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Before the Party


The vast, starless dark sky shrouded the holding area, breathing eerie stillness in the air to life. The silence was broken by the excited shuffle of one person. Then two. Then in a blink of an eye, the silence was taken over by the shuffling feet of thousands. The long-awaited night finally arrived.

Casual bursts of excitement sounded throughout as the clock ticked closer to midnight. Everyone’s heart was pounding, but Adrienne specifically. All year long, she had been waiting, dreaming of the moment when she could finally attend her first party, but now that it’s here, she couldn’t be more terrified. Beads of sweat constantly dripping from her head, Adrienne was two short breaths away from fainting. If it was possible.

Just as she felt her heart might jump out, her best friend finally arrived after squeezing past of mountain of beings. Leaning all his weight towards his gold resin skull cane and barely catching his breath, Cedric impatiently croaked,

“Squeezing from the back of the holding area to the front makes eternity seems like nothing.”

Adrienne glanced over to see her sweat covered best friend.

“What’s with the cane? I thought your knee was fine.”

“Yeah, well, the pain always gets worse this time of year. That’s why your heart is throbbing.”

Cedric casually replied while tapping on the handle of Adrienne’s knife. Clutching her shaky hands over her chest, Adrienne breathed a sigh of relief. She thought her rapidly beating heart was an ill omen, but it just turned out to be one of the many “restrictions” they had to deal with for the celebration.

“Great, so it’s not my nerves then.”

Cedric curiously glanced over and asked,

“Nerves? Why are you nervous?”

“Well, I’m worried my friends will be scared when they see me -”

Adrienne explained before getting abruptly cut off by a bewildered Cedric. He shook his head in disbelief while waving his hands, dismissing her thoughts.

“Friends? Why are you going to see your friends?”

Adrienne’s eyebrows came together while slowly uttering her answer, half in bewilderment, half in annoyance at the vapid question.

“…because I miss them.”

Upon hearing her answer, Cedric laughed maniacally. Mid chortle, he coughed out,

“Why would you waste your time visiting your friends? You really want to spend your one free night a year chasing them around a basement while they scream and spray holy water in your face?”

Slightly taken aback by his comment, Adrienne curiously asked what she should do instead. Before Cedric could reply, a group of people ran into him, causing his cane to fall over. It hit the floor with a thud, and so did Cedric. He hurled profanities Adrienne had never heard of at them while pulling himself up and explained all the things Adrienne should do instead. Their tête-à-tête went on for the next few minutes, and before they knew it, the countdown began.


“And these are only the basics of things you could do; just never waste your time visiting loved ones.”


“So, where did you go for your first time?”


“Amusement Park. No lines and free cotton candy. Oh, and fun fact, I witnessed a murder there. It was brutal. ”


“A what?! Did you call the police?”


“And how do you propose I do that?”


The final seconds. Five more seconds before Adrienne gets to feel the fresh air in her face, to feel the moonlight on her skin, and to forget the disturbing information she just learned.


“Or you can follow me tonight. I’m going to haunt babies.”

Cedric remarked with a grin.


“You’re a menace.”


“So are you. Otherwise, why did your mother stick that knife in your chest?”


The gates creaked open. The shimmering moonlight illuminated the graveyard and cast a soft light on the undead, inching their way out from 6 feet under. The cold wind blew throughout, and the dried leaves swirled around in circles.

Halloween is here.

© 2021 Alison Lian

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