Episode 009 - The Halloween Special

October 1982

Christopher and his 8-year old sister, Marie, were having the worst Halloween ever. All the grown-ups could talk about was the Tylenol murders which had occured during the previous month. Most towns were discouraging trick-or-treating this year.

“We’ll be OK.” Marie said to their mom. “I won’t take any medicine from people. Just candy.”

“I don’t think anyone will be giving candy out this year, kiddo.” said mom. “No one wants any more kids dying.”

“We won’t die as long as no one puts poison in the candy.” cried Christopher. “It’s not like the people who give out candy are all trying to kill kids.”

“The first girl to die from the cyanide in her Tylenol was only a couple years older than you.” said mom. “It’s too risky. You aren’t going out this year.”

The kids sat in the living room with their costumes ready to go. Christopher had saved his lunch money to purchase a realistic grim reaper mask with articulated jaw, the kind that fit to the wearer’s face with spirit gum, which he had painted himself for extra realism. Marie wore a curly copper-haired wig she’d found in the closet along with an old red dress to be Little Orphan Annie. They were ready. 

“Mom.” protested Christopher, “This is, like, my LAST Halloween. I’m in double digits now. I won’t get another chance.”

“I have to go to work, kids. You’re staying in with your sister. Watch a movie or something. There’s Jiffy Pop in the cabinet.”

“Can’t we trick or treat a little?” asked Marie. “We’re all dressed up here.”

Their mom sighed, her foot already out the door. “You can go to a few houses in the neighborhood only. Just people we know. NO STRANGERS.”

“Yay!” both kids exclaimed. 

“And you can’t eat any candy until I’ve had a chance to examine it all.”

“Fine.” they said in unison.

The sun hung low in the sky when they stepped out of the row-home they’d been living in since their parents split up. It was only a few blocks from the blood-red house on Cooperton Avenue where they’d lived all of their lives up until June. The kids were still getting used to the change. Christopher liked having his own room at least, since their teenage brother, Jonathan, had decided to live in the basement. They didn’t see much of him those days.

The two children went up and down the block on both sides, knocking on every door. No one answered. 

“Why isn’t anyone home?” Christopher asked.

“Maybe they’re all out trick or treating?” pondered Marie.

Christopher looked down the street in both directions, seeing no one out. 

“If they are, it isn’t around here.” he said, “Maybe we should try another block down.” 

“Mom said to stay in the neighborhood,”

“Yeah but...what’s the definition of a neighborhood? One block? Three blocks? Ten?”

“A neighborhood is five blocks or less!” she said authoritatively. 

“Ok, let’s go five blocks this way.” said Christopher, “Then we can come back and go five blocks the other way.”

They walked street after street. Past the row-homes and into regular housing. Most houses no one answered and at one or two they just got sad shrugs from the inhabitants and excuses of, “I didn’t think we’d get trick or treaters this year, so I didn’t buy any candy.”

After five blocks of this Marie was tired.

“I want to go home.” she said, “This is stupid. We didn’t get any candy. I hate Halloween.”

“Don’t say that!” said Christopher. “Halloween is the BEST. People just don’t get it this year. They’re all scared.”

“But we’re the only people out here! We look like idiots.”

“Yeah.” said Christopher. “Where are all of the other kids?”

“They’re inside watching TV probably.”

“I don’t know, We tried Dave’s house and Jimmy’s...and a bunch of other kids from school. No one was answering there. Most of them had the lights out.”

“So what?”

“I’m just wondering.” Christopher said, “If all of the other kids aren’t home, then where are they?”

“Maybe the Halloween witch ate them.”

“That’s not a thing.”

“You don’t know everything.” she countered, “There’s a witch house on Cooperton avenue. Just a few blocks from our old house.” 

“A witch house?”

“Yeah. Michelle Cohen and her brother told me. She tried to eat their toes.”

“Michelle and Kevin went to a witch house?” he asked. “They went to a WITCH house? And a lady there, with green skin and a pointy hat was all like, ‘gimme your toes!’? REALLY?”

“I don’t care if you believe in witches or not. I’m telling you that’s what Michelle told me.”

“Why their toes? Why not the rest of them?”

“I don’t know. Maybe that was what she needed for the potion.”

“A toe potion.?”

“You know how potions are. They always have bat tongues and spider eyes and stuff in them. Maybe she needed kid toes for hers.”

“There’s no such thing as witches,” said Christopher. “Just like there’s no such thing as Shower Curtain People.”

“THE SHOWER CURTAIN PEOPLE ARE REAL! I saw them. They live in the shower curtain.”

“That is the dumbest thing that anyone has ever been scared of ever.”

“It’s not dumb. It’s a real thing.”

“Ok.” said Christopher. Mom had warned him about making fun of his sister for the things she claimed to see, but Shower Curtain People were just too silly. He couldn’t help himself.

“Look!” shouted Marie.

She pointed at kid walking about a block away.

“It’s another kid! Let’s follow him!” she said. “Maybe he’s going to where the trick or treats are.”

The other kid walked toward the elementary school, directly across the street from Christopher and Marie’s old house. 

“Is there something going on at the school tonight?” Marie asked.

“The lights are all off,” said Christopher.

They got close enough to the other kid to see he was wearing a Dracula cape, with his black hair slicked back. He headed toward the playground at the rear of the school. 

“Hey kid!” Marie yelled. “Where are you going?”

The kid stopped and turned.

