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The Secret

by Anthony Stauffer 7 months ago in supernatural / halloween / fiction
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Nate had a surprise for Nora, and she had one for him...

Photo copied from "Shadows" by Vocal member Stephanie Nielsen

Nate heard the sound of the shower kick on, Nora was first tonight, but he would be lying if he said he could wait to get clean himself. It had been a fairly busy day, and after a week of working second shift, getting a good night’s sleep was a blessing. He threw on his coat and made his way to the front door. Nate needed a cigarette, even if the weather outside was frightful. An early season nor’easter had decided to blow through, and the wind was howling in the sideways rain.

As he stepped out into the night’s chill, a smile breezed across his face. The shower would have to wait a little bit longer. It was time. He and Nora had been together nearly a year now, and he was on the cusp of wanting to propose to her. His heart raced suddenly at the thought. She was an incredible woman, tough but vulnerable, sweet but assertive. Any man would be overjoyed at being able to spend the rest of their life with her, and he was the lucky one. Turning his back to the wind and the rain, he struck the match and brought it to the tip of the cigarette hanging from his lips.

The festivities would begin as soon as she was out of the shower. He reached his hand into the pocket of his coat and felt it there. The shower could most certainly wait a little while longer while he unveiled his object of joy. The wind kicked up even stronger, and he hugged his coat around him tighter. The inflatable ghost, “Mr Boo”, they named him, struggled to stand upright in the swirling gales. Nate looked up and down the row of houses, each of them closed up for the night, the families inside going about their storm-interrupted night with no concern of being heard by their neighbors.

Nate had grown up in this development, and while these were homes he still considered “new”, they were in fact 40 years old. Well-built they were, too, for one could barely hear a peep from the neighbors through the common walls. This was to Nate’s advantage, as the festivities were bound to get pretty noisy. He once again rubbed his hand over the bulge in his coat pocket, and he smiled into the breeze like the mischievous children that would ring their doorbell in two night’s time. Trick or treat!

You certainly have good timing, my friend! Nate’s smile grew even bigger despite his teeth gripping hard on the butt in his mouth. She can now be your true corpse bride!

He took the cigarette from his mouth and gave it a look, the damn wind had made it burn faster than he had liked, and the idea crossed his mind of making this a “two-fer”. A gust of wind that strained the strength of Mr Boo’s tethers suggested otherwise. He shrugged his shoulders and put it back to his mouth, preparing to take the final drag, when the wind tore it straight away.

Nate watched as the cinder carried over into the yard two houses down. Raindrops slammed against his cheek for a moment, then all went still and quiet. Time seemed to stand still in that moment, and the streetlights dimmed so much that they barely seemed on at all. He felt the hackles on his arms and neck rise. As his brow furrowed, he turned to open the door.


He put his hand to his waist to feel for his keys, usually attached by carabiner to his belt loop. Nothing… Nate sighed and dropped his head. He knew the sliding glass door out back was unlocked, but he didn’t want the hassle of walking through the bad weather in order to get there. That’s when he heard it, a faint, unintelligible voice on the breeze. It seemed to come from behind him, and so he turned.

The streetlights still barely lit, he couldn’t make out any details of what was out there, but he was fairly certain that it wasn’t another person. As he squinted into the darkness, Nate could make out a faint white glow coming from pond across the street. It wasn’t a soft, warming glow, though, but a ghostly, cold presence that made him shiver. As it approached, he could tell that it was diffused through a fog moving rapidly over the still water.

Nate cocked his head to the side, the idea that he must look like a curious dog only fleeting, and looked up and down the street. The whispering voice returned, but he could still not understand what it was saying. Now the fog was nearly upon him, and the eerie glow now fell upon three shadow figures walking towards him. What the hell?!

Not realizing that he had begun to back up, the house’s storm door quickly ended any retreat Nate sought from the approaching shadows. His eyes grew wide with the unfamiliar feeling of fear creeping up his spine. Once again, his hand felt for the bulge in his coat pocket, but it could go no further. Nate froze when he heard laughter coming from the shadows enveloped in the fog.

The fog stopped a few feet short of Nate and hung like a wall in the air. The shadows within materialized, and his fear became palpable. The scream stuck in his throat as his body petrified.

“Oh Nate, it’s so wonderful to see you again!” The woman in the middle, Stephanie, smiled through her words. She was just as beautiful in death as she was in life, but there was a menace behind her eyes that Nate had never seen before. Jill was to her left, and Kelly was to her right, and both laughed with a superficiality reserved for first dates.

Jill stepped forward and guided her hand down Nate’s cheek gently, “Hello, Lovebug. I can see that you never expected to see us again. Karma’s a bitch, my love.” She was a closet goth in life, always dressed in grays and blacks. But Jill wasn’t the withdrawn, self-loathing type of goth, she was an extroverted and strong woman that took control of every room she entered. There was venom in her words, and Nate could feel the blood trickling from his nose.

Nate’s gaze shifted as Kelly approached. Her hand went to his chest, and the chill bled through his clothes instantly. She reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the knife hidden there. She held it before them, admiring the blade’s keen edge as it flashed in the ghastly, white glow. “I remember this knife!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I can still feel it piercing my heart, sharper than all of those words of love.” Her pouty lips spread in a wrathful smile, and Nate’s bladder released its contents.

Stephanie looked down at the expanding puddle around Nate’s feet. She tsk’d at his fear, “This is not how a man reacts to danger, Nate. But, then again, you were never really a man, were you?” Stephanie crinkled her nose as though she were cooing with an infant and continued, “Revenge is sweet, isn’t it?”

The next few moments were an eternity for Nate, and to live through carnage and torture the three dead women exacted upon his body, his mind, and his soul, was worse than any punishment he ever put them through. And as he lay dying, he could discern the expressions of satisfaction upon their faces. He never wanted to murder them, but he just couldn’t help himself. Nate could not even force himself to feel sympathy or remorse for what he did to them. And he would have done it again, to Nora, had the ghosts of his past not intervened. But why would they choose now? It was the last thought he would ever have, and his last sight was the handle of the blade sticking out of his chest.

The spectral women looked down upon the lifeless body of Nate, their revenge complete. The wall of fog began to retreat across the street, then across the pond, and finally into the trees beyond where it dissipated. Their gazes shifted to the upstairs window, light escaping through the drawn Venetian blinds. Their smiles of thanks said more than any words ever could. A deep blue glow began to suround Jill, and the others looked at her with tears in their eyes. Within moments Jill’s form disappeared in holy fire, followed by Stephanie, and finally Kelly. The storm that was paused now continued unabated until sunrise.

Nora laid back on her pillow, her eyes watching the blood-filled, fiery bowl atop the pentagram consume the final strands of the locks of hair of the three women she found the other day in Nate’s toolbox. All she had wanted to do was hang the framed photo of their engagement. But when she found the locks of hair, names written in Nate’s ungainly script, it didn’t take her long to figure out his secret. And she knew that she was next.

Requiesce in pace. Rest in peace, ladies. You are free.” Nora sat up in her bed, picked up the ceremonial knife, and paged through her spellbook. It was time to find a spell to consume the corpse now lying at the front door.


About the author

Anthony Stauffer

Husband, Father, Technician, US Navy Veteran, Aspiring Writer

After 3 Decades of Writing, It's All Starting to Come Together

Use this link, Profile Table of Contents, to access my stories.

Use this link, Prime: The Novel, to access my novel.

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