Angela was extremely tired after helping her brother Carl put up the jack-o-lanterns in the front porch and making candies. Carl loved everything about Halloween. It was his favorite part of October.
He had always been a loner. He was never good at making friends, so his only friend was Angela, his older sister.
Angela was also an introvert but she had two close friends; Diego and Bala. They became friends after the summer camp they attended when they were 10. And now 6 years later, they were still best friends.
Every Halloween, Diego and Bala would visit Angela and Carl and all the four of them would spend Halloween playing games and watching movies.
Angela was just getting comfortable on her couch when the doorbell rang. She got up with a sigh and went to answer her door.
‘Happy Halloween Angela’, Diego and Bala exclaimed in unison. They were smiling so brightly that Angela couldn’t help but put up a smile on her face. She hugged both of them and that was when she noticed that there was someone else too with them.
‘Umm who is she?’
‘Well this is my... uhh ... new friend, Ana. And Ana, this is my very good friend, Angela’, Diego said introducing the two of them.
Angela and Ana exchanged pleasantries and they all got in.
‘Where is Carl? I have got something for him.’
‘I guess he is upstairs in his room, Bala. You can go ahead and get him down. I was almost going to set the table with food.’
‘Alright, I will go get him.’
Angela was clearing the plates in the kitchen when Ana walked in.
’Hey Ana, I hope you are enjoying the little get-together. I am actually not much of a party person so there aren’t many people around here.’
‘Oh that’s alright, really Angela. I am not much of a party person too although I love a good hangout with a couple of friends and drinks.’
‘Umm Ana so how old are you actually? I don’t mean to be rude but you don’t look like a high schooler’.
‘Of course I don’t. I am 20 years old. I am not a kid anymore’, she said with a smile and continued, ‘Oh and by the way I was meaning to talk to you about something. I mean don’t get me wrong alright’.
Angela just looked on with a lost expression.
‘Carl seems to be a bit confused. I mean I tried my level best to get talking to him but he never opened up. Is he you know… all well up there?’
‘What do you mean Ana?’
‘Well, it was just that I found Carl was acting a bit detached you know, like he wasn’t participating in our conversations while we were having our food and that sort of unsettled me. I am not used to someone being so quiet around me.’
‘Well since Carl is an introvert, he isn’t comfortable with new people around. But that totally does not mean that he isn’t well up there. I would appreciate it if you could stay away from him and concentrate on something else to do to amuse yourself. Now if you could excuse me, I need to finish the dishes.’ and saying so Angela got back to scrubbing her dishes.
‘Geez, you don’t have to be rude.’ exclaimed Ana before making an about turn towards the hallway.
As Angela was stacking up the plates and cups into their respective cabinets, she couldn’t help but think over what Ana said.
‘Hey guys, what do you think, movies or creepy games? What do ya’ll prefer doing tonight?’ Bala asked with an inviting smile. Angela loved it when Bala gave that smile of his. He looked so handsome when he did that.
Carl was sitting next to Bala and was deeply engrossed in reading the instructions of the game.
Diego was busy showing something off his phone to Ana.
After that short convo in the kitchen, Angela had started to dislike Ana. It wasn’t because she had made an opinion about Carl but it was because she had made an opinion about Carl without getting to know him.
‘I am so in. I love all these Halloween creepy games. I would trade a game anytime for those lousy movies’, Ana exclaimed with glee.
’Count me in too’, Angela said.
‘Oh well then, I don’t want to be the odd one out. I am in too’, said Diego and walked over to Angela.
‘Hey Angie, you got a can of beer stashed in your fridge, right? Could you pass me some?’
‘Umm Diego don’t mind me asking but I am curious. How do you know Ana?’, Angela asked as she opened her fridge to check for beer.
Diego followed her up until the fridge. ‘Umm well Angela don’t freak out but….. I met her online. She is meeting me for the first time today.’
