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“Come on, Chloe! Let’s go already!” Ava -- my best friend and driver -- shouted at me from the parking lot of our brick apartment building.
It was the last day of senior year in college, but it was also the day of the Halloween party at Helena’s house. A rumor was going around that she had contributed in killing someone. That was why everyone wanted to go to her party, to clarify rumors and such. It was probably just a truth that was mixed up. Even when she just killed someone, she always went all out on parties, it didn’t matter what occasion: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day. During her yearly Halloween parties, her decorations were always frightening everyone: a dummy would pop out from under the ground everytime someone passed, or an arm would grab you if you wanted a handful of popcorn.
I wanted to make sure that my dead princess costume was picture-perfect. My long, straight black hair was a purposeful mess, it was like I had bed-head except with blood drizzled on top. My lightly tanned skin were full of scars made of make-up, and my hand-made, multi-tonal chiffon dress was all fluffed up with the crinkles and fake-blood in the creases. I had put white contacts on top of my emerald-green irises to be over the top with my costume.
“Alright, alright! I’m coming out now!” I replied. I came down from the doorway of our apartment and into the parking lot.
“Wow, how realistic!” Ava said.
Ava had on a Bruce Lee costume which included the mustard-yellow, long-sleeve jumpsuit that covered her olive skin. The black strips under her arms and legs gave the jumpsuit more of a Bruce Lee feeling. Her wavy, black hair with brown highlights were covered with an afro wig.
“I know, right? I got it from Celebration City,” I gave my costume a twirl.
“Let’s go now, I don’t want to be late. If we wanna get the good chips and drinks, then we have to get there early,” Ava pushed me into the black Toyota Camry, but before Ava started the car, I got a notification from our local news channel.
I opened my phone with my finger print and and my stomach dropped when I read what it said. A Chinese nine year-old had just been murdered in the neighborhood we were driving to. My eyebrows scrunched together as I put my seatbelt on. Ava started to pull out from our parking spot when I put my hand on her arm.
“Hey, Ava. I don’t think we should go to the party, it says here that a girl was just murdered in that street.” My voice trembled.
“Oh, stop it. It’s probably some fake news to make us not go to the party just because of a miscommunication,” she shook her head.
My mouth went over to one side of my face as I thought about it in my head, but by the time I decided that we shouldn’t go, we were already at Helena’s house.
“I TOLD YOU WE WOULD GET ALL THE GOOD FOOD IF WE GOT HERE EARLY!” Ava shouted at the top of her lungs with hands full with a plate of pizza, cookies, popcorn, and a can of beer.
I gave her a thumbs-up with my orange Fanta in my right hand. There was blasting club music, and purple, blue, and green lights flashing around. People were shouting and whooping with laughter while dancing on the wooden dance floor. Food and drinks spilled onto the black and white marble floor. After an hour or two of chugging soda, I was ready to pee my pants.
“I GOT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!” I screamed at Ava.
She nodded at me holding her can of beer in the air. I rushed out of the jumping crowd of drunk seniors and hurried to the bathroom. The marshmallow-white door was left ajar, but as my hand went near the golden door handle, I heard a crunch behind the bathroom door. I thought it was just someone eating in the bathroom so I pushed the door open just enough so I could see who it was. I started to see someone’s curly blond bob, and then I saw Helena’s face that was full of foundation and make-up just through the tiny door crack. I examined her body to see if she was still breathing, but when my eyes came down to her torso, they widened to the size of golf balls when I saw that her right arm was ripped clean off her body.
I screamed, but no noise came out. What is that noise? Who else is in there, a cannibal? I thought to myself. I wanted to just leave and think this was just a bad dream yet, I was curious to find out what it was that was doing that to Helena. I gulped but a knot was still in my throat, and I forgot how to breathe. My hands were clammy and sweaty while beads of sweat rolled down my cheek. I slowly pushed the door open just a bit more just enough so that I could look into the bathtub. I thought I would see an animal only to find a black shadow in the bathtub covering over a little girl in a cotton-white dress and long oily hair draping her back like a cape. Her dress was splattered with Helena’s blood.
I took a step back, but I tripped over my feet and fell to the ground with a loud thud. The little girl’s head snapped back, and I could see the blood on her pale white skin under her long bangs that were covering her face. I tried getting back on my feet, but I was paralyzed with fright. Her body faded into nothingness. I looked to the right and saw nothing but the flashing purple lights from the party, then I turned left and her face was only one inch away from my face. I screamed so loud that it could’ve broke glass, and everything went pitch black.
My eyes opened in a flash and I could see everyone crowded around, while Ava was on my right side,with rivers of tears flowing out of her eyes.
