THE FESTIVAL OF SAMHAIN
CHAPTER 11- FINAL PREPARATIONS
Back in Haddonfield, another work day was rapidly coming to a close, and the entire area was abuzz with heavy five o'clock traffic, typical of any small Midwestern town. There was unusually heavy foot traffic throughout the vicinity of the downtown area, as the brigade of workers and volunteers prepared for the Festival Of Samhain.
At the Haddonfield Mill, the final horn blared loudly into the sky, releasing a mass of laborers from their daily duties. Shortly thereafter, men and women began exiting the lower end of the aged brick building, determined to get home after another long shift in the town's lifeblood and central employer. The workers came out in pairs, trios, and even groups, lunch pail in hand, and discussed their plans for the evening. Some said they were going home to bed; others were planning to rush home and get ready for trick-or-treat; still others were plotting their rounds with their families at the festival.
High above the factory, the sky was aglow in a bright orange and amber glow as the sun began to set. It wouldn't be long before the town's youth took to the streets yet again for the annual trick-or-treat, traversing everywhere from Orange Grove all the way in to the town square, and south to the bypass. This was the one night of the year all the little shops in town never seemed to close. Thanks to the help of the business owners and a lot of volunteers, Coraline Piati was able to turn the town square into a beautifully lit, well assembled bonanza. All of the typical festival-fare was present, including the strongman tower, scrambler ride, and the last round-up, which spins its riders vertically in a circle. There were also various other game booths, including Texas Hold 'Em, Fish In A Bowl, and the ever popular "break a balloon, get a prize" dart booth. In addition to that, the food booths began cranking up their ovens and grills, and the sweet scents of ethnic and char-broiled food began to aerate the immediate area.
Lying across her bed at home, Sherry Robinson was enjoying her mid-afternoon nap, when her cell-phone began ringing, to the tune of Marilyn Manson's "This Is Halloween". Yawning, she rolled over and answered it after a few moments of collecting herself. "Hello?" she mumbled.
"Wake the fuck up!"
"Sienna, I said I'd text you," Sherry groaned. "What's up?"
"I know, I know," Sienna answered. "Turn on WWAR. They are covering the festival already."
"Already? What time is it?"
Following her friend's instructions, Sherry clicked on her TV to WWAR, where reporter Kerry Carson was visible on-screen interviewing Coraline Piati about that night's events. The graphic on the screen featured a WWAR logo, followed by plain white text: "HADDONFIELD PREPARES TO PARTY".
"Damn, I slept too long!" Sherry complained, not really listening to the TV. "I gotta get ready for all the little trick-or-treaters."
"You still give out candy?"
"Of course. It was an old tradition my Dad started, so I continue it every year."
"Aww, that's so nice. Want me to come over and help?"
"Sure!" Sherry exclaimed. "We're gonna carve a pumpkin too. Then, after the festival, we might swing by the rave or watch some of the classics here."
"That's what I was afraid of," Sienna mumbled. "Those movies aren't my thing, but I'll see what Connor wants to do. He usually loves a good horror marathon, so maybe at the very least, we can hang out and gorge ourselves on popcorn. Besides, just wait until you see the costume I got!"
"I can't wait," Sherry responded, half-sarcastically.
"You hear from Dayna?" Sherry asked.
"Not yet," Sienna replied. "But you know her. She always does everything on the spur of the moment, so I'm sure we'll run into her sooner or later."
"Sounds good," Sherry stated. "I gotta go get ready. If I don't see you soon, I'll meet you at the festival around 8."
"Perfect! Later, bitch," Sienna ended, hanging up before Sherry could get another word in.
Despite that, Sherry still managed to say "see ya, skank," before hitting the end button on her cell phone, even though no one was on the other end of the line to hear her.
Setting her phone on her nightstand, Sherry turned her attention back to her TV, where Corrie Piati was giving the viewing audience a brief tour of the festival's main attractions. As Sherry turned up the volume, Corri was pointing to the large 'Festival Of Samhain' banner that adorned Main St. It was then she caught the final piece of the interview:
KERRY CARSON: "So, Ms. Piati, why was it named the Festival Of Samhain? Some people say that it is a little bit morbid for this type of event, particularly in this town."
