I was obsessed with the lights across the yard; magnified by the low thrum of the bass. . The way the breeze ran through my tights every so often and the weather, I could feel it. Not just in my knees but between my fingers: 68 degrees and dropping. I could feel the wave of people as they circled us and Sansom was obsessed with watching me sway in the middle of the yard, unruffled by the movement around me. My curt, tight smile that sometimes flashed a fang.. The way I swatted his hand when he tried to touch my thigh.
“I wanted to know the fabric of the garter.”
The way I cocked my head to the left and my mask: black latex, plain, tight shined bright under those starry little lights.
“What’s your name?” he said again.
My lips were drier than they looked but I had just applied a new cherry lip gloss and I decided to kiss him on the mouth to keep him quiet.
I had taken a few hits more of the lavender joint and felt free and strange and Sansom and I danced a bit. Giggling amorously towards him, he didn’t mind my constant denegation. I let him suck my neck for a second when I thought no one was watching but then I pushed him gently back.
“What’s your name, mate?”
Pointing to his name tag, he smirked and then pointed past me. I turned to see a crowd circle around the fire. Four people were carrying chairs and others were sitting down on the logs that were already there. Their movements seemed synchronized. It’s the weed. It’s their masks. They floated in the lights. I was gazing upward at the lights missing the announcement, letting Sansom’s tongue glide its way up to my right earlobe. Now, holding my hand: mine, and leading me towards the fire. The angel somewhere scowling, gone. My knees numb from standing.
“Here,” he led me to a white wicker chair that felt reserved for someone else but here I was. Taking his place on the log next to me, he continued stroking my knuckles and I hadn’t talked to anyone else the entire time. There were two women in front of me: both in all black and both had jet black bob wigs, or so I thought, black masks like mine; plain and red lips like mine, black long fingernails. Kind of like mine except mine were red. They were dressed like twins. And I was dressed like them. I smiled. They smiled. They had fangs.
“Here you go,” someone tapped me.
I turned around, saw the other pirate hand me the joint. The angel must be here.
“Oh, no thank you. I’m ripe.”
He shrugged and passed it to Sansom who gestured to him to bend over so he could whisper something. Something in my stomach hurt. I grabbed it on instinct and felt the walls closing in. Next to me sat another man in a white folding beach chair. He was dark with dark features and a wild metal mask: blue with silver designs, kind of like swirls and the edges looked like they could cut. Decorative, you would see it hanging on a wall. . He was wearing a shiny blue suit to match. And a cape. My gaze lingered on him because when he moved the suit changed from blue to silver and because I recognized him.
“Ok!” A woman in a long white dress clapped her hands.
I shot back. I could feel the twins eyes boring but I focused on the leader. She had short pink hair and a flower crown and her name tag read “Freya.”
The man with the dark features unprovoked leaned towards me and said, “Originally, the theme was a midsummer’s dream in outer space.”
I saw that the top of his mask had two pointy antlers on top with balls on them. Like the old alien suits. It was blue too the coil springs, the balls, the headband. My mouth dropped open but I don’t know why.
“We are going to play my favorite game,” the hostess continued. “It’s called Thirteen Stories and we only play when there are thirteen people left.”
I turned back and she looked right at me. Lowered her head in a nod as if including me. That I am the thirteenth in the white wicker chair. My right leg was trembling slightly. I bit my lip. I turned to the fire.
“For those who are new, it is a Halloween tradition. We each tell a story; a scary story and the person who starts sets the theme. Everyone must follow the theme.”
A guy to the right of my dark friend held up a beer my direction. I could see him in my periphery. He raised his eyebrows at me. I shook my head no. Suddenly, I was paralyzed. My leg was shaking but I felt unable to speak or swallow. I felt unable to move my hand from Sansom’s hand and to move my hand from the chair.
“We then each tell a story that follows the theme and whoever goes last….”
I don’t know how I got here.
“…they are cursed.”
I don’t know how to get up.
“Legend has it, the rest of the year, they will be living this story. So it is in your best interest to go first, or to jump in fast.”
“Wouldn’t we just tell a story in our favor, Frey?” a pink fairy looking woman asked.
I don’t remember how to walk.
“Well the theme of this year is the narrator’s unexpected death and I’ll go first,” she said.
Don’t get up and don’t squirm.
“The first story is called The Woman Who Saw Her Own Death.”
Don’t breathe and don’t choke.