Halloween night is
traditionally the most supernatural evening of the year. Going back centuries, when the now
commercialized Holiday was all about ghosts and goblins, it was called ‘All
Hallows Eve’. The objective was not to collect candy from strangers in cute or
horrifying costumes, or scaring ones neighbours. It was about respecting the dead, worshiping
the devil, and blurring the lines between the present and the afterlife. To the small town of Cornwall Connecticut,
awakening the dead and playing with ghosts was not a commercial affair.
There was a patch of land that, back in the 1700’s, belonged to the Dudley family. They were farmers, just like most residing in Cornwall, even to this day. The Dudley family were kind enough to allow others to live on their land. This, over time, created a small, fictitious town, they called Dudleytown. To the residences of Cornwall, it is better known as the “Village of the Damned”. Murders, mysterious deaths and disappearances plagued Dudleytown until the late 1800’s when it was dismantled and the remaining farmers dissipated. The land was deemed to be cursed, overflowing with spiritual and supernatural sightings that, in present day, had become a bit of tourist attraction for those brave enough to spend a night in the remaining shabby, rundown farmhouse.
Most locals were smart enough to stay away. Becoming a traditional scary bedtime stories for generations, or games shared among friends at playgrounds. It was also a fair warning to those out trick or treating. Cornwall abandoned all hope of restoration with budgetary cuts plagued the small town. They allowed the old farm houses to rot and disintegrate on their own, letting God, the Devil or, Mother Nature claim stake to it.
However, on the bitterly cold, Halloween night of 1996, a young teen couple could not resist the temptation.
Rebecca, a sweet, good natured, seventeen year old remembered vividly the stories her parents would tell her about the Dudleytown estate only a few blocks over. She was a senior at Dudley High in Cornwall, gearing up to going away to College a few States over next fall. This was going to be her late Halloween at her parents and she was going to make sure it would be one to remember. A ‘ghost junkie’ was the best way to describe her. Constantly reading about witches, paranormal, the occult, anything and everything that involved one crossing over into the afterlife. Born and bred in a town that was infatuated with hauntings, it was only natural that one would gain such an unhealthy obsession. For most, they left her as an outcast, brushed it off as a “phase” but, that did not bother Rebecca in the slightest.
Todd, a level headed, grounded young man and, star Quarterback to their high schools team was for, unknown reasons, attracted to Rebecca. He was what Rebecca’s circles called a “non-believer”. He forgot the truth behind those bedtime stories told so long ago and, believed paranormal sightings were just hoaxes. He always play along with one of Rebecca’s wild plans, like visiting a graveyard at night, or getting their fortunes told by the local gypsy to appease her and nothing more. He was a smart kid, eager to leave his hometown and it’s deadly past behind next fall.
No one ever understood what gravitated Rebecca and Todd to one another. They were so different in their interests, appearance, personality, that it was like watching the Odd Couple in the halls of Dudley High. The one and possibly, only thing they could agree upon was not giving two flying shits about everyone in their town. Neither of them cared enough to hold onto friendships past senior year. College would be a new chapter in their lives, either together or apart, moving on was all that mattered.
It had taken a lot of convincing and, even some sexual favours, for Rebecca to finally break her beau into agreeing to her Halloween plans. Todd would never admit this, especially to Rebecca who would pounce on this like a Tiger, but his own curiosity was beginning to get the better of him. He hated to admit that Rebecca was finally rubbing off on him.
Rebecca showed up on Todd’s door step promptly at midnight, just like they had discussed. She rang the doorbell, glancing over her shoulders eyeing the barren, incandescent street behind her. The kids were already done their rounds of getting candy and, most homes had their porch lights off to signal they had run out of sweets to rot their neighbour’s kid’s teeth out. She smiled as a gust of wind blew her black skirt into swirls around her ankles, imagining it as a ghost propositioning her for a dance.
Todd unlocked the door, eyeing his girlfriend over the threshold for a moment. Her back was to him, her brown curled locks were pinned up off her shoulders. He studied the metal clasp that kept it up, seeing the dragon face complete with a red ruby eye glinting back at him. His eyes wandered down her thin frame, watching the thick black corset top hug her frame as it spilled out into a matching black pleated skirt, dancing around her ankle high, black boots. He cleared his throat as Rebecca turned, eyes wild and smile large.
