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Charlie Clouser Dead Silence
They had been friends all through high school and the day had finally come for graduation. Years of hard slog or copying from one another’s course work books had paid off and, for these five close friends, it was the next logical rite of passage. There had been a number of scenarios which could easily have broken down their unique bond had it not been so utterly unbreakable and Tyler, Cameron, Lily, Rory and Melissa had come through each of them unscathed. Thick as thieves, as their tutor had proclaimed on more than one occasion, the group were the closest of friends and looked out for one another without exception.
Tonight being graduation night, Tyler had something rather exclusive planned as way of marking their coming of age and it involved each of them cutting themselves trivially across their biceps and meshing the blood in a tiny vial, which would be carried around by each in turn as they took temporary ownership. It seemed like a good idea at the time but the anemic Melissa had cut herself a little too deep and caused herself to pass out. She was the least battle-hardened of the friends and also the most dramatic so it made sense that she would make a bigger deal of such an indiscretion.
“Is she going to be okay?..” asked Cameron, a compulsive worrier and Melissa’s high school sweetheart, his intentions were good but he had a tendency to act before thinking things through. “…she gonna need stitches?” Rory had a rag wrapped around the incision, which hadn’t yet stopped bleeding “Nah, she’ll be fine. It’s not that deep” he was always the optimist in any given situation and this had endeared him to all of them, especially Lily, who had crushed on him right through their scholarship years. Tyler was her twin although he actually looked little like his sibling.
“Give her some space Lils” he requested at which point they all backed off to allow her the room to breathe. “Melissa…Melissa…you okay?” he inquired and she gave him a nod of encouragement. “You feel ready to sit up yet?” Clearly this was too much, too soon as, the moment she attempted such, she slumped back and threatened to pass out once more. “Think we have our answer”.
Cameron was pacing, evidently ruffled by developments. He had thought it a bad idea from the offset and had voiced as much although general consensus ruled out and left him the odd one out. “I told you she wouldn’t be able to handle it” he muttered, frustrated at the democracy which had ruled against him. “Leave it hon. I’m a big girl” Melissa reassured him but her words did little to comfort the boy who seethed at them for undertaking such a ridiculous pursuit in the first place. Sensing his buddy’s disdain, Rory left Lily to apply pressure on the wound and pulled his friend to the side.
“What Rory. What could you possibly say that will make the slightest bit of difference to how I’m feeling right now?” Cameron made no attempt to hide his disgust. “I told you it was idiotic but you went ahead and did it anyway” This led Rory to remind the teen that he too had partaken in their blood pact and he hinted at the fresh abrasion on Cam’s left arm which, itself, hadn’t yet stopped hemorrhaging. Cameron took the hint. “I know…I know. You don’t have to say it. I’m a fucking hypocrite…” he was swift to add “…but you all egging her on didn’t exactly help”.
Rory weighed up his alternatives and, considering it wiser just to suck it up rather than enter into an unassailable verbal skirmish, he shrugged and apologized again. Rory was good at this, if there was ever unease, then he would invariably be the one on damage limitation duties. A natural reflector and also pragmatic to boot, he had amassed more friends than any of the other four combined through his secondary education and was universally liked. This was another example of why that was so and Cam was left with no option than to calm the hell down. ‘Job’s a good ‘un’ thought Rory as he offered his outstretched arms for one of their bro-mantic hug-outs.
Rory and Cameron had been best friends since pre-school, their families originally lived next door to one another before Rory’s family moved to a more monied part of town. Despite any geographical alterations, the two had remained tight and, to Rory, his neurotic pal was simply his cross to bear. It worked and Cameron reciprocated the ‘manly’ embrace. This pleased Melissa, who had begun to perk up and the color was fast returning to her ordinarily rosy cheeks. “Made for each other” she quipped and shuffled to a seated position. Tyler shuddered as his imagination was easily the most vivid and the image of Rory pile-driving Cam was not an image he wished his mind to elucidate.
