Kristi's House of Horrorsbyeroslit©
She glanced once more at the dashboard clock, squinting at the amber lights that were barely visible in the impending darkness of dusk. 5:20.
She looked at the speedometer. She was already doing 63 in the 55 mile per hour zone. She bumped it up to 65 and stared in the mirror as if that would tell her if a cop was nearby.
Kristi drove on. She remembered how exciting Halloween was when she was a kid. The costumes...trick or treating...all the kids in the neighborhood running from house to house...spilling the contents of her pillowcase on the floor when she got home.
Now Kristi was the dutiful Mom prepared to take her five-year-old on the same adventure. If only she could get home faster. She knew Kimberly wouldn't understand about jobs and deadlines. All Kimberly wanted to do was go trick or treating tonight. Like everybody else.
Kristi felt the car shudder for an instant. Then again. She looked again in the mirror to see if she had hit something. Then the car slowed more dramatically and she heard the silence.
She looked at the dashboard behind her steering wheel and saw the indicator. The red needle of the gas gauge sat motionless below the "E".
"Fuck," the young woman cried out. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."
She pounded the steering wheel in despair. In all the hustle and bustle of getting the day's work done and preparing for the evening's fun with her daughter, she had totally ignored the needs of her car.
Twenty five year old Kristi Lewis now sat on the side of Route 23 in the darkening early evening of Halloween. Fifteen miles from home and, it seemed, on another planet.
The silence was broken only by the sound of passing cars. The cornfield on her right seemed to go on forever in all directions. Across the highway were more fields.
A sudden surge of energy flowed through the woman. Farms meant farmhouses. And phones. She had refrained from buying a cell phone in order to save money. Single Moms always found ways to save money. But this choice was coming back to haunt her.
She gathered her thoughts for a moment. Which way should she go? No homes were immediately visible, so she tried to remember if she had passed any recently. Kristi couldn't concentrate long enough to recollect. She would just start walking.
Kristi took the keys from the ignition and looked in the rear view mirror. One set of lights approached from well behind her. She opened the car door and stepped out. That was when Kristi first wished she had not worn a skirt to work.
The cool autumn air struck her legs as she slammed the door shut. She strode to the front of the car and moved away from the road to zip up her lightweight jacket. The oncoming lights brightened and she peered back.
To her surprise, the car pulled off the road and approached the back of hers. Kristi stood frozen for a second, unsure whether to be happy or very afraid. The glare of the other car's headlights didn't allow her to see the occupants, even though a little daylight remained.
The car's tires ground to a stop on the gravel. Kristi put her keys in her jacket pocket and clutched her purse close to her side. A truck flew past heading in the opposite direction, but no other sounds split the evening.
Then the driver's door opened, followed by the front passenger door. Kristi strained to see the figure that stepped from behind the wheel. It moved like a man, she thought. But the face. The head. No, it was a mask...a full face mask of something unnatural. Something evil.
When she looked at the person who had stepped out of the car on the passenger side, she saw the same thing. Another mask. Another creature.
Kristi panicked. Without even thinking of the consequences, she turned and ran. Her purse fell from her shoulder and she let it fall to the ground, hoping beyond hope that that act alone would stop the attackers.
They were attackers, weren't they? She waited for them to call out to her. She had taken a half dozen running strides when she heard the first voice ring out: "Get her."
Kristi was a very athletic woman. She had run cross-country in high school and played volleyball in college. All her skills would come into play now.
She ran without looking back. She considered running along the road, maybe even across the road. But no cars were in sight ahead of her. Kristi wasn't going to look back.
Instead, she bolted down into the small ditch to her right, then up the other side and straight toward the cornfield. Her low-heeled shoes were not meant for running, but they didn't slow her down much either. The tall grass only occasionally slipped under her feet as she ran on.
Unfortunately, her attempt to appease her assailants by leaving her purse didn't work. She heard them coming as she hit the edge of the cornfield.
The tall, brown stalks of corn brushed against her shoulders and sides as she ran. The rough ground also made it harder to run, but she fought on. Kristi swerved through the field, changing rows every few seconds in an effort to lose her pursuers. She felt her legs being bruised by the thick bottom half of the stalks while the upper portions brushed past her face.
