It was a cool autumn morning, with the air whispering between the golden leaves on the large oaks that lined the fairly desolate streets. Sweet song birds chirped along as the sun began to rise higher into the nearly cloudless sky. School buses lazily went down spacious streets as kids started their day and made their way to school. Groups of teens were walking down the streets every which way. Some were going to meet up with other friends while others simply headed towards school or a bus stop that was on the way. Rowdy boys laughing and shouting as they either try to impress what girls were around or simply just be boys. The town was quite large as most places that are fairly rural are. A majority of the town however was taken up by large amounts of abandoned buildings. You see this place used to be a bustling military town back in the 50’s but budget cuts and PCSing (a permanent change of station) soldiers out to different bases ended up taking out a majority of the town. The circulation as well as the supply and demand of the multiple stores dwindled until just a few nice sections of the town remained.
“Hey Zander! Think fast!” was shouted from behind a fairly sized group of guys. One of the guys towards the middle of the group turned just in time for a football to collide with his face. A hollow, rubbery sound as well as a surprised shout came from the boy. Zander haphazardly tried to grab the football. A couple chuckles sounded around him as he looked up to see Mich, a decent friend of his, to be lightly jogging towards him. A huge childish grin plastered on his face.
“Thanks for the heads up.” Zander lowly spat out. Putting a hand on his nose to see whether or not it was bleeding. He didn’t have a glass nose or anything like that but the cold out made every little hit seem a little bit worse than what it usually was. Not to mention he used to get nose bleeds all the time as a kid. Stopped once he got his nose cauterized though. Blood and freckles didn’t really mix well.
Mich caught up with the four others chuckling darkly. Slinging an arm around Zander’s shoulders patting his chest. “Well I did give you a heads up, you just suck at catching.” Zander shook his head chuckling at his retarded friend. The group started walking again, now that the whole group was here. Aaron, the stockier guy of the group, smacked the back of Mich’s head letting out a loud laugh. “I swear you’re a failed abortion or something.”
The group continued to the school laughing and making more jokes about how each of them were retards in some way, shape, or form.
Zander broke off from his group of friends after shit-talking with them about how sucky the town they all lived in was. With a wave good-bye he walked off to his homeroom. They day went by pretty slowly. Zander kept zoning out here and there staring off into the woods near by or watching whatever passerby there was that happened to be there. He let out a soft sigh. Halloween was coming up in about two weeks and most of the town was getting ready for it. Since most of the town was abandoned a lot of outside visitors like to swing by to get off on the ‘spooky’ atmosphere the weird town had. Most of the time they could be annoying, the visitors, but Zander didn’t really pay much attention to them. After all, why should he care? New people meant new hot girls to talk to. At that thought he cringed a little. ‘Nice going Zander, now you sound like a fucking creep.’ He smiled a little at the harsh criticism. At least nobody could read his mind.
The bell suddenly rung and it was break period now. Meaning that Zander’s friends, sadly including Mich, would be in the classroom soon. It wasn’t like he didn’t like Mich. It’s just that he could be a little much at times the fucking spaz. He kept looking out the window when a loud thud sounded in the seat beside him. Letting out a small groan he looked over to the cocky Mich in the seat beside him. Hands folded behind his head like some cocky anime character.
“So Zandy,” Mich started glancing over at him smirking. Zander frowned. He hated the stupid nicknames that Mich gave everyone. Especially his. “I think I found what were gonna be fucking doing tonight.” He said with a rise of his brows. Zander gave him a look of confusion, clearly knowing nothing about what he was talking about. There wasn’t much to do around here unless you wanted to get lost in the woods or get murdered in an abandoned building. Which happened sometimes but not often. ‘Probably some druggie or homeless person’ is what most people thought.
“What is it now Mich? You gonna get us to explore another abandoned building? Last time Tony stepped on a fucking nail.” That wasn’t a pleasant sight. The rusty nail had gone straight through his foot since it was dark and he didn’t know where the hell he was going since he was also a cocky dumbass and didn’t listen to reason. Half of the group thought that he was gonna have to have his leg amputated or some dumb shit like that. He didn’t really feel like having to go through that again unless he absolutely needed to. Which he couldn’t see how he would ever have to go into an abandoned building unless for fun.
