Authors: Karli Rush
No Death for the Wicked full Novel
By Karli Rush
Copyright © Karli Rush 2013. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph: Jose AS-Reyes
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This book contains adult language and sexual situations. Not suitable for anyone under the age of eighteen.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
First and foremost I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to my husband my number one supporter and best friend. May you never stop the never-ending supply of caffeine. You are truly one-in-a-million.
Cat, I thank you for igniting the fire. If it were not for you asking me to help write a short story for Halloween this novel would not be what it is today. I send you my deepest gratitude for always encouraging me to keep writing.
And last but not least to all my family and friends that teach me to take time to breathe and treasure what I have. All of you ROCK!
“Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.”
~Edgar Allan Poe~
The wet autumn leaves stick to the cold asphalt as her feet stomp angrily down the dark country road. The black Gothic boots shine even with the overcast weather as her body radiates displeasure and determination. Mattie’s torn jeans mostly cover the boots and her dark gray T-shirt doesn’t do much, along with her leather jacket, at keeping her warm on this dreary night. Her dark brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and it bounces back and forth in time with her temper.
Mattie’s favorite holiday is Halloween. Every Halloween, for years, she makes the five mile trip into town to attend the biggest party she can find. This year the party is at Graham’s house. Graham is the new guy in this small college town, and the one everybody is talking about. His family has money, a lot actually, plus he’s pretty damn stunning. So, Mattie’s grand scheme is to meet up with a few friends and check out this party on Sickle Street.
The problem and the main reason she is trudging down this country road on Halloween is that her mother is pulling a drunk at the worst possible time, and their one car was wrecked by her inebriated mother two days ago. She swore she would have it fixed, but the booze is more of a priority. So much for Mattie taking night classes at college or having a life at all. She tried talking to her mom, sort of, as she replays the entire scene in her head.
“But mom, you know I do this every year. Hell, I’ve planned this out for months with all my friends...dammit! You said that guy would fix the car yesterday, and now what? The sleaze-ball fucker breaks up with you, and now drinking solves everything, doesn’t it?”
“No! He didn’t break up with me, and you better watch that mouth girl, or I’ll make sure you don’t see daylight for a long time.”
“Ha, very funny, I don’t need this shit, why don’t you just go back to your Bloody Mary… and booze it up some more...” I mumble other profanities under my breath as I stalk out of the living room. Mom acts like she didn’t hear the last comment, mostly because that’s exactly what she’s gonna do.
“Mattie, I just can’t snap my fingers and make the damn car run,” Mom shouts down the hall as I slam my bedroom door hard enough to shake the whole house. I call two of my friends who live only about five minutes away, but they are already in town and practically laugh themselves into hysterics at my predicament. “Some fuckin' friends you are, don’t worry I’ll be there,” I say with a facade of anger. “If mom wasn’t being such a rotten bitch, and got the car fixed like she said she would, after she wrecked it, I’d be there already,” I declare louder than I mean to. Sammie chuckles on the other end of the phone. Mom doesn’t let this one go and swings the door wide open, snatching the cell from my hand so fast; I don’t have time to react.
“I’m warning you. You won’t see the light of day… don’t fuck with me, Mattie!” She wags her finger menacingly in my face, and purses her red thin lips, huffing a long blonde strand of hair from her narrow glaring eyes. It’s Mom’s turn to rock the house with a slammed door. I hear the loud clanks and rattling of her liquor bottles as she cranks up the TV, flipping through the cable channels. The theme song, Bad Things, flows through the entire house. I pace the old wooden floor, waiting about twenty minutes or so, before she settles back into the low lit living room. It won’t be long now as I continue to waste time, but that allows my determination to set in and my anger boils until I can’t take it anymore. I crack my door open and peek down the hallway to see my superb being of a mother slumped over and passed out on the couch.
I slip quietly into my boots, grab my leather jacket and crawl out the bedroom window. The safety light on the electric pole in the front yard of the rented farmhouse glistens in the night until I walk by, punching the pole hard, turning the light out temporarily.
