All Hallow’s Fiend-2

He chuckled inside himself and pointed to an old broken down and out tractor nearby.

“That’s all we got. No sneak peeks. I’ve got to go out to the hardware shop. Just drop it off it ya want. Don should be here.”

I looked around for the farm boy-type. Gone again. And again, A cold, warning, chill crossed through me.

“Umm, okay, thanks.”

“I’m Remi by the way,” he said, taking my hand into his own.

“Morgan.”

He nodded and waved to me as he walked away. I watched him for a minute, then went back to my own ride. Holly looked up from her texting.

“Well?”

I held up my application and the pen from my jeans pocket. Sitting in the passenger’s seat, I filled out every line. Still shaken by Remi. It wasn’t until Holly nudged me, that I noticed how much I had been dwelling on seeing him. He was just one man out of fucking millions. There’d be others.

“I’ll be right back,” I yawned, and went back to return the papers.

On the car ride home, all the things kept hitting me at one time. The absence of any workers other than farm boy. The eerie sensation of eyes on me that still wouldn’t go away. Like the feeling that something is wrong, something terrifying. You wanna run, look away and get as far away from it as possible. At the same time, I was consumed by that feeling. And it wouldn’t let me go no matter what I distracted myself with thinking about. It was making me think about it. Whether I wanted to or not. Kind of like a man. The woman knows he’s bad for her. Sees exactly why. And she still wants him even more. Specifically because he IS bad for her. And she needs it. That night, I lounged around on the couch, watching some kind of movie with Jada. Holly was out somewhere. And all I could do was think about the day that I’d had. It had seemed to last an eternity. All that happened after the Devil’s Inn was so strange. The way the two men, I had seen, looked at me when I asked for the application. The way the old guy at the office had opened the door just when I had raised my hand to knock. Every single thing about the event reminded me so much of a film script. Straight from a Hollywood horror. The way the tension was building. curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would so famously put it. Only this movie, I thought, was only beginning. And the feeling that the script was turning into reality was only making matters worse for me. I wasn’t just reading the script anymore, I was turning into the main character.

The next afternoon, I sat at the dining room table, reading over the day’s newspaper. In the local section, there was an older article that had been reprinted. Devil’s Inn was it’s main subject. Most of it was on how Remi had brought in more revenue for the county when he bought the place and made it what it is today. The rest of it, focused on the place’s violent and sadistic history. The murders at the hands of the man who had lived in the house shortly before Don and Remi had gotten a hold of it. That, in itself, was more than enough to hold my interest. I jotted down a few notes, and re-read the last paragraph.

“Holly” I said quietly. ” Did you know that some guy was killing women in that house and burying them in the basement? Where they’re having the haunted house?”

She appeared out of the laundry room, towels and sheets in a wicker basket. There was a look of worry in her normally happy eyes.

“Yeah. They did a, uh, raid on the house. After this girl Sasha went missing that year. Guess he knew it was either take himself out, or let them do it. he hung the girl before he sliced his own throat out. The worst part. He told the cops he wasn’t done yet. Can you believe that? That sick fucker was actually threatening the cops as he was bleeding to death.”

She shook her head in despair and appeared to be fighting tears. I sat back in my chair, my thoughts in one hell of a jumbled mess. So it had been true. This man had murdered and tortured those women. I felt cold, then. Those freezing cold eyes watching me again. I gasped, holding in a scream as Jada handed Holly the phone. She cleared her throat and handed it to me.

“Yeah?” I coughed, rubbing the back of my neck.

“Morgan? Hi! It’s Remi. Um, I was wanting to know if you could come by at like…seven. I wanted to talk to you about a few things.”

“Hell yeah,” I blurted. “Yeah, I can be there.”

“great. See ya then.”

I laughed out loud, nervously handing the phone back to Holly. I was excited as anyone could’ve been. Excited and surprised at how quickly things were moving. All the thoughts of the man and his victims still lingered. Not letting me forget that easily. It drew me back to the article, convincing my hands to move and take in all that was there. The names, basics. And what details the media had given out. When things like this happened, so violently and so suddenly, They usually left some kind of supernatural mark on the property. The person. Whatever the case may have been. This wasn’t just a case of me being weird, it was common knowledge. Common for anyone who knew what to look for. I forced myself away from the paper and into the bathroom. I’d shower up, run over to the library. I was going to dig up what I could on this Paul Maddox. Something about his name alone pushed me into thinking. Making me wonder exactly how messed up this person had really been in order to have caused all this carnage.