The rest of the group walked into the class and sat down at the table with Mich and Zander. “Well now that the whole group is here, I can say no shit-head. It’s not an abandoned building. It’s something way better.” His smirk grew with each word he put out. Zander looked around the table making confused eye contact with everyone else. Seems like nobody but Mich knew what the hell he was talking about.
“Well spit it out dumb-ass.” An impatient Tony crossed his arms glaring at Mich. Mich scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Halloween is coming up and I found this cool ass flyer for a costume store so we’re going there tonight to see what’s up.” Mich pulled out a crumpled purple piece of paper from his back pocket. It was a fairly plain flyer for a costume store.
Zander passed the flyer over to Aaron and he raised a brow at the paper. “Really? We haven’t done this shit in forever Mich.” Antonio shook the flyer towards Mich. “Why so sudden?” Mich ran a had through his dirty-blonde hair. His stupid smirk on his face as always. “Don’t know. Just saw it and thought it was cool. Not like there was much else we could do for the holiday though right?”
The boys looked around at each other as if silently asking each other ‘Do we really wanna do this?’. Tony shrugged. “Sure, why not?”
That seemed to be the end of that. They had all agreed to meet up that night at the small park near an abandoned apartment building of some sort. It was like their hang out spot. Zander hadn’t really been all gung-ho about the idea but Mich did have a point. ‘Not like there was much else going on right?” Man he hated when Mich was right. All he wanted to do was punch Mich in the face at least once. I mean yeah they were all friends but sometimes a friend needs a nice cold-clock straight to the fucking nose. Zander didn’t really like talking that much and Mich was an exact opposite of him. He started thinking about different things like how he’d have to go show shopping for some new converse since his were getting a little too scuffed up. He had another growth spurt now at a decent height of 6’2 but he doubted he’d be growing anymore. ‘I mean I just turned 19. How much longer till I stop growing?’
Zander pulled his hoodie a little tighter around his neck. He never did like his face being exposed at night like this. Part of the the disadvantage to being in a big town but small population was that you never knew who’d pop up when and new spread fast. So sneaking out on a school night to go fuck around with your best-buds would usually end up back to your mom pretty fucking fast. Exhaling a little puff of warm breath Zander smirked a little. Thinking back to the times he was 14 and sneaking out for the first time just to end up in trouble cause fucking Mich didn’t know when to quite. He’d known the guy for a while now.
“Doesn’t mean I don’t wanna beat the shit out of him sometimes though.” Zander darkly chuckled. He turned a corner and saw the park sign at the top of the metal fencing.
SILENT OAKS PARK
Zander quickly headed over to the swings where he could see the other guys grouped up. Tony smoking a cigarette and the rest just bull-shitting around waiting for him. A sly smirk formed on Zanders face when he saw Mich turned away from him. ‘Perfect.’
Silently, as much as he could anyways, Zander walked up right behind Mich and then grabbed the back of his neck. Mich squealed like a fucking piglet at the sudden contact. The group burst out in deep chuckles as Mich blushed in embarrassment.
“Nice fucking squeak there piggy.” Antonio laughed out.
The group started their way to this weird costume shop that Mich had been so eagerly talking about at school a couple hours ago. Mich lead the group, giving dirty looks to Antonio and Zander as he walked. They both just looked to each other and laughed at how stupid and petty Mich could be.
“Well here we are!” Mich said presenting the usually abandoned shopping strip like it was a brand new fucking car. The group stood there eyeing the place warily. Mich didn’t wait for the rest of them as he went into the building. Zander and the rest followed suit.
Zander looked over the many racks of cheap masks and poorly made costumes in basic plastic packaging. He was holding a poorly decorated hockey mask when he saw Mich from the corner of his eye slinking around. ‘What the fuck is he doing now?’ Zander put back the mask and followed behind Mich to see him staring at some creepy ass plague doctor mask. It was, so far, the only seemingly well made item in the entire fucking shop. “What are you doing?” Zander asked. Mich started looking quickly behind him to meet Zanders annoyed green eyes. “I want this one.” pointing to the strange mask. However right by the mask sat a big ass ‘NOT FOR SALE. DO. NOT. TOUCH.’ sign. “Too bad it’s not for sale.” Zander shrugged and turned to walk away eyeing the creepy fucking thing. Something was kind of drawing his attention to it though. He felt a cold-chill go up his spine. Zander looked back up to Mich. He had a blank expression on his face. ‘Fucking weird’ Zander shook his head and went to go back and look over the shelves to see if something would pique his interest.
