Story Time: Party at the Graveyard

Party at the Graveyard

Gwen Cosmos

  If you were to ask me what I thought about being in a graveyard wearing the best suit I could never afford with my vampire roommate, I might say something along the lines of,

“Thriller.”

Cole rolls his eyes. “Why must it always go back to Michael Jackson?”

I smirk and wave a hand at all the headstones around us. The dead are just beneath our feet. I can almost feel them pushing against the ground.

I begin to do the “Thriller” dance.

Cole covers his face with his hands. “I made a terrible mistake; you can’t come.”

I chuckle. “You, a vampire, terror of the night, is embarrassed of your human friend doing a terrible impression of an iconic hit?”

Cole sighs and glances behind me.

Something shifts eerily in the grass, and my hair stands on end as the scent of decay reaches my nostrils. I slowly turn around.

And come face to face with a skull, its skin hanging from its cheekbones and empty eye sockets. I swallow my scream. I should be used to weird things, but they just keep getting weirder.

It opens its mouth.

All the zombie movies I have ever watched have prepared me for this moment. I quickly turn and run behind Cole.

“Sean,” Cole says, and I can make out a hint of amusement. “Meet one of tonight’s guests.”

The skeleton raises a boney hand. “Hello.”

Sheepishly, I step out and wave back.

“Let’s go in.” Cole then walks to a large mausoleum that I vaguely remember being the place this Halloween party is going to be at. A large number of Cole’s family was going to be there, which is why I was invited along. Moral support. I’m not at all terrified.

Cole pushes the large metal doors open and, suddenly, the air is filled with techno and lights. Inside are a horde of bodies dancing. I notice a lot of fleshy vampires and bare-bone corpses, dancing and mingling in the center of the room. The dead have come out for a little fun.

Cole turns back to us. “Welcome to the party.” He smiles, and I can make out his fangs. The skeleton man runs along inside, anxious to get in on the excitement.

I cautiously walk up. “So, vampires and skeletons hang out together.” I shrug my shoulders. “Why the lively crowd?”

Cole places a hand on my shoulder. “No offense to the living, but you guys are a little stuffy when it comes to this sort of thing. The dead, well,” he tilts his head, searching for the words, “they have nothing to lose.” He reaches into an inside pocket of his jacket and pulls out a package with orange paper and black ribbon. “Happy Halloween.”

I take the package from his hands, thinking of the tradition of Halloween. Trick-or-treating comes to mind and I dramatically clear my throat. “Uh, Cole,” I say. “It isn’t Christmas yet; this is the candy holiday.”

He dead stares me, and I hold his gaze until he cracks, chuckling lightly “Just open the gift already.” He moves past me and into the party.

I watch him meander around to various occupants, the gift weighty in my hand. Curiously, I tear at a corner to open it. Suddenly, I hear a gasp from behind me and turn to see who it is while slipping the gift into my pocket.

“Hello, handsome,” Ellie says, walking up to me and slipping her arm through mine.

I sigh, “Hi, Ellie.”  It’s too soon to deal with her again. I try to pull my arm free, but she stiffens her elbow.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Her eyes glow, and I know exactly what’s going on.

“Nowhere,” I relax, against my will. What was I doing?  I try to pull my arm out again, this time with more force.

“Stay with me. You’ll be such a treat.” Her eyes glow intensely, and I feel my will softening. She wasn’t so bad, was she? I couldn’t remember why I had wanted to leave. She drags me into the party. This isn’t so bad; I was walking here anyway.

The music and rhythm take over as we begin to sway. A couple of minutes pass, and I feel really confused. Why was I dancing? I notice Ellie, eyes closed and arms in the air. Oh no. I quickly make my escape, kicking myself for not being able to hold my own.

Dancing bodies swirl around me as I try and see through the crowd. Bones and flesh surround me, but I can’t find Cole. Suddenly, a hand lands on my shoulder and I nearly jump out of my skin.

“Whoa, it’s me,” Cole says, his eyes staring at my face. “What’s wrong, Sean?”

“Your sister decided to show up after you deserted me.”

“Oh no,” Cole says.

“Oh yes,” I reply.

We force our way to a small alcove.

“I shouldn’t have left you alone,” Cole says. “But then you should’ve been able to… did you open your gift?”

“I…no I didn’t.” I had totally forgotten about it. I pull it out of my pocket and finish unwrapping it. Inside is a box. I swing open the lid. “What…what’s this?”

“Some protection.”

I pull out a long silver chain with a large, shiny, crucifix. It dawns on me that vampires are allergic to crosses. “Cole, how did you get this?”

“I bought it at a pawn shop. It was just sitting there in the window, so I decided to get it for you.” He smiles like a Cheshire cat about it.

I grab his right hand and he flinches as I reveal large angry red marks on his palm. I’m dumbstruck. “Idiot,” I mutter. “You could have worn gloves.”

Cole chuckles, “I didn’t have any, plus now you know it works.”

I look up at Cole and then pull him into a hug.

I feel him tense. “Thanks Cole,” I say.

He relaxes and hugs me back. “Anytime, Sean.”

We pull apart and I pull the necklace over my head.

“Now you should be able to resist the mind control.”

“Great, because I don’t want to overpay at the bar.”

We laugh as we move out of our corner and get back to the party.

 

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