FridayFlash: Costume

Costume, a Halloween short story“Jeebus. Again?”

The girl was swaying slightly.

“Hey sexy. Vampire. Give the kiddies their candy won’t you please?”

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt. Sean could barely hear the doorbell over the music, the ruckus of everyone talking.

Couldn’t they just ignore it?

“There.” She pointed at a candy bowl on the floor next to the door. The skin of her arm where it thrust out of the shiny black of her dress sleeve was painted, silvery white slashed with long drizzles of red — he looked at her again as he grabbed a handful of candy. Her face was painted white, too. But his eyes weren’t on her face. They’d dropped lower, to the black lace gathered in ruffles at her bodice . . .

“Hey sexy yourself,” he said. “What did you say you were supposed to be?”

“I’m Death’s Bridesmaid.” She giggled, swaying.

“I liiiiike.”  He grinned at her, a leering sloppy grin. He was drunk, too. They all were. They’d started early.

The door stuck a little but he yanked it open finally. Trio of kids stood on the step looking up at him expectantly. A pirate. A gremliny-looking thing. A Harry Potter. Lit by the porch light against the odd quiet of the dark night behind them.

“Trick or treat.”

Sean dripped a bit of candy into three orange pumpkin-shaped buckets.

Three “thank you’s,” polite, not quite in chorus. But Sean barely heard them — he was thinking about the girl, he slammed the door clumsily while the kids were still standing there, in a hurry to get to her. Before someone else did.

Metallica playing now. Sean mouthed the words as he weaved through the party, looking for her.

‘Cause we hunt you down without mercy
Hunt you down all nightmare long

Dimly, through the music and the laughing and the screeching he thought he heard the doorbell again but this time he did ignore it.

Stupid kids. Babies. Think Halloween is about candy. Ha.

Someone handed him a bottle of Grey Goose as he pushed by a skeleton and another vampire — not as good a costume as his, not by a long shot — he grinned and tipped the bottle to his mouth.

Where was she where was she?

There! With another girl, store-bought French maid costume. Also hot. Yowsa. How to choose how to choose .  .  . he sidled up to Death’s Bridesmaid, pretended to join their nonesense chitchat, his hunch was right, she was into him. Into him. Booyah. Touching his arm, laughing, sexy sideways looks.

The feeling, he knew that feeling, I’m gonna get me some

Pause in the music. Album over . . .

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt.

Death’s Bridesmaid groaned, lost her balance, fell into Sean. “They’re baaack,” she slurred. “Be a good vampire and go feed the kiddies for me –”

He hesitated. Annoyed. But the music wasn’t back on yet and the doorbell buzzed again.

“Don’t move,” he said to her and wove back through the packed room and yanked the door open.

He started a bit when he saw her. He guessed it was a her. A little girl — had to be, but yowsa that was a good costume, nothing cutesy about that, that black hair was freaky, tangled like that —

“What took you so long?” The little girls eyes were narrowed, fixed on his.

He stared. “Nice, uh, costume.”

He held out a handful of candy.

She didn’t move. “You haven’t been answering the door,” she said.

It was a little girl’s voice. He relaxed a bit. “The music’s kinda loud. Hard to hear.” He moved his hand up and down a bit to remind her to take the candy. Get this over with.

But the little girl didn’t move.

“That’s not the reason.”

Damn it, this wasn’t nice. Not nice at all. “Look. You want your candy or not.”

She just looked at him. Ew. Creepy.

Creepy.

Screw it.

He had better things to do than deal with a six year old’s temper tantrum.

He shut the door, left her there on the step. No candy for you, you little —

Damn. Where was I . . .

Where is that vodka . . . and that girl . . .

He found her, finally, on the floor, behind the bed where they’d all piled their coats. She was half passed out but roused herself when she felt him kissing her, began kissing him back, eager, he stroked her neck then bit it, she moaned, he slid his hand down her neck to the top of her costume —

That was weird. He couldn’t get his hand inside her costume.

“Ow,” she said. “Ow, stop it, you’re hurting me.”

“Sorry.” He pulled at the shoulder of her dress — it wouldn’t —

“OUCH.” She sat up now, her eyes still unfocused, her head lolling slightly. “That HURTS.”

What?

“It’s stuck,” he said. “Your dress is, like — stuck to you.”

She’d begun pulling at it herself.

“OW!” She said. “Ow, it hurts — ow!” She started crying. “OW!”

He stared at her pulling at her dress.

And then he had a horrible thought.

A horrible thought.