I start walking to get rid of my anger at first but after a while, I decide to tackle the five mile walk into town. “Why not, I’m probably halfway there,” I grumble to the gloom. The scanty tree-lined country road is bitterly dark, the kind of dark that’s unnerving. I stop for the first time since leaving the house and instantly feel the creepiness drift through the crisp fall air. Chills run down my spine as a lone raven caws out into the night. This particular raven mimics the sound so close to a baby crying that I imagine a plump, soft, little body lying all alone and helpless in the wet and dangerous woods.
My imagination begins spiraling wildly as I pick up my steadfast pace. The next stretch of land I find myself walking beside is a bleak and dying cornfield. I know it’s over there, and I glance at it anyway. The raggedy, larger than life scarecrow hovers above the tallest stalks and its worn wide-brimmed hat ruffles in the solemn wind. The hidden face seems as if it follows my progress past the deaden field. I glance more than once at the haunting figure which is partially obscured by the shadows. Tonight, of all nights, I’m fully aware of the spooky little things that happen. It’s the season when the veil becomes thin between the world of the living and the dead. I feel relief as soon as the scarecrow is no longer in sight.
The next eerie moment
is delivered by a roaring engine coming around the bend on the dirt road behind me. This makes me hug the ditch line as I wonder if it’s anyone I know. I can tell you it’s not mom, even if the car was magically fixed, I snicker after thinking that mom probably won’t even be conscious till tomorrow afternoon sometime. Several Bloody Mary drinks are sucked down before sunset, which is her usual style and tonight isn't going to change that.
A black, older model Plymouth rumbles by with music blasting. I watch it pass by with idle envy. That should have been me driving into town instead of hoofing it like I am. One day I will be free of her crude selfishness and for once live my own life, my way.
My pace slows after the Plymouth quickly drifts out of sight. Why was mom being such a hag? She was too wrapped up in her miserable, non-existent life, to even think about me? I’m her only kid and I don’t even rate a ride into town on Halloween. The rain trickles down and now my anger is replaced with misery. I look down at my boots as they flash in and out of my vision with each step I take closer to town, which my best guess is another hour and I'll hit the outskirts.
My head sharply pops up reacting to a startling noise. At first, I think it's distant thunder, and dread fills me because I don’t want the rain to get any worse. No, not thunder, it’s the rambling engine of another car coming up behind me. I move again over to the ridge of the ditch as a shiver runs through me. I feel the goosebumps rise as the headlights from the car casts a long silhouette over my body. I tug my coat tightfisted after a few moments creep by. Why doesn’t this idiot pass me? I pick up my pace, stomping through the shallow mud puddles. Is he watching me? I sense the car lurking closer. Maybe there’s more than one psycho in there. My body shivers down to the bare bone. He is just watching me! I just know it! I walk even faster. Is he ever going to pass me or what? I could run? Would he chase me? What do I do? My fear tries to strip me of my own control as my boots slip along the muddy road at a rapid pace. Why won’t he go by? “Dammit
! Go the fuck on!” I shout as the car’s headlights suddenly flicker out... I start to shake, jumbled with too many emotions clinging to me. A nervous hum accompanies the still deep rumble from the engine as the car inches forward, as if the grill is breathing down my backside. My patience is sliding away as the engine revs, the horn blows and I spin to face the car with a scream, “What?!”
My voice rips the night apart as I spin to face the horror stalking me. Silence is my greeting as I find that there is… nothing. I stare down at the empty road with no car in sight. “What the hell is going on?” I step up my stride and within minutes see the main road leading into town.
The walk is quicker than I expect and I spot Sammie and a couple of other girls hanging out under a half lit lamp post on Sickle Street. Sammie is doing what she does best, pissing off guys. She may look good with her flawless long jet black hair and a figure that is to die for. But once she opens her mouth and claims to be a witch, she has everyone asking what kinda meds she's on. Regardless and shockingly she has this uncanny way to reel a guy in just long enough to taunt his hormones into an all out frenzy, then turn it all off, and watch him shrivel into a confused mess of emotions. And of course that ability and her claims of witchcraft is what started the ridiculous never-ending rumors in the first place.
I sidle up to Sammie who is in the middle of running off a couple of guys dressed as zombies. Eventually they turn, flipping her off and walk away. I nudge her with my elbow and chastise her, “You know one day you will mock the wrong guy and he will kill your sweet ass.”
“Mattie, sweetie, you made it!” she squeals as we hug like long lost sisters.