Seeing his face in the glow of the streetlights Christopher recognized Steve, his white hair turned black with color hairspray, his eyes still inexplicably brown as they’d been ever since the day he and Christopher went sledding last December.

“Ice cream.” said Steve. 

“What?” said Christopher. “Ice cream? It’s Halloween. Nobody eat’s ice cream on Halloween.”

From the woods behind the school came a familiar song.

It was the Mister Sillee jingle. 

“Ice cream!” Marie screamed as she ran toward the source of the sound.

“Wait!” cried Christopher while chasing her but she made it halfway to the crest of the hill behind the schoolyard before he caught up.

The music grew louder when they reached the short downward slope. 

Across the field that spread out from the bottom of the hill stood a dense wood which Christopher had once vowed to never enter again. Right at the edge of the wood was a Mister Sillee ice cream truck playing its neverending jingle on speakers mounted to the roof.

Dozens of children surrounded the truck.

Marie practically rolled down the hill and Christopher stumbled in pursuit. 

When they reached the sea of children Marie and Christopher saw that most of them were eating enormous ice cream cones, easily twice the size of what Mister Sillee usually served. A man dressed as the red-haired clown mascot of Mister Sillee’s ice cream peered out of the truck’s side window, handing cones to every kid that approached.

“Can I have a black cat?” said Marie when her turn arrived, pointing to the drawing on the side of the truck of the signature cone with two chocolate twirls that resemble cat ears and a cherry for a nose. 

The clown honked his nose at her and pointed to another picture of a cone that contained an orange soft serve with chocolate sprinkles in the shape of a jack-o-lantern. The title above the image said, “Halloween Special”.

“Umm...” she said, “I want a black cat. Black cats are for Halloween too!.”

The clown honked his nose again and handed her a “Halloween Special” identical to the one in the illustration. She sighed and took it. 

Christopher also was offered a special Halloween ice cream cone. He took it and the two kids pushed their way through the crowd to find a spot to eat their ice cream in peace.

Marie took one taste and spit out her ice cream. “Ughh. I hate creamsicle flavor.”

Creamsicles were one of Christopher’s favorites so he opened his jaw to take a big mouthful when someone swatted it out of his hand.

“Hey!” he shouted as his treat fell to the ground.

Steve stood in front of him and said, “No. The ice cream is bad.”

The back door of the truck swung open and eerie blue light spilled out into the dark field. The Mister Sillee clown waved silently at the kids, beckoning them to enter.

One by one the children climbed into the back of the truck. Well over two dozen kids of all sizes entered, more than could possibly fit. Yet still more filed in.

Marie started toward the truck, but Steve grabbed the back of her collar.

“Ice cream!” she cried, fighting him.

“No.” said Steve. “There’s nothing good in there.”

“What’s happening?” asked Christopher.

“The Balatron. They’re trying to get to Amalthea.” replied Steve.

“What? Make sense.”

“It doesn’t matter.” said the brown-eyed boy. “We need to get out of here.”

The last of the kids boarded the truck. Nearly a hundred in all. Everyone except the three of them.

“What do we do about all of the kids?” asked Christopher.

“Nothing. We can’t help them.” said Steve as he dragged the struggling Marie away from the truck.

Christopher assisted him. The door of the truck slammed shut and the field became dark except for the headlights. The ice cream song continued to play.

When they reached the hill Marie stopped fighting them as if a spell had been lifted.

The engine of the truck started up.

“Let’s go.” said Steve.

They clumsily climbed up the hill in the dark, but the tangle of roots and vines made it difficult.

The truck slowly drove toward them.

“It’s gonna kill us!” wept Marie.

“He can’t drive that truck up this hill.” said Christopher. “We can barely even walk up it.”

They scrambled upward using their hands as much as their feet.

The truck reached the bottom of the hill.

Marie picked up a rock and threw it at the ice cream truck. It bounced off the darkened windshield.

“Don’t do that!” said Christopher. “You’ll make him mad!”

“He’s chasing us!”

“He can’t get us up here, that truck can-” the engine roared and the truck ascended the slope of the hill easily.

The three kids ran.

The truck made it to the crest as the kids reached the blacktop behind Amon Heights Elementary School.

They bolted across the schoolyard, around the building, and out onto Cooperton avenue.

When they hit the street Marie started crying as they looked once more at the blood-red house.

“I wish we could just go home.” she said.

“That’s not our home anymore.” said Christopher.

“Then let’s go to our house.” replied Marie with tears in her eyes.

The truck appeared around the building as it inched toward them, slowly approaching as if it had all the time in the world.

“This way!” shouted Steve as he led the other two in the opposite direction of the row homes.

They ran for two blocks, the truck moving behind them at a snail’s pace.

“Where are we going?” asked Christopher.

“Just keep running!” replied the other boy. They ran through a few backyards and between some houses.

The truck slowly turned the corner, the jingle droning on.

When it reached the end of the block it turned again, sticking to its leisurely pace.

Steve ducked down a driveway followed by Christopher and Marie, hopping over a small stone-wall that stood around a tree-shrouded house. 

“We can’t go there!” Marie said. “That’s the witch house!”

“This is MY house,” said Steve.

“You’re the witch?” 

“No. I live here with my aunt Lucy.”

“Oh. She’s the witch.”

“We’re not witches.”

Steve led the way into the tiny home.

Marie was cautious but she followed the boys as they entered.

