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Something Wicked ST

Something Wicked - Summertime Blues

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Everyone turned when the dog barked, catching full view of the wild fall of the boxes: Silas tried to step back but the box he was carrying was heavy and bulky but at the same time Jordan tried to lean past Silas to hold the teetering boxes up. He tripped over her and for a moment the two teenagers desperately tried to occupy the same space - a feat doomed to failure. Silas, already off balance from the box, was bumped by Jordan and fell backwards. He crashed into the sturdy girl - who normally would have just shrugged off the hit. She was overextended already, though,  and couldn't keep from falling forward on top of her friend; the two landed in a tangle of limbs with Silas on the bottom, Jordan on top, and the boxes crashing down onto to bury both of them. 

  

Banner jumped to his feet, barking furiously now. Hank went to the dog and knelt down to quiet him while Quinn and Hannah rushed to their friends and began pulling boxes off of them. Roach approached the whole fiasco a little more leisurely, watching just in case her help was needed. It only took a few moments for the girls to unbury them, but by the time the last box was pulled off both Jordan and Silas were laughing from the absurdity of the moment. ‘Compromising position’ was an understatement in how they’d ended up on the floor. The laughter tittered through the group as the two of them were helped up to their feet.

 

Roach spoke up once the laughing finally settled down, pointing to an oversized trunk among the fallen boxes with CNTY FAIR HAUNTED HOUSE 1977 in faded stencil letters on the side. “Hey guys, I think we found what we were looking for.”

 

Two more trunks the same size lay behind it; it took a few minutes to wrangle all three of them into an open area and pop the lids up. Inside were dozens of wrapped horror costumes and Halloween props.

 

Spoiler

Neither of you are hurt beyond embarrassment. the trunks have whatever you can think of within reason.  editing by Mala

 

 

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Jordan gave one of the trunks a good-natured kick, still irritated at the boxes toppling over her and Silas, but started digging through the contents. Lots of cloaks and coats, some looking slashed or cut or burned, with blood stains that looked decidedly real. Zombies seemed like they were popular in the seventies. Rolls of frayed bandages for mummies, Jordan presumed, and all sorts of wigs and masks. The masks were good too, lots of detail and very well made and sturdy, not like the cheap, thin stuff you found most places these days.

 

Seeing the trouble was over, Banner chuffed with what sounded almost like disgust and reclaimed his spot by the door, eyes twitching from the kids to the door and back.

 

The props, a variety of weapons or things that could be used as weapons, in a pinch, were also well made, and a good deal more realistic than costume weapons were allowed to be now. Jordan pulled out a large knife, maybe a machete, the metal blade discoloured with rust or fake - It was fake? - blood. It looked real enough, but it was lighter than it should have been, the blade thicker, the edge and point blunted. That bale hook was real, her grandfather had had a farm and she had helped bringing in the hay several times.

 

There was a battered tackle-box full of what Jordan guessed was stage make-up, but she didn't know if any of it was still good. She barely used any make-up herself, so set the tackle-box aside for someone else to look at, instead pulled out some of the masks. Resting the machete against the side of one of the steamer trunks, she held up a pair.

 

"Yeah, I think we can have fun with this stuff, specially if they are all drunk and stuff," Jordan proclaimed, standing up with a mask in each hand.

 

One was a deep crimson, a devil with long and sharp, jutting horns. The other was bland featured, pasty white of Michael Myers of Halloween fame. Jordan might not have had the gender, but she had the height and bulk to pull off the first well known antagonist among slasher fics.

 

"Let's scare the piss and shit outta them."

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Grumbling under her breath, Quinn dove into the trunks. She pulled out costume parts, offering them around to the other kids.

 

“Hannah, this looks to be your size, if you want this dress,” she said, waving around a black dress with strategic slashes in the bodice and along the hem. “There’s a skin-tone slip to wear under it, too, well, if you’re white folks. Guess non-whites didn’t get to dress up.”

 

Roach had three costumes pushed at her. “Wanna be a zombie? Or here’s an executioner’s cloak, and a blood-soaked flapper’s dress. Ooo, want the axe that you attach to your back so you can be axe-murdered? See, you put it on like so, and then the handle sticks out. Put a bit of blood around the axe head and bam!” She waved around the prop eagerly.

 

Hank was handed a cloak with a shoulder mount to hide the wearer’s head and a pumpkin prop to carry. “You can be the Headless Horseman. Bey-bey’s too light, but we can sneak Trax out of the pen. Beau might recognize him though, so maybe you should be the Headless Something Else.”

 

Turning to Silas last, she pushed a costume at him and said, “You can be a little bitch-- I mean, witch.” It was clear she was still mad at him. As he flinched from her words, she started to pull on the bloody cheerleader uniform she found. 

 

“How long should we give them to drink?”

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Roach cackled at that and theatrically looked at her wrist where a watch would be, if she wore one.

