Author's notes: My halloween story. I wanted to write one last year, but I couldn't finish it, and I didn't want to do it the day after. It just takes something from the tale.

I know I've been inactive for a long time, but that's not because I haven't had the will to write. Quite the contrary. About two month ago my computer hard drive got a virus and had to be completely cleared. I lost EVERYTHING I was working on. EVERYTHING. That was so hard for me. My writing is my world, and losing it killed me inside. But it's halloween, I love the holiday, I love scary things - I needed to write. And you know, I think this turned out really well. I'm always critical of my work, but this really turned out how I wanted it and I'm very pleased. I'm also hoping this story will open the floodgates and allow me to start pumping out the words again.

You can interpret this absolutely however, as with everything else I've written. I guess it's another psychological piece. I really like those. That's probably what compels me to write them. Well, no duh. Seriously, you'd never guess that.

Either way, it turned out a lot different than I originally intended, but I prefer it how it is right now. I think there's a little more character and a lot more fill-in the blank content, which I think is fun to work with. I don't know, maybe I'm just crazy.

This was posted on the day of halloween, before midnight. Depending on where you live, it might have been late, but here it was most definitely an All Hallows Eve tale, which makes me happy. Like I said, I didn't get to finish last year's halloween-day story.

Reviews are always welcome, read, and appreciated. I love to hear from you all!

She knows she will be dead soon. She knows it just like she knows that soon the fog will roll in and cover everything. She knows it just like she knows that it's been exactly 13 days since she went missing. She knows it just like she knows that it's really too late now.

"It's just a little further," soothes the creature in front of her. The moonlight reflecting off of his golden mask make his eyes appear to stretch infinitely on into his face. Looking at him makes her want to pull her hands out of his hands, the hands that are always covered in those black leather gloves, the hands guiding her along. She loathes this man, this thing, with all her heart. But she is also afraid of him - she knows what he's capable of. EVERYONE knows what he's capable of.

She stumbles on something solid and almost falls into him. He doesn't miss a step, but his grip tightens a bit. The feeling makes her nauseas, but she doesn't dare get sick. What would he do to her if he did?

The woods are looming in front of them, dark and dangerous like the person in front of her. The gnarled branches look like fingers trying to reach up and entangle themselves into the dark sky. She wishes there was some way, any way, that this was all a dream, that she didn't have to go in there, that she would be allowed to live, but she couldn't even drown out for a second that knowledge that soon, she would float on the river beyond the trees.

'Every couple of years... 'nother girl... Sometimes faceup, sometimes... Missing for awhile.... No one knows how long they're in the water... young... couple of years...'

She takes a deep breath and forces herself to let it out slowly. As she's tugged into the dark, she closes her eyes.

When she opens them again, she wishes she hadn't.

The full moon's light dances around them sickeningly through the cracks in the growth above. The entire place tilts and careens even as the ground stays firm beneath her feet. Dizziness overcomes her, and she closes her eyes again.

Through it all he continues on, never once faltering. He obviously knows where he's going. He's obviously been there before.

He's going to kill her. He'll do it just like he killed the other girls. She'll be the latest victim, the latest unfortunate girl kidnapped and murdered by the serial killer on a full moon night. They'll find her with precise slit across her neck, floating on or just below the river's surface. For a few days, it will be all over the news. Then, gradually, the hype will die down.

They won't find her killer.

Something like a sob rises up in hr throat, but she doesn't let it out. If he hears her, he might get angry, and God only knows what he'll do if he gets angry. So she follows, compliant, as he takes her closer and closer to death.

This isn't what she wants.

She wants eggs. She was supposed to have eggs. She was going to the store to get eggs so that she could make a cake when she first met him. He hadn't spoken - just stared out at her from behind that terrible gold mask. She'd been so terrified, yet so transfixed... And then the next thing she knew everything went dark.

That was thirteen days ago. They never lasted more than thirteen days.

Without thinking about it, she lets out a despaired sigh. Immediately she tenses. What if he heard her? What would happen?

