Trick or Treat

We arrived to the address, the spot of the post-Halloween party on Saturday night. It was a neighborhood we normally wouldn’t be walking in, the type that you slyly lock your car doors when you’re driving through.

None of the doors had numbers. We deducted we probably should enter the one on the end, the grey door with graffiti scrawled on it. As we walked closer, the door magically opened. A very large bald-headed man in all black looked us up and down, then nodded towards the stairs, not saying a word. We looked at each other through our veils, gave each other knowing glances, and entered.

The stairs weren’t quite wide enough for our feet. We carefully navigated up the dark planks, careful not to trip on the random upended board. The main room was even darker, smoke unfurling around people’s heads, cigarettes aglow, mirrored by a foggy smoke curling in and out around people’s ankles. Techno music pounded from around the corner. Our sight was impeded not only by the lack of lights, but by the black veils we wore over our faces. We were the Robert Palmer girls, in mourning. It was a bittersweet costume. People looked at us quizzically, not quite sure what we were. “Black widows?” “Brides in mourning?” Once we started playing our air guitars and humming “Addicted to Love” people exclaimed, “Of course. But where’s Robert Palmer?” We merely pointed to the veils and said, “That’s why we’re wearing these…”

We stood still in the main room, hoping our eyes would adjust to the light. People with freakily realistic bullet wounds passed by. Mummies, trailing bloody bandages. Death appeared, his gaunt face hooded, brandishing his scythe. The loft reminded me of the game “Mousetrap.” There were make shift ladders and stairways and loft-like platforms everywhere. Mirrors and graffiti marred the walls. A cauldron, filled with a devilish mixture, beckoned the brave to partake. Lockers, the kind found in high school hallways, lined the walls. Inside were unrecognizable items, possibly edible, at least at one time.

We ascended another stairway. Another dance floor writhed with ghoulish bodies, jerking this way and that. A basketball hoop was mounted on the wall, naked babies strangled in the net. A neon sign announced the “ass scan” nook, what we thought was a joke, but was a functioning niche. Arcade games, the kind from the ’80s, lined one wall. As we walked by, images flashed, briefly, looping over and over. Emily turned to me. “Was that porn on that screen?” Why, yes, I believe it was. Dressmaker dummies, headless and funkily dressed, appeared around every corner, at the top of each makeshift staircase. Peering animals, ridiculously realistic, perched upon the walls.

We struck up a conversation with a fairly normal looking fellow. We commented how the inhabitants had done such a good job of decorating for the party. He looked at us quizzically. “Mmm. Yeah, I guess they did put some cobwebs up. Everything else looks like it normally does….”

As he turned away, Emily and I peered at each other with delighted stares. This was the ultimate Halloween treat – we were in a real haunted house.

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