Inside the house was well lit, with the scent of potpourri. The door opened into a living space with a sofa, a comfy chair and a tv. There were no signs of cauldrons, broomsticks or bats. She was a little disappointed.

“What kind of witch house is this?”

“It’s not a witch house,”

“Steven?” called a woman’s voice from the kitchen. “Is that you?”

“Yes, aunt Luce!” he responded. “I have some friends here.”

“Alright dear.” she said. “Do they want some candy?”

“YES!” said Christopher. “Thank you!”

A short-haired woman with dark eyes entered holding a tray of cookies and a giant cauldron-shaped bowl filled with Halloween candy. 

“We can’t take cookies from an old hag.” Marie tried to whisper, but her voice tended to carry.

“I’m thirty-two.” Lucy said, smiling. “How was trick-or-treating?”

“Not great-” began Christopher before Marie interrupted.

“We got free ice cream from a clown in the woods but he’s the devil or something and he tried to eat us. He chased us all the way here and he kidnapped every kid in town!”

“Hey, slow down.” said Lucy, “A clown tried to eat you?”

“No.” said Steve, “It’s true. It’s the Bala-” There was a knock at the door.

“Do you have more friends coming?”

All three kids shook their heads no.

Lucy opened the door. A police officer stood in the doorway.

“Sorry to bother you ma’am, there’s been some disturbances in the neighborhood. You know, kids getting into mischief. Do you have any children here?”

Lucy leaned toward the cop to obscure his vision into her home. 

“No officer,” she said, “I do not have any children.”

“Are you quite certain, Miss? I could swear I saw some heading into this here house.”

“Do you have a warrant, officer?”

“Excuse me, ma’am, this is just a friendly visit. No need to-

“Leave my property now, officer.”

“Bring me the children.”


“Bring me the children now!” the policeman bellowed as his mouth contorted into a forced smile, his face becoming paper white.

“Molly!” shouted Lucy.

From nowhere a silhouetted figure pounced on the threatening man, thrashing and twisting around him.

“Arrgh.” cried the policeman, his nose suddenly round and red as he stumbled away from the door.

“We will return for what is ours!” he snarled at her as he ran to a squad car on the street. As it drove off, the ice cream truck jingle could be faintly heard. The shadowy form glided along the ground and came to rest at Lucy’s feet, becoming one with her own shadow.

Marie was in tears. “What was that?”

“That was a friend, children.” said Lucy, gesturing at her shadow as she closed and locked the door, “Don’t worry. You’re safe here.”

“See, Aunt Lucy.” said Steve, “The Balatron are up to something. They took the children. All of them. And I think I know why.” He didn’t talk like a kid anymore. Steve’s voice was different. Christopher couldn’t explain it, but he sounded like a grown-up in a kid’s skin.

“Who are you?” Christopher asked brown-eyed Steve, “Who are you REALLY?”

“I don’t actually know who I am.”

“But you’re not Steve. Not the kid I go to school with.”

“I am now, but that’s not what I always was.”

“Those kids will get murdered!” wailed Marie. “We need to help them.”

“What are we supposed to do about it?” Christopher asked her. “We’re just kids.”

“Those kids will show up in school tomorrow.” said Lucy. “They will seem to be perfectly unharmed.”

“How do you know?” asked Christopher.

“Because this has happened before.”

