Kevin S. Hall
Dave J. Suscheck, Jr.
Amy S. Pacini
Cecilia H. Doldan
Tales of Horror on Halloween Night Sample
Funeral by Samie Sands
I try and locate anyone I know, thinking that will help jog my mind. I feel like I sort of recognize everyone, but I don't know where from. I squint my eyes, turning away from the blinding sunlight that is streaming through one of the stained glass windows, just to be faced with a priest at the front, giving a speech of some kind. I try to listen to his words, but there is a buzzing in my brain that is louder than anything else.
I want to stand up, to get a proper look at everyone, but I can just sense that would be extremely inappropriate and I don't want to draw any attention to myself. An elderly lady is sat next to me; I look at her for a little while, drinking in her appearance. She looks friendly enough, I'm sure if I quietly ask her she won’t yell.
“Hey, um...I just wanted to know what we're all doing here. Sorry I know that's a bit...”
I don't know how to finish my sentence, so I just let the words hang in the air. She turns to look at me, she stares right into my eyes for a moment, a strange expression crosses her face, before she is too overcome with grief and she starts sobbing loudly. I am embarrassed by her reaction, and turn to see if anyone is looking. I can feel the blush running right through my body, but everyone else is too consumed in their own thoughts to care.
I shift uncomfortably in my seat, wondering how long this will all go on for. The longer I'm here, the more annoyed I'll become. Luckily, it's only moments later that everyone stands up and begins to exit the building, which I am now absolutely certain is a church. I follow along, unsure of what else to do. I try and meet people's eyes as they leave, but no one looks up from the floor, even for a second.
A chill runs right through me as the coffin passes where I'm now stood, and the buzzing that was bothering my brain before becomes and all consuming whisper. I push my hands over my ears, trying to block it out, but the more I try to ignore it, the clearer the words become. Soon I can't focus on anything else.
“Filius meus es opus in inferno. Venite ad me.”
I don't have any idea what the words mean, but I desperately want them to stop. I don't know what it is about the strange language, but it feels evil. I look around to see if anyone else can hear it, but worryingly it appears to only be me. I rub my head angrily, wondering if I'm going insane or something.
As soon as I set foot outside the building, it's as if the volume turns down. I can still hear the low gravelly voice murmur, but only very lightly. I can concentrate on other things at the same time. We walk out into the graveyard. Surrounding by head stones, I really start to panic about why I am here, and why I can't seem to remember a single thing of my entire life before entering the church today. It doesn't seem right.
The priest says a few words and then a woman goes on to make a eulogy to someone named Kate. This name doesn't ring any bells at all. I'm starting to think I really don't belong here. I would just sneak off if I have any idea of anywhere I could go. The only thing that keeps me rooted on the spot is that this is the only place that I know.
Until my memories come back, this could be the only place in the world as far as I'm concerned.
Suddenly a girl, about my age steps into my peripheral vision and I am knocked backwards with a memory. It's only brief, and it tells me nothing, but it is so powerful it hurts my chest. We were arguing, screaming in each other’s faces. I don't know when or what about, but we were really going for it, people surrounding us chanting something over and over. I wonder what that means? Is she an enemy? A friend who I had a falling out with? She looks so serene now, but the anger in her eyes that I saw in the memory, keeps repeating through my mind.
And just like that, other faces begin to send visions into my mind. It's like a film playing, showing the scenes only to me. A flash of a young girl tugging the head off one of her dolls, a pre-teen kicking a dog that won't stop barking and always lots of screaming, lots of shouting.
I stagger backwards in shock. If the girl I could see is really memories of myself, then it appears everyone here truly hates me. But why? What did I do? Maybe I should get out of here before I manage to cause another row somehow.
“Actum est abunde! Tu surge, et vade prius venire ad me cogor.”
The voice screams in my ear so loudly that I jump and yell out. When no one comes to my aid, or even glances in my direction, I quickly realize. It hits me so hard I can't believe it has taken me this long to figure it all out. This is my funeral. I must be Kate. My chest constricts tightly as I struggle to get air down my throat. I'm dead? But why? How?
I look around at all the faces until I locate the one I am searching for. That woman, the one who spoke before, she must be my mother. So why don't I recognize her? Surely, out of everyone my own mother would be a face I know?
I walk over to where she is sat, getting very close to her, studying her face in great detail. Now I am certain no one else can see me I am no longer afraid of what I do. What is the worst that could happen to me? I'm already dead after all.
Nothing comes to mind at first, in fact I almost start to doubt my theory when she looks up at me and meets my eyes. It's almost as if she can see me, right into my soul, and she doesn't like what she sees at all. In fact she looks positively livid. That's when another image violently enters my brain, stopping me in my tracks. It's one of this woman, chasing after me, screaming and crying, before a man behind her overtakes, a baseball bat in hand. She is screaming at him to stop, screaming profanities at me. None of it makes any sense. I can't work it out at all, what is any of it supposed to mean?
