Monday, October 31, 2005

Because It's Halloween

Angeline’s Halloween
By H.A. Handy
Copyright (C) by H.A. Handy

Angeline stood quiet as a mouse just behind the front door. Her heart was hammering so hard she was sure he would be able to hear it on the other side. Please don’t let him hear me. Please don’t let him hear me. Thud thud thump went her heart. Angeline’s breath came out in an almost soft gasp which made her cup her hands over her nose and mouth and concentrate on her breathing for a moment. Somehow she managed to breathe more shallowly as her ears strained for any sound from outside.

Please don’t let him hear me. Please don’t let him hear me.

A shadow passed beneath the door. He was so close. He was so very close. Angeline pulled her feet back as far as she could lest he see a shadow of his own. Would he drop down to his hands and knees and try and look under the door through that tiny little crack? If he did, would he be able to see anything? Angeline’s heart pounded harder.

Let him go away. Please let him go away!

The boards creaked just outside the door and the shadow disappeared. He had gotten the others, but he wasn’t going to get her. She had seen all of the scary movies and she knew the mistakes the survivors made to end up to be the latest victims. Angeline was smart -- she wouldn’t make those same mistakes.

A shadow crossed at the window just to her right. It paused. Angeline stopped breathing. She closed her eyes. He won’t see me. He won’t see me. Go away. Please go away! As if he had heard some part of her mind, the shadow moved away from the window and the sound of retreating footsteps down the fire escape could be heard.

There was an urge to pull back the curtain and look outside but Angeline stopped it. Remember the movies. Remember the movies. Angeline stood where she was for ages. Silent. Still. Time dragged by until it seemed as if she had always been standing behind the door.

“Angeline...An-ge-line!” came a sing-song voice. “Come out, come out wherever you are?” It was Greg’s voice, not his voice. What if he had gotten to Greg and Greg was now helping him? Angeline listened as people began milling outside in the parking lot downstairs.

“You’ve won Angeline, come out!” he called.

“Yeah, come on Angeline, we’re going to be late for the party!” Monica called happily from the parking lot. Did they always say that in the movies? “Come on, Angeline! This costume is hot!” Angeline’s throat longed to call out and laugh and join in the fun, but, what if it hadn’t been an act, a simple game of pre-Halloween hide-and-seek for costumed college students? What if it turned out to be real in some way? What would she do then? The movies hadn’t really ever touched on that, but they did touch on deviousness and he was devious. He could have used the pre-party costumed hide-and-seek just for such an event – taking them all out.

“Come on, let’s go,” he said. “She’s in one of her moods again.” Car doors opened and closed and then an engine started. Angeline smiled. Had she indeed won? Were they all gone?

Slowly, carefully, Angeline hunched down and glanced out the thin curtained window to see the car filled with people who were almost her friends backing out of the driveway and smiled even brighter to herself. Maybe she had won after all, but she needed to make sure.

One of her moods? Angeline’s brow furrowed slightly.

Didn’t they really watch the movies and see how it was all played?

Angeline eased over to her closet and took out the axe she hadn’t had to use since last Halloween.

Well, it was time they learned.

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