“Trick-or-treat lover,” She whispered, licking her red lips and winking her hazel eye dusted in black eye shadow.
Todd could feel his mouth hanging open at his girlfriend’s appearance. His eyes never once left her very exposed cleavage and metallic dagger amulet resting at her sternum. She reached out with her left hand, coated in costume jewellery and gently closed his gaping mouth before kissing him on the lips. It wasn’t until after she pulled away that he suddenly felt under dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt with their High school’s mascot, the Centaur, embroidered on it.
“Becca, I-I, wow, I mean, fuck you look, hot!” Todd breathed, feeling a little excitement stirring in his jeans.
She smiled, casting her eyes down to her feet as if ashamed, “Well this is a special occasion, I wanted to make sure I looked my best.”
Before Todd could even respond she had grabbed his hand and pulled him out the door and down the front path to his home. She turned right, her heeled boots clicking against the cement walkway, still pulling her boyfriend behind her. Rebecca was not a strong girl, Todd could take her in a moment but, the determination she had to get them to their destination was an even match for the football star.
“Becca wait up!” Todd shouted over the wind as Rebecca, slowed, allowing him to fall in stride with her.
“Sorry, I’m just so excited. This night feels almost magical, like when we lost our virginities this summer.”
Todd could feel his cheeks turning red and he could not decipher if it was from embarrassment or the fall wind slicing at his cheeks with every gust. The night he had popped his man cherry was one Todd would never forget. They had gone for a nice, romantic dinner and then a walk afterwards heading to one of their favourite make-out places; an abandoned dock out on the lake. It was a hot spot for young teenage love and it was the first place Todd had taken Rebecca when they started dating. Every time they walked there, they passed a cemetery and Rebecca always stated how amazing it would be to have sex there. She claimed it would be like taking part in their biological need while surrounded by the spirit world. Todd always thought it was a bit, weird, and figured that he would use the dock as his romantic place to take Rebecca, right under the stars.
That plan quickly changed when Rebecca lead them away from the dock and into the cemetery. The sun was just beginning to set behind the large, elm trees that lined the graveyard. She led Todd down the many rows of tombstones before finding a small, secluded alcove near the back. It was next to a large gravestone overrun by vines and weeds. That was where they kissed, which eventually lead to necking and then, before he knew it, he was riding Rebecca, feeling her alive and hot while being surrounded by cold, rotting corpses.
“Aren’t you cold?” Todd asked eyeing Rebecca’s short sleeved dress and bare arms. He rubbed her skin feeling the chill radiating off her skin as she shook her head.
“The cold never bothered me.” Rebecca quipped as they continued their walk towards Dudleytown.
A few blocks North of Todd’s house, the energetic and curious young couple had finally reached the rot ironed gates leading into Dudleytown. The gates were at least twenty feet high, vines twisting and curling around each bar as if Mother Nature were trying to reclaim what was rightfully hers. Rebecca gripped the bars that felt like icicles as she closed her eyes, listening to the rustling of the trees towering over top. A surge of energy and warmth crawled up her spine as she smiled, she could sense the spirits were already restless. Todd rocked back on his heels, looking up at the large elm and maple trees, shuddering at the sound of branches clanking against the metal gates. He had gotten this horrible, dreadful feeling as they approached, as if something horrible was going to happen. On many occasions, he debated just turning around. He figured he could potentially curve his girlfriend’s appetite for the spirit world by having sex once more in the graveyard on Halloween night.
“Becca, I-I don’t know about this.”
Rebecca turned back to see her lover’s ashen complexion and jittery stance. She cupped his cheek with her fingers that felt like ice and kissed him, pushing her tongue between his lips and down his throat. “Please Todd, for me?” She begged, her eyes wide and lips pouty. It was a look she knew Todd could never resist.
He glanced back at the foreboding, seedy landscape sighing to admit defeat. “Alright, let’s just get this over and done with.” Todd stated as Rebecca giggled skipping back over to the gate.
