Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

December 27th: 1999 Milwaukee Wisconsin

Franklin and his family went to the big city for a religious retreat; where they’d be spending New Year’s Eve singing hymns and waiting for the apocalypse, anxiously awaiting the apocalypse in Franklin’s case. Thinking back on the events of this past year, he remembered those kids in Colorado. They were doing us all a favor, taking us one more step into the fiery abyss, burning the whole world down and taking out as many people as they could. Way in the back recesses of Franklin’s mind, he wasn’t entirely sure if the world really was going to end in a few days, but he sure hoped it did. Just in case it did, he had one thing he wanted to do.

Sixty-Seven Wild Rose Lane, Franklin remembered where his friend from the message boards lived. He sent an email saying he’d be coming by, and as he saw his car parked outside so Franklin figured he’d be home. Knocking on the door a couple times, Franklin pacing back in forth in the cold. Soon Patrick opened the door. “Hey, what’s up?” he said.

Franklin said only one thing. “So, can I see it?”

Patrick laughed as opened the door. “Nice to see you too dude. Come on in.” Entering the house, Patrick asked “How was your Christmas? Did you get lots of cool stuff?”

“Yeah, a few things.” Franklin didn’t want to reveal that his family only exchanged a few gifts this year, as his mother earnestly believed there wouldn’t be much time to enjoy Christmas gifts.

Then he saw Patrick look up towards his staircase as annoyed as a female voice spoke from above. “Who is it?”

Patrick lowered his voice to say, “Just handled my business with this girl. Wait here, I’ll go get rid of her though.” Patrick watched his friend ascend back up the steps. Soon he heard faint whispers from upstairs, including that incessant whining of a teenage girl which he heard all the time in school. “I guess girls in the big city bitch too,” Franklin thought to himself while looking around the living room. Hanging from the walls there were a few framed pictures of Patrick and his mother. It was a shame, his mother seemed nice. Franklin wished he would have had cool parents, but with any luck, after a few days it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Once again Franklin heard a pair of footsteps, this time they were descending. Franklin forgot about that annoying female voice when his eyes rested on her toned legs coming down. Each step revealed more, as he soon saw her blue skirt with gold trim, and the rest of her body followed.

Patrick followed behind, or at least Franklin assumed she did. He still wasn’t looking at her face when Patrick said whatever it was her name was. “What’s up,” he heard her voice say. Franklin simply nodded and smiled; her voice no longer annoyed him.

Patrick then said “Well, Franklin and I are gonna chill. I’ll call you later alright?”

“Awesome.” Her now cute voice replied. Her moist wet lips kissed his cheek before she gave Franklin a coy smile and walked away. Both Patrick and Franklin were now watching her legs as they walked toward the door and her body exited the house.

Franklin almost forgot why he came here as the door closed with a thud. The next sound he heard was the voice of his friend saying, “smell that,” as he put two fingers up to Franklin’s nostrils. Franklin’s head jerked back at the wet musty smell that was completely alien to him.

Patrick laughed at his reaction. “Come on man, don’t tell me your not getting any poon tang back home. You got a girl right?”

“Yeah, sure.” Franklin said.

Nodding his head Patrick said “Alright, it’s cool. Let’s go upstairs.”

The two walked up the steps and into Patrick’s bedroom. It looked the same as the last time Franklin was here. His sports posters still adorned the wall and his trophy case remained intact. This hardly looked like the room of someone who’d won the Halloween H2K contest. He watched Patrick going into his closet, from which he pulled out a cardboard box. “This is it man.” Patrick said, placing the box on his bed.

Franklin was shocked. “You put it in the closet?”

“Can’t get head from the head cheerleader with this laying aound my room.” he laughed while removing the lid. Franklin had no understanding of what he meant, but he approahced this holy grail of horror while Patrick removed the contents.

First, Patrick pulled out a werewolf mask. “Halloween Six, Curse of the Werewolf.” Franklin said in reverence. Next, Patrick pulled out a prop ceremonial dagger, fake blood decorated its plastic blade. “Part Five, the Revenge of Samhain.”

Looking on as though witnessing an ancient archaeolofical dig, he heard Patrick say “And the crown jewel.” He slowly raised the mask of the Shape, the mask of Michael Meyers, and presented it to his friend. The dead black hollow eyes of the mask stared at Franklin, who stared back in reverence.

“Can I,” Franklin nearly stammered, “can I put it on.”

“Sure, knock yourself out.” He tossed the mask to Franklin. It made a flopping sound as it landed in his hands. “I owe you one anyway.” Franklin looked down at the mask, tilting his head slightly to the left. This statement was confusing to him. When Franklin thought about all the people that owed him, Patrick was not on that list. “You helped me win that you know?” Patrick said while taking seat at his desk and booting up his computer. “I got stuck on that last code, but then I remembered what you showed me about Easter Eggs on DVDs. That’s how I found the last one.” Franklin wanted to scream, instead he pulled the mask over his face, its rubbery material covered his mouth. He could hear his own breathing as well as the sound of a lighter as Patrick lit up a cigarette. “Want one?” he asked, holding a pack in his direction.  Franklin said nothing, but the smoke from the just lit cigarette already made Franklin cough, ruining the aura of donning the mask. Stepping out of the room he heard Patrick say, “Bathroom is the last door on the left.”