 

"Damn, that's like five minutes you've gone without mentioning horses," she quipped at Quinn. "New record? Anyway, okay... Everyone listen UP! We can't just put on random costumes and go out there and have it WORK. There has to be a THEME, you know? It has to be...consistent. Otherwise they'll figure out they're being fucked with right away."

 

She looked at the others. "Okay, you know your bros best. What do they believe in? Ghosts? Aliens? God and the Devil? Most people have some stupid BS they think might be true, even though they know better. That's where we hit them."

 

"As for how long to let them drink...hmm. We need eyes on. Are they guzzling or social drinking? Is it beer? Coolers? Harder stuff? Lets get a scouting mission going while we get our shit together."

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Hank took the offered outfit, and smiled.  "I always did like that legend."  

Moments later, as Roach made her point.  "It's all mostly beer though I imagine they found some whiskey to go with it, I mean hell, this is Georgia after all.  It'd damn near be a sin if someone didn't bring a bottle of Whiskey to an underage drinkin party."  

"I say we give them an hour or two, that'll let us firm up our own plans, and make sure they're good and plastered, then we head on over, and make sure tonight's a night they won't soon forget."

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On 3/5/2020 at 12:05 AM, Rochelle McKendrick said:

"Okay, you know your bros best. What do they believe in? Ghosts? Aliens? God and the Devil? Most people have some stupid BS they think might be true, even though they know better. That's where we hit them."

 

The big blonde shrugged as she dug through the trunks for things to go with the Michael Myers mask and machete. "Craig talks 'bout aliens some, but I dunno if he really believes in them." Jordan tone clearly suggested if he did believe in them, he was an idiot. "Stuff that could maybe happen would get 'em best, I figure. Like axe-murderers and guys with fish-hook and other murderhobos from all those slasher movies. Oh, and werewolves. Yeah, I don't know. Both of them hate 'em for some reason."

 

Jordan pulled out a grey-blue workman's jumpsuit, artfully discoloured with suggestively violent stains and held it up to her front to see if it might fix before giving her friends a fierce look. "But jump scares work on everyone, right?"

 

Jordan whacked the jumpsuit against the door frame several times, shaking out any lingering dust, then slipped it on. It fit well enough on her upper body. The jumpsuit was for a bigger than average man, and Jordan was bigger than the average man, but the legs were slightly too short and very tight across her thighs. She grunted. Finding pants that actually fit her had been a problem for a while now. Still, it was good enough, especially in the dark, and with the pair of work boots they found, though they had to use some cloth accessories to help stuff the boots as they were too wide for her feet.

 

Jordan quickly redid her hair into a single braid and pinned it up before pull on the mask. It took a bit of fiddling, but she got sitting well enough so it wasn't obscuring her vision much, the scent of rubber pungent in her nose. Silas reached up and helped with the mask, hiding the edges under the neck of the jumpsuit and zipping it up to the top. Jordan looked around, somewhat stiffly - the jumpsuit was a bitch itchy and she didn't want the mask to slip - and picked up the prop machete, giving it a few practice swipes.

 

"So, do I look like something that murders teenagers in remote lakes and cabins?" Jordan asked, using Bale 'Batman' voice, slightly muffled by the mask.

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The kids prepared, the spying fell onto the two with the best woodcraft, Hank and Silas, who took turns. It seemed that most of the older teens were ensconced in the cabin proper drinking and or paired off with girlfriends and making out. I say most because the twins, Jordan's brothers, hadn't known about the 'grad party' and so didn't have the chance to invite anyone for them to pair off with so they felt like the odd men out, which they were.

 

Craig and Keith spent most of the night on the porch both drinking. When Silas had spied on them, he saw them arguing about something, then he heard Quinn's name from one of them he thought it was Craig, the twins grew silent after that and then one of them suddenly stepped off the porch, Keith, Silas could see now, and headed off down toward the lake. It was almost midnight by then.

 

Roach at directed the prep or at least acted like she did in reality it was Quinn with Hannah's help who got everyone dressed into costumes. When Silas came back and told them that the party seemed to be smoldering there were still a couple of guys in the main room but a lot of them were off making out in dark corners. Roach announced it was time right after she ran around and made sure all the connections were good. Hank offered to go with her but she shook her head "Nah I don't want you tripping over my tricks." and with that she took her flashlight and headed out side.

 

Roach checked the stables first to make sure the horses hadn't stamped on her wires. They were asleep then in a crouch she cut across the truck filled open area and back into the woods across from the cabin where most of her stuff was laid out. using the flashlight sparingly she made quick work of checking things out. So engrossed in what she was doing and how funny it was going to be she didn't notice that the temperature had drop and that it had gotten downright cold. Goosebumps covered her bare arms from the sudden cold and a shiver went through her, Roach rubbed her arms and looked around that was weird, she peered into the dark wood and shown the light. She had the eerie feeling she was being watched from the woods.