Holly never said another word to me the entire night. All the way up until the car came to a halt around back of the main building. I looked to her for a word. A sentence. Anything. She only stared blankly out of the side window, watching the sun sink down to the ground behind the mountains. Can’t say I blamed her. This place was even more bizarre at sundown. Shadows of all shapes and sizes. The faint reflections of our headlights in the dusty ground floor windows. The faint smell of dead and dry leaves blew past my nose, making me check the time on the dashboard. It was now five minutes after seven o’clock. I saw Remi’s blue pickup roll around the demolished driveway. He waved from inside the cab, and I followed. He hopped down, holding a plastic grocery bag in one hand. I moved my eyes up to his, catching some hint of teasing. Something was up.

“Glad you could make it, Morgan. Come on. We’ll go to the side porch. You thirsty?”

“Um…N..not really.”

“Sure..Listen. Go ahead, have a seat. Screen door’s open. I have to get your app.”

I giggled childishly and nodded, stepping into a narrow alley that ran between the buildings. The my lift, a dimly lit porch. Screened in all around it. Assorted bugs plastered at random along the seams and doorway. Two lonely bulbs hung over a makeshift table and chairs. Holding up what few ceiling tiles remained. I casually looked around, moving up the crooked steps and onto the noisy porch. Two old rocking chairs, one on either side of the crate-table. I eased myself down into the chair farthest away, looking through the research I’d collected that day, the two pages of questions I had for Remi. Though I doubted I’d get to ask them. I heard a shuffling off to my left and looked over. Remi was climbing the three steps, two huge glasses in his hands, and my application tucked underneath his arm. I took one of the glasses from him, sniffing at the majority of Whiskey he’d poured into it. Only enough to change the color I’d guessed.

“What the hell, right?” He sipped. ” I’ts an interview, not an execution, Morgan. relax.”

I smiled and took a slow drink. he laughed and sat his drink down.

“Remi? How much do you really know about the Maddox incident?”

He went stone silent, his expression going blank. I handed him my folder of research and took another sip. Waiting. he took in a deep and nearly pained breath.

“Walk with me,” he said quietly. “And I’ll tell you.”

I was all too eager to hear his answer. Wondering what it would be. I picked up my glass and the application he’d brought out with him, and followed him back down that darkened alley. He was moving back around to the rear of the house where we’d first spoken. We hadn’t gone more than a few feet, when he bent down and opened a set of wooden doors. I shot a look to him, then to the gaping hole in the ground that led into what had to have been a cellar.

“Come on,” he urged me, carefully moving down the creaking and aged staircase. Before I was even halfway down, A putrid and rancid smell came up to greet me. It was coming from deep inside. It smelled, well..dead. Dead and rotting. Like maybe an animal had crawled in and died in there.

“Remi?”

A single light bulb clicked on and he grinned wildly at me I walked up, taking another long sip from the glass. He dropped my folder on an old table and took in a deep breath. He seemed like he was hesitating to tell me anything else. I waited patiently as he gathered himself.

“Imma be honest. Paul killed six women. Not four like all the papers and things say. There was a rumor going around for a long time that he was going to go after a seventh one. But nobody ever found any proof. And it wasn’t as long ago as every says either. It was only four years back. In Jackson actually.”

An icy cold feeling struck me at the base of my neck, causing me to gasp. I whirled around towards the open doors, hearing the distant rumble of oncoming thunder.

“Fucking Hollywood,” I said quietly. I turned back, expecting to see that Remi had left, and I’d be alone. But he wasn’t. He was standing right there. Right where we’d left off.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Y-yeah. I’m fine.”

In that moment, my want for him had flown right out of those cellar doors. I no longer wanted to know what it would be like to be his bitch for a night. I wanted to know why Paul was being kept such a mystery to everyone. What exactly had he done that wasn’t already known?I had become focused on the reason. Not the show of the place.

“They found evidence of two more victims after the fact,” Remi coughed. ” But only notes. There were no bodies. Nothing physical that could tie him to anything.”

