Saturday, November 14, 2015

Part 4

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Horrorphiles, Part 4
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,656 words 
(Read: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)

Chapter 6 (um, yes), continued

She finished the last of her drink. “I should get back. It’s probably time for my, you know, speech,” she said. She put her empty glass on the mahogany table edge around the poker table. “Thanks for. . . that,” she said more awkwardly than she intended. She opened the door, a flood of light from the hallway poured into the room. The sounds of people chatting and laughing exploded around her. She hadn’t noticed the silence of the poker room before.

“You’re welcome,” he said.

When she looked back at him, the room seemed darker now, more of his face was in shadow. Only one sharp cheekbone, one tawny eye illuminated. The warmth of the drink evaporated as chill traveled up her spine.

Chapter 7 (these aren't really chapters, you know)

Back in the foyer the grandfather clock still said ten ’til. She didn’t have time to think about that if that’s what it really said now or if she read it wrong before or now. She made her way to the library, where Adam had first taken her earlier, glad-handing along the way, gently rounding people up. Her insides still felt like jelly, quivering, dizzy, and unsure but she was smiling the way she should, or so she thought, and her voice sounded normal enough. If she could just get through this next part, through the speech, the next scene, then she could another drink, maybe a canapé, when was the last time she ate or drank anything maybe it was just low blood sugar, dehydration making her feel so strange, and then after all that, she could go to bed and when she woke up in the morning everything would be ok. She only had to make it through this next part. 

Public speaking didn’t normally make her nervous but she hadn’t done any since college and she was having one hell of a nerve racking day. Even though nothing had gone wrong, things hadn’t gone quite as expected either. To top it off Jordan was here. Why did Jordan have to show today, finally, at last? She took a deep breath, she just had to get through this next part, then she could go to sleep, and when she woke up, everything would be ok.

The library was set up differently than it was this afternoon. Even if she hadn’t heard them there must have been some staff around, Adam had only had the same 45 minutes that she’d had before the people had arrived. Then again, when you can stop time . . . She stopped that line of thought right there. The library tables were pushed to the edges of the room topped with candelabras, filled with real or electric candles, she couldn’t get close enough for sure. The ones of the massive chandeliers were lit as well. Either way the light flickered eerily enough for the event.

Where the tables use to be there were more chairs now, plenty enough for everyone but some people still stood. Jordan was standing in the back. By the time Ronny made it all the way to the front, Adam was too. Kurt sat up right up front with several other of the local, original Horrorphiles who stayed around when things started to change and were able to make it. At the very front of the room was the desk Adam had stood beside earlier that afternoon. It was moved front and center rather than angled in the corner like before. The paperweight and all the other usual desk accouterments were gone from it. Now there was simply her portfolio and the laptop for Mr. Peabody’s presentation.

Ronny quickly scanned the room again. There wasn’t anybody there she didn’t remember greeting earlier. The only new faces were those of the servers, the last of whom was closing the colossal door behind them now. Where was Mr. Peabody? Should she wait for him? She sure as hell couldn’t do his half of the presentation, she knew practically nothing about Grayson Manor other than it was suppose to be haunted and Mr. Peabody was overjoyed to host the event.

She looked back at Adam but his face was pleasant and neutral, waiting like everyone else. He looked normal again even in the soft flickering light. For a moment she wondered if he could rearrange his features to appear how he needed to appear to certain people like Stephen King’s It or John Carpenter’s The Thing but she squashed that thought as quickly as she could. She had to stop these silly thoughts, 'flights of horror' Becky would call them, there would be, there already were, plenty of things to giver her the case of the frights as her Aunt Wanda called it. Thinking of Becky and Aunt Wanda finally shored up again, ready to grab those cahones, she started her greeting.

“I have to say, you guys, looking at this awesome group of hardcore horror freaks, makes me so happy.” She paused and smiled for the hoots and hollers. “And welcome to The Horrorphiles Halloween Haunted Weekend! Hopefully, with luck and your continued support, this time next year we’ll be having are second annual Haunted Weekend.” 

