The Midnight Man, страница 1
The Midnight Man
By Kevin Saito
The Midnight Man
By Kevin Saito
Copyright 2013 Kevin Saito
All Rights Reserved
Cover Photo by MorgueFile
Cover Design by Kevin Saito
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, trademarked products, events, and locations are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
If you'd like to read more from this author, check out his website or follow him on Facebook.
“You’re late,” she called to him.
Milo closed the door behind him, careful to keep it from slamming. Outside, it was dark, cold and beginning to sprinkle. Thunder rumbled in the distance but sounded like it was growing closer by the minute. He figured that the storm wouldn’t be long in coming. Milo shook the sprinkles off his coat and stepped into the large common area of the abandoned dormitory finding his friends already in their usual spots.
“Dude, we live in the same dorm, how did I beat you here by fifteen minutes?” Called Lance. “You need to rub one out first or something?”
“Sorry guys,” Milo said. “Had to finish a couple of things and then had to wait for Reagins to clear our floor.”
“I think Lance is right, our little Milo had to take care of a little… business first,” Kyle said, pantomiming masturbation.
It brought a couple of laughs but most everybody rolled their eyes. Kyle wasn’t nearly as funny as he thought he was. Milo took a seat on the tattered old couch next to Jordan Aimes, his girlfriend for the last six months. Across from him on an equally worn couch sat Lance and his girlfriend Kacey. In battered but functional wingback chairs to his right were Kyle and Stephanie who were most definitely not together and to the left in a matching set of old chairs were Gabriel and Ruby who couldn’t decide whether they were together or not most of the time. Given that they were holding hands, it appeared that they currently were. A lantern sat atop a nicked and scarred coffee table in the center, casting them all in a strange orange flickering light but leaving everything beyond their circle cloaked in deep pools of shadow. Being in the old abandoned dorm gave Milo the creeps but not wanting to endure the endless ribbing from the guys about it, refrained from ever saying anything.
The six of them had become fast friends from the day their parents had dropped them off at the gates of the Kent-Ashford Preparatory Academy four years ago. The shared trauma of being sent off to boarding school so their parents could travel around the world pretending they didn’t have children had served to bond them together. It wasn’t long after they started at Kent-Ashford that they’d discovered Wallingford Hall, the abandoned dorm they were seated in, and had claimed it as their meeting spot. According to the school it was strictly off-limits but then so was being out of your dorm room past the nine p.m. curfew.
Wallingford Hall had been one of the male dorms until a fire had broken out in one of the upper floors more than ten years ago. It hadn’t done all that much damage as far as Milo could see but the school had boarded up all of the windows, barred the doors and shut it down anyway. New Wallingford Hall, which was where Milo, Lance and Kyle had their rooms, had been built on the other side of campus. The school apparently couldn’t yet decide what to do with old Wallingford and so it sat vacant and neglected. The guards that patrolled the grounds paid little attention to the old dorm so it was a perfect hangout spot for their small group.
“Okay so,” Jordan announced. “I thought to mark the start of our senior year, and since it’s a perfectly appropriate dark and stormy night, we’d play a little game.”
“Spin the bottle?” Kyle asked.
“You so wish,” Stephanie replied.
“You’re right, I do wish,” Kyle said. “I’ve always wanted to take a crack at ol’ Milo.”
“Why, you finally pop your blowup doll or something?” Gabriel asked.
“Unfortunately, she did pop,” Kyle shot back. “And since your mom is out of town I’m sorta out of options.”
The laughter echoed around the building as Gabriel gave Kyle the finger.
“Okay seriously guys,” Jordan said once the laughter had died down. “I found this cool, totally creepy sounding game online over break and I thought it would be fun to play.”
The room fell silent and all eyes turned to Jordan. Milo looked at her, curious. They’d played all kinds of games and plotted all sorts of pranks within these walls over the years but something in her voice told him this was something different. He was curious because she hadn’t mentioned it to him and they’d talked almost every day over the break.
“But I have to warn you,” Jordan said. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”
“Go on,” Kacey said.
Jordan reached down into a bag that sat beside her and pulled out a notebook. She flipped through a couple of pages and looked back up at them.
“It’s called the Midnight Game,” she said. “Some say it’s an old Pagan ritual, some say it’s not… but most everybody agrees that it’s real and it’s really freaky.”
“Freaky how?” Lance asked.
“Freaky as in terrifying,” she replied. “Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart.”
“So how do you play?” Ruby asked.
