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Staying Alive

by Chloe Gilholy 2 months ago in Horror

A pleasant day at the beach on a Halloween date turns into musical shenanigans when a young couple lock themselves in a karaoke bar to escape COVID enforcement officers patrolling the streets. Now they must sing to stay alive. Features a Halloween playlist.

Staying Alive
Photo by Nikola Đuza on Unsplash

Curfew began at eight. Police patrolled the streets and had the power to arrest and even shoot anyone they found outside at night. Nowhere was safe. Misty and Ash wanted date on the beach. The date was originally meant to be a picnic by the beach. Ash decided that was boring and they played truth or dare which ended with skinny dipping amongst other things.

By the time they got dressed, they didn’t realise the time. They abandoned their empty bottles and looked for somewhere to hide. There would be no more public transport until six in the morning. Their only choice was to take refuge in the karaoke bar on the pier. Everywhere was either fully booked or a thousand dollars for the night, money that they didn’t have. The pier had been closed long before lockdown with rust and moss replacing the once pearl-white bars.

Inside the old bar was basic, but the remains of the past lingered with the old counter, smashed neon lights, an old duke box and a corridor filled with doors that must have been the private booths back in the day.

“How long are we planning on staying out here?” Ash asked. Every footstep and breath echoed in the hallway. “I hope there’s somewhere comfortable.”

Misty got a torch from her backpack. She closed all the curtains and doors before locking the door. “Just for the night.” She turned out the light. “Hey! The lights still work.”

“The police won’t come in here,” Ash said, scratching his blue hair. “They’ve got better things to do. They‘ll be too busy stuffing their faces with doughnuts.”

Misty hushed him. Her red hair slapped Ash’s face. “You don’t know if there’s anybody about.”

“Are we really going to spend the night here?” Ash shivered and chattered his teeth.

“That’s your own fault for not wearing a jumper.”

“I didn’t think I needed one.”

“Ash… it’s November tomorrow, Summer is long since gone.” Misty took a good look around the hallway. There was a leather coach by the door sandwiched between orange plants with more holes than Swiss cheese. Coughing, she swept the layers of dust onto the cracked floor and laid down.

“Aren’t you scared that your beautiful hair will be ruined?”

Misty sprang up. “It will do till the morning. It’s only for the night.”

Ash leaned back against the counter. Feeling a warmth of sudden hotness and clatter of porcelain. “Huh?” He gasped and widened his eyes. In a frantic state of panic, he twirled around the room until his head hurt.

Misty lept from the sofa. “Ash!” Crouching down to him, she whispered, “What’s the matter?”

“Look!” Ash hissed. His fingered pointed at two floral teacups accompanied with silver saucers.

Misty tiptoed towards the counter. Leaning over towards the cups, she inhaled the pleasant jasmine tea. “Where did this tea come from?” There was nothing on the counter but dust and debris. This place has been closed for years, so where did the tea come from? Picking the cup up, Misty devoured the drink.

Ash got behind her and shook her. “Did you seriously drink that?”

Misty resisted his grip and slammed her cup down. “Hey, I’m fine. The tea was delicious. Now you have some!”

Ash shook his head. “What?” Scurrying to the exit, he faught against the locks. “Are you crazy? I am not drinking that. It could be drugged.”

Misty rammed her hands by her lips. “Are you really trying to escape. You’d rather be arrested than drink tea? You’re making a commotion!”

“You’re the one causing a commotion with your shouting.”


Just as Ash opened his mouth, Misty threw tea at him. His wrenching was blocked by the sound of the cups crashing. The lights went out and the ground shook. Running into each other, they fell head first into the disco ball.

Dazed and confused, Misty’s body began to shiver. In the background, then chorus to I Think We’re Alone Now was on loop. The disco ball levitated around their heads and Misty began floating. As she looked for Ash, she saw that his jeans and black top had been replaced with a white suit with gold studs. Staying Alive by the Bee Gees blasted through the room that was circulating neon lights. She had never seen Ash‘s hips smooth so slickly.

The lyrics projected on the screen and Ash sang along to them. Misty could not pay attention as the words on the wall made her scream: SING OR DIE! Misty couldn’t sing to save her life.

“MISTY! YOU NEED TO SING!” Ash yelled during the instrumental.

“I can’t…” Misty’s body became engulfed with cold and hard bones. Her legs became entangled in toxic sludge as a red figure of death came towards her with a scythe. “Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Staying ALIVE!”

The moment Misty belted her notes, the ghastly figures disintegrated into pixels where the counter once stood. The neon lights danced as little pieces of lights formed together to form a list of instructions.

Welcome to Cannibal Karaoke Bar. The only rule is that you must sing to or succumb to the darkness within. Go to each room and sing your heart out to these legendary songs or rot for eternity in a jukebox casket.

You can play the rooms in any order, but you can’t go in the owner’s room until you‘ve perfomed in the other four rooms. Impress the spirits of today and yesteryear and thou shall be spared.

Pop Room - Micheal Jackson‘s Thriller

Rock Room - White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane

Metal Room - Be Quick or Be Dead by Iron Maiden

International Room - I Wish I Had An Angel by Nightwish

The Owner’s Room - Evil Woman by Black Sabbath

“Of course they have Thriller,” Ash said with his arms folded. “I could get used to this suit. It feels nice.”

“Ash, we‘re in a haunted karake bar. At least show some brains.”

Ash opened the Pop room and shrugged his shoulders. His suit had transformed into red leather. “Hey, what was in that tea? I want some more. Whatever it was, it was great like apple pie.”

Misty’s lips quivered. “I thought you didn’t like apple pie.”

“I like your apple pie!”

Ash and Misty tackled the room one by one. They had entertained zombies, deformed puppets and creatures I only found in horror stories. By the time they sang I Wish I Had An Angel in the International Room, they almost became angels.

“We did it!” Ash said. “On to the boss.”

The owner’s room swang open and there to greet them was a tall slender woman with sliver lipstick and a purple afro. “Welcome to my humble abode, I am Sia Bucks. I hope you are ready for your final performance.”

“Yes. And then we are getting out of here!”

Sia tutted. “But you don’t wanna get arrested by those muscular cops.”

Ash grabbed the mic. “I’m warmed up! Let’s do this!”

“Something about Black Sabbath makes me feel possessed and powerful.”

Misty was killing it, or so she thought. She felt she was more in sync with her chest and head voice. She felt as if she was harmonising with Ash. She watched as Sia pulled the emergency escape button. Sia was expecting them to fail, but they did not. As the song faded, a twister took Ash and Misty towards the open water until everything turned black.

The next time Misty woke up, she was in bed with a seaside view. Misty was just about able to hang on. Somehow, they made it out of the bar without a scratch on them. “Ash, do you remember a thing about last night?”

“That trippy karaoke bar when we sung awesome songs and beat that voodoo witch, and then she got mad and twister drifted us into the sea. Yeah, I remember it: every single bit. Best day of my life!”

“Were you not scared.”

Ash shook his head. “No. I had you.”

“So how we get here?”

“I don’t know,” Ash replied. “I am just happy that we are here and alive. It was quite fun. I think I make a great Micheal Jackson. Let’s put the radio on.” Ash frowned because the song playing was Passenger by Siouxsie and the Banshees. “Should have been the Iggy Pop version,” Ash said.

Misty nodded and dozed off.


Chloe Gilholy

Healthcare worker from Oxfordshire. Author of ten books including Drinking Poetry and Game of Mass Destruction. Travelled to over 20 countries.

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