“And the seventh girl?,” I asked, chugging down even more of the liquid.

“Nobody knows anything about her, except Paul. It was all supposed to be in a journal he kept. Didn’t find that either.”

he sat his drink along side the folder and lit a cigarette. Now I knew why the place felt so strange.

“So,” he finally said. “Knowing that. Down here. We’re trying to recreate a scene. Something that was a rumor about his habits. He liked to operate on them. Or carve them up and make their faces all twisted and messed up. We, or rather I, was wondering if you would be willing to play the nurse in our operating room.”

I found myself taking a step back, shocked at the new things I’d learned about this man. The buzz of the alcohol was getting to me, making me confused in the midst of this crap.

“Why a nurse?”

He reached into his back pockets and pulled out a sheet of crumpled and torn notebook paper. As he unfolded it, I could see a crude drawing of a woman. Clothed in a skimpy nurse’s uniform. Scrawled in the side margin was the number seven, and some things I couldn’t make out. It looked like someone had drawn it in either a hurry or was drunk as hell. What the hell was Remi thinking?

“You guys are fucking insane,” I laughed nervously, slamming back the rest of what he’d given me. He only smiled and kissed my cheek. His voice lowered to a creepy whisper.

“That’s why you applied. That’s why you went through all the shit to get the research.”

He stepped back from me and stared me down like a hungry animal.

“Can we count you in, Morgan?”

I didn’t know if I could answer at that time. I didn’t know how. I looked over every part of the basement. It looked like it hadn’t even been touched in years. Which it probably hadn’t by the sound of what I was being told. For a second, I debated on making a run for the rusted staircase at the far end. No matter where it came out at. Hell, it could’ve ended in another dimension. As long as I got away from Remi and this place. Remi was finishing his drink, and took my application between his fingers, looking as though he were going to rip it in half. I felt my breath catch in the middle of my throat.

“Take it or leave it, Morgan. We got a lot of people still waiting. But, if you stay, I promise you. You will have the best Halloween ever. Come on. It’s only a house. You aren’t afraid of a few rogue ghosts are you? Afraid of Paul?”

I closed my eyes and let his words sink in. What did i really have to be afraid of? A ghost? A ghost that couldn’t even breathe anymore? What the hell was wrong with me? I felt like I was signing my own death warrant. Before I knew it, I had given my answer. And I wanted to kick myself.

“Alright,” I sighed. “What do I have to do?”

He smiled sweetly, leading me and my file out to one of the farther buildings. I remained outside, terrified and panicked. What had I gotten myself into? No, I told myself, I can do this. I’m twenty eight years old, not five. I could handle something like this. It was nothing.

Before I finished my thought, He was back outside, holding a large black shopping bag in one hand, a small purse in the other. He handed them over to me and scratched at the stubble on his chin.

“Now,” he huffed. ” A few questions. Can you wear cosmetic lenses? Do chains and blood bother you? And can you scream like the devil himself is after you?”

“Yes, No, and absolutely.”

He slipped the drawing into the big bag and pulled me in closer.

“If you get tripped out, at any time. Just think of how much money you’ll come out of this with. I’ll see you, five o’clock. Opening day, love. I’m counting on you.”

he pulled my face to his, and softly kissed my forehead. Something I didn’t at all expect from him. I forced a smile and walked back to the car. My legs and body felt completely numb. Unaware of what time it was getting to be, or what had just happened in there. I heard Holly talking, waking me from my stupor. I only dumped my things into the back seat and got into the car. I looked over at her.

“I need a cigarette and a lot of vodka. And I’ll tell you all about it.”

She shrugged, put the car into gear, and headed back towards the house.

The days till opening came and went way too quickly. The quicker they went, the more my stomach ached. I tried to pretend that it wasn’t unnerving going back there. Or even worse, that I was being left alone in that damned basement. He didn’t come out and tell me, but I knew that’s where most of it had happened. It felt like something inside was wanting me back. Begging me to stay. Not just the fact that there was money involved. But something else. Something darker and more menacing.

