THE FESTIVAL OF SAMHAIN
CHAPTER 3- PARAGONS OF PERDITION
Later that morning, outside of town, a large train blared its horn and made its way down the tracks. To its immediate left, a group of four motorcycles roared down the highway, passing a white road sign that read 'Haddonfield 73' in black letters. Then, in unison, they pulled off at the intersection nearby and came to a noisy stop near an aged old phone booth that had clearly seen better days.
First off his bike was Caleb Wilkes, the sinewy 53-year-old leader of the group. Following him in setting their kickstands were his right-hand man Orrin Chambers, 44; Sergeant-At-Arms Bradley Kemp, 37; and soldier Brian 'Bonzo' Bonham, 32. All members of the 'Paragons Of Perdition' motorcycle club, the group was clad in identical black leather sleeveless cuts and stone-washed black jeans, complete with black leather cowboy-style boots. The club, based in Pontiac, Michigan, was in search of Brian's brother Boyd, who didn't return the night before after taking care of some club business in Haddonfield.
Caleb, spitting some tobacco to the ground next to him, entered the cracked glass phone booth and picked up the receiver. Not getting a dial tone, he angrily slammed the receiver back on its holder and came back out.
"Nothing?" Orrin asked, approaching behind him.
"Not a damn thing," Caleb replied. "Fucking thing probably hasn't worked in 20 years. You guys get any reception on your cells?"
"Not since Langdon," Orrin answered.
"Nope," was Bradley's monotone one-word response.
"Nada," was Brian's equally-as-monotone reply. "Something's not right. My brother wouldn't do this."
"I know," Caleb asserted, running his hands through his long, salt-and-pepper colored beard. "That's what worries me. We have a good relationship with the Nomads out here, but I think we should go into Haddonfield and see what we can find out. He was handling a very important piece of business for the club, and with the amount of money involved, I just want to be sure."
"Kemp, head back to the clubhouse," Caleb continued. "Let the others know what we're doing, and hold the fort until we get back."
"You got it," Bradley replied, adjusting the black bandanna over his head.
"Orrin, Bonzo, come with me to Haddonfield," Caleb ordered. "I know the sheriff there. If Boyd was anywhere around there, I'm sure he would know. We'll get to the bottom of this one way or the other."
With that, the four mounted their motorcycles and revved them back to life. Bradley sped off to the right, kicking up dust as he disappeared into the distance. The other three ventured in the opposite direction, spreading even more dirt into the air as they started their trek toward Haddonfield.
They had no idea what they were in for.
"Watch it Chrissy! Make sure you two get that banner straight!" ordered 65-year-old Coraline Piati. Corrie was the wife of Sonny Piati, who helped organize the town's "assistance" in handling Michael Myers ten years prior. "I want it to look perfect."
"Yes, Mrs. Piati," the young girl replied from atop a large step ladder, careful to hang her side of the orange 'Festival Of Samhain' banner across Main Street in downtown Haddonfield. Simultaneously, a young boy on the opposite side affixed his half of the banner as well, and the setting was starting to take shape.
The town of Haddonfield was abuzz with preparations for the first-ever 'Festival Of Samhain', the town's defiant answer to critics who insisted Halloween would never work in their town. At the helm of the committee were Corrie Piati and several other of the town's wives, including Betty Porelli, Jane Nelson, and Sally Spencer. They also had the full support of the mayor, the town council, and the local PTA. Sure, there was resistance when the event was proposed, but that's when Corrie took center stage, insisting on going through with the festival in her husband's memory. "This is something I wanted to do ten, fifteen, even twenty years ago," she told the council, almost breaking down in tears at their meeting. "Before all the-- well, before everything happened. Anyway, I really want to see it through. For the kids. For the future."
The council, moved by her testimony, unanimously approved the plans, and everything was set in motion.
In the town circle, every street light was covered with special stencils so that later on, when the lights clicked on, they would appear to be large jack-o-lanterns. Many booths and food tents were being erected, and there was entertainment planned for people of all ages. Haunted hay rides and houses would be the norm, particularly on the farms on the outskirts of town. A rave near Billow's Woods was being organized by the Haddonfield High School student council, who insisted it would be drug-and-alcohol free (and chaperoned to make sure it stayed that way). A special trick-or-treat was set up prior to the big event, culminating with a large fireworks display and surprise giveaway at the center of town at 9. The town was all-in on this. If it was successful, they planned on making it an annual event, which would hopefully improve the city's financial coffers by attracting folks from the outlying towns as well.
