Friday, December 12, 2014

Supernatural Friday: By Midnight (Free Short Story)

Enjoy my original short Christmas horror tale. It is copyrighted, so please just share the link with your friends so they can come and read it here.
By Midnight (Copyright by Pamela K. Kinney)

You better watch out, you better not cr. . . .

A strange jabbering awoke her from her nightmare. Mrs. Piers sat up and switched on the lamp on the bedstead next to her bed. Light flowed over her and the bed, banishing the darkness back to the corners of her bedroom. The only other light came from moonbeams stretching fingers through the glass of her bedroom window.

Nothing. Must have been a revenant from the nightmare. She stared at the clock. Shoot! She’d overslept. The woman leaped out of bed, showered, and dressed in her custodial uniform.

It was Christmas Eve, but that didn’t matter, as she was scheduled to work tonight. It was  the only way she was able to get Christmas day off. As she walked into the eat-in kitchen, her daughter, Jenny brought  bowls of chicken noodle soup to the table. Both sat and began to eat, though Jenny only ate a few spoonfuls of soup.

Mrs. Piers lost her husband a year ago and had to go to work to pay the mortgage on the house and to support both her and Jenny. Luckily, she saw the ad for someone needed to clean the local hospital during third shift and when she applied, she got it. That meant leaving her daughter alone in the house at night. A pretty teenage girl going through changes due to puberty could get into trouble, at least that's what her friends told her. But Jenny had proved them wrong, as she never gotten into trouble.

Tonight though was Christmas Eve. Jenny promised she would go to bed early after watching It's A Wonderful Life on TV, as she admitted to feeling ill all day. Jenny handed Mrs. Piers her purse and bagged lunch, and followed her mother to the front door.

Mrs. Piers couldn't put her finger on why she didn't want to leave Jenny alone tonight as usual. “I feel uneasy about leaving you alone tonight.”

“Goodnight, Mom.” Jenny opened the door. “I’ll make sure the place is locked up tight. Geesh! I’m sixteen, not a little kid.” She shook her head. “What do you think could happen?”

Mrs. Piers reminded her. “There have been those people that vanished.”
The girl snorted. “That was last Christmas and they were homeless people that disappeared from a shelter downtown, not teenagers. There’s been nothing since. The police even said they think the men just sneaked out of the shelter and took off for parts unknown.”

Mrs. Piers needed to get to work, so she stepped out into the night. The moon and a few stars sparkled up in the black velvet of the sky. The whole street was lit up. Many houses had Christmas lights and other decorations, though they only had just a wreath on their door. Some people strolled along the neighborhood, stopping at each house to view the lights. Everything looked innocent and Christmasy. Nothing scary.

She whistled to the Christmas music that sang from her car radio as she drove to the hospital.
  As Jenny closed the door, a tease of jabbering reached her from the darkened area beneath a tree at the north side of their home. She stepped outside.

 A squirrel? This late

But she heard nothing further, Jenny went back inside and locked the door.  She ambled into the living room. Raps resounded on the glass of the sliding doors that led to the back yard. 

Her friends and the guys they brought were here. That was the jabbering she heard a few seconds ago. Thank God, her mother had left already. Unlocking, she let in two girls and three boys. They strolled past her into the house, carrying bags of snacks and drinks, along with stuff for entertainment. Jenny shut the door and stared as they began to set up. One of the boys carried two bags in the living room, while Lisa and the others were taking bags of chips, cans of nuts, soda, and microwave popcorn out of the other bags. The counter overflowed with it all.

Jenny thought back to the last day of school,  just before Christmas vacation.

Lisa and Debbie had approached her as she was taking things out of her locker at school and jamming it all into her bookbag.

“Hey,” said Lisa, leaning a shoulder against the locker next to Jenny’s. “Your mother works all night—right?”

Jenny slammed shut the door and slung the bookbag over one shoulder. “Yeah, but you knew that. So?”

Debbie grinned. “Well, our parents will be out at a party that night until two o’clock. Be kinda cool to have a party without adults staring over our shoulders. There are these three guys—”

Jenny finished for her, “and you and Lisa have the hots for two of them. Guess the third was dug up for me, as an incentive to have the party at my house?”

Lisa shrugged. “Well, your mom is gone all night—”

Jenny sighed.  “I don’t feel good about this, but all right.” She shook a finger. “Not all night, okay. Just ‘til midnight. You guys can just sneak back into your homes.”

Lisa grinned. “Of course, we don’t want to do it all night. Christmas is the next day and we want to be rested for that. Besides our parents will be home by 2 a. m., so midnight is great.”

