Turn Right at the Light and Drive into Darkness
It was the last house before the swamp. No one lived there anymore, not since the second massacre happened. One time someone takes an ax and hacks up their family, ok, fine shit happens, I’ll take the house at a reduced price, second time, you might as will make that for sale sign permanent.
Every town has one, a haunted house, a place for High School students to prove they are not afraid by spending the night. In our town this was the house, and we called it the “House of Gore”, where thirteen years earlier the heads were cut off all the family members and hung in the windows on Halloween night. Everyone just thought it was some kick ass decorations. But three days later, with flies buzzing around the heads, and no one having seen any of the family members, the Sheriff decided to investigate. They never did find out who cut off the heads, there was no sign of forced entry or of anyone else being in the house. Many people believed it was the father, murder-suicide. But how did he cut off his own head, and hang it in the window, anyway why where they all wearing bow ties?
This year Halloween was on a Friday night, and Buzz Thompson – my best friend – was trying to get me to spend the night with him in the House of Gore.
‘I don’t know Buzz, let’s do it on some other night, not Halloween. Plus, Shelby is having a kick ass party, don’t you want to go to that?’
‘That’s part of the plan, I have these helmet cams, we are going to stream it live right to the party. We are the entertainment. You know it will impress Shelby. Come on Jake, you want to impress Shelby don’t you.’
‘Shelby knows we may do this?’ asked Jake.
‘She will be disappointed if you chicken out. Come on, I even have some bow ties for us to wear.’
Jake agreed to do it, he really had no choice. He had like Shelby as long as he could remember, and while she had always been nice to him, he could not get her to go out with him. Maybe this would change her mind.
Buzz had also put a lot of effort into this, in addition to the live stream and bow ties, he had a ladder we were going to walk under when we entered, brought some mirrors for us to break, had rented a black cat - how do you rent a cat – and had thirteen beers for us to drink.
On Halloween there was a full moon, we set the ladder up over the back door and enter the house. We spent the first half hour looking around. It was actually a pretty nice house, and if it wasn’t for the fact that the residents kept getting hacked to pieces, it would be a nice place to live. We went back to the kitchen and drank a couple of the beers.
‘I’m getting bored,’ I said to Buzz.
‘Yeah, but luckily, I have dares we can do, the people at the party wrote them down.’ Buzz pulled a slip of paper out from a small bag and read, ‘One of us must walk out alone to the swamp and stay for at least 15 minutes. That one is all yours Jake.’
‘Mine why mine!’
‘I’m giving it to you so that you can impress Shelby. Remember they are watching us on our cameras. Oh, and here take some salt, swamp monsters hate salt.’
‘Swamp Monsters,’ Jake said with some concern.
‘I’m sure it’s just rumors, if you get in trouble, throw the salt in their eyes.’
The house was not bad, but walking out to the swamp, that was plain scary shit. When Jake got to the swamp, he could hear himself breathing heavy, he took a deep breath. To relax he started talking to himself. ‘Ok, this isn’t so bad, nothing here, just a nice autumn night, no swamp monsters around.’
That is when he thought he heard, ‘Go back.’
‘Did someone say something, Buzz is that you. Not funny come out.’
Jake saw a large slimy creature rise from the swamp. He was carrying a severed head and threw it at Jake’s feet.
‘Take this back and hang it in the window,’ the monster growled.
Jake realizing, he had some salt, took a handful, and threw it in the monsters’ eyes.
The monster yelled out in pain, ‘Why did you do that, you little prick.’
‘Swamp Monsters hate salt,’ Jake said.
‘So, you throw it in my eyes. Are you trying to get your head chopped off?’
‘Now take the head back and hang it in the window, like I told you; asshole.’
When Jake got back to the kitchen, Buzz was drinking another beer.
‘Dude, where did you get the head. That thing is awesome, it looks 100% real.’
Jake still in a state of shock said, ‘The swamp monster gave it to me. I have to hang it in the window.’
‘Swamp Monster, cool, did you hit him with some salt like I told you.’
‘Yes, it made him mad, he threatened to chop off my head.’
‘Oh not good, does he know I’m here?’ asked Buzz.
‘No, I don’t think so.’
‘Good, let’s keep it that way. Element of surprise and all.’
Jake went and hung the head in the window. When he got back, he asked Buzz if they could leave.
‘No can do,’ said Buzz. ‘We have another challenge, it says “Jake go up to the attic”. Whoa, that is where one of the kids got his arm chopped off. Let me know how it goes. Oh, try not to bring any heads back.’
‘It’s your turn,’ Jake said to Buzz.
‘Sorry, it specifically has your name. Have fun.’
The attic was very cold, Jake looked around and turned to go, when he heard.
‘Can you help me.’
Jake turned back around to see a ghostly image of a teenage boy holding a severed arm.
‘Are you real?’ Jake asked.
‘I hope so,’ the boy answered. ‘Do you think they will be able to put my arm back on?’
‘I don’t know, that’s a pretty deep cut. Cuts that deep, the person usually dies.’
‘Are you saying I’m dead?’ the boy asked.
‘Look sometimes when you die a tragic death, your spirit does not realize it. You get trapped between two worlds. This is really ghost 101 stuff. Have you seen a bright light, or maybe your grandma telling you to come with her? All you do is go towards the light, like I said ghost 101.’
