As promised, here's a second Halloween Horror for your reading pleasure...displeasure...disgust...er, whatever works. I wrote this flash piece a couple years ago for an anthology call for, if I remember correctly, PG-related or less tales, and I vaguely remember a campfire mindset as being part of the deal as well. Either way, it did not get accepted for the anthology, has been sitting on my laptop since then, and since I think at the very least it works, why not share it? Now, mind you, I write Very Adult fiction, so this was me tamping back some of my natural writer's instincts, haha, but it was fun and is rather creepy, fits the Halloween bill, so here ya go. The tale is called, "The New Kid."
The New Kid
By John Claude Smith
When you’re eleven-years-old, moving to a new house the day before Halloween is a big deal. We spent that day and much of Halloween day unpacking boxes. I grumbled about not being able to celebrate with all the rest of the ghosts and demons. My mother, ever aware of her son’s love of all things scary, decided at the very least to purchase a few bags of candy and let me be in charge of handing it out to all of the trick or treaters.
It wasn’t the same, but it would have to do.
After a slew of five-year-old princesses, mini-vampires and various superheroes, some kids with really grisly make-up showed up. They had peeled skin hanging from their faces, bones jutting out, eyes wide open with no lids, so they couldn’t blink. That was just for starters.
“That’s really icky, looks real,” I said, always one to like gross stuff.
“Thanks!” a kid with his jaw split in half said, more so, slurred. “My name’s Todd Richmond.” He extended his bony hand toward me. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how he did that, made the bones look so real. I shook his hand and said, “I’m Rick. Rick Myers. The new kid.” I laughed, kind of nervous, but not really. I was outgoing, had to be, what with all the times my family had moved because of my dad’s job.
Todd stepped aside, and his band of gruesome friends gathered on the porch.
“I’m Sandy Weathers,” a girl said, her left eye dangling by the tendrils on her bloodied cheek.
“Mick Johnson,” said a tall boy whose torso was splayed open and spilling glistening guts.
“Juan Lopez,” said another boy, the left side of his face…gone. Each one, as they stepped on the porch, said his or her name and reached out to shake my hand. I felt like I would fit in here just fine.
Finally, the last kid came up, a girl with long dark hair matted with blood and a stomach-churning chunk of brain hanging out. Her face was all scraped up, like it had been used as a tire burning rubber to screech to a stop. She even smelled bad, really bad. I smiled and cringed at the same time.
“I’m Regina Prine,” she said. “Welcome back.” She held out her hand like all the others. Two fingers were missing. As I took it I said, “I’ve never been here before.” She said, “I know. You’re the new kid.”
That was odd, but before I could say anything else, they traipsed off to the house next door.
After the weekend, I made way to school for my first day. I spent the first week getting to know the teachers and classes, but realized I’d heard none of the kid’s names from Halloween during any of the rollcalls. I figured perhaps they were a year older or a year younger…or just had different classes. Who knows?
During lunch on Friday, I decided to explore the school, see what it was about. I made way past lockers and down a narrow corridor by the administrative offices toward what looked to be a collection of medals or awards for sports and what-have-you.
After inspecting them, I moved toward the end of the corridor, where there was a large plaque behind glass. I wondered what award this would be for…when my blood turned to ice.
I immediately noted the names listed on the plaque: Todd Richmond, Sandy Weathers, Mick Johnson, Juan Lopez, Regina Prine, and more, but the first five names caught my eye as they were the names of the kids who had shown up at my door Halloween night.
And they were all dead.
But they couldn’t be. The kids who came to my door were dressed up as the victims of a bus accident from a few years previous, as indicated by the plaque. No wonder I hadn’t heard any of the names during rollcall. Those kids were dead. These kids were just cruel.
As I turned in disgust from the plaque, I saw a really messed up girl at the end of the corridor by the exit doors. It was Regina. She walked toward me.
“Why are you still wearing your make-up?” I asked.
She only shook her head.
I stood there like a statue, feeling uncomfortable and not really wanting to deal with Regina Prine if she was into such mean tricks.
As she neared, she said, “You know where this is going, don’t you?”
“What are you talking about?” I fidgeted, tried to stand tall, but felt my legs wobble.
“We’re not cruel kids or mean kids,” she said. I gulped, wondering how the heck she could know what I had thought. “We’re just dead.”
“Excuse me, I need to go.” I took a step to scoot by her, when two sets of hands grabbed my arms from behind.
“You just need a reminder.”
Somebody behind me laughed. I think it was Todd Richmond, as it had a slurry sound.
“Let me go,” I said, but my protests were useless as I followed her finger as it moved toward the plaque.
I knew where this was going. I always knew were this was going. But ignoring it seemed a better option than confirming the obvious.
Her thin finger landed just below a name. My name, of course. Rick Myers. I was a part of that tragedy.
“This bus ride was your first and last with us.”
I knew this as I saw my reflection in the glass covering the plaque. I had no nose, and the top of my head was sheared off. The hands holding me released me. I wasn’t going anywhere because you can’t run away from the truth
“You’ll always be the new kid,” Regina said.
“For ever and ever and ever…”
Anyway, if you'd like to read some of my more adult fiction, wellll...here's the Amazon Author page link. Go! Buy some! Make me rich! Or at least get something to give you the creeps this Halloween...or year-round.
This art comes courtesy of John Kenn.