Scary Things (A Simon Hobb Story)
The street seemed oddly quite as Jen, Susan, Peter and David walked down it. Somehow Susan had managed to talk the other three into going with her although, to be honest, Jen couldn’t figure out how. The thought had occurred to Susan that it would be fun to spend Halloween exploring a run down house on the outskirts of the town. It was at this point that the thought occurred to Jen that her friend had drank to much, again, and was now looking for a convenient place to get lost with Peter. But since she didn’t want to ruin a good thing she decided to let her friend have her fun, at least until the following day when Jen had every intention of making Susan’s life as unpleasant as possible.
“This is it,” said David in what was starting to become an almost slurred voice. David was a big guy, in the sense that he had spent the last five years of his life either lifting weights, playing rugby or else drinking himself under the table. But even still after downing a bottle of vodka in record time it was easy to say that he wouldn’t be winning any sobriety prizes tonight. “Shall we?” said Peter offering his arm to Susan, who quickly grabbed it giggled and started walking the stone steps up to the house. Jen thought once again about how she wished her brother was going in with them but unfortunately after a fast phone call he had decided to do more interesting things, something about a fight on TV. Even still though she marched up the steps determined to at least make sure Susan didn’t fall through the floor.
David had laughed at her about the phone call saying that he’d protect her, showing that he both didn’t like her brother and really didn’t know her to well either. To be honest Jen figured she’d end up having to pick at least one of them up off the floor by the end of the night. “The joys of being able to drink” she said walking past the grinning idiot holding open the door that was David attempting charm. The house was of course pitch black, especially since the overgrown trees around it blocked all but the tiniest light from the street. But a bit of unusually clear thinking from Susan had ended up with peter getting some torches from he’s dad’s shop, so at least they weren’t going to fall over each other. Apart from the darkness there was moldy smell in the air that spoke of little ventilation and absolutely no maintenance to add to the spookiness of it all. Which peter insisted on demonstrating by springing up on to chairs every two seconds going boo. Which of course every one found funny, except Jen.
“Boo!” he yelled jumping on to a couch and proceeding to put his foot through it before falling over the back. Susan of course ran to his aid while Jen merely barked out a laugh at his stupidity. “Hey Peter why don’t you and Susan have a look upstairs and me n’ Jen’ll have a look around here” winked David while nudging his head suggestively at the wood stairs in the hallway. “Good idea” agreed Peter smiling and leading the intoxicated girl to the stairs. Jen thought for a second about going up to look after Susan but then decided it’d be better to let them off and use this as insult material later. David meanwhile was putting on his best cheesy face and pointing his torch at what was left of the couch. With a throwing of her eyes to the heavens look, Jen left the grinning idiot stand there while she strolled around the house.
There weren’t that many rooms to it but they were all huge and seemed to have been pretty well furnished. There was nothing of value of course just old chairs and couches but it was pretty obvious that the previous owners had been fairly well off. All in all it could still be a nice house with some work put in. Jen started suddenly at the sound of footsteps above her then relaxed as she realized it was just the drunken couple. Sudden movement near the door behind her made her spin fast with the torch. “David that you?” she asked tentatively as she crept towards the door. She waved the light up and down the hallway but could see no one, “David where are you?” she asked in an above normal tone. “In here” came the response followed by a beam of light coming from a room near the end of the hall. Jen made her way down the hall listening for any sound out of the ordinary. The occasional giggle informed her that the other too were still upstairs and the smell of smoke coming from the room ahead told her that David was getting stoned.
Meanwhile Peter and Susan were busy exploring the massive bedrooms, and each other whenever Peter could try to cop a feel. “Cut that out,” giggled Susan unconvincingly as she slapped away his hand again. “Is that what you really want or would you rather see if these beds are comfortable?” he chided while pulling her towards the four-post bed in the center of the room. Laying the torches face up on the ground he picked her up and leaned back with her on to the bed. As they fumbled with each other on the bed a foot hit the torches spilling their light on to the floor and opposite wall. Peter lay on top of Susan kissing her neck and caressing the inside of her thighs while slowly but surely making his way towards the zip of her jeans. Susan moaned gently and kissed his neck, it was while doing this that she looked at the canopy of the bed. She wasn’t sure but she thought some of the shadows cast by the arc of it looked strange, sort of lighter then the rest. Too late she realized she could see a form hanging under the canopy, and eyes looking down at her. In one fluid motion the shadow dropped, Peter’s head flew from his shoulders in a gout of blood and Susan found herself with a knife to her throat. Large icy fingers held her jaw closed so tight that she thought it might crack. She tried to struggle but the additional weight of Peter’s corpse made her assailant impossible to move. “Shh” it hissed, “If you don’t stop trying to move my knife might slip and accidentally slit your throat. And I don’t think either of us wants that, yet.”
Susan stopped struggling, not out of fear or even self preservation as one might expect from such a traumatic event, but because there was something in the sound of his voice, or was it her head, that compelled her to do what he said. “Good girl” he said pushing what was once Peter off of her. “Now stay,” he said as he slipped off of her, once again she found herself not moving. Very gently he took her by the hands and pulled her back to her feet. It was by this time that the sober part of Susan’s brain realized that while the whole time it had been screaming to run, the body was doing the exact opposite. She even found herself nodding when he stepped in whispering, “ You like this don’t you”. What little she saw of his face in the reflected light revealed a very pale face wracked with faded scars. “Do you find me ugly?” he asked slipping his hands around her backside and giving it a squeeze. Susan couldn’t help herself, she nodded despite every instinct telling her not to. “An unfortunate event of youth” he said smiling almost shyly “but nothing to put you off I’m sure”. He licked her face before slowly and deliberately running his tongue along her lips. “Lets put those lips to some good use,” he said kissing her gently before laying one hand on her shoulder and the other at the back of her head.