Walking into the bathroom, he looked in the mirror to admire the sight of himself in the mask. The room was silent save the sound of his breathing. He could distantly hear the clacking of the keyboard. While he felt amazing with the mask on, he still felt like Franklin. Looking at the reflection of his skinny body donned in blue jeans and a red sweater, he didn’t feel like the Shape. He intended to relieve himself here, but he stopped cold in his tracks when he saw it. The used condom floating in the toilet was a reminder of what had just occurred in that bedroom. It wasn’t like he didn’t know; the scent of Patrick’s two fingers clued him in, but there floating before him was a mocking reminder of what he never had, what he never would have. Slowly turning away, he again caught his reflection in the mirror. Those dead black eyes stared back at him; his breathing echoed powerfully through the rubber surrounding his face. Now it had finally come, that secret signal had been sent to his brain, and the body standing before him was no longer Franklin, it was merely a shape.

Patrick laughed as the form of his friend stood in the doorway. “You make a good Michael Meyers.” he said sarcastically. The brain underneath that rubber mask screamed, “It’s not Michael Meyers it’s the Shape!” However, no sound emerged from the body’s mouth as it took a slow step forward. Looking back at the computer screen, it appeared Patrick was in some local chat room. “Hey, my friend Shaun is having a party tonight. Let’s check it out. They’re gonna have some wicked egg nogg.”

The body behind Patrick remained silent as the computer shut off. Patrick then stood up and faced his friend saying, “Come on, you’re not going to the party looking like that. We’ll get you some girls and you’ll forget all about this shit.”

The body before him remained motionless, making no sound except his breathing.

“Oh so you’re Michael Meyers now. Come on let me get it back.” Patrick reached up for the mask but the body before him pushed his hands away.  “What the fuck man!” Patrick pushed shoved the person before him, then got pushed back while reaching for this mask with his own hands. Patrick’s hands gripped the rubber mask; but a second pair of hands hung onto it like a petulant child. “You’re gonna rip the mask you asshole!” Patrick swung a body shot which made the shape before him recoil and release his hands. Patrick then ripped the mask off the child’s face. Franklin took a deep breath as beads of sweat fell from his cheeks to the floor.

Patrick then tossed the mask on his bed before saying, “Get the fuck out of my house!”

With all his strength and rage Franklin punched Patrick in the groin, bringing him to his knees. Still feeling the pain in his gut, Franklin knew the truth, he was no Shape. He could never take this guy in a fight. He knew there was only one chance as he reached for the thick power cord below Patrick’s desk. While Patrick’s hands still covered his groin, Franklin wrapped the cord around the teenager’s exposed neck. Patrick desperately tried to pull off, he was the stronger of the two but Franklin the cord tightly wrapped around the boy’s throat. The victim desperately thrashed around the floor, but Franklin couldn’t let him get away. He couldn’t stand knowing someone else had gotten what was rightfully his. Not only did this boy win the prize, but he had friends, girls,…sex.

His victim now had his stomach on the floor. Franklin thrust his hips forward pulling upward on the cord with all his strength. Patrick made one final thrash of his arms before the life left his body.

Rising back to his feet, Patrick looked at the Meyers mask as well as the other prizes that were now his by right of conquest. Grabbing a backpack from the closet, Franklin loaded the items into the bag, and quickly exited the house.

Running back to the Church where his family was staying, the night air chilled his lungs. If the world really was going to end in a few days, then at least he could spend his last days with the only things he loved.

Epilogue: August 25th: 2003

Driving in his car, Franklin long forgot about how the world was supposed to end a few years back. He still felt like most of this planet wasn’t worth a damn, but that was only when he took time to think about it. A few years back, he was actually planning to follow in the footsteps of those kids in Colorado, but then someone called him about a job. This was before he graduated, but someone recommended him to the local nursing home. Bernice and her husband were in there now, and he always got along with them. Now that he was out of school, he was working at the home full time, and he kind of liked it. He was still living at home, but his dad stopped drinking, and his mom wasn’t on his case as much now that he was bringing in some income.

Also, in an amazing turn of events, things were actually a little exciting around town. Just a few weeks ago some remains turned up just a few miles away from where he lived. Looked like someone was trying to wipe out this boring place long before he’d thought of it. “Too bad he didn’t get them all,” he thought to himself. Driving back to work from his lunch break, the radio had the latest news. The local sheriff called a press conference, and a huge bombshell was dropped. The property on which the bodies were found was once the residence of a solitary figure by the name of Edward Gein. Apparently, around 50 years ago, Ed had murdered a local bartender, but that was not the least of his crimes. According to the sheriff, one night, almost half a century ago, the local authorities had discovered, and covered up, the fact that Ed Gein had robbed almost ten graves in the area, before dying and before his property burned to the ground.

Hearing this amazing news, Franklin felt a tingling sensation in his hands while they gripped the steering wheel. He had to pull over to the side of the road as he began hyperventilating. Hearing this news, he could never have imagined, never in his wildest dreams, that something this awesomely gruesome could occur in his own backyard. He knew right then and there this was about to become his new obsession.

