Author's Note…Welcome to my Halloween short story for 2012! About two weeks ago, I was on youtube watching lists of top horror movies. I don't usually care about horror movies, but it's Halloween, so nothing is usual. Then I went on fictionpress to check on my other book, Civilized Hatred (take a look, if you like. Actually, no, please don't take a look; it's terrible). Somehow my started thinking that I should combine the two. Of course, I only had two weeks until Halloween, so I knew it had to be short. I originally planned to make it one chapter, but how boring would that have been? So instead, I thought I should make it a couple chapters long. And a couple chapters turned into five chapters and an epilogue. But now I'm just blathering on like an idiot. What I'm trying to say is this story is completely last minute, and totally just for fun. So, enjoy…
October 30, 2008
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, / Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore-
It did happen on a dreary night. I was sitting, thinking, tired and reading the poem The Raven by Edger Allen Poe. It was ironic, considering.
I could never have thought that one night would change my life. But it did. One night changed my life, and changed me. It was supposed to be a fun weekend. We were going to visit my grandparents in Northern Oregon State, on the coast, for Halloween Weekend.
There were six of us, packed into our big Suburban. My dad drove, and my mom had the map. As usual, they were arguing. In the second set of seats sat my older brother Eric, in his fourth year of college, and myself, currently in my first year of college. Behind us sat my sixteen year old brother Jason and fourteen year old Stacy, both in high school. We children were silent; we usually did that when our parents argued.
It was a Thursday. We had set out early in the evening, after our classes had ended. According to our grandparents, it was a two hour trip in good weather, but today the sky had other plans. At first, it had started drizzling and the wind picked out. By the time we started driving along the coast, the wind was ferocious and the rain was oppressive. Luck seemed against us at every turn. The rain and winds took out the main bridge, making the only way to my grandparents a long and twisted country road. It was now nearly ten at night and the road was empty.
"Owen, I can't believe you missed the turn," My mom was saying to my dad in an irritated tone.
"Well, maybe the next time you tell me to turn, Joan, you might do it before I pass the turn."
Eric glanced over at me, sighing. I smiled. We were frequently witnesses to such exchanges, and this time was no different. I glanced back at my younger siblings, and I couldn't help but smile. Despite the loud thunder and rain and the whistling wind, not to mention our parents yelling at each other, Jason and Stacy were fast asleep. But not for long.
Suddenly the car started to jolt. I grabbed ahold of the hand rest on the car door, as my dad tried to keep the car in control. My mom dropped the map she was holding and let out a screech. "What's happening?"
Jason and Stacy woke up and looked around groggily, but said nothing.
My dad pulled the car over to the side of the road. There was nothing in sight but hills and trees. My dad glanced down at the gas meter. "Damn! The gas tank is empty."
"This is your fault!" My mom whined. "What are we going to do? We are lost, in the middle of the storm, and the car is dead. And it's your fault!"
My dad turned off the car, whacking the steering wheel with his hand. He took a deep breathe, trying to stay calm. "Let's call my parents." In unison, everyone in the car pulled out their phones. "No bars," Dad said.
"What are we going to do?" My mom replied.
Putting my phone back in my pocket, I placed my book on the seat in between Eric and myself, not bothering to close it. "Mom, calm down. Everything will be fine. There are bound to be houses nearby."
My dad turned to look at us in back. "Ok, listen, everyone. I'm going to go find help. You guys stay in the car."
My mom grabbed ahold of my dad's arm. "I'm going with you, Owen. Eric, Celia, watch the kids."
Celia referred to me. I rapped my arms tightly around myself, suddenly feeling a chill that only I could feel. Without another word, my parents grabbed their raincoats and climbed out of the car. I climbed into the front driver's seat, and Eric climbed into the passenger seat. Stacy moved up to the seat I had sat in, leaving only Jason in the back.
For some reason, I didn't want my parents to go. I wanted us to stay together. I had obviously been watching too many horror films. Why, in horror films, did everyone insist on splitting up?
Eric seemed to read my thoughts. "They'll be fine, Cecy, don't worry. In the meantime…" He turned on the car battery and flicked on the radio. "Let's see what the weather is doing."
Stacy leaned over my shoulder, putting her arms across the top of my seat. "Where are we, anyway?"
I shrugged. "I don't know."
"Dad should have got that GPS I told him to get," Jason said, not moving from the back, but instead yawning and stretching. That was normal Jason. We were in a dangerous situation, and he was as laid back as a cucumber.
I tried to see through the rain where our mom and dad had gone, but the rain was too thick. Even the radio was coming in and out. "Rain…in the northern part of Oregon…travel may be unsafe."
"Yeh, a little late for that," Eric pointed out.
I reached out and grabbed the map, left forgotten by my mother on the floor of the passenger seat.
We sat in the car for about twenty minutes. As we did, the rain slackened a bit and the radio came in clearer. As the clock struck eleven, the hourly news came on. The broadcaster spoke in a loud voice through the radio. "It is eleven o'clock in Portland, and we'll get to Pat in a moment with an update on weather. But first, just a few quick announcement."
"I wonder if he ever gets sick of sounding so chipper all the time." Eric stated, turning his attention off of the radio, leaning back his chair and crossing his arms.
I smiled, but kept listening to the radio. "And on another note, convicted serial killer Luke Wallace escaped from Cromwell Prison last week, and is believed to be somewhere along the northern Oregon sea coast. People are advised to lock their doors and take extra precautions. As some might remember, Wallace was convicted of the murders of eight young women in the Portland area over a decade ago. He is believed to be very dangerous, and if anyone sees him, they are advised to call…"
"Cecy, did you hear that?" Stacy grabbed hold of my shoulders from behind. "A murderer is on the loose! He could be near here!"
I felt a shiver coarse through my body. But I tried to mask my nervousness and patted her hand. "It's ok. The likelihood that he's around here is practically impossible."
Stacy seemed a little calmer and leaned back in her seat. I glanced at Eric, and was surprised at how serious he looked. He twisted in his seat and called out to Jason. "Hey, Jas, is that baseball bat still back there?"
Jason looked up in surprise and then got up to reach back to the trunk behind him, pulling out a bat a moment later. He passed it up to Stacy, who passed it to Eric, her hands shaking as she did so.
As he took the bat, I leaned across the divider and said in a soft voice that only he could hear me, "You think we might be in danger?"
Eric's brow was furrowed. "I don't know, but I'd rather be safe than sorry."
I glanced back at Stacy, noticing how scared she looked. Looking back at Eric, I said in a firm voice, "Stay calm. I don't want Stacy getting more scared."
Eric glanced back at our fourteen year old sister, and nodded. "Let's turn off the car so we don't waste the battery." I did as he instructed, and glanced back at him.
He was looking out into the rain. "I just hope mom and dad come back soon."
I couldn't help but agree.