The Horrorphiles, Part 11
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,592 words
Chapter 13 (I don't think any of this is any good either), continued
If he’d wanted her to talk to or see something else the disappointment didn’t show on his face. He followed, happily enough drink his manhattan, to her group of friends.
“Hey guys,” she said enthusiastically relieved. “I hope you’re having a great time.”
“Dude, this place is amazing, Dan is going to flip his shit when he get’s here tomorrow,” Tom said.
“He’s already foaming at the mouth with jealousy.”
“You know, that’s his own fault for leaving like he did and generally being an asshole,” Kurt said with an air of coming to her defense.
“Ah, come on guys, I don’t hate him for starting his own group, he had definite but different idea about what he wanted and I respect that. I’m excited for him, and grateful he’s going to be apart of the panel tomorrow.” She wasn’t any of those things but she couldn’t very well say that she was glad to be rid of the oppositional sexist jackass and hated that his splinter group was doing well enough to be a small draw for the panelist event tomorrow. “Anyway, lets not get into group politics. I wanted to introduce you guys Adam, I know we all saw his presentation today, but (idk something that makes sense that I’ll have to think of later). Adam this Tom, Kurt, Harry, and Jordan, all horrorphile friends from back home. Guys this Adam, Gregory Peabody’s nephew and a big part of the reason we could be here this weekend.
“’S’up, man?” Said Tom. “So, d’you have to grow up in this place? That’d be pretty twisted. You ever see any spooks?” She couldn’t tell if he stopped talking to hear an answer or just to take a drink and nibble of his refreshments.
“I can hear them but I rarely see them,” Adam said with a wink and a laugh. “Only on special occasions.”
“Awesome, man,” Tom said with a mouthful of finger food.
Ok. . ..insert more conversation here but not too much.
Chapter 14 (but for some reason I keep writing it)
Eventually the conversation included more or less people, it meandered away from and closer to horror topics or the mundane, different people brought over different cocktails but Veronica still never got any food. Time passed, her longing for Jordan receded, her overactive imagination took a break, and she was having fun. Before she knew it, the drawing room was half empty and catering staff was clearing away food scraps and tablecloths. At the end there was just Jordan, Adam, Veronica, Gregory Peabody —she couldn’t think of him only by his first name, it seemed so odd after knowing him as Mr. Peabody for so long-- left lingering alone.
The fire burned nearby, half the size it was when the Creep ’N’ Greet started. Veronica didn’t know what time it was but knew it had to be late and they were shutting the place down, yet she didn’t feel anywhere near sleep. She’d lost count of how many cocktails she’d had and the garnishes were the only thing she’d gotten to eat. She was sure she should have felt more sleepy, or more drunk, or more hungry but instead she just didn’t want the party to end.
“So,” Jordan stared in that slow way as if he wasn’t sure he should really continue the conversation.
“So will there be a tour of the grounds? Anything creepy out there, like a garden maze?”
“It’s mostly overgrown weeds but there is a small family cemetery,” Adam said. “I wouldn’t call it creepy though.”
Every time he’d spoken to Jordan tonight there was a coldness about it, almost a malice, at least compared to the overt friendliness he had towards everyone else.
“Don’t dismiss it so quickly, Adam. Just because you’ve been around it so long it doesn’t look like much to you. Ronny and Jordan might find it pretty interesting,” said Mr. Peabody. “And everything looks different in the dark.”
“Maybe Uncle, but I don’t Veronica would enjoy it very much.”
“That’s true,” Jordan said. “ And I didn’t mean we’d have to go have a look now. Tomorrow afternoon would be just as good.”
In truth she wouldn’t enjoy it, graveyard of any size was plenty creepy enough without being night but she didn’t like being spoken about again as if she didn’t have her own voice. “No, it sounds great, I haven’t done anything to scare myself in a few hours. And I’ve never been on a night time graveyard tour. Should be fun.”
“Like a real life horror movie,” Gregory Peabody laughed.
“But without the machete murderer,” added Jordan.
“One would hope not,” said Adam unamused.