Something else occurred to him. Edward Gein, he’d heard that name before, but where? Who would have possibly known him that would ever bring his name up. Looking down at his name badge for the nursing home, he thought perhaps Bernice would know something about this.

Finally catching his breath, he looked at the tree close to him on the side of the road. The branches looked oddly shaped, bending in a way he didn’t think branches could bend. A buzzard sat perched on a thick branch and glared at him with dead black eyes. There below the leaves, a man stood. Frankling hadn’t noticed him before, but he wore a red hunters cap, had a weird lopsided grin, and a saggy baggy eye.

The End

Come back later for Franklin’s awful exploits in the final entry of the No Gein saga.

Stay tuned for No Gein III: The Final Cut!

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September 2003

Clarice just finished telling her Uncle Milton the story of her first kill.

“You finally brought home dinner.” Emily’s face glowed from the combination of the campfire and the pride she felt for her granddaughter. “He tasted great too!”

“Smokers never tase great.” Walt said as he stood up. The fire was slowly dying out by now, and Clarice’s grandfather poured a pale of water to extinguish the remaining flames.

Milton listened the whole time Clarice told her story. He remained quiet as his family curled up in their sleeping bags in the grass, far off the interstate where no one would see them. Watching the smoke rise from the smoldering pit that was their campfire, he remained sitting, looking out over the darkness while his family began their slumber.

Finally, he layed down on his blanket next to the van. Milton remembered that day so many years ago when he visited the prison Chaplin. Thinking back to that moment as he lay looking up at the stars, he chalked it up to having a weak moment. To his right lay Clarice in her sleeping bag, that teenage boys severed head lay next to her. She was still awake, gazing into the dead head’s eyes, her hands caressed the cold skin as if it were and undead lover. “Yeah, that Clarice is certainly a chip off the old bloc.” He thought to himself. Looking to his left, Milton’s parents were fast asleep. He couldn’t shake the feeling that this while trip was a wild goose chase. Naturally he wouldn’t dare say this aloud, but when passing through their home town he thought about pulling off the interstate and insisting they just go home. However, he could tell this little road trip of death made his father feel alive. Moments like tonight, and in that alleyway in New Jersey, made him feel like it was 1974 all over again. The clan was back together, and mayhem and murder followed. Milton wanted to enjoy every moment he could with both his parents while they were still around. Before they were, before..

Milton now turned upwards to gaze at the stars. He wondered if his brother was up there somewhere. Was it really like they said in those Sunday school stories, was he really up there looking down on him and his family? “Hey  Frost,” he whispered, waving at the stars light years away. “Are you really up there looking down on us?” If so, Milton pondered, then his departed brother could see all the chaos and death he and his family had been causing, and he’d be proud. He’d be be especially proud of his “daughter.” Milton himself never wanted kids, but he remembered Forst always had a soft spot for him. Since the moment he found her as a little baby in the back of that house after dispatching her parents, he loved her like her own. “You’d be proud of her.” he whispered as he again looked over at her, now fast asleep. “She’s a nut like the rest of us.”

“Ah what the hell am I doing, fucking talking to myself.” He muttered while turning to his left side. Past his parents he could see the now extinguished fire pit. The bones and leftover flesh remained burnt on the spit. Remembering the mighty fire that once roared there not long ago, Milton thought to himself. “That’s the kind of place God would send us to, if any of that shit was real.” He remembered those days back in the prison, it was the first time he’d read the holy book since he was a kid. Good stories actually. He particularly liked the Old Testament, all that wrath of God stuff. If those stories are to be believed, then the Almighty stacked more bodies then ten generations of his family could dare dream. The aroma of burnt flesh still tickled his nostrils as Milton thought about the sinners burning in the eternal pit of flames. “Why should he suffer.” Milton pondered. His family would never be that Norman Rockwell slice of Americana. He loved what he did, and he couldn’t imagine living his life any other way.

Rolling over, once again laying on his back, his eyes again scanned the unspeakably large canvas that was the sky above him. “What an amazing work of art this infinite abyss of the cosmos was. Could all of this really be here by accident?” Before his eyes fell asleep, he had one final closing thought. “If there really is something up there,” he muttered to himself before he fell to sleep, “then he created a butcher like me.”

The End 

September 2003

On a secluded area off an interstate in the mid-western United States, Milton’s family reminisces about a time they visited him at a New Jersey Prison.

“I remember that trip.” Milton’s mother Emily recalled. “We went into New York afterwards.”

“Yeah,” Clarice, Milton’s niece added, “remember I got lost in the Strand bookstore?”

“I remember you STOLE something from the Strand Bookstore!” Milton’s father and Clarice’s grandmother recalled with a laugh the misadventure they had in the world’s biggest second-hand book shop.

“Oh, those were good times.” Emily said. “We saw Cats on Broadway, and remember we went to see the Twin Towers?”

“Oh yeah, we did.” Clarice said, recalling the two landmark skyscrapers that were destroyed just a few years ago.

