Chapter 3:Settling In
My pulse became intense as I slowly crept backwards up the stairs. The masked figures dark eyes lay clamped on Nichole’s caramel skin. I stared endlessly into its eyes until I noticed its head began to shift. Slowly and steadily, it curled its eyes in my direction suddenly matching my gaze. My skin went crawling up my spine as I tried to piece together what its intentions were. I we terrified at the figure but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know exactly what too fear within the figure but it seemed to have begun to consume me. A shrike soon erupted that broke my concentration and sent me tumbling backwards onto the cold steps. I gazed back up to see Nicole scrambling away from the window. A sudden burst of laughter radiated from the mysterious mask changing the settings tone. The figure quickly sprouted a dark hand which lifted the mask from its skull revealing Chase’s glowing smile. I stared at Chase over my chest which repeatedly rose and fell until my mind gripped onto reality. I stood myself up clenching onto the banister for support while Chase gasped for air from his recent laugh attack.
“Hey you alright?” Kayla’s voice warmed me.
“Uh, yea. Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. Just a little shook.”
Chase made his way back into the house about the same time everyone else came darting from the kitchen.
“We heard screaming. What happened?” Charley quickly asked assuming danger was near.
“Oh uh Ch-“Kayla was cut short by Nichole’s piercing voice.
“Chase’s ASS thought it was funny to scare everybody with some piece of shit mask!”
“But I got you didn’t baby?” Chase asked throwing Nichole a flirtatious wink.
Nichole refused to answer Chase’s question so I answered it for her.
“Well…” I started stepping forward.
“You sure as hell got me. Good one bro.” I finished with a firm handshake and a slight smirk.
“And where’d you find that mask to begin with?” I curiously asked.
“Oh this? I found it stuffed between the cushions in one of the old couches over there. It seems to be pretty old.” Chase bared the mask in the Chandeliers light for all of us to view. It was an old mask; it resembled a clown of some sort. It had a black outline around the eyes and black fuzzy hair poking out the sides.
“Well it certainly smells the part…” Taylor added folding her fingers across her nostrils.
“Actually, Thatd be me!” Kayla stepped in between the circle we had formed and continued.
“I’d been so busy over thinking this entire trip I’ve neglected my own hygiene. Kind of embarrassing to tell you the truth.”
“Oh girl. it’s alright. Muscle head over there neglected our reservations.”
Nichole finished flashing Trent an emotion less smile.
“Well Kayla I had brought a few towels I was going to use at the pool, you’re more than welcome to use them if you want.”
Rachel pulled a dark grey hand bag from behind the arm chair Nichole had been resting on.
“Oh thanks! I’m sure I could locate a bathroom upstairs, besides I’m pretty beat and I’m just going to hit the sheets afterwards.”
“You already chose a room? “ Rachel asked handing her a few towels.
“Yea I and Chris had a little tour earlier. It’s actually kind of comfy, just strangely cold is all.”
“Alright then, you’re all set. Sweet dreams honey bee.”
Rachel finished tucking her pale hands into her dark jeans.
“Yo, Kayla!” I yelled up the staircase.
“Yea Chris?” she answered balancing herself on one of the rails that sprouted from the old staircase.
“I’ll be up in a bit. Don’t fall asleep without me.”
“Ill try not to Chris.” Kayla replied slinging her neck back around. I watched her creep up the shallow stair case until the darkness of the hallway swallowed her up. My ears Re adjusted to the sound of Evan’s voice who began to make sexist remarks about me and Kayla. I didn’t pay them any mind though; At this point all I could think about was food. I felt as if I hadn’t eating in ages, I was starved.
“So.” I started as I rubbed my dry palms together.
“What’s to eat?”
“Well we just scanned the kitchen a few minutes ago and we found a few cans of soup , some old hot dog, a half eaten pizza , fruit and some other useless condiments.” Charley explained heading towards the kitchen. We all followed Charley into the kitchen which was also well furnished. The kitchen had the same brown planks across the floor, red curtains hung across the windows and a ceiling that seemed like it extended for miles.