She ran on, still hearing the sounds of those chasing her. She made a sharp left turn and ran another ten seconds. Suddenly, she had emerged from the cornfield and was facing another small ditch next to a dirt road.
Just as she sprang over the ditch and was ready to cross the small road into the neighboring cornfield, she heard the spinning of tires on dirt and a pair of headlights flashed on her. She considered stopping. But heard the voices behind her and kept running.
The car sped to the point where she crossed the road and skidded to a stop. She heard doors open as she entered the second cornfield. More voices.
"In there. C'mon."
Kristi Lewis dodged through the field for another thirty seconds before the first hand touch her. At first it pulled on her jacket, then she felt an arm wrap around her. The heavy breathing of her pursuer seemed to be right next to her ear as she was slowed and he caught up.
Their bodies came together as his grip tightened. Kristi screamed and then they were standing, gasping for air. She felt his head turn and the man yelled, "Over here. I've got her."
It was a young voice, like the one she heard before. But his grip was that of a strong man. He flung her around until they faced the road and began walking through the corn, his hands tightly gripping her arms above the elbows.
The two masked assailants met Kristi and her captor just a few feet inside the cornfield. They all emerged into the grassy area bordering the dirt road and the woman saw two more disguised men standing by the car.
Kristi looked around the best she could. Three of the men wore plastic masks with generic Halloween monster faces that covered their heads all the way to the shoulders, one had a similar style Bill Clinton mask, and the fifth wore a Jason hockey mask.
Based on the voices she had heard so far and the manner in which they moved, Kristi guessed them to be in their early twenties, maybe college kids.
"Get her in the car before somebody drives by," one of the voices said. "Who's got the purse?"
The first voice replied, "You got the keys to her car?"
There was a moment of silence as the man holding the purse opened it and fumbled through it. Kristi watched as the man peered down through his mask into the small handbag, knowing he wouldn't find the keys. She was fairly certain they were still in her coat pocket, based on the weight she felt tugging on that side.
The man who acted as the apparent leader of the group turned to face Kristi. "Where are the keys?" he asked harshly through his mask.
"Check this pocket," she said meekly, tilting her head toward her right jacket pocket.
The man holding her reached in and pulled out the keys, tossing them to the leader, who in turn tossed them to the man with the purse.
"Take her car back to the house," the leader ordered. "We don't want it sitting out there on the road."
Then he said to the group in general, "OK. Let's go."
Kristi was pushed to the side of the car and the back door was opened. She felt the knot in her stomach tighten as she lowered her head and climbed in, the hand behind her applying constant pressure.
She slid to the middle of the back seat, joined on each side by captors and two more in the front seat. As the car was started and the driver backed it down the dirt road, the leader turned from the passenger seat and looked at Kristi.
"Take off your jacket. You won't need it."
The woman pulled at her black skirt, which had risen up her legs, and managed to get it within a couple inches of her knees. Then she unzipped the jacket and pulled it from her shoulders, exposing her light pink blouse. As the jacket slid down her arms, she could feel the eyes on her body.
She leaned forward and took her arms out of the coat. Kristi pulled it around in front of her before leaning back in the seat, placing the jacket on her legs.
"Put it on the floor," the man ordered.
Kristi shoved the coat behind her legs on the car's floor. She pulled again on the skirt, almost subconsciously. Her knees were held firmly together.
The front passenger spoke calmly. "Don't be scared. We won't hurt you. You'll have plenty of time to be scared later."
First one, then all three, of the other men in the car snickered. Kristi wasn't as scared as she was angry now at being made the fool in their game. She realized that escape...at this moment...was unthinkable. But her attitude already was turning toward one of wanting desperately to win. Win freedom.
The car made several turns during the trip, pretty much convincing Kristi she couldn't retrace the route if she had to. Road signs were unreadable from where she sat and the night was getting darker. About fifteen minutes later, with virtually no conversation taking place in the car, they turned down a long driveway and approached a three-story farmhouse.