“Well, kids,” Mr. Peabody said. “It’s been a fun evening but I think I should be heading off now. Veronica, it’s been nice to meet you… and you too Jordan,” he added though he didn’t sound like he meant it. “And nephew, be good.” He said with a wink.
Everyone said their goodbyes and the conversation paused for a few moments as Gregory Peabody left.
“So, what about this cemetery tour, Adam?” Veronica asked.
“You know, it is pretty late, Ronny. With the panel tomorrow, you have to get up early for breakfast, shouldn’t you be getting to bed soon?”
“Oh c’mon don't’ be a party pooper Jordan, the scariest thing that’s happened all day was losing cell signal.”
“I think you’ll be disappointed but I’d be more than happy to show you. Just have to grab some flashlights, it’s very difficult to find the path in the dark,” Adam said.
“Yeah, ok,” Jordan acquiesced unenthusiastically. “Let’s at least get some jackets though.”
They agreed to meet back at the bottom of the stairs in fifteen minutes. Ronny kept repeating “big, hairy cahones” as she climbed the stairs and dug out a hoodie from one of her merchandise boxes because she didn’t really want to go on this grave tour but she didn’t like that Adam and Jordan both insisted she shouldn’t go. Maybe she’d been more jittery and on edge than usual but she didn’t need to be coddled by men or anyone else, no matter how handsome or well dressed. She wouldn’t have chosen a haunted house, not that she believed it was haunted, if she couldn’t handle it. She wouldn’t be a horror fan if she couldn’t handle mild heart palpitations from occasional jump scares. Besides she’d had enough cocktails to knock her out the second she closed her eyes, she still wasn’t tired but when she did sleep she would have no dreams, not even nightmares, after so many cocktails even going to an old presumably crumbling cemetery wouldn’t change a thing. (Um, could that sentence be anymore long, repetitive, and awkward?)
She checked the clock on her cellphone; it was nearly 1 am. Breakfast was available from 8am til 930am before the panel started. Jordan was right, she should be getting to bed but now she’d already opened her big mouth and signed on for the walk. There was still no signal or new messages that somehow got through. She tossed back in her bag and headed downstairs.
Adam was there with two large flashlights. For the first time since she’d arrived he wasn’t smiling at her (double check if this is true).
“I guess he changed his mind, said he was too tired and he was going to bed instead.”
She lingered on the last step. Suddenly without Jordan, she wanted to go even less. But it was her idea and suddenly losing interest when Adam was the only company would be rude, especially since she had neither sleep nor hunger nor anything else to use an excuse.
“Well, then, Lay on MacDuff,” she said.
“And damned be him who first cries ‘Hold!’” his smile returned and he took her arm in his again, like they were skipping off to the land of lollypops and gumdrops instead of traipsing through cemetery in the dead of night.
Instead of going down the left or right wings of the mansion as they had all they had gone for all the other rooms, they went behind the foyer staircase and through the main structure of the building. There were a lot more doors and crazy hallways in this part of the house and Veronica made mental note to ask for a copy of the maps Adam had handed out earlier. Eventually they came to small, innocuous door that looked like any other back door for any other normal house in the world. And it opened onto a regular, if uneven and in need of mending, paver patio. Neither seemed to belong to the grandeur and opulence of the rest a of Greyson Manor. Then again what needed to be spectacular about a back entrance.
There were a few lights on in the house, guests who hadn’t quite gone to sleep yet, but the fires and lamplights indoors barely escaped the drapes and hardly touched the inky darkness of the early morning hours. There were no porch lights or path lights, there was no path to speak of. Once they left the 6x6 patio there wasn’t a patch of concrete, brick, or gravel to indicate they were going the right way.
Their flashlights darted across brown, dried, and dead knee high grasses. Empty seed husks and pecked clean flower heads snapped as the passed. Unseen foliage crunched underfoot.
“It sure is wild out here,” Ronny commented.
“My uncle, he isn’t much for landscaping.”
“He keeps the house immaculate enough though.”
“Well, the house pretty much takes care of itself.”
Keep Reading: Part 12
Keep Reading: Part 12
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