Ash Park on the left pointing accusingly at Bec Greene, trying to look innocent with spray paint in her hand as the two of them blush, standing in front of a grafitti'ed Halloween Bash banner
Halloween Bash

The Halloween Bash Episode Four

The Halloween Bash by Raspberry

It’s the day before the Halloween Bash, and “stressed” doesn’t even begin to cover how I’m feeling. I’ve been working non-stop with Bec making new decorations. And by that, I mean I was fired as soon as Bec saw my lack of creative skills and took over. She created gruesome bloody limb streamers, carved jack-o-lanterns (which I was only allowed to scoop the insides from), and designed a stage complete with fog machines for the Babes in Black. Bec’s mom was more than happy to donate money for all the new decorations, which was a definite plus to having Bec on the committee. Even though she made me watch more horror movies with her.

I try to run through my checklist as I drive to school Friday morning. We have ticket sales today during lunch for the class. Technically, we can sell them at the door too, but the initial sales numbers have to be high. Or Fraya will never shut up about it.

I hung all the posters after school yesterday. Fraya was supposed to, but she had cheer practice and hinted that she might not have time. I didn’t want to leave it in her hands. She’d “forget” and then we’d have no advertising and lower sales. I just know it.

I wonder if I should talk to the theater club again, even though we talked Wednesday. Their set was ready, and just the description of their Haunted Schoolhouse sounded like I would be having nightmares for weeks. After they offered to add me to their group chat, where they shared all the gory decoration pictures, I decided micromanaging them would be the worst approach and told them I’d do a run-through on the day of.

As I wait at the stoplight in front of the school, I pull out my phone to take a quick peek of the committee group chat. I uploaded the volunteer schedule for lunchtime ticket sales, and it looks like everyone saw my message, so that’s probably not something to worry about. Probably.

Maybe I should have double checked the fog machine yesterday, I think with a jolt as the light turns green.

I pull up Bec’s number (which might be on my speed dial now for purely business reasons). She answers immediately.

“You know, I prefer texting,” she says by way of greeting.

“Did you check the fog machine? Is it working okay? Should I do that when I get to school?”

“It works fine,” she says, and I can imagine her rolling her eyes on the other end of the line.

“Oh, okay. What about the set? Is it all finished?”

“Until we assemble it tomorrow morning, yes.” She pauses. “Are you okay?”

“Huh? What?” I realize I almost forgot to turn into the school parking lot. “Yeah, I’m… a little stressed?”

“Everything’s going perfectly,” she says, and her tone is softer. “You already planned and accounted for everything.”

“Yeah,” I say, taking a deep breath. “You’re right. Sorry. I didn’t mean to freak out on you.”

“Nah, it’s fine. I guess I should head to school soon anyway.”

“Bec, the bell is literally going to ring in like, three minutes.”

“Plenty of time,” she replies. “Talk to you later.”

She hangs up and I shake my head. If only she could share some of her indifference.

Everything’s going perfectly, I tell myself as I pull into a parking spot.

I resist the urge to text all of the businesses that rented out booths to double check they weren’t backing out because that’d probably scream desperation. I take a deep breath, repeating Bec’s words back into my brain.

Everything is going perfectly. Everything is going perfectly. Everything is

That lasts for all of two minutes, the time it takes for me to walk from my car to the front entrance. The fliers that should be hanging on the doors are gone.

Shit.

I rush inside, checking the pillars and the lockers, but they’re blank, with only a piece of tape reminding me that I had hung something there only 15 hours ago.

“No, no, no, no, no,” I mutter, looking around for any of the fliers.

My phone buzzes. It’s the committee group chat.

Fraya: I thought we were supposed to sell the tickets today.

Shelly: Who was supposed to put up the fliers?

Me: I hung them all up yesterday! Did someone take them down??

Fraya: No worries, I’m in the library. I’ll just print them again and hang them up first period.

Shelly: You’re a lifesaver!

I feel myself shaking so hard I almost drop my phone. I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I jump.

