Before returning home from work, I passed by the grocery store. As my routine, I did my grocery shopping every Friday after work. Twenty minutes later, I was home. I left what I bought on the kitchen table and headed to the bathroom. I was washing my hands and Mom was in the kitchen organizing the fridge. “How was work today?” she asked me.
“Same old. My feet are killing me like always.”
I closed the faucet and dried my hands with the towel that was hung next to the mirror. I looked at myself and inhaled. The reflection my eyes were fixed on seemed like a stranger to me. I thought to myself, Where did it all go wrong? I wasn’t always like that.
Lost in these thoughts, I saw Mom in the mirror standing behind me. She sensed that I was swimming in my thoughts but pretended that she had no clue that I was lost in that world. I was relieved when she didn’t talk about it. I mean, she was already feeling guilty about how everything changed. “Did you hear what I said?” she asked.
“Sorry! I couldn’t hear you because the faucet was open.” I turned around and was back on earth.
She held out a big envelope and said, “This was delivered to you this morning.” She looked back and pointed to a box, “With that.”
“Hmm.. who is it from?” I walked to her and took the envelope.
“Nothing is written on it except for your full name.” she announced.
I turned the envelope and saw my name. And walked out of the bathroom to the box. Same thing. Just my name. I examined it, and carried it. There were things in it but the box wasn’t very heavy. Then my mom added, “And the weirdest part is that, no one even knocked on our door or anything. I was on my way to my morning walk when I opened the door and this was there.”
Still in my jeans and shirt, I carried the package to the living room. I put it on the table and opened the envelope. There was a fancy black cardboard paper in it. It was an invitation to a Halloween party. One side was empty, completely black. The other side was where the invitation was written. The font’s color was red and it was very spooky, yet quite fancy.
The invitation had an introduction, “We are very happy to invite you to our annual Halloween Party. You are one of the few selected people who have the privilege to join us on that special day.” I read that out loud and Mom was listening patiently. The rest of the invitation consisted of the address, the time, and the theme of the party.
At the end, it was written, “P. S. We have also sent you a dress in order for you to wear it. We didn’t want you to be overwhelmed and not find something suitable in such a short notice.”
That was a weird invitation. I put it down and said, “Yeah, I’m not going.”
“Why not?” Mom asked.
“For one, I don’t know who these people are or what they are up to.”
“No, honey, it can’t be that bad,” she came closer to me and went on, “I’m sure it’s just the Halloween spirit. It is supposed to be spooky.”
“But…” I wanted to protest.
“No ‘but’. Look the place up and see if there have been other parties, then decide.”
For her sake, I agreed to do that. She kept on encouraging me to go out and socialize again. She smiled when she knew I’d think about it. I got closer to the box and opened it. I brought the dress out and held it in the air. My eyes were studying every detail. I handed it to my mom and checked the rest of the things in the box. Interesting things indeed. A pair of sneakers and a necklace that were matching the dress. I wasn’t very interested in going to the party, but I liked the items.
I took everything to my room and changed into my pajamas. Mom told me that dinner would be ready in around an hour. So I took that time to research the party organizers. I needed to know who they were, how their parties were, and most importantly, why they were choosing random strangers.
I laid down on my bed and checked their Instagram page. I found their handle on the invitation. There weren’t many posts. 15 posts only, 10 pictures and 5 videos. Their oldest post was from four years ago. I opened it but it was blurry. Yes, it was a Halloween party, but the quality of the picture was very bad! The videos were messy too. Over the years, their posting style hadn’t changed much and they had around two hundred followers.
I went on google but there was not much about them and no website either. At this point I wasn’t surprised, but from the way they sent their invitation and talked about the party, I was expecting more.
While looking them up, my stomach made a noise to tell me that we needed to eat. I put my phone in my hoodie’s pocket and went to the kitchen. My mom was seasoning the salad when I entered the kitchen. “Do you need any help?” I asked her.
“You can prepare the table.”
I grabbed two plates and two forks with two cups and placed them all on the table. “We should watch a movie.” I suggested while getting the cola from the fridge.
She turned her head for a second, “What movie?”
“I don’t know. Something funny.”
She brought the salad and the food to the table. As usual, we had our dinner talking about our days and random subjects. Then I suddenly had a thought. “If, and that is a big if, I go to that Halloween Party, what will you do?”
“I was thinking about going to our office party.” she replied.
“You guys have the best job ever! You guys go to the office three days a week! And organize a party.” I smiled when I said that.
* * *
On Halloween day, I woke up at midday. Still not sure if I wanted to go to the party or not. I stayed in bed and watched a couple episodes of “Pretty Smart”. Sitcoms are my drug.
After lunch I had a shower. After drying my hair, I prepared a hot cup of cocoa drink and started reading. Around afternoon I was feeling pressured about the party. I still wasn’t sure about it. Another hour passed and then I was like, “Whatever, I’ll go.”
