"He's probably dead," Roger exclaimed as the two kittens giggled mischievously behind him.
Krystal and Amanda had arrived at Coleman Park appropriately attired for the evening. Their previously decided-upon costumes seemed much sexier in person than when Roger was helping them choose outfits at Wal-Mart. Being the edgy person that he was, he had politely declined their offer of buying a disguise for him. He had never celebrated the holiday, and instead purchased a t-shirt that furthered his rebelliousness with bright yellow text that read, 'I don't do costumes.'
His head down and his hands in his pockets, he paced himself up the paved hill that lead to the local, haunted legend. Krystal swung her faux tail playfully and adjusted the large black ears that wouldn't stay in her curly hair despite the obscene amounts of hairspray she had employed. Amanda clicked her heels across the ground. She sprinted in front of Roger and slowed to a smooth strut seemingly for his benefit.
He smiled crookedly, admiring the sway of her hips and the curve of her backside that was nicely accented by her black, spandex jumpsuit. He sighed admiringly, grateful that they had worn the fishnet stockings he had picked out for them.
"Probably?!" Krystal's high-pitched squeal jolted Roger from his explicit fantasies. She sped in front of him and began to walk backwards, clumsily tripping in her high heels. "I thought the doctor was dead! I don't want to go to his house if he could still be inside!"
Amanda laughed, her low chuckles mocked Krystal's idiocy and tempted Roger's loins. Where Amanda was certainly the intelligent, smoldering temptress of the two (and Roger's top choice), he couldn't deny Krystal her adorable, blonde moments.
"The fire department hosts the haunted house at the doc's every year. If Doctor Rippner was still alive, don't you think he would have told us to 'get the fuck out' by now?" Amanda's pace slowed and she flipped her head to indulge their conversation.
"I heard," she began, as if she were telling a ghost story, "that the doctor went missing after his daughter disappeared. I heard he killed her and then left the house… with her body somewhere inside."
Krystal screamed jokingly. She ran to her friend and linked arms as they finally crossed the top of the hill. Roger joined them as the two girls gaped at the fire department's Halloween display that year. In the seventeen year-old boy's mind, it wasn't anything special.
The same as every Halloween, the volunteer firefighters had covered the abandoned, two-story house with caution tape and paper ghosts. There was blood on the pavement and all of the windows were boarded up. Strobe lights and the sirens from the fire trucks flashed to catch the attention of passing trick-or-treaters. It had grown late, however; and Roger was sure that the haunted house was closed. There were no monsters or superheroes going in or coming out of the doctor's old home.
Still, the girls certainly had a way of getting what they wanted.
"I told you it would be closed," Roger taunted as he began to turn back to the park. Even though it was late, he had hoped to come out of the night with something more than just candy. Amanda grabbed his arm and grinned devilishly. He couldn't help but swoon.
"Come on, Roger. Maybe we can scare those bastards for a change." Roger swooped her up and bellowed mockingly, "I don't think those guys will be scared by a couple of pussies like you girls."
Amanda forced him off and Krystal gagged obnoxiously. Of course, Roger knew the real reason Amanda wanted to go inside. "You think Billy's still in there, don't you?" Amanda cringed at the sound of her ex's name. She shrugged away the jeer and caressed Roger's cheekbone temptingly, leading him down the hill on the tip of her finger.
"Help me scare the shit out of him, Roger… and I'll show you what this pussy can do." She meowed seductively and almost let Roger fall on his face when he tried to kiss her. Krystal complained loudly at Amanda's behavior, but Roger was already convinced. He took Amanda by the arm and ran towards his one ticket to losing his virginity.
As the two girls clopped down the hill behind him, Roger motioned for them to take off their shoes. Krystal was hesitant, but eventually the two managed to unbuckle their heels and place them in the grass next to the front door that had been boarded up long ago. A large sign was hung from the door mantle, "ENTER, IF YOU DARE." Roger turned just enough for the girls to see his rolling eyes.
As Roger slowly opened the door, he was met with what he expected to see every year. The house was in darkness with a few gritty light-bulbs to guide the way. Cheap strobe lights flashed and waned, shooting different colors throughout the house. Just as they stepped inside they were met by a large animatronic zombie who leaned in to touch them and laugh maniacally. Roger had to motion for Krystal to stay quiet as she released an exaggerated yelp.
In the last couple of years the firemen had really outdone themselves. They built walls around certain rooms with glass windows to see inside. They would stage scenes of horror using themselves in costumes or even more animated dummies who would react to the visitors passing by. Roger remained crouched as he approached the first window, with the two kittens following his lead.
There was a dim light coming from inside, and he slowly peered above the sill to take a look. In what was once the living room, the haunted house hosts had laid out several hospital beds with open bodies atop them. They each had their own methane drip and there was a single table with bloodied scalpels and tongs in the center of them.
Roger recognized a few of the frozen faces and admitted to himself, "Wow, they did a really great job this year." As Amanda and Krystal neared the window, Roger shook his head hinting that Billy was not in the room. Suddenly there was a loud whirring noise drifting from upstairs.
Although Roger found himself genuinely scared, he assumed that the entire house was still functioning, including its actors. He looked back to find Amanda close behind him with a determined look on her face. Krystal was clinging to her hand, trembling uncontrollably. For a brief moment Roger imagined the feeling of Amanda's warm breast cupped in his palm and began to lurk up the stairs with renewed resolve.
As they neared the second floor the whirring sound had grown deafening and had been coupled by the bellowing of unheeded screams. Roger hesitated just before the oncoming window that was once Doctor Rippner's study. He swallowed the large lump in his throat and progressed a bit more hesitantly than before.