“Whoa, it’s just me,” Bec says, giving me a concerned look. “Are you okay?”

“I hung the fliers but now they’re gone and I’m pretty sure I know exactly what happened but I can’t believe she’d actually—” I ramble.

“Okay, deep breath,” Bec interrupts. “Can I help?”

“No,” I say with a sigh. “Fraya already volunteered to do it.”

“You know, I’ve seen enough true crime shows to know how to hide a body.” Bec smiles, and she sounds almost serious.

What’s even stranger is I find myself actually considering it. Then I shake my head.

“Let’s keep that as plan B,” I suggest. “Wait… weren’t you at home?”

She chuckles and shakes her head. “You know, I didn’t actually think you were that gullible,” she remarks.

I flush in response, but she leaves me in my embarrassment to avoid Principal Crowe. I trudge to first period, trying hard not to think about the fact that Fraya is outside somewhere hanging a bunch of posters I had already hung and taking all the credit.

When I get out of class, I see that posters are hanging everywhere. They are not, however, the posters that should be hanging up. I whip out my phone.

Fraya: I printed out the only poster I could find in the shared file, but it doesn’t look… right :/

Of course it isn’t right. They have no decorations, just the name Halloween Bash and ticket sales and times. I could throw my phone in frustration. What happened to the posters I made? I spent hours making a haunted house background and creepy text font. These are white papers with Times New Roman font.

I try checking the shared Drive. The correct poster is right there, but of course she printed out the draft 1.

Me: That’s so weird. I can see the final draft on the Drive. I’ll try re-printing it.

Shelly: Thanks for trying, Fraya! I guess these’ll have to do.

Shelly: Don’t forget to check the ticket booth schedule.

Fraya: I’m sooooo sorry but since I used first period to hang posters, I have to talk to my teacher at lunch. Can someone cover my shift?

Me: I’ll do it I guess.

Who needs lunch? I’ll take both fifth period lunch shifts if it means selling the tickets. Of course, with posters as bland as this, I feel like no one will be lining up anyway.

I feel my phone buzz during second period. Which is weird because Shelly has a strict “group chat stays silent during class times” policy. My calculus teacher has us just working independently, though, so I can sneak a peek without him noticing (He’s probably just playing Candy Crush at his desk anyway.)

Bec: I saw the posters. What happened to the ones you made?

Me: I am Caesar, and those are my knives.

Bec: Dramatic much?

Me: When I’m being sabotaged by my friend just before the BIGGEST event of my high school career? Yes.

Bec doesn’t reply, so I tuck my phone under my binder and try to focus on the work in front of me. But, mentally, I’m calculating if I have enough time during passing period to run to a printer, print new copies of the posters, hang them up…

I already know the answer is no. I could ask to go to the bathroom, print the posters… and get caught for skipping class. The only teacher who’d let me go during class time would be my English teacher… who I have for seventh period. And by then, it’s too late. I sigh and sink lower in my desk.

I’m ready to face the shame of the plain white fliers as I leave third period. I bump into someone standing right outside the doorway. He isn’t moving, and his back is to me, so I try to weave around him. Only there’s another person just standing in the hallway. As if my day can’t get any worse. I push my way through. It feels like everyone is just stopped.

I see a trail of red on the floor.

Oh god, she actually killed someone, I think, looking around.

There’s red on the hallway, like bloody footprints. I stand on my tiptoes to see above people’s heads.

The fliers.

They have bloody red hand-prints on them. People are snapping pictures of it. My mouth falls open. My phone has dozens of messages filled with pictures of fliers just like this from every hallway in the school.

Shelly: This scared the SHIT out of me after class.

Iz: I am both terrified and HYPE

Fraya: It’s a little dangerous, don’t you think? Someone could slip on the paint. It stained my shoes too :/

Shelly: Oh, guess it wasn’t you then Fraya. Good work whoever then!

