But Anna didn’t know what I was talking about, and she swore someone had told her the trail ended at the pumpkin patch.
Halloween was my favourite holiday. It wasn’t just about the candy or the costumes; it was about the ghost stories and urban legends. I loved staying up late with my friends, Anna and Renee, and we tried to scare each other with made-up tales that were so outrageous people would have thought we were crazy if they heard them.
Our small town was always big on Halloween, and this year was going to be the best yet. They were really going all out this time, and Mayor Wallace even announced the first ever Spook Trail. There were flyers being passed around at school, trying to recruit volunteers, but there was no way I was going to sign up. I didn’t want to be behind the scenes, I wanted to run through the terrifying gauntlet instead.
“Well, I’m volunteering,” Renee said one day. Apparently, her stepmother was the official head of the planning committee and had gone completely bonkers with the small amount of power she had been granted. The witch told Renee that if she didn’t help, she’d be grounded for a month, and it was a chance Renee wasn’t willing to take.
Anna and I picked out the perfect best friend costumes: the creepy twins from The Shining. People always told us we looked alike anyway, with our long, blonde hair and blue eyes, so we figured we might as well take advantage of the opportunity.
When Halloween finally came around, I was anxious to get to the Spook Trail. Anna was taking her sweet time because, as usual, she was fighting with Joey. It was such an awful relationship, I never understood why they just stayed together and kept fighting all the time.
Apparently being in a healthy relationship never crossed Anna’s mind.
When she finally picked me up, the car was thick with tension. Joey was huffing in the passenger seat and Anna’s hands were gripping the steering wheel so hard her knuckles were turning white. As we flew through the residential streets I was terrified for all the wrong reasons. The last thing we needed was to mow down a crowd of trick-or-treaters.
The moment we pulled into the parking lot, I saw all the lights. Orange strings of them had been hung along the trees, and I could see all the way down the trail that led deep into the woods.
While Anna and Joey went off somewhere, presumably to finish whatever silly argument that was still brewing, I started the trail. In the beginning, there were toilet-paper mummies covered with fake spider webs and badly carved pumpkins that looked like they'd been cut up by toddlers. Farther down were the most terrible fake zombies I’d ever seen, and I was sure they’d just been spritzed with fake blood and then that was it.
The whole thing was a disappointment. I expected to at least see Renee, who I knew was dressing up as a vampire, but she was nowhere to be found. When I got to the end of the trail, I stood in the pumpkin patch and sighed in disappointment. That was it? Really? I was about to head back to the parking lot when I heard it…
The distinct sound of a buzzing chainsaw. Finally, I thought, something interesting is happening.
I snuck up between the trees and saw the silhouette of a deranged man wielding the biggest saw I’d ever seen. I was about to watch him pretend to cut some poor girl in half when my phone started vibrating in my pocket.
Of course, Anna and Joey broke up, and she was going to leave me behind if I didn’t go back to the car immediately. I told her I was on the way, but, of course, I stayed just long enough to watch the first slice.
The whole ride home I explained why the trail was a letdown, and how disappointed I was that I didn’t get to see the end. But Anna didn’t know what I was talking about, and she swore someone had told her the trail ended at the pumpkin patch.
I thought it was a joke until the police found Renee’s dismembered body.