by Daniela Garcia
Blog Content Contributor
*Warning: Shocktober is a suspense story series. All short stories are original. If you do not wish to be spooked, please skip this series.
The air was already chilling as the town of Haven had just entered the Fall season. Beaux tucked her boyish hands in the pockets of her waistcoat in an attempt to avoid biting her nails and keep herself warm. She looked around to catch a glimpse of Andy to see if he had noticed her nails or coldness. He had not. Instead, Andy had stopped walking and was staring at the town park that appeared to be empty today. Understandably so, everyone except Beaux and Andy had made the decision to stay home, possibly by a fire, with a hot cup of chocolate. Maybe they had marshmallows.
Beaux needed to see if there was a costume that made her instantly fall in love. If Beaux did not experience the falling-in-love-with-a-costume revelation, she would resort to making her own. She would not miss another trick-or-treating night ever again, she had decided. Last year, Beaux missed her daily intake of ½ cup of coffee right before school at 7:56a.m.so that she would walk into her class and subtly feel the effect of the caffeine take over the rest of her day.
Instead, Beaux had only drank ⅓ cup of coffee at 7:56 a.m., therefore she fell asleep in Biology. Any other day, Ms. Popatinksi would have not seen Beaux dozing off in the back of the classroom where she felt most comfortable. But that day, Ms. Popatinksi’s cat fell very ill, therefore requiring a substitute teacher that indeed noticed Beaux falling asleep and even slightly drooling, to which Ms. Popatinksi’s substitute reacted by sending Beaux to the principal’s office.
Since Halloween was Beaux’s favorite day out of the entire year and was only one day away, Beaux’s mother and father decided she was left to babysit her baby sibling, Mo, while her vampire dad and kitty cat mom went out to a costume party that even Ms. Popatinksi and her cat would attend. This was Beaux’s punishment, all because she didn’t take those extra couple of sips of coffee.
“What are you doing? We need to find a costume before the store closes Andy!” Beaux urged the perplexed Andy who was now slowly spinning on his heels, looking around him. This was the first time in a while that Andy had looked up from his phone. Beaux stirred and tried to take in what Andy was seeing. “What Andy?” She was slightly annoyed
“Where is everyone? There’s no one outside playing, no one in the shops we’ve passed,” He didn’t want to argue but felt he was raising an obvious question.
Beaux became frustrated as she caught sight of the town clock at the end of the street where all of the town shops were. They had fifteen minutes left to walk in the door before the employees started urging customers to leave, when in reality they still had about forty minutes left until closing time.
“I- I dunno Andy. They’re cold so they stayed home.”
“So why are we here?” Andy muttered, gave up and began walking forward, slightly annoyed.
“I didn’t ask you to come, Andy. If you wanna have a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows by your fireplace, by all means go home, but you came because you didn’t want to hear your parents yak over what they disagree on. Plus, you’re out of books to read so you came to get another one.” She was a little hurt. She didn’t think she was being unpleasant. No one, not even Andy had told her he was out of books to read. Beaux knew that he would never touch his phone unless he had a book under his nose.
“Sorry.” He felt slightly guilty. Beaux had always been a good friend, and his only friend at that. She was over it in seconds.
“I hope we find something. By now costumes have probably been picked through and germafied by Haven high.” She made a gagging noise.
“Why are you such a germaphobe? Actually, you probably really aren’t, because you hang out with me and everyone else thinks I’m gross.” He shrugged his shoulders.
“You are not gross. Shut up.” Beaux nudged him and smiled.
“I just really don’t want to make my own costume this year. Last year all my hard work to be a bad witch went to friggin’ waste. So I saved up this year.”Beaux’s chest rose a little in pride. “$60 whole dollars. I’m rich!” She skipped, hands still in pocket, shortly met with a hard and inevitable face plant on the cement of the sidewalk.
“Beaux!” Andy rushed to her aid.
“That. hurt,” Beaux’s muffled voice sounded from under the voluminous brown curls sprawled over her head.
“Are you okay? Dude, your face already looks swollen are you-” Andy stopped speaking following Beaux’s gaze that was trailing the tires of the parked cars of the street. They were all slashed.
Beaux could taste iron and salt in her mouth but wasn’t worried about it as much as she would have been under normal circumstances, because amongst the line of cars with slashed tires, she now noticed that her mother’s brown volkswagen was amongst them and a familiar cry sounded from within.
Beaux ran past Andy and was struck with the utter horror of Mo’s car seat with Mo inside.
To her surprise, the door creaked open, causing Mo to stop her shrilling cries that then were reduced to sobs. Mo’s blue eyes widened at the sight of Beaux at what seemed like relief.
Beaux hesitated in reaching inside but knew she had to act. She didn’t know why but she had the eminent urge that if she didn’t reach in to retrieve her baby sister, something terrible would happen. Her numb fingers fumbled through the car seat belt. But her fingers began to warm on contact with the belt and to her horror began to burn her. Shortly, the belt was in small yet undeniable flames.
“Andy! Help!” There was no answer, no rush to her side. Instead, the door swung shut behind her and locked as she crouched over Mo’s seat which would shortly be consumed by flames. Beaux kicked the door and windows to no avail. She would also be consumed by the flames. What a terrible way to die, I’m sorry, she whispered to her sister. But she wouldn’t give up just yet.
Her eyes searched through the developing smoke for any sign of Andy. She managed to temporarily put out the flames with her coat, attempting to calm Mo as she had begun crying again in panic.
Beaux caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure that lay in the middle of the street. Her eyes managed to recognize that the figure then being dragged away was Andy, leaving behind a trail of red as his body was consumed by the thickening fog. At that moment, the locks simultaneously unlocked and her attempt at taking Mo out of the car seat was successful.
Beaux’s arms enveloped Mo securely as she jumped out of the car, attempting to comfort her as her sobs slowly turned into soft whimpers. Soon she was quiet. But Beaux couldn’t resist breaking the silence as she called out for her friend.