“Why didn’t you wake up? I was so worried,” she said, her voice breaking.
I looked around with a dazed look. What had happened with Helena and who was that little girl?
“W-wh-where’s Helena?” I stuttered.
Ava looked at me with a twisted expression.
“That’s the first thing you ask?” she scoffed.
I reached her hand, “Please, I need to know,” I said.
She sighed,“No one knew where she went, we assumed that she just went out to get something to eat.” She answered while wiping her tears on her costume that now had mascara blurs.
I scrambled up onto my feet that were still wobbling from the scare. I stumbled between the people crowded around me, and pushed the bathroom door fully open. My eyes widened and one eyebrow raised so high that I thought it went all the way to my hairline. I saw Helena on the floor with her arm intact, then my head turned slightly to the left and saw Nelson -- the school quarterback -- eating crackers with ham and cheese while sitting cross-legged on the white and black checkered floor. He looked up from his plate and grinned, then went back to eating. I turned around towards Ava, grabbed her by the shoulders and looked straight into her eyes.
I asked with fire in my eyes,”Did you really just find me here? There wasn’t another girl?”
“No, really,” she nodded with a serious face. “We just found you on the floor. We thought you fainted probably from bumping your head into the closet door,” she answered.
“No, no, no. I saw another girl, like the girl from Rings,” I disagreed.
Ava’s face relaxed with a slight smile lifting, and she patted me on my arm.
“You probably just hallucinated from the chemicals people put in the Fanta.” She claimed.
I nodded in agreement. ”That makes sense, it was probably just some crazy dream,” I shrugged.
“C’mon, let’s go home,” Ava suggested. She swung her arm around my shoulders and we walked out of Helena’s house together, to our car, and drove home.
It was already three AM by the time we got back, and we were exhausted. I sat onto the sofa, took off my black stilettos and costume, slipped on my panda T-shirt and red plaid pants with cat slippers and collapsed from exhaustion.
Ava put one hand on her hip and the other held onto her striped long-sleeved shirt and red and green polka dot pants. ”Aren’t you gonna take a shower?”
I waved her away while my face was face-down on the fluffy pillow on the sofa.
“Well, I’m taking a shower because I like to keep my personal hygiene,” her voice faded as she went into the bathroom.
I could hear the hot water running into the tub when the snow-white bathroom door opened once again. I stared at the steam rising out of the bathroom and Ava’s small head popped out,”At least go to your room to sleep instead of the couch.”
She closed the door once again as I rose off the couch to get to my room just across the carpeted hallway. I covered my mouth as I yawned, and that was when I saw the young girl wearing the white dress in the middle of the hallway staring at me. Her legs were spread apart just so I could just see my feet from the golden, body-sized mirror across the hall. One hand was empty but in the other hand held Helena’s hand full of sparkling jewels. I froze, my throat became dry and my breathing started getting abnormal just like what had happened in Helena’s house. The only difference was that this time, I knew what to do. I pinched myself to snap myself out of this daze.
That somehow worked so I licked my dry lips, cracked my neck, closed my eyes and screamed, ”AAVVVVVVVVAAAAA!!”
I could hear Ava coming out of the door so I opened one eye to make sure she was right next to me.
“What?! What happened?”Ava ran over to me still tying her robe and touched my shoulder in reassurance.
I pointed across the hallway and our heads turned around only to see our reflection from the mirror. My face went pale, and I turned all directions to only find out that she disappeared again.
“What? Tell me, Chloe,” she shook me awake.
“She was right here,” I pointed to right where the girl was standing. “She was just here,” I frantically ran over to the spot only to find nothing.
“Maybe you were just hallucinating because it’s still dark out,” she shrugged as she turned back around to shower again.
“No, no, no. Don’t leave me alone, she might come back,” I ran to stop her from going back to the bathroom.
“No, she won’t,” her facial expression looked as if she was sorry for me. She went around me back into the bathroom and shut the door.
I heard the shower turn back on, and that was the only sound to guide me to where I was in the living room. I tried to find an object for me to defend myself with. I brushed my hands against the wall until I could feel the table with all the papers next to the windowsill. I felt a cold sensation down my spine. As I turned around, I could feel the cool air brush against my flushed cheeks. There she was, standing between the sofa and coffee table with nothing in her hands. I could see dried blood surrounding her colorless lips. My breathing became louder as time passed. I pressed my lips together and slowly grabbed the blue scissors from the table. I let out a warrior cry and ran over to her, but she stood there with no shock as she disappeared once again. Then, I felt a sting in my chest as a looked down to find a kitchen knife through my body. I collapsed onto the dark red and black carpet where I bled out. The girl spread her hair apart just so I could see her face for one second that it was the young girl that was murdered in the news.