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They were a group of six. Dalton, Marci, Vanessa, Hannah, Micah, and Bryson. You hardly ever saw one without the other five unless they were in class. They had rented a large house off campus together and worked at the same store in the local mall. For most people spending so much time together would get old and eventually drive a wedge between friends but not them, they loved it. They had all been friends since middle school and decided early on to go to the same college, and by luck or chance, they had all been accepted to the same law school. After college, they wanted to open their own firm together. Some of them were going into criminal law, some family law. Hannah, however, wanted to be a tax attorney. It combined her two favorite things, numbers, and law. She was starting to feel they were getting a little old for all the pranks, it was time to get settle down and get serious about their careers. Her's was the unpopular opinion as the others were still having a blast with the pranks. She had pulled away from the joking and pranking, but she was still a fun target for them.
Just that morning she had woken up to her undergarments attached to the ceiling and her keys frozen in a bowl of ice. It was Halloween so she expected that her friends would have some jokes up their sleeves today of all days. They were all asleep when she finally got home from a study session and had now left before she woke up. They weren't there to laugh at her as she climbed a chair and struggled to get her delicates off the ceiling. She walked to her car and found a note folded on the windshield. She opened it and found it was an invite to a party.
'Halloween party tonight, 7 PM' and gave an address.
She didn't recognize the address but that was nothing new she was the world's worst for remember simple directions let alone an address.
She laid the invite in the passenger seat as she climbed in the car. She was halfway to campus when her phone rang. The ID showed it was Bryson.
"Hey, Bry, what's up?"
He sounded concerned, "Han? Have you heard from Marcie, Micah or Vanessa? I have been trying to call them since last night. They never came into work yesterday and didn't come home last night."
She said she hadn't seen or heard from them but was on her way to class and would see if they had shown up for class. Her first instinct told her this was a prank, she would get to school see them at their meet up spot and call Bryson back and tell him what a jerk he was. Instead, she got to school and they weren't there. She still had some time before her class so she walked to each of their classes. Not seeing them there either she asked the professors if they had shown up, all had said no.
Now she was starting to get a little tense. No matter how carefree, how much they pulled pranks and joked around, they were all extremely serious about school. None of them had ever missed a single class. They went when they were sick, never drank too much at a party to avoid a hangover, they had even declined invites from their parents for family vacations. They were straight A students and never did anything to compromise that. Hannah pulled her phone from her pocket dialed one then the other two all went to voicemail. Now she was seriously starting to get worried. She called Bryson he still hadn't heard from them and she told him none of them had been to class. Bryson had heard from Dalton, he had called to tell him about the stunt he pulled on Hannah.
Micah, Vanessa, and Marcie were supposed to have worked the closing shift at the store then come straight home to study, but the three of them hadn't been seen since their classes the day before. Hannah was dialing the hospital when she got a text, it was Marci.
Reading it, she knew something was wrong, 'Hey Han! Sorry, we didn't make it home last night. There was an epic party. We got totally trashed and stayed over. There is another party tonight, it's supposed to be even better! Hope to see you there! XOXO'
She called Bryson and Dalton and told them about the text, the guys were already on campus and headed to "their spot." Passing the phone to the guys, they all agreed that text did not come from Marci. To begin with, Marci hated to text, she thought it was ridiculous when you could call someone and say what you needed to. Second, if she did text, it was short and to the point, no punctuation and she would never put XOXO. And lastly, Marci didn't like nicknames she didn't like for anyone to call her anything but Hannah and didn't use them on other people. Someone else had sent that text.
They all agreed it could have been one of the other two using her phone they just felt better they had at least heard from one of them, they each went to class.
On the way, Hannah grabbed her phone and typed in a quick 'Thank goodness you had us worried. Who is this btw?'
Shoving the phone back in her pocket she made her way to class. Her professor was just wrapping up when she felt her phone buzzing. Okay, something was wrong. Very wrong, or this was a very mean prank.
'It's me Marci duh! You are so silly I swear!'
Marci would never talk that way, she would never say duh. She gathered her things and left. The guys must have still been in class, both of their phones went to voicemail.
While waiting she decided to respond, 'You must be in a very good mood, your texts don't seem like you.'
She got an immediate response and it chilled her to the bone.
'Yeah! I got lucky last night, hooked up with a total hottie from the B-ball team!'
There was no longer any doubt in her mind this was not Marci. Marci was a devout Christian and was saving herself for marriage. Even in her most serious relationships she never went past kissing. Marci being a virgin was no secret and she was quite proud of it. Hannah was visibly shaking as the guys walked up and she handed them the phone. Bryson wanted to go to the police, but Dalton thought they should go home just to check and see if they had been there.
They all piled into Hannah's car made their way home. They didn't see any of their cars in the drive but Dalton wanted to go in and see if they had left any signs they had been there. Hannah, Dalton, and Bryson separated and started checking the house. There were no dishes in the sink, the showers were dry, and there were no dirty towels on the floor which Micah no matter how many times asked not to, left the towel on the floor. They clearly had not been home. All three were worried sick about their friends and decided to go to the police. They were almost to the police station when Hannah's phone started buzzing again.