“I remember that day.” Milton said. “We didn’t have TV but we all listened to it on the radio.” Then, shaking his head he muttered. “God damn awful.” His family nodded in agreement. Every single person sitting around this campfire had blood on their hands, but even for monsters such as these, they all silently agreed that the evil that day was a step too far.

“Anyway, that was a nice little trip.” Emily said.

Before his niece continued her story leading up to her first kill, Milton thought about his time just after their visit. This was something he hadn’t thought about in a long time, in fact, it’s something he almost forgot himself.

Federal Correctional Institution: Fort Dix, New Jersey August 1993

Milton sat quietly after the religious service. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he liked the Chaplin. Mr. Savanelli preached about the Flood and Noah’s Ark. Milton always like that story as a kid. Afterwards, he asked the Chaplin for a word in private.

Now alone in the room, the Chaplin asked, “Did you enjoy the service today?”

“Of course. I always liked that story where God drowns everybody.” Milton answered with a smile. “You know I drowned somebody once.” Milton shocked himself by how casually he revealed this. What followed was a sense of panic he hadn’t felt in years. Milton looked behind him to see if the guard was there, but luckily, he was standing outside.

Turning back, the Chaplin maintained his warm friendly smile, but it was evident he’d read the expression Milton wore on his face. “Don’t worry,” Savanalli said, “anything you say here is between us.” 

Milton trusted this God fearing man to be good on his word. “OK” Milton said, wiping his brow. “It wasn’t that fun anyway, almost went under myself.”

“Would you like to sit down?” Savenelli asked.

“Sure.”

As they both sat down the Chaplin said “I don’t recall seeing you before. What brings you to us today?”

That was a good question. What had brought Milton here today? He thought about it before speaking, even though he already the answer. Finally, he said, “I got a visit from my niece recently.” 

“Oh, that was your niece that came? I thought maybe it was your daughter.”

“Wait, you saw her?”

“I saw you with who I assumed was your family when I was visiting with Dr. Pleasance.”

“Dr. Pleasance.” That name brought a smile to his face and wicked thoughts to his mind. “Yeah, we saw her talking to that guy that did the baby-sitter murders. Clarice, my niece that is, was asking about him.”

“I see, is she afraid of him?”

“No she idolizes him.” Milton answered immediately. Then with a chuckle he added, “She thinks he’s awesome.”

“Is that why you’re here?”

Milton answered the question with a question of his own. “Think there’s any hope for a guy like that?

“Well, Jesus preached to those who were far off and those who were near. Scripture says that in Christ we are no longer strangers and aliens, but that we are all fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.”  

“Yeah, yeah, Ephesians 2:19.” Milton responded dismissively. “I mean, do you think they’ll ever let him out?”

“Milton, as I’ve told you,” the Chaplin now sounded more stern, “I won’t share anything you tell me here. I would ask you to understand that I won’t be discussing his case with you.”

Milton shook his head, amused how the Chaplin blocked this line of query. “Alright, well let’s discuss his soul then, if there is such a thing that is.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, your God,” Milton then snapped his fingers as he asked, “couldn’t he do some magic trick to make him good?”

“Milton, I think you know God’s not a parlor magician. He gave us free will.”

Of course Milton knew all about free will. He’d read “Summa Theologica” by Thomas Aquinus as well the writings of John Wesley. He could have easily formulated a counter argument against these classical theologians. Instead, he looked at the iron bars across the window and responded. “Free will to end up in here.”

“Or free will to accept his grace and walk into his light.”

Milton laughed at the response. It brought him back to that time when he was a teenager and a pair of Jehovah’s witnesses knocked on their door. Their flesh tasted tough and chewy, like the leather of their shoes that had walked too many miles. “So, even if a monster like me believes in God’s only son than I shall have eternal life?” he asked, mocking the much quoted verse, John 3:16.

“Even a sinner such as you,” Savenelli answered with his own smirk, “no matter how infamous they may be.”

“So, you know who I am?”

“You’re not the first prestigious inmate I’ve witnessed to.” The Chaplin said proudly. “In fact, many within these walls have come to Christ.”   

“That sounds great chaplin. Hey, do you think the people I butchered would want to be up there in heaven with me?” Milton knew just how to phrase this question. Milton felt proud of himself for stumping him. After a short moment of silence Milton added “Yeah, I didn’t think so,” wrapping a bow on the moment.

The Chaplin pivoted by asking “That elderly couple Clarice was with, were they your parents?”  

Still proud of stumping the Chaplin and understanding why he changed the subject, Milton answered coyly “You got it.”

“Your parents.” Savanelli then asked, “What about the girl’s parents?”

“Her dad, my brother,” Milton’s emotions now clouded as he explained, “he died when she was just a baby.”

“And the mother?”

With an uncanny gleam in his eye Milton answered “Well, it’s probably best we don’t talk about that.”

Savanelli appeared to accept that answer. Seemingly knowing not to push that subject further he then observed,  “Your parents must be getting up there in age. Raising a teenager must be a lot for them to take on.”

