** Trigger Warning – Physical abuse/attack, Death/loss **

Lindsey’s friends warn her to stay out of the old cemetery when night falls on Hallows Eve. They claim it becomes a spiritual conduit and that a malicious entity appears. She ponders whether or not to heed her friends’ warnings as she maneuvers her red Jeep along the meandering road to meet them for a bonfire gathering.

Avoiding the cemetery’s shortcut to reach the bonfire means the only other route is over a mile hike of rough terrain through the woods. And the tail end of the trail becomes perilous where it veers close to the edge of a cliff.

Traces of smoke from log cabin fires invade her vehicle, and the brilliance of autumn’s foliage fades with daylight. Lindsey nears the turnoff for the unpaved parking area and spots her friends’ vehicles. Her eyes glimpse a darkening forest devoid of friends. She rolls her eyes, then dismisses their warnings. Forget this! I’m not hiking by myself. She drives past the lot and continues on the winding road toward the old cemetery for its shortcut.

The small graveyard comes into view on her right. Lindsey slows her Jeep, then parks in front of the gated entrance. She hops out, rounds the vehicle, and spots a dark figure standing at the back of the cemetery. She freezes and stares in disbelief. Then her tense shoulders drop, and she bursts into laughter. “Peter! Is that you?”

Lindsey shakes her head, then walks through the opened gate and enters the cemetery. She continues toward the figure. “Damn you! You’re not funny. Where’s Zoe? What about Liam & Cece?”

The figure, masked by an encompassing mist, remains silent and motionless.

“Oh come on, Peter!” Lindsey sighs and looks around the graveyard to see if her friends are hiding behind some of the larger tombstones. Unable to find anyone, she refocuses on the dark-robed figure. Her heart skips a beat. What if it’s not Peter? Annoyed for allowing her mind to wander, she gives a half shrug then picks up her pace.

Lindsey notices the temperature dropping with each step. She stops a few inches in front of the robed figure and clenches her fists. She looks into its blurred face and squints to sharpen her vision. “P..Peter?”

Her breath quickens and she extends an arm upward to swipe at its face, but her hand glides through the fog-formed visage. She screams and stumbles backward. Lindsey fights the growing panic and scans her surroundings to seek a way out.

The faceless figure releases a mirthless laugh. It steps toward Lindsey and its elongated fingers latch on to her arm and begin to vibrate. Numbness spreads from her arms to her core and throughout her legs. She fights to free herself, but the pulsating continues to seize her.

The entity moves closer, latches on to her entire body, and engulfs her from head to toe. Lindsey’s chest rises and falls with rapid breaths and tears spill from her eyes. She struggles to maintain awareness. The weight of the entity burdens her and a tingling motion creeps up her spine, through her neck, and into her head. Her sight blurs and Lindsey surrenders to its pull. She falls into a depth of darkness.

Lindsey’s imprisoned body and soul, oblivious to her former self, exits the cemetery and heads for the bonfire site. With amplified night vision and heightened hearing, entity-controlled Lindsey tromps along the trail.

The bonfire comes into view and Lindsey spots Liam and Cece sitting on leveled tree stumps in front of the fire. Gazing into their faces, aglow from the firelight, Lindsey moves toward them. A desire to kill materializes and intensifies. Her movement on the forest floor causes twigs to snap and startles Liam and Cece. They look up at their approaching friend. Her disheveled appearance forces their jaws to drop.

Liam jumps to his feet. “Www…what the hell happened to you?” He struggles to speak.

Cece’s mouth remains open but silent. She presses her hands to her cheeks and stares at her altered friend.

Lindsey inches forward, shoulders sagging and arms dangling at her sides. She stops, then rocks back and forth in place while maintaining her gaze in their direction.

Liam turns to look at Cece and stares in disbelief. He tenses his shoulders, then looks back at Lindsay. “Are…are you ok, Lind? You look a bit…uh…weird.” His heart races.

Lindsey tilts her head sideways to study Liam. Her lips part and widen. She forces a fake smile through clenched teeth, sending a chill down Liam’s spine.

“I’m fine.” Her monotone voice causes Liam’s heart to skip a beat. Evil undertones now replace her otherwise bubbly tone. “Come with me. There’s something I need to show you.” She turns and heads toward the edge of the nearby cliff. Realizing they’re not following, she looks back and motions for them to follow.

With hesitation, they join Lindsey.

Standing inches from the ledge, Lindsey points down the cliff, into the depths of darkness. “There’s an injured animal down there,” she reports to them in a robotic tone.

CeCe’s eyes follow Lindsey’s finger. “Oh no! Is it a deer?” Animal-loving Cece inquires, then bends to survey the inky depths.

