CHAPTER 11- COSTUME SHOPPING
That evening, the Haddonfield Mall was ablaze with activity. Dozens of cars lined the parking lot as the horizon glowed a bright orange in the sunset. Last-minute shoppers were trickling in and out, trying to get the best deals possible on the remaining inventory of candy corns, jack-o-lanterns, and costumes.
Inside, most of the stores were already offering their ‘Halloween Reduction Sale’. Large orange-and-black signs were posted up and down the windows of most of the shops, some with smiling pumpkins, others with scarecrows. The mall’s main sound system echoed softly in the background, playing The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman,” a sentimental favorite of the local old-timers.
Eddie and Tony arrived in the side entrance, passing through a set of double-doors that had ‘Haddonfield Mall’ emblazoned in white frosted glass. They rushed in past a small Italian restaurant and a couple of shoe stores before making their way down the main corridor toward the special ‘Halloween Store,’ a seasonal shop open only during the month of October.
At the same time, on the opposite side of the mall, Madison emerged from the music store, with Kayla and Chris not far behind. They, too, were finished with the rest of their shopping and ready to get their costumes.
“So guys, what kind of costume do you think I should get?” Madison asked as she waited for Kayla and Chris to catch up to her.
“Girl, I don’t know, it depends what they have left,” Kayla replied. “But you better get something good. This is gonna be the party of the century.”
Chris didn’t say anything. He just rolled his eyes and nodded in agreement as they came to the entrance of the store, where a large, smoking cauldron greeted them with a large plume of smoke.
“Look at this thing,” Chris said with a smirk. “It’s only like five bucks. Regular $29.99.”
“Yeah, and it smokes!” Madison joked. “We gotta buy it, Kayla. Don’t you think this would be perfect for your party?”
“Ugh, I’ll pass,” Kayla scoffed, entering the doorway, which was draped with a string of spider-shaped lights and dark purple glitter.
Inside, the entire store looked like it had been looted. There really wasn’t a lot left at all. About half of the store was empty, but the staff managed to spread out what they had left to at least make it look respectable. They moved some costumes around and grouped all the remaining masks together on one side, hoping to make it look full. They even replaced their main lights with black-lights to make the entire area look like a big graveyard, and it worked like a charm. To top it all off, the whole floor was blanketed in a cloud of smoke courtesy of their display smoke machine, and each of the workers had on some sort of gothic attire or display costume, dressed for the season right down to the final days. In fact, if they didn’t know any better, they would have sworn they just walked into the house of the Addams Family or the Munsters.
Staring around at all the remaining sights, Kayla and Chris noticed the wall of masks on the left-hand side, so they went over to check them out. Madison, meanwhile, glanced at some sort of she-devil costume and ventured off to the right. Woah, Madison thought, checking out the price tag. Ten bucks? I’m gonna get off cheap this year! Excited, she just smiled and continued flipping through the rack of costumes to see what other bargains she could dig up.
Meanwhile, in the very back of the store by the changing rooms, Eddie and Tony were looking at the darker, more monstrous costumes, which included werewolves, skeletons, and ghouls of all shapes and sizes. Squinting their eyes to get a good look at each costume, neither could decide which one they wanted. Then, as Tony kept searching, Eddie spotted something out of the corner of his eye and immediately made a bee-line for it. A few seconds later, he returned.
“Yoooo, Tony, check it out,” Eddie said with a laugh. “I got mine.”
Tony about cracked up when he turned around, because Eddie was standing there holding up a red-and-white clown costume, complete with big red shoes and a cheap mask adorned with two eyeholes and a big red nose.
“Eddie, what the fuck man?” Tony exclaimed, trying to hold in his laughter.
“Clowns kick ass,” Eddie quipped, jingling the three foamy button-balls that lined its chest. “And the best part is, it has three balls!”
Tony guffawed. “That’s all you,” he said sarcastically as he picked up a mask of the Wolf Man and started to examine the facial designs and fake fur.
“Fuck no, man,” Eddie fired back, finally coming to his senses and throwing the clown costume onto the ground. “What kind of faggot would actually wear that shit?”
“I dunno, probably some little kid or something,” Tony suggested as he fit the large brown mask over his face. “You think there’s gonna be a full moon tomorrow night?”
“Uh, I think so,” Eddie replied. “And something weird always happens when there’s a full moon on Halloween. It’s like written in the stars or something.”
“This might work, what do you think?” Tony asked, totally ignoring Eddie’s response as he backed up toward the mirror to see how his mask fit. However, just as he did that, he accidentally bumped into someone who was standing right behind him looking in the opposite direction. When he turned around, he found himself face-to-face with the Wicked Witch of the West, who nearly fell over in fright.
“Sorry about that,” Tony stated apologetically.
“No, it’s okay,” the witch assured him. “My bad.”
Nearby, Kayla and Chris saw the whole thing, and were surprised to see Madison talking to Tony again.
“Well, it’s about time, girl,” Kayla said, walking up to Madison, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West.
“What are you talking about?” Madison asked as Tony turned away to answer his cell phone. Instantly recognizing his ring tone, Madison’s eyes widened as she turned back to Kayla and mouthed, ‘now what?’ even though no words came out.
“Hello?” Tony answered through the mask.
It was Tim. He talked so loud almost everyone nearby could hear what he was saying through the phone.