It was then Milton revealed what was truly on his mind. “It’s not my parents I’m worried about.” Milton took a deep breath after those words exited. He felt genuinely startled that this sentence had just come from his own lips. It was as though his words were prisoners escaping from his mouth before it occurred to his mind to close his jaw, keeping his thoughts trapped forever.

The Chaplin immediately pounced on this opening. “Why are you worried about your niece?”

Knowing he was exposed, Milton’s eyes wandered around the room. Looking at the prison walls he answered, “Well, she’s being raised by the same people that raised me.”

“And your concerned Clarice will follow in your footsteps?”

Now speaking freely Milton said “She’s a good kid, she’s so smart, likes to read, not ignorant like other brats her age. I just..I just want her to do good.”

“And there’s not much you can do for her behind these walls.”

The normally articulate Milton replied with one word. “Yeah.”

“Milton, I tell you what we can do. God asks us to pray for him in our times of need, we pray to God especially for things that our out of our hands.” He then extended his own hand and asked. Would you like to pray with me?”

Milton said nothing, he just sat there looking at the man’s hand. “You know Milton, maybe you’re right, maybe praying won’t help.” This was the first thing Milton heard that surprised him. “But it won’t hurt now, will it?”

He took the Chaplin’s hand and closed his eyes before hearing these words. “Father God, I thank you for Milton’s presence this day. He has come humbly before you to ask for your help. Together we lift up his niece Clarice in prayer. She is a wonderful young girl with a bright future ahead of her. We pray for her that she may walk the righteous path. We pray for Milton’s parents, who are raising her, that you may give them the strength to guide her during the trying teenage years. I also pray for Milton that he may be a good influence on his niece, even if from afar. I pray for the four of them that when they journey down the road of life, that all four of them may turn towards the light, the light of your son Jesus. It is in his name we pray, Amen.”

Milton opened his eyes and quickly wiped the tear from his cheek. He knew the Chaplin saw it, but he said nothing of it as he held up his Bible saying “We do have some of these in the library. I hear you’re a voracious reader.”

2003

“Anyway, it was a nice little trip.” Emily said. “We thought on on the way back that would have been your first.”

“What do you mean.” Clarice had forgotten all about it, but as her grandmother started talking about it, she remembered.

1993

Clarice’s hands shook as she held the blade up. All she had to do was swing, just swing it down in one swift motion and it will be all over; but she couldn’t stop looking at his eyes. Those eyes widened in horror, pleading to her for mercy. Her grandparents subdued the hitchhiker they picked up on the way home and tied him up for easy pickings; but as Clarice stood over him in the empty field just off the road, she couldn’t bring herself to do it.  

“Come on honey, make us proud. Make Uncle Milton proud.” Her grandmother prompted. Clarice wanted to, she wanted so desperately to please her family, but something was stopping her. Some invisible force she couldn’t comprehend seemed to lock her arms in place, almost as if she couldn’t move. “Come on,” her grandmother taunted, “kill this bastard!” Clarice closed her eyes tight, her hands gripped the handle of the knife as hard as they could while she took one last deep breath.

She jumped back and screamed as the blood splattered. There was not only blood, but bits of bone and flesh as grandpa’s sledgehammer bashed the skull of the hapless victim. Seeing the graphic site before her, Clarice dropped the knife and fell into the arms of her grandmother. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” she cried, feeling deep shame in not living up to the family name.

“It’s okay dear.” Clarice felt her grandmother’s gentle hand stroking her back. “It was hard for me the first time too.”

“It’s either you or them.” Grandfather said as he took out his bag of tools with which he intended to prepare the fresh carcass. “You gotta understand that.” Hearing her continued to sob he added, “Clarice, your grandmother and I love you, but this is the way of our family. One of these days, your going to have to bring home dinner.”

This story is a spin-off of my No Gein series, the premise of which is what if real life murderer Ed Gein never got caught. These stories are an experiment I call Pop Culture Alternate History. To understand the background, it may be helpful to read my first story here.

Hallow-Con, October 24th, 1992. New York City

Rita Mae had a love hate relationship with these shows. When she helped found Hallow-Con years ago, she envisioned it as an opportunity to interact with fans and creators in the horror community. During the last few years of this show, Rita witnessed so many wonderful people coming together to share their love of all things scary. Unfortunately, like most any other type of fandom, there was also that portion of the crowd that was, let’s just say problematic. While adjusting her microphone she looked out over the crowd and saw a few familiar faces. There were the usual cosplayers; people dressing up as characters from the Halloween films, classic monsters, and a few random others. Many of the costumes were really elaborate and she could tell people put a lot of effort into them. There was one, however, that turned her stomach. “Too soon.” she thought to herself, spotting someone cosplaying as Jeffrey Dahmer. A questionable costume was the least of her concerns at the moment. As the convention room filled up, she wondered if she was about to be in the hot seat. Rita was sitting on a Friday the 13th panel, and she was the director of the fans least favorite entry.

