THE FESTIVAL OF SAMHAIN
CHAPTER 9- HEADING HOME
At Haddonfield High School that afternoon, the main grounds of the campus were abuzz with activity as the student body rapidly began exiting the school after the final bell. Some of the students chose to stick around to chit-chat, but most were either boarding their busses or rushing to the student parking lot to drive home. Some dead mocha-colored oak leaves blew across the sidewalks as the chilled wind picked up, and the smell of bus exhaust filled the air around the main entrance.
"Everything okay?" Brandon asked as he pushed through the main doors, noticing his girlfriend Sherry had lagged behind him to talk on her cell phone.
Sherry Robinson emerged a moment later amidst a group of other youths, who were excited to be leaving their stomping grounds for the day.
"Yeah, he said everything is under control," Sherry assured him, placing her cell back in her pocket. "But..."
"Something's not right," Sherry insisted, stopping as several teens nearly ran into her en route to their busses. "I didn't like his tone of voice."
"What do you mean?"
"I know him. He's always been large and in charge. But the way his voice was quivering, I don't know. It just kind of gave me chills."
"What are you, CSI now?" Brandon asked, trying to lighten the mood. "Look, if he says everything's under control, then it must be. He'd have no reason to lie to you about something like that, right?"
"Then what are you so worried about?"
"Good question," Sherry wondered with a half-smile. "Come on, let's go. I'm hungry and need a nap before tonight."
"A nap???? Are you fucking kidding me, you old lady?" said a third voice, joining them as they made their way to the parking lot.
"Hey Dayna," Sherry shrugged. "I didn't sleep too well last night, so I want to catch up on my zee's before the big party."
"I bet I know why you didn't sleep last night," chimed in another voice, that of Sienna St. Clair. The others seemed to roll their eyes in unison as they watched Sienna make an 'O' with the thumb and middle finger of her left hand, and insert the index finger of her right hand, pulling it in and out repeatedly.
"Come on, Sienna, seriously?" Sherry denied.
"You wish," Connor Lowe added, joining the group from an adjacent sidewalk. "I bet old Dayna here had some thoughts of her own about you, Sherry. You better watch out." Connor then made an 'O' with both hands and started pounding them together. "How does that even work?"
"Fuck off, Lowe," Dayna, clearly offended, fired back. "Just because I don't have a boyfriend doesn't mean I'm a lesbian. I like flying solo. It's much less stressful."
"That's not what I heard," Connor continued. "I heard you and Julie Marks made out under the bleachers last week."
"The techie girl? Come on, give me SOME credit!" Dayna shouted. "Even if I was a lesbian, which I'm not, I'd have better taste than Julie Marks."
"Yeah? Just how did she taste?" Connor smirked, pushing the envelope further, and earning a swift elbow in the ribs from Sienna in the process.
Dayna didn't respond as Connor grimaced in pain. She just rolled her eyes and looked away.
"So, what time's everything start tonight?" Sienna asked, trying to clear the air.
"I'll be there around 8, AFTER I get some shut-eye," Sherry assured her. "It will probably be packed around 8:30, after trick-or-treat ends."
At that point, the group reached the edge of the student parking lot and started going their separate ways.
"See you guys later," Dayna concluded, heading toward her tiny, multi-colored Chevy Cavalier with the 'MY OTHER CAR IS A TARDIS' bumper sticker emblazoned on the back. "I'm going to spend the rest of the night watching the horror marathon on cable.
"You mean you're not coming?" Sherry asked, surprised. "Oh, Dayna, you just gotta! You can't skip out on us this time!"
Dayna initially relented, but after seeing the disappointment on her friend's face, changed her expression. "Alright, maybe I'll stop by. IF I'm awake."
"Don't forget, wear a costume, and you get in for free!" Sherry exclaimed as Dayna nodded, then disappeared into the far end of the parking lot.
"That's not a problem for her," Connor quipped. "She won't even need any make-up."
Sienna quickly jabbed him in the ribs once again. "Why are you so hard on her? The lesbian stuff got old like two years ago, Connor."
Connor didn't respond. He just shrugged his shoulders and knew it was time to shut up.
"Which reminds me, I need to go by the Discount Mart to pick up a costume. Sherry, you wanna come with?" Sienna suggested.
"No, thanks," Sherry answered. "I got mine at the Spirit store last week. I'm gonna go get some rest. Text you later?"
"Sure!" Sienna answered, hopping in her red Honda Civic with Connor in tow. "See you guys later. Bye ho!"
"See ya, slut," Sherry chuckled with a wave as she got into the passenger's side door of Brandon's blue Ford pick-up.
As Brandon turned the key over in his truck, a familiar commercial came over the KNB airwaves: It featured Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Halloween", followed by the voiceover by everyone's favorite bartender:
"It's almost time, Haddonfield, the clock is ticking! The Festival Of Samhain, Haddonfield's newest tradition..."
It was then abruptly cut off.
"I don't know about you, but I'm so sick of that commercial," Brandon stated, quickly changing the station to the classic rock station, which was blaring Blue Oyster Cult's anthemic tune "Burnin' For You".
Sherry didn't reply. She just nodded in agreement and Brandon looked backward over his headrest and slowly backed out from the lot.
As they exited the student lot, Sherry, exhausted, closed her eyes and put her head back in the seat. She relaxed and started to take in the music, but sleep quickly overcame her just as the chorus hit:
Home in the darkness
Home on the highway
Home isn't my way
Home will never be
Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I can't see no reason to put up a fight
I'm living for giving the devil his due...
Proceed To Chapter 10
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