Roger crouched just below the window where the screams had become resounding and a bright light filtered through and spilled into the hallway. He motioned for Amanda and Krystal to stay back, afraid that Krystal's uncontrollable urge to squeal would give them away. Slowly he managed to peer over the window's ominous edge.
Roger had to stifle his own urge to scream. Standing with his back to the window pane was a man dressed in a white lab coat with a paper cap, face mask, and latex gloves. Beneath his hands was a naked body covered in blood and his chest partially open. The whirring sound they had heard before was the electric saw that the doctor was using to slice into the screaming patient. Roger was certainly impressed. The best part was, he recognized the body on the table.
He motioned for Amanda to come take a look for herself. At first her expression was horrified and slightly disgusted, but when she realized the actor on the table was Billy, she smiled. Krystal crept closer, and despite Roger's motions to the contrary, she took a look for herself.
Her imminent yelp caused the whirring of the saw to stop. Suddenly the doctor was looking through the window. His eyes squinted as if he couldn't see through the dark glass. Amanda and Roger immediately ducked. They held their breath, trying to appear as if they were stifling their laughter when secretly they were terrified of the possibilities. After what seemed like an eternity passed and the whirring never continued, Roger looked into the room again.
The doctor was gone and all that was left was the sleeping form of Billy's bloody corpse with a small paper towel to cover his 'open' wound. Roger glanced back at his followers and noticed a closed door just behind Krystal. Finally, he saw his opportunity.
"Okay," he whispered almost inaudibly, "we'll go in, pick up one of those fake knives, and pretend to stab him. That's sure to scare him shitless." Amanda nodded excitedly but Krystal's face was more than tentative. Roger pushed the girls aside and leaned in to whisper in Krystal's ear before opening the door behind her. "You don't have to go in." She nodded gratefully and pressed herself against the wall so that he and Amanda could pass into the well-lit study.
Once inside, Roger crept along the ground ignoring the surrounding furniture and bookshelves. The house had been completely empty for years and the barren shelves were just a reminder of the studious mind that once lived there. He and Amanda made it next to the operating table without a single sound to cause suspicion. Their diabolical plan was going to work.
Amanda slowly reached up and grabbed one of the bloody props that was strewn across the doctor's operating stand. Almost instantaneously she was on her feet, pretending to stab it into Billy's chest. She released a rehearsed, maniacal scream and waited for the rubber blade to ricochet off his sleeping form. The sensation of the knife ricocheting did not feel as she expected, however; it was more like a 'plunge'. Suddenly, Billy started screaming.
Roger was on his feet as Amanda backed away from the table, horrified. Billy was staring at the blade in his chest that was still standing on end, buried to the hilt. There was blood spewing from his mouth and Amanda's screams replaced his gurgled pleas for help. Roger stared blankly, not comprehending why the firemen would have real knives. Without thinking, he removed the paper towel covering where the doctor had been working.
The teenagers were met with exposed organs, pools of blood, and splitting skin. The pulsating body tissue before them was very real and a knife to Billy's heart had become a merciful act. With every bit of strength the fireman had left, he turned his head and seemingly stared at something behind them.
Roger and Amanda turned impulsively. Krystal's body was being rammed against the window. Her face was motionless and her eyes were wide and empty. Blood poured from her mouth and soaked into the front of her spandex costume. Slowly her body slid across the glass and revealed the shadowy silhouette of the doctor standing behind her with a glistening scalpel in hand.
With horrifying reflexes, the doctor disappeared and began to jiggle the door handle that Roger had used to enter the room. Amanda and Roger glanced around, frantically searching for the door that the doctor must have exited from. Finally Roger spotted it just behind a crumbling book shelf. He grabbed Amanda's hand just as their pursuer managed to open the door and ran for their only salvation.
He twisted the knob and threw Amanda inside just before he turned and locked the door behind him. Roger breathed heavily, repeatedly shuddering every time the doctor threw his weight against the door. Amanda whispered from behind him, "Roger…"
He turned and immediately released an irrepressible scream. A young woman was laying atop a bed covered in a thick quilt infused with designs of daisies and ladybugs. She was extremely pale, and her eyes fluttered slightly as if she were suffering from a nightmare worse than their's. Wires led from under the blankets and were plugged into monitors and a standard methane drip.
As Roger neared her sleeping form, the young woman's eyes suddenly opened. Roger fell to the ground, squealing as the door behind them finally broke under the doctor's weight and splintered across the floor. Amanda turned abruptly; she screamed as the doctor drove the scalpel deep through her mouth and into her skull. As her gurgling finally stopped, he jerked his blade from her throat which released a sickening 'crack'.
Unfortunately, Roger had now earned the doctor's full attention. As he drew closer, Roger pressed his feet against the floor and attempted to thrust himself back. He hit his head against the soft mattress of the girl's bed and knew there was no escape. He whimpered fearfully, desperately fighting for time.
"Y-y-you're Dr. Rippner!" He sputtered through trembling lips. The doctor nodded, and squatted to Roger's level. He lowered his mask and his charming smile spread across his face from ear to ear. His teeth were perfectly white and his voice was mellow and completely calm.
"Indeed, young man. And you could be the organ donor that saves my daughter's life."
Suddenly crazed, the doctor launched himself at Roger and pressed his gloved hands against his neck. Roger struggled under his grasp, his lack of oxygen progressively effecting his vision. As everything slowly began to blur and the sensation of his heart beating started to fade, Roger no longer noticed the hysterical expression in Doctor Rippner's vehement eyes.
As a small hand grasped his fingers with what little strength it had, Roger noticed that the girl had turned on her side to stare at him regretfully. She gripped her soft fingers in his as his body began to weaken. Soon all sound faded and he no longer felt the unbearable pressure against his throat.
All he could see was the doctor's daughter and how her bright blue eyes seemed to plead,
"I never wanted this."