 

 

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For a minute Roach stood there, eyes open and focused on the distance, alert for movement, head slightly tilted listening for any noise. It was the human equivalent of groundhogs freezing at a noise when they were poking out of their burrows.

 

No noise though, no weird movements. Just a chill in the wind and her monkey-hindbrain freaking out a little. Probably she was experiencing empathy or something, victimizing herself with the same kind of uncertainty that she'd shortly be unleashing on them.

 

Pesky stuff, empathy.

 

Anyway, all systems were go. Rochelle forced her thoughts away from the vague, eerie feeling and onto the task at hand. She wasn't dressing up in a costume for this. Rather, she was picking a spot a little ways away where she had a view of the cabin and stable, and could orchestrate the special effects and audio based on what the others were doing.

 

A spot where she'd be alone. Ugh. "Shut up, brain," she muttered, and headed around the property on a broad arc that would keep her out of view until she got to the big tree at the end of the driveway. A good hiding place...and when they figured it out, she was betting she could get higher up that tree than a bunch of 'roided up seniors.

 

Always have a contingency plan.

 

Once in place Roach called up the control apps and got ready. They'd kick things off with some spooky noises in the woods...

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In the end, they'd gone with the Headless horseman for Hank, going to sneak Trax out after all.   while it was a risk to be recognized, with it being dark, and the various older teens being drunk, they decided to just go with it.  Hank's horsemanship was alright enough for this, and he smiled beneath the get-up.   

"Y'all are gonna learn you can't keep messin' with us like before."  he said with a firm determination.  This was going to be fun, despite it not being part of the original plan. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he did realize there was a chance the older siblings would turn around and try this on them, but that was a problem for then.

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Waiting for Roach to start the fun, Jordan crouched down way back in the woods, barely even able to see the lights of the cabin. Jordan was many things, circumspect wasn't one of them. She had trudged a wide circle to get into position, feeling like she was stepping on every dry branch possible, making it sound to her ears she was a whole herd of oversized teen girls rather than just the one.

 

At least she'd gotten Banner to stay at the shed they had been sentenced to, rather than trotting on her heels. Banner was a rather distinctive dog in Blairsville, both in breed and size. One good look at him, and the gig was up.

 

With the mask and costume on, the night felt warm once more, muggy. Jordan's breath was loud in her ears, could feel sweat beading up, the canvas jumpsuit coarse and scratchy on her skin. C'mon, Roach! A flicker of distant movement, towards the lake, Jordan thought. Jordan began to stand, grunted a curse when her head whacked a low branch, refrained from ripping the branch off the tree, then hesitated. There was supposed to lights and sounds and stuff, Roach said, before they went in to scare the shit out of the uninvited guests, but there wasn't any of that.

 

She was the furthest back, except for Hank on the horse. She was fast, but even she couldn't keep up with a horse on a track while she went through the trees. Should she start going now? After noticing the movement, Jordan worried any move she made might be noticed, giving away the game before it even started. But she couldn't just stay here either, keeping still in a half crouch.

 

C'mon, Roach!

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Roach looked at her watch, it was just about time when a sudden wave of cold rushed over her and she felt.... weird, for a second it felt as if a cold wind had pushed through her. She looked around the leaves and branches were still then she looked down at her feet to find the she was crouched in a layer of cold mist that covered the ground all around her. the mist was concentrated at about three inches off the floor of matted leaves and dirt and was moving rolling down into the hollow. for  moment Roach wondered if she had set off the smoke machine early.

 

Jordan who was watching the area where the cars were parked noticed the mist rolling in from the wood, it made her look down and she saw that she was standing in the mist too. Similar scenes were playing out all around the cabin with the other kids, as the cold mist seeped in seemingly from every direction.

 

By the stables sitting on Trax's back Hank squinted as the horse moved uneasily as if something were spooking him...

Spoiler

Hank make a test to keep Trax calm

 

 

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Hank calmly stroked the back of Trax's neck, calming the horse, but not fully.  He was still very much spooked.   The mist that was rolling in and the temperature began to drop, enough that it was noticeable even in the costume.  He couldn't remember when it had dropped this fast in late may, and a tiny part of him was concerned.   Riding a horse in the dark in a fog wasn't the most easy thing, but he was committed.

ShamelessToday at 12:15 PM

!2d6

DiceParserBOTToday at 12:15 PM

# 9
Details:[2d6 (6 3)]

[/spoiler]

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Roach frowned, and her heart sped up a little. This really was weird. Wasn't it? Like...really weird?

 

Then again, what the hell did she know about weather in forests? Maybe it happened every night. Maybe it was just a freak cold front. WhatEVER. It was going to make the whole thing even better! She wasn't going to get scared...she DID the scaring!