“Careful, Babe,” Liam warns her. He places a hand on her back and peers downward.

Lindsey smirks, then places a hand behind each of them. She thrusts her fists forward, forcing them off the ledge. Screams pierce the air and thumps ricochet off nearby hillsides. Lindsey’s amplified night vision allows her to observe their bloody demise. Her face lights up with impish glee.

Lindsey’s heightened hearing allows her to detect movement from behind. She turns around and spots Zoe approaching the bonfire. The interruption from relishing in her successful kills deepens her need to eliminate humans.

Zoe sees Lindsey standing at the cliff’s ledge, then slows her pace. She calls over to her. “What happened? Who screamed?” Zoe stops a few inches short of the leveled tree stumps near the fire and waits for Lindsey’s response.

Lindsey forces a vile smile to grow and moves toward Zoe. Without intonation, she speaks. “Cece and Liam are trying to scare you. They’re hiding over there.” She points behind her, toward the cliff’s ledge. “You should go look for them.”

Oblivious to Lindsey’s monotone, Zoe looks down at the fading fire in front of her. She reaches for a few logs, then tosses them into the fire. “Ha! Fat chance! I’m not playing their stupid game.” She sits on a tree stump and watches the logs ignite.

Angered by Zoe’s refusal to walk toward the cliff, Lindsey picks up a sizeable rock and moves toward her seated friend. She looms over Zoe and her face glows with malevolence. She raises her arm high above her head, then drives the rock down to smash Zoe’s skull. Zoe falls silent and her body slumps forward.

Lindsey grabs Zoe’s arm and drags her lifeless body over to the cliff. She heaves Zoe over the ledge, relishing every thump and whack emitted on her downward tumble. Three down and one to go. Lindsey heads back over to the bonfire to wait for Peter.

She sits on a tree stump near the fire and utilizes her amplified vision to scan her surroundings. Her acquired ability reveals grazing rabbits, dozing deer, and flying bats. Her heightened hearing detects distant snapping of twigs and informs her that Peter approaches from behind.

Lindsey pivots to face Peter, tucking a hand into her side to conceal a rock. She forces another teeth-clenching smile and her sights remain locked on his face.

He moves with caution during his approach. “What the hell is wrong with you?” He asks, then stops several feet before her. He places his hands in the pockets of his jacket and chokes back tears. “I saw what you did to Zoe. Lindsey, are you high on drugs?”

Lindsey stands and the fire’s light shines on her bared teeth. She edges toward Peter. He pulls out a knife from his pocket and points it in Lindsey’s direction. Realizing she needs to reassess the situation, she takes a step backward, then drops the rock from her hand onto the ground. She puts her head down, cups her face into her hands, and pretends to cry. “Someone poisoned my drink with something, and now I feel sick and weird. I need your help, Peter.”

Unable to produce another reason for Lindsey’s murderous behavior, Peter accepts her plea. He puts the knife back into his pocket and walks over to comfort Lindsey. He reaches his arms out and pulls her close. She leans into him and unleashes a series of sobs.

“It’s okay, Lindsey,” he begins. “We’ll get you some help and will get this mess figured out.” A tear runs down his cheek and he rubs her back.

Lindsey continues with her sobbing act while reaching into Peter’s pocket to retrieve his knife. She eases it out and toys with it behind his back. A toothy grin spreads across her face. She gets a firm grasp, lifts her arm, then drives it into his neck. She rotates the knife back and forth to rip through the carotid artery.

Peter gasps and throws his hands up to his neck to stanch the flow of blood. He collapses to the ground. His breathing ceases. She smirks and kicks him, then tromps back along the trail toward the cemetery.

Entity-controlled Lindsey arrives in the cemetery and positions herself in the dark figure’s original location, at the back. She stands in the darkness rocking back and forth throughout the night. At sunrise, she tromps toward the front of the cemetery. Lindsey steps out from the gated entrance, and the entity leaves her body. It vanishes.

The events of the previous evening emerge in its entirety. Shock and guilt consume Lindsey. The color drains from her face and she collapses to the ground and bawls. Gagging on her own tears, she questions her recollections, then begins to wonder. What if it didn’t happen? What if I passed out and it’s all just a nightmare?

Lindsey decides to go for help. She raises her head and stops crying. She jumps to her feet and bolts toward her Jeep. Lindsey rushes into the road, unaware of the oncoming vehicle. The SUV plows into her. The force lifts her into the air and the impact throws her into the windshield, killing her instantly.

Local newspapers read:

Hallows Eve Tragedy: 23-Year-Old Lindsey Peterson Murdered 4 Of Her Friends, Then Is Killed While Attempting To Flee The Scene.