Final Girl

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Suggested Audio Candy:

Steve Jablonsky Friday the 13th Soundtrack Suite

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All of my friends are dead. I naturally figured that we would be close throughout our lives, attend one another’s weddings, be there for the birth of one another’s first offspring and wind up playing bingo in some old dilapidated hall while recalling the good old days. That has all gone now, my six closest friends have been viciously dispatched and I am the only one remaining. The duration of my own lifeline is very much unknown at this point as whomever, or whatever, hunted them has now turned its attentions to me and seems intent on snuffing me out also but I guess that life is full of little surprises such as this.

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It all appeared such a good idea at the time. A long weekend far away from the trappings of urban life, out in the elements at a place known for its tranquil waters and solitude. Seven of us made the five-hour pilgrimage from the city and we had all been tight since eighth grade. Obviously some of us were closer than others and not all of us saw eye-to-eye 100% of the time but that’s the strength in numbers. When planning an expedition such as this you need to ensure that there are plenty of personalities to bounce from. It keeps things interesting.

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There was Marsha and Jake. They had been on and off right through high school and spent most of their time together disagreeing over the most trivial things. To some their relationship may have seemed toxic and, indeed, it was in many ways. However, it was all about the make-up sex. One minute they appeared set to rip each another’s throats out and the next they were love’s young dream personified. Marsha loved the attention she received from other men and, having been homecoming queen, she was more than used to the adulation. On one hand, Jake despised the fact that his girlfriend was the object of virtually every boy in school’s affections but it was also one hell of a status symbol.

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Jake was captain of the football team, floppy-haired with piercing baby blues, built like a Greek Adonis and apparently hung like a thoroughbred so they simply gravitated toward one another. If you looked past all the petty squabbling and one-upmanship between them, they were actually rather sweet together. If one of them had an itch then the other would scratch it automatically and they had an endearing knack of finishing off each other’s sentences. We all suggested it wouldn’t last as they were just so young when their union commenced. Both surrendered their virginity in unison and had never strayed from the path to the best of our knowledge so, at some point during their twenties, it was inevitable that one of them would question their compatibility.

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In such situations it is often the female who breaks the ties. A young woman’s metamorphosis traditionally comes earlier as she grows up faster and the years between 20 and 25 ordinarily see a stark transition whereas the male remains firmly set in his ways, often until his late thirties when he undergoes his own discombobulating change. I’m generalizing of course although I have been under no doubt that they would peter out eventually. Tonight I have been proven wrong as they are very much together, skewered mid-coitus to be precise, upstairs as I just discovered. Jake never knew what hit him from his missionary stance although Marsha’s death gaze was far more contorted. She evidently knew exactly what was coming in advance but was powerless to evade her fate.

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Then there was Dennis. Every group needs a joker and Dennis just happened to fit the bill. Playing tricks was his expertise and, if anything untoward occurred, you could bet your bottom dollar that he would be implicated in some way. I was actually kind of fond of him; he was under some misinformed preconception that he was required to be funny to be liked and couldn’t be farther from the truth. His observations were astute and his sense of humor certainly struck a chord although sometimes he just didn’t seem to know when enough was enough. Behind any comic bravado was an insecure young man who desired nothing more than to fit in. I just wished he didn’t see it necessary to try quite so hard.

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Case in point: that damned hockey mask. We were all sick to the back teeth of that thing; at first it was mildly diverting and, I have to come clean, he scared the shit out of me when he donned it for the first time but, as with everything Dennis does, he just kept flogging the dead horse until its hooves dropped off. There was a great collective sigh of relief when he finally misplaced it although he found a discarded burlap sack in its place and continued whittling down our last nerves with that instead. A natural jester through life, ultimately the last laugh was at Dennis’ expense and he died whilst perfecting his latest prank.

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We’d all seen it before of course although never with quite the level of authenticity. Dennis was a horror aficionado you see and totally besotted with practical make-up , latex and blood bags. When he stumbled in clutching his throat we all knew exactly what he was up to and feigned shock purely so as not to burst his bubble. He took his FX particularly seriously and planned to learn more about its application in college and, considering it was hard to catch him straight-faced about anything, we supported his passion, as friends do. This was clearly his finest work yet, the sliced throat trick we had witnessed a hundred times over, although never before quite as gaping.

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God only knows how he managed to replicate the windpipe effect as the splinters of jagged bone which jutted out of his neck were frightfully realistic. Ironically, his tour de force was not of his own doing as we discovered about five minutes after he bled out. At first we thought he was simply milking the applause but he was far too impatient to remain impassive for that long. It was at that juncture that we knew we were headed for infinite peril and the mood in the camp changed instantaneously. Marsha and Jake were up in the master bedroom making babies, or so we thought, and Dillon had wandered off a good hour ago to pick magic mushrooms but the three of us remaining were besides ourselves.

