The room was softly lit with a variety of tastefully shaded lamps, all warm tones, and the occasional candle. Several women laughed melodically as the men in the room fed them humourous quips of what they did back in the old days and the sound of glasses clinking and drinks being poured reached every corner.
I had a lengthy conversation with one woman about cooking dinner for her children next week, apparently she was worried the rabbits might intervene in some freak accident, she didn’t make much sense. She wore an emerald green cocktail dress that complimented her figure perfectly, I’ve never seen a dress hang on someone so well, she was beautiful.
As soon as she’d finished a man, I assumed was her husband, approached and gave me the worst kind of body-check up and down look that is only reserved for the most unfortunate of encounters. The woman clocked this glance, gave me a curt nod, moved on to another couple in the room as if the whole exchange between the two of us never occurred.
It was no time at all until the drinks had slowed, everyone was beginning to feel the effects and some of the women were getting restless. At this point the husbands reached their full potential as leaning posts and their spouses took full advantage. The men looked utterly bored.
That’s when I noticed the staring.
One by one, a few seconds between them, all of the men began to avert their gaze from their own conversations to me. I thought it might have just been something interesting on the wall behind me but after moving away it became increasingly evident their eyes were glued to me. It was the feeling you get when looking at a painting and the subjects eyes follow you around the room, but in real life, the men were actually staring.
I approached one of the women and asked her aside what was going on, she tapped her husband in the arm and that broke the spell for a brief moment, he glanced back to her and resumed gawking. Stranger still the woman began laughing again like she’d just heard the funnies joke.
I couldn’t get the sound of dripping out of my head, steadily it became louder and louder: drip, drip drip. Someone must have spilled something on the tiled floor nearer to the kitchen and hadn’t cleaned it up yet, it was a cocktail party after all.
Suddenly the staring stopped and the party settled into full swing once again. Whatever happened before, it was intense. Maybe I’d done something, spilled a drink of my own or someone else’s without them realising but after asking, none of the men had a clue what I was talking about, strange.
At this point I decided it was nearing the time for me to leave. I began to make my way around the room and let everyone know, only polite. As I went from couple to couple it was increasingly evident that they began talking in secret once I turned my back to speak to other people. We’ve all had it happen at least once in our lives, you turn and make eye contact with someone as they’re speaking and they stop immediately. This was happening with everyone, I waved it off, the drink was obviously getting to me.
Someone knocked a candle and a pair of curtains burst into flames, no one moved apart from the lady responsible, she simply lifted the window, slid the fabric off the rail and tossed it out into the waiting darkness. Not a single remark was made, her husband brushed her dress clean of the smouldering flakes from the now-absent curtains. These people are weird, why did I even come here?
There it was again: drip, drip, drip. But this time it was obvious everyone heard it, they all stopped chatting and slowly turned to face me, wide eyed and neutral faced. Whatever’s going on here it isn’t right. I’m leaving.
I walk to the other end of the room to fetch my coat, I decide I’ll put it on once I leave and start for the door. I hear it once more: drip, drip, drip and a scream rips through the atmosphere as several candles find death in the chilling breeze which follows.
Nobody moves a muscle, they’re all fixed on me, everywhere I look I make eye contact with another perfectly turned out couple. I go to see what’s gone wrong and as I near the bathroom the dripping sound intensifies. There’s then a hideous ripping sound and a massive splash on the tiled floor inside.
I burst into the bathroom and it’s larger than I’d expected. The sun was beaming from a narrow window near the ceiling, strange, seeing as it was night at the party. The door slams shut and a streak of red begins to leak from a closed shower curtain facing me.
Another scream rips through the wet sounds and my vision blurs, like the fuzz when you can’t get a signal on old tv sets. I stumble and fall, gripping the curtain and ripping it down to reveal the woman in the emerald cocktail dress.
Or, what was left of her. Hanging from a large meat hook from her back, her dress had been torn and her ribs pried open, insides slowly leaking from the cavity.
An agonising headache came into focus through the blur as I lost consciousness all at once and I was left to the mercy of whatever had done an unspeakable horrific act to a once beautiful woman.
This is my first attempt at writing something ‘scary.’ Not that I really have many creative horror ideas but I had an image of a cocktail part and ran with it. Hope it’s not too cringey. Let me know what you thought, you know what to do!