THE FESTIVAL OF SAMHAIN
CHAPTER 21- COLLAPSE AU FESTIVAL
"What the fuck?" Sheriff Joshua Barnes called out at the sound of the commotion, tapping Deputy Forster on his arm to join him.
Both officers were soon in an all-out sprint to reach the source of the scream, the principal's dunk tank.
By the time they arrived, chaos ensued, and people started to panic. Forster was first to arrive at the tent, and when he threw back the curtain, he had to stop himself from throwing up.
"What is it?" Barnes demanded as he approached.
But the deputy didn't immediately reply. He just nodded with his head for the chief to see for himself.
All around them, the festival attendees were practically running each other over looking for the exits. Screaming and shouting soon became the norm, and even the workers themselves were abandoning their booths to get out of there. It was almost like they expected it to happen. Even though the town brass assured them this year was going to be different, damned if it didn't happen again anyway.
"All units!" Barnes barked into his lapel radio. "We have a 187 at the festival...I repeat, 187 at the festival. All units converge immediately!"
As he yelled out his orders, Sheriff Barnes, who noticed paramedics attempting to help Marvin Simpson, bolted and started running toward the exit himself.
"Sheldon, have you seen Sherry???" he panted, holding his cell phone up to his ear.
"Not since earlier," his deputy meekly replied, trying his best to keep up with him.
"Son of a bitch!"
"She's not answering her cell!"
"They went to the rave, right?"
"You know how bad the cell reception is out there by Billow's."
"Fuck, you're right."
"You want to head out there?"
As they exited, Sheriff Barnes was clearly so distracted by something, he was no longer paying any attention to his deputy.
"Sheriff, I asked if you want to head out there?" Forster repeated.
"Sheldon," Barnes stated, his face turning a pale white. "SHELDON!"
"Look..." Barnes ordered, and the two glanced in the direction of the street lights that lined the exit road of the festival. The officers looked on in stunned disbelief as they saw a severed head mounted perfectly atop the first lamp pole like a sick twisted version of a jack-o-lantern.
"Christ, it's Corrie," Barnes opined, trying to make out the identity of the victim.
"Yeah, and Maggie Temple next to her," Forster added, covering his mouth with his hand. "And isn't that the mayor?"
"Mother of God, it's happening all over again," Josh realized, hyperventilating as he realized that the entire row of lights each had a head on it.
"How could this happen?" the deputy questioned, still in emotional shock. "We were better prepared this time."
"We WERE better prepared," Barnes piped back. "But look around. A lot of fucking good it did!"
Deputy Forster didn't immediately answer him. He just nodded in agreement as the shouts and yelps of the exiting attendees continued around them.
"So much for the bonfire and the big giveaway," Forster finally deadpanned, but immediately closed his mouth when he saw the death stare he was getting from Sheriff Barnes.
"Sheldon, I wonder if you'd be kind enough to go bring me back my daughter," Sheriff Barnes asked, in a way that Forster couldn't really refuse. "I'm going to lock down this festival and try to find the son of a bitch before it's too late."
"Sure," Forster agreed. "What do I say when I find her?"
"Well, as fast as news travels these days, she'll probably already know before you get there," Barnes informed him. "She'll know exactly why you're there. And if you have to bring her friends, too, please do. We're implementing a city-wide curfew, effective immediately."
"Yes, sir," Sheldon stated. "I'll be in touch."
Amidst the bedlam and disorder that once was the Festival Of Samhain, Sheriff Joshua Barnes found his way back into the middle of the mob, just as the blaring sirens and lights of several police cars joined the fray. One, however, was going in the opposite direction, and that was Deputy Forster, who was on his way out of town toward Billow's Woods-- and the high school rave.
Within the hour, the entire town of Haddonfield had degenerated into pandemonium and confusion. Cars were crashing into each other as residents were desperately trying to escape the downtown area and return to the safety of their homes. Those not fortunate enough to reach their vehicles were literally bowling over anyone in their way and even getting into fistfights attempting to escape on foot. The youths, who clearly didn't understand the gravity of the situation unfolding around them, thought it was all part of the festival. Undeterred, they continued their hijinks around town, throwing rolls of toilet paper over trees in the front yards of residents and eggs at their front doors and windows. They had no idea the danger they were really in.
The Haddonfield police force, the majority of which now gathered at the festival, seemed to be at a loss as to how to contain the anarchy.
Luckily, Sheriff Barnes was able to herd everyone out of the festival, and now he could begin the rather daunting task of restoring order. Before that though, he had the morbid obligation of counting the bodies of those who didn't make it.
"Deputy McDonald," the sheriff called out to his officer standing nearby.
"I want you to take six or seven officers and start combing the streets," Barnes ordered. "I'm not fucking around. If they aren't in their homes, order them to do so. And if they refuse, arrest them for obstruction of justice."
"Roger that," McDonald acknowledged, grabbing his shotgun and heading out. "Torres, Gonzalez you're with me."
"Lauder, Templeton, come in," Barnes called into his radio.
"Anybody heard from Lauder or Templeton?" Barnes inquired.
"They're still out at the rave, sir," Officer Jamal O'Neil stated. "I think Magnetti's there, too. I'm sure they'd be here if they heard your call. They're probably patrolling on foot."
"That's what worries me," Barnes groaned. "They might have no idea what's going on. If you get a hold of them, bring them up to speed and have them shut down the rave right away."
"Yes, sir," the imposing O'Neil confirmed. "Why don't we take some units and go out there ourselves?"
"I need all the help I can get here," Barnes replied. "Keep trying. I want that rave shut down as soon as possible. In the meantime, work with McDonald to make sure we gain the upper hand here. And keep your eyes peeled. That son of a bitch could be anywhere."
"You got it," O'Neil said with a nod, marching away quickly.
"We're gonna get that mother fucker!" Barnes yelled to no one in particular. "I'm not gonna let him destroy this town EVER AGAIN! YOU HEAR ME? THIS IS MY TOWN! I WILL FIND YOU! THIS ENDS TONIGHT!"
As Sheriff Barnes lost his sanity and went on his tirade, the sounds of several car doors slamming quickly caught his eye. Much to his dismay, several news vans pulled up at the festival entrance, led by Kerry Carson and WWAR.
"Oh, great," Barnes mumbled to himself.
At the same time, the mysterious figure in the black trench coat and fedora appeared again, this time circling the perimeter of the festival. With a click-clack of the spurs on his silver-tipped boots, the figure appeared to be heading out of town on foot. The man was strolling in with the same casual, slow gait as earlier in the day, and passed right behind Sheriff Barnes as if nothing were wrong. Sensing a presence, Sheriff Barnes turned around, but just like that, as quick as it had appeared, the figure was gone.
Proceed To Chapter 22
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