Fifty years ago this place used to be pad locked to avoid lurking homeless to start squatting in the abandoned building, or wandering teens from finding new places to get high and have sex. Since the town began to concentrate on other, more pressing issues, the upkeep of the Dudleytown estate became abysmal at best and the locks removed. Rebecca lifted the latch to the gate and pushed the heavy iron door open as a loud, obnoxious creek filled the deathly silent night.
“Come on Todd! Let’s go exploring!” She called and then ran off down the path.
“Becca! Hey, wait up!” Todd hollered back, following her until her black dress seeped into the dark sky.
He stopped, the moonlight currently shaded by the clouds as the yellow glow of the street lights had faded and only darkness surrounded him. It was at this moment he was wondering why the hell they did not bring flashlights and his heart began to race. A phobia of the dark was something he had a small child, and now being in a decrepit place with a ghost enthused girlfriend would be enough to bring that phobia back in full swing.
“Becca! God damn it, where are you.” He called into the darkness around him, feeling the stabs of branches and downy of leaves falling around him. That was when he heard a giggle and turned in the direction of the sound, “Becca!” He called again as the giggling happened once more, this time from the other side as he turned in a tight circle. “Come on, this isn’t funny!”
Rebecca pounced onto his back as Todd screamed, grabbing at her arms she had locked around his neck to hold on. He clawed at them, ready to toss this person over his shoulders and onto the stone path when he heard hysterical laughter in his ear. She dismounted and kept laughing, so hard and loud that Todd could make out her shape doubling over as if in pain.
“Fuck you.” He snapped turning to leave.
“Wait!” Rebecca breathed in between giggles as she shoved a flashlight into his hand. “You didn’t think I came unprepared now did you?”
Todd flicked on his flashlight as he shined the bright light on Rebecca, her eyes wild, but pouting once more. It was then that he noticed she had a black satchel draped over her shoulder, catching a glimpse of a green and red candle and a pentacle statue inside it. “What the hell is all this stuff?” He said pointing at her bag.
“It will help us connect with the spirit world baby, I want this trip to be worth it.” Rebecca explained as she grabbed his hand and lead him back towards the farm house, “I promise, I won’t scare you anymore, and we’ll stick together.”
Todd nodded as he gripped Rebecca’s hand tight, feeling how cold and clammy it had gotten. He also couldn’t help but notice her bare arms turning a bit blue from the cold. “Shouldn’t you put a sweater on or something? You’re going to get hypothermia.”
“I’m fine, let’s go.”
What remained of the Dudley’s Farmhouse was just its bare bones. The towering, once white painted barn walls were now blue-grey and rotting. The roof was angled and had three, gaping holes in it, as if a giant had punched through it with a large fist. The remaining shingles were lifted and weathered, exposing roof beams and birds of prey large nests. There was a two foot tall, stone base surrounding the farm house. It looked to be the only part still in decent condition. Todd could see a few posts of what remained to the front porch leading to the door. Even if they could reach it, it was chained closed and boarded up. Rebecca waved her flashlight over the large, rectangular shaped windows on the left side, boarded up with planks. The glass was shattered, leaving only jagged pieces sticking out of the frame like monster’s teeth.
As the couple got closer to the house, a foul smell leeched through the broken glass. It was overpowering, a stench of rotting wood and carcasses of wildlife alike. Todd no longer cared about ghosts, or connecting with the spirit world, hell he did not even care if this was making Rebecca’s sex drive go into overtime. All he wanted now was to make it out of here alive.
“Over here,” Rebecca whispered turning the corner and shinning their flashlights down toward the ground.
Todd saw exactly what Rebecca was pointing at. Beside the cellar doors that were chained shut there was a hole in the foundation that looked just big enough for a person to sneak through. Rebecca let go of his hand and went over, shinning the bright light into the dark pit. The stench emitting from the windows was stronger here, making Todd’s nostrils burn and eyes water.
“Maybe we shouldn’t do this.” He reasoned, grabbing her by the arm, pulling away instantly. Her skin was hot, like she was fire. This whole situation was exciting her.
Rebecca turned to see the shock on Todd’s face, “What, what is it?” She asked.