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We feared the worst for Dillon. He was the resident stoner and traveled absolutely everywhere with his ornate bong and a sachet of medical marijuana. He lived for the buzz and we put this down to his troubled home life. It had been suggested that there was domestic abuse at foot and he rarely spoke about his home life at all. Narcotics was his way of acting out and he became the most placid guy you could hope to meet when he had partaken, which was habitual in excess. Yet, once those last few buds were frittered and his stash became scarce he became a frantic worrier and far less fun to be around.

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I attempted to breach the topic of his father with him on a number of occasions and, if he was going to open up, then I was the most level-headed amongst us to do so with although we ended up at loggerheads over the whole drug thing. I tried hard to bite my lip but I couldn’t conceive of why he would take solace in something so potentially damaging. He tried to explain the high but I come from the other side of the fence. White picket fence, dimples and regular family gatherings; on the surface level at least, we appeared worlds apart but I had begun to discern my own father’s iron-fisted approach to parenting. He has never once raised a hand in anger towards me and, for that, I count my blessings. But the abuse still exists.

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My mother is as bad in one respect. She hangs from his every word and I guess that shouldn’t be surprising given that he was her first. He was twenty-three and she barely sixteen when they met and, while friends and neighbors regularly touted them as the perfect couple, I saw the sadness in her eyes. I would watch her, without her knowledge, as she perched herself at the family dinner table and wept. She’s only thirty-five, too young to have a teenage daughter really, and I know she misses her stolen youth and wonders how she got here. I’m their only child so I have led a rather charmed existence in many respects although emotionally I have felt so alone at times. My sheltered upbringing has afforded me strong morals and I believe in them unerringly but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing out on something.

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I was thankful for my friendship with the twins. Tabatha and Antonia were my best friends, had been since pre-school when their family moved here from Milwaukee. It breaks my heart to refer to them in past tense but alas that is where they exist now. They shared an almost psychic bond and seemed to know one another’s thoughts without the necessity for vocalizing. That knowing gaze they shared befuddled us all, except maybe for me. Having spent such a significant amount of my upbringing hanging out with the twins and getting into PG-13 rated mischief I was let in on the big joke between them. They adored the attention and enjoyed watching other folk attempting to suss them out but they really weren’t all that complex when you got to know them like I did.

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We’d all bolted upstairs to warn Marsha and Jake of our dire situation and were still reeling over the awful sight which had greeted us. Tabatha stumbled back towards the stairwell but hadn’t spotted the dark figure emerging behind her as it reached the top step. Antonia swung around almost instinctively and could only watch on helplessly as a large woodsman’s axe made critical contact with her twin’s shoulder-blade, almost severing her right arm in one fell swoop. Her guttural scream still rings in my ears now as I sit barricaded into the bathroom. She remained rooted to the spot as the blade was wrestled free from its entrenched resting place and pointed towards her with the sole intention of extending its cruel hospitality. The parting visual I received, less than gratefully, was that of it re-homing sickeningly in her cranium.

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All of my friends are dead. I’m the only one left standing unless Dillon managed to escape this nightmare but something tells me that is not the case here. I should have capitulated by this point but something has stirred within me. Resolve, more than I know what to do with if I’m honest, the will to persist this night whatever the cost shall be. I have surprised myself, but then, I guess on some level I knew I had the survival instinct. I’d just never been required to use it until now. I always felt like a thumb was pressed down on the crown of my head and the other was tight against my lips. There was a world out there which I had little experience of; hell I’d never even left the state and my virginity was not forecast to budge any time soon. Yet beneath this veneer I was a survivor, AM a survivor, and I plan to live the life hinted me if it is the last thing I do.

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I’ve never fired a weapon or even landed a punch but there’s steely resolve inside of me which, when coupled with years of pent-up sexual frustration, make for a potent mixture. Resourcefulness will see me through this and I’m sure if I suck in any puppy fat I shall be able to flee through the bathroom window. It’s a fair old drop to the ground but the foliage should break my fall. If I’m fortunate I shall escape with no more than a twisted ankle and that is where I shall need the adrenaline to kick in. Balance isn’t my strong suite at the best of times but I shall take any trips and falls in my stride and make it through this. No doubt I’ll happen across Dillon dangling upside down from a tree ventilated from throat to appetite but this will only add to my determination.

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I didn’t ask for this but I know it shall make me stronger in the long run. Maybe one day I will feel strong enough to make my return, conquer my demons so to speak. I’ll form other friendships in time and, by then, the horrors of this night will have faded into little more than local folklore. I’m not going to die, at least not this night, I’ve paid my dues and have never been anything less than kind and courteous to others. There is a greater plan afoot for me I’m sure. Sure I am distraught over the premature demise of my dearest friends but I feel leaner, meaner, keener and, dare I say, sexier than ever before so I guess being the final girl comes with its own silver lining. As for my newest acquaintance, Jason Voorhees, he can suck my motherfucking titties and clitty. Did I really just say that? Oh heavens.

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