“Well most of this seems like junk of you ask me.” Taylor added.
Trent picked up a large pear and tossed it around his red palms before taking a bite.
“Eh I don’t know. I’m kind of a fruit head so I’ll deal.” Trent explained.
“Well I have some chicken my mom prepared for our trip in my bag that we could all share. It’s more than enough; all it needs is to be warmed up.” Nichole said pulling a large clear container from within a red Hollister bag.
“That’s why I love you baby. All way’s looking out for everybody.” Chase leaned into Nichole’s lips expecting a kiss but came to a halt when meeting Nichole’s palm.
“Um, what do you think this is? I still haven’t forgiven your ass from earlier.”
“But my ass. Now go pick out room upstairs before all of the good ones are gone.” Nichole demanded.
“Yo Chase wait up! I’ll come with you.” Charley slowly jogged up to Chase where they both heading back towards the staircase.
“Hey, Taylor you want to go check out the rest of the house? Tour around a bit?” Trent’s voice came in deep slow waves.
“Nah, I’ll just finish checking around for more food. I’ve never been that much of a chicken person. The basement seems like a good place to start.” Taylor pulled out a pack of new ports before opening a tall wooden door at the end of the kitchen which led to the basement. As soon as Taylor’s footsteps weren’t able to be heard any more Nichole began speaking.
“Trent. I know you’re in love with her and all but, you need to leave her. She treats you and everybody else like shit. And if home girl come at my mother’s chicken again it’s going to be a problem.”
“Nichole let’s not. The Last thing we won’t is drama in a time like this.” Rachel assured Nichole.
Nichole let out a sigh as she placed a few pieces of fried chicken that looked as if it came out of a restaurant commercial onto a brown glass plate.
“Well I guess you’re right. I’ll play good.” Nichole finished tossing the plate into a large white microwave.
I was beginning to bore when an idea sprung into my head. I dashed into the living room and rambled through one of Chase’s bags. I plugged in Chase’s large iPod dock into the nearest electrical outlet and searched for a song that might’ve helped pick up the mood.
“Who’s in the mood for some L.M.F.A.O?” I shouted sending a loud echo cradling itself throughout the house.
“I am!!!” Rachel came prancing out of the kitchen towards the radio singing the lyrics to “I’m Sexy and I know it” with me. We danced together for what seemed an eternity and soon after Chase and Charley joined in. As the song ended Nichole’s voice signaled to us that the food was ready causing my body to drift itself towards the kitchen. As the next song began to play on the radio everyone had seemed to finally be enjoying themselves.
Trent was enjoying a conversation with Charley and smiling for once and not franticly caring about his failing relationship, Nichole and Chase were finally getting along and I somehow sparked a conversation with Evan and Rachel. Everything was perfect. We laughed and talked over a nice dinner of Chicken and soup for about half an hour before everyone headed back towards the living room for a purposed game of monopoly. As I was setting up the game bored I caught sight of someone standing afar across the street. I fixated my eyes on a large figure bearing one of the same masks that Chase had wore. My skin began to crawl again as I backed away from the mirror.
“Guys?” I began, but no one seemed to hear me.
“GUYS?” I shouted over the music, this time grasping their attention.
“What is it Chris?” Evan asked with fear in his eyes.
“Look across the street. Immodestly everyone sprung upon the window as if there was a fair happening.
“Who is that?” Rachel asked.
“I don’t know but I hope it’s some kind of joke.” I answered.
The man stood there. Motionless, watching us, our every move. Studying us.
“Alright, I’m serious I’m starting to get freaked out, it’s time to call the police.” Rachel began to search for her phone until Nichole's voice seized her actions.
“You can’t…a signal. Were too far out.”
I let out a sigh as the man across the street remained there, constantly watching us. I didn’t know what to do, who was he? What did he want? Was that his mask lodged in between the couch? My thoughts were broken when a loud crash in the kitchen brought us too, but by the time we were able to turn our heads the lights flashed out.