True Fear: A Hallowe’en Tale


My heart pounded and sweat rolled down my brow. My stomach churned. I tried to scream, but no sound escaped. I knew then that there was no way out; coming here had been a very, very bad idea. I clawed at the car door, but my clammy hands couldn’t get it open. It didn’t matter: there was nothing to save me out there. It was All Hallows’ Eve, a full moon. And inside, she stared at me.
Why had we come to Makeout Point, tonight of all nights? I should have seen the signs. I should have heeded the sheriff’s warning, and turned back. I should have sold my beat-up car, and gotten one with working doors. But it had the sickest paint job in high school. And Tracy had insisted.
“Loads of people go there,” she pleaded. “And since everyone coincidentally all caught that exotic strain of the flu, nothing’s going on in town. And it’s a full moon. C’mon, it’ll be romantic.” So I agreed. After all, Tracy was my girlfriend. At least, she had been, until that night.
Tracy stared at me. Her porcelain skin glowed in the last purple rays of the setting sun. Her golden hair stirred gently as the cool breeze from the half-open window rustled her thin summer dress. Her lips were slightly parted, revealing her perfect, snow-white teeth. But in her eyes, there was something wrong. Something alien and horrible. Something I didn’t want to accept was there.
I thought back to the shiver that ran down my spine as we drove past the broken park gate. Could I have known then? The old wooden “William F. Makeout, Sr. Memorial Lookout” sign looked more foreboding than ever, especially with the new graffiti some no-good vandal had added: “Closed, no trespassing.” Hooligans. Could I still have turned back? When a formation of bats flew right at the car and cracked the windshield, which I thought was maybe a little unusual for the time of day, should I have been prudent and gotten it repaired?
And even before that – long before – could I have seen the signs? Tracy was a different person. Ever since that balmy August night, the night of Mrs. McGrady’s potluck, when Cousin Ted ripped his pants and we found a bat in the attic and Tracy was bitten by a bat, something was amiss.
I sensed some evil in her even then. I knew I had to make a decision. But I guess I just couldn’t accept it, couldn’t actually follow through. Some part of me still wanted to hang on to the rosy fantasy, while reality was setting in all around. Today I had finally made up my mind, but it was too late. Why had I agreed to come, here, to the worst possible place? The questions raced through my head.
And we were alone, on Lookout Point, on Hallowe’en.
Tracy’s hand reached toward me, her sharp fingernails gleaming in the moonlight. Her hollow eyes stayed focused on mine.
“Tracy, I think we need to talk,” I began. To my horror, she smiled.
“Yes, we do.” She licked her lips. “I’m so glad we drove up here tonight.”
It was the worst possible place. There was no way out. My throat clenched and my hands clammed up, and I wished I had never gone. I wished I had been stuck with a vampire, or a zombie, or something, anything but her.
Of course, vampires aren’t real. Tracy—a pretty but mundane girl, whom I should have broken up with as soon as I’d found out how boring she was at Mrs. McGrady’s potluck—was real. I mean, she kept trying to glance up Cousin Ted’s ripped pants, laughing her head off. It wasn’t even that funny! And she was such a baby when that bat bit her – honestly, their teeth are tiny, come on!
For so long, I had pretended nothing was wrong. I pretended that her constant nagging about her “feelings” was normal, even when she, herself, totally blew off my championship game for some dead dude’s funeral that one time. I pretended that having a hot, popular girlfriend who made me the envy of the school was somehow okay, even after I realized she wasn’t nearly as perfect as me. I knew if I broke up with her now, she would make a whole big deal out of it, and I’d have to drive her all the way home. But finally, it was all going to end. It was now or never.
“Tracy,” I started again. “The thing is, I think we should br—”
“I’m pregnant,” she said.
My heart pounded and sweat rolled down my brow. My stomach churned. I looked in those hollow eyes, and saw that unfamiliar look, that alien and horrible thing. As I looked closer, I recognized the monster staring back. My own eyes. My own reflection. I tried to scream, but no sound escaped.