I wore the dress. It was white and reached under my knees. There were blood stains all over it. Spooky indeed. Even the smell was on point, so unpleasant. There was a blood necklace that I wore. The sneakers were also white with blood stains. When I put my right foot in it, I felt something in it. It was a toe. I brought it closer to my eyes. It was fascinating. “Wow! This looks so real.” I told myself and threw it away. I grabbed my purse, phone, and the invitation.
I walked down the stairs and Mom was like, “You are so creepy! But that is the spirit.” I walked closer to her and her facial expressions changed, “Did it smell that bad two days ago?”
“I don’t know. But it’s matching the Blood theme of the party.”
* * *
Half an hour later, I reached the house. I looked around expecting to find a crowd but there weren’t any people outside. I checked the address, it was the right place. I went to the door and knocked on it. Not long after, someone in a vampire suit opened the door. I showed him my invitation and he welcomed me in. I walked in and saw that everyone inside was dressed up as vampires. Some of them had blood around their mouth, some drinking blood-like drinks from blood bags. There were cakes with blood frosting, which I found so cool. The banners were all around the house saying, “Happy Halloween!” with bloody font. I was looking up and down. The syringes filled with blood were my favorite. Everything looked so real. Even the people seemed to have real vampire teeth and real blood covering their mouth area. But the thing that made me a bit worried was that all of the people in the place were staring at me with deadly looks. And I seemed like the only stranger in that place.
The person who had opened the door, walked me to the middle of the partying area and announced, “Our guest of honor is here.” and he pointed to me. Then he added, “Let’s all take our seats.” Everyone came in and I felt a shiver running down my spine.
“What do you mean?” I asked him with a shaky voice.
“Our leader will explain. Please sit on this chair.” He gestured to a chair that was put in the middle of the room. Away from the rest. I looked everywhere, terrified. “No, I won’t sit down until you tell me what is going on.”
He rolled his eyes and said, “Guards!”
Out of nowhere some people flew towards me and captured me. I tried to escape, but they were far too strong. While resisting them, it all hit me. They were real vampires. Freaked out I was, I started screaming at the top of my lungs.
Within seconds, I was seated and my hands and legs were tied. And because there wasn’t much I could do. I started crying. Shouting and crying together. While I was freaking out to death, everyone became quiet. And gradually I shouted less and less but still cried. I looked up and saw that they were all looking at someone who seemed like their leader.
“Good evening all. Happy Halloween.” he said.
They all raised their blood bags and replied, “Happy Halloween.”
“As you all know, it’s been hundreds of years that we have stopped drinking human blood. We felt like it was wrong to do so. Instead, we have started to drink animals’ blood. For hundreds of years, we felt inner peace, but in order for us to survive the modern day, we should sacrifice a human every year on Halloween.”
My eyes were wide open. They were planning to sacrifice me. The vampire leader turned around to face me and said, “I’m sorry child, but we have no other choice.” I could see the guilt and sadness in his eyes. Then he continued, “I want you to know that we appreciate what you are doing for us. Please feel honored as you are the first person we sacrifice.”
I was crying and begging them to let me go. “Please, my mom is waiting for me to get back home.” No reaction from anyone. The guards who had caught me earlier, brought a big piece of wood and carried me. The next thing I knew was that I was laying down on the big piece of wood. I was still begging them to let me go, but to no avail. I tried to move, but nothing.
I was terrified. I was shocked that fear hadn’t killed me already. I thought about all the things that I hadn’t done. I thought about how Mom would stay awake waiting for me to get home and how worried she’d be when she hears nothing from me. I thought about my friends whom I hadn’t talked to in a while and the TV shows I had planned to watch. All the thoughts rushed in my head very quickly. And then suddenly I heard someone say, “Her sacrifice to the Internet Creators will finally increase our page’s followers.”
Before one of the vampires could bite my neck, I shouted, “Wait! I can help.”
Upon hearing that, their leader raised his hand to stop the sacrificing process.
“What do you mean? How can you help?” he asked me with curiosity.
“You need a person who helps you with digital marketing, not sacrificing a human.” I said quietly.
Still on that wood, he asked, “How?”
“Untie me and I’ll explain.”
I was calmer now, “I have worked at a company that helps people to grow their pages. I can help you with that. But why do you want to have more followers?”
“We used to have these cool and loud Halloween parties every year, but ever since people started using the Internet more often, we haven’t been able to catch up with the world.”
Apparently, these vampires were too old to know how to use the Internet. I mean, they are literally older than our parents. They definitely need more help.
* * *
A few months later…
“Come on everyone! The party will start in less than half an hour and many people have signed up!” One of the vampires shouted excitedly.
I was sitting in the library busy with their Instagram page when their leader came in, “Hey, can I join you?”
“Yes, of course.”
“I want to apologize for trying to sacrifice you,” he smiled, “I’m happy we didn’t do it.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I told him. Before he left me to finish my work, he thanked me for helping them with the matters of the Internet.