At least Tom Savini was up here with her. The crowd gave a big cheer to the master of gory special effects who’d worked on several 80’s slashers. The rest of the panel got applause as well, and Rita couldn’t help wonder if the MC, who was a publicity rep from the studio, purposely introduced her last. As Rita heard her name being spoken, she cringed as there were some boos in the crowd. Of course, not everyone was so rude. Looking out in the audience, she saw author Robert Bloch applauding her. Next to him was a big heavy set guy who stood and applauded too. Tom Savini tried to assist, saying. “Hey come, on Part Five is my favorite!” When some in the crowd laughed Tom added “No, I’m serious.”

The panel opened with a Q and A. in which the panelists talked about the early development of the first film. Initially inspired by 1978’s moderately successful Halloween, early drafts went through a few ideas before settling on the villain being the Jersey Devil. One of the early ideas for the first movie was to have a female killer. “Thank God we didn’t go that route,” the publicist chimed in, “Friday the 13th never would have went anywhere then.”

Savini took a few questions about designing the Devil’s new look for Part Three, as per the film’s story the Devil got burned in a fire. Finally a question came to Rita Mae. She was almost hoping to get through the whole panel without having to say anything. What she got was a fair question though. “Give the supernatural elements introduced in Part Six like the Cult of Vorhees; do you ever wish you would have used those elements for A New Beginning?”

“That’s a good question.” Rita took a deep breath as she looked out at the audience. “When they ‘killed off,’” Rita spoke using air quotes, “the devil in the ‘final chapter’” she then paused to give the MC a snarky look. The audience chuckled to his response, which was motioning his fingers to mimic the holding of cash. “Anyway, as I was saying,” Rita Mae went on to explain, “the studio told me they wanted Part Five to have a more realistic tone in the vein of the the first film.” Looking again at the studio rep, she added, “Plus, the studio only gave us a budget of about 2 million.” The audience laughed again while she now mimicked the holding of money. She thought for a moment maybe this session wouldn’t be so bad after all. Finishing her thoughts, she concluded, “This meant we couldn’t go too over the top with supernatural stuff. That’s how we came up with the idea of a human killer. Like they said,” she explained, referring to the other people on the panel, “that was one of the first ideas for the franchise.”

Some in the crowd, but not all to be fair, booed again at the mention of the actual killer in Part Five, a disgruntled special effects worker who impersonated the Jersey Devil to avenge the death of his daughter. This creative choice was not received well by the fans, which in turn had them direct their ire toward Rita during moments like these.

Next, Rita saw a young gothic-looking girl near one of the mics set up for fan questions.  She looked kind of familiar. Rita recalled that she’d just been sitting next to Bloch and that big guy. Next to her was a guy in a Halloween shirt that seemed to be her husband or boyfriend. It almost looked like he was consoling her as she looked really anxious approaching the mic.

“Hi,” the woman said nervously. “My name’s Vicki and I want to direct someday too.”

“Alright!” Tom Savini said, clapping his hands which led to some light applause from the audience.

“Maybe this panel stuff isn’t so bad after all.” Rita thought to herself.

After the brief applause the young fan sounded more confident and asked, “I know your movie isn’t the most popular in the series but I was wondering what you are the most proud of from that film?”

Perhaps partly due to the backlash her film got, that was a question she never really considered. “I’m proud of a lot of what we did actually.” Thinking aloud she said, “While you’re right, it’s not as popular an entry, I am proud that we continued the story arc of the adult Tommy Jarvis.” Referring to the fan favorite character introduced in Part Four played by Corey Feldmen, she went on to explain, “In fact, I would dare say by the time you get to Part Six with the Cult of Vorhees kidnapping Tommy and forcing him to bring the Devil back, you understand him more as a character. I think that is, in part, thanks to what we did in Five.”

“Your movie still sucked!” the Dhamer cos-player yelled from the audience.

“No, you suck asshole!” Vicki taunted back on the mic causing some in the audience to cheer.

“Wow!” Rita thought to herself, “hear me roar.” Then she said aloud to her adoring fan, “Thanks.”

“Thank you.” Vicki said before walking proudly back to her seat.

Savini then got on his mic and said to the audience “Guys just a reminder, let’s be respectful please. We’re all here to have fun.”

Following this, on the other side of the auditorium a guy was laughing while he got on the mic and asked, “Is it true that originally there was going to be more nudity?”

“Yeah, they wanted me to shoot a fucking porno in the woods.” Rita answered, recalling her clashes with the studio who wanted more sex. The crowd reacted even more viscerally this time. Loud boos were followed by chants of “porno porno porno!” What was once a fun horror convention turned into Animal House.

“Your feminazi bullshit almost killed the franchise!” someone else from the crowd shouted.

“Great,” Rita again thought to herself, “Rush Limbaugh made it to the horror show.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have let that woman on here.” Rita heard the publicist mumble as he took the mic. “Alright everybody,” the publicist said, standing in front of her, oblivious to the glare she gave him. Her feelings were a cocktail of shock and anger as he asked the crowd “who wants to hear about the next movie!” the crowd erupted while Rita could see the white light from a projector in the back of the room. Partially blinded by this sudden burst of light, but she didn’t bother turning to see the image that apparently made this crowd so happy. Most of the audience didn’t notice and probably didn’t care when Rita got up and left. As she exited, she heard the publicist say something about some deal with a new studio resulting in a new Devil movie that will be out next year. Rita didn’t care, it’s not like she’d be directing it anyway. She just wanted to go to the bar, then go back to her hotel room and curl up in her pajamas.