 

Start things slow, she thought. Sounds in the woods. Like footsteps, not too loud. Hopefully one of them would have good hearing, or be away from the others enough. If not she could try again with a bit more oomph. The key would be to try to get one or two of them to hear and not the rest. Then throw some growls in...maybe dim lights, like eyes?

 

From there, it'd be improv theater. She'd need to play off what the others were doing. The whole thing would be easier if they weren't mucking around the whole deal...but she couldn't very well leave them out now. Besides, there were things having more hands opened up that she wouldn't be able to pull off alone.

 

Her fingers swished over her phone, picking out the sound cues, fixing the volumes, and arranging a little playlist of doom just for the obnoxious older kids. Then she tapped 'play' and waited for the fun to begin.

 

"Go get 'em forest fog ghosts."

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Posted (edited)

Jordan cocked her head down at the mist. She was surprised by the chill of. It was off-putting, but not unwelcome, the coolness easing the itchiness and the heat of sweat under the jumpsuit. When Roach had mentioned the fog machine, Jordan hadn't expected it to be cold. Maybe she was using the stuff in science class the teacher had used that one time. Stuff so cold it instantly froze a banana and the teacher had warned it would to the same to your fingers or hand too.

 

However Roach had did it, it was almost too good, too real. Too big? Jordan had though the fog-mist would start nearer to the cabin, but it was rolling in from the woods, and not from just one place, but all over, from where she could see. Whatever. There weren't any lights yet, and maybe only the hints of sound, footsteps, but if the mist wasn't a signal for go-time from Roach, Jordan didn't what was.

 

Jordan slowly straightened up and stretched her hunched shoulders, then began striding forward, through the trees and towards the cars, planting her feet solidly, trying to convey the inexorable march - though she would never use such words - of an unstoppable killing machine, the realistic looking prop machete dragging a sharp furrow in the ground.

Edited by Asarasa

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While she worked, Quinn plotted. Not just how to get back at Beau and his friends, or to make Keith and Craig sorry for their compliance, but how to get Silas’s head removed from his ass. Something was up with him, and Quinn wanted to know what. There was no way the Silas she knew and loved would have allowed his friends to get kicked out of the cabin by Beau, not even for pizza money. 

 

After some conversation, they’d determined that an injured or dead cheerleader wouldn’t scare the kids and might even cause a heroic reaction, so she was now in a black cloak. A witch’s mask over her face provided anonymity and a creepy curved nose that stuck out inhumanly. Under a flashlight, they could tell it was a mask, but the point was that the other kids wouldn’t get a flashlight on them at all. 

 

They had been assigned spots, but Quinn didn’t head to hers first. Instead, she crept through the darkness to where Silas had been assigned, her familiarity with the cabin helping despite the night. Slipping up behind him, she hissed, “Silas, what the hell is wrong with you?”

 

He nearly jumped out of his skin. Roach had apparently started up the fog machine already and while Silas wasn’t afraid of the woods at night, there was just something creepy about this night. Probably just all the drunken teens and Craig getting to him. “At the moment? My heart just kicked my tonsils out of my throat!” he hissed back at her. “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be over there.” He gestured off to his left, still trying to catch his breath enough to calm the pounding in his ears.

 

“Somethin’s wrong with you,” Quinn retorted. “And I’ll go over there once you tell me what it is.”

 

“Nothing is wrong with me,” he protested with the conviction of a teen with a secret. “Beau’s just an ass.”

 

“Yes, and normally, you’d tell him to go eat horse shit.” Quinn pushed up her mask, her gaze softening as she looked at him. In the dim lights from the Cabin, he could see the worry in her expression under her anger. “You wouldn’t care how much money he pushed at you. So. What’s? Wrong?

 

“I. . .” Another denial died on his lips. It’d’ve been better if she just kept yelling at him or stormed off in a horse-themed huff of annoyance. “It’s just. . .it’s nothing, Quinn,” he sighed and pulled in on himself. The werewolf costume he was in looked like it was three sizes too large for him even though it was fairly snug across the chest - he just lacked the oomph to pull it off when he cringed like that. 

 

“Don’t worry about it,” he said softly, as much to himself as Quinn. “We’ll scare them. It’ll be funny and it’s not like they can go complain to the adults. We’ll get pizza or chinese or something tomorrow and then do a cookout tomorrow night. It’ll be fine.” 

 

“It’d be fine if you were fine, but you’re not.” Quinn glared at him. “Don’t make me involve authorities.”

 

His hand shot out and clamped around her arm, his eyes wide. “It’s none of their business!” he nearly yelled, strangling his voice quieter to keep from alerting the dozens of people not too far from them. “Don’t,” he managed more softly as he let go of her. He pulled off the werewolf mask and scrubbed at his face. “Quinn, just don’t. Please. I can’t. . .” 

 

He glanced over to where Craig was still sitting alone on the porch, then down to lake where Keith had disappeared to. “It’s nothing. I just didn’t feel like fighting with Beau and a bunch of seniors and losing our weekend. That’s all.”

