I Told you to Wait Inside
Death had come to Alpenview. And death was apparently a young man with a
box cutter, in a dark blue hoodie, who shielded their face from
inquisitive eyes with a mask which bore the ancient sigil of the
Everspiral carved into its bleached-white surface. This serial killer
had been gifted with the moniker of the “Spiral Carver” for their mask
and particular method of mutilating their victims’ bodies. A curfew had
been put into effect, and now the dwindling population of Alpenview
huddled inside at night, clutching hunting shotguns with their eyes
trained on the doors and windows. And yet the Spiral Carver’s bodycount
continued rising. There were whispers the young man wasn’t entirely of
this Earth, being able to silently unlock sealed doors with a word of
command, or phase through solid brickwork and masonry like water.
Naturally, all this had made it more than a little difficult for Lester Camille to sleep tonight. The warning his mother gave him every night before he went to bed, that “Even if the Spiral Carver dragged me screaming into the night, I’d want you to wait inside no matter what”, did little but foster unpleasant mental images. It was now well past 3:00 AM and he still hadn’t been blessed with a wink of sleep. With nothing else he figured he could do, Lester made his way downstairs and poured himself a glass of orange juice. But although he couldn’t place his finger on it at first, as he gulped the beverage down he felt something was off. Then he realized it.
His family’s house was far too quiet.
The hairs on the back of Lester’s neck stood on end and he began to sweat, a profuse, cold sweat. Surely he was just being paranoid. He would check in on his mother’s bedroom, his mother being the only other person who lived with him, and go back to bed, reassured.
Except his mother wasn’t in her bedroom.
“Mom? Mom? MOM?! Are you home?!”
Or anywhere else, apparently. Lester prayed this was all a waking nightmare, but things seemed far too lucid, not anywhere close to the monotone surrealistic tone that nightmares possess.
After pacing around for a solid minute whilst tears streamed down his cheeks, at last Lester made his decision. Curfew be damned, he was going to look for his mother. Lester was very close to his mother, and if she was already dead he might as well die too. He threw on a heavy fall jacket over his pajamas, and donned a pair of fingergloves and a toque as well as his hiking boots. He didn’t take a weapon. Lester knew he wouldn’t be able to push himself to fight back if attacked, being a pacifist and an unusually squeamish one at that by nature.
Lester ran outside, not even bothering to shut the door behind him. He doubted any burglar would be as stupid as he was and try to break the curfew. He ran halfway down the street before realizing that he had no clue what direction he should head in.
It was then that he heard glass shattering and he whipped his head around. There they were, standing over a bottle that had been crunched to powder underneath a camo-pattern sneaker. The Spiral Carver, a box cutter in his right hand. Lester then did something very unwise.
He screamed at the top of his lungs.
The Spiral Carver turned to face Lester, and Lester knew what he had to do. He had to run. And that’s exactly what he started doing, sprinting for several blocks at breakneck speed until he ducked into an alley between the high school and the Presbyterian church. The alley banked right and Lester nearly faceplanted head-first into the wall, and he only stopped running when he realized two things. The alley was a dead-end. And there was a very unanticipated surprise waiting for him.
It was impossible. The Spiral Carver had been waiting for him. At the end of the dead-end alley. Lester didn’t even bother wondering how the Spiral Carver had known he would run in here, let alone how they got here so quickly when the only alternate route would have taken them along the train tracks for half a mile.
The Spiral Carver began walking purposefully towards Lester, who in his state of exhaustion and light-headedness, tripped and fell as he scrambled backwards in true horror-movie cliché. The young man with the mask on his face and the box cutter in his hand seemed to tower over him as he approached. In the moonlight, Lester dimly realized that the hair of the Spiral Carver was partially hidden by their hoodie, but looked longer than he expected for a male’s. As if to reaffirm that thought, the Spiral Carver paused as they knelt down, removed their mask, and…
“Mom?” Lester asked in a stupor.
“What I’m about to do pains me, Lester” his mother replied. “I am your mother. I carried you. I bore you. I wanted to keep you safe. But I told you to wait inside no matter what.”