Halloween Story – 2005 – Beth Hinkle

 

It was a dark and stormy night (no really, it was!).  Kid and Heyes had been riding for what seemed like hours, the cold rain drenching them to the bone, the wind howling through the skeletal trees.  They both knew their horses, and they themselves, couldn’t take much more.  Heyes was in front, letting his horse follow a faint track through some overhanging trees.  It wasn’t so much that Heyes knew where he was going, it was just easier to let the horse go where it wanted than to fight it along a different route.  The cold and dark were lulling Heyes and Kid both into an exhausted stupor.

 

Through the fog covering his brain, Heyes realized that the horse had stopped.  A screeching sound followed by a loud bang startled him into full wakefulness.   In front of them was a large structure that on closer inspection was an old barn.  Heyes dismounted, motioning Kid to do the same.  They entered the barn cautiously, making sure to grab the banging door so it didn’t spook the horses.  Heyes pulled a match, thankfully and miraculously dry, from his pocket, lit it and quickly surveyed the surroundings.  It wasn’t a large barn, but it was snug against the storm.  The dust and cobwebs gave them the idea that it hadn’t been used in a long time, so they decided to bed down the horses for the night – not that the horses or the men had any intention or desire to go back out into the storm.

 

Kid looked out through the crack between the doors, old habits making him check that no one had followed them. 

 

“Heyes, look at this…”  He held the door open a bit more so Heyes could see the outline of a large bulk of a house.  They were both surprised, they’d missed it as they rode up, but chalked it up to exhaustion and the dark.  There were no lights on in the house, but the occasional flash of lightning lit up the surrounding area, giving the two-storied, gabled house an eerie look.

 

“Guess we better make sure no one is home.”  Heyes grinned, the state of disrepair of the barn telling them that no one had lived there for years.

 

“I don’t know Heyes; the barn is fine with me.”  Kid couldn’t explain the uneasy feeling that the thought of going into that house gave him.  Maybe it was too many of Heyes’ spooky stories when they were children.

 

“Oh c’mon Kid, it’s got to be better than sleeping on moldy old hay.  I’m going; you can stay here if you want to.”  Heyes headed back out into the storm, the wind grabbing the door and slamming it back against the outside wall.  Kid sighed and followed, shaking his head.

 

They stepped up on the decrepit porch, making sure to glance in the windows just in case they were wrong about no one living there.  The lightning lit up the interior enough for them to get a glimpse of broken furniture and more cobwebs.

 

“Looks pretty deserted to me; I’m going in.”  Heyes reached for the doorknob, which turned easily in his hand, but the door wouldn’t budge.  “Give me a hand here Kid.”  Kid thought about clapping, but common sense won out and he went over and both men threw their weight against the door.  It held against them for a few seconds, then flew open like it was pulled from the inside.  Heyes landed on the floor first, Kid landing on top of him, knocking the breath out of both men.  They looked up sharply at the sound of a match striking, and a raspy voice…

 

“It’s about time you got here; I’ve been waiting for you.”

 

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Reaching for their guns as they jumped up in one fluid motion, they froze as the cackling laugh died with a flash of lighting so bright it blinded them for a desperate minute. Blinking their still watering eyes, they looked around in wonder.

 

Gone were the cobwebs and dust.  What they saw now was an elegant and  brightly lit drawing room.

 

“Come in gentlemen, come in.  We’ve held dinner for you.” 

 

Kid and Heyes  did a quick glance at each other and continued to look around the room.  The older lady who had spoken to them was sitting on her  velvet chair as if she were a Queen.  Her black evening gown standing out from the red of the chair.  The black beads on her dress flashing like the multiple eyes of a spider in the lighting from the ongoing storm.

 

The two young women who stood behind her, were also wearing evening gowns, both gowns were a blue so dark  they  might as well be black.

 

And all three ladies were smiling. A smile you’d see on a cat that’s playing with a mouse.

 

Heyes put his gun back in it’s holster and took off his hat.  “Ma’am, I think there’s some kind of mistake.  My cousin and I  were just on our way through and got caught by the storm.”

 

“Yes, yes, no doubt.”   The lady rose from her chair and began to leave the room, “If you will come this way, we will eat now.”

 

Heyes turned to look at Kid, who shrugged his shoulders.  They followed the three ladies, but they kept their gun belts on.

 

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The dinning room was as elegant as the drawing room.  There were 5 place settings and enough food to feed an army. Or at least Kid, with some left over for Heyes.  By now the warmth of the room and the smell of the food wore down most of their leery ness. The thought of a good meal and a few hours out of the storm was too good to just walk away.

 

As they all took their places and sat down, Heyes thought it was about time to find out just what was going on.    “I’d like to thank you for hold’en dinner for us Ma’am, we don’t often get a chance to dine in style like this outside of Denver.”  The food was good.  Kid had to give ‘em that.  But he passed on the wine, so did Heyes.   The lady merely nodded her head and daintily picked at the food on her plate.  The two younger ladies also picked at their food, the smiles on their faces never  changing.  “Have you ever been to Denver, Ma’am?”

 

“ I do not believe that I have.”

 

Kid looked at the young lady next to him and asked, “And you Miss, ever been to Denver?”

 

“My daughters have always stayed close to home, with me.”

 

“Well, your daughters are lovely, they surely get that from you, Ma’am.” Heyes  smiled at each of the young ladies. They never said a word, their smiles never changed, they didn’t .. even  ..blink.  In fact, now that he thought about it, he hadn’t seen any of the ladies blink. Or eat. They were just moving the food around on their plates.  

 

Heyes glanced at Kid, alarm creeping into his eyes.  Kid sat up straight,  instantly alert.  Or so he thought as a waive of dizziness hit him. Heyes too felt himself sway in his seat.

 

Heyes looked at the young women, his vision blurred,  they faded into shadows.  He looked at their hostess, she too began to blur, wavering like a mirage in the desert, glittering eyes the only thing left to be seen.  The last thing he heard was a cracking laugh and Kid yelling “HEYES!”

 

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His eyes flew open as he jerked upright in his saddle. The flash of lighting a dimming halo across the night and the rumble of thunder felt before it could be heard. 

 

“Heyes.”  Kid yelled.  “Look, up a head. It looks like a farm.”

 

Another flash of lighting showed what looked like a large barn and two story, gabled house. The hair on Heyes’ neck stood up.

 

Lets  keep on going Kid, the town’s not that much further.”