CORALINE PIATI: "I thought so, too, Kerry. At first. But you see, the time has come to stop dwelling on what's wrong with this town, and concentrating on what's right. My Sonny wanted it that way. As for your question, the Festival Of Samhain was once an ancient fire festival where sacred bonfires were lit on the tops of the hills to honor the Gods. The townspeople would each take embers to their homes and light their own fireplaces, protecting them from all the evil spirits. That was how towns managed to stay safe. Sonny and I felt it was time this town saved itself from all the evils it has endured and turn the page and move forward to a brighter future. So, in his memory, we will be holding a bonfire of our own, and we invite every citizen to take a piece of it home via a special candle we have for sale here at the PTA tent for only one dollar. All proceeds benefit the Haddonfield Student Council."
KERRY CARSON: "Well, there you have it. The Festival Of Samhain, running from now until 10 here in Haddonfield town square. Come on down, enjoy some good food, good fun, and experience Halloween in a whole new way. I'm Kerry Carson, reporting live for WWAR."
Satisfied with what she saw, Sherry clicked off her TV with a yawn just as a knock came to her front door. In a panic, Sherry rushed out of her room and down the short hallway, past the bathroom and down the front stairs. Hoping it wasn't the trick-or-treaters just yet, she flung open the door in a rush, nearly knocking it loose off its hinges.
"I thought we'd do this right," said her boyfriend Brandon with a smirk, holding up a rather large pumpkin.
Sherry, clearly relieved, grinned from ear to ear as she let him in.
Meanwhile, at the Haddonfield Police Station, Sheriff Joshua Barnes was holding court with his entire force, laying forth his final plan of attack for keeping the town safe during its most tumultuous time of the year.
As he stood behind a large podium featuring the town seal, Barnes turned and pointed to a map of Haddonfield, which he had conveniently divided up into six sections, one for every group of officers he'd put together. The officers would be divided into groups of three, and each triad would be assigned to a particular section of town. Officers Bobby Wingard, Shirley Lucas, and Tavis Miller, all of whom were supposed to be off duty, eagerly accepted the overtime to come work what they considered to be a security job for one night.
"Now remember, people, keep things as civil as possible," Barnes instructed. "And report anything out of the ordinary you may encounter, no matter how trivial it may seem. You don't need me to tell you how important this night is to this town. I also want you to keep your radios handy at all times, and be ready to respond in a moment's notice should anything happen."
"Like what?" Officer Olivia Torres, one of only two female officers on the force, asked.
"Like Michael Myers," Sheriff Barnes stated, instantly quieting the room. "We have reason to believe he struck the Rabbit in Red last night and killed eight people, including several of our own and an out-of-town biker."
"You think he's still out there?" Officer Julio Gonzalez questioned.
"I don't know, Julio," Josh responded honestly. "But I hope not. I just want to be safe."
"Is there such a thing?" Deputy Sheldon Forster questioned.
"So what if he IS out there?" Officer Templeton interjected. "The guy would be in his 50s by now, right? Surely he can't be all that difficult to handle. And why would he come back anyway?"
"You weren't there ten years ago," Barnes piped back. "You don't know what this thing is capable of. Reading the clippings doesn't do it any justice. I assure you, if Michael's still out there, he is a dangerous force to be reckoned with."
"And what makes you think he'll strike tonight?" asked Officer Jamar O'Neil.
"That's his m.o.," the sheriff replied. "Every other time he's attacked has been on Halloween, all the way back to his original escape in '78. And yesterday's events were just too close for comfort."
Unbeknownst to Barnes and the entire staff, there was a window cracked open at the very back of the conference room, and seated quietly outside at the base of the window was Orrin Chambers, the acting vice-president of the Paragons Of Perdition motorcycle club. Wearing only a black t-shirt, hoodie and jeans to conceal his identity, Orrin immediately stepped away from the window and speed-dialed a number on his cell phone.
"Yeah, it's me," Chambers said. "You're never gonna fucking believe this."
Proceed To Chapter 12
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