Tune back in after a few days to see what Rita encounters next at the horror show.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Part Fourteen: Three on a Meat hook

“This is it.” Kristina said as she rode with Chuck and Helen in Henry’s pickup truck. The small two story house looked a little worn down but not as though it’d been abandoned. They didn’t see anyone else around, though it looked like there were some fresh tracks in the driveway. 

Approaching the house, they could see its white paint beginning to chip. Walking up the creaky steps Henry looked around and said, “Doesn’t look like anyone lives here.” 

“Why do you say that?” Kristina asked.

Looking at the splintered wood in the door. “The door is busted.” Henry explained. It looked like someone took a sledgehammer to it. Henry then kneeled down, looking closer at the white chipped paint, it looked like something splattered on the porch. It looked like, no it couldn’t be. 

“You two wait here, Chuck you come with me.” Henry said as he drew his pistol. 

“Should I get the shotgun in the truck?” Helen asked.

“Not yet,” Her father said. “Just wait here.”

Someone had been living in the house, as evident by the furniture and cans of beer in the living room. The TV screen was on but with only snow on the screen. “Hello?” Henry called out. “Is anybody home? Looks like your door’s been busted. Are you OK?” There was no answer.

Nothing unusual awaited as they walked into the dining room. At the far end was a door Henry presumed led into the kitchen. It was then he noticed the smell.

Outside, Helen and Kristina looked over the house. “What do you expect to find here?” 

Helen asked. “I don’t know.” Kristina anxiously paced the porch as she answered. “I just want to be able to tell my mom that I saw where my grandmother was.” Walking again to the far end of the porch, she noticed it, a white shape sticking out from the bushes. Whatever it was, she thought she saw it move. 

“Where are you going?” Kristina didn’t answer, she just hopped off the porch. As she got closer to the bushes, she saw a van, then she realized there were two vans, two vans and an old beat-up pickup truck. One of the vans looked as old as the truck. The other van looked brand new, and then she saw the big logo on its side. 

“Shit” she thought to herself. Kristina was hoping to avoid the media on this trip, but there the news van sat. The thing was it was sat unattended. “Were the reporters inside?” she wondered. Then she saw the movement again, it was the news van, slightly rocking back and forth. Jesus, was someone fucking inside?

“Hello?” Henry said, not too loud, but loud enough that he expected an answer. There was none. Henry wasn’t liking this, but he knew he had to move forward. Chuck slowly moved behind him as he opened the door. What hung behind it was simply unreal. Henry’s friends who served in Nam shared some awful stories, but he’d never seen or heard of anything like this. There they were, three on a meat hook, three corpses swung back and forth on steel hooks as Henry and Chuck audibly screamed. Adding to the shock was that Henry recognized the female corpse. It was that reporter he saw on TV and on George’s set. While this woman may have pissed him off, prying into his family history, he never would have wished, nor could he have imagined, such a horrible fate falling upon her. 

Supplementing the madness was that distinct cackling. A crazed old woman threw a hot pan of water at Henry before charging them armed with a meat cleaver. “Run!” Henry shouted to Chuck as he wiped the scalding water from his face and stumbled to the ground. Chuck charged out into the dining room when the steel from a sledgehammer grazed him in the ribs. It wasn’t a hard shot, but it was hard enough to knock him down. As Chuck looked up, holding his possibly broken ribs, he saw an elderly man standing over him. “Can’t swing it like I used to.” the old man thought out loud as he again sent the steel hammer swinging towards his intended victim. 

Clarice leapt from the van striking Kristina in the head with a camera. “Teehee, I just found a new hobby. We’re gonna make a movie!” Dropping the camera, she stood over Kristina while reaching into her pocket. while saying “I’m gonna play the slasher!” Pulling out a small knife she continued, “and guess who you’re gonna be!” Kristina tried to scurry away on her hands and knees as Clarice gave quick jabs with the knife, making small scrapes on her victim’s skin. Kristina managed to grab a small rock and throw it at Clarice’s face before leaping up and running away. 

The stone struck Clarice below the eye. It stunned her for a moment but didn’t do any real damage. Once she wiped her eye,

she saw her intended victim trying to run away, the sight of which excited her. “Ooh, a chase scene!” she gleefully shouted as she ran after her. The Wisconsin sun pounded down on both of them as their feet sped through the prairies. Helen motioned for Kristina to come to the truck. Her speed increased as Clarice began breathing heavily and slowing down. 

“Ah, it’s too hot for this.” Clarice said in frustration. She then pulled out her gun, saying, “We’ll just fix this in the editing.” 

“Gun!” Helen shouted as Kristina dove to the ground just before the bullet shot through the barrel. Hot steel whisked through the air harmlessly striking the ground below. The next sound Kristina heard was the ratcheting of Helen shotgun as she fired back at her assailant. 

“Wow, A Texas shootout!” Clarice giggled as she hid behind a tree. “Too bad we’re not really in Texas!” 

