The Horrorphiles, Part 14
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,644 words
Need to catch up?
Here are the other parts:
Chapter 15 (where I give up)
She woke up to terrific pounding on the door and sunlight streaming around the thick drapes. She groaned. The knocking at the didn’t stop was increasing with urgency. What the hell happened last night and why wouldn’t they let her sleep to get over it?
“Come in,” she said loudly and annoyed.
“Are you ok, Ronny?”
It sounded like Jordan. She opened her eyes. It was Adam. Opening her eyes was the only easy part of the morning. She tried to push herself up in bed but everything hurt. She fell back in bed.
“What?” she said, rudely, because she knew he wasn’t here to just check out her feelings and she was very tired of everyone if she was ok.
“It’s just that, the discussion panel was suppose to start five minutes ago. Everyone is there except for you. Plus you missed breakfast.”
“Shit.” She sat straight up in bed and hit her feet on the floor. Her shoes were still on. She still wore her jeans from yesterday but there were holes in the knees now, dried blood around the edges. “What the . . .” She said to herself.
“Are you ok?” Adam asked her again.
She sighed. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’ll be there in a moment.” She readjusted her tone, she didn’t know why she was sounding like a petulant teenager anyway. “I’m fine. I just need to get dressed and I’ll start the panel in five minutes. Stall them if you want or whatever.” She rubbed her temples, her head was pounding.
“Yeah, ok, if you’re sure?”
She wanted to snap at him again. Tell him that if she said she was fine then she was fucking fine. Instead she said and calm and steady “Yes.”
As soon as he shut the door she sprang into action or at least tried to. She had to move slower than she wanted to because everything hurt. She took off her sneakers and she peeled off her clothes all from the day before. Her skin was clammy and pale. Her clothes were dry, she felt the bedsheets and they were dry, but she was damp like she’d been sweating all night.
There were scratches across her hands, her knees were scabbed up, her toes were yellow red and purple splotched. Her ribs hurt the most when she tried to breath. Her hand went to them, barely touched across her torso and it hurt worse. She looked in the vanity mirror. Spread across her ribs, just beneath yesterday’s bra, was a huge dark purple bruise. She’d never had a bruise this size or this dark before. What in the hell happened to her?
That last thing she remembered was . . .The last thing she remembered. . . She closed her eyes and tried imagine it. The last thing she remembered was . . . The Creep ’N’ Greet. She had drink, after drink, after drink. Talk, talk, talk. And then . . . And then what?
“Fuck,” she said. What did it matter? She was probably drunk, she hadn’t eaten a crumb of food but she had kept slamming back cocktails. She probably made a giant fool of herself in front of Adam and Gregory Peabody, kissed someone thoroughly inappropriate again, then tripped and fell badly on the stairs. What did matter was she was late for her own damn panel.
She bent down to get her bag for her clothes only to find it upside down and empty. She turned on the bedside lamp and finally looked around. “God damn it,” she said. Her clothes were thrown all around the room like a poltergeist was pissed about her fashion choices. “Fucking shit.”
She grabbed and tank top and hoodie from the merchandise box because that was easy. The first pair of pants she found were a pair of leggings. Luckily her drunken self (or the angry poltergeist) hadn't been concerned with her underwear and bras folded and tucked in a zippered pocket. So clothes done.
Her hair was stringy, damp, and full of dried leaves. She combed out the debris and twisted her hair into a low bun. She wasn’t satisfied with the look, her hair looked plastered to her scalp, thin, and greasy.
“Fuck it,” she said. She grabbed a scarf barely clinging to the edge of the vanity. She wrapped the bun with that a la Great Aunt Wanda. She even sort of looked like her now. She just needed a great collection of long beaded necklaces and reading glasses on a string. Did she have a dream of Aunt Wanda? She had the distinct feeling that she’d seen her last night.
