Jennifer threw her knapsack on the concrete floor and looked around the spacious room. From the outside the building had looked like an old barn, but the inside was panelled with wood that divided the spacious building into several rooms. There was an upstairs area for bedrooms, whilst downstairs consisted of a bathroom, kitchen and living area. A handful of friends had decided to get away for the weekend. Michael had volunteered his parents’ farm property as it was currently untenanted. It was perfect for a weekend of drunken revelry for the young twentysomethings. It was only an hour’s drive from where they lived and, more importantly, it was far enough from the nearest town that none of the locals would be disturbed by the noise that they were bound to make. It was just the sort of break that Jennifer and her friends needed after a hectic exam period at University.
“What’s with the deco?” she asked Michael as he walked in with an armful of groceries. Michael shrugged.
“I dunno, my parents like old farming equipment, I guess. They pick most of it up from the local junk shops.”
Jennifer examined a large, rusty saw that was hanging from the wall. “Some of this shit could really hurt someone,” she said as she touched a tooth on the saw. Michael shrugged dismissively.
Jennifer turned her back on the saws, axes and shears that dotted the walls and headed upstairs to claim a bed. By the time she had set herself up the others had arrived. Bags were unpacked, groceries put away, and the group of five were ready to let their hair down. Mac took out a deck of cards and Sarah dealt them. The drinking games commenced.
As they sat on the front porch they saw the local police drive past, but they didn’t stop. The group moved the party inside just in case, wanting to avoid trouble if they could, which was for the best as, come nightfall the group had become very…merry…
At around eleven o’clock Johnno stood up abruptly. “Did you guys hear that?” he asked. Jennifer’s vision was a bit fuzzy so she just looked at him blankly, but Michael stood up.
“I heard it too,” he said, looking towards the front of the house. Michael and Johnno went to the front door and opened it. Standing on the front porch was a shady looking, wiry man who was scratching his arm vigorously.
“Youse guys got any spare drink?” he asked the boys.
“Nah, sorry mate,” said Michael.
“Can I come in anyway? S’cold out here.”
“Sorry man. Maybe try the pub in town.”
“Aw come on,” the man said, his eyes darting about wildly. He made to force his way inside, but Michael and Johnno were quick enough to block his way. They slammed the door shut in the man’s face.
“That guy was seriously creepy,” said Johnno as they sat back down.
“I’m glad you didn’t let him in,” said Jennifer with a little shiver, feeling suddenly sober. “He didn’t sound quite right, like he was on something.”
The group got back to the game, but their hearts weren’t really in it. After a while they were able to relax a bit, but they couldn’t quite shake that eerie feeling that they were being watched. About an hour later Jennifer thought she heard some noises coming from upstairs. Mac went to investigate, but came back having found nothing. As he stood in the doorway a confused expression spread across his face, followed swiftly by horror. Fear welled in Jennifer’s throat, spreading down to the pit of her stomach, as Mac fell to his knees. Her mouth opened in a silent scream as she saw, standing behind Mac, a wild-eyed stranger holding up a rusty blade.
The police arrived at around 2am to tell the group to shut their music off. When no one answered the door they broke it down. The bloody scene that greeted them stayed with the officers for a long, long time. Rusted farm equipment had been ripped from the walls and used in ways beyond imagining. Of the murderer there was no trace.
- written by Ash Oldfield 2013