About 40 minutes later the group met up at the doors. Nobody found anything cool to buy. Even if one of them did they couldn’t find anyone else in the store. Not even a fucking employee. The boys walked out chit chatting between themselves. Zander eyed Mich and noticed that he looked really fucking weird. More weird than was normal for the strange guy. It wasn’t until they were about a block away did Zander feel a tap on his shoulder.
Turning his head to look at Mich he see him with a stupidly cocky grin on his face. “Guess what I did.” He said tilting his head, looking at the guys up ahead a few paces. Zander raised a brow. Frowning a bit he nodded his head a bit as if to say ‘What did you fucking do now?’ Zander shoved his hands into his hoodie pocket and stopped walking so he could clearly see what ever it was that Mich had did.
Mich then pulled out something from under his jacket. It took a few moments to see what it was but when Zander realized what it was his jaw dropped a little in anger and disbelief.
“I fucking stole it!”
Zander let out a grown and ran his hands over his face. “God damn it Mich! Why’d you do that?!” he seethed out. He looked behind them to the guys up ahead. They seemed to have stopped eyeing them with confused looks on their faces.
Mich just cockily shrugged with a huge smirk on his face. Zander shook his head and growled under his breath “Fucking idiot.” He snatched the mask from Mich and turned around to the guys.
“Go ahead! I forgot something.” glaring at Mich when he said the later half of that sentence. Aaron just shrugged and turned to keep walking. Mich giving Zander a bird while smirking his dumb, stupid, stupid, ass off. Zander knew his mom would beat his ass if he got caught up in this. Mich had never stole before, at least that he knew of anyways.
Turning the corner, Zander looked up expecting to see the Halloween store but instead it was just an abandoned strip mall.
The store was gone
Zander stood there, mask in hand as he stared in disbelief. Brows raised he looked around confused as hell. He was sure he had gone the right way. It was the same building too.
He got closer to the building where the store was a few moments ago. Cardboard up windows and broken glass here and there was the only thing left of where the store used to be. ‘What the fuck?’
Zander threw the mask onto his computer desk as he flung himself onto his dirty bed. After not knowing what the hell to do he just decided to head back home. He figured he’d tear into Mich at school tomorrow. Zander stared at the ceiling letting out a sigh and running his hands through his dark locks. ‘I need to get a haircut soon.’
He felt a pair of eyes watching him and he turned to look at the stupid mask. Curiosity built up as he started to wonder what it’d be like to put the mask on. Standing up he walked over to the desk and grabbed the mask. Holding open the back he looked at the well crafted black leather of the mask. Straps on the back which he assumed was to hold the mask onto whoever wore it. Staring down into the mask made him feel a little woozy. He scrunched up his face and decided to throw the mask into the closet where it couldn’t freak him out.
Zander threw the covers over him as he decided to try and fall asleep.
He woke up the next morning with his mom banging on the door. “You’re gonna be late! Get your ass up!!” Zander quickly looked over at his phone.
“FUCK!” Zander threw off the covers and threw on his converse not bothering to tie them. He hadn’t gotten into any pajamas last night so luckily he was ready to go. Running down the street and finally getting into his high school the bell just rang right as he turned into his first classes wing. He let out a loud groan as he slowed down and walked to his first class. Today was gonna be pretty shit.
The day ended on a sour note as he had gotten detention this weekend. Zanders friends made fun of him for being a dumb-ass and turning up to school late. He didn’t know why he had slept in so late. ‘Maybe it was because of that weird ass dream I had?’ he remembered. The dream was focused around the stupid plague doctor mask in his closet. He was in a dark, foggy clearing in the forest and the mask was on the ground facing him. It pulled him towards it and no matter how much he fought, the worse it got. It ended right as Zander was about to put the mask on.
He shook his head as he looked up from the sidewalk he was walking on. The day flew by and he had to stay after class for a bit to clean the classroom since he was late. The day was foggy out and fairly chilly. Some other teens were out and about but not many. Zander sighed as he scrunched his eyes shut. He was so damn tired. He’d need to go to bed early that night.
