THE FESTIVAL OF SAMHAIN
CHAPTER 26- THE SHAPE STALKS
Back in town, Sheriff Joshua Barnes quietly stalked the streets, shotgun in hand.
After successfully securing the festival crime scene, he managed to ward off the advancement of the press and left the area in the capable hands of his underlings.
More determined than ever to stop the madness, Barnes caught up with two of his higher ranking deputies, Bailey McDonald and Jamar O'Neil, to assess the status of the curfew.
"How's it going?" Barnes asked, meeting McDonald in front of his house.
"Sheriff, if you can believe it, we've had no arrests," McDonald responded. "The townsfolk have been good about this. They know the drill."
Barnes nodded affirmatively as O'Neil left his post across the street and joined them.
"Everything's quiet, sir," O'Neil added, resting the barrel of his shotgun against his shoulder.
"I don't get it," the Sheriff said, to no one in particular as he trained his eyes up and down the street. "If Michael Myers is truly back in Haddonfield, Sherry's the first person he'd go for. We've covered the whole east end of town, and he just isn't there."
"Have Lauder and Templeton checked in yet?" he asked.
"No, sir," McDonald answered, matter-of-factly.
"What about Magnetti?"
"I heard from Forster about a half hour ago," O'Neil chimed in. "He was out near the rave. Said it appeared to be secure."
"There has to be something I'm missing," Barnes continued. "Something..."
But as he glanced off into the distance, something caught his eye, and he immediately stopped speaking.
Stepping away from his compadres, Barnes mumbled a few incoherent words as he broke into a fast-paced walk down the road.
"Sheriff?" McDonald questioned. "What is it?"
"No," Barnes mumbled as he started running.
"Sheriff???" O'Neil asked.
"NOOOOOOOO!" the Sheriff screamed, now in an all-out sprint as the steps of his boots echoed off the pavement beneath him.
Sensing danger, the two deputies cocked their weapons and bolted after him, accompanied by several officers nearby.
As he reached the street corner, Barnes suddenly halted to a stop, followed by his entourage of followers.
"What is it?" McDonald panted, breathing heavily.
"It can't be!" Barnes yelled, hunched over and attempting to catch his breath.
"We're after the wrong guy!" he concluded, exhaling in and out repeatedly. "Notify all units!"
There, parked along the street, was a familiar tan station wagon, adorned with the seal of the State of Illinois.
When Barnes saw that, he read the inscription on the door and thought he saw a ghost:
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.
Back in the woods outside Haddonfield, English teacher Diane Moulson, covered from head to toe in dried and coagulated blood, frantically stumbled and staggered her way through the rugged territory in an effort to find an exit. After what happened at the rave, she had become completely disheveled, her makeup smeared and dress torn in various spots all over her body.
She still didn't know what to think of the whole situation. Her first thought was that it was a gruesome prank, but judging by the reaction of the rest of the crowd, deep down, her gut was telling her otherwise.
"Wade?!" she called out into the night. "Wade, are you out here?"
Which led to her other problem. Her fellow chaperone, Wade Robertson, had disappeared after unknowingly drinking too much of the spiked punch at the party. She prayed that nothing bad had happened to him, and just hoped to find him and get him out of harm's way before it was too late. Despite the fact that he was a constant flirt and hornier than any guy she'd ever known, she knew he had a good heart, and cared deeply for him.
Unsuccessful to that point, Diane abandoned her high heels and began hiking barefoot through the unknown region. It was so quiet, the only company she seemed to have were the crickets, owls and other creatures of the night.
But that...what was that sound?
Puzzled, she attempted to listen more intently.
It sounded like water bubbling nearby. A spring, perhaps?
As she continued forward, the sound got louder and more pronounced.
It wasn't until she turned the corner that she discovered it wasn't a spring, or water of any kind.
It was blood.
And it was gurgling from the throat of Wade Robertson.
"Oh my God, Wade!" she yelped, rushing to his side.
Robertson, suddenly sober, awkwardly sat against a thick oak tree, with a switch protruding from his neck area.
Blood was pooled deeply in his lap as Diane attempted to free him from his peril.
As she grabbed at the branch, Wade reached up with his hands to stop her.
"It's no use," he whimpered, spitting out more blood from his mouth. "It will only make it worse."
"What do you mean???" Diane cried, desperate to help. "We've got to get you out of here!"
"Diane," Wade groaned, looking into her eyes. "Please."
"But there has to be something we can do," Miss Moulson bawled, tears streaming down her face.
Wade, seeming to accept the inevitable, got a weird grin on his face and stared past Diane and off into the distance.
"Well, it's like my plastic surgeon always said," Wade stated, now in a whisper as his face had gone completely pale.
"If you gotta go...go with a smile."
Much to Diane's dismay, Wade then lowered his head and went limp, the fake smile of his Joker costume eerily showing signs of a life that was clearly no longer there.
"Wade...Wade!" she wept, shaking him.
But it was no use.
She had little time to grieve, however, as behind her, she heard a familiar voice call out to her.
"Miss Moulson?!" Sherry Robinson shouted. "Is that you?"
Getting back to her feet, Diane, never more happy to see a friendly face, turned to greet her student.
Which meant she never saw it coming.
Just as she turned her back, Michael Myers emerged from behind the large oak tree and stabbed her right in the back with his butcher knife.
Sherry Robinson's eyes went wide with shock as Michael lifted his latest victim off the ground with one arm, the knife still inside her.
"MISS MOULSON!!!" Sherry screamed in disbelief, watching as the life of her teacher slowly slipped away in mid-air.
Dropping Diane to the ground like a piece of meat, Michael then stared darkly toward Sherry, and an uncanny sense of recognition set in for both of them.
"Michael?!" Sherry whimpered, instantly flashing back to her youth, and that fateful night she lost her father.
"You killed my father, you bastard!" Sherry yelled, her tears turning from fear to rage in an instant.
Tilting his head in a brief pause, Michael then wasted little time and started walking toward her, the bloodied knife held at his hip.
Sherry turned to run, but almost immediately tripped and fell over a downed tree limb.
She got to her feet, but fell several more times, unable to see the path she was taking. It was then she realized that her track skills would be of no use to her in this setting.
With Michael effortlessly catching up to her, Sherry made one last ditch effort to run-- and fell flat on her back.
The Shape then slowed his approach and gained his own footing as he closed in for what figured to be a very satisfying kill for the legendary monster.
"NO!!!" Sherry cried, with images of her father (and Madison Mauberry) flashing in her head.
Michael, joining her in the clearing, stood over her, and, raising his knife over his head, prepared to strike her down--
When suddenly, he was greeted by several bright headlights and one loud, deep command into the darkness.
Proceed To Chapter 27
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