Halloween Games – Jodi MacArthur

Where there is horror, there is MacArthur! She pens bizarro, freaky, imaginative, and downright profound stories and poems, seemingly with ease. She’s been published in a plethora of ezines and print anthologies (her latest, Tainted Lady in Side Show 2: Tales of the Big Top and Bizarre), and she’s not stopping there – a novella and a novel nestle under her dark wings, and will soon shadow our eyes with wicked delight. It is an honor to introduce my next guest and good friend, Jodi MacArthur and her super, creepy tale, Halloween Games.

Halloween Games
By Jodi MacArthur

Stringy. Sticky. It clung to the roof of her mouth. “I give up.”

Neil lifted the blindfold from her eyes. In the black light, Jackie saw a spoonful of goop hanging from the spoon. “Eww!” She slapped it. “What is that?”

Neil opened his mouth in a grimace, teeth shining a sinuous white. His face was a blend of bruises. A giant red nose sat between his cheeks like a tomato. Jackie shivered. “Tell me what it is.”

They’d only dated a couple weeks. Neil hadn’t been one to speak often, but he was generous, full of quiet humor. She had appreciated that, until tonight. His gentleness was now cruelty.

“Calm down, kitty kitty. You know what killed the cat.”

“Neil, that isn’t funny. This was supposed to be fun. I told you what I put in your mouth.”

“It’s not my fault my mystery food is more mysterious than yours,” he whispered.

Jackie looked around. They both sat on the floor. Her back was against the couch and he was sitting on his knees across from her. His painted lips held no smile. She glanced at her cell charger on the kitchen table. She wished she hadn’t left her phone in her room. Not that she’d need it. It was only Neil. And it was Halloween after all.

“Jackie? Is it the costume? I told you I was going to be a clown.” He honked his nose once.

She startled at the sound of it. “I don’t know.” She shrugged, avoiding his eyes. “I guess. Just tell me what it is. I gave you peeled grapes, you know that.”

“Tell you what. Close your eyes again, and I’ll put your hand in what I gave you.”

She looked up and pulled the kitty ears off her head. “What do you mean put my hand in it?”

“Close your eyes and I’ll show you.”

Their eyes met.

Her heart raced. Why was she so afraid? It was just Neil. There was nothing to be afraid of. But the substance in her mouth tasted wrong. It had been something dark colored, but in the black light she couldn’t tell what it was. And then it occurred to her, a pumpkin. Just a pumpkin. The gooey innards. Raw. Gross, but not harmful. She decided she had over reacted.

Neil unclasped her hands in her lap and held them. He felt over the sharp tips of the claws she’d glued on. “Trust me, okay?”

She nodded. “Okay.”

“Close your eyes,” he whispered, and turned to something behind him.

She squeezed her eyes, and allowed him to take her right hand. She felt something soft, furry. “What?”

“Shhh…”

And then he lifted her fingertips, slipped them inside something warm and wet. She said, “That doesn’t feel like a pumpkin.”

“It’s not a pumpkin.”

She opened her eyes and her heart stopped. Her fingers were inside a small black head, fuzzy ears laid flat. Its little tongue lolled out between the kitten’s teeth. She opened her mouth, but couldn’t find her voice to scream.

“Here kitty, kitty…” He produced a long, curved bowie knife.

“Neil!” she gasped.

“Hollow you out and light you up like a pumpkin. I want my kitty to be a jack o lantern.” He swung the bowie at her, slicing the top of her wrist.

Pain snapped her out her spell. She slapped back at him, her pinkie jabbing into his eye.

“Damn it!”

She jumped away as he slashed at her again, one eye bloody and closed. She stepped on the remote control as he chased her to the kitchen where she grabbed a knife of her own.

“They did the mash! They did the monster mash!” blared from the TV.

“Don’t screw me with me, Neil.”

It was then he smiled for the first time. He backed her into the cupboard. Jackie held the butcher knife in front of her, and reached inside the drawer behind her.