For the next week the same dream, no, nightmare kept happening. Eventually the dream started to change little by little each night. One time his teeth fell out and were replaced by something that you’d see from a certain clown that would be in the drain under the street waiting for you to reach in. Other times his jaw would burn and then start dislocating and bleeding. The dreams got worse every night. Eventually people started to catch on to something not being right with Zander. He became even more seclusive than normal. Barely talking and his excuse was either “My jaw hurts. It’s just wisdom teeth.” to “I’m just tired.”
‘Well no shit i’m fucking tired. I have god-damn bags under my eyes.’
Every little thing irritated him. He just wished he could be in complete silence for just a day. He thought that every one around him was disgusting. Disgustingly loud. Disgustingly self-centered. Didn’t they realize he was tired? That he was in pain? And Mich? Mich? Oh boy Zander had fantasies about shutting him the fuck up. He wanted to rip his throat out just to see that cocky grin disappear from his smug fucking face.
It was night yet again. The day flew by and now it was only two days from Halloween. Zander was completely exhausted. He just wanted some quiet.
The phone by Zanders face suddenly went off. He growled and tugged at his hair at the annoying sound. He grabbed the phone but it slipped through his hand. ‘Why is my phone wet?’ he wondered. Then he realized that he was pouring sweat. He scrunched up his nose in slight disgust. Pushing it off as something to worry about later Zander reached down for his phone. Bringing the annoyingly bright object up to his face. Squinting he looked at the most recent message.
<Hey fuck-nuts we’re at the meeting spot. Come join us if you’re not too busy being a fucking recluse :P>
Zander’s eye twitched. Pure. Seething. HATE. Came pouring from inside Zander. He scowled and threw the phone at the wall. Not giving a shit whether or not it woke his mom or dad up. He had had enough. Quickly getting up Zander threw on his black winter jacket. It had gotten fucking cold as balls outside and he didn’t feel like freezing his balls off while beating the shit out of Mich. As he opened his closet to grab his pair of converse his eye caught glimpse of the mask at the bottom of his closet floor.
It was lightly snowing now. The pitch-black sky looked unreal with the lamp post light lighting up the dark abyss with gentle snowflakes falling down around him. The fuzzy lining of the hood kept Zander’s nose from fucking falling off. One hand holding the damned mask while the other in his pocket keeping warm. He didn’t even know why he brought the stupid fucking thing. All it did was cause trouble for him anyways with those damn nightmares. His jaw was fucking killing him and his lower face felt like it was going to be ripped off any minute.
Zander stopped suddenly. He was about a block away from the meeting spot when he thought of something.
‘What am I doing?’
He looked down at the mask in his hand. Now holding it with both hands he face it towards him. The black glass where the eyes were meant to be staring past his green eyes and into him. His hands started to shake slightly. He was so tired. He just wanted peace and quiet. A sudden surge of rage flew through Zander like a shock-wave when Mich had suddenly popped up in his mind.
“This is all Mich’s fault . . . “ Zander hissed out. His breath forming a cloud around his cold face. His hands clenched onto the black leather of the stupid plague doctor mask. He shakily turned the mask around. Now holding it open. Ready to put it on.
‘It was Mich’s fault that I have this stupid thing. It’s HIS FAULT.’
Zanders whole body was shaking now. He didn’t know if it was from the cold or maybe the anger. Could it be the fear? The fear of not knowing what the hell was going on with his body anymore? He didn’t know.
HE DIDN’T CARE
Zander let out a shaky breath before shoving his face into the mask. Pulling the leather straps over his face and onto the back of his head. If this damn thing wanted to be put on so badly then fine. He would put the damn thing on. He’d use it as pay back on Mich for fucking him over so badly.
Sudden burning started on his face where the mask touched his skin. It started off slight but it grew with each moment the mask was on him. The falling snow around him didn’t help ease the pain. Quickly, with shaking hands he reached up and tried to pull the damn thing off of his face. Zander pulled as hard as he could on the mask. Trying to dig his fingers underneath the sides of the mask to no avail. He started to let out pained cries. It seemed like he was screaming due to the pain but nothing but high pitched whispered came out from between his lips.
