left, thinking that was the direction the sound was coming from. It wasn’t as strong there. She turned to the right as the laughter got louder, then screamed at seeing the face staring through the passenger-side window into her car.

A pale little girl, no more than 8, in a ballerina costume giggled and backed away from the car. Pam just sat there and watched an older girl dressed as a pirate take the ballerina’s hand, turn away from the car, and vanish into the darkness.

Pam opened the center console to get her flashlight and got out of the car. She flipped on the light but didn’t raise it. She didn’t need to because she could clearly see a building and wisps of children in costumes coming in and out and wandering around. They didn’t notice her as she stood there, unable to move. She watched as they all slowly disappeared, laughter trails floating in the air after them. They were all gone, and all she could make out was the outline of a building.

The chill in the air was gone and there was nothing but silence. Pam swung her flashlight around, looking for anything but seeing nothing, only the brush of the desert around her. She turned to look in the front of the car and could see the sign in the light from her headlights. She walked towards it, until she could read the words: Kent Public School Ruins. Abandoned But Not Forgotten.

Pam ran back to her Beetle. She was never so thankful for her small car as she turned around and headed back towards the highway. She turned on the radio and country music flowed out of the speakers. Alamogordo wasn’t so far, really. What’s another few hours driving? She’d be there in no time.


Betty said...

OOOOooooooo. That was a good story! You need to write more.

Jay said...

Excellent story. I was wondering if you were going to let the chick live.

Ch3ll3 said...

[shudder] I have goosebumps on my arms!

Kell, I couldn't read the last 3 or 4 paragraphs fast enough! Great story.

Love the themed header and the orange too. I miss being able to spruce up my blog but WordPress will only allow customization if I pay for it. It's only $15 so I may take the plunge but we'll see. Maybe in time for Christmas?

Kell said...

Thanks, guys.

Jay--I decided to keep it short and simple this time. Besides, psycho killer in Texas has been overdone. Although I do have parts of a zombie version :)

BTW, there really are ruins of Kent Public School in Texas. It's one of those things I've been holding onto, thinking I could use it in a story somewhere.

jd said...

I liked it.. I have driven several times through West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. It is just like that.

susan said...

ooo...spooky! That was fun, now do another! CAN customize in Wordpress w/o paying.

Kell said...

Thanks JD and Susan.