Another text, 'Hey where are you guys? Meet at our spot in 15 k?'
They all breathed a sigh of relief and started laughing at themselves for getting so worked up. Marci had some serious explaining to do about those weird texts, and saying she got lucky! That was a good prank, a mean one but a good one. They reached the campus and made way toward their spot. When they got there though there was no sign of any of the other three.
Instead, there was a note 'sorry had to run, Micah's Mom called she needs him to come home something happened to his Dad, and we want to go get some new costumes for tonight. You all better be there!' and left the same address that was on the invite she found on her car.
She pulled the invite from her purse to compare the handwriting. They were the same. The handwriting did not belong to Marci or Micah but it did have some resemblance to Vanessa's. Shoving both the invite and note in her pocket she looked at the guys. Discussing what to do next they all knew there was something off about the situation. Then again it was Halloween and this was the perfect day for a prank like this. It was a good one though they were all on edge. But would they really miss work and class for a prank? They never had before.
It was almost three o'clock in the afternoon and none of them had eaten since breakfast so they walked over to the campus cafe for some food. They were talking about the odd texts and party invite. The fact that they hadn't heard an actual voice of any of their friends all day when Bryson who was looking out the window jumped up. There was a guy standing a few feet away next to the large fountain. He was on his phone and when he saw Bryson staring at him, he quickly ducked behind the fountain.
Bryson took off running out of the cafe as the other two gathered their things and started out behind him. By the time he got to the other side of the fountain the guy was gone. He told Hannah and Dalton what he had seen. They both told him he was overreacting and the guy was probably just talking to a friend and happened to be walking away when Bryson saw him, but he knew what he had seen. Someone was watching them.
Hannah wanted to go home and get ready for the party. Her makeup was going to take forever and she wanted to get a head start. Dalton and Bryson were going to stop and get some costumes and a keg, they always brought a keg. They didn't drink much but everyone else appreciated it. It was six-thirty Hannah was on the way to meet the guys when her phone buzzed. She waited till she got to the cafe to meet the guys before she checked her phone. The guys were already there waiting on her. She pulled out her phone with a text that had the gate number and to make sure the gate closed before they came up to the house. This must be some party the place had a gate just to get in. Minutes later they pulled up in front of the house.
It was huge, to say the least. The front lawn was covered in Halloween decorations and the house was brightly lit. It looked like every light in the house was on. They didn't see anyone out front which was odd but they could have been inside or out back. They punched in the gate number, waited for the gate to close and made their way up the drive. There were hardly any cars in the drive but they did see Marci, Micah and Vanessa's cars along with a few others. They hear loud music coming from inside and the back from what they could see what loaded with decorations as well.
There was nobody out back either. For a college party that was very odd, there were usually people wall to wall and pouring out the doors. They looked at each other and slowly made their way toward the door. The other three had to be here their cars were right there. As Hannah knocked the door gave way and opened slightly. She peeked in to see a massive kitchen with a counter full of food and fake skulls filled with some sort of drinks. Dalton and Bryson went in first called for the others. They got no answer and made their way through a huge dining room with a table that could seat 12. They called out again for their friends, still no answer.
They turned the corner and Hannah saw Vanessa she was laying in a pool of blood, her face beaten and bloody. Hannah screamed and ran to her friend, dropping to her knees, she yelled her name and felt for a pulse. She was cold and still, she was dead. Hannah screamed again yelling for the guys, turning to see they were gone. They must have gone to find the others. She pulled her phone from her pocket to call the police. She jumped up leaving her dead friend to find the others. She was dialing when she tripped over something large. She fell hard, hitting her head on the wood floor. She landed in something wet and sticky. It was more blood. Micah's blood or what looked like Micah. His face was so badly beaten she could hardly tell. He had what looked like stab wounds in his back. She didn't have to check for a pulse to know he was dead. She screamed again a hand clamped down over her mouth and pulled her away. It was Dalton, he and Bryson had separated but he found Marcie upstairs, she was dead. They both jumped, Hannah screamed as a loud rumbling started at the top of the stairs.
Bryson was rolling down the stairs his face bloody and beaten as well.
He couldn't stand, "There are three of them." he sputtered before collapsing.
Dalton rushed over to Bryson trying to help him up. Hannah was trying to dial 911 but the phone wouldn't dial out. She was dialing for the third time when Dalton yelled her name and she felt a blow to the side of her head. The pain was excruciating, she could feel the blood sliding down the side of her head as she hit the floor.
Her eyes were closed but she could hear everything...
There was a loud crunching sound followed by a wet slapping noise. She could hear the grunt of her friends as they were beaten. She knew her turn was coming but she was helpless to stop it. She couldn't move. She tried to open her eyes but all she could see was red. Blood filled her eyes, it burned, she couldn't see anything. The pain was still crippling but she did try and get up, to do something, to save herself if she couldn't save her friends. She had to figure out who was doing this and why. As she went to lift herself up, she could hear footsteps coming closer, then a large boot was on her back and shoved her back to the ground.