Nothing. He keeps moving forwards.

Thank god. For a second she thought she'd lost her chance at a painless death. Thank god.

Ahead of her, he jumps over something gracefully, tugging her arm hard in the process. She feels something firm against her feet, blocking her way, and raises her foot until she can't feel it anymore. She leans forwards, trying to step over it, but she realizes too late that she was caught. For a sickening second she is falling face first to the ground, but a second later her leg is beneath her again and supporting her. She stands up, using his hand as balance. It only occurs to her then that something has changed, and it takes her another second to realize that he's stopped. Without any warning he is moving again, and so was she.

They are almost there. The smell of wet, marshy earth, silt, and moss combine in her nostrils to create a scent that she can only know as despair. It is finally too late. She is too close to escape.

His hold increases.

Then the trees are all gone, and there is nothing but the silvery light and the moon, nearly as bright as the sun, reflected in the black, silken sheet that she knows is the river. For a second, the beauty of it all takes her breath away. Then she remembers why she is there; realizes that this will be the last time she sees the moon. Even inside her, the fornlorness is as intangible and thick as the fog.

He slows down, moving almost carefully through the tall grass. His feet seem not to make a sound - it's as though she is the only one moving. Once upon a time she knows it would have frightened her, but after everything, after all those days ALONE IN THAT DARK ROOM she can't muster up any fear.

He halts right next to the edge of the dirt bank and tugs gently three times. She stops just behind him, peering out. The water in front of her almost intrigues her - she has never seen the end before. But this is what it looks like. This was what it is like when everything ceases.

Now he turns to her, and again she sees his mask, some kind of demon with large fangs protruding from both the upper and lower jaw. She'd known they were fake when she first saw him, but now, after those thirteen days, she isn't so sure.

"Do you love me?" The voice behind the mask is barely above a whisper; the tone is kind, gentle. If it came from anyone else, then it would be affectionate.

She bites the inside of her lip and looks out at the water again. Is this a test? Is this how he determined how she died? How does she answer his question? How could she honestly love the monster who has kidnapped her away from everything and brought her here, on this beautiful, eerie night to kill her?

A lie would be better than the truth. If she can convince him, make him believe that she does, then maybe he will let her go free. It's what he wants, after all. She's known that since the first day, when he came into the room with the boards over the windows and tried to come near to her, reaching out his arms as though to hold her. She'd screamed, screamed so loud she was sure someone would hear, but nothing had changed except that he'd grown angry. He'd hit her just hard enough to hurt for a moment before turning on his heel and swishing out.

She should say it. She knows it.

She opens her mouth.

"No," she replies. There is no terror, no remorse, no shyness in her voice.

She is sure of it.

She waits for the blow, for him to pull out the knife that he will slit her throat with, for the abyss that surely lies beyond to simply appear and swallow her. He drops her hands, and she braces herself, making her keep her eyes open. She should see what is about to happen. She had a right to see. After everything he's taken away, she has the right to see.

He steps backwards, still silent, still graceful. It hits her suddenly that behind the mask he has a melancholy smile on his face, even though she can't see it. He steps backwards again, and again. Then he stops entirely, every muscle in his being seeming to lock. She can feel his gaze on her, willing her to understand something that she forces herself to block out.

He takes another step. He falls.

There is a splash, and then silence reigns. She is rooted to the spot, unable to believe what she's just seen. It's a trick. It has to be a trick...

Numbly, she moves forwards. She stops, prepares herself as best she could, and then peers over the bank.

The water is quiet, moving only in tiny lazy wavelets that lap at the edge with a soft whispering sound. Something glimmers at her from beneath the surface, but even as she sees it she knows it is her imagination.

A dead weight wraps around her left wrist suddenly. She looks down and notices for the first time in days the bracelet he'd given her. It's just a simple shiny, intricate gold chain with an easy clasp.

She knew what he wanted to tell her.

Her knees hit the ground with a thud. She buried her head in her hands and wept.