Never ever trust your college friends around Halloween.
Just expect those lovely people you bonded with during freshman orientation screw with you at some point during the last week of October. When asked to guest blog on a scary experience, I immediately thought of the many, many horrible things my college friends and I did to each other in the name of spooky fun. Like my girlfriends taking yours truly, the haunted house weenie, to a "haunted dorm experience" and telling me the actors weren't allowed to touch me. When a zombie reached out from under the bed and grabbed my ankle, I punched some poor guy dressed as Freddy Krueger in the stomach and ran out the emergency exit. Or take my friend, Scott, who went into his sleeping roommate's bedroom after they watched the Blair Witch Project, stood in the corner a la Russell Parr, and whimpered until said roommate woke up screaming in terror. And the spooky prank calls... oh, the spooky prank calls. I'm so glad Scream came out while I was in college.
By my junior year at Western Kentucky University, I'd learn not to trust anyone around Halloween, not to believe anything I read, heard, saw, etc., because it was probably just one of my friends messing with me. It was about a week before and my friends were unsually subdued. I had almost convinced myself that I would live through Halloween unscathed that year, when I went to visit a classmate, Jen, to work on a class project. Jen lived in one of many decrepit old houses around town that had been gutted and turned into cheap student apartments. I knew people who lived there and I'd never liked the building. It smelled like damp, old shoes- well, it smelled like my little brother's room. And there was always a heavy feeling in my stomach while I was there, like I was afraid to go around a corner because I was afraid of what might be there waiting for me.
Jen got stuck at work. She wasn't home when I got to her place, leaving me to sit on the rickety staircase and wait. The house was unusually quiet, considering who lived there. I didn't even have the thub-thub-thub of bad late 90s rap filtering through the wall to comfort me. The little entryway was freezing, but it was an old building and I guessed the landlord didn't want to waste money heating the hall. I pulled out a textbook and tried to read, but I immediately felt that heavy feeling. I felt like someone was watching me. I kept glancing over my shoulder, expecting to find someone standing on the stairs. I heard a long, slow creeeeeeeak, like someone was stepping on the landing behind me and my stomach clenched. In the back of my brain, I hoped that maybe it was one of my friends sneaking up behind me. I turned around. Nothing.
I was done. Jen and I could work on the project some other time at a nice well-lit library. I had to get out, get away, get to other people. As I was slipping my bag over my shoulder, I happened to glance up at railing above my head... and dropped my bag. For just a flash, I saw an inky black, coiling shape leaning over the railing toward me. It was only there for a blink of an eye, like a sunspot left behind by a camera flash.
I didn't stick around long enough to see if it showed up again. I grabbed my bag and ran out of the front door. When Jen came home, she said she found my textbook on her stairs where I'd left it. I asked her to bring it to class. I would not come back to her building to get it. I didn't tell her or any of my friends what I saw. Because in the end, it could have been a shadow from a passing car. It could have been the onset of an aneurysm. Or just my over-active nerves looking for a reason to be scared. And I didn't need my friends to know I could scare myself worse than they ever could.
NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS
When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired and handed $25 in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half-Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s'a nice undead girl to do?
Nice Girls is the first of three contracted books, keep it in mind for March, y'all or preorder it now. (I'm reading it now, so I'm doing a little pre-pimping, because I'm peeing myself laughing). - Mark