Monday, October 30, 2017

HALLOWEEN: THE WRATH OF MICHAEL MYERS (Part Five)






HALLOWEEN: THE WRATH OF MICHAEL MYERS
By Daniel Skye




Part Five: THE LAST HALLOWEEN




“You know, it’s Halloween. I guess everyone’s entitled to one good scare, huh?” – Leigh Brackett




            Monday, October 30, 1989.

            One more day till Halloween.

            Nothing.

            Silence.

            The calm before the vicious storm.

            A thick, bloody rain was about to wash over Haddonfield.

            Loomis could feel it in the air, feel it in his bones. The storm wasn’t on its way.

            The storm was already at their doorstep.

            A statewide manhunt was now in effect for Michael and Jamie. But Loomis knew Michael, knew he’d never leave Haddonfield voluntarily. He was hiding away, waiting for the ideal moment to leave his mark again.

            Loomis patted himself down, searching for his cigarettes. Ten years, he reminded himself. Ten years since you gave it up.

Leigh Brackett, on the other hand, hadn’t given it up. Loomis joined him outside for some fresh air, the exact opposite of what Brackett was looking for. Brackett shook a cigarette from his pack, lit it, and offered one to Loomis, who declined.

Sunset had ushered in a gloomy twilight, and soon the darkness would claim Haddonfield. Tommy Doyle came out and joined them on the veranda.

“Cigarette?” Brackett asked.

Tommy looked back over his shoulder. “Lindsey would kill me if she saw…ah, what the hell? It’ll calm my nerves. And who knows if I’ll even be alive after tomorrow.”

Tommy accepted a cigarette from Brackett’s pack and used his lighter.

“I remember when I first met you. You were this pale, skinny eight-year-old boy who was on the verge of wetting his pants.” Loomis couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought. “Look at you now, all grown up. Ready to march into battle.”

“Doctor Loomis, this isn’t war.”

“Oh, but it is, Tommy. This is Armageddon. Do you know what Armageddon is? It’s not the end of the world, as some would have you believe. It’s the final battle between the forces of good and evil. Either good triumphs, or evil flourishes. But the world still keeps spinning. If we don’t stop Michael this time, Haddonfield will never be safe, because none of us will be alive to protect it from him.”

A black-and-white rolled up along the curb; two of Sheriff Meeker’s deputies.

“What’s the status?” Loomis asked as they exited the vehicle and approached the house.

“Status quo,” the younger deputy said. “Nobody’s seen or heard a thing. But every cop in the state is searching high and low for that nutcase, Michael Myers. I can assure you that we’re not taking the situation lightly after the massacre at Smith’s Grove.”

“I’ve never seen so much blood in all my years on the force,” his partner said.

“Just keep your eyes peeled. And don’t underestimate him.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah Doc. We’ve all heard the spiel. ‘He’s not human. He isn’t a man. He’s pure evil.’ Save it for the press. Meeker needs to have a word with you.”

“The sheriff knows where to find me.”

“He’d like a word with you in private.”

“Anything Meeker has to say to me, he can say in front of Leigh and Tommy.”

The younger deputy nodded toward the patrol car. The backdoor opened and Ben Meeker slid out.

It was getting dark, so they went inside. “Guard the door,” Meeker told his men.

“Oh, hell no,” the older, more experienced deputy spoke up. “The cops are always the first to die in these situations.”

“Some confidence you have in yourself. Just watch the damn door.” Meeker left them to it, and followed Loomis, Brackett, and Doyle to the living room.

“We never got the chance at a proper introduction. Ben Meeker.” Meeker extended his hand and Brackett accepted it.

“Leigh Brackett.”

“No hard feelings?”

Brackett nodded. “No hard feelings. Thanks for keeping Haddonfield relatively safe in my absence.”

“Well, now we know each other officially. Let’s skip the rest of the pleasantries. Sam, I need to know where to find Michael Myers.”

“If we knew, we’d already be there.”

“Think, Sam. Think.”

Meeker could almost see the light pop on in Loomis’s head. The answer hit him like a stinging slap to the face.

“Where it all began…the Myers house.”

“Is the house occupied?”

“John and Debra Strode live there with their son and daughter. They’re relatives of the family that adopted Laurie. We have to go and see them.”

“No, I’m the sheriff here. I’ll go see them. You stay out of it for now, please.”



