NaNoWriMo 2015: The Horrorphiles, Part 2
by Stephanie Thompson; 1,724 words
(Read: Part 1)
(Read: Part 1)
Chapter 2(ish), continued
She sighed and stared up at the ceiling from the bed she was on. The ceilings weren’t as high in the bedrooms as they were on the first floor, which felt like a blessing to Ronny’s poor worn out brain. The whole room was refreshingly normal, free of the gothic decadence and strange art of so many of the other rooms but it was just as clean. In fact, she was coming to believe that somehow this 200 some odd years old 15 bedroom house with no staff or other caretaker besides an old man and his nephew was cleaner and more spotless than her two bedroom apartment back in D.C.
But, in fairness, she’d been busy growing Horrorphiles into something for the last five months and she hadn’t hardly touched it since Jordan took all his stuff back the month previous while she was getting drunk at their regularly scheduled gathering.
The days after Jordan left her, broke up with her were weird and hazy now. She knew she'd sloppily kissed Kurt outside the bathroom of a Mexican restaurant at a Horrorphile Meet-Up but she didn't actually remember doing it. And she'd spent a lot of time in bed, days and days, so that all blended together in a blur of Kleenex and twisted bedsheets.
They'd been together two years…or was it three? That sort of thing didn't matter too her much and it was something her other boyfriend had liked about her. There were a lot of things guys liked about her, that Jordan had liked to. Ronny liked horror and action movies, she liked sports comedies too. She didn't ask for romantic dates all the time or go in for overly romantic gestures on Valentine's day. She liked pizza beer and football on Thursdays and Sundays. She never minded a boys night out or her dudeguy having his own interest. What the problem was, what it always was, was Ronny's obsession with horror.
Horror movies, horror shows, horror music, horror merchandise, horror fiction. It was her favorite thing. Her only favorite thing.
She didn't have family or many friends. She didn't have a job. In fact, she'd always said her job was being a full-time horror fangirl. Turns out that occupation is pretty detrimental to a love life.
Then again, what did she need a love life for? Her Great Aunt Wanda had lived to nearly 100 without one and she'd been happy and fulfilled on her deathbed. If she could die like her Great Aunt Wanda, then she’d be satisfied too, no matter the status of her love life.
She sighed again but in the meantime it was pretty lonely, especially in this giant rambling, creepy in a general but annoyingly non-specific way mansion. She sat up on her elbows, in the vanity across from her reflection did the same.
To meet Mr. Peabody, she’d dressed a more business casual than usual in a dark purple button up and black knee length skirt. She has hair of some sort and it looks a certain way. She looked the same on the outside as she had when she left her house this morning but on the inside she felt an unraveling, like all the careful work and single minded determination was coming apart in a single afternoon, unnerved by Adam Newbridge and Grayson Manor.
She checked her cell phone, only an hour until the other horrorphiles were set to arrive. She’d sent Becky a text when she first pulled up to the house, when she still had one bar on her cell. In her room, she didn’t like that she was calling it her room already or at all, the room, in the room she had no bars. That wasn’t quite right one tiny bar flickered in and out of existence. She had no messages from Becky but she sent her another text anyway.
I don’t like being here without you. Creepy as fuck. But our host is unexpectedly hot. Dibs, lol
Becky couldn’t make it for this first haunted retreat, she had to work, but hopefully there would be more, many more, and Becky would be there for all of those. She pressed send on her message and her one sad bar faded for good. A red ‘x’ settled itself with finality in the upper right hand corner. Mr. Peabody told her that cell and internet connections would be spotty but but his responses had always been quick so she assumed he was being over cautious in his warning. Ronny was glad she’d been even more over cautious and told the other attendees there was zero connect-ability. She tossed the now useless device on top of her weekend bag and “retired” back to her bed. The bed.
Chapter 3(or so)
Although Adam said he would greet and escort the attendees and she could take her time, she wanted to be there as well. After all she was the face of horrorphiles now, online and in real life, there was no point of building herself up not to deliver now. For the retreat, Ronny had chosen only items from the new line of clothing merchandise she was launching online next week and offering as exclusive early bird purchases here at the retreat. Tonight she was wearing a tee shirt that read I heart horror where the heart was a bleeding human heart rather than cartoon or emoji. Across the back it had the horrorphile logo and Horrorphile Halloween Haunt 2013. Only the ones available at the retreat had that added.