“Well, first we all have to write our names down on a piece of paper,” Jordan said. “Then we have to put a couple of drops of our blood—”
“Wait,” Stephanie interrupted. “Blood? Seriously?”
Jordan nodded. “That’s what the rules say,” she said. “After that, we put the paper underneath a candle in front of an open door. Then we knock on the door twenty-two times and that invites the Midnight Man into the house.”
“So what’s the point of the game?” Ruby asked. “And who is this Midnight Man?’
“I don’t know who he is,” Jordan admitted. “But the object of the game is to avoid him until three thirty-three when he leaves. Do that and you win!”
The only sound in the room was the thunder that rumbled overhead as everybody fell quite and seemed to be processing what she’d said. The silence was broken after a few moments by Kyle’s laughter.
“Okay wait,” Kyle said, still chuckling. “We do everything you just said and then we have some mysterious, ghostly guy just show up and chase us around in the dark?”
Jordan smiled. “Yeah, kinda.”
“Huh,” Kyle said. “Sounds kinda cool.”
“And what happens if this Midnight Man catches you?” Milo asked.
“Well… there are warning signs if he’s close to you,” she said. “And you can do a couple of things to protect yourself. Like make sure you always have a lit candle with you. And in an emergency, you can spread a circle of salt around yourself. As long as you’re in the circle, he can’t touch you.”
“Salt?” Gabriel asked.
Jordan nodded. “Yeah, salt.”
“Not to ask the obvious question,” Lance started. “But did you bring any because I left mine in my other jacket.”
This brought more laughter from the group. Jordan dug in her bag, produced three bags of salt, dropped them on the coffee table and smiled.
“I like to be prepared,” she said.
“Okay, but what if you don’t do those things and he catches you?” Lance asked.
Jordan shrugged and gave a little smirk. “Apparently, if the Midnight Man catches you, you suffer the most terrifying and horrible hallucinations you've ever had until he leaves and the game is over. Apparently the hallucinations can get so bad that it's driven some people absolutely crazy before. Like certifiably, psycho-ward crazy.”
“So at three thirty-three, he just leaves?” Kacey asked. “Just like that?”
“Well, yeah. I guess so,” Jordan replied. “That’s what everything I read says.”
“And if you read it on the internet,” Kacey said and rolled her eyes. “It must be true.”
They talked and giggled about it for a few minutes, their excited voices echoing around the large, empty room. Milo had misgivings about playing the game. On the one hand, he knew that the possibility that anything would actually come of it were about zero. On the other hand, he didn’t like the idea of messing around with the paranormal either.
Jordan elbowed him in the ribs. “What do you think, Milo?” She asked. “Are you in?”
He looked around the circle and sighed. He could tell by the eager looks on their faces that everybody else was in. Still, his misgivings lingered.
“I don’t know guys,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea to go screwing around with stuff like this.”
“You scared, Milo?” Lance asked.
“I think he is,” Kyle replied. “I think he’s afraid he’ll piss himself in front of us.”
“Come on, Milo,” Kacey chimed in. “It’s just a fun little game. And really, what are the chances that anything is actually going to happen? What can it hurt?”
“Yeah, come on man,” Gabriel said. “It’s not like this Midnight Man is real or anything.”
“If nothing’s going to happen,” Milo countered. “Then why play the game in the first place?”
“On the off chance that something might happen,” Lance shot back with a laugh. “Come on man, it beats going back to the dorms early.”
Jordan took his hand, interlacing her fingers with his own, looked him in the eyes and gave him that smile he couldn’t ever resist. He knew he was lost.
“It’ll be fun, Milo,” she said. “Trust me.”
Milo was the last to complete his part of the ritual, knocking on the door for the twenty-second time just as the belltower out in the quad chimed midnight. A peal of thunder rumbled ominously, the storm moving closer.
“The game is officially on, boys and girls. Make sure you light your candles and keep them lit. If they go out, you have to relight them within ten seconds,” Jordan said. “I think we should go in pairs and everybody should take a different part of the building. We should meet back here at three thirty-three.”
“If we make it back at all,” Kyle said and let out a dramatic horror movie-style laugh.
Jordan took Milo by the hand, smiling as she led him down one of the deserted hallways. He looked back at the eight candles sitting in a semi-circle in front of the open door. One candle for each of them, their names on a blood-stained piece of paper beneath it. The candle flames flickered in a slight breeze as if waving goodbye to him.