He felt a liquid start to pour from his mouth and and sides of his jaws. A coppery taste flooding over his tongue. Blood. His blood. Zander began freaking out now. Trying as hard as he could to rip the damn thing off of his poor pale face. He started pulling harder and harder. He shuffled around trying to get it off of him. He felt his jaw ripping in unbearable agony as sharp pains felt like they were pushing through his mouth. In terror he realized his jaw was opening up far further than what was normal. Pained tears started pouring out of his eyes. Begging for someone to help him. But nobody was around. His silent cries falling on deaf ears and gentle falling snow.
Zander slipped as he continued to try and pull the damn thing off. As he lay there, back in the snow, he could see out the eyes of the mask and up into the inky sky. Gentle snow flakes falling around him. Tears. Pain. Burning. Rage. Pure rage blinded him. He scowled. Or at least he tried to. Mich crossing his mind. All Zander wanted to do was silence Mich up right now. He could hear Mich’s cocky laugh ringing through his head at the moment. Steam rising up against the slow dissension of the snowflakes around him made zone out and fall into his pure seething rage he felt with every bone in his body.
Zanders hands fell from the mask. He no longer tried to get the damn thing off. Gently placing his sore hands in the soft snow Zander just stared up into the inky sky. Slow labored breaths coming out from him. They started to get slower and slower. Till he stopped. One last shuddering breath came out from him. Blood surrounding his head and staining the fuzz in his once nice and clean winter jacket. Pain. Hate. Burning. Silence.
The silence was so nice.
Mich looked at his phone for the billionth time. ‘Where the fuck is he?’
He knew that he had been a bit of a dick towards Zander lately but he couldn’t help it. The dude always fucking overshadowed him in the group and it was about time he became the hated one.
Aaron and Antonio were sharing a cigarette together while Tony just sat on the swings freezing his short little ass off. Mich scoffed. ‘Zander is such a fucking dick . . . ‘
“Yo, who’s that?” Aaron suddenly announced. Everyone else looked towards the entrance of the park. There stood this tall person. The lamppost right outside the entrance laminated the red fuzz that surrounded their hood.
“What the fuck?” Mich seethed out. Squinting to see if he could figure out who the hell it was. The figure suddenly started making their way over towards the boys. Tony stood up defensively and Aaron and Antonio walked closer to Mich. “Wait, is that Zander?” Antonio whispered.
“Maybe?” Tony squinted and leaned forward a tad bit. “Looks like his fucking jacket.”
The figure got closer and closer till it was a good couple feet away from the group when it looked up from the ground to reveal a black plague doctor mask. It was Zander. ‘But why is he wearing that fucking thing?’ As Mich stared down Zander more he noticed how wet his shirt looked. The dark blue cloth seemed black around the collar. ‘What is up with him?’
“Yo, you all good bro?” Aaron asked cautiously. Zander tilted his head slightly at his question. He didn’t look over at him though. Oh no, he was staring down Mich. And Mich did not like it at fucking all.
Zander straightened out his head and continued his path towards Mich. The other guys just slowly stepped to the side not wanting to get in the way of whatever it was that was going on.
Mich gulped down a shaky breath as he took his hands out of his pockets. He didn’t dare look away from the dark glass of where Zanders eyes were supposedly. Zander stopped a couple inches away from Mich. The tip of the mask he wore just two inches from Mich’s nose. Mich suddenly smelled something coppery. Shakily looking down he noticed clearly what it was that black liquid was around Zanders collar. It wasn’t black. And it wasn’t a mystery liquid.
It was blood. Zander’s blood.
Suddenly Zander reached up a pale hand and gently grabbed the base of the beak of the mask. Leaning in towards Mich’s ear he raised the mask to just below his nose. Mich could hear inhales from his friends around him. Shakily he peeked at Zander. His face went pale as he saw rows of sharp, pointy teeth lining Zanders mouth. His lips were spread into a sickeningly long smile as he breathed a short warm breath onto Mich’s ear.
He waited. He didn’t dare move. Those damn teeth scared the shit out of him. Everything else looked like Zander from what he could see from his face. Smooth pale skin and freckles here and there. He expected Zander to say something. Anything. Any sound right now would be bliss to break the uncomfortable and terrifying silence that was surrounding the boys right now.
And then Mich opened his mouth to ask What the hell was going on?