Intro and outro theme 

Music Provided By Mediacharger



Artist: Darren Curtis

Track: Demented Nightmare

Credit https://bit.ly/3lvCtVS

Episode 008 - The Chase June, 1989 Rich Williams ran like hell. There was nowhere he could hide. They knew him too well. Pete had been his best friend since they first got high together in 9th grade. He knew every secret spot in town where the two of them would go to smoke or drink. Rich had no option now, but to run. If he’d been smart he would have grabbed his keys before they started the lottery, but he didn’t think his number was up. He thought for sure that Mike was going to be the next one to go. Stupid, his luck had run out. Or Pete had screwed him. The game started right after their last day of high school. Back then there had been seven of them. Rich, Pete, Ron, Dirt, Mark, Mooch, and Mike. Mooch was the first to fall. Ron took him out with a hunting knife. Of course he did. Ron was a total psycho. He took the game more seriously than the others did. It sounded like a joke at first when Mike had proposed it right there in Pete’s driveway. “Hey, let’s play tag.” he had said, leaning on the hood of Rich’s ‘76 Mustang. “Sure.” said Rich, not giving a fuck if Mike was serious or not. “What’s the prize when I win?” said Ron. “Isn’t bragging rights enough?” said Mike. “No way. I’m not chasing you all around the neighborhood like a pansy unless I get something out of it once I catch you all.” “Oh, not that kind of tag.” said Mike, “A real game, like, to the death.” “That’s fucked up, man.” said Dirt. “Tag to the death. Heh. That would be awesome.” “So you’re in?” said Mike. “Yeah, but ’m with Ron,” said Dirt, “There ought to be a prize.” “Well,” said Mike, “if a prize is needed, then what about this?” He reached into his backpack and pulled out a small wooden box. “What the fuck is that?” asked Pete, already sparking up a bowl, in the shotgun seat of the Mustang. Mike held the box up for everyone to see. It was a three inch cube with a hinged lid and carved with arcane symbols all around it. “It’s a second chance.” said Mike. “Whoever opens it gets a do-over.” “Fuck you.” said Mark. “I’m not playing kill-tag with you nut-jobs for a magic box.” “It’s not a joke.” said Mike. “My uncle Ted got it from Barry’s Occult Shop. It’s the real deal.” “Come on. You had a magic box all this time and you never told us about it?” said Pete, incredulously. The gang all laughed because it was silly. All of it. The idea of playing a kid’s game at their age, playing to the death, no less. Most of all, the nonchalant way that Mike suddenly claimed to have an honest-to-god magical artifact in his possession. Then Ron got serious. “Prove it.” He said, “Show us what your box can do and I’ll kill all of you for it.” “Ok, but we need some ground rules before we start.” Mike said. “Rules are for pussies.” “Rules are what makes it a GAME.” “Fine,” said Ron. “What kind of rules?” “Well, for one, we pick one person to be It. Then we chase that person down. We can pick at random so it’s fair. Once that person is captured and taken out we wait twenty-four hours to pick the next person. That way we all have time to rest up between chases.” “This sounds pretty brutal.” said Rich. “I like it.” “Yeah. Murder tag.” said Pete as he took a long toke, “It could be the newest trend.” Mooch pulled a cigarette out of Ron’s pack that was sitting on the hood of the car. “What the fuck, you gonna ask for one?” said Ron. “Why bother, you always say yes.” replied Mooch. “I’m killing you first.” “You can't, we haven't drawn straws yet or whatever.” “Lemee see that magic box.” said Dirt, reaching for it. “Oh naw.” said Mike. “I’ll be keeping it until the game is over.” “What if someone takes you out?” asked Ron. “Well, then that person gets to be the box keeper.” “What if I kill someone and they’re not It?” asked Pete. “Then you’re out of the game. It wouldn’t be fair to kill another hunter.” said Mike, but then he added, “Of course, if you’re It then you can kill the hunters without being disqualified. That should make it sporting.” “Can we use weapons?” asked Mark. “Sure. Whatever is at your disposal. And once we pick who’s It the rest of us have to hide our eyes and count for ten seconds.” “That’s not a long time,” said Mark. “No, but if we gave them any longer it wouldn’t be fun.” “What if one of us goes to the cops?” Mark asked. “Then that person is immediately It. As a matter of fact, anyone who talks about it outside of the group replaces the current target.” “Sounds fair,” said Ron. “Now show us what the box does.” Mike picked up a brick from the side of the driveway and approached the Mustang. “What the fuck!” shouted Rich as Mike smashed the brick through the rear passenger window. “Relax.” said Mike. “I’ve done this before.” Mike reached into the broken glass and found a piece large enough to cut his finger on. It wasn’t a big cut, just enough for a trickle of blood. “Are you fucking kidding me?” spat Rich. His usual demeanor of not giving a fuck ended when it came to his car. Mike opened the little box in his left hand and allowed a drop of blood from his right to drip into it. There was a woosh of air as the brick flew out of the car and landed back where it had been in the driveway. With it, the glass instantly rushed back into the doorframe of the Mustang. Everyone was silent. Mooch examined the brick. Rich felt the window on his car. Mark, Dirt, and Ron stood with mouths agape. Pete set down his bowl and turned toward the back seat. “What the fuck just happened? Did somebody break a window?” “You honestly didn’t see what just happened?” asked Rich. “Jesus Christ. I never thought I’d say this but maybe you smoke too much.” “Yeah.” laughed Pete. “Should be doing shrooms more often.” Everyone chuckled, but they were still in shock. Mike wasn’t making it up. He had in his possession a thing that broke all of their understanding of how the world worked. Ron went to grab it out of his hand, but Mike was swift. “Nuh-uh!” said Mike, “One more rule. Anyone who tries to steal the box is subject to the same penalties as someone who rats us out. You immediately become it.” They all nodded in agreement. Except it wasn’t just agreement. It was compulsion. Every rule that Mike spoke felt like a bond that they could not break even if they wanted to. Each and every one of them knew that they would adhere to these rules and therefore had to take what originally felt like a joke as something deadly serious. Rich popped open his trunk and pulled out a bingo set with a pouch full of tiles. “Why do you have bingo in your car?” asked Mooch. “I stole it when I was doing community service at the church.” “Why?” “Because