Today’s prompt: Membrane
I had fun with this one! I guess it’s because I miss going to haunted houses with my friends all the time. I’m always the terrified one at those things. I promise I meant for this one to be short, but it’s one of the longer ones I’ve done yet at 1,434 words. Holy cow, I need to try to keep these shorter!
This is part of the 31 Days of Art Challenge [#31DaysOfArt2020]. Go check out the tag on Instagram to see all the amazing art being made!
For today I wrote a flash fiction piece titled The Last Haunt. Check it out below!
The car jostled on the gravel road and Kayson grabbed hold of the handle on the ceiling above the car door. Headlights illuminated the windy path ahead along with all the spiderwebs the car plowed through.
“Are you sure we’re going the right way?” he asked as the vehicle bounced from a deep hole in the road.
“Just following where Waze takes me,” Bryan said with a smirk.
“But you’ve been here before, right?” Kayson asked with a small laugh to show he wasn’t nervous, even though he was. He had been dating Bryan for two months and he knew the man loved finding haunted houses, or haunts. Together they had visited almost all of them throughout the month of October, all except this one he found mentioned briefly in one of the many horror magazines he collected.
“Nah, I think this one is new. Might be a haunted hayride or something since it’s so far out here, though.”
They took a right down a dirt path and Kayson could see the empty pasture in the distance, partly hidden in mist. A small farmhouse came into view.
Kayson squinted at it. The place looked like it was from a horror movie. “You sure this is the right spot?”
Bryan pulled the car to a stop and pointed to a small yard sign that was maybe a foot wide. “There we go. It says Fear’s Edge, just like in the ad!”
The sign should have been comforting, but the few vehicles near the farmhouse and the tiny sign that looked like it cost maybe ten bucks to make didn’t encourage him.
Bryan reached over and put a hand on his leg. “Hey, if you don’t like it, we can leave. It’s completely up to you. We can go somewhere else.”
Kayson clenched his teeth and wrapped his fingers around Bryan’s hand, giving a squeeze. “As long as you’re with me, I can get through it. I just don’t have the courage that you do.”
“You’ve come with me this far,” Bryan picked up his hand and kissed his fingers. Kayson felt his cheeks flush. “It’s our last haunt of the year. It’ll be fun, okay?”
“Okay,” Kayson gave a tentative smile.
An icy wind blew over the pasture as they stepped out of the car and Kayson zipped up his coat. He looked around at the other three cars parked there, two pickup trucks and a two-door that had seen better days.
“Where do you think we check in?” Bryan asked, stepping confidently toward the small farmhouse.
“I don’t know,” Kayson pulled on his gloves and hurried over to slip an arm around Bryan’s. “Do you think it’s open? There’s hardly anybody here.”
“The night is young!” He cracked a smile. “Nah, this is probably just visitor parking and people haven’t found the turn in yet.”
Kayson pulled on him to slow his pace. “Bryan… it’s almost Halloween. Don’t you think they should be flooded with people right now? This is their prime time.”
His gaze grew stern. “That’s a good point, actually…” He looked like he was almost ready to turn around and get back in the car. Kayson would have kissed him right there if he did.
“Good evening, gentlemen!” A teenage girl with a plucky voice called over to them. She had makeup on to look like a friendly scarecrow and wore a pair of overalls over a red plaid shirt. “Are y’all here for Fear’s Edge?”
Bryan visibly relaxed but Kayson couldn’t There was something off about all of this and he couldn’t explain why. He had almost gotten his boyfriend to turn around without having to admit his terror of the place. If the girl hadn’t come out of nowhere and said something, they would be in the car right now. It wasn’t the first time he had gotten cold feet at a haunt, and he always felt silly for it after it was over.
With a reassuring smile, Bryan headed over to the girl and paid her. She was short but had a big smile as she insisted on cash only. That wasn’t unusual, but this whole place still felt off. The few cars that had parked, the empty field, the lack of any other Halloween decor to even show it was a haunted house, it all felt dangerous.