****



“Enough of this Michael Myers bullshit!” a disgruntled John Strode shouted as he chased several snickering teenagers off his lawn. The teens had built a scarecrow displaying a replica of the infamous white mask that Haddonfield residents had come to associate with grim death. He smashed the scarecrow with his son’s baseball bat and stormed back inside, seething.

“Every damn Halloween,” he muttered.

“John, they’re just kids,” Debra said from the couch.

“They’re not just kids, Debra. They’re menaces. And our son is one of them.”

“Tim’s not even a teenager. He doesn’t hang around with those boys.”

“He’s still a menace.” John sighed. “I need a drink.”

He was a stout middle-aged man with a ruddy complexion and an explosive temper, sometimes impossible to control or reason with. The only reason Debra stayed with him was because she was terrified of him and what he’d do if she tried to leave him.

He fixed himself a drink, didn’t offer one to Debra. “Where’s Kara?”

“I think she had a date tonight.”

“Whatever. If she gets knocked up, it’s her problem.”

“John!”

The doorbell rang and John eyed Debra with curiosity and suspicion. Debra shook her head. “I’m not expecting anybody.”

“Neither am I,” John shrugged. “It better not be those damn kids again.” He set his drink down and walked to the door. He was both surprised and a bit agitated to see Sheriff Meeker late at night.

“Evening, Sheriff,” he nodded, feigning civility. “What’s going on?”

“Just a formality, John. You know what time of year it is. I just had to check in on you guys and ask if you’ve seen or heard any strange.”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.”

“All right. Do me a favor, just keep your eyes open. Be on the lookout. And please, stay safe.”

“Will do. Have a good night, sheriff.” He forced a smile, closed the door, and returned to his scotch.



****



            Tuesday, October 31, 1989.

            Halloween.

            The parents of Haddonfield decided to take precautions. They all pulled their kids out of school and let them go trick-or-treating early so they could get home before dark. And no child went unsupervised.

Lindsey sat on the porch, pensive, deep in thought. Remembering a time when she was sweet, shy, scared, innocent little Lindsey Wallace. Now she was Lindsey Doyle. And though her name had changed, she was still that sweet, shy, scared little girl deep down inside.

She watched the kids parading around in colorful costumes, carrying pillow cases or plastic pumpkin baskets for their candy and shouting “Trick or Treat!” at every doorstep. Several children came to their door and Lindsey had a bowl of candy ready for them.

Tommy squeezed in next to her and put his arm around her shoulder.

“It’s going to be okay,” he assured her.

“According to you.”

“He’s just a man, Lindsey. He’s not unstoppable.”

“You’re wrong, Tommy. He’s evil. Pure, unadulterated evil. He’s not human. He never was.”

“Sounds like you’ve been busy. I love the book, by the way.”

“You know about my book?”

“Of course I do. You know there are no secrets between us.”

“And you’re not mad?”

“Why would I be mad? I’m proud of you. And who better to tell the story than someone who witnessed it firsthand? It’s going to be a bestseller.”

“Oh, I’m so happy to hear you say that. When this is over, we’re going on vacation.”

“You bet. I need to get out of this town for at least a few weeks.”

            A car came pulling up to the house and Tommy Doyle could swear he had seen a ghost riding in the passenger seat.

            “It can’t be,” he whispered.

            Two women exited the vehicle and walked up to the front porch. Loomis was watching from the door and couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Is that–”

“Yes, it’s me. How are you Doctor Loomis?”

“Laurie, you’re a sight for sore eyes. And please, call me Sam.”

“Sam, where is Jamie? Where’s my daughter?”

“You ladies better sit down for this one. Shocks are much better absorbed if the knees are bent.”

“What’s going on?” Rachel asked, starting to panic. “Where’s Jamie?”

“Jamie is missing. Michael slaughtered the staff at Smith’s Grove. We think he took Jamie with him.”

“Oh, God. I need to find Tina.”

“Tina is…Tina is gone. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you all this. Michael has been busy.”

“Let’s go find this son of a bitch,” Rachel said, her fear and panic turning into white hot rage. “Where would he take her?”

“The Myers house,” Laurie said.

“We already checked. The house is occupied. John and Debra Strode, relatives of the family that adopted you, live there.”

“Then they’re in danger.”

“John is well aware of the danger. And so is the rest of the Haddonfield. That’s why the children are trick or treating in the afternoon.”

“We need to put our heads together and find him before it’s too late.”