She lights a smoke and looks at me trying to think up an excuse for her behavior. A huff of smoke fumes from her full lips as she responds, “If there were any real men around here, I wouldn’t need to do that. Besides any real guy would overcome my meaningless taunting and then, hey, hey, what can I say.”
“Maybe tonight will be your lucky night
, girl, you never know,” I say while watching two more zombie guys stroll by us, the taller one checks us out from head to toe. I lean against the light pole and ask, “What is this, zombie apocalypse night?”
“So, you up for Graham's party?” Sammie questions as she crushes out her smoke.
“Hell yeah, let’s see what kind of trouble we can find.” I link my arm through hers and walk farther down Sickle Street to its end. The cul-de-sac has only one driveway which is heavily gated. Behind it is a three story colonial style home, plastered with Halloween themes. We approach Count Dracula who has the pleasure of being the party greeter slash bouncer. I'm guessing someone has paid him a wad of cash to be denounced as something as lame as the Count. I impatiently sigh and rest my hands on my hips as he ushers two she-devils in and pretends to take a bite at them with his fake teeth.
They giggle and saunter away and then he turns back to us. “Velcome to the party, I vish you a vonderful time
tonight,” he says with a long, hard look at Sammie, who is dressed like the provocative witch she swears on her life to be. She winks, smiles, and struts through the gate. I shake my head and follow her down the long drive filled with commercially spooky things. I start to get the impression that we are in a Halloween Theme Park of some kind. That feeling stays with me until I approach the haunted mansion. It is not decorated with commercial lights and inflatable ghosts and ghouls. This place is out of power, completely. The silence grips me as we walk up the stone steps and approach the front double doors. It is open and costume clad people with drinks in their hands wander in and out, mostly laughing or squealing. It all has an heir of mystery about it.
“Mattie, I love you. You’re my bestie and all, but I gotta find a drink and a man, so since you can’t produce either, I am off. See you in a bit.” She smiles and blends in with the crowd.
I begin plodding through the slew of bodies that bump and touch almost constantly. I seek refuge in a candle lit room, and quickly veer over toward the table of refreshments and see Little Bo Peep talking to Elvira.
“Is he coming this way, no, don’t look. Don't look! Well, is he coming over here?” Bo Peep says as Elvira tries to look innocent with her cleavage about to explode into the punch bowl, but manages a glance at, oh, I get it now, it's a guy disguised as Johnny Depp, or more accurately his character from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Bo Peep has her back to the pirate guy as Elvira states in a mumbling voice, “Yes, yes he is coming this way. Hey, Captain Jack, did I ever introduce you to my friend Bo Peep?” The pirate takes an appreciative glance at Elvira’s chest full of cleavage, and then glances at Bo. His look is totally unmistakable. A touch of excitement lights behind his dark brown eyes, then a hint of indecision and longing, which is a trippy combination on a guy. He collects one drink, which would mean, he is not with another girl, and smiles quickly at Bo as they gaze deeply at each other. They exchange a “Hi,” and Bo meets his look only briefly and then breaks eye contact. Her nervous body language expresses something entirely different as she twirls a lock of golden hair, staring at her half-full cup. Jack the Pirate becomes unsure and the situation soon transforms to awkward. Needless to say he swaggers off. A missed opportunity if I ever saw one.
“Oh my G
od, he looked right at me, not for long, but he looked at me with those scrumptious bedroom eyes.” Bo takes a detour into full on fantasy mode, her eyes glaze over and I almost want to wipe the drool off her mouth, almost. That guy could have been covered in cow manure and she would have never noticed, in fact, she may have started fantasizing about giving him a sponge bath or some other dirty thought.
I stroll up to the misfit pair and grab a Styrofoam cup of ghouls’ punch, with it being florescent green and all. I sniff the drink before I take a swig, and announce, “Hey Bo... that guy? He really likes the hell out of you.”
“What?!” Her lips quiver with her next abrupt comment. “Ar—Are you sure?” she says with a voice full of hope.
“Bo, he likes you so much, you should feel truly violated by the undressing he was doing to you visually. If I were you, I would walk right over there.” I drag my finger slowly over to Jack the Pirate standing by the DJ’s table, which has power by the way. “And ask him what his favorite band, or song is.”