I look around wildly trying to locate the man who was chasing me, but can see no sign. I am disappointed because I would have liked to finish that vision. I would like to know exactly what that man did to me with that baseball bat, and why. Wait a minute, is that why I'm dead? Did that man really kill me? Why did this woman, my mother, allow that to happen to me?
I step back from the crowd, overwhelmed and trying to work out the truth. Was I really murdered? I guess that would explain why I died so young. More importantly, why am I still here? Surely I should have 'moved on' by now? Surely it's only souls with some sort of 'unfinished business' that stay behind? I don't even know who I really am, how could I have something left over that I need to do?
“Iter facientem non vestrum me canis, utere atque officere circa finem. Ibi vere non vis venire.”
That voice again. What is going on here, seriously? It's all starting to piss me off a bit now. And terrify me all at the same time.
“What do you want?” I scream at the top of my lungs. I just need this hell to be over with now. “What do you want from me? What am I supposed to be doing here? I don't even know any of these god damn people.”
That's the moment that the tears start to flow, and once they have begun, I can't seem to find a way to stop them. It's one thing to just discover you are dead, it's quite another not to recognize anyone at your funeral. And on top of that I may have been killed? It's all too much to take in at one time.
I detect breathing behind me. I spin around; wanting to know who else has broken from the crowds like me, unable to cope with all of the raw emotion. It is a small woman, she in hunched over as if she is trying to disappear completely. I move over to her, entranced by her presence. She has an aura about her that I can't help wanting to be close to.
She is sniffing, but not crying like the others. I try talking to her, just as an experiment. For some reason I feel connected to her and I thought for a second that maybe she was just like me. ‘In between’—whatever that means. When she looks up and I see her eyes for the first time, the most powerful image of all racks through my body.
This woman is on her knees, holding on to my bleeding, broken body. She is screaming and wailing uncontrollably. “Why Donna, why? If you hadn't of done all of those awful things....”
I look at her confused. What awful things does she mean? And who is Donna? Then I see it. More vision, but these are much more sinister. Me, slicing the arm of a much younger boy with a razor blade. Me, with my hands around the neck of a girl who is sobbing and pleading with me to let her live. Me, pushing an elderly man from the top of a cliff, all for no reason.
“No, no, no!”
I cry out, backing away slowly. This cannot be happening, it just can't. Someone is putting these images in my mind, they must be. They aren't real, I am nothing like that, there is just no way. If I was a cold blooded killer, I would know about it wouldn't I?
I fall to the floor, overcome. I can now see with clarity that this woman is my mother, and that I'm Donna, not Kate. Who the hell even is Kate? I look towards the crowd, where the coffin is being placed in the ground and finally see the oversized photo of the girl who this funeral truly belongs to.
I'm transported to somewhere strange. The knife is in my hand, covered in blood and I laugh loudly. The feeling I get from this sight is overwhelming, it's a rush that nothing else will ever match. I have tried other vices; drugs, shoplifting, casual sex. None of them carry the same orgasmic rush as watching someone’s life slip away from them by my hands. Taking this precious gift away from someone is the most powerful a human can get. It takes you to an almost god-like status. I look down, at the bloody mangled body that lies at my feet, and give it a kick for good measure. I hear the door swing open behind me and even though I know I'm about to be discovered, I don't care. The eyes are so familiar. The eyes are of the girl who is in the coffin today.
My heart stops beating at that moment. It's all true, all the horrible things I saw myself doing are real. I'm evil. I have killed and maimed so many. What the fuck is wrong with me? Where did I go so wrong in life? What would posses me to become that monster?
I look up to my mother, but she is already gone. Probably hiding away from the shame of having a murderess daughter. Now I understand why that man, Kate's father, beat me to death with a baseball bat. He isn't here because he is most likely in prison. Locked away for giving justice to the bitch that killed his little girl in cold blood. What a mess I am.
“Si non possumus.”
These are the last words I hear, before a deafening crash rings out. A claw digs deep into my shoulder and I yell out in agony. What the fuck is happening now? I look behind me to see a hideous demon with a sinister smile bearing down on me. All the images I have ever seen of the devil and it's minions in my life, do them no justice. Being in front of one is a truly horrifying experience that can never be recorded on paper. It's long, black, rancid tongue reaches over and licks me, filling me with disgust and terror. I try to stand up, desperate to run away, but more and more of its clawed tentacles wrap around me, making it hard to breathe.
“I warned you.” The thing hisses at me. “I told you that you didn't want to make me come for you. You really are the worst.” It lets out a belting, evil laugh. “You've really done it now little girl, you have angered him. You're eternity will be spent in the worst parts of hell.”
I scream, I yell, I beg, I plead. It all falls on deaf ears. This monster doesn't want to hear it. It wants to cause me pain and misery. Maybe that's all I deserve, maybe I am just getting what was always going to come to me. Then, on that revelation, everything goes black.