 

Unexpectedly, Quinn’s worry and anger morphed into hurt. “Fine,” she hissed, “lie to me if you wanna. But don’t come crying to me when your girth breaks. I’m gonna go.” 

 

He put a hand on her arm again, wincing at the hurt in her tone. “Quinn, don’t go. Not-not like this. Please.” He took a deep breath and tried to will himself to be braver than he’d been since Spring Break. “I-I like someone.” He tried to keep going but the words just stuck in his throat and refused to come out; she could feel him trembling through his hand on her.  

 

“Oh.” She swallowed hard, thinking. Why was he worked up about this? It wasn’t like having a crush was a big deal, or even a new thing for Silas. The only answer she could concieve brought a fond, gentle smile to her face. “It’s okay, Si. I understand, and I’m flattered. But I’m not interested in a relationship with anyone, right now.”

 

His eyes widened and he tried to stifle a nervous giggle. “I’m glad you’re flattered, but it’s not you, Quinn. I know I don’t have enough legs for you. Or a good enough coat. I can’t do the Tevis Cup and I don’t like oats nearly enough.” 

 

“Mkay, then if it’s Jordan, you just need to wait a month or so, then sweep her off her feet. Or sweep her hand into yours, anyway.” Even before she was done, she could tell that she still hadn’t guessed correctly. With a sigh, she said, “Fine. Who?”

 

He looked away and ran a hand nervously through his hair before taking a deep breath and finally managing to push out. “Keith.”

 

Quinn blinked at him, frowning. “But he’s a guy, right? Are you gay?” She faltered and recovered, “Or bi? Or what are you? I mean--” It was a rare treat to see Quinn flustered and she visibly gathered herself before clarifying, “So, do you like girls, or was Emily a mistake on every level?”

 

“I like girls too. Emily wasn’t a mistake. She was just. . .” He sighed again and shook his head, sitting down as his legs didn’t give out under him but did inform him that they were considering it. He pulled his knees up and hung his head between them, studying the ground in front of him. “I-I think I’m bi? I still like watching girls and. . .that sort of thing. I just. . .there’s guys I like watching too. And-and thinking a-about.” Even the dark of the forest and the cold fog couldn’t hide the bright blush across Silas’ complexion. 

 

“Well.” For a long moment she was quiet, then she said, “That’s cool. I mean, bein’ gay or bi ain’t a big deal.” She tilted her head at him, curious. “So why are ya freakin’?”

 

“It’s not a big deal for girls, Quinn.” He shook his head again, looking up at her. “You all get high fives and creepy requests for threesomes. Guys get the crap beat out of them and called faggots. I don’t really care about the name-calling, but I’d rather not spend my summer with a broken arm or in traction because someone decides I’m an offense to God and just need the Devil beat out of me.”

 

“I think you’re overreactin’,” Quinn said, but didn’t push the matter further. “Look, if someone comes after you, then they’ll have to come through me, too.” A screech of laughter from the Cabin reminded Quinn of their task. “We’ll talk more later, but for now, let’s remind Beau that he doesn’t get to just push us around.” Leaning in, she gave Silas a quick hug, then slipped away to take up her position.

 

Silas just sat there for a moment before pulling the stinky werewolf mask back on. He gave the lake one last glance, then hunkered down and waited for his cue from Roach.

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Lisa heard it first. Lisa Hayes, the youngest one at the party. She'd come all goo-goo eyed for Mark, flattered that a senior would show interest in her...but it was all really awkward for her. She was barely older than Craig or Beau's sisters, and Lisa had no trouble feeling viscerally each time something she said was just kind of casually ignored by the others. Mark was still sweet to her, but he was more interested shooting the shit with his friends than spending time with his 'girlfriend.'

 

Because of all that, she was haunting the window on the west side of the house when the fog started rolling in. That earned a confused frown. She was just about to ask someone about it when she heard it. Crunch. Like twigs snapping, or pebbles and dirt being compacted. Rustle. Leaves parting. Lisa could feel all the tiny little hairs on her back go on end. Something was OUT there.

 

"Hey guys?" she called back, searching for Mark as she looked around the corner into the room the others were gathered in, collected on and around the big sofa. "Is...Mark around?"

 

June, who was a junior and therefore kind of in the same boat as Lisa, only a year less awkward, glanced around and said, "I think he said he had to go to the bathroom? Why?"

 

Lisa hesitated. She didn't want to be the dippy baby of the bunch, but she was really freaked out. "I think there's someone outside."

 

A pillow sailed over and hit Lisa's hip. Penny Lawrence chortled and got a high five from Stuart. He was a Junior too, but since he was a dude it didn't matter quite as much. "The only ones besides us are the brats," said Penny. "You just saw one of them skulking around."

 

The other Penny, the pastor's daughter Penny Hodges, scowled and folded her arms. "Are they looking in on us?"