Maybe it was Kristi's constant mental image of her young daughter waiting at home to go trick or treating; maybe it was the four occupants of the car in bizarre masks; but this farmhouse had a distinctive Hitchcock look to it. Only a sliver of light could be seen through one of the first floor windows. Otherwise—darkness.
As soon as the car came to a stop, the four doors opened. Immediately, the leader turned to Kristi and said, "Stay there."
Once outside the car, the same voice commanded the others, "Go get it ready. When you're done, turn on the front porch light."
The others dispersed toward the house without a word. The leader, meanwhile, got into the back seat with Kristi. She could see his brown eyes inside the mask. They looked playful, excited...animated. She saw his lips move.
"Welcome to our little house. You'll be the first tonight to enjoy it," he said. Kristi watched him move his hand to her knee. She wanted to slap it, or brush it aside. But she knew better.
The hand touched her bare leg and inched up to the hem of her skirt, sliding down to the inside of her thigh.
"Yes, it's an old fashioned haunted house...with a few twists," he continued. His had continued, too—sliding up her leg. "If you use a little bit of intelligence and, maybe, get lucky, you'll be able to go home in one piece. But we didn't put this whole thing together just for YOUR entertainment."
The man's hand was halfway up her thigh, well under her skirt, before it stopped. He examined her facial features and hair from under the mask. He followed the curve of her short blonde hair to her neck, then looked at her shoulders and finally her breasts.
"You're very nice," he said. "We'll be gentle."
She saw his lips curl upward in a smile as he removed his hand from her leg. Just then, headlights from behind them lit up the inside of the car. As Kristi and the man turned to look, the lights went out and Kristi recognized her own car.
The man driving her car got out and walked up to the door next to Kristi. He opened it slightly and said, "Yeah, it was gas. I'm glad we carry that tank in the trunk. Are the guys inside?"
"Yeah. Go on in," Kristi's companion said. "I told them to put the porch light on when they're ready."
"OK," the other man said, slamming the door shut and disappearing into the house.
"It won't be long," the man said to Kristi. "Then the adventure begins."
He said it as if he was standing outside a ride at Disneyworld or something. Everything so far had seemed so contrived, so precise. Yet confusing.
The man continued, "Here's what's going to happen. After I leave here and go inside, you will enter the front door. Oh. And don't even think about taking off. We'll be watching you and any variation from these instructions will result in...well, it won't be nice. OK?"
"OK. So, you'll enter through the front door. From there it's really very simple. Follow the instructions you will be given. A few minutes after you get started you will be told that once you are outside the house again, you are free to go. All you need to do is get out of the house. Got it?"
The woman nodded once more. She had questions but couldn't make herself talk. She assumed the answers would be evident once inside. And she didn't want to give away just how fearful she was by speaking.
She jerked her head around toward the house when the porch light interrupted the darkness. Her heart skipped.
"Good. We're ready. Let me get inside and then go in through the front door. Have fun." The man patted her on the knee and bolted from the car, running along the side of the house until Kristi couldn't see him any more.
A few seconds later she got out of the car, closed the door and looked back at her own car. She stood unmoving. The silence around her was deafening.
Then she turned and walked toward the house.
As soon as she reached the first step leading up to the porch, the light went out. The sudden darkness caused her to stop on the steps before proceeding onto the porch. She reached for the doorknob, staring directly into the eyes of a gargoyle doorknocker. Kristi pushed gently on the doorknob and the large wood door swung open with a creak.
As dark as it was getting outside, it seemed even blacker inside. She stepped into the house and slowly pushed the door shut behind her. The urge to turn and run was overwhelming. But, so was the desire to get home alive.
Ahead of her seemed to be a straight, narrow hallway. On either side were closed doors. She walked ahead.
The walls seemed to be within inches of her on either side as she put one foot delicately ahead of the other. Kristi approached another closed door, on her right, about ten feet down the hall.
Just as she reached it, the door flung open and Kristi screamed, bumping against the wall on her left.
