The following short story is another venture into a different genre for this Blogger. This is the second installment of three chapters to be published each Tuesday and will culminate on 10/31/06. You will want to read, if you haven't already, the first installment of 10/17/06 before continuing.
.... With Halloween fast approaching, I give you this tale of trick-or-treating gone horribly wrong.
Joan thought she caught sight of a figure walking hurriedly down the street before disappearing around the corner. She supposed that it must have been some joker who'd rung her doorbell and then took off. Closing the door, she noticed what looked like a small envelope at her feet.
....As she was tearing it open, she noticed that there was nothing written on the envelope. She suddenly froze and nearly toppled backwards. She was having difficulty breathing. She realized that she was hyperventilating. She managed to stay on her feet until she felt the couch against the back of her legs. She all but fell onto the sofa even as the attack of anxiety began to overcome her.
....After a few minutes her breathing became even, but she was sweating profusely. She dared to raise the hand clutching the contents of the envelope. The object of her distress was nothing more than a hand-made card. The image of a pumpkin bearing the the face of a human skull was all too familiar to her. When she turned it over to look at the back of the card, she almost fainted. Scrawled on the back was simply the numbers: 1985.
October 31, 1985:
As she had done the previous four years, Joan made her way into the park. Despite the fact that she had blossomed into womanhood, she was looking forward to their annual Halloween meeting. At seventeen she was fully aware that she turned many a man's head when she passed them. Tonight was no exception. She was proud of the fact that she more than did justice to the Wonder Woman costume she had chosen this year.
....The annual gathering of The Eerie Eight had gathered more momentum with each passing year. They no longer went trick or treating. They had outgrown the childish side of Halloween. Their get togethers had evolved into trick-or-tricking. Each year they challenged themselves to come up with bigger and better pranks each year.
....They had gained an almost cult-like reputation. Benjamin Gibbs, the Chief of Police, however, did not subscribe to their popularity. His mission to nab them was not rooted in a deep sense of upholding the law, but rather he was hell-bent on revenge.
....It was on Halloween of 1984 that they had pulled off the prank that had nearly ruined his career. A year later, he was still the brunt of many a joke. As a result he had developed a short fuse, and in a word, had become a blatant asshole in the eyes of nearly everyone in town.
....It was Grandy, the most laid back of the group, who had snapped a photograph of the illustrious Chief of Police in a very delicate and compromising position several months before Halloween. Sandy had volunteered to produce a hundred copies of the photograph, and on that night they had been stapled to nearly every tree all over town. In living color, the picture had captured a well known local woman with a reputation kneeling before an obviously aroused Chief of Police. Across the bottom of their elicit pamphlets they had signed it "The Eerie Eight."
That was last year she thought as she neared her destination. The statuesque woman stopped before the Veterans Monument in the center of the park. She sat down upon the edge of the pedestal that supported the bronze tribute to the town's war heroes. She slipped her fingers into the front of the tight bodice to retrieve her calling card that she had placed there for safe keeping. She became frantic as her probing fingers could not locate it.
....Cautiously she stood up and looked around. Once she had scanned every direction and was certain that no one was around, she relaxed. Assured that she wouldn't be seen, she yanked at the top of the uniform until she had pulled it down and off her breasts.
....The gloved hand gently pulled a branch away that had been shielding the drama in front of the monument. The figure began to breathe heavily as Wonder Woman's ample breasts burst from the restraining bodice. Only ten feet away from the unsuspecting woman, the figure's tongue begain to moisten quivering lips.
....Joan had finally produced the paper object, it had slipped below her breasts into the uniform. She held the calling card at eye level studying the image of the grayish skull superimposed upon a pumpkin. She double checked the back of the card to make sure that she had written her code name Candy there.
....She knelt down and tugged at a loose brick at the base of the pedestal. Pulling it aside, she reached into the recess that had been hidden by the brick. She removed the two calling cards that had already been left there. She was pleased to see that Randy's name was on one of them. She noted that Grandy's name was on the other before she returned them along with hers into the recess and replaced the brick.
....Candy leaned back against the cold bronze edifice and placed her hands behind her head. She was not the only one who had filled out since their intitial meeting back in 1980. She had been admiring the manly physique Randy had been developing over those years. Dreamily she lowered her arms and began to fondle her still bared breasts. She was unaware that her performance was playing to an unseen audience.
She opened her eyes to watch her hands as they gently squeezed and massaged her breasts. Gone was the Wonder Woman garb, replaced by her open bath robe. Disorientated, she began to cry. She was certain that her anxieties and depressions were a result of those events that had happened on that Halloween night in 1985. It was 2006 - why was she still being tormented by the tragedies of so long ago?