Downtown, the storefronts were all brightly decorated with bright orange and black 'Happy Halloween' signs, pumpkins and witches galore, and workers already clad in some sort of costume. Almost every store had a sale going on, including Halloween staples candy, costumes, and, of course, pumpkins. Haddonfield Elementary had taken care of the empty storefronts (which were more numerous than the council would have led you to believe), painting the windows in a variety of murals and decorations, then signing their names to their work. The Book Rack, a tiny book store near the center of town, had special sales on horror-themed books by Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, Clive Barker, among others. Even its "sister store next door", The Spice Rack, got into the act, offering unique autumn blends of their coffee just in time for Halloween, including candy corn, pumpkin spice, and the Haddonfield PD's favorite, demonic dark roast.
The bell attached to the front door clang loudly, and out popped officers Konrad Lauder and Douglas Templeton, clearly satisfied with their purchase. They slowly approached their squad car at the curb, careful not to spill their steaming hot coffees, but paused when they noticed Coraline directing her volunteers nearby.
"Lookin' good, Corrie!" Lauder, the younger of the two, exclaimed cheerfully. "I can hardly wait to see how the rest of it shakes out."
"Yeah, it's really coming together," Templeton, the middle-aged veteran of the force, echoed.
"Thanks guys!" Coraline cheerfully replied, barely taking her attention off of the sign. "You know me. We've spared no expense. We want this to be a Halloween no one will ever forget."
"I'm sure it will be," Lauder added, sipping his coffee as he got into the driver's side of the vehicle. "You let us know if you need anything."
"Thank you, dear," Corrie answered, barely acknowledging they were even there.
"She's really into this, ain't she?" Templeton asked Lauder once they were inside the car. "I don't see the big deal. It's just Halloween. It's not like it's Christmas or anything."
"Look," Lauder interjected, pointing out his window. "THAT'S the big deal."
Both officers turned their attention to a makeshift memorial that had candles and flowers spread around it. At the center read: IN LOVING MEMORY OF THOSE WE LOST, OCTOBER 31, 2004: JOSEPH POPCHACK. MARK KRANICH. BARBARA VOGEL. LILY MATHEWS. ANNE LYLE. TIMOTHY MASON. EDWARD DUMONT. CHRISTOPHER CLAUSSEN. KAYLA SOFFY. BYRON BLACKIE. TAYLOR TRUSCOTT. CARL KIRSCH. JOSEPH HINE. LAWRENCE PRITT. BENJAMIN WEBER. SHERIFF DONALD ROBINSON. GERALD BAKER. CONSTANCE BAKER. MARCUS VERONE. BRANDI BAKER. AMANDA MASON. DUKE WALTERS. DANIEL STARKS. MARISSA JONES. DR. JAMES KENNEDY. KATHERINE STEWART. ANTHONY WILSON. BARRY BALKIN. SANTINO PIATI. DR. JOHN LOOMIS.
It was the last name on the list that clearly surprised Lauder.
"Loomis is dead?" he asked his partner.
"Not dead, just very much incarcerated," Templeton answered. "He went crazy after Michael escaped, and Barnes had him locked up at Smith's Grove. It's kind of ironic, really. But for all intents and purposes, he's no longer with us."
Lauder didn't immediately reply. He just nodded in agreement and continued to gaze at the goings-on all around them.
At that point, a call came into their CB radio and nearly scared the hell out of both officers.
"Attention all units, we are getting reports of an incident out at Billow's Woods. Three students are on site preparing for tonight's rave and are requesting assistance, saying that their electrical setup was tampered with."
"Ugh," Templeton groaned. "Stupid kids probably got high and tripped over a plug or something. Let the fire department handle it."
"You always blame it on 'the kids'," Lauder complained. "Don't you think we should at least check it out?"
"Whatever," Templeton fired back, clearly irritated at the thought of going that far outside of town. "It's up to you. Do what you want. I'm gonna drink my coffee."
Lauder pondered it for a moment, then grabbed his receiver and chimed in to the operator.
"23 responding," Lauder called out. "Heading out to Billow's Woods. ETA 20 minutes."
"Roger that, 23."
Pulling away from the curb, Lauder did a U-turn in the middle of the street and sped off down the road, his red and blue lights flashing into the distance.
Proceed To Chapter 4
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