 

Craig and Beau exchanged glances but it was Kincaid, looking to score points with Hodges, who said, "No way. Some of them might want to, but Quinn would have a fit. It's cool, Penn."

 

"It's not cool," insisted Lisa. "I definitely heard footsteps from outside, and there's this creepy fog everywhere, and it looks like..."

 

There was a sudden flash of light from above and the left, a rapid stutter of them in fact. A second later thunder boomed and rolled over the cabin like the tide. Most of the kids celebrating graduation groaned at that, visions of roads being washed out dancing in their heads. Craig frowned deeply though.

 

"What the hell? It wasn't storming before." He got to his feet, followed quickly by Keith. The two, plus Beau, were the only ones that didn't have dates or, in the case of Kincaid, prospective hookups.

 

Keith looked at Lisa as Craig went to a window. "You said there was a fog?"

 

"Jesus," Craig muttered. "What the fuck is that?"

 

Lisa shook her head, now really upset. "This isn't funny you guys!"

 

Now Keith and Beau joined Craig, and some of the other kids were going to windows as well. Sure enough there WAS fog rolling in. A thin ground fog that seeped low and was slowly covering the area outside, making it seem as if the cabin was floating on the sea or something. But then there was another, much thicker batch of fog as well coming in from the right hand side. And in that bank...

 

There was another flash of lightning, and the thunder came almost immediately. In that instant all of the kids spotted something in the thick fogbank...something like a silhouette. A tall vaguely man-like shape, but with a weirdly distorted head. And there was no rain. None at all.

 

"Motherfucker!" Penny shouted, and she was already across the room grabbing her jacket. "Nope! None of that! I'm not here for that!"

 

Then they all heard it. The crunching, the rustling. Footsteps in the bushes. Lots of them. Then...growling? And off in the distance the sound of a wolf howling that sent shivers down all their spines. Something elemental reacted to that sound. A sound that said you are being hunted.

 

"Everyone just RELAX!" Craig said loudly, sharply. Maybe TOO loudly and sharply, but it got the point across. Everyone paused and looked at him. "It's the forest, guys! The forest! Things in the bushes, growls, fog, it's all normal, okay?"

 

Penny stood up to him though, her jacket already half on. "Oh, and ghostly-ass people in the mist, that's normal too? In the forest?"

 

He shook his head. "We were freaked out, there was a flash. It's probably just a tree that looked funny. Shadow hit the fog at a weird angle...made it look like a person. We're fine."

 

The African-American girl, Penny, shook her head right back at him. "Nope. I know what I saw. You cannot tell me I didn't see what I saw." She yanked the cabin door open, and stared.

 

Standing in the driveway was a dude. She couldn't see details about him, except he seemed tall, and might have had on one of those goddamn Jason masks? Or...she couldn't tell. Did he have a face? The figure took a step forward, and she slammed the door shut.

 

And that's when the laughing started. The sound of children, ephemeral, from off to the left. Then rustles, and the laughter moved across. June and Nancy and Penny Hodges all screamed and dove onto the sofa, which was away from the windows. On looking outside, Kincaid saw something skitter past. Something hideous, like a person with a dog's head. In the darkness and fog he couldn't get a good look at it, but he shrieked from pure startlement and tripped as he backed away from the window, falling flat on his ass. In the process his foot caught in one of the lamp cords and yanked it out of the wall, plunging the room into gloom.

 

There came a pounding on the walls of the cabin...like hands slapping the outside. The sounds of running. Pounding. Giggling. Horrible, misshapen shadows running past the windows. Fog pouring in from out of the forest. Thunder and lightning.

 

Pandemonium.

 

Roach checked her phone to make sure it was still recording. Any second now, she figured. They'd either start begging and pleading, or they'd break and run...or something. Something would happen.

 

Now THIS was a party!

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Inside the cabin the hysteria unfolded aided by the inebriated state of most of the teens, when the temperature suddenly dropped to near freezing and clouds of steam came with each breath most were beyond the breaking point. Keith, Craig, and Kincaid were by far the most sober and tried to calm everyone but the sudden unnatural drop in temperature was almost enough to send them over the edge for some it was too much.

 

Penny threw open the door and ran towards her truck others followed some stumbling, there was now desperate panic in the air.

 

Hank had been waiting for the right moment to ride out but the horse had been unusually skittish and he had missed his que. When the older teens burst from the cabin and stumbled to the vehicles alarms went off in his head. Can't let them drive! With one quick motion Hank pulled the top of the costume off and spurred Trax into the drive out front of the cabin and behind the vehicles.

"Calm down guys It was just a joke... we were just fooling with y'all!" He shouted.

 

Panic Turned to confusion and in that short amount of time the cold retreated and the cloying mist evaporated as if it had never been there. The rest of the kids came out pulling off their costumes and trying to calm the older kids. And as those older teens caught on and understood what had transpired, fear turned to embarrassment and anger.

