Short Story · Writing

All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows’ Eve
By: Kim Vasquez

It was Michael’s idea to go into the woods that day. He thought it’d be fun to have a picnic out there, just the two of them. “Don’t be afraid, Sadie, we’re going to have fun.” he whispered in her ear. She went along with it, but deep inside, she was uneasy. She had never done anything like this before. She wasn’t completely sure that she wanted to do it now.

The picnic was romantic, wine, cheese, grapes. The warm sun shining down between the thicket of trees. Why had she been so damn scared earlier? Michael was everything she could ever ask for. Kind, caring, sweet. But, still, something in the pit of her stomach was gnawing at her.

The sun went down over the trees and the chill of the air had started to sting her arms. She hadn’t brought a sweater because, truthfully, she hadn’t thought that they were going to be out all night. She promised her mother that she’d be home by 11 p.m.

He wrapped her in his arms, kissed her and then squeezed her. “I’ve got an idea.” he said as he looked down at her, “How about we play a little game of hide and seek?” She shook her head no, she didn’t really feel like hiding in the now darkened woods. He kept prodding until she finally acquiesced. “Ok, but, after we’re done, let’s get out of here. I’m getting kind of freaked out.” she told him. He laughed and kissed her again. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

They stood up and he quickly ran off to hide. She covered her eyes with her hands and began counting backwards from ten. “Ready or not here I come.” She called out to him. She started her search for him behind the nearest tree, calling out his name. After about 15 minutes, and no sign of him, she called out to him that she was getting tired and was ready to go home. Soon after that, she heard a rustling in the trees behind her. The goosebumps started prickling up and down her arm. “Sadie” a guttural scream rang out, “Run.” Without looking back, she ran.

She ran under tree branches and over exposed tree roots. She ran until her legs were sore. She stopped beside the trunk of a huge oak tree. Wheezing and out of breath, she reached for her phone in her back pocket. The damning words, ‘No Service’ displayed on the top of her phone. It was useless.

Just then, she heard branches crackle behind her. She froze. Not wanting to turn around, she did anyway. A man stood in front of her. He was wearing a bloody flannel shirt, in his left hand was an axe, dripping in gore. His face covered in a menacing clown mask that was streaked in blood. He reached out with his right hand and touched her face. She screamed and then turned to run away.

Faster and faster she ran, but as fast as she ran, she could hear his footsteps crunching behind her. She came upon a small house and ran to the door. Banging on it several times, screaming for help, there was no answer. She ran to the side of the house, where a severely, battered barn stood. She ran to its door and went inside. She searched for a place to hide, amongst the broken-down farm equipment and hay bales. All that she could find was a lone storage closet stood towards the back end of the barn. No other doors, except the one she came in. She was trapped. She opened the closet door and saw that there was enough space for her to crouch down to hide.

Minutes seemed like hours and then she heard it. The barn door creaked open. Footsteps closing in. She could hear her assailant, ripping off the tarps of the farm equipment. Grunting as he found nothing. The scraping of the axe on the ground as he dragged it, sent shivers down her spine. Footsteps getting closer and closer until they stopped directly in front of her.

She could make out his form through the crack in the door. She closed her eyes and held her breath. If he opened the door she would pounce on him and hit him the balls to give her a chance to run away. “He can’t kill me if he’s on the ground”, she thought to herself. As she was readying herself for the inevitable, he turned away and ran back to the barn door. He was gone.

She waited until she could hear nothing, and just as she was about to crawl out, the door swung open. She screamed and launched out at her attacker, like a feral cat. “It’s me Sadie, it’s me. We must be quiet. He’s still out there.” Michael had come back. His eye and cheek swollen, his lip bloody, he had come back for her.

He grabbed her hand and ran along the back of the barn. A door hidden behind the junk was their exit to freedom. They continued running down the path until they came to a car. Michael’s car. It was running, waiting for them. She was so scared to run to it, so she started to pull away from him. What if the man is in the car? “Michael, please don’t get in.” she screamed out. He got to the vehicle and opened the door, he beckoned to her to get in. She thought she heard a noise behind her and then made the decision to run to the awaiting car.

Once inside, she breathed a sigh of relief. But, that same gnawing feeling from earlier, came back, and she began to question him about what had happened to him. Where had he gone? He told her that while he was hiding, the man came up from behind him and knocked him unconscious. Then he explained to her that once he woke up, he ran to the barn and distracted the man, that’s why the man ran away. For a moment, that seemed to satisfy her nerves.

It wasn’t until they pulled over at a gas station that she began to really doubt his story. He got out of the car to put gas and call the police. She also got out and began to pace back and forth.

Questions running through her mind like a marathon. How did he get there so fast? Why was the car parked behind the barn? How did he know where that back exit was? She searched the entire place looking for an out. How come she didn’t hear him come in? She pulled out her phone and saw that there was cell service, so she began to text her mother, and that’s when she saw them. In the backseat, the bloody flannel shirt. The axe, covered in thick, viscous blood, and the clown mask, red streaks all down the side of its gnarly face. She gasped for air, and then pressed send on her phone. Cautiously she backed away and then turned around. Michael stood there, leering down at her, twisted smile spreading across his lips. He reached out with his right hand and touched her face, “Don’t be afraid, Sadie. Our fun’s just beginning.”

The text that her mother read, hours later as she was frantically searching for her daughter, said, “Help me, he’s going to kill me.”

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