Their shadows danced in the black light.

“What did one clown say to the other after they ate the little kitty cat?”

She felt inside the drawer and found what she was looking for. “Don’t do this.”

“Does this taste funny to you?” Neil jabbed at her.

Jackie dodged and sprayed him full on with pepper spray.

“Bad kitty!” he screamed, and flailed the bowie at her.

Jackie held out her butcher knife, both blades collided. She sprayed him again. Neil dropped his bowie, bent over, and grabbed his face. “My eyes, dammit!”

Jackie dropped the can, stepped aside him to run, when Neil grabbed her knees. They both sprawled to the ground. He climbed on top of her and bit her shoulder, his nose honking. She screamed, and hacked the butcher knife into his neck.

“That’s-”

Hack.

“not-”

Hack.

“funny,”

Hack.

“Neil.”

Hack.

And then she realized he was no longer moving. Jackie let go of the knife and grabbed at Neil’s hair to lift him off her. His head lifted from his body. She had hacked all the way through.

“They did the mash! It was a graveyard smash!”

The doorbell rang. She jumped up, his body rolling off her. Jackie ran to the door and threw it open.

“Trick or Treat!” Two ghouls and a witch stood on the porch. Parents stood behind them, smiles brightening their faces. They quickly turned to frowns.

Silence.

The witch said, “Mommy? That’s not very funny.” A parent screamed long and shrill, “Call 911!” The children wailed as parents grabbed them, and they all ran.

Jackie lifted her arms to them. “Wait! Don’t leave me!”

It was then that she realized she still held Neil’s head. She dropped it, and it rolled down the doorsteps, honking all the way to the sidewalk.

2010 © Jodi MacArthur

Autumn is Jodi MacArthur’s favorite time of year. She avoids the Grim Reaper by hiding in her closet, dressing up as a clown, and carving little kittens… on pumpkins (of course!). Seek the macabre at http://www.jodimacarthur.blogspot.com

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33 thoughts on “Halloween Games – Jodi MacArthur

  1. Another splendid tale, Ms. Jodi. Things do tend to come loose at the seams in your stories, don't they? That was a gooey, wicked, fun-filled mess. Thanks for sharing that!

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  2. No witnesses. She's going to have a fun time with the police, convincing them of her story.You pulled us right in there with Jackie. And there's something more intimate, close, and threatening with knives than guns, isn't there.Excellent job.

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  3. Now that was fun, Jodi.Loved how you played with expectations using the old kids' Haunted House game (poor cat), and the honking nose added to the madcap out-of-control feel of it. "Does this taste funny to you?" – Awesome job.

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  4. Oh JoJo! Stepping on the remote to trigger The Monster Mash was inspired and the head honking down the driveway is priceless! You are the Halloweeniest!

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  5. Mark ~ Yikes- your Diamond Face! And YES. And Happy Halloween to you too!Carrie~ Thanks for noticing. This gal is a fighter, but Im not so sure the police will see it that way. David~ This story is de(a)dicated to you! Thanks for being my (hack & slash)inspiration. Paul~ You’er master of the gore, glad you liked this one. Halloween was the perfect excuse.Mike S ~ Knives are very personal. It adds an extra notch to horror. And funny you say that, I have a giant bowie knife by my writing desk. It was a Christmas present from a dear pal last yaer when I was wrestling with Devil’s Eye. Thanks, bud!Paul ~ Icky, indeed. Thank you, my friend!RS ~ I have to agree. Clowns are just… I don’t know. It’s almost like they are from a different realm, but I just watched Killer clowns from space the other night, so… ;-)Roland ~ Exactly. She’s in a rael pickle. I am SO glad this is a flash, so I don’t have to solve her freaking Halloween/men issues! ;-D Thank you!Chris~ So glad you liked the old school. There is something about mixing innocent games, items or songs we ourselves are familiar with (guess that gross food game, monster mash, kitty cat costumes, Halloween night) with items we associate with fear, pain, and death (knives, dead kittens, clowns, knives, strobe lights). Glad you liked that joke, I stole it from the cannibal clown one.Har Bro~ Hee, I’m glad you liked that! It was a massacre of a monster (clown) for sure! Glad you enjoyed the honking nose too. I’m going for this losing your head theme for Halloween stories now. ;-DLaura~ Lol. You are the Horror Diva, and that’s how we like our Halloween, right? Thanks, girl!