For two days, Jenny had been worried about agreeing. Worse, all day today, she had not been feeling good. She was not able to eat much, except soup, and she stayed in her room most of the day, with her stomach twisted into tight knots. About an hour ago, her stomach had settled down. 

It was only until midnight. She could handle that. It’s not as if there would be alcohol.  

One of the boys--a tall, gangling one-- laughed, as he lifted a six-pack of beer out of a grocery bag. Another boy, dressed all in black and sporting earrings in his big ears, nose, and even his lower lip, laughed too. His laugh sounded like the braying of a donkey.

Jenny’s stomach boiled as she fought not to run to the bathroom. She stomped over to Lisa and Debbie who were opening packages of cookies and bags of chips as they gossiped.

She grabbed Lisa’s arm, snarling. “You didn’t say there would be alcohol.”

Lisa glanced with disinterest as the boy withdrew another six-pack of beer. “Well. . .I never said there wouldn’t be. John’s adult brother got them for him at the liquor store tonight.”

Debbie piped up. “It’s not like we’ll get drunk on twelve cans of beer, Jenny.”

Debbie wasn’t the brightest girl in town. As Jenny remembered the incident with Debbie and the horse last year,  maybe not even in the whole world.

She sighed. “All right, but be forewarned, first time anyone starts to act drunk, the party is over and everyone goes home.”

Lisa shrugged a shoulder. “Sure. That’s doable.”

Lisa popped in a DVD of a Christmas comedy she brought, and both she and Debbie settled on the couch, a boy nestled against them. Lisa got John, who was the tall, gangling type with the beer, while Debbie got Roy, plump and dumb. Jenny ended up with Spider. Spider was the goth. She thumped down in the chair that matched the couch, but Spider slithered in like a snake about to snatch its next victim, sliding his arms round her so Jenny moved to the floor. Unfortunately, so did Spider.  He looped an arm around her.

“You know why they call me Spider?” he whispered into her ear. “It’s like I got eight arms.”

It felt like he had eight hands too. They slid up and down her body, searching for permanent places to nest. Like her breasts, and other unmentionable spots.

She hissed in his ear, digging an elbow into his ribs. “Hands to yourself. I don’t know you well enough for you to do that. Want my opinion?  That will be never. Understand?”

He glowered as he snatched the bottle of beer. “Your friends didn’t say you be a class A bitch.”

He took a swig of the beer and ignored her after that, staring at the television. Which was fine with her. Jenny rose to her feet and headed for the kitchen to get herself a bottle of soda and some snacks.

Alone, she opened the fridge and peeked in when she heard a sound. Closing the door, she listened and heard it again. It sounded like someone saying something, except Jenny couldn’t catch the words. It came from where the bedrooms were. Jenny stared down the shadow-dark hallway. A chill skittered up her spine. The only people in the house were her and her guests.

The jabbering grew a little louder. Now, it sounded like there was a crowd back in wither hers or her mother’s bedroom. She realized that it sounded like the noise she had heard from outside earlier, before her friends had come.

She jumped when something touched her back. Her pounding heart slowed when she realized it was Spider. His empty bottle hanging limp from his fingers, the boy’s brow knitted together.

“What’s going on?” He peered down the hall. “I thought we were the only people tonight? Your mother's working, right?”

Jenny rubbed her arms with her hands, as the coldness seeped inside her. “She is. We are.”

“Hey, what’s going on? Sneaking off to do some necking?” Lisa and Debbie, plus their guys, joined them.

Spider pointed with the neck of his  bottle at the hallway. “No. Doesn’t that sound like people are talking back there?”

Debbie bit her lip. “Really?” She turned to Jenny. “I thought you said your mom was at work.”

Jenny spat out. “She is. We’re supposed to be the only living bodies in the house tonight.”

Debbie giggled. “Cool. Maybe it’s ghosts.”

Lisa snorted. “There are no such things as ghosts, dummy. It’s just Jenny playing a trick on us.” She merged with the darkness as she walked down the hallway. “I’ll prove it. Hey, John, coming?”

John asked, “You sure you want me? I mean, I doubt there’s anything back there.” He gave Spider a nasty glance. “Spider watches too many horror flicks, you ask me.” But when Lisa told him to catch up, he hustled to join her..
Jenny heard the rustling of their clothing, their footsteps barely audible on the carpeted floor. The house grew quiet, as even the voices stopped. She back stepped until she found her back against Spider’s front. His odor flowed over her. He stunk of sweat, some male cologne and . . . . fear? 

