The Horrorphiles, Part 18
By Stephanie Thompson; 1,598 words
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5
- Part 6
- Part 7
- Part 8
- Part 9
- Part 10
- Part 11
- Part 12
- Part 13
- Part 14
- Part 15
- Part 16
- Part 17
Chapter 18 (where I accidentally recap the beginning of the novel)
The theme of the costume ball was Favorite Horror Movie Character. Guests who wanted to be entered into the contest Had to sign up and participate in a costume runway at ten pm and then every guest had one vote for their favorites. There were three top prizes (something, something, and something else) and winners would be announced at midnight. Sir Skullcrushington (or whatever) was set to play between 11 and midnight then again after the winners were announced until 3am (or whatever). And somehow, whilst she stood screaming and crying in front of her own room door, supposedly (apparently?), the entire thing got completely set up, the ballroom decorated, and the stage set.
Ronny thought she should pay Greyson Manor more than just room and board as somehow Newbridge and Peabody had handled more of the coordination and prep than she did. And with falling asleep in front of fires, get drunk and falling downstairs or whatever she’d done last night, and getting lost in never-ending hallways, how did she even have time to run a kid’s birthday party much less a full-blown weekend.
The ballroom was more grand than she imagined mostly because she couldn’t get the image of the high school gym where all her school dances were held out of her head. This room, the first one the whole group had an event in that wasn’t on the first floor but on the fifth floor instead, had windows on all sides including a domed roof with sky lights. It was also the brightest room they’d been, done up in golds, bright mirrors, large crystal chandeliers, and white marble. It looked like it belonged in the castle of Disney princess movie instead of whatever gothic horror the rest of the mansion was starring in. Except that it was full of costumed monster’s and villains. She thought the crowd that had looked small in the library would seem infinitesimal in room that stretched across an entire floor of the mansion but instead they filled the room like there numbers had expanded tenfold.
“Who are you suppose to be?” a zombie asked her.
She thought the zombie sounded like Kurt but his costume makeup was so well applied that she couldn’t even recognize him as real person and not an actually reanimated corpse. Plus the was a malice mixed with disgust in his voice that was very un-Kurt like, it was more Dan-like. Then again, it could be Dan, she really couldn’t tell.
“I’m Nancy, from Nightmare on Elm Street.”
“The final girl? Seriously?”
Now he sounded more like Dan then Kurt, not just in tone but also his voice, like it had changed to be definitely Dan and not maybe Kurt.
“No, not ‘the final girl’, I’m not some generic stereotype. I’m Nancy, the main character of Nightmare who fights Freddy with tactics and booby traps and never once walks around outside in her underwear.” (Make sure this is true)
“If you’re going to be the final girl,” he said as if he hadn’t heard a single thing she said. “Then you should be the first one, Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween, or whoever the latest one is. Something iconic. A bloody torn slip would be better recognized than this eighties sweater and and mom jeans get-up. Besides, who wants to be anything but the villain from a horror movie, nobody watches for the hero…or heroine.” He added heroine like saying the word physically hurt him, definitely a Dan attribute too.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Whoever it was, Dan Kurt, a complete stranger, she really didn’t care or want to be having this conversation.
“Look, nobody asked you and I don’t need your approval, go on with your nondescript zombie ass and your nondescript zombie business. I have better things to do.”
There wasn’t actually anything for to do so far as she could tell. Ronny supposed she should just be trying to have a good time. Most everyone else was dancing to music from Zombina and the Skeletones and The Creepshow or lingering by the punchbowls and finger-foods talking. She didn’t want to do either. The tylenol from the morning had faded and the second dose hadn’t started yet. Her so-called mom jeans waistband was digging right into the giant bruise over her abdomen. She was exhausted like she hadn’t slept at all.
She was out of ideas about what to do next or at all. She could try her hand at looking for Adam or Jordan again, since they were both pretty good at telling her what to do, leading her around, and giving directions, but looking hadn’t worked out well for her today. Besides the maybe-Dan-zombie wasn’t the only one with a remarkable practical effects movie make-up costume. She was surrounded by 100% believable Frankenstein’s Monsters, Freddys, Pinheads, Devils, demons, mummies, ghosts, Regeans and so on so forth. Like everything she’s always imagined in the dark was here under the bright lights of the Greyson Manor ballroom. She wouldn’t be able to tell Adam or Jordan apart from each other much less from all the Jigsaws or Dr. Heiters.
Even if it wasn’t in her high school gym she decided the best tactic would still be to do what she did back then to just hangout leaning against a wall and hoping no one would notice her. Back then she would’ve had Becky with her though. It was the first time since their weird text exchange that she thought of her again. What was Becky going on about? It was rare time where Ronny couldn’t even begin to imagine what kind of emergency would be too difficult to explain but needed her home right away. Especially on such an important, thought rather disastrous, weekend. She no longer had any family, no boyfriend, no pets. Becky was the only person she’d rush home for but she was fine as far as she could tell through text messages. Even if her apartment burned down she would rush back, not on this particular weekend, there was nothing she could do about it now, she didn’t need to be physically present for that kind of emergency. If Becky’s apartment had burned down, well, she had the key to Ronny’s apartment, she could easily stay there, and Ronny wouldn’t necessarily have to be home for that. Plus both of those things were simple to explain.
Ronny pushed it out of her mind again. There was nothing she could do about it either way. Becky hadn’t wanted to explain it earlier, and she’d be lucky if Becky would even talk to her now. She would just have to apologize and deal with it whenever she got back. Well, not whenever she got back, tomorrow, she was driving home tomorrow afternoon.
She went back to trying to remember what had happened the night before. She kept having the feeling like she was close to remembering. Every time she thought of Aunt Wanda or even when she saw that ghost room that afternoon, she shook of chills quickly and moved on to the next thought thinking about the afternoon and that room, she had the feeling that her family had been involved somehow, even if it didn’t make sense. And that Jordan had been there. Whatever she’d been up to, he was there…maybe looking after her? What she did remember for sure was being cold but she’d been cold one way or another since she first got to Greyson so that wasn’t hugely helpful.
She shifted her weight to her other foot and looked to the other side of the room while at the same side changing her train of thought again failing to figure out either the Becky mystery or the mystery of her nighttime activities. The ball around her was kicking up another notch, getting louder, more boisterous with an energy that was catching. Even Ronny was tapping her toes now. For all intents and purposes the weekend wasn’t actually that disastrous. It was more a personal failing really as all the events kept going on more or less without her involvement in one way or another. She’d expected to be spending more time coordinating the catering staff or setting up projectors and furniture, hanging decorations from high ladders. All she’d had to do was show up basically and do a bit of schmoozing. But she kept showing up late or leaving early or skipping things all together. She was more disorganized than usual, losing her notes like that, and still haven’t paid her host. Barely even met her host. Unless she considered Adam more the proper host, in which case the host kept making her more and more uncomfortable with over kindness and occasional shape-shifting, she guessed. She couldn’t actually put her finger on what he did to make her so uncomfortable, especially if the face changing was only her imagination and his constant amusement was a genuine optimistic and jovial personality.
Ronny could use some genuine optimism and joviality because right now her thoughts were going nowhere in useless circles and making her feel worse. So now she was insane, useless, and sad. And that’s how Adam found her for the umpteenth time.
She didn’t see him approach but recognized his voice.
“Shouldn’t you be out there cutting a rug with you’re beau?”
She almost didn’t want to look at him, expecting his costume to be something truly gruesome, but it wasn’t. Adam Newbridge was dressed as Norman Bates from Psycho.
Keep Reading in Part 19
Keep Reading in Part 19
Thanks for Reading!