She shook her head, which neither cleared her head nor improved the pounding. She dry slammed three tylenol, grabbed her portfolio, and dashed out the room and down the stairs, shoeless and sock-less. She couldn’t care less. It was hard to care when every inch of her body throbbed in pain and she had to go face an always smug Dan Brown.
She opened the door more energetically than she had meant to. She thought a door that size would have to be pushed hard but it opened with ease, slamming into the wall and making the entire audience of Boris Carloff’s Frankenstein stare at her.
She suppressed a curse and said “Excuse me” instead. She went across the hall and opened the right door this time, with timidity. Dan Brown was tapping his fingers impatiently at the end of the table, the two other panelists, Charlie Frank of The Movie Club, and Travis Barker a paranormal investigator and horror writer, were more relaxed like they’d been to a ton of other panels at a ton of other conventions that had gone exactly the same way, little better than a shit show. This was not how she wanted The Horrorphiles Haunted Halloween Weekend to seem in its first iteration.
Adam stood apologetically in the space she assumed would be hers. “I’m not sure what the hold up is but I’m sure she’ll be here any minute.”
“Sorry,” she said loud enough to make a few people, including the panelists jump. “Sorry, I’m late.”
She made her way to the table as Adam walked around the other way. “I had a. . . Wardrobe malfunction.” Everyone but Dan chuckled at the joke. “Speaking of which, if you’d like a hoodie or a tank top or a tee shirt for yourself, they will be on sale tomorrow. Get one as souvenir, or to show off at future events, so everyone knows you were at the first Horrorphile event, and they were not” (or you know, something better than that). She thought she heard Dan snort at that one.
She scanned the room, it was the same room that they had started in last night, the first room Adam had showed her. The library. How hard she gone in the wrong room the first time? This was the one room she knew how to get to. A couple of people murmured to each other. One person had a laptop, clicking away, like he was taking notes. Adam and Gregory Peabody were in the back, leaned comfortably in chairs different than the rest of the audience, chairs that looked they had come from the drawing room instead of the library. Kurt, Tom, and Harry waved at her from the middle of the room, probably excited that she and dan were going to have it out again. Jordan was nowhere to be seen.
“Okay, done with the sale’s pitch. Anyway,” she opened her portfolio expecting to find her notes for opening the panel discussion but there was only the notes from last night. “Again, I’m sorry I’m late.” She stalled as she searched again, like the would magically appear the second time. She even looked in the pockets as if (however many pages) were folded into tiny squares and shoved in the pockets while they stayed perfectly flat without a single bulge. “Um, so…” The last thing she wanted to was wing it. Not with the never ending headache, not with Dan sitting beside her, not with Gregory Peabody watching her. “…today’s discussion is about remakes and reboots in the horror genre. I’m going to start off with some generalities and questions, maybe make a few points, then let the other panelists speak on the topic, then we’ll open it up for audience opinion and questions.”
Where was Jordan? Hadn’t he said he wanted to support her? Sure there was screenings in the other room’s: Universal Studios monster films, Hammer Horror classics, and Troma cult films but he said he was there for her. He said he was serious. So he should be here with her.
“But I guess I should really be starting with the introductions. To my . . .” She had to look at Dan first, to be sure he was there, then her hand to figure out where there was. “…right, is Dan Brown the founder of HorrorFanatic.com and…” a huge fucking douchebag “a lifelong horror fan himself. To my left is . . .”
Jesus Christ, she was losing her damned mind. She had his name and occupation just a minute ago. Her hands shook. She held on to her portfolio. She paused for too long. All the faces of the audience seemed to skew, to shift to greyness, to become skull like, then go back to their normal, if bored faces. She almost apologized and left the room with her tail between her legs when everything came back to where it should be in her mind.
“To my left is Charlie Frank a movie reviewer for TheMovieClub.com, and Travis Barker, a paranormal investigator and horror writer, who’s latest book An Unnatural Order will be available from his website ParanormalActivityHunter.com on Halloween.”
Thanks for Reading!