‘I haven’t seen a light, and I don’t know my grandma, she died young. I did see a young woman hanging out down the hall, maybe that’s her.’
‘Yeah, if your grandma died young, could be, go check it out.’
‘Wait here for me, I’ll let you know what I find.’
‘Ah, you really don’t need me. I have to get back,’ Jake started to say.
‘I won’t be long, here hold my arm for me,’ with that the boy faded away.
‘Well at least it’s not a head,’ Jake said.
The young woman was Sabina, she was a she-devil from hell. Obviously not the boy’s grandmother. She had stepped away from Hell to smoke a cigarette. Ever since they had implemented the no smoking policy Hell had become, well, hell.
‘Hey kid, you have a light,’ Sabina asked.
‘No, I don’t smoke,’ the boy answered.
‘Good for you kid, what happen to your arm.’
‘I think my father hacked it off.’
‘Father son relationships, they can be tricky. Don’t let it get you down, I’ve seen worst.’
‘Are you, my grandma?’
‘I suppose I could be, that’s a little kinky, how much money you got?’
‘Ah, just as well, you’re a little to young for me anyway.’
‘I’m stuck between worlds; I’m suppose to find my grandmother to lead me to the afterlife. Ghost 101 stuff.’
‘Oh, one of those, nothing 101 about this ghost stuff, it can be downright daunting,’ Sabina said.
Sabina thought to herself, "the big guy always likes it when I bring home a lost soul. Looks like a nice kid, shame the kid makes a wrong turn and burns for eternity in hell. But one more soul and I have enough points for a weekend in Vegas. I guess it’s just not his day".
‘Sure kid, I can get you to the afterlife. Come with me.’
‘That is great, let me just grab my arm, I’ll be right back.’
The boy ran back to Jake to get his arm.
‘Good news Jake, I think I found my grandma and she is going to take me to the afterlife. Boy I had one sexy grandma. She was dressed in red, wearing hot pants, wow. I know you shouldn’t think like that about your grandma. Oh and what a chain smoker.’
‘Hold on,’ Jake said to the boy. ‘This does not sound right, when she was smoking, was she also playing the slots?’
‘I’ve seen lots of grandma’s chain smoking and playing the slots, but none dressed in hot pants. I think what you have there is your standard She-Devil. You see it basically Ghost 10….’
The Boy interrupted Jake, ‘I know Ghost 101, what should I do?’
‘Stay away from her, that’s for sure. Tell you what I’ll shine this light and you walk towards it.’
The boy walked right through the light, with no effect.
‘I’m at a loss here, tell you what come with me downstairs, we will figure something out.’
Jake opened the attic door, as he did so a bright light shined in from downstairs.
‘Jake, I see the light, I’m going now, thank you,’ and with that the boy was gone.
When Jake got back to the kitchen, Buzz was looking bored.
‘Took you long enough, what do you have there, a severed arm, nice. That one looks real too. Where are you getting this stuff?’
‘Oh crap, I forgot to give it back, I guess I’ll just hang it in the window.’
‘Ok, time for another challenge,’ Buzz said.
‘This one you have to do, I don’t care if my name is on it, you’re doing it,’ Jake said.
‘All right, don’t get so uptight. Let see it says, “Shotgun a Beer”.’
With that Buzz shot gunned the last beer.
‘That is a total rip off, and you drank the last beer,’ Jake said annoyed.
‘Yeah dude, I’m tired. I’m going to crash on the couch.’
Buzz fell a sleep leaving Jake alone in the kitchen when he heard a knock on the door. It was the swamp monster.
‘It’s Jake, right?’ ask the monster. ‘I need my head back, look I brought you two as a replacement.’
‘What, I don’t want two more heads.’
‘No, it will just be a net of one, you give me the original one back, and I give you these two. There was a mix up in inventory, I gave you the wrong head, I need it back.’
‘Man, not to bright are you. Look you ever do inventory in a swamp, it’s not easy. You have limited space, and you always have to worry about the snakes and lizards taking your stuff. It was an honest mistake.’
‘You keep those two heads, and I’ll give the original back. Wait here,’ said Jake.
Jake went and got the heads, plus the arm.
‘Here is your head back, plus I’m throwing in an arm for hitting you with salt earlier. Now get out of here.’
‘Jake, this is really nice of you. One more thing, can you hide this bloody ax for me.’
‘Come on Jake, I thought we were friends. If I go home with a bloody ax, my wife will be mad. I told her I was just going to the store for some Tic Tacs. If she finds out I went out chopping heads off without her, I’ll be sleeping on the couch.’
‘Why didn’t you take her along?’
‘You should see her chop off a head. It takes three or four whacks, blood everywhere, total mess. Most of the time the head has to be thrown away. Just let me put the ax under your porch.’
‘Alright fine, I’m heading to bed. Can’t wait for this night to be over.’
‘Goodnight, and thanks for this swell arm.’
The next Monday, at school, Shelby came up to Jake.
‘Wow, those streaming videos were great, how did you do all the special effects.’
‘Ah, I had a little help.’
‘You know the Turkey Trot dance is coming up. I don’t have a date yet,’ Shelby said.
As Jake was asking Shelby to the dance, he looked out the window and saw the swamp monster giving him the thumbs up.