This story is by Seshadri Sreenivasan and was part of our 2022 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
The invitation read:
Join Us for a
Happy Halloween Thriller Bash
Hosted by the Adam Family
Oct 31, 6pm
‘Shortcut to Heaven’, Spooky Road,
Wear your spookiest costume.
I stirred behind my closed eyelids, my mind ceasing dream mode to bring me back to wakefulness. At first, I was confused. Then a slow smile crept over my face. I realized I was drinking till the wee hours of the morning.
I rolled to get up as my eyes opened to see the rainfall, already feeling the soothing coldness of the breeze. There was the scent of wetness, so ever-present in the autumn. The rain had fallen steadily without letting up since before I woke up. Outside, the autumn leaves drooped under the weight of the droplets.
‘I’m going to spend today enjoying everything.’ I promised myself. ‘A fine day is the ideal day, ambient and kind to eyes and skin.’
Suddenly, I felt hungry. The thought of the food and drinks was like a gentle massage to my soul. Then I got ready for the Halloween party.
It was still early when the clouds released rain on the grass and trees. The road became alive with more splashes than my eyes could capture. I wasn’t anxious for the clouds to disappear. This rain made me feel more at ease than I had ever been.
The cars moved past steadily. The traffic snaked up the hill, two lines of steel and tyre. It got dark quickly. I drove steadily and felt I was going through space in dreamy awe.
With the car on autopilot and the motor in splendid electric silence, there was plenty of time to take it easy on the journey. Fresh air flowed into the car, bringing the freshness of country air to my senses.
The mist danced upon the wet road as if it were in some magical daydream. The car hugged the black tarmac, its bright headlamps illuminating the onward road.
One moment, the road was there, wide open and safe; the next, there were loud noises of brakes squealing, grinding, acrid smells, and pain. The car crash came as a shock, a form of emotional blindness.
I extricated myself from the mangled metal. My car’s wheels had turned over the wet track—belly up.
The cold rain rammed into my face harder, and I walked away. Then, to my surprise, what I heard was my laughter. It was hilarious to wear my Halloween costume and stand by the side of the road looking scarier than a ghoul. Then, head down, I started walking, thinking of the warmth at the home of Adam’s family.
It was close to midnight.
From a distance, I could have sworn I saw the entire haunted house bend into some Halloween smile as October 31st came nearer-as if the spirit of the house needed to grin, welcoming me.
Soon, I was relieved to see the Adam Family’s Mansion, ‘Shortcut to Heaven’ I didn’t see smoke from its chimney or lights through the broken window panes.
As I approached the house, the Halloween decorations shone white, echoing the starlit night and the moon’s beauty. I wondered how the inclement weather could change into a glorious night in a short time.
Halloween decorations call out to the nighttime with a steady golden glow.
As I entered the Halloween house, I noticed that it was less of a Halloween party and more of a Zombie Halloween ball, from flowing ghoul-gowns to eyeball Halloween treats and candy-floss cobwebs.
“We are so glad you could make it,” the lady, who I thought was the hostess, welcomed me at the entrance. She was gorgeous, looking like a Hollywood star.
“Thank you,” I replied politely. “It is very kind of you to invite me. I am honoured. “
It looked like a family-friendly Halloween party on one side of the large hall. There were cute monsters and pumpkins with Cheshire smiles.
When my hostess danced, it seemed like that was the only way her body genuinely understood how to communicate. For the most part, she was fascinated by that old music machine. She looked so familiar to me. As I turned, her eyes caught me staring at her. I dropped my eyes momentarily, and a hopeful smile played on my lips.
I asked her hesitatingly. “Pardon my curiosity. Aren’t you Marylyn Monroe, yesteryear’s most famous movie star? My granddad was in awe of you. I have watched the reruns of your movies on TV along with him”.
My sexy hostess smiled and moved on. She never walked anywhere. Her legs extended like a prima ballerina, and she glided from place to place, arms held in front, fingertips touching. Watching her was breathtaking. For her, a moment spent not dancing was a moment wasted.
I went near a large window and looked outside. The mist danced over the garden as if it were in some magical daydream. It was like black space that carried the light that allowed us to see the guiding stars.
Outside was an unexpected gift of rain. Yet together, the raindrops brought a soothing sound, a natural melody as beautiful as a mother’s soulful hum.
I stepped out and felt each splash that touched my skin. My Halloween costume was not getting wet. My skin was as dry as dust. Puzzled, I went inside.
Suddenly, one by one, the guests started removing the masks. They all looked familiar to me: musicians, actors, sports personalities, poets, and the like. I thought I recognized Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Beethoven.
I saw Michael Jackson grooving to raucous music with a horde of the ‘Undead’…, just like the Zombie dance in the video “Thriller”. He was making his well-known moves of ‘Crotch Grab, Antigravity Lean, and the MJ Spin.’
I was thrilled.
Then I saw a mysterious figure walking towards me. I was terrified. It appeared to be wearing an iron mask. I wondered who it might be. The man wearing the iron mask approached me and took it off.
“Have you already forgotten me, Jake? Your grandfather? I died only a year ago.”
I gaped at him, my jaw dropping.
“Don’t worry, dear boy”, he smiled consolingly. “Join MJ’s Thriller in the Dance of the Undead. “
Then it started falling into place.
********************** The End************************