And he looked down at his sleeve.

The long satiny sleeve of his shirt, the vampire shirt —

He touched the cuff.

And realized as he touched it that something was very very wrong.

And he cried out, grabbed the edge of the cuff and pulled but it was fused to his skin, it hurt to pull the sharp pain and he cried out again and then heard around him that nobody was laughing any more, they were screaming all screaming, screaming and their screams were joined with his own, the loudest screaming in his ears his own scream

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27 Responses to FridayFlash: Costume

  1. Kirsten says:

    p.s. I don’t “do” horror! But I asked my daughter for a prompt this morning and she came up with Halloween and the idea of people turning into the characters they’d dressed up as :-)

    Now back to comedy!

  2. rolliwrites says:

    a halloweenie good time

  3. Doc Awk says:

    Despite my effort to un-solarize the picture, I was unable to make a determination if it’s you there screaming. I don’t think it is.

  4. Kirsten says:

    Nope :-)

  5. Good story. You caught the atmosphere of a fun party well, and then, of course, the sour turn at the end. Creepy little tale.

  6. Kirsten says:

    Thanks Eric!

  7. Nice! Good build-up to the end. =D

  8. Kirsten says:

    :-)

    This isn’t my “home genre” so I am not really sure how thick to lay it on!

  9. Great story Kirsten. It shows you that you should always be nice to trick or treaters.

    Makes me wonder if the little girl was a witch.

  10. Kirsten says:

    Not sure what she was but I plan to be VERY generous with the candy this year :-)

  11. FARfetched says:

    For not “doing” horror, you did it quite well IMO!

    Horror’s not my primary genre either, but I did post a zombie story this morning.

  12. Kirsten says:

    Thanks, Farfetched! I read your story earlier today, liked it! It’s kind of fun to step outside what we normally do, isn’t it?

  13. John Wiswell says:

    I prefer Halloween to be about candy and scary movies that booze and screwing. My way seems to see fewer characters eaten the morning after! I bet we could even get vampires hooked on Reese’s.

  14. Kirsten says:

    Me too, John! Of course I’m old enough to remember when Halloween was still a kid’s holiday ;-)

  15. Steve Green says:

    This is a really unusual take on the Halloween theme, and the concept is a credit to you. If you don’t really “DO” horror as a genre, maybe you should dive in there more often, it’s fun to do genre-hops. :)

  16. Graham Peter says:

    Hey. Great story – love it! Loved the Metallica quote as well :)

    Thanks for commenting on my story as well: http://grahampeterdev.co.za/completed-stories/short-story-two-men-and-a-corpse/ – much appreciated!

  17. Great story! My kids give me a lot of ideas too.

  18. Kirsten says:

    @Steve thanks for the kind words! I liked your take on the horror genre as well.
    @Graham you’re very welcome!
    @Lisa my daughter is a writer as well — it’s very cool to be able to ask her for prompts :-)

  19. ~Tim says:

    I think you did well for a genre you don’t do. [And I was going to say nice job on spawning the child that gave you the idea, but that just sounds way too creepy….]

  20. Kirsten says:

    LOL

  21. Helen says:

    A good story, lots of creepy to it, but maybe I missed something, yes I understood they were turning into the costumes they wore, but I didn’t understand why – was the little creepy girl something to do with it? I r- read but there was no indication that she had played a trick on them.

    Perhaps I’m just being a little thick here ^__^

  22. Helen says:

    Okay I re-read it once again, the creepy little girl was there to solely play tricks on people – yes? because she said it’s not about the candy – I get it now. ^__^

  23. Kirsten says:

    :-)

    Helen, one of things I most wrestle with as a writer is how *much* to tell and how much to kind of make the reader figure out . . . definitely the little girl played a “trick” here rather than accept a treat — my goal is for readers to figure that out kind of as Sean does, as he realizes that he’s turning into his costume. But maybe I haven’t left enough clues — I certainly don’t want my stories to be too obtuse!

    Anyway thanks for stopping by & commenting, I appreciate it very much :-)

  24. Katherine says:

    Great story! I could hear the party in my head… and the stillness when the little girl was at the door.

    Don’t worry about genre — that’s for marketing. Genre lines are always shifting and changing anyhow.

  25. Kirsten says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Katherine!

    Honestly I don’t really worry about genre. If I did, I’d have to quit writing, since my novels don’t fit neatly into any of them…

  26. Kirsten says:

    Thanks and thanks for stopping by to comment.

    I wish I could play with the prompt you put up today but too much work to do. Sigh.

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