it was there.” Rich held out the pouch of tiles and said, “Each of you pick a number from one to...seventy-five.” he said, “I call sixty-nine!” They all groused about him choosing the most desirable integer, but each called out a number. Pete chose forty-two. Ron called one. Mark went with twenty-three. Mike called seventy-five. Dirt tried to choose zero in an attempt at cleverness, but the group shot it down and so he went with fifty-seven. Mooch went last and called lucky number seven. They tossed all of the other tiles out of the pouch. Mike waved his hand over the bag dramatically and pulled one out. As it turned out, seven was not such a lucky number after all. “Well, fuck me.” said Mooch as the others covered their eyes and began to count out loud. “TEN!” said the group in unison. “Are we really doing this?” Mooch asked, nervously. “NINE!” they chanted. “You fucking-” “EIGHT!” Mooch ran. He was by far the least physically fit of the gang and didn’t stand a chance out in the open, so he dashed into Pete’s backyard and hid behind the shed. When the countdown ended the hunters looked around. Rich got into his car and started the engine. Mike glanced around the neighborhood. Pete put his bowl away. Dirt, Mark, and Ron started beating the bushes that lined Pete’s yard. Rich drove off in search of Mooch with Pete in the passenger seat. “He must be hiding,” said Mark. “He’s too fat to run.” Ron was the one who found him. Cowering between the toolshed and the chain link fence. He’d tried to scale it but was not athletic enough. “Aww fuck.” said Mooch. “You caught me. Game over now, right?” Ron grabbed him by his shirt collar and dragged Mooch out into the backyard. “Lemme go, dick.” Mooch said to his captor. “Game over. You win. I’m going home now.” “That’s not the rule,” said Mike. “You lose, you die.” “Yeah, but. I didn’t know we were being serious.” said Mooch. “We were,” said Mark. “And you know it. I don’t know why, but we all know it. We’re locked into this somehow. This shit is real.” Ron pinned Mooch down on the ground and pulled a massive knife out of god knows where. “I told you I’d kill you first.” he said as he plunged the knife into Mooch’s chest. “No-no!” was all the poor bastard could say before his life was cut off. The yard was immensely silent for a long while. “Umm.” said Dirt. “What do we do with his body?” “Leave it.” Mike said. “We’re going to get the electric chair if anyone sees it.” said Mark. “Don’t worry,” said Mike. “Arrangements have been made.” They all regarded Mike with a bit of fear. This wasn’t just some spur-of-the-moment thing. He’d been planning this. He had made...arrangements. “We have twenty-four hours to rest up. We can meet here again tomorrow at this time to draw another tile.” They all went home for the night, except Mike who stayed behind to inform Rich and Pete when they got back from their fruitless search. The next day they reconvened at Pete’s house. They examined the yard and saw no sign of Mooch’s corpse. “How did you get rid of him?” asked Mark. “Don’t worry about that. Just know that as long as none of us talks there is no way to trace it back to us.” said Mike. “Is that a band-aid on your finger?” asked Rich. “Yeah,” Mike said. “I cut it on the glass yesterday, during my demonstration.” “What?” Rich asked. “Your magic box didn’t fix it?” “It doesn’t rewind time. Not exactly.” It just undoes one event. Fixing the window didn’t change the fact that I cut my finger. “But you couldn’t cut your finger without the glass.” “Try not to think about it too hard. It will break your brain if you get too into it.” “Whatever.” said Rich, reverting to his usual uncaring stance. “So I guess, we gotta do another one?” asked Pete. “Yeah.” said Ron, “Let’s get this over with.” Mike laid the tiles out on the concrete in front of the shed and removed the number seven before tossing the other six tiles into the bag. This time Mark’s number was up. They repeated the ritual covering of the eyes and the chanting countdown. Mark ran much faster than Mooch and made it out of the house and took off on a bike he’d stashed just for that purpose. None of them saw him again for three days. They checked his house of course, several times, but his mom said he hadn’t been home for days. They searched all of the usual haunts including the alley behind Discount Gary’s, the trestle, and the pit. All had come up empty. On Friday, Pete was working a shift at the Burger King when his co-worker, Marie, told him that some weird guy was creeping in the men’s room. Pete went in to investigate and found Mark hiding in the stall. Pete was overcome with rage. His eyes bulged out of his head as he spasmed. Mark tried to get away but was cornered. Pete smashed the stall door against Mark’s head repeatedly. Mark fell to the ground. Pete picked him up and bashed his head into the toilet over and over in a burst of violence. After a long while it was done. Mark’s body lay motionless on the bathroom floor, blood pooling on the tile. When he came to his senses Pete began to panic. He spun around to make sure Marie nor anyone else had heard or seen anything. The dining area of the Burger King was empty. When Pete checked the bathroom stall once more, it was empty too. No blood. No brains splattered. No sign of Mark. He left work early. Just walked home and called Rich. The two of them sat in the Mustang for a long while. “I don’t know what came over me.” Pete said, “I was like a beast.” “Mike did something to us,” said Rich. “That box of his or something is controlling us all. He turned us all into killers.” “I don’t know though.” Pete countered. “It’s not like I haven’t ever wanted to kill someone before. This is just the first time I’ve acted on it. Like, that rage is always there. This game just brought it up.” “Well, the way this is going, only one of us can survive,” said Rich. “ I don’t believe we really thought this all the way through.” “Yeah,” said Pete, pulling out a pack of smokes and searching for a lighter. Unable to find one on his person he opened Rich’s glove compartment. Out popped a bingo tile. Number sixty-nine. “What the fuck, man?” Pete said. “You’ve been fucking cheating!” Rich flashed his knife-like smile. “Well, duh. Do you think I wanted to end up like Mooch and Mark?” “Well, fuck. Now we have to make you It, don’t we?” “No way. There’s no rule against cheating. He laid all of it out on the first day. We pick a person to be It. We chase that person. If anyone goes to the authorities they’re immediately It. Nowhere did Mike say anything about calling a number that isn’t in the bag.” “Son of a bitch.” said Pete. “You see what this puts me in? Either I lie to everyone else to protect