....She felt the crumpled paper clenched in her fist and sat up. How and why was the calling card left at her door? Not one person in that group had ever known her real name. After that fire in 1985, they had met only once more the following year and had agreed to disband. She had had no direct contact with any of them since. She was still connected to them however, even if it was only within her tortured mind.
....She wasn't sure why, but she knew that it was imperative that she had to go to that monument. Throwing off her bathrobe she rushed into the bed room and grabbed a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Once behind the wheel of her car, she turned the key to the ignition and waited a few moments to ponder. Did she know what she was doing? Or why?
"Candy? Is that you?" She was startled by the voice coming from the other side of the monument. She hastily pulled the bodice of her costume over her breasts. She was still tucking herself into the tight top when Captain America appeared before her.
...."Randy?" She inquired in her best demure tone. She felt her heart beating rapidly as she looked upon the blue clad figure. She tried not to stare at the bulging muscles of his tall frame. She turned her head to avoid looking at what bulge might be seen below his waist. She was certain that he was trying to divert his eyes from her body, especially her cleavage. She found that she was hoping he had seen her before calling out to her. The thought that he might have been watching excited her.
...."Candy," he said disturbing her naughty thoughts, "We've got to help them!"
...."What do you mean? Help who?"
....He grabbed her hand and pulled her along. "I'll explain on the way. Hurry!"
....Struggling to keep up, she listened in stunned silence as Randy related the events of the last hour. He explained how he and Grandy, in a gorilla suit, had been the first to show up at the monument. They had then heard what had sounded like gun shots and an explosion. The two of them headed in the direction of the blast to see what had happened.
...."When we reached the top of that knoll we saw the old Johnson place on fire." He paused and looked at her oddly before continuing. "This is going to be a tough test of your loyalty to The Eerie Eight, Candy."
....She was startled by the frank nature of his comment. "What ... what do you mean?" she implored.
....He stopped just as they reached the foot of the knoll he'd mentioned earlier. There was a strong odor of smoke in the air. He turned and faced her, a stern serious look upon his masked face. He bent forward and placed a gentle kiss upon her lips. Just as abruptly, he turned away and continued the account he had been trying to tell her.
....She gasped as he told her that Raggedy Andy had taken it upon himself to egg the Johnson place. For some reason, the others had joined in on the fun. Suddenly, there was a second gunshot. Then there had been another explosion. They could only guess that one of the shots must have hit a propane tank.
....They had reached the top of the knoll and stopped there to see the entire house engulfed in flames. They were too late. The others had apparently scattered and disappeared somewhere into the park.
....They could hear the cries of sirens racing to the scene. She didn't need to be coerced this time. She followed him down the other side of the knoll away from the conflagration.
....Eventually they had met up with four members of their group. They were scared silly. They avoided eye contact with both Candy and Randy. Finally, Mandy spoke, "You'd better sit down. Something just awful as happened."
...."No shit!" Randy exclaimed. "A house just burned to the ground. Yes, I'd say that was awful!"
...."They're dead, Randy!" cried Andy. "And it's all my fault."
...."Who ... who's dead?" Candy queried in disbelief.
...."Old lady Johnson..and..and.." Sandy managed to utter before succumbing to trembling sobs of dispair.
...."And Jim Dandy.." said Andy his head hung low. "He ran into the house to try to save her. Then the roof collapsed. Neither one of them made it..."
...."Oh my God!" Candy screeched. "What in the name of all that's holy have you done?"
....Randy stood up and looked over the group. "Anyone seen Grandy?"
....His query was answered by their silence. He began to pace in front of his frightened costumed friends. "I hope he's okay," Sandy offered to no certain ear.
...."Aw, shit! Holy shit!" They all turned in the direction of Andy who had walked a few paces away from the crowd. They rushed to his side and followed his pointing finger.
....What appeared to be a gorilla was hanging from a swing set not a hundred yards from where they stood. One of the chains had been wrapped several times around his neck. He was not moving.
Joan shuddered as that image lingered in her thoughts. She shifted the car into gear and stepped on the gas. She didn't know who or what was waiting for her at that monument, but she was convinced that the calling card was intended to draw her there.
As she drove out of sight, a gloved hand patted a bulging object under a dark jacket. "That's a good girl, Candy. That's the last calling card you'll ever see."
To be continued....
Click here for Part 3 and the conclusion