 

Back in the woods, Roach cursed Hank, she hadn't even gotten  to her biggest trick yet. Suddenly her skin crawled and the hairs on the nape of her neck stood on end. There was someone behind her. With a cry she spun around holding her phone out like a shield to ward off an attacker that wasn't there. The woods around her were still and she noticed that the cold was still present and much colder now her breath was coming out as little clouds of steam. She felt like she was still being watched that she wasn't alone.

 

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Roach nearly asked who was there, when she caught herself. A) Horror movie cliche. B) Of course no one was there. Everyone who was here, was over there at the cabin. There were no boogeymen, no masked slashers, no ghosts or cryptids or anything stupid. She clenched her fists and stood up. The jig was up anyway. Even with Hank's intervention, she'd gotten them pretty good. Couldn't complain.

 

And still her heart slammed in her chest, and she flinched slightly at every little forest sound around her. Something had her on edge. She wasn't scared, Roach decided, but there wasn't any reason to stay here. Not because she was afraid and wanted company. It was just time to do her victory lap.

 

She backed up to the edge of the treeline though, and felt the skin on her back crawl as she turned around...feeling all the while like something was surging forward to grab her when her eyes were away, and haul her back into the underbrush...

 

But instead she strolled out towards the cabin, plastering a smug grin onto her face and waggling her phone at the gathered teens.

 

"Uh oh," Roach remarked, "Looks like a storm's coming." She touched her phone, and there was a strobe off to the side, and a crash of thunder. "And wolves!"

 

A wolf's howl, eerie and unnervingly close, erupted from the woods.

 

She spread her arms and twirled lazily around.

 

"Great night for a party, eh?"

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With Roach coming out of the woods gloating things started to get out of hand but it was Keith who defused the whole situation when he leaned onto his friend Beau draping an arm across his shoulder. “I’ll be honest with you bro, I wish I would have thought of it.”

 

Beau looked at Keith and at the other kids, at the angry faces of his friends that were just then starting to realize that they had been punked in the best way. It started with a small chortle from Lisa then both Penny’s threw up their hands and soon all of them were laughing and accusing each other of being scared while they themselves had just been playing along. After a minute Beau shook his head and keeping his own face serious looked at the Kids and said, “Someone could have been hurt.” At which Quinn who had been standing with her arms crossed with just as serious a look staring back at her brother, Yeah, we should have taken out your spark plugs.”

The brother and sister glared then both broke into laughter and within a few minutes all of them where laughing and joking and everyone went back into the main cabin where room was made for everybody even Banner.

 

In the morning after a very late night some of the kids made a big breakfast and as the older teens packed up and left the Kids gathered up the discarded costumes from the night before and when into the old bunk house to pack them back up in the trunks.

 

It was Silas who made the discovery, while the Jordan and Hank were moving one of the trunks they asked Quinn to move a box out of the way and she stepped on to a rotten floorboard which crumbled under her weight and she fell. Her foot and leg went through the floor and slammed into a second set of floorboards under the main floor which her leg also went through. It hurt like hell. Jordan and Hank drop the trunk they were carrying and helped extract Quinn, Hank immediately started looking at Quinn’s leg which was scratched and bleeding where the jagged wood had ripped her jeans luckily, she had been wear boot. Tennis shoes would not have protected her ankle at all. While Hank checked out and cleaned the scratches on Quinn’s leg, Silas had gone up to and dropped down to his knees reaching into the hole where Quinn had gone through and with a grunt grabbed something in the dirt below the bunk house.

 

He pulled out a leather wrapped rusty steel box about eight inches wide and more than a foot long. The top was bent in where Quinn’s foot had hit it. There was a clasp with a key hole corroded beyond working but still locked.

 

 

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With his unique status as someone who took pains to be prepared for most anything, Hank of course had his medical kit, and  easily able to see to the minor wounds on Quinn's leg.  "You'll be fine though it might ache abit.  Sorry about the stinging, but the disinfectant's doing it's job, so it won't get any worse."   He sighed.   "Sorry again for callin an end to things early...I just couldn't let them get to their vehicles after all they'd drank.  Scarin' 'em is one thing, but they are friends and family, I'm not gonna be the cause of any of them doin' something stupid if I can help it."

He knew Roach was mad at him, at the very least upset, but then she knew what he was like.   He had lines he didn't want to cross.  "Still, it was a damn good prank.  It even had Trax pretty spooked."

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"Oh, you did the right thing," Silas said absently as he dusted off the box as well as he could and started inspecting the hinges on it. If the lock was rusted shut, they might be able to open it by pulling the hinge pins on the back. "Pranks shouldn't get people killed in DUI's. Quinn was right, though." He grinned over at her, "Should have taken out their spark plugs and let them run around a little bit."