"You move again, you die," a gritty male voice growled.
She laid on the ground listening closely. There were three sets of footsteps, three separate voices. Two males and a female. The girl was begging to leave. She promised to never say anything about what happened and could kill her if she did but she wanted to leave.
Hannah heard a loud smack and the girl cry out. One of the males ordered her upstairs till they were finished. As the footsteps retreated up the stairs the men agreed they would take care of her next. Hannah was pulled up by her arms. She could still barely see and could only make out blurry figures. They sat her down in a chair, one bound her legs the other her arms. She was crying now and the tears helped to clear her eyes. There were wearing costumes with masks there was no way to tell who they were.
"What do you think of your prankster friends now?" The larger guy sneered.
"It's all fun and games till someone gets hurt...or dies," the other chimed in, and they laughed together.
She didn't recognize any of the voices even the female. She asked over and over why they were doing this, what they wanted, but she was ignored. She was screaming loudly when the large guy came over and smacked her hard across the face. She felt her lip split and her mouth fill with blood.
"Another noise and we end you right here, right now," he growled.
She did her best to stop the tears and remain quiet. A few minutes later, they left the room, leaving her alone.
The ropes on her hands weren't as tight as the ones on her feet. She started trying to free her hands. She was still working the ropes when she could hear them coming back, She went still, looking up at them, she asked what they wanted, but they ignored her yet again. They stood there talking quietly to one another for several minutes. What were they doing? They had killed her friends without hesitation. Then it dawned on her, she didn't see Dalton or Bryson. She could see the blood, lots of blood but the guys were gone. What did they do with them?
They disappeared again down the hall. She started working the ropes again when a third person in costume walked in. It was the girl she had heard. She had a large metal bat and walked quickly over to Hannah. Hannah closed her eyes and prepared for the blow. Instead, she heard,
"I am going to help you but you have to be quiet and listen to me," she quickly walked away.
Hannah didn't know what she told them but they started up the stairs. Once they disappeared the girl rushed over to Hannah and started working the ropes on her feet.
Talking quietly but fast, "I am going to take care of these two. Go as fast as you can but keep it quiet. Meet me at your car. Keep the doors locked and stay as low and still as you can till I get there. If I am not out in 10 minutes, assume they killed me too and get to the police station. The gate is open so hit the gas and don't stop till you are out of here. There is a note in your purse with all of our names and addresses. My phone is in there in case you have to stop. Once my feet hit the stairs count to 20 and run. Take that door to the left it will take you out to the side of the house, your car will be out just a bit."
She finished the last knot, shoved the purse in Hannahs lap and walked to the stairs. She looked over, nodded her head and started up.
Every second seemed like an eternity. She finally got to 20, slowly stood up and stepped lightly toward the door. She had just opened the door when she heard a loud thud. Jumping she bolted out the door and ran as fast as she could to her car. Her head was pounding but she had to keep running. She pulled the key from her purse, unlocked the door, got inside locked the doors and got down into the floorboard. She could see out the mirror on the other side of the car and could see figures in the windows. There were still three of them. Then three became two. The girl was alone with one of the guys. Hannah saw the bat come up and swing, the blood splattered on the curtains. She covered her mouth so she wouldn't scream. She waited longer than the girl had said but seen nobody else in the windows and she hadn't shown up. She did her best to look around before sitting up. Not seeing anyone she pulled herself up and moved to the driver's seat. She jammed the key in the ignition, started the car and took off.
The was a warm wet sliding down her face. Thinking her head was still bleeding she put her hand to her face then pulled away. It was tears, she was crying and hadn't realized it. She saw the lights of town coming into view and sped up. She pulled to a stop in front of the police station where two officers were outside. They saw her and ran over to help her inside. She recounted in as much detail as she could everything that had happened. She pulled the note, invite, and the girl's phone from her purse and handed them over. The two police officers that helped her before took her to the hospital and stayed with her till her parents arrived.
Two weeks later she was at her parents' house, she hadn't been able to bring herself to go back to the house they had shared. There was a knock at the door. She looked out and seen the same two police officers who had helped her before. She opened the door and invited them in. They had gone to her house to follow up and when she didn't answer, they had come to her parents. They handed her a letter that was stuck in the door it was addressed to her but offered no return address. Reading the letter her hands started shaking. She handed it to the officer and fell to the couch crying.
I miss you so much I just can't come inside. Too many memories. I don't see your car so don't know if you are living here either. I took the rest of the semester off. Heard you did too. I tried your number but it's been disconnected. Mine is the same if you remember it haha. I am at my parent's. Stop by sometime, I would really love to see you.
Love Always, Dalton
There were three survivors that night. Hannah, Dalton, and the girl who saved Hannah, her name was Madison. She had given a full confession to the police. Though she was still in the hospital she would be going to jail to await a trial as soon as the doctors released her. She told police the two males, Matt and Nathan had always hated the prankster friends and thought the only way to stop them was to kill them so they had put a plan together. Why they were saving Hannah for last she didn't know, and now nobody ever would.