Martha was neither liked nor respected. She lived alone. No one came to call. She didn't care."I'm not evil. I'm not evil," she repeated to herself as she prepared to drive to her mountain cabin. At the last moment she dropped a flashlight into her bag. The cabin had been rented to Fred and his wife for several years. They were gentle, honest folk who wished to spend their last years amid the natural beauty of the mountains. Now they had been unable to pay the rent for two months and despite their plea for consideration, they were brutally ousted from the cabin just last week by three strong men Martha employed. Now, although the night was stormy and road conditions unfavorable, Martha sped onward determined to reach the cabin before midnight. She passed several isolated cabins where pumpkins glowed on porches and dried corn stalks stood ghostlike against the dark walls. It occurred to her that yes, this was Halloween night - a night of goblins and trolls. The road narrowed as she approached the rain-soaked cabin. The cold darkness hung like a wet shroud, concealing everything. She parked in the driveway and ran up the three steps to the porch. The door opened with a loud lament. She nervously felt for the light switch. "Damn. No electricity!" She reached into her bag for the flashlight and fumbled her way into the kitchen for a candle and matches. Suddenly she had an unsettling feeling that this trip had been a mistake. The sound of scurrying feet coming toward her caused her to back up to the wall in alarm. Through the flickering candlelight she made out a dozen small, black, glistening creatures. Their oozing eyes and gaping mouths were hideously menacing. Before she could run, before she could even think, they had clambered up and enveloped her body, digging their fangs deep into her flesh. Screaming in agony, she dropped the burning candle and slumped helplessly to the floor. The cabin exploded into flames. Her charred body was discovered amidst the ashes. Strangely, only one thing escaped the flames - a large metal sign her hench-men had posted on the front outside wall which read, "DANGER. KEEP OUT !" Rosalie Sciortino belongs to Writers' Workshop West, a writing group based in Downey. She penned "Strangers in the Night" in recognition of Halloween.
********** Published: October 25, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 28