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  6. I felt my insides squirm at your first opening: Stringy. Sticky. It clung to the roof of her mouth. “I give up.” Excellent depiction of a Halloween game that when one realizes they don't want to play, it's too late! Great innocent start, that goes soooo bad. Love it, Jodi – You still are the Queen of Horror!

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  7. Wow, that was one awesome story! Quite a Halloween game indeed. From harmless fun to life and death. I also loved how the lyrics of the Monster Mash were put in there a couple of times, too. It added much to the story at the perfect time.

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  8. It's a known fact that we all love your writing, Jodi, but this might be one of my favorites. I love when writers don't fall into formulaic structures. You could have easily ended this story with Jackie murdering Neil, but instead you took it a few feet more and presented the true horror of the piece. Yes, Neil is cynical and ironically dressed as a clown, but the heart of the story is the "Oh, shit" moment. The reader continues with the story thinking, "Now what? She's probably gonna' call the cops or run away." Then, in Clive Barker fashion, you jerk the reader back making them murmur, "Oh, shit." To boot, I love that you never let us forget that he is dressed as a clown by continually making reference to the honking nose.

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  9. Erin~ Thank you so for all you do, esp with little ones at home and the super bsy life you laed. Also, thank you for your kind words above. The first line made me giggle. ;-) And I’m delighted you like that first line. The wrds came uot on the screen and I just smiled, I didn’t realize there was going to be pychos boyfriends, clowns, dead kitties or knives involved, but I did know it was going to be wicked fun.Godmother of All Wonderfulness (Jeanette)~ Glad it tickled your delightfully wicked bones. ;-)Richard~ Thank yuo, my friendChris! Thank you much sir, glad you liked the addition of the song (heh). There were so many other details I had wanted to include, but it would have detracted from the brauhaha. Hope to see a horror from you this Halloween.Eric ~ from innocence to death. Isn’t that life anyway, just on fast forward? And instead of a cancer cell she was faced with a clown. She nuked him alright… with a knife.Shane~ Dude, I honestly feel like I can’t take the credit. The story wrote itself and I was merely channeling. I just tweak until it feels right. However, Im tickled you got the ‘oh shit’ feeling at the end. Um, I did too. Ha. So glad this is flash, beause I had NO idea what she was gonna do after that. Thank you so much for your kind words, the support, the links, everything. J2~ Ha. Not the (zombie) golden girls! I’d rather face clowns than them. Wait. Maybe not. But I’d totally face down a zombie roach, I’m skilled in midnight ninja toss 101.Hee. Thanks for reading, bud. Happy Halloween everyone! I’m thrilled Halloween Games entertained you.

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  10. Oh Jodi, I adore this. What a slice of bliss! I love how you take us straight into the scene, unnerving us from the very outset, then piling the horror on in relentless attacks.Superbly written, clever, and wonderfully unpredictable. Ace.

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  11. Marissa ~ I know. Poor kitty. Mean clown. and bad luck for Jackie. Life's not fair.Ant~ thanks for raeding and I'm glad it entrtained!Suzie, my girl, thank yuo so much for raeding. Love to entertain the wicked likes of yuo! <3

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  12. Oh Jody! You are my new idol! I so love a story where the good girl wins. I don't know when I have been so delighted to "see" a head severed. And what a stroke of literary genius it was for you to send those little trick-or-treaters to the door at that inopportune moment.I salute you! Honk! Honk!

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