Finally Bryan returned with two tickets in hand as he swept an arm around Kayson’s waist. “You look scared shitless and we haven’t even gotten inside yet. You okay?”
“I’m trying to be,” he admitted, “But this place gives me the creeps.”
He pecked a kiss on his cheek, warm and soft, and Kayson blushed. “It’s their job to make this place spooky, you know that. It means they’re doing a good job.”
They went around the building to the front door. The wood of the building was old and warped in places. It didn’t look safe, but then again, it wasn’t supposed to look safe, just like Bryan said. He caught the faint scent of mildew in the air and frowned. Maybe not everything in the place was fake.
“Okay, here we are,” Bryans said and pulled away.
“Wait, what are you doing?”
He pointed to the door with a smile. “She said it’s one-at-a-time entry. Unless you want to go first.”
Kayson shook his head in mute terror. “No way. I can’t deal with this place alone.”
“Are you going to wuss out on me again? After we already paid? They don’t do refunds.”
Kayson clenched his jaw. For all his talk of being understanding earlier, this was what it came down to when they were at the front door. Suddenly he was a wuss for being frightened. “Yes, I am.”
His smirk turned to a scowl. “For real?”
“Yes, for real!”
“But this is the last haunt of the year!”
“I don’t care. I am not going in without you.” His eyes filled with tears as another chilly wind blew past.
Bryan watched him for a long moment before sighing. “Alright, hold my hand then. I guess if they try to separate us then—”
“Then I’ll just have to hug you closer.” Kayson said with a warm smile.
Bryan blushed and took the lead up to the farmhouse door, holding tight to Kayson’s hand as he lagged behind. Pushing the door open, it creaked on its hinges, and to Kayson the door seemed to pulse in a strange rhythm like someone had the bass on too loud, but there was no music playing.
Inside it was dark, and Bryan stepped in grinning with excitement. “The effects are amazing. It looks so real!”
He stepped further in, pulling Kayson behind him. It wasn’t just the door that was pulsing, but the entire door frame.
“Bryan?” He asked in a terrified whisper. “I don’t know if—”
Something cold and wet touched his hand. He pulled his hand back on reflex, letting go of Bryan.
“What’s wrong now?” Bryan asked in annoyance. “You need to see this place! It looks almost organic.”
“Bryan!” He called, reaching another hand out and colliding with that same cold wetness. He put his hand on the barrier and saw a light shimmer. It was some kind of clear curtain that covered the doorway. “Oh my god…” he whispered, frozen in shock.
Finally Bryan turned around, his confusion turning to worry. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t go through,” Kayson muttered as he pressed against the barrier, first gingerly, then with a shove, but it was as if he was pushing against a wall of ice.
The door swung to close, but Kayson was still standing in the doorway. It hit him hard. Blood filled his mouth as his teeth slammed into his inner lip.
“Kayson!” Bryan called.
The door pressed him harder against the barrier, which might as well be solid rock. It was difficult to breathe. Inside he could see the organic room that Bryan had described. A dark red wall with pulsing see-through pipes pumping what looked like blood. A structure on the ceiling that could have been a backbone, and a floor that might have felt like carpet but was living tissue sprinkled with what looked like nerve endings.
They weren’t decorations, Kayson realized as his ribs cracked. It was alive. The whole fucking house was alive and Bryan had walked straight into its belly.
He watched helplessly as Bryan pounded on the barrier, trying to get through, but Kayson knew as his spine snapped and blackness seeped into his vision that the house had far worse plans for Bryan.
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I’ve also got a YA Horror novel coming out at the end of this month called The Seeking that’s been called a mixture of A Quiet Place and Hunger Games. I also have a pre-order giveaway going along with it! If you enjoy my horror flash fiction, be sure to check it out too!
That was really good, scary! Thanks for the story, Marlena!