"Hey, man, nice mask."
The Third Annual Tri-County Social Workers Halloween Party and Costume Contest was looking like it was going to be a big success. The costumes were better and more diverse than they ever had been. Wonder Woman looked as if she had jumped right off the television screen. Freddy Krueger was more menacing than the real thing. It was the more original costumes that really intrigued Garrett. Thinking his Caligula get-up would get him noticed for the $1,000 first prize for best costume, he now knew he didn't have a chance. The guy who had just walked in blew everyone away. The demonic mask, huge hairy hands and cloven feet were so realistic looking that Garrett wondered what kind of Hollywood make-up people this guy knew. How much money did doing something like this cost? The long black hair rolling down his back was thick, coarse and matted. His skin was pink in some places, red in others and green on the rest of him. He walked with a noticable gimp, helped along by his cloven feet with inverted knees on his legs. How the hell did he do that?
Now this guy was stealing the spotlight. The ladies were gravitating towards him, asking all sorts of questions. At first they asked about the costume and the make-up. Then they were asking him to dance and if he wanted to join them in the hot tub. Garrett felt his rage burning out of control. After all, he had been invited to the party by his former social worker. Just five months out of the institution after having an emotional breakdown, he needed to keep himself together. There were people here who testified on his behalf that he could not possibly have killed his ex-girlfriend and her sisters. This could be the night he was once again accepted in polite society.
Elise, his social worker, finally appeared. She was dressed like a cheerleader, which reminded Garrett of his late ex-girlfriend, who had been a cheerleader when they met. It made him so angry to remember how much attention the other guys paid her. They never brought her freshly picked daisies or delivered ice cream to her when she had the flu. They just snuck up behind her on the stairwells and goosed her and propositioned her. The memory made him envision bloody walls. During the trial they told him there had been blood on the walls of his ex-girlfriend's room when they found her.
Cloven foot was sitting on the edge of the hot tub. Whatever he was telling the girls was making them giggle and smile. There was a knot forming in Garrett's stomach. He looked at the girls' costumes hanging on the hooks by the hot tub and realized they were wearing either nothing, or next to nothing, under that bubbly, frothy water. He pulled the pen knife out of his pocket and cut three deep gouges in the palm of his left hand. Then he clenched his left fist and watched the blood drip onto the floor. Sometimes when he made himself bleed the pain went away.
"Having a good time, Garrett?"
His social worker apparently hadn't seen him slice into his hand, so he slipped the wounded appendage under his tunic and smiled. He told her he was having a great time and liked her costume. She thanked him and mentioned she was going to try to get some of the extra spicy chicken wings they had in the kitchen. He told her he wasn't hungry and walked out onto the deck of the house.
A young couple was walking off towards the driveway, but the backyard was otherwise empty. Garrett took a seat on the picnic table and stared through the window at the hot tub. Cloven foot was kissing both of the women in the hot tub and doing it with his mask on.
More angry than ever, Garrett opened his left hand and let the blood start flowing again. He looked down at the ground to watch the blood stain the grass. Then he jumped off the table in shock and horror. There was a hand sticking out from under the table. On closer inspection he noticed the hand was attached to a motionless body with multiple stab wounds to the chest. It was the remains of a pretty young girl wearing go-go boots and some sort of sixties style pants suit.
There was a danger here, and it was readily apparent. Here he was, a man with a suspicious past who had spent seven years in an institution after being suspected of killing his former girlfriend, and there was a dead body no more than three feet away from him with blood oozing out of its chest. Not only that, but Garrett had blood on his white Roman tunic from his self-inflicted wounds. He looked back towards the window to the hot tub room. Cloven foot smiled and winked at him. His long, snake-like tongue slithered out of his mouth and into the mouth of one of the girls in the water.
Cloven foot was his only option. If he ran, Garrett would be a suspect. If he stayed, someone would see the blood on his costume and report it to the police. Who else could really be responsible if not this demon from hell? Slowly approaching the house, he watched cloven foot pull back on the head of the woman he was kissing, snap her neck and drop her body limply back into the hot tub. Garrett knew his theory was now correct. He just had to make sure someone else saw what he saw.
His cheerleading social worker was still in the kitchen. Garrett concealed his blood stains as much as possible and begged her to come with him. He needed to show her what was going on in the hot tub. She needed to see what cloven foot was doing. She agreed, after making him pause and wait for her to strip the meat off of six chicken wings and then devour it. He took her hand and all but dragged her to the hot tub, where they came upon a grisly scene. The two naked women cloven foot had been hot tubbing with where both lying dead in the water, staring blankly up at the ceiling.
Garrett's social worker screamed, looked down at the blood on his tunic, and screamed louder. Garrett threw himself at her and tried to clench his hand over her mouth to silence her. It was too late, someone was coming and this did not look good. He let her go and fell on his knees, sobbing out that he hadn't killed anyone. The footsteps stopped behind him and cloven foot patted him on the head. The social worker, frozen and muttering about the dead women, was calmed as cloven foot told her she was safe and that help was coming. Then he pulled the pen knife out of Garrett's right hand and used it to gouge the social worker's eyes out while holding her against the wall. He proceeded to cut out her tongue and devour it, then tossed the pen knife back to Garrett and kissed him on the forehead.
By the time the rest of the guests showed up to see what had happened, cloven foot was long gone. Most stood in shock, but there were a handful of men who wrestled Garrett to the floor and held his hands behind his back while they slammed his head against the wall. Two of the women grabbed their cell phones to call the police. Everyone else watched, including cloven foot, who was now standing in the back of the crowd looking concerned.
The social worker was still alive, and when the police and the ambulance came, they immediately attended to her bleeding mouth and eye sockets while the police did everything they could to hurt Garrett in the wake of the murder all around them. Another of the guests found the murdered girl under the picnic table and the police let several of the guests kick and punch their prime suspect, including cloven foot, who was more than willing to not pull his punches. Garrett felt ribs breaking every time the cloven foot smashed into his side.
Bloodied and beaten, Garrett was handcuffed and thrown into the back of the police cruiser. The party guests followed the police outside and looked on with disgust and hate as they prepared to take him away. Cloven foot tapped on the window and somehow rolled it down. He was holding a check for one thousand dollars in one hand and pointing menacingly with the other.
"Plead insanity and you'll be out in a few years.
I'll see you then.
We'll have some laughs, you and me."
Cloven foot vanished into nothingness and was replaced by an big, angry man with broad shoulders and an unpleasant disposition. He spit on the window and screamed about how Garrett would pay for killing his sister. One of his friends held him back before he could get any closer to the police car, which then roared off with all its lights and sirens waking up the night.