Someone tracked down every bland, white poster and smeared it with what I’m pretty sure is red paint but looks an awful lot like bloody hand-prints. There’s a set of red footprints leading down the hallway, and I have a sinking suspicion they would lead me straight for the cafeteria table we’re using soon to sell tickets.

“Ms. Park,” I head Principal Crowe call my name and wave me over.

She’s standing near some of the red footprints and scowling.

“Was this your doing?” she asks. “This wasn’t approved by Administration. It’s going to take forever to clean…” She shakes her head.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know who did this,” I say with a shrug. “And I was in class the whole time.”

I know it’s a lie. I think I know exactly who did this.

I don’t see Bec until lunchtime. I’m sitting at the ticketing table by myself (somehow the other volunteers got the wrong schedules even though the one in the group chat was fine—big surprise), trying to deal with the long line of juniors waiting to buy their tickets.

Bec clears her throat as she cuts the line to drop a bag of chips on the table. I raise a brow.

“I don’t like sour cream flavored chips,” she says with a shrug. “Want them?”

“Oh, sure, thanks,” I say, and my stomach grumbles with longing.

I pull the chips closer to me and motion for the guy behind Bec to come forward.

“Shouldn’t you have more people for this?” she asks.

“I should,” I reply, and the irritation slips through.

I shoot her an apologetic look as I give the guy a ticket and some change.

“There was some… confusion over the schedules today,” I explain. “But I can handle it.”

I try not to look at the long line of impatient teens. Bec slings her bag under the table and pulls up a chair next to me.

“How much are tickets?” she asks.

“Ten dollars.”

She whistles and mutters something. It almost sounds like, “What a scam,” but I can’t be certain. She waves at the line.

“Over here!” she calls. “How many tickets?”

I glance over as she takes the money and slips it into the cash box. She still has traces of red paint under her fingernails.

The line moves a lot quicker with two of us, and I actually have time to inhale the chips before the bell rings. My heart is pumping like I’ve been running a marathon (and I’ve probably been sweating like it too), but Bec still looks as calm as ever.

“Thanks,” I say. “For the help.”

Bec just shrugs in response. “Better than my usual lunch plans,” she replies, and then chuckles at my raised brow. “I usually just eat by myself. Or vandalize school property.” She winks, which makes me (mostly) sure the last sentence was a joke.

“Oh, well… thanks for the help with the posters,” I add.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Of course,” I say with a serious expression. “It could have been any school delinquent who’d upgrade those posters.”

“Kids these days,” Bec tsks with a small smile.

She stands up and grabs her bag.

“Well, I guess I’d better get to class,” she says, giving my shoulder a slight nudge. “I’ll see you around?”

“Yeah!” My voice goes a little too high on that one, and I clear my throat. “Oh, wait. You didn’t buy a ticket.”

“You mean I have to pay after doing over half the work?” she asks with feigned shock.

I hesitate. Technically, every ticket sale counts. But she really does have a point. But Shelly might be upset… if she found out.

“I’m joking,” Bec interrupts my line of thought by waving a ticket in my face. “And before you ask, I already put my money in the box.”

I give a weak smile.

“You should have told me,” I say. “Maybe I would’ve given you a discount.”

“Well, just buy me a drink at The Bash and we’ll call it even.”

My heart is doing a weird flip in my chest, and I’m not sure why. I’m also not sure why I call out when she’s turning to leave:

“Are you, uh, going with anyone?”

“Yeah, me and all my bffs at school,” she scoffs. “Why, are you trying to ask me out?”

My face flushes and I try to pssh my way out of it. I can’t take my eyes away from hers for too long though.

“I was just… wondering if I was going to meet up with you,” I say. “I mean, I’ll probably be really busy with setup and monitoring sales and music and—”

My voice trails off as she smiles. I can’t help but think how it seems to light up her whole face. And I feel the corners of my mouth tugging up too as every thought in my brain seems to fade into white noise.

“I’ll see you there, Ash,” she says. “Try to take a few deep breaths before then.”

I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe until I was sitting in class the next period.

1 thought on “The Halloween Bash Episode Four”

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