SCARE ME BLOGFEST entry:
It should have been roasting in here. But I was still shivering.
Of course, I was also standing in the far corner. Even the shadows around me seemed cold and unfriendly.
I might have only been 12 years old, but I hadn't survived years on the mean streets of four cities by being trusting.
So here I stood.
Our host at the far end of the table called out to me, "Come, boy, warm yourself at my fire. It was a long walk from your broken down bus to my estate."
"Name's Victor Standish, sir. And I'm just fine right here."
I strained to make out his features but the shadows that shouldn't have been masking his whole body stopped me from seeing him clear. "Where's our bus driver?"
"He asked me where the phone was. I told him. He seemed in a hurry to contact his superiors."
I smirked, "He had that many quarters?"
He said, "Show respect to your elders, boy."
"Respect is earned. And the name's Victor Standish."
He shifted in his chair angrily. I went cold. His body ... squished. I realized he was in a wheelchair ... and it blocked the door out of here.
"Tonight is a rare night ... Standish."
His words were spoken oddly ... as if human speech itself was a foreign thing to him.
"It is Samhain, summer's end. The Celtic New Year began this nightfall.
In your ancient Welsh tradition, this evening was called The Three Spirit Night, when all kinds of beings could roam between realities."
I went colder at his use of "your" as if he did not belong to the human race.
He wheeled his chair towards me by only inches but it seemed far, far too close.
"You really should have sat with your fellow passengers. It was over so quickly for them."
I flicked my eyes to them. Oh, crap. Some were slumped on the floor. Some across the tables. Some sat bonelessly in their chairs.
Their eyes were ... melted, flowing like mucus down their withered cheeks. And their shadows were gone ... as if their very souls had been eaten.
"You hold in your fear well ... human."
The fingers of both hands in my pockets plucked up a ball bearing each. "T-The bus driver's dead, too?"
"Oh, yes. You I picked to play with."
"It's been a long day, sir. I'm all played out."
"I think I'll eat your sharp tongue last."
There was nothing in that for me but pain so I said, "H-How did you get here?'
He laughed wetly. "You think me some space creature?"
He turned for a moment to stare into the fires with eyes I could not see nor was I unhappy over that fact. "In a way I am from beyond the stars."
He turned back to me, and for a moment, I saw a wet, scaled face that looked more insect than fish. And eyes rhuemy and totally empty of anything human or merciful.
I fought back a shiver. He chuckled in a squishy gurgle.
"It began with the meteorite. The black seed of my birth fell in the back of this estate on the night of Samhain in 1843. Men could not approach the site for weeks because of the heat."
Again that terrible laughter. "And by then, the trees and wildlife were taking on strange shapes."
He wheeled closer still. "Men of your so-called science came finally to investigate. Those that managed to overcome their sudden illness and go back to their homes and beds died in them."
Closer came the wheelchair, and I saw that tentacles, not fingers, grasped the wheels. "The lovely wife of this estate's owner was pregnant."
The wheels squeaked as the chair came right up to me. "She did not survive my birth. I was quite hungry you see ... as I am hungry now!"
I whipped both hands out of my pockets and shot two ball bearings with all my strength into his gaping maw of a slavering mouth. "Eat this!"
He choked in wet husks.
I darted around his chair. Crap. Three tentacles shot from his middle right at me. Another kid would have died then.
But I was Victor Standish. I knew parkour. I did a full Arabian cartwheel right over those snaking things. As I flew over him, I saw razored teeth in a second snarling mouth in his damn stomach.
I sent two more ball bearings into that one as well. He squealed in pain. Better him than me.
I landed behind his wheelchair with a light bounce. I grasped the handles of the wheelchair with both shaking hands. I shoved the nightmare creature with all my strength along the wooden floor.
You don’t get expert in parkour without building up a lot of chest and arm muscles. I ducked those middle tentacles as I ran. What did it take to kill this thing?
I whizzed past the dead passengers and shoved this squirming mockery of a man into the blazing fire. His screams were … something I still have nightmares about.
But I’m still alive to have them.
I turned to run when the damn thing started crawling out of the fireplace though he was going up as if he were made of dry driftwood. I tore the poker from its iron sheath and smacked him three times hard on what was left of his head.
He slumped half out of the fireplace to lie still even though he was burning like candle wax. He smelled awful.
I ran out of the room, which was going up in flames all around me. I yelled over my shoulder. “By the way, Squishy, Trick or Treat!”