‘What …… Do you have any idea how stupid it is to have an unknown person within your house?’, exclaimed Angela as she tossed a can of beer towards Diego.
She could be a criminal for all you know? I don’t like that girl alright. She made some really bad remarks about Carl and I am having some huge doubts about her credibility.
Diego, I don’t want to sound rude, but I want you to get rid of her right now.’
Everybody was seated in a circle around the game board. The game board looked like a caricature of an evil joker with black and red colors splashed all over it. Angela sat looking at the board with disgust. Bala sat on her right and Carl to her left.
Carl was shaking with excitement. He couldn’t wait for the game to start. Bala too seemed really impatient to start off with the game. Diego was sitting next to Carl and looking over at Angela. When Angela looked over at him, he said a silent sorry to her. Angela just looked away from him. Angela looked away and directly turned towards Ana seated besides Bala. She noticed that Ana had her eyes set on Carl. It freaked Angela out.
‘Hey so are ya’ll ready yet? I just cannot wait for this game to start. Guys, it is possible that after we finish with this game, we might have the company of a spirit or two.’
‘Oh c’mon man Bala. You do not mean to scare the girls right?’ said Diego but for some reason he seemed scared.
‘Umm I need to drink a bit of water. I will be back soon.’ and saying so Angela skipped towards the kitchen.
As she was drinking her glass of water, she replayed what Diego had promised her in the kitchen earlier. He had promised her that as soon as they were done with the game, he was going to leave her place with Ana. But that girl freaked Angela out.
Angela finished drinking her water and placed her glass on the counter. As she was placing her glass on the counter, she noticed the knife in its compartment. Angela contemplated for a while and then made up her mind and took the knife out of its compartment.
Just as the shining metal reflected Angela’s face in it, all the lights in the house got turned down and Angela screamt, ’What the hell did you guys do?’
Angela looked over the game board with the help of the flashlight she had located by the kitchen door. The flashlight was always stashed by the kitchen door for emergency. The game board seemed worn and used. It had scratches all over it. She flashed the light all over the room trying to locate Carl and Diego and Bala but she just could not find any of them. Now Angela was beginning to get scared.
‘Ana, what had you done in here while I was gone?’ thought Angela to herself.
Angela took a few steps towards the stairs to go upstairs when she hit something on the floor.
‘Ouch, oh my God. What the heck is this?’
She flashed the light over the object she had hit her leg with and what she saw left her leaving her mouth open in shock. Bala was lying still on the floor. His face had lots of scratches on his chocolaty skin and red blood had seeped in through the many cuts. Angela got down on fours and tried to wake Bala up but he was dead.
Angela then stood up and called out for Carl and Diego but there was no response. Angela was now sure that Ana was a killer and was now on the loose. She had to save her aswel as Diego and Carl’s life. Angela decided to head for the stairs, clutching the knife hard in her hand.
Angela was walking carefully on the carpeted floor of her corridor. Carl’s room was shut. Angela put her ear on the door of the room to hear for muffled sounds but she could only hear the empty silence resonating from the room to her ear. She decided to open the room and have a look when she heard a brief scream come from her parent’s room.
Angela got alert and walked quickly with the knife held sharply in her hands. She burst into the room and saw Ana trying to strangle Carl’s neck and Carl was gasping for air and throwing his arms in the air. Angela, in a fit of rage, pulled Ana by her hair and threw her on the bed. Ana missed the bed and hit her head on the edge of the bed. She was groaning in pain when Angela lunged forward and stabbed Ana with the knife straight into her heart.
Angela went on stabbing Ana and screaming out to her. ‘You bitch; I knew from the start that you are a criminal. It was a mistake to let you in and now you pay for it. Rot in hell, bitch.’
When she saw that Ana had stopped struggling, she knew she was dead. Angela turned back to check on Carl but he was gone.
‘Carl, darling, she is dead. Ana is dead. You are gonna be safe now baby. Where are you?’