“No,” Loomis shook his head. “You ladies need to get someplace safe. Leave this to us, please.”

“Fine,” Rachel groaned. Then added, “For now. But if you find Jamie, you call me right away.”

“Deal.”

Laurie caught up with Tommy and Lindsey and said her farewells. When they were back in the car, Rachel said, “I’m not staying put.”

“Me neither. But I have an idea. We just need to make a quick stop.”



****



            It was near dark and the streets were vacant. Loomis, Brackett, and Doyle could no longer sit idly by and wait for Michael to surface. They drove through town, Brackett at the wheel with his .38 at his side. Loomis wasn’t crazy about revolvers. He preferred the Smith & Wesson Model 15. Doyle didn’t care what kind of gun he was using so long as it stopped Michael dead in his tracks. He had his pistol, but he also brought his hunting rifle along with him. It was in the trunk, along with Brackett’s double-barrel shotgun.

            “We’re going to need some coffee if this keeps up,” Brackett said.

            “If you were Michael, where would you be?” Doyle asked to nobody in particular.

            “In a mental asylum,” Brackett said.

            “The Myers house was a dead end, but what about Jamie’s house?” Doyle asked.

        “Rachel isn’t living there. Her father moved out almost immediately after what happened. The house has been for sale ever since.”

            “So it’s empty?”

            “Yes…” Loomis said and trailed off.

            “What’s the address?” Brackett asked.



****



            Rachel had an itch she needed to scratch. She drove Laurie to the house she grew up in. The lights were out, the curtains drawn, a FOR SALE sign posted out front.

            “You have the keys?” Laurie asked, peeking into the plastic bag on her lap.

            “Of course. Are you sure you want to do this? What if they’re really in there?”

            “I’ve faced Michael before. And I’ll face him again if it means saving my daughter.”

            Rachel got out and unlocked the front door. She took a deep breathed and opened the door slowly.

            Darkness.

            “Hello?” Rachel called, not really expecting an answer. It was instinct, nerves. She was the first one inside, Laurie following close behind.

            Rachel didn’t look back. She didn’t want to look back and see what Laurie was wearing.

            They stopped just past the foyer when they heard a creak.

            “It came from upstairs,” Laurie whispered, her words muffled.

            They ascended the stairs, quiet and careful in their steps. They reached the top of the stairs and heard another creak in the floor.

            “Master bedroom,” Rachel whispered.

            The door was slightly ajar. Rachel took a deep breath. Her palms were sweaty. Her heart was beating rapidly. She was not ready for this, even with her father’s gun.

            Laurie stepped in front of her and eased the door open. Laurie saw a dark shape standing in the darkest corner of the room.

            “Hello, Michael,” she said. “Remember me?”

            Laurie stepped forward, wearing a familiar mask. For Michael, it was like looking into a mirror. That haunting white mask looked just as terrifying on Laurie as it did on him. It was all part of her plan to confuse Michael, psych him out so to speak. “Where is she, Michael?”

            Jamie stepped out of the shadows, her dark eyes and pallid skin visible in the moonlight.

            “Snap out of it, Jamie!” Rachel screamed. “Don’t let him control you! You’re not like him! You’re my sister and I love you no matter what!”

            Jamie didn’t sigh, didn’t cry, didn’t blink. She didn’t even move.

            Michael moved beside her, his blade glistening in the moonlight. He cocked his head to the side and stared deep into that living mirror.

            Rachel had her father’s gun out and behind her back, her finger tight around the trigger, waiting for Michael to make a move.

            He lunged at Laurie with the knife and Rachel fired two shots into his chest, dropping him to one knee. She fired off two more deafening shots and knocked him flat on his back.

            Jamie fell to the floor and clutched Michael’s arm, shaking it, trying to revive him. Rachel pulled her away and into Laurie’s arms. Rachel told them to get back and then she squeezed the trigger, firing another bullet directly into his heart.

            “It’s over,” Rachel told Jamie. “It’s over.”

            Rachel carried her sister down the stairs. Laurie was standing in front of them when Tommy Doyle fired his gun and the blood sprayed across Rachel’s face.

            “Laurie!” Rachel cried. “What have you done?” Rachel pulled the mask off and Laurie coughed blood.

            “I-I-I-I’m so sorry,” Doyle stammered. “I-I didn’t know. I thought it was him, I swear. I’m so sorry, Laurie. Please forgive me…please be okay…please.”