When the doorbell rang for the first horrorphile, Adam beat her to the door. She was happy enough to have found the foyer staircase from her room, the room, without getting lost. From the second floor the vibrant crimson stairs looked even more like a tongue in a fanged mouth. She tried not to feel like she was being swallowed as she went down it.
“Welcome to Grayson Manor for the first ever Horrorphile Halloween Haunt weekend,” Adam said to Kurt.
She had prayed that he wouldn’t be the first to arrive, or the last, that somehow he would mix in with several other fans arriving at the same time.
Adam handed him the program for the weekend’s events and a floor plan of the house, indicating on the map where his room would be. How come she hadn’t been given a map?
Kurt studied dutifully, pushing his glasses up his nose every few seconds. When he noticed her hanging back near the stairs, his face lit up, from his eyes to his smile. He seemed too happy to see her ever since that drunken kiss in Los Toltecos. More friendly too. And like he seeked her out in any crowd. For her part she tried to never be alone with him, in case he tried to ask her out or anything else that would make their already awkward casual acquaintance any more awkward.
“We look forward to seeing you later tonight,” Adam finished his spiel.
Kurt waved and smiled as he approached her. “Hey, Ronny! This place is terrific isn’t it? Like something out of a (insert director here) film.”
“Yeah, I know, right?” She said reapplying her fake smile. She didn’t know when she’d wear a real one again but she hoped it would be sometime this weekend or else no matter what else happened, it would not be a success for her. “So did you find the house all right? It’s not on GPS or anything, so I hope my directions were good enough.”
“Of course, of course. No problem, whatsoever.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend, Ronny.”
“Me too, Kurt. See you at the Creep ’n’ Greet.” She moved out of his friendly but unwelcomed touch went to talk to next guest, one she hadn’t kissed in desperate drunken mistake.
The longer she greeted people at the door, the more relaxed and almost normal she felt again. And proud. She was proud. She, Veronica Ronny Marie Granger had done this. Brought these people from across the country, even more than that she had to turn away once the booking were filled up, and they all had one common interest. An interest that wasn’t weird or creepy, bizarre, sick or pyscho like all of her ex’s eventually came to see her. She wasn’t alone.
The guest filed in in a steady flow and nobody came too late. The house was far less unsettling when it was full of people. It was harder to imagine the foyer as a giant maw with other people casually chatting in it. The mansion wasn’t filled with heavy silence when voices drifted up and down the halls. Things were going so well, that she shouldn’t have been surprised when Jordan walked through the doors of Grayson Manor.
After 45 minutes of shaking hands, hugging real life strangers but virtual friends and feeling like she might have done something good, Jordan Jeffers, who’d walked out the door on her, slammed it on her actually, unexpectedly 6 months ago, was here right in front of her walking in the door.
Chapter 4 (I guess)
6 Months Earlier
Veronica watched the blinking cursor on the computer screen and tried to comprehend what had just happened. Who started yelling first? Who’d yelled last? Or did his final door slam count as the last word? Wasn’t it just yesterday that they’d laughed together while watching The Evil Dead? Didn’t he cheerfully volunteer to make the second bowl of popcorn just before Army of Darkness? Hadn’t he held her close in the theater during the scariest and goriest parts of the newest Evil Dead? So why was he suddenly angry?
She looked over the last sentence she’d written before the interruption. This is how it starts… What was she even writing about?
She looked at the title at the top of her blog post. The Newest Entry into the Land of the Deadites. Right, a film review.
She looked at her notes, some of which had fallen to the floor while she and Jordan were arguing. She’d scribbled them in bed last night, after they returned from the theater. Had he turned off the light in a huff? Did he sleep further away from her than usual? Did he give any indication that he’d break up with her today?
Keep Reading: Part 3
Keep Reading: Part 3
Thanks For Reading!