The day they opened, I spent most of my time staring in fear at the costume and little makeup bag that Remi had given me. The drawing of Paul’s nurse lay right beside it. The makeup, I could do on my own. At least the base of it. The rest, someone else would have to do. I wondered, as I headed into the shower, exactly what they would be doing to me. And to what extent. There had also been a wig in with the clothes. Chin length, swatches of white and red all through out. The rest was a rose red. My hair was already the red. So I thought I’d just go the extra step. And dye the rest as it should be. More real. More reaction. And hell, it would be hot for awhile. And it would always grow out if need be.

For two hours, I fought to steady my nerves. Trying my best not to freak out, or break into hysterics when I would pass by the woman on paper. Several times I’d taken it into my fingers, trying to imagine what this man, Paul, had been thinking when he drew it. Or rather, who, he was thinking of. Who the girl was that had pushed him to this point. Who she was. Why he had picked her. So many questions that I had for him. And nobody to answer them. Especially not a dead man. I didn’t remember getting dressed that day. The stockings. The makeup. Any of it. I don’t even remember doing my base makeup in the car on the drive over. when I had finally come to my senses, and knew what I was doing, I was standing face to face with Holly. Standing in the middle of the hotel parking lot. lana was staring intently at me, a hint of oddness in her aged voice.

“What they got you doing, Morgan?”

Like a zombie after brains, I looked over, unsure of who I was.

“I’m number seven,” I replied, quiet. She nodded like she understood. Was my trembling self that obvious to those around me? Did I look that scared of a ridiculous Halloween haunt? I needed to get over it. It was work, I was going to get paid for doing what I loved to watch others do on screen. Scare the hell out of teenagers and adults alike. So why did I wanna go screaming in the other direction?

“Okay.” I groaned. ” Lets do this before I come off my meds and realize what I’m doing tonight.”

I waved back to Lana as Holly and I went to the Impala. Well, as fast as I could in the stilettos I was wearing. Not as fun as I’d thought. After we’d both settled in, She started the engine and cast a hushed gaze over to me.

“Little miss dead and gone is worried about a killer ghost story?”

“Fuck you,” I shot back. “I’m over it now. I just need to relax. I’ll be fine. I am fine.”

But, I knew I wouldn’t be. Not until this was over and I had that money in my hands. She huffed, and pushed the car out onto the main highway. We began driving east. Going on for what seemed like an eternity. The road seemed to stretch for miles in front of us. At the same time that we turned onto the old road that led to the Inn, the lingering thunder from last night came to a head and light sprinkles of rain began to fall down. great. Add to the fucked up feeling. The whole car shook as another clap took over right behind the first. The open

fields. The old gray barn across from the dirt driveway stared us down. tryign to say something. A warning. A taunt. who knew. I reached down, playing with the buttons on the stereo. When I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to handle anymore of the weirdness, I heard a song start to play. One that I loved and could always count on to ease my mind and nerves. I was beginning to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. I could do this. It was my thing. My own personal brand of heroin in a way. It was my drug of choice. And I was so about to O.D. I sat back in the comfort of the seat, nodding my head along with the music. Whatever had inspired the DJ to play that song at that moment, had to have been something good.

I could see the tops of the buildings coming up over the dim horizon. There were already plenty of cars. I wasn’t sure if they had been customers, or if they were working like I was going to. I grabbed the cellphone, and dialed the number Remi had given to me. I looked over, watching Holly’s expression change the closer we got to the house. An old hearse was parked in the driveway, the driver laid out underneath the front tires. I laughed, hearing the music playing from inside the vehicle as I waited.

“Hey! It’s my nurse. wow. I thought I’d never hear from you again. Ok. well, when you get out, come down to the last house. We need to get you finished up.”

“Cool,” I said, twisting a piece of my hair. “See ya in a bit.”

I handed the phone back and asked her to stop. I grabbed my pack of menthol from the back and my duffel bag, and was soon out in the dense open air. before I headed over, I looked down at myself. Taking in every little detail. The whit, torn, thigh highs that fastened below the hem of my uniform. My tits nearly hung out for all to see. I adjusted them slightly and started the long walk. I fixed the simple little cap atop my head, thinking of how similar it was to the ones they used to wear in the old days. 50’s, sixties maybe. My personal part of the make up had consisted of whitening my skin to a near pale quality. dark areas around my blue eyes. Looking like I’d been awake for months. Years.

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