****



            Laurie was still breathing when the ambulance carted her away with the sirens wailing. A distraught Tommy Doyle was on the verge of tears. Jamie was back in Rachel’s arms, but she hadn’t uttered a word. And Ben Meeker was on the scene as soon as he got the call.

            “You’re free to go for now, unless Laurie decides to press charges. They tell me she should survive. But I think you gentlemen should call it a night. Rachel, I’ll take you and Jamie down to the station. You can stay there until the night is over. You’ll be safe there.”

            Brackett emerged from the house, clearly disturbed. Loomis knew the look. He knew exactly what Brackett was about to say.

            “Michael is gone…”



****



            First, Loomis and the men made sure Rachel and Jamie were safely escorted to the station. Then they returned to the Myers house.

            Brackett got his double-barrel from the trunk and Doyle grabbed his hunting rifle. Loomis knocked first, then rang the bell several times when nobody answered. The front door was unlocked and he looked to Brackett for the okay. Brackett nodded and Loomis twisted the doorknob.

            The crimson coated walls gave the impression that the living room was painted red. The blood was so thick you couldn’t make out the wallpaper.

            John Strode was splayed out on the floor with his stomach cut open, his entrails spilled out onto the carpet. Debra Strode was on the couch, her eyes frozen in terror, the victim of innumerable stabbings. There was blood and chunks of viscera everywhere they looked.

            Michael emerged from the hall. No more hiding. No more playing possum. This was Michael’s holiday.

            “You son of a bitch!” Brackett shouted. “I’ve waited a long time for this. This is for Annie.” He pumped his shotgun, but Michael was too close. The blade penetrated his body, tearing open his chest cavity.

            Brackett dropped to the floor beside John Strode and Loomis and Doyle opened fire. But Michael withstood every bullet, endured every shot. Doyle put himself in harm’s way by getting too close and paid the ultimate price. Michael’s knife slid across his throat, the blood spurting out in quick jets.

            Loomis emptied his gun into Michael’s chest and didn’t even faze him. Michael approached Loomis, stood inches from his face. He raised the knife, then lowered it.

            “Do it,” Loomis dared him. “Go ahead. Put me out of my misery.”

            But Michael refused. Something inside him would not let him harm Loomis. He slipped past Loomis and disappeared into the night.



****



            Loomis met Lindsey Doyle in the waiting room of Haddonfield Memorial. She was sobbing, shaking, but most of all, angry at herself for letting Tommy go along with this.

            “They say Tommy will be all right,” Loomis assured her. “He’s in surgery now. You’ll be able to see him soon.”

            “What about Brackett?”

            “He didn’t make it.”

            “And Laurie?”

            He spared her the grisly details of her husband accidentally shooting Laurie. “Just got out of surgery. Condition is stable.”

            “Screw this holiday.”

            “You can say that again.”

            “What about Jamie and Rachel?”

            “They’re done at the police station…and Michael is still out there. I-I have to go. Excuse me, please.” The night was not over. It was far from over.



****



            With half the deputies out looking for Michael, the station was vulnerable. Michael arrived before midnight and hacked and slashed his way through the halls until all that stood between him and Jamie was Meeker and Rachel.

            “You can have the girl over my dead body,” Meeker said emphatically. And Michael was more than happy to oblige. He rammed the blade through Meeker’s chest, piercing his heart.

            He ripped the blade out and closed in on Rachel, who was using herself to shield Jamie. Michael stopped and looked past Rachel, to Jamie. Their dark eyes met and even Rachel felt the sinister connection between them. She no longer knew the girl she once called her sister. Jamie was gone. Jamie had crossed over to the dark side.

            Michael raised his knife and Jamie leapt in front of Rachel to protect her.

            “NO!” Jamie cried, breaking her year-long silence. “Give it to me!”

            She held out her hand and Michael relinquished the knife to Jamie. She turned to Rachel and told her to go.

          “No,” Rachel shook her head, sobbing. “I’m not leaving without you.”

            “You don’t have a choice. This is my destiny, Rachel. This is who I am. I’m Michael Myers niece.”

            “No, you’re my sister. You’ll always be my sister.”

            “And you’ll always be mine. I’m sorry, Rachel.”

            Rachel gasped as the knife slipped between her ribs and her lungs slowly filled with blood. Jamie grasped the bloody knife in her hand and cocked her head to the side. A creepy grin edged across her mouth.

            She took Michael’s hand and they walked out into the night.