If You Go Down to the Woods Today
They say that truth is stranger than fiction and real life is often more terrible than anything that can be imagined. This story is inspired by real life events that occurred in haunted house attractions. In October of this year in Austin Texas at the Fright Night Haunted Dreams attraction the horrors turned into reality for a teenage boy. Onlookers came across a scene of a crazy looking man biting into a boy’s arm, the boy was howling in pain and then the realisation that this was not part of the attraction hit the crowd. One of the visitors in the crowd shot the man 28-year-old Philip Harris and emergency services arrived to the scene but it was too late for the boy who was dead by the time they arrived. Despite this case and other similar cases every year hundreds of thousands of people are still searching for the ultimate Halloween scare.
Rosie was one of those many people. She loved the exhilarating feeling of being scared and gorged on horror films. The goriest films were her favourites, she enjoyed the bloody carnage in a slightly perverse way. She watched so many horrors that she was almost desensitised to the horror and was looking for something to truly scare the crap out of her this Halloween. She researched online and searched out the best scare houses in Europe. There was one scare house rumoured to be in a different European country every year and only the few lucky people who applied online would get to go this event. This year the website said that the scare house would visit Ireland and were looking for applicants! She couldn’t believe that she might actually have a chance of being one of the few people to be petrified this year! She loaded her picture and answered the questions about her favourite horror film and where she lived and sent off the message into cyberspace. All she could do was sit and wait now (and watch some more horror films of course).
It was now two days before Halloween and she had still heard nothing, feeling despondent she guessed she had missed out on this one. Just as she was nodding off to sleep an email popped up on her phone. It was an invite to the scare house “Slaughter Forest” the next day. She was instructed that the invite was only for her and to share the event with no one. A bus would pick the “victims” up on Patrick’s Quay in Cork City at 9.00 pm and drop the back at Midnight. There was no other information in the email. She was so excited that she found it hard to get to sleep that night and was in and out of nightmares all night long and she got up for work feeling tired and frazzled yet also excited. She was dying to tell someone in work but managed to keep the event to herself.
She managed to get through the days’ work and walked from her apartment at the outskirts of the city to the pickup location arriving ten minutes early. She was feeling slightly jittery after just finishing a strong coffee. There was about twenty other people waiting there already. Everyone seemed to be alone and were eying each other up nervously. The bus arrived and this was when the fun started. The driver was wearing what looked like a vintage pig mask. He said nothing just opened the bus doors and motioned for them to get on. Not wanting to look like a coward Rosie strutted onto the bus first, closely followed by the others.
They drove towards west but with the curtains closed and the darkness of the night she has no idea where they were headed when she peeked her head out through the curtain. After about 40 minutes the bus ground to an abrupt halt and the driver grunted and opened the front door motioning them to get off. They could hear the sounds of a slow version of the Teddy Bears Picnic mingled with squeals. They were in a forest next to a large wooden building – the sounds of pigs being slaughtered streamed from the building as did the smell of rancid meat. They were putting huge effort into the whole unsettling scene Rosie thought to herself. They started towards what must be the start of the event where a group of people in vintage animal masks were stood. They all held very realistic looking slash hooks or gleaming knives.
She was starting to feel that slightly hysterical and alive feeling of being scared. She noticed one of them staring straight at her intensely. She stared back, she was headstrong and determined that they weren’t going to make her be the first one to scream. They slowly approached the group and saw an obstacle course laid out before them lit by huge red floodlights. She wondered what other terrors awaited them. She was feeling quite nervous now but was enjoying the feeling.
He stood in his vintage bear mask surveying this year’s participants. He spotted the girl right up the front of the pack with a headstrong look on her face. She was quite attractive and curvy. She didn’t look the fittest girl in the bunch so the disgusting obstacle course should tire her out and take some of the fight of her so he could play with her. There was one every year, she looked very similar to his first love all those years ago. He squealed with excitement and they ran towards the group of nervous participants driving them towards the obstacle course. They scattered in different directions screaming and giggling. Each of the obstacles had a different scare, the hands that grabbed ankles through the tyre run. The bloody river that seemed to contain body parts and something slimy grazed their ankles. Somebody should have told them to bring a change of clothes she thought as she fought her way through a muddy enclosed tunnel closely followed by one of the squealing animal tormentors.
By the time she hit the fourth obstacle she realised that everyone else was gone way ahead. It was just her and the creepy guy in the bear mask left behind. She started to run, slipping on the wet ground and was soon out of breath and feeling really scared for the first time in years. She had gotten exactly what she wanted and now she was regretting her decision to come here and keeping it a secret. She stopped for a break and heard heavy breathing right behind her. She was nearly at the end of the course and spotted the group about 10 feet away. She felt a hand grab her from behind and dragged her by the hair towards the slaughter house. She screamed, terrified and tried to stay in one spot but it was useless. Her energy was spent after tackling the obstacles. The group looked on, assuming this was part of the scare. No-one realised this was not a stunt.
He dragged her through the door and barricaded it after hurtling her towards the wall. She felt something wet leaking through her jeans, she’d wet herself she realised. She tried to get up but the bear man ran for her smacking her head back against the wall. She knew now that he wasn’t messing with her, this was not part of the scare. This guy was a psycho and no-one even knew she was here. She heard the bus engine start outside and screamed hoping that someone would come back for her. He stood there squealing and laughing and dancing to the Teddy Bear’s picnic tune. She heard the group chatting away and laughing as they got on the bus full of praise for the scary attraction that had lived up to expectations. Nobody even noticed that there was one less person than when they had left the city.
He approached her now and swung a slash hook at her, catching in her soft slightly flabby tummy. She felt a searing pain and collapsed to the ground trying to clutch it and stop the pain. He stood above her grunting and squealing, he now held a mallet. He swung it at the side of her head and she felt her cheekbone smash and her head spun with dizziness trying to stay conscious. He whacked her once more with the mallet this time straight at her temple. This was the final death blow and the life drained out of Rosie.
He dragged her lifeless and heavy body towards a butchering table and proceeded to hack her body into pieces which he would freeze and feast on for the next year. Next year he would find a new love to savour who would die for the opportunity to enter Europe’s greatest traveling scare show.
The Corpse Bride,