I’ve wanted to tell this story for a year now, but my boyfriend was against it. I would hope that after a year he’d be more lenient, but he still puts his foot down in regards to this.
I don’t care anymore – in the spirit of Halloween, I am finally ready to tell the world what happened to us a year ago.
Last October, our mutual friends decided to get married. Growing up in Northern Maine, many of the young marriages resulted from being high school sweethearts – and this upcoming marriage was no different. We had all gone to high school with each other, and then drifted apart once we left for College; but somehow, our paths kept crossing throughout the years, and we remained close.
The wedding was set in a town much further than where we lived, and I had only ever heard of it once: Islesboro, Maine. This is not a town where people go to relax; it is a town that you might stumble upon while going to the town you want to relax in.
I had caught the travel bug a couple of years ago when I went backpacking across Europe, and ever since then, I look for adventures in every nook and cranny of a town – and this, well it was perfect for it. We decided to arrive two days earlier so that we could explore.
The town was accessible by ferry, so we were able to rent a car once we arrived. My boyfriend, Tom, calls it a ‘drive-through in a blink’ town.
“You drive through the town, and by the time you blink, you’ve already left it,” is how he explains it.
He was right – the town was very small, the population looked like central Maine’s population in the 1800’s.
Many of the houses were run down, foreclosure signs stuck on their untamed lawns. For every foreclosed house, there was one house standing in the midst of it, hoping that the owners would redeem it, before that too, went into foreclosure.
Taking my phone out from my pocket, I began to take videos as we were driving. I am a graduate film student, and while my degree didn’t get me a job in the film industry, I still like to document things and put them together in videos just for my personal collection.
Spotting a saloon-style bar, we parked the car and decided that we could both use a drink.
The bartender, a burly man with a wide toothy grin greeted us. Despite the place looking roughed up, his friendly demeanor brought a sense of coziness and comfort to the establishment.
“Ah! A pretty lady like you doesn’t stop by often! What will ya have?”
I blushed. I felt Tom tense up a tiny bit. I didn’t know why he felt he needed to ‘toughen’ up his demeanor; the bartender could’ve easily been his father.
I ordered two glasses of Scotch, one for the each of us, along with some chicken strips and fries for Tom.
We were the only two people in the bar, apart from the ‘bouncer’, an elderly man pushing 93 years old with a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth, and an older woman who looked like the stereotypical ‘town bicycle.’ Both of them had looked like they were either sleeping or have just dropped dead.
Tom began to strike up a conversation with the bartender, who seemed to talk without taking breaths in between his sentences. It must’ve been a while since someone from out of town had stopped by.
The friendly conversation continued between the bartender and Tom until I asked a question.
“Tonight is Halloween, where are all the decorations?” I paused, before continuing. “Does your town not celebrate Halloween or something?” I asked, laughing to make it seem less serious.
The wrinkles in his forehead deepened, his expression solemn. “No, actually, we don’t.”
I was mid-laugh before I realized he was serious. “Oh,” I said, quickly shutting up. I could feel my face going red from embarrassment.
He poured Tom another drink, the liquid pouring over the ice cubes, a perfect swirl before it hit the bottom of the glass to settle.
The bartender looked solemn as he spoke: “This town was built on top of a colony. I’m sure all ya kids know about Mr. Manson and how he wanted to start a murder colony?”
I bit my tongue, knowing that if I were to correct him with facts, it would’ve been a bad idea.
“Well, he must’ve gotten that idea from our town here. The colony had a woman in charge that had magical powers – they said she could charm a snake just with one look. She was the devil I tell ya – she sold her soul to the devil to stay in charge. Every year on Halloween, she would sacrifice three children.”
He paused, looking down as if saying the next part pained him.
“She would hang them up on the porch steps of where their mother and father slept, like some goddamn Halloween decorations. Eventually, someone killed her, but not before she took three more lives that night.”
I let out a long sigh. “How many children were sacrificed in total?”
“Hundreds,” he said, slamming his fist down.
We had left the bar feeling uneasy – and while it could’ve been from the drinks, it was more from the story we had just heard.
The motel we were staying in was one-storey, with all the windows facing the main dirt road.
We had wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring, but Tom was still feeling uneasy and was convinced he caught some sort of stomach bug while at the bar.
I rolled over in bed, ignoring the sounds of him vomiting, the splattering of the puke echoing in the bathroom.
A yellow-orange light peered through the curtains and I let out an annoyed sigh,
“Tom! You left the lights on in the car.”
His response was another retching sound, following the sounds of liquid splashing into the toilet bowl.
Throwing the covers off of me, I slipped into the cardigan I had draped over the night table beside the bed. The carpeted floor made the soles of my feet hurt, and I didn’t want to imagine what sorts of things were lying in the fibers of the carpet.
As my hand turned the knob, I noticed the lights beginning to get brighter, as if the high beams were on.
I opened the door, a gasp caught in my throat. There, on the front of our door hung a noose. The rope had been used many times, and I could’ve sworn there were specks of the blood on it.
I pulled the noose down, but it would not budge. Pushing it out of my way, I looked at where the car was parked. Tom didn’t leave the car light on; the light was coming from eyes.
The eyes of a hundred or so children in front of the motel.
As they got closer, I could see their necks were at odd angles, as if they were all snapped – some even looked detached with strings of muscle trying to hold everything together.
Slamming the door shut, I leaned my back against the door. “Tom! Tom!”
I continued to shout, but his only replies were the deep snores coming from the bathroom door.
I closed the curtains tight and bolted the door. I could hear them circling the motel, tapping their weapons on the doors and the windows, occasionally saying, “Trick or Treat, Trick or Treat! If you don’t have a treat for us we’ll never go away!”
The rhyme was being chanted, at one point it almost sounded like a song. I held my head in my hands, praying this was some prank by the local kids.
Minutes passed by like hours, the hours felt like an eternity. The sun rose in the early hours, and silence followed. At first, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me – but there it was, the sweet sound of silence.
Slowly getting up, I peered out the window. Nobody was there.
Unbolting the door, I opened it just enough to see if there was anything on the front step – even the noose was gone.
We packed up our things immediately and sped out of town. I did not want to spend one extra minute there – fuck the wedding.
Back at home, I replayed the events in my mind, which was usually followed by restless nights. I didn’t understand why they came to us for a sacrifice – according to the bartender they only sacrificed children.
On my third restless night, the chime of my phone caught my attention, my period tracking app had an alert: 17 Days Late.