your sorry ass or I rat you out to them and they’ll all want you dead right then and there.” “No. It doesn’t matter.” “What do you mean?” “I pulled the sixty-nine out of the bingo kit long before we even talked about this stupid game. It was never in the bag. That’s why I called it, sure. I knew I would never have to be It that way.” “Son of a bitch.” said Pete. “But that’s the thing,” said Rich. “When Mike was counting the tiles after he tossed out Mooch’s there was a sixty-nine in the pouch.” “So there’s more than one sixty-nine tile?” “No. I looked when I first got the bingo kit. I went through all of the numbers, one through seventy-five. There was only one sixty-nine.” “Why did you do that?” “Because man, sixty-nine!” “So...” started Pete. “Mike planted another bingo tile?” “Or something else is going on. Either way we’re cursed. No matter what we do our number will be up soon. I don’t know if Mike rigged the game in his favor or if it’s fucking magic or some shit. We don’t know how Mike is getting rid of the bodies. You said Mark just disappeared. Maybe Mike’s fucking with us. Maybe it’s not even him controlling the game. I don’t know. All I know is it’s just a matter of time until we’re all dead.” “Well ok,” said Pete. “This time I’ll do the drawing.” “What difference will that make?” Rich asked. “The seventy-five tile had a crack in it. That was Mike’s. When I reach into the bag I’ll feel around for the one with the crack and that will be the one I draw. If he’s the one doing this then at least we can take him out. Maybe after that we can quit this stupid game.” “Are you sure Ron won’t just stab us all for fun? Prize or no prize?” “Yeah, but he’s always like that.” chortled Pete. “Better the devil we know.” The next night they met up in Pete’s backyard once more. Mike repeated the action of pulling out the tiles and removing number twenty-three before replacing the other five into the pouch. Before he could pull one out Pete stepped in. “Hey, just to make it fair, maybe one of us should pull from the bag this time.” Mike paused for a moment then said, “Yeah, of course.” before handing the bag to Pete. Pete didn’t have the dramatic flare that Mike did, but he reached in the bag and fished around for several seconds. A quick smirk appeared on his face when he grasped the tile with the crack in it. “Ok! Here it is! “ He said, “Number...sixty-nine?” “What the fuck!” shouted Rich. But the rest had already covered their eyes and started counting. “Ten!” Rich ran to the Mustang. “Nine!” He reached for his keys, but they weren’t in his pocket. Shit. He thought. He’d left them in his jean vest back in the yard with his smokes. Stupid. Fucking Idiot. He thought. Rich ran across the street and into the neighbor’s yard. He ran through to the fence at the rear of the yard and jumped it into the adjoining property. Hoping to lose them by hiding in the endless suburbs, Rich zigged and zagged throughout the neighborhood until he found an unlocked shed to hold out through the night. He found an old tarp to sleep on and tried his best to get comfortable. He really wished he’d brought his smokes. Eventually the exhaustion took over and Rich collapsed into unconsciousness. He had no clue how long he’d slept, but he was awakened very late by the sound of the shed door opening. Reaching for a pair of garden shears in the darkness, Rich prepared to pounce on whoever entered his hiding spot. A flashlight shined on him. “Motherfucker!” yelled Rich as he thrust the shears at the intruder. “Gahh!” screamed the old woman that he slashed with the tool. He’d caught her in the shoulder and she bled. “Why?” she gasped as she fell to her knees. Rich dropped the shears and leapt around the bleeding woman. Running out into the street, Rich paused to catch his breath. He was terrified by a familiar sight. His Mustang silhouetted in the moonlight. The headlights staring directly at him. The engine revved. Rich tried to run, but it was too late. The car accelerated, devouring the road like a beast as it roared toward him. Rich dashed down the sidewalk, but the Mustang slammed into him and threw him into the air. He hit the ground with a sickening thud, and then everything went black. He came to with blurred vision and a world of pain. Rich tried to sit up but both of his legs were bent at odd angles to one another. The grill of his car was smashed in. It had hit him hard. The four remaining hunters clamored out of the vehicle and ran to surround Rich’s broken form. “Is he dead?” he heard Pete ask. “No.” said Ron. “He’s still twitchin’” “Aw man.” said Dirt. “This ain’t right. We should just shoot him or something. Put him out of his misery.” “Do you have a gun?” asked Mike. “No.” “I’ll do it.” said Ron, leaning in close with his knife out. “One more kill for me.” Rich could barely remain conscious as the tip of Ron’s knife poked at his chest. “Sorry, dude.” said Ron, “Them’s the rules.” Rich shouted in pain as the knife slowly pierced his chest. His arms thrashed about, trying to stop Ron from killing him, but the larger teen swatted them away and continued his grisly work. Rich’s flailing arm brushed against something hard and square. He grasped it in his hand and in a last ditch effort to save himself smashed it against Ron’s head. “Ow! You dick.” said Ron. “That fucking hurt.” “How the fuck did he get that!” said Mike, regarding the object in Rich’s hand. “It must have fallen out of your jacket when you got out of the car,” said Dirt. Realizing what he was holding, Rich closed his eyes and focused. He thought about the Mustang and his broken legs, about the knife entering him. About Mooch, and Mark. He flicked the box open with his thumb. When Mike had done it, he offered blood to the artifact. Rich had plenty of that to give. Dipping his bleeding fingers into the box Rich pictured his car missing him on the street and smashing into a tree. There was another woosh as the figures around him were violently pulled back into the car by an unseen force. The Mustang reversed then paused for a split second before speeding forward into a massive oak. The car wrapped itself around the trunk of the tree. None of his friends had been wearing seatbelts. Pete and Ron were thrown through the windshield, their skulls bashed on the sidewalk next to Rich. Mike and Dirt were in the back seat, their bodies battered by the impact, their heads lolling. Rich breathed a sigh of relief before realizing that the power of the box had only reversed the action of the car, killing all of his friends. It did nothing to repair his shattered body. By the time the neighbors from the surrounding houses made it outside, all five teens were dead on the street.