 

“Mmm-hmm,” Quinn agreed, biting her lip. To most of the other kids, she was distracted by the scratches on her leg. She wanted to let them think that, because it was fucking embarrassing that Hank’s hands on her bare skin was so distracting. She’d never had a boy touch her anywhere other than her hand, aside from family or Silas. The brush of his skin over hers created strange new sensations, ones that Quinn’s mother would call ‘puberty’. “If you don’t like or understand something new happening to you,” her mother told her during a very awkward conversation the night after her first period, “then it’s puberty.”

 

When Hank was done, Quinn pulled her leg back and wrapped her fingers around her bandages protectively. “Trax is steady,” she protested, feeling the need to defend the older seal-brown gelding. “He’s a gentleman, better behaved than most boys.”

 

“That ain’t hard,” Roach replied flippantly, but by then everyone’s attention was on the box Quinn had painfully discovered.

 

“Anyone seen a key for that?” Quinn asked after a moment of contemplation. “Or know how to pick a lock?”

 

“I’ve. . . got it,” Silas said, pulling the hinge pin from the second hinge on the back. The box still groaned and protested as he pried it open but it did eventually give way. A gleam of copper revealed an ornate powder horn, complete with an ancient gunpowder slug still loaded inside. Next to that was an oilskin wrap covering a number of other items: two vintage flintlock pistols, a small nugget of unrefined gold, and a small leather pouch with lead balls and a wooden toolkit for making more of the shot. Once the oilskin was emptied of contents, the lines and tiny characters of a map were clear on the inner side. 

 

Silas laid all of this out, glancing to the others to catch their reactions. 

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"So if Quinn broke her leg, does that mean we have to shoot...oh wow."

 

The laid out treasure actually stole the quip from Roach's lips, and she hunkered down to get a better look at the case and its contents.

 

"You guys, there's people who will pay a metric asston of cash for this kind of shit," she said softly, her eyes alight. "Collectors. History buffs. You don't even know. And...is that a map?"

 

She turned sideways a little to reach in with a skinny arm and try to turn the oilskin around, exposing its underside.

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Spark plugs, that was a smart idea, Jordan agreed. They should have done that. That way, they could kept scaring the older kids without anyone worrying they'd jump in a car and crash into a tree. It had been fun scaring the crap out of them, it had felt good. Then Hank and Keith had ruined it. And she couldn't even be mad about it, Hank had been right, she supposed reluctantly, and Keith had eased the tension by turning it into a joke.

 

Still, Jordan hoped she could scare Dex as much when he came back over summer. She began considering working out more heavily during the summer, hoped her massive growth spurt continued, adding another inch or two. Bigger was better, and if Dex thought she was already she was too big for him, just wait until the next time he saw her!

 

Peering over her friends as they huddled over the revealed treasure, the big girl frowned. She didn't know much about guns, but even she could tell these were old, like Civil War - the real one - old, but they looked like they were in real good condition. Like something that should be in a museum.

 

"Why would anyone bury this stuff?" Jordan asked. She loomed over Roach to get her own look at the map. "What's the map of? Anywhere someone recognizes?"

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Silas looked over the collection and considered it all with a frown. "I think it's a claim map. Weapons, a chunk of gold for proof of a find, and a map. There wasn't a whole lot of prospecting right here during the the Georgia gold rush, but that doesn't mean someone didn't find a vein somewhere. I think. . ."

 

He laid the map out, tugging at his ear in a thoughtful tic as he tried to put it all together to somewhere that would make since. "There's not much to go on, but the cove marked down here might be Walnut Cove. My family has a little bit of property out there - it's on federal lands but not even the government wants to pay us fair market or use eminent domain to take it." He shrugged and moved on, "That would make this. . .and there. . ." 

 

He'd trailed off for a moment, then nodded. "Yeah, so if that x is Walnut Cove, I think I could get us over to the other two x's. At least in the general area. I'm not sure why one's marked 'burial ground'. Maybe there's some old native site there? Or maybe that's the x we want to go to because they buried something there? I don't have any idea what the x on the creek is about." 

He looked up at the other teens and gave them a soft grin. "Might be fun to find out. It's rough hiking territory - we won't be able to get horses through the area so we'll be on foot and you'll want your best boots and clothes you don't mind messing up."

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"Psshh," Rochelle scoffed. She gestured at the tin. "Not even a diary from some mutilated kid of pain-worshipping zombie cultists. And you call this a murder cabin. One out of ten, would not murder again."

 

Just as she spotted someone about to correct her on the 'murder cabin' thing, she burst out, "BUT! The creek mark? Maybe they used to pan for gold there. You know, that thing where you collect dirt on a plate and...jiggle it and dot-dot-dot profit? People were pretty desperate for gold back then. Now has-been celebrities hawk it on the shopping network."

 

She paused for a second then said, "But if there really is an old mine out there, it'd be pretty cool to buy a mine. Perfect underground lair material, you know? Cheaper than a missile silo."

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