‘Carl must have got so frightened. I shouldn’t have let that girl inside my house at all. Poor Carl. He must be hiding somewhere.’ thought a tearful Angela to herself. She was feeling horrible for having brought this upon on her brother and her two close friends.
Angela had climbed down the stairs and was now nearing her room calling out to Carl in a subdued voice when she felt a sweaty hand cover her mouth and pull her into her room. The hand pulled her roughly to her window and pushed her onto the floor. Angela searched for her flashlight but she had lost it on the way somewhere. The light from outside her window was pouring in and that is when she noticed that it was Diego who had got her in.
’What the heck Diego? What is going on? Where is Carl? Do you have any idea what Ana did to him? I am going to call the police right now.’
‘Angie shut up alright. Ana was helping us. You have no idea what the hell was going on.’
‘I do not believe you. This is all your sick imagination. Carl cannot do something as horrible as this.’
‘Angie you have got to believe me. Ana has been watching Carl for the past couple of weeks, alright. He kept in contact with some really weird people. He never even went to school. He used to go meet these people at different locations all the time. They were a kind of a cult. They had your brother in their control. Bala had got a wind of it first and he alerted me. That is when I contacted Ana. She has dealt with cases like this before. We had collected enough evidence to prove that Carl is ….. umm…. possessed.’
‘What the hell are you talking Diego?’
‘The game was just a ploy, Angela. We were actually trying to get Carl in our control but he suddenly got enraged and killed Bala in the process and that was when the lights went off. Carl is dangerous, Angela.’
‘Diego, why didn’t you let me know about it?’
‘I knew you wouldn’t have believed us. That is why we were doing this without your knowledge. Curing him in your house was our only option because we couldn’t get him to come with us anywhere and….’ Diego paused for a while.
’Do you hear that? I think he is coming upstairs. Stay quiet Angela’.
They hear hurried footsteps coming towards the door of the room and suddenly there was loud pounding on the door.
‘Angie where is Ana? Did you see her? She is the only one apart from Bala who can help us.’
‘I ... I killed her Diego. I thought she was after Carl. I killed her.’, and saying so Angela burst into sobs.
‘Holy shit, what did you do Angela...? You killed Ana. She was our only hope. We are gonna die today. I don’t wanna die Angela, I don’t wanna die.’
Diego was sobbing hysterically. Only his sobbing could be heard in the room now other than the chilling silence. The pounding had stopped. Angela could her and Diego’s ragged breathing. She turned to look over at Diego. Diego was looking at her too. ‘I don’t want to die Angela... Please’, Diego said in a whispering tone.
Just then a pale white hand crashed through her window and pulled Diego out by the neck. Angela screamt her lungs out and tried pulling Diego back in. But the hand was stronger and got the better of Diego. Angela fell back with Diego’s shoe in her hand. She watched as a pale Carl dragged Diego into the woods behind their house.
Before entering the clearing, Carl turned to look at Angela and that was when Angela saw Carl’s bloodshot eyes and his sinister smile. ‘Oh my Goodness, Carl. What has happened to you?’
Hiding in her room under her bed, Angela was shivering to her bone with sweat trickling down her back. She had tried to call the police but the phone was dead. Her friends were dead. There was a dead body of an innocent girl in another room whom she had killed. And Carl was seriously ill. She couldn’t understand why this was happening. Diego’s words were running furiously in her head.
She was crying silently when she heard the door crack open and footsteps making their way into the room. They were nearing the bed. The footsteps walked along the length of the bed. She noticed that the shoes were of Carl, they were his favorite shoes. The shoes had a lot of dirt and moss and blood on them. Angela watched with frozen eyes as Carl bent over the bed, lifting the bed-cover with his hand and caught her gaze. She noticed the blood-soaked knife in his other hand.
‘Happy Halloween, Angela’, he said with an evil grin as he dragged a screaming Angela out of the bed.