Wait a moment. How would she know what fear smelled like?

Lisa called out. “Hey, there’s a glow coming from a bedroom back here. It looks like—“

Silence. Nothing from her or John.

Debbie called out. “Lisa? Lisa?” Roy yelled, “Yo, John!”

Lisa didn’t answer. Neither did John.

Jenny’s nerves stretched. She was ready dial call 911 on her cell phone. But she didn’t. Debbie, along with Roy and Spider tiptoed to where Lisa and John had went. Spider obviously did not want to, but Roy dug his fingers into the thinner boy’s shoulder and forced him.

Jenny called out. “Come back. I’m going to call the—“

Suddenly, screams and growls rent the air. Frightened, and not even looking back, Jenny bolted, snatching  the house keys. She ran out of the house, not even shutting the door behind her.

Breathing heavy, she stopped on the sidewalk and stared back at the looming darkness of the open doorway. Nothing surged out of it, not the others or whatever had gotten them. With a shaking hand, she called her mother at the hospital. After she got off the phone, she felt pain wash over her. Smells rushed at her. One tasted on iron on her tongue as she drooled. Confused and hurting, she leaned against a car parked on the street. Until she realized it was Lisa’s car, then she stumbled across the street. She stayed there.

Thirty minutes later her mother drove up and after parking the car in the driveway, she crossed the street to join Jenny. Her daughter hugged her, crying. “Mom, something’s in the house, and it got Lisa and Debbie.”

Her mother rubbed her back. “You allow them in the house?”

Jenny sniffed. “Yeah. I did, and thry had brought three guys with them, to have a party at our house." She shivered. "Something has gotten them, and it’s my fault.”

Her mother nodded. “It is, Jenny. Mine, too.”

Jenny stepped away from her mother. The light from the moon above revealed that her face seemed odd.  “What do you mean?”

“After your father died, I was called back to my people. But they wouldn’t allow you to come with me. I couldn’t leave you. They said you’re a halfling. That you couldn’t survive in my world. But I noticed you have some of my powers, something most halflings never inherit from a full-blood. I remained here. I got a job to support us, but I still worried about leaving you alone as you were entering puberty and with puberty for a fey, the changes come. I couldn't be sure how much power you might have once the change is complete. Some of my people came to stay with us.”

“What do you mean? I never saw anyone but us in the house since Daddy died. What’s a fey?”

Her mother crossed her arms. “That’s because of the glamour. Like what I use to keep me appearing human to humans, like your father. A fey is another word for what humans call fairies. I am part of one race of the Sidhe. We can change shape with will, besides having other powers.”

Her mother’s form began to short out like a television reception. Where her mother had stood, a tall, pale being with shimmering hair that fell to its feet towered over her. It gave a parody of a smile, revealing a mouthful of cannibal sharp fangs. “I saw your father from a distance when he was hiking with friends in the mountains and I fell in love with him. So I stepped from my world into his, changed my looks, and made him fall in love with me. I don’t need to feed most of the year what my kind subsist on normally, but on Christmas Eve, before midnight, the hunger calls to me. So I would sneak out to hunt my prey as your father slept deeply due to enchantment. It grew worse when I became pregnant with you. I had to feed for two then.”

Her mother snatched her up and they flew to the house, entering. The door slammed shut behind them without a sound. Jenny was let go and she found herself standing over Spider. A crowd of beings like her mother surrounded them, blood on their lipless mouths and bare skin. Her mother pointed at the scared boy.

“You’re half fey, dear, and you must eat the right food tonight to survive. Just as our relatives had gnawed on your friends. Just as I fed on a dying person at the hospital earlier tonight. Your magic is growing stronger each day and if you don’t feast on human flesh before the first strike of midnight, you will burn up. Don’t you feel the heat in you now? It’s our particular type of fairies’ Christmas curse. If your friends hadn't come here tonight, I would have brought you home another person dying at the hospital.”

Jenny felt the fire roaring inside.  She stared down at Spider. and saw how large and rounded his eyes had become. His fear rushed up her nostrils like an overpowering perfume. The pulse at his throat drew her eyes. It teased her, begged her to take a bite. But his hands interested her more. Spider had wanted his hands on her earlier that night. She had said no then. Why not have them in a place where they should? Like her mouth? In her stomach. Yes.

With a smile, Jenny leaned over, her jaws popping to accommodate the feeding. She grabbed Spider’s hands as he tried to scream and move, but couldn’t, thanks to the magic she used.

His hands tasted delicious when they were in the right spot. Like down her throat and in her tummy.

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