Out from the door stepped the outline of a hunchback butler, adroitly holding a silver plate in front of him. He was dressed completely in black with a ghoulish latex mask covering his face.
"For you, madam," he said in a slow, deep voice.
Kristi saw the envelope on the tray. She picked it up as though it would break with her touch. The butler bowed slightly and stepped backwards into the room, shutting the door as he did.
About the same time she wondered how she was going to read what was in the envelope in the darkness of the hallway, a very dim light flickered on beside her. She opened the envelope carefully, the noise seemingly filling the house.
Kristi pulled out a card and held it close to the light.
"Follow me. Should your blouse and skirt become wet in your travels, remove them and burn them. New clothes await you at the end of your journey."
The note was signed "Your butler."
Kristi looked at the closed door. She took one more look back toward the front door, then followed the butler's path.
This room, also, was nearly pitch black. It seemed to be about the size of an average bedroom, but without any signs of furniture. Still clutching the note and envelope, Kristi took a couple steps forward.
Instantly, a steady flow of air, steam and mist poured from all directions. The woman screamed once more and turned to face another direction. Wherever she faced, the effect was the same.
Within seconds, her clothes clung to her as though she had been swimming and she was chilled to the bone. A sudden whoosh at her side caused her to jump back. She turned to gaze at a roaring fire inside a stone fireplace. Meanwhile, the rush of air and moisture seemed to subside, hanging in the air like a fog.
Amid all the commotion surrounding her, the heat of the fire stood out. She was drawn to it. Then she remembered her instructions.
Kristi stood for a moment, contemplating her choices. She had none, she decided. She was to burn her blouse and skirt. The heat from the fire comforted her. The task at hand did not.
She first stepped out of her soaked shoes. Then she gradually unzipped her skirt. Kristi grabbed it by the waistband and pushed it down, feeling the damp material cling to her calves.
They were watching, weren't they? Somehow in the darkness, she imagined they were watching.
The skirt fell to the floor and she lifted it to her hands with her foot. As gracefully as possible, she slid it off her foot and held it. After a moment's hesitation, she flung it into the flames.
The black skirt only fleetingly dulled the roar of the fire. Then it was consumed. Kristi stared at it as the material disappeared. She had always loved fires. Would she after tonight?
Her hands came together at the top button of her blouse. One by one she worked her way down the shirt. As it opened and pulled away from her body, the fire's heat struck her in the chest. She found herself in a hurry to get the blouse off.
It fell from her shoulders and arms when she finished the last button. Without hesitation the blouse was thrown to the flames. Standing now in her thin, white bra and matching panties, Kristi soaked in the warmth of the fire.
If she wasn't being watched now, she knew it wouldn't be long in coming. She felt the eyes and determined it was now. She crossed her arms in front of her and looked around the room.
As if on cue, a door she had not noticed before opened near one corner of the room. She hated to leave the fire, but strode toward the door in her bare feet. Some mist still hung in the air and she felt the chill returning.
When she got to the open door, she looked into a slightly more amply lit room. Beyond the open door was a towering stone archway. She walked through the door, arms still crossed at the base of her breasts.
As she walked through the archway, she looked around the room. Again—almost nothing. Hooks on the four walls held what appeared to be ancient lanterns. The eerie glow from the lamps cast long, dark shadows in all directions from her feet. There were no chairs. No tables.
Kristi shrieked when a robed figure appeared almost magically from a revolving panel in the wall opposite her. It was the grim reaper with a six-foot tall sickle, his face covered in a featureless, white mask.
He took two steps forward and stopped. Raising his left hand slowly, he signaled for her to approach him. Kristi's arms hung now at her side as she inched ahead. When she was within about four or five feet of the man, he raised his hand in a gesture for her to stop.
She watched as he positioned the sickle in both hands in front of him. To her disbelief, the curved blade of the instrument advanced toward her. She held her breath at first, then heard herself taking short, stuttering breaths.
The sickle was only a foot away, the blade curving down in the direction of her feet. She leaned back as it got closer. In a non-threatening manner, the blade grazed the bottom of her chin and lowered itself until resting in the cleavage between her breasts.