Another pause for hoots and hollers. There wasn’t a microphone, there wasn’t a crowd big enough to warrant one. She easily spoke loud and clear and the noisy excitement calmed down within thirty seconds. 

“Six months again, when I was alone in my apartment typing my blog, “ she purposely kept her eyes in the front row. She would not look at Jordan. She would not look at Jordan. She would look at Kurt. Let him think that one stupid drunk kiss meant something. Let him think he was the love of her life. Anything to not look at Jordan. “I barely dreamed making The Horrophiles anything more. But even small, it was there. I’m a full-time horror fangirl and I wanted a place for horror fans could go for quality movie reviews, quality horror fiction, quality horror music, and quality horror events. So I built the type of place we’ve all wanted and that has brought us to here, today.” 

She broke away from Kurt and looked across the crowd again. Again there was nobody new. She was reaching the end of her greeting, the point where she was suppose toss the talking bit to Mr. Peabody and she had no idea for where he was.  She found Adam, now standing beside Jordan, he still gave no indication of what she should do. Stretch for time, keep talking, abort her lead-in?

So she continued as planned because what else could she do? “This weekend, I promise you, will be nothing like any haunted ghost tour or any horror convention you’ve ever been to. In a one of a kind location, we have one of a kind screening, and one of a kind discussion panels. Plus, I hope you’re all prepared for our Scar-A-Thon costume contest and ball, with a live performance by Sir Skull Crushington and His Demented Fiends.” Crowd excitement again. Getting the popular horror themed band had been a big coup for her, well Becky actually, who’d know a friend of a friend with connection, and the been was between tours and about to drop a new album. So a small show to already dedicated fans was perfect for the band and for Veronica.

Once the noise settled down again, Ronny was still unsure of what was going to happen. She had two or three sentences left and then . . . Well, embarrassing silence, she supposed. “All right. Awesome,” she said in a pathetic attempt to stall. She was obviously not made out to be an MC. “Be sure to check your souvenir programs so you don’t miss a single event. Tonight, after a brief history on Grayson Manor, there will be a tour of all her secrets,” Did she just call the house a her? She glanced at her script quickly. She’d originally written ‘it’, it’s secrets. She hated the genderfication of inanimate objects. Why did she say her? “Followed by a cold buffet and some creepy bedtime stories from Border Tales, just before the night ends.”

Chapter 8 (they are more like scenes)

And here it was; the moment she was going to introduce Mr. Peabody followed by dead air. She will introduce an invisible man and look like an idiot. “Well, um, that’s all you need to hear from me ,I guess.” More sad sounding, stammering time wasting. “So I’d like to pass your attention now to Gregory Peabody, the current owner of Grayson Manor, and our most gracious host, here to tell us about his home’s mysterious past. “ Hopefully she added silently.

Luckily the audience clapped and there was none of the room’s eerie silence, just sheer panic in her chest. Her heart thumped like it’d decided to take up the bass drum professionally. Even as Adam made his way to the front, his way to her. Even when he put his hand on the small of her back and mumbled “I’m sorry” in her ear, even then it continued to pound violently against her ribs so she could feel them rattle. Still somehow she managed  to move aside and hear what Adam said next.

“I am not Mr. Gregory Peabody, that would be my great uncle, and unfortunately he’s not quite ready join us yet.”

Ronny moved further from the spotlight, disappearing into the audience, relieved that Adam had once again saved her from a difficult situation but slightly annoyed that he hadn’t mention it earlier. Like when they were alone (in the room where time stood still, her mind added against her will) earlier, then she wouldn’t be still trying to shake off the remnants of panic now.

“ Therefore, until he’s feeling better, I will be taking over with hosting duties,” he continued. “My name is Adam Newbridge and I am more than happy to share the stories of this great house, what has become my home, with you all.”

Keep Reading: Part 5

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