“Yo, dawg, I got it,” Tim exclaimed. “I got the costume. It’s tight as hell, bro.”
“That’s great, man,” Tony replied. “Does it fit?”
“Hell yeah, son,” Tim responded. “It’s a perfect fit. I look like the real Michael Myers, nigga.”
A few people nearby heard Tim mention the name of the boogeyman and stared at Tony like he just ran over their dog or something. Feeling about a dozen sets of eyeballs on him, Tony knew it was time to hang up.
“Sweet dude, I can’t wait to see it,” Tony said again. “But I gotta go, I’m about to buy my costume.”
“Aight, dawg, I’ll see you later,” Tim stated. “I can’t wait to wear this at the party. I’ll be scarin’ the shit out some mothafuckas.”
“Later,” Tony finished, hanging up the phone before Tim could say anything else that might incite a riot. However, when he turned back around, he was surprised to see Madison standing there, holding the witch mask at her side.
“Madison?” he asked, taking off his Wolf Man mask to reveal himself.
“Tony?” she asked back, trying to sound surprised even though she knew it was already him.
After a few awkward moments of silence, it was Kayla who broke the tension between them. “I think you two have some talking to do.”
“No, oh hell no,” Madison stated. “We’re done talking, I told you that.”
“Yeah,” Tony agreed. “I ain’t got nothing left to say to her.”
“Oh, that’s bullshit, and you both know it,” Kayla intervened. “Why don’t you guys go take a walk?”
“But me and Eddie...” Tony started to say, trying to get out of it. But when he turned around, Eddie was playing with a toy chainsaw and looked quite content wearing some sort of Marilyn Manson mask.
“I think Eddie will be fine there for a couple of minutes,” Kayla stated, matter-of-factly. “Go on, you guys, quit being so bullheaded and at least hear each other out. You’ll feel better, trust me.”
Both Tony and Madison sighed at the same time and mumbled, “Oh, alright,” agreeing mostly because they didn’t want to make anymore of a scene then they already had.
Throwing their masks down in disgust, they both walked out of the Halloween Store and stormed back up the main corridor toward a bench on the far side. Kayla and Chris both smiled, and Eddie, who had no idea what was going on, was in his glory swinging a plastic butcher’s knife and attempting to open some fake blood.
“So,” Tony said, trying to break the ice.
“Soooo...” Madison replied glumly.
Neither one had given an inch in the five minutes they sat on the bench to “talk.” They could still see inside the Halloween store from the bench, where Kayla and Chris, along with half of the store, tried to watch them candidly, failing miserably. Both Tony and Madison knew they were being watched.
Making eye contact for the first time, Tony made a walking motion with two of his fingers, and Madison quickly agreed and they took off briskly up the main corridor.
“So what do you want to talk about?” Tony asked as they were now safely out of sight of the Halloween Store.
“Um, I dunno,” was Madison’s mellow reply.
“We’re doing real good, now, aren’t we?” Tony asked, trying to shed some light on their otherwise dark conversation. Madison didn’t reply. Tony could tell she was collecting her thoughts and trying to avoid saying the wrong thing. It was obvious to both that they had done it before and didn’t want to again.
By that time, they had come to the far end of the mall, where a large fountain stood. Spraying large jets of water skyward, they could actually hear the fountain before they saw it. The fountain, encased in a huge bowl of black marble, was everyone’s favorite place to donate money to the poor, one penny at a time. According to the sign, this month’s proceeds would help aid cancer research at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital.
Figuring this was as good a place as any to talk, they sat down next to each other right at the base of the fountain, careful not to get to wet.
“Look, Madison,” Tony stated, “I don’t know what the hell happened to us. Everything just kind of fell apart there really fast and nothing we said or did was gonna change it. We were powerless to stop it. I felt like no matter what I did, it wasn’t good enough for you, so obviously it was only a matter of time before I gave up, you know?”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Madison responded. “I felt the same way. We had some great times together, but no matter how high the highs got, the lows always seemed to get that much lower, especially toward the end. Man, this sucks.”
“Yeah it does,” Tony agreed.
“It’s like, no matter how many times we argued or yelled at each other, it just made me want you even more,” Madison said. “Does that make any sense?”
“Yep,” Tony replied. “Ever since we broke up, I’ve thought more about you now than I did then.”
“Awww,” Madison interrupted, nearly in tears as they looked into each other’s eyes once again.
Just then, a familiar voice was heard yelling “Hey, there they are!”
It was Kayla, approaching them from afar.
Clearing his throat, Tony then got up from the bench and asked, “So, I guess I’ll see you at the party then?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there,” Madison answered.
“Good, cause you’re gonna have to try to guess who I am,” Tony informed her. “I guarantee you it won’t be the Wolf Man.”
“And I guarantee you I won’t be a witch, either,” Madison shrugged.
Then, in that instant, something happened between them that hadn’t occurred in a really long time. They both smiled, genuine in fact, and hugged.
“I’ll see you later, okay?” Tony said, backing away as Kayla and Chris approached. “I’m gonna go get my costume and see what the hell Eddie got himself into.”
“Okay, bye,” Madison said, winking at him as he departed.
Tony just managed to get away as Kayla and Chris caught up to her.
“How’d it go?” Kayla asked.
Madison just smiled.
Proceed To Chapter 12
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