Lily and Melissa were impossible to separate at the best of times and had gone as far as sharing their first girl-girl experience together shortly before Melissa had started seeing Cam. Neither had ever spoken of this to the rest of the group but Lily was convinced that her sibling knew something had transpired between them. Whilst not looking like they shared an embryo simultaneously for nine months, they had built a unique almost unspoken understanding of one another over the years. Nothing would shock Rory when it came to his sister, he knew that she had a wild child raging within as it was in parallel with his own. He too had been bi-curious but no opportunities had ever presented themselves thus he remained merely curious.
“Tell me you’ve got enough” Melissa looked to Tyler for acknowledgement and he lifted the crimson vial into plain view. “More than” he replied. “So what does the book say we do next?” Lily asked. He placed the vial down and began rifling through the dusty tome. The book in question had appeared apparently from thin air on the final week of term and, Tyler being an avid reader of the occult, he had snapped it up in a jiffy. It was full of the usual mumbo jumbo for the most part, Ouija boards and satanic rituals with painted pentagrams and enough candles to light a monastery. But towards the rear it told of an old Pagan blood pact which could be performed on the night a group of friends reached their crossroads towards adulthood.
According to the writings, and this segment of the publication was entirely hand-caligraphed, if the blood was untainted then it would afford the participants unique insight into their futures and, moreover, grant good fortune to anyone wearing the vial on their personage. It was utterly preposterous of course, the kind of claptrap reserved for dreamers and imbeciles but, at the very least, it offered an opportunity for one last soiree before the five went their separate ways. “It doesn’t actually say” Tyler had read the passage three times over already and there was no indication as to how or when any changes would manifest but he remained hopeful.
“That’s probably because it’s utter bullshit” Cameron had a real downer on this entire excursion and wasn’t having a bar of it. “Why you always got to act like you’ve got a dick in your hole?” retorted Tyler who, much as he loved his friend, found his cynicism regularly excruciating. “Erm…because my girlfriend just almost bled out on account of your hare-brained scheme” he barked, before mouthing “fucking asshole” and turning his back on the rest of the group. Raised eyebrows and rolled eyes all round, except for Melissa who found it all rather chivalrous. “My hero” she swooned at which point all five broke out into uproarious laughter.
Even Cam couldn’t hold it together as he called to mind the shopping trolley he had commandeered after binge-drinking weeks earlier. He serenaded Melissa from within his chariot but one of the wheels gave way and sent him careering into dense foliage, sword arm still raised in salute. He weighed it up and there seemed no reason to carry on his bitter charade so he rejoined the others as Tyler thumbed the pages for any further Intel on their pact. “I’m stumped…” he conceded “…turns out the Ouija board may well have been the right choice”.
Suddenly all surrounding illumination was extinguished and the entire room plunged into darkness. Rory fumbled around for his lighter. “I’ve got it…I’ve got it” he claimed before producing a small flicker of orange light which they all huddled around. “Now tell me you’re not the tiniest bit freaked out and I’ll eat my right nut” Tyler made light of the occurrence although secretly it left him a little perturbed. Rory took great pleasure in reminding him that his testicles were nothing more than misshapen M&Ms and, once again, the snickering broke out. “Your mom didn’t seem to mind when they were slapping against her ass tail”. The mother jokes were out which meant a swift decline into downright free-for-all.
Any jovial mood instantly dissipated as a blood-curdling scream filled the air, unlike anything any of them had ever heard before. Lily mouthed “What the fuck?” to her brother, who looked at her vacantly without any answers. The shrill audio had no sooner passed than another sound filled their senses. A metallic scraping, coming from the hallways outside their room, was enough to incite chills in all five. They were in a prohibited part of the building and knew the consequences of being found breaking into school property so right now their hearts were almost pounding through their chests. The lighter fuel had all but run out now and their only source of light was beginning to dim. They all remained silent, not wishing to give away their coordinates but the second scream sounded that much closer and was delivered with terrifying clarity and purpose. Whatever was prowling around outside was clearly right outside the door.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014