“I-ugh never mind, let’s just do this.”
Rebecca smiled and planted a wet kiss on his cheek. “We will stick together, I promise.” She said getting down on all fours and crawled through the small hole. “God this stinks!” Her voice echoed as Todd shone his light down the hole, waiting until she was safely out of the way. “Holy shit! Todd, you have to see this!”
Todd took a deep breath, pinched his nose and followed behind watching his flashlight bounce off the stone walls surrounding him. He could see Rebecca’s flashlight beam bouncing around like a strobe light as he wiggled his way through the tight space, clawing at dirt and trying not to puke at the unpleasant odour. When he reached the opening, Todd slithered out onto a pile of rocks gasping for breath.
They were in what remained of a basement. Cobwebs clung to every corner of the room which was no bigger than his mother’s walk-in closet at home. The floor was cement and barren, not a single piece of furniture was in the room. Todd got to his feet, running his flashlight across the ceiling as exposed support beams ran the length of the ceiling, rats scampering across to their nests. In the far left corner was a large, cast iron furnace they would have used to heat the place in the winter. Piles of rotted wood towered the right hand wall. The smell was still overpowering as Todd coughed, wiping his dirt covered hands on his sweater before clearing his eyes.
“Over here.” Rebecca called, the sound of her voice making Todd jump. He followed the glow of her flashlight as a set of rickety, wooden stairs came into view.
“Careful Beck,” Todd cautioned, the pungent smell still in the air.
“I will, I promise,” She said and lightly took each step on the rotting boards, hearing the wood creek under her light frame but, never once completely breaking.
Todd impatiently waited, hopping from one foot to another as Rebecca finally reached the top of the stairs. She pulled open the door at the top and stepped into the bowels of the house. His whole body was tightening and that was when he realized he was holding his breath. He darted his eyes around the confined basement, waiting for a ghost to pop out and say boo.
Rebecca carefully stepped into the hall, casting her flashlight across wallpaper green with mildew. She looked back at Todd with a glint in her eye, “I’ll just be down the hall,” She said and turned left, disappearing from view.
“Becca! Hey wait up!” He yelled as he took the rotting steps two at a time, not giving the boards enough time to support his heavier weight and snap.
He reached the hallway quicker than it took him to tackle a man on the field. Todd turned left, not seeing Rebecca standing in the hall any longer. The smell that he was hoping resided in the basement, was actually stronger up here as he walked down the hall, “Becca!” He yelled, pissed that she had run off on him after she promised they would stick together.
“In here,” She said, her flashlight bouncing off what remained of a child’s room.
There was a crib in the far corner, a few wooden toys scattered on the floor, along with what looked like a China doll, her blonde curls flatted and party dress tattered. That was when she heard it again, the music. At first she thought she was just imagining things, but this time, it was louder, more, prominent. She took off her satchel and started to shove a bunch of debris off the floor, clearing a place to set up her candles for a séance.
Todd had entered the room, watching his girlfriend pull out a piece of white chalk. “What are you doing exactly?” He asked, looking around the room.
“There is a strong presence here, don’t you hear the music.” Rebecca stated as she began drawing pagan shapes on the wooden floor.
Todd was silent for a moment, and that was when he heard it, the music Rebecca was talking about. That wasn’t the only thing he heard, there was something else; laughter, a child’s laughter to be exact.
“Come on Becca, maybe we should go.”
She flicked a match, lighting her candles, “Are you kidding me? This is what we are looking for Todd. There are real ghosts in this place.” Rebecca replied, her eyes dancing with excitement in the flicker of the flames. She didn’t wait for an answer and instead removed a book from her satchel, extending her hands to Todd.
Todd sighed, refusing to leave her alone in this place, or, being alone himself. He grabbed her hand and sat down across from her. They sat, cross legged, fingers intertwined over a bunch of shapes he had no idea about as the laughing had turned into playful giggling. The music, it was the same tune as in a little girl’s jewelry box, grew stronger. Rebecca had her eyes closed, muttering phrases in what Todd could only assume was Latin. The giggling grew louder, bouncing from wall to wall as the flames began to flicker and grow.
