There is a saying at Warlock’s Heath Coach Station. They say that there is no such thing as a free ride. They say that the driver always knows who has to pay. They say that everyone who rides has to pay. Freddie Thompson was a delinquent. He never went to school, it was far too dull. He wanted to be where the action was. Instead of going to school, Freddie would go to Warlock’s Heath Coach Station and play the waiting game.
The way she spoke into her tape recorder was slow and precise. Her voice echoed off the walls in the cold, musky room. The grey walls surrounding her were ominous; they trapped the eerie, unsettling presence within the space. She had a clear view of the large, dusty windows across from her. Seemingly haven’t been cleaned in years, they displayed an insidious winter scene, equal parts chilling and enchanting to the doctor. She opened her notebook and placed it on her lap, anticipating what her patient would soon tell her.
Dan’s windowpanes shook with the roaring wind outside as rock sized pellets of rain hit the glass loudly making him open the curtains to his study. He always loved nights like this where he could just listen to the calming sound of heavy rain as he tried not to despise all the homework he got from his university classes. He yawned, his mouth opening completely wide as his eyes began to droop shut the words he was reading became fuzzy. Dammit, he thought to himself, he needed to finish this paper but he gave zero shits about tax evasion and the professor of this class was probably going to fail him no matter if he wrote knowledgeably or not.
At twelve o’ clock midnight on September 11, 2018, there was a hurricane named Florence that was going to make landfall in parts of Eastern North Carolina and destroy everything that lived there. The weatherman was telling everyone in those parts that they needed to take cover and they needed to do it now.
I tug the edges of my jacket closer together against the chill of the late evening. Darkness has already descended and with it comes a finger-numbing coldness. My fingers are numb anyway. I should have worn gloves, but I didn’t bring them with me. I stare at my shoes as I wait in line to be admitted into the haunted house. Screams and laughs spill from the house alongside an eerie mist.
LENA: “Vampires can’t cross running water. I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories – from the people who managed to cross the bridge, and the dangerous, frenzied, starving creatures left trapped on the other side.” (show on greenscreen; doesn’t have to be vampires, per se, just scenes from those old medieval tapestries. Who’s going to care?)
Like any good-natured and truthfully contributing member of society, Francis Draft had always suffered from semi-frequent bouts of hallucinations. These were not of the in-your-face, cartoon pink elephant montage, snapping demons on the subway variety. They were much more subtle, and sometimes even appreciable, if Francis was in a good mood. Passers-by giving strange, often frightening glances that were in truth imagined. Perhaps a third eye appearing on their forehead or one of their cheeks, a live-action breathing Picasso.
The morning of February 18th, 1945 was a day I had been waiting for my entire life: my sixteenth birthday. The moment I woke up, I discarded my Hitler Youth uniform and childish tin medals, and stepped forward to defend the Fatherland side-by-side with German men. I was the last boy in my family to enter Hitler’s war. I felt left behind and restless. My father was an Obersturmführer in the Waffen-SS; my brothers Franz and Götz had been fighting since 1939, and were both in Russia.
The third Tuesday in September had such an ordinary beginning. Sylvia’s husband, Omar, left for work before dawn. The Hartford Courant lay in the driveway, delivered as promised. The kitchen countertop was smudged with germy paw prints from the cat’s nocturnal shenanigans. And, according to the jokers on the radio, Hell had not yet frozen over.
“It’s okay, Mom. He’ll be back soon.” Not the words she wanted to hear at Dad’s funeral. I may have been an eleven-year-old kid who didn’t know a whole lot, but I did know that dead things don’t always stay dead. Dad was alright, as dads go. He showed up at all of my school plays (when he wasn’t on the road for work), he took me to piano lessons on the days that Mom couldn’t (again, when he wasn’t on the road), and he helped me with my math homework (even when he was on the road, thanks to the internet).
I was the best. Not ‘one of the best’. The. Best. The Best Jest. What am I saying? Was. Am. I am The Best Jest. It says so on the curtains. The curtains I’m currently hidden behind. The huge red velvet drapes conceal me from my audience. The tension is starting to bubble. I can almost taste it. Like candyfloss. There for a moment on your tongue then gone. The sweetness. I need more of it. So, I put on shows every night.