Episode Seven,

The Recruit

July, 1962

Caroline Evans finished her third year as teacher’s aid at Amon Heights Elementary. She’d moved to the town from Philadelphia after college and rented a room from her older cousin. Both of her younger sisters were married with children, but Caroline intended to take her time before settling down. She was never the type to rush into things. At twenty-five her family spoke rumors of her descent into spinsterhood, but Caroline didn’t worry. She was content with her job and didn’t need a large space for herself. With each passing year she felt more comfortable in the possibility that she may never marry. Caroline valued her alone time and the freedom that not being attached brought her.

One afternoon she took a bus into the city and watched a small theater production of Pagliacci. She’d never been to the opera before and had nothing to judge it by, but was able to gather that this stage and this troupe were not the ideal situation for such a grand show. Nevertheless, she was entertained by the performance in spite of not understanding a word of it.

After the show, as she rose from her seat, the strap on her purse snapped and spilled its contents onto the theater floor. A man knelt instantly before her to gather her scattered belongings and place them in the purse.

“Oh, thank you, sir.” she said as she regarded the man. He was of average height, and had a ruddy complexion and rather a long nose. He wore a well-tailored, dark red suit, with a checkered handkerchief in the breast pocket.

He handed her the purse and said, “You’re welcome.” in an accent she couldn’t quite place.

He did not step aside but held her gaze for an uncomfortable amount of time. Not knowing what else to do she extended her hand, while clutching the purse in the other.

The man took her hand. For a moment she feared that he was going to kiss it like she had seen European men do in movies.

She sighed in relief when he merely shook it and said, “Greetings madam, my name is Alec.”

“Well, hello Alec. I’m Caroline. Pleased to meet you.”

“”What did you think of the production?”

“Oh, the-the opera? I’m not exactly a connoisseur. It was nice. I liked the singing.”

“They didn’t get the story quite right, but Signor Leoncavallo wasn’t actually there, so we can hardly fault him.”

“So, you’ve seen other versions of Pagliacci?”

“I am very intimate with Pagliacci.”

“I see. Well, it’s been nice meeting you, but I’m afraid I have a bus to catch.”

“I shall not keep you, madam.” said Alec, as he stepped aside.

Caroline left the theater and was immediately assaulted by the sunlight. Reaching into her purse to retrieve a pair of Foster Grants, she found instead an unfamiliar pair of sunglasses. They were black and quite stylish. The brand on the frame read “Balatron”. Realizing that Alec must have dropped his glasses into her purse she spun around to return them, but the man was nowhere to be seen. He had been behind her in the theater when she left, so it made no sense for her to not see him leave. She checked with the usher who remembered no one fitting Alec’s description.

Having exhausted her attempts to find the man to no avail, Caroline had no choice but to head home. The sun was bright so she decided it only fitting that she use the Balatron sunglasses as Alec had apparently lifted hers presumably by mistake. It would make no sense to steal the cheap glasses she’d picked up the week before on the Wildwood boardwalk in exchange for what appeared to be luxurious Italian designer frames.

They worked exceptionally well and were quite comfortable to wear. Even when she entered the dim interior of the bus Caroline could see clearly. Somehow she was able to read her Agatha Christie novel with them on.

Walking from the bus depot to her home on 42nd street, Caroline saw a man in a clown suit walking toward her. His white overalls with multi-colored polka dots stood out amidst the greenery of the suburban landscape as he strode nonchalantly into Bernardo’s Shoe Repair on the corner of 43rd and Westfield, his enormous shoes flopping all the way.

Caroline wondered if Bernardo charged extra for clown shoe repairs. 

The next day Caroline stopped for lunch at Fresco’s Pizza on 48th street. As she sat down she noticed a pair of clowns in one corner, engaging in conversation. She found it odd to see so many clowns in one 24-hour period and asked the server, a young woman, if the circus was in town. When the girl gave her a blank stare Caroline gestured at the clowns. The server said she didn’t care what people got up to in the privacy of their own homes and walked away.

Caroline decided to catch a matinee of The Music Man at the local theater. The box office operator was also dressed as a clown.

“Is there some sort of special event today?” she asked the clown.

“No, you pay the standard 75 cents like everybody else.” said the woman with a painted frown and a droopy flower in her hat. 

“I mean...the outfits.”

The woman looked up at Caroline. “Where did you get those glasses?” she asked her.

“These? Oh...an...acquaintance gave them to me.” Caroline was not one to lie, and this was not entirely untrue, but she was taken off guard by the accusatory manner in which the ticket-woman spoke. 

“They are not for you.”

“Well, I think they look quite nice on my face.” said Caroline with indignation as she sauntered into the theater.

She could see easily enough in the dark theater with the sunglasses on, but thought it strange to watch a movie in them, so Caroline dropped them into her purse.

The film was delightful. Caroline as always stayed through the credits out of respect for the filmmakers. When the theater lights were turned on she was approached by a young usher.

“Excuse me miss,” said the pimply young man, “the manager would like a word with you.”

“You must be mistaken, young man. There were some hooligans in the back of the theater. I saw them when I entered. Surely-”

“No ma’am. He was specifically clear that I would talk to you.”

“What for?”

“This way, ma’am.” said the usher as he led Caroline to the theater office.

It was a cluttered room infused with the dry smell of old nicotine and whiskey. Stacks of film reels covered every surface. On one side of a small desk sat a pale man in a dark suit, with a charcoal colored hat and prominent black eyebrows. Across from him sat a frumpy woman wearing a flower-patterned blouse and an unfashionable hat. 

