Just something I cracked out tonight. WHO KNOWS WHERE IT'LL GO.
By the time the dead came knocking, I was on my fourth JD and Coke and I was feeling pretty out of it.
It was a house party, my first actually. I blame my parents for the awkward social situation I had placed myself in; they were forever telling me I needed to be more ‘out there’ and make friends. Since college had broken up for the summer, I had spent day after day watching movies on my laptop and overdosing on pizza. I had never been particularly popular but the two close friends I actually had had jetted off for the summer for weeks of sea sun and sand. I was stuck in my gloomy hometown, reputable only for the fact that we had one of the highest rates for teenage pregnancy.
You can see why I was in no hurry to leave the house.
An older friend had come back from University though and sent me an invitation for their house party. I happened to mention it once in passing conversation and my parents had leaped down my neck with such force, as though it would be absolutely ludicrous for me to not go.
‘I won’t know anyone though,’ I had protested.
‘You’ll MAKE friends. Stop being so antisocial,’ Mum had retorted.
So, just to please them, I had made a special effort and decided the only way I could talk to strangers was if I had enough alcohol in my system. I wasn’t going to get obliterated, just have enough that I felt loose and ready to mingle. By the time I had arrived, the party was already in full swing and I stood awkwardly waiting at the entrance for my friend to welcome me inside. Some guys were playing beer pong in the corner, another had a beer bong and a select few were sat normally chatting with friends on the sofa.
‘Sam!’ A girl’s voice cut through the crowd. Relief swept through me as I spotted at least one familiar face.
‘Hey Laura, it’s good to see you. Thanks for inviting me.’
‘Come in, get out of the cold. How’ve you been?’
‘Busy,’ I lied. ‘But good thanks. How’s University going?’
‘Ugh, so much work. I just wanna forget about it for the summer. Come get a drink.’
One shot of vodka turned into a JD and Coke and throughout the night I found myself necking it back to get the uncomfortable feeling squashed out of me. I wanted to have a good time and not feel so out of place. A couple of people attempted talking to me but I wasn’t able to hold a conversation that was interesting enough for more than five minutes.
I wandered into the garden, nursing a cup, and sat myself down on the stone wall. It was cold out here, but I didn’t really feel it so much. I glanced upwards, where the stars were twinkling in the inky night sky and blew out slowly, watching my breath mist and swirl around me. It was nice to get some fresh air, to clear my already clouded head.
‘You’re Sam aren’t you?’ a voice beside me made me jump so hard I spilt some of my drink down my front.
‘Bollocks,’ I muttered to myself, attempting to rub it off with my sleeve. How attractive I looked right now. A little pissed off that I had been disturbed, I turned to glare accusingly at the newcomer. It was a guy, probably the same age as Laura, completely unfamiliar to me but disgustingly good looking.
‘Sorry!’ he laughed, holding his hands up apologetically. His beautiful, tanned hands. ‘Didn’t mean to make you jump.’
‘Uh, that’s okay. Yes I am Sam.’
‘Thought so, you looked familiar. You don’t recognize me though do you?’
‘Am I supposed to?’ I shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant.
He smirked a little. ‘I used to babysit you.’
His grin widened. ‘Hey.’
A blush crept up my neck and turned every sentence I was going to say into unrecognisable mush. Instead, I could only stare at him with what I can imagine looked like a mixture of shock and horror. Flashbacks of me running round with my dress over my head decided to make an appearance in my mind and the blush on my cheeks deepened a dark crimson colour.
‘How have you been?’ His second attempt at conversation sounded a little more desperate than his first and I forced myself to remain calm and to act normal.
‘Oh yeah? Been up to much?’
‘Err, meeting up with friends you know. Just the usual stuff.’ I was trying so hard to not slur my words.
This was going horrifically and I was praying for a distraction. Unfortunately, the distraction that arrived next was not the one I was intending. I don’t think it was a distraction that anybody would wish for. Bearing in mind by this time my limbs felt like jelly and time was having a hard job catching up with my senses. All I was aware of was James’ expression morphing to one of confusion and then fear. I thought it was down to my horrible social skills, but it took me two full seconds to realize he was no longer looking at me and was instead looking in the direction of the garden gate. He gripped my arm and I swivelled my head to follow his line of sight.
There was a man stood there.
That in itself didn’t sound so bad, considering we were at a party and there were people everywhere, but in my drunken state it took a while for it to click why he was so out of place. By this point James was pulling me away and the man was walking closer towards us. Actually, it was more of a haphazard stagger. There was something wrong with his face and his clothes. It looked like he had been in a fight; his clothes were torn and bloodied and he had several wounds decorating his features. The more noticeable one was the tear in his cheek which made me cringe when I caught a glimpse of it. The skin from the corner of his eye down to his mouth had been torn away; revealing a patch of white which I imagined was his bone beneath fleshy pink bits of muscle and fat.
The JD and Coke bubbled up throughout me and I promptly vomited up everywhere. This act jerked me into reality and I leapt up with James and we ran back into the house, slamming the door shut behind us. I collapsed against it, fighting the urge to puke again and James ran further into the house.
Something crashed in the door behind me and I scrambled to my feet. The handle was turning and a bloodied hand smeared the glass.
I gripped the handle, turning it the other way whilst shouting something about finding a key.
My mind refused to process what happened, not just yet, and when James returned with Laura, I was on the verge of passing out. She was drunker than I was and was just giggling hysterically to herself. James was shaking her by the shoulders and shouting something in her face.
Hold it together Sam. Don’t pass out yet.
‘Key, guys. NOW.’
James shoved something into the lock and turned with such force I thought he was going to snap the key in half.
‘You can let go now Sam.’
‘Oh thank god.’ I sagged to the floor. My head lolled forwards against my will and I brought my knees up to my face. My skin was cold and it soothed my burning forehead temporarily. I shouldn’t have drunk as much as I did.
‘Are you alright?’ James crouched beside me and I waved him away.
‘Guys,’ Laura laughed. ‘Seriously, what the fuck are you doing?’
‘Laura listen to me, you need to call the police or something.’
‘There’s a man out there, I think he’s sick, but he tried to hurt us.’ A sudden silence fell upon us all as something dawned on me. It made me bolt upright and I could hear my heart pounding in my ribcage. It must have occurred to James at the same time because we shared this look before he turned back to Laura. ‘Have you locked the front door?’
‘No it’s kept open, we’re expecting more people.’
‘Oh FUCK,’ James sprinted away from us and I grabbed the counter and pulled myself up.
‘Has James been doing drugs again?’ Laura frowned and I didn’t comment on the fact that he may have done drugs before because we had slightly more pressing issues at hand.
‘Water.’ I pulled myself along to the kitchen, grabbed the nearest glass and shoved it underneath the tap. A piercing scream from the front room brought me out from my state and I froze for a split second, glass still clutched tightly in my grip, and waited. I waited for the laughter to follow that meant someone had been getting a bit intense with whatever drinking game they were playing. But no, more screams followed. They built up and up and up and it felt like my head was going to explode.
James came back into the kitchen and pushed the door shut. He fixed a chair underneath the handle.
He was shaking all over and his lips had turned white.
I didn’t even want to ask what was going on in the living room right now.