“Want some?” inquired David as he lounged in a particularly comfortable looking armchair while extending the joint towards her. “Nope” she said walking past him to look at the rest of the room. As she swept her light around the room she noticed a piece of it reflect back at her. She edged backwards and shone the light upwards to reveal the remains of what was once a very ornate mirror frame. She walked back towards it focusing the light on a shattered section. It was while looking at her reflection in one of the shards that she heard a thud. “Great” she said out loud “Sounds like one of them's fallen over”. “Leave ‘em off” was the response from David as he puffed away. “Ye alright up there?” she called. Nothing. “Susan?” still nothing. This time Jen started walking towards the hallway. “They’re probably just having a good time,” announced David before deciding to follow her. “Yeah, well I’d rather know she’s alright then go on your opinion” responded Jen with probably more force then she meant.
Once again she found herself creeping along alert to any possible sound. This time however she had a giant stoned rugby jock bumbling behind her. At least there’s more light, she thought to herself while peering down the hallway. A door to her left was left slightly open so she slowly pushed it with the torch “Susan? Peter? Ye in here?" There was no answer so she swung the door open the rest of the way. Torches lay on the ground reflecting light off the ceiling and opposite wall. In the center of the room was a four-post bed and on it was a massive red stain which had the sickly reflective sheen of something that had just been spilled. “Jesus” exclaimed David as he shone his torch on a foot resting on the edge of the bed. Jen ran over and then froze at the end of the bed “Peter” she said quietly. As she stared horrified at the corpse she suddenly had a mental flash of how much she wished her brother were with her. It took her a minute to drag her eyes away from the scene but once she had, the thought of Susan returned.
“Where’s Susan? We have to find her!” she exclaimed running past the stunned David. “Come on lets go”, but try as she might David wouldn’t budge. Something moved from behind the immobile youth and Jen had a split second to register something fly at her head. Instinct and years of growing up around boys playing football in the middle of the street caused her to duck. A quick analytical mind however is what made her run for the stairs. A hand snaked out to grab her arm and once again instinct kicked in. Her fist impacted on what she figured was a face, but in the dark she wasn’t sure. The sound of someone cursing told her the punch had been effective. Unfortunately her triumph was short lived as her foot slipped at the top of the stairs, which caused her escape to turn into a plunge.
Bouncing off steps is bad enough but when the bottom three decide to shatter on impact it just becomes painful. Jen groaned and carefully brought herself to her knees. She had been vaguely aware of movement above her as she was trying to figure out what had happened and so was not surprised to see a shadowy figure standing in front of her. “Shh” it hissed putting a finger to what Jen thought must have been his lips. “You shouldn’t move, that was a nasty fall after all,” he said moving in to look at her. “Dinner and a date. I guess my night is looking good after all”. “My brother’s going to kill you,” she said defiantly while looking right into what she could now see was a heavily scarred face. A puzzled look came over the face before being replaced by a small smile. “I’m afraid you brother is slumped on the floor upstairs with a knife in his heart” he said running a hand along her cheek. “David’s dead?” she said puling slowly away from his hand a look of dismay on her face. At this he pulled himself back once again, a look of mild puzzlement on his face . “Although I find it slightly amusing,” he mused, “I am somewhat curious as to why you continue to move and speak. I haven’t seen someone do that before”
Jen raised her head to once again look him in the eye but this time instead of dismay there was a smile and a glint of mischief. “Scare you does it?” she said moving to stand. A quick back fist left her sprawled on the floor again. “Nothing scares me!” he said producing a knife. “My brother will,” said Jen wiping some blood from her lip. “Not the big guy upstairs eh? Doesn’t matter,” he said casually “Even if he does know where you are he isn’t going to get here in time to save you”. “He’s already here” the voice came from the now open front door behind him. Standing in the doorway was a classic goth, black hoody, long hair, leather trench coat and everything.
About the same height as the girl, he strode confidently forward, light leaking from the street behind him. “Stay where you are” said Scar mildly. The new comer cocked his head to one side to look at Jen, his hair falling across half his face. From the uncovered side of his face Jen could see her brother raise an eyebrow and half a smile “Is this guy serious?” “Yep,” said Jen standing again. “What?” exclaimed Scar “How can ye do this? I don’t understand.” “The same way I knew he was coming” said Jen as she landed a right cross on his exposed face. “NO!” screamed Scar as he recovered and went to grab her. Steel flew through the air suddenly, impaling Scars hand to the banister of the stairs. “Hold this Jen,” said her twin as he handed her the trench coat he had been wearing. Underneath he wore a leather waistcoat over the hoody, which he revealed to have throwing knives holstered into the inner lining of it. Twice more steel flew through the air securing Scar’s feet to the wood.
“I hate guys like you” he said pulling a large hunting knife from the back of the waistcoat, “Not only are you an upper class fancy ass snob. But your also one of these idiots who seems to thing they’re special just 'cus they got a few tricks.” By this stage Scar realized that he couldn’t speak and that his free hand was hanging limply at his side. “Let me guess, mind control through cannibalistic rituals?” at this the blade of the hunting knife was slipped in between Scar’s ribs. “Doesn’t work on us natural users of magiks.” A twist of the blade led to the sound of ribs cracking. “Head home Jen” he said turning to his sister. She nodded closed the door of the house and started walking down the road. Inside the house scar looked into eyes that seemed to begin glowing softly in the darkness, and as the eyes grew brighter the blade grew hotter “I love it when scary things get scared”.