“Rebecca, you’re scaring the shit out of me,” Todd whispered as she kept chanting. That was when their flashlights sputtered out and the only light in the room was that of the three candles surrounding them.
Todd swore he could hear the scampering of bare feet as wind passed over his face, it was so strong he saw Rebecca’s hair dance. Suddenly, the door slammed shut as Rebecca stopped chanting, her eyes popping open, pupils dilated.
“Becca? Hey, are you alright?” He asked, his own voice shaking.
“Behind you.” Rebecca whispered.
Todd turned and scanned the wall. It was hard to make out anything in just the candlelight so he grabbed one of the flashlight and flicked it on. Piled from the floor to the ceiling were dead bodies, corpses in all stages of decomposition. Men, women, blonde, brunette, stacked one on top of one another as if they were dominos.
“Oh fuck!” He screamed, vomit creeping up his throat. He turned to Rebecca and dropped the flashlight.
“Can you see them?” She asked excited, her eyes narrowing and teeth grinning.
Standing behind Rebecca were two brown, curly haired, hazel eyed twin girls. They were about eight years old, dressed in matching pale pink party dresses complete with white shoes and ribbons in their hair. The two girls stood stock still, eyes trained on Todd as the moonlight once hidden behind the clouds was revealed, shining through the hole in the ceiling. The music was still playing as the girls held hands, swinging their arms in tune with the song.
“Holy shit,” Todd muttered, “Do you see this Beck.”
“My sisters.” Rebecca stated, as the girls approached, each placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Welcome to our home,” They replied in unison.
Todd was flabbergasted, “What, you’re just fucking with me right? Your séance shit has you possessed or something. I was not dating a ghost.” He muttered as he could feel the ice of Rebecca’s skin leech into his. “I did not fuck a ghost!” He yelled.
“This,” Rebecca stated, “Is my home, I wanted you Todd, to bring me back.” She replied.
“You loved and cared about me, you believed in me when no one else would. To me you are family and I wanted tonight to be special, I wanted you to become a real part of our family.”
“F-Family?” Todd sputtered, as he watched the girls point at the pile of corpses he knew was behind him.
“Would you like to be a part of our family?” The girls asked in unison.
Todd could no longer speak as he just shook his head no. He watched as the little girls frowned, their hazel eyes cast down, as if he had disappointed them. That was not what had caught his attention. The once hazel eyes of Rebecca had gone pitch black, like ink as she stood, fangs retracting from behind her lips.
“We asked you nicely,” She breathed.
Todd back away, stumbling for a flashlight, his feet kicking over the candles. They rolled over the wooden floor stopping against the crib as it caught fire. His hands were reaching for anything to hit her over the head with, giving him a chance escape. The flames seemed to startle the girls as they disappeared, leaving him to be at odds with Rebecca, someone he once loved. He did not want to hit Rebecca, this all had to be a misunderstanding, her voodoo crap had done a real number She had him convinced she was a demon or ghost or whatever but, now it was time to end the games.
“Okay, okay Rebecca listen, you win.” He said as smoke began to fill the room. “You scared me good, now let’s cut the bullshit and go home.”
“You will not leave here alive.” She stated and lunged at Todd. He swiped at her with a flashlight, hitting her across the cheek as she fell backwards.
Todd took this moment to get to his feet and bolt for the door. He grabbed the door knob and pulled, the door not budging an inch. He pushed all his weight against the door, slamming into it hoping it would splinter and still nothing. While being preoccupied with escaping and the cloud of smoke getting denser, Rebecca lunged, sinking her teeth into his neck as he yelped in pain. They fell back onto the floor, struggling, Todd unable to shake her off him. His once light girlfriend now had the strength of ten football players as he could feel his blood trickling down his chest and his eyes getting heavy with sleep. Within a few moments his arms collapsed at his sides, his heart stopped beating and his skin turned cold.
The flames that were once ablaze sizzled out as Rebecca licked her lips free of her lover’s blood, the music once again filling the room as her young, twin sister’s reappeared with smiles. They all joined hands and danced circles around Todd’s corpse, giggling, their music and laughter dancing in the wind.