Chuck Wendig: The Bloody Scrum

This week, we got the Slasher Movie Edition of the Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge, in which we were given 1,500 words to hearken to slasher movie culture or narrative in some way.  I immediately thought of the first time I watched Friday The 13th Part 2.  That thought led me to the following story.  I used 1,087 words.  Please to enjoy “The Bloody Scrum”.

THE BLOODY SCRUM

 

They were all dead.

Jamie was the only one left.  Her friends had all been killed, one after the other, in increasingly outlandish ways, by a lunatic in rugby headgear.  Toby had been the last, neatly decapitated by a hair-thin string of wire that had been stretched across the trail between two trees.  Jamie would have been killed alongside him, except that she had stepped on an untied shoelace as she ran and had fallen flat on her face two steps before Toby died as a spray of crimson blood erupted from the stump of his severed head.

I told them this was a bad idea, thought Jamie.  And she had.  April and Josh had read about the legendary Bloody Scrum and had decided to recreate the game on this, its twentieth anniversary.  The entire Bannister College rugby club had come to Coreham Woods to play a game on this date in 1997, and they had never returned.  No bodies were ever found, but local lore had held that Donovan Tomlinson, the captain of the squad, had lost his mind and killed, then ate, his teammates, then had stayed in the woods, unwilling to leave the scene.  Some said he was still there.

April and Josh had somehow talked them all into coming to the woods, wearing Bannister College t-shirts and tossing around a scuffed-up rugby ball April had borrowed from her girlfriend’s uncle.  It had been a fun day, despite Jamie’s worried protests, right up until the moment when Cassandra Shaw had stepped into a hole and broken her ankle.  Zeb volunteered to help her back to the van.  Neither made it.

Less than an hour later, they were all dead except for Jamie.  After Toby had died she had run blindly into the woods, neither knowing, nor caring, really, where the van was, where a trail was, where any sense of safety was.  There was no cell service this far out in Coreham County, so her GPS would have done her no good, had she thought to check it.  She ran on, lost and crying, through unfamiliar woods into the increasing twilight.

She could hear someone far behind her in the woods.  Pursuit?  Or aid?  She didn’t pause long enough to try and figure it out.  The muffled, indistinct sounds of someone walking through brush, mutters, grunts, and groans spurred her on.

It was almost dark when she came out of the woods onto the shore of a small lake.  She had no idea whether the lake had a name, but there was a small cabin and a dock down at the edge of the water.  She ran down and pounded on the door.  There was no answer.  She turned the knob, and the door opened.

She entered the cabin and locked the door behind her.  She didn’t turn on the light.  She collected herself, then took a moment to walk through the house, making sure windows were locked and curtains pulled, then she crouched in a corner behind an overstuffed reclining chair.  She didn’t think her pursuer would be fooled, but if she could make it look like no one was home, it might buy her some time.

She heard steps outside.  Footfalls sounded as someone walked down the length of the short dock then came back up.  She rose up just enough on her toes to look towards the window, but the curtains were gauzy and it was too dark outside for her to see through.  She hunkered back down and waited.

Footsteps coming across the yard, now, then circling the cabin.  Sounds of activity from outside—trash cans being turned over, tarps being removed from equipment, any potential hiding place being searched.  There was no sound of heavy breathing, or speech, or any other human sound other than the occasional grunt or unintelligible mumble.  That was all there had ever been.

Jamie curled even more into herself.  She didn’t think she was visible from outside, but she tried to hide herself as much as she could behind the chair.  She did not want to be found.

The footsteps outside made their way back around to the front of the house and moved up onto the front porch.  Jamie’s breath came sharper, faster, as she heard the reverberations of steps on the wooden planks outside the front door.  He’s not going away!

The doorknob rattled.

The lights were off inside, and by now it was almost completely dark outside, so Jamie couldn’t see out, and whoever (or whatever, she thought) was on the porch, couldn’t see in.

The doorknob rattled again.

Jamie stood up.

She drifted quietly across the room.  She had seen a baseball bat against one of the walls.  She found it in the dark and picked it up.  Gripped it.  Hefted it.  Nodded.

The doorknob rattled again.

Jamie moved over and stood, back against the wall, beside the door.  She reached toward the knob.  Hesitated.  Hefted the bat again.

The doorknob rattled again.

Jamie reached out.  Her fingertips brushed the surfa

 

 

–flash of lighting–

–thunder roars—

–and the power went out.  The TV went off, and the room was plunged into complete darkness.

Danny stiffened.  He had been sitting in the floor a foot from the TV, unconsciously leaning in so far that his nose was brushing the screen.  When it turned off, he nearly screamed.

It took him a couple of minutes to catch his breath.  He had never seen any of the Bloody Scrum movies and it figured that the first time he sat down to watch them this happened.  He had made it through the first one and was less than five minutes from the end of the second one when the storm hit.

He looked around again and heaved a sigh, then chuckled weakly.  Served him right for staying up late on Halloween.  He usually didn’t get so caught up in movies, but this one had sucked him in as the tension (and the body count) grew.

He got up and checked to be sure the door was locked and realized he was trying to do it without actually touching the knob.  Abandoning all pretense of cool detachment, he gave into his emotions and, for the first time since he was a kid, he checked every closet in the house to be sure it was empty and looked under the bed to be sure that Donovan Tomlinson wasn’t hiding underneath.  Chuckling even more weakly than before, he laid down to sleep.

He hoped.

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