Suddenly Zander grabbed the back of Mich’s head and bit down onto his throat. Tearing out half of his fucking neck. You could see his spine in the back. His muscles contracting trying to let out a work. To take in a breath. ANYTHING.
Antonio, Aaron and Tony all paled as they saw blood pour from where Mich’s throat used to be. Antonio and Aaron started towards the abandoned apartment building near by and Tony slowly back up. Zander. Or whatever the fuck that thing was stood between him and his other friends.
Tony shook as he backed into the playground. He watched in disgust as Zander gulped down what had once been part of Mich’s throat. Then it looked at him. It’s gleaming teeth giving off clouds of hot air from the warm blood that had once been in his friends throat.
Heavy breathing was heard as Antonio and Aaron rushed up the stairs of the abandoned building.
“What the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK!”
Antonio kept chanting that as they ran. Aaron was leading the way. He noticed that Tony hadn’t followed them into the building and the abrupt screaming and then quick silencing that came after gave pretty fucking heavy context clues that the dude was fucked. It was just him, Antonio and that fucking silent monster.
As they both ran up the fourth flight of stairs Aaron heard a loud crash right behind him. A loud shout and pained gasp followed. Aaron looked behind him to see Antonio halfway through the fucking stairs.
“FUCK dude. I’m stuck.”
Antonio looked up at Aaron expectedly. His arms were holding him there. Aaron was standing at the top of the stairs. He opened his mouth and took a step down to go help Antonio when something moved at the bottom of the stairs. Aaron looked down and saw Zander standing there. A foot up on the bottom step. His head tilting to the side as if watching to see what he’d do. Nobody moved.
“What are you waiting for? HELP ME!”
Suddenly Zander seemingly winced when Antonio screamed at Aaron. Aaron took a shaking step back up the stairs and watched in horror as Zander flew up the stairs. Getting up them much faster than either Antonio or he had. Aaron gives an apologetic glance at Antonio. Antonio’s face paled as he realized his friend had abandoned him. He looked up to see the plague doctor mask staring down at him.
Aaron heard yet another scream that was silenced quickly. He was at the top of the building now. The stairs to the roof long rotted away so he stood by a large window. Looking down he realized it was a good four story drop. Not too far away laid the bodies of Mich and Tony. It looked like their necks were completely gone but he couldn’t really tell from so far away. Snow was blowing into the room and onto Aaron’s tear stained face. His brown hair flowing into his eyes every once in a while.
Eyes. He felt eyes on his back. Slowly Aaron turned to see Zander standing in the only entryway into the room he was in. He backed slowly towards the window behind him. Hands placed on the cold window seal. Zander tilted his head towards Aaron. Studying him as it seemed.
“Fuck dude. WHAT THE FUCK?” Aaron felt hot tears run down his frozen face. He knew what could happen if he let that thing get to him. He didn’t want that. He didn’t want to scream out in agony as his throat was ripped from him silencing him in the process. He didn’t want to end up like them.
He shook his head slowly pushing himself up to sit in the broken window seal. Pieces of broken glass piercing his leg and blood trickled down. But he didn’t care. He wanted this to be over with already. Man, he wanted to go home.
“Fuck you.” He whispered out as he flung what used to be his friend the bird. And he leaned out the window. If he was gonna die tonight he’d do it on his own terms.
Pain. Everywhere was pain. Aaron wanted to scream but he couldn’t. He was in so much pain. He opened his eyes only to choke back a scream as he saw that damned mask there in front of him. Hot tears were pouring from him now. Zander stared at him with a tilted look to his head.
Then he reached down and grabbed Aaron by a broken arm and started to drag him towards the forest that had surrounded the whole park. Aaron let out screams as loud as he could hoping, praying, that someone would hear him. But to his horror not a single sound came out.
Aaron looked down to see his shirt ripped and a large, crossed out Z carved into his chest. It burned. Steam rolling off of his chest as though he was on fire.
Tiny whimpers were barely heard. A soft dragging sound slowly faded deeper and deeper into the woods.
Soon the sounds could no longer be heard. Just gentle snowfall floating down from the inky sky as it covered the ground. Covered the blood. Covered everything that had happened here in this strange desolate park until the next day when some poor kid would come here wanting to play on the playground. But finally.
There was silence.
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