“That’s her.” said the woman. “She had the glasses.”

“I beg your pardon,” spoke Caroline, “What is this regarding?”

“My dear,” said the man, “our employee suspects you to be in the possession of property that is not yours.”

“Oh...” said Caroline, looking at the woman, “You’re the ticket operator. I didn’t recognize you without your get-up.”

“See?” said the woman to the man.

“Yes. Her get-up, of course.” said the man.

“What am I being accused of stealing, actually?” 

“Our employee says you were seen wearing a pair of sunglasses that belong to someone else.”

“Oh come now!” said Caroline. “This is all over a pair of glasses? I told her, ``I received them from an acquaintance when I was in Philly.”

“And who,” asked the man, “would this acquaintance be?” 

“His name is Alec, I don’t know his last name. We aren’t very close.”

“But close enough that he would just GIVE you a valuable-” began the woman, but the man interrupted.

“ALEC, you say? Can you describe this benefactor?”

Caroline told the man about her encounter with Alec at the show in the city. About the purse, and how he switched her glasses for his.

“So you admit it!” spat the woman, “THIEF!”

“Enough, Duckie.” said the man, “You are dismissed!”

Duckie got up to leave, pushing rudely past Caroline.

Once she was gone the man spoke, “I believe we got off on the wrong foot, Miss-” 


“Miss Evans. We do not mean to call you a thief. Certainly this is a simple misunderstanding.” as the man talked he pulled a cigar and a cigar cutter out of a pocket within his suit. He manipulated the items in his hands as if he were preparing to snip the cigar, but the process seemed more elaborate and deliberate than necessary. It was like watching a magician perform a trick, except nothing ever actually happened. The man deftly handled the objects in a fluent motion but nothing came of it. The effect was somehow mesmerizing.

He spoke for several minutes as his fingers danced before her. Caroline could not recall a word of what was spoken, but in the end was convinced that the man was her ally. Finally she agreed to place the sunglasses in his care so that he may return them to Alec. How this man was connected to Alec was unknown to her, but whatever he said to her must have been very convincing.

She removed the glasses from her purse, examining them one last time. As she held them in her hand she could see one of the film canisters through the lenses. The canister was made of polished aluminum and showed a reflection of the man across the desk. When she glanced at the reflection through the lenses, the man’s reflection was different.

Caroline’s breath caught in her throat as she looked up at the man whose reflection didn’t match his face. Realizing that the glasses were what made the difference, she immediately placed them over her eyes.

“Stop!” the man yelled, but it was too late. 

With the sunglasses on she could see his true form. It was certainly still the same man that sat before her, but his pale face was shock white, his dark eyebrows distinctly painted on. The tie of his nice, charcoal colored suit was much wider than normal and covered in white polka-dots while the suit itself had broad white, vertical stripes. His black fedora now sported an oversized white flower.

“What are you?” she gasped as the man lunged over the desk at her.

Caroline shrieked and bolted out of the office. In the foyer she saw Duckie, the box-office operator, once more wearing the hat with the droopy flower and sad-clown face. The young usher was in the foyer as well, but he seemed perfectly normal. No makeup. No get-up. Just a pimple-faced boy in an usher uniform.

“Grab her!” yelled the man from the office.

Duckie reached into her hat and pulled out a comically long rod, curved at one end like a shepherd's crook. It was at least five feet longer than the hat out of which it came and painted with red and white stripes like a vaudeville hook.

Her exit was blocked so Caroline twisted around and ran into the theater which was already several minutes into a second showing of The Music Man. The lights were off, but with the glasses she could see clearly in the darkness. 

“Help me! The clowns are after me!” she cried to the theater-goers, but the small audience ignored her, enthralled by the film. 

Caroline ran toward the fire exit to the right of the big screen. The young usher had sped down the other aisle and cut her off just before she reached the door.

“Ma’am”, he said, “I don’t know what’s going on here, but please calm-oof!”

He never finished as Caroline whacked him in the head with her purse. The boy fell to his knees more from the shock than the pain. 

Caroline stepped around him and opened the fire exit. 

She stepped out into the bright sunlight of a summer day onto the parking lot of the theater. As she did so Caroline felt the wind knocked out of her. The vaudeville hook was wrapped around her midsection and yanked her back into the theater.

Duckie was a short woman, but surprisingly strong as she pulled Caroline to the floor. 

The manager clown looked down upon her as he removed the glasses from Caroline’s face and said, “These are not for you.” 

He crushed the glasses into Caroline’s purse and stuffed it into her mouth. 

With Duckie still holding her down, the man in the charcoal suit began to paint Caroline’s face with greasepaint. 

“Please!” she cried through the gag, but it only came out as muffled nonsense. 

The man continued to paint her face white, with diamond red shapes around the eyes. He added exaggerated lips and rouge on her cheeks. As he worked his fingers became smeared with red and white grease.

“There.” said the clown as he stood back to admire his work. “Now you are one of us.”

Intro and outro theme 

Music Provided By Mediacharger



Artist: Darren Curtis

Track: Demented Nightmare

Credit https://bit.ly/3lvCtVS

Background Music Provided By Mediacharger



Music Created By : Myuu

Song Title: Growing Shadows

Download: https://goo.gl/dSGD4F

Nothing Is Wrong is written and recorded in Haddonfield New Jersey on Lenapehoking territory.