“It’s a regular Thanksgiving feast today!” The grandmother proclaimed as she swung her meat cleaver down towards Henry, who just in the nick of time pulled a wooden chair over himself to block the blow. The blade of the cleaver dug deep into the seat. The elderly woman quickly tried to pull the blade out, but Henry managed to kick her hard against the wall. Her back slammed against the stove, and in one swift motion Henry reached for his gun and shot her between the eyes.

In the next room Grandpa was making short thrusts with his sledgehammer, trying to strike at Chuck. Hearing the gunshot, he immediately used his hammer to tip the dining room table over and ducked behind it. “Honey, honey, are you OK?” he shouted.

“Your old lady’s dead and your next asshole!” Henry taunted.

Hearing this horrible news, Grandpa shouted, “Milton, get your ass down here now!”

Milton was surprised as they actually found what they were looking for in this house. His parents went to check on the noise they heard downstairs as he inspected the bag. He didn’t care about the envelope it held, tossing that aside, he looked over the diamonds and jewelry. His dad said it wasn’t all here but was happy to find what they found. Now, hearing his father call out to him, Milton marched down the steps with a purpose. When they first arrived, Clarice anxiously killed the sole occupant of the house. As fortune would have it, a pair of reporters arrived not long after. Grandma got that pretty reporter in the chest with his sledgehammer, and that little bitch of a cameraman tried to run, but this time Milton got him. He didn’t have his newest toy handy, but he grabbed the man around the waist, drug him kicking and screaming like a bitch back into the house and stuck him right on the meat hook. Releasing his body onto the sharp steel, Milton felt that incredible rush again. Finally, he tied with Jason; one more, and he’d beat the record. He just needed one more kill; and hearing the gunshot and the pain in his father’s voice, he already knew this would be a special kill. This kill would be for revenge. It felt like 1974 all over again as let loose the roar of his fresh new chainsaw.

Coming down the steps all decked out in his suit and tie, his moment of glory was short-lived as his grandfather yanked on his arm. “Duck you idiot.” His father said, pulling him to the ground behind the dining room table as Henry fired off another shot. Milton’s father with his hand mimicked the words “Where’s your gun?”

“I don’t use a gun.” Milton answered. “Where’s your gun?” 

“He’s got a gun you moron!” His father said in great agitation. “We gotta shoot back.” 

Patting the handle of his trusty chainsaw Milton explained “You know this is what I use. The saw is my modus operandi.” 

“I don’t give a fuck what your motor operator is,” his father shouted, “we need to kill this motherfucker now!”

Helen and Kristina could see Clarice running off into the bushes. Handing the keys to Kristina Helen said, “You drive.” before climbing back into the cab. Kristina drove the truck towards the bushes where Clarice ran. Scanning the field for this crazy bitch, Helen didn’t know if Kristina could hear her, but she yelled “Look out!” as the news van came crashing into the truck. Helen leapt out of the back before impact and both vehicles came to a stop.

“This is going to be a great movie!” Clarice laughed as she backed up the van then got out. Running over to the truck, she figured it would fit the slasher motif better for her to carry her knife instead of her gun. She could see the poor girl passed out inside, “Should have worn your seatbelt.” she said out loud as she opened the truck door. 

Kristina was playing possum, having unbuckled her seat belt after impact. Now she could elbow her assailant in the face, knocking her back, Kristina then crawled to the other side of the truck. Clarice grabbed her by the ankle “Na ah ah,” she mocked, as her other hand brandished the knife. The next sound she heard however was the ratcheting of the shotgun. “Oh yeah!” were her last words, as she realized she’d forgotten about Helen. It didn’t matter anymore, as her pretty face was now gone, exploding like a watermelon as her body fell to the floor.

Henry couldn’t get a clear shot as the two maniacs hid behind the upturned dining room table which had been pushed to the doorway of the kitchen. The new saw blade cut through table wood extending into the kitchen frantically darting attempting to draw blood. Henry motioned to his son in law, holding up three fingers, then with his thumb gestured toward the kitchen’s backdoor. On three they rushed toward the back, but Grandpa had the same idea, having already circled the house while Milton kept his chainsaw running. “Shit!” Henry shouted. Chuck pulled him out of the way and grappled with the sledgehammer wielding killer. Chuck’s ribs still ached, and didn’t want to grapple for long, so he kicked him in the knee sending the old man falling besides his deceased wife. 

By then Milton burst into the room and with his trusty chainsaw. Henry faced him with his gun, but with one quick thrust the chainsaw struck him in the chest. “NO!” Chuck shouted as Henry collapsed to the ground. Milton raised his chainsaw in the air. Normally in this situation he might recite a speech by Romulus or Genghis Khan, but the pride in him was so great it overwrote his oratory skills, and he instead let out an animalistic howl. 

The roar of the shotgun followed as Milton collapsed to the ground. The chainsaw bounced about for a moment before shutting off. A cloud of smoke filled the room from the firearm as Helen entered a room filled with death. 

Milton had fallen face down on the hardwood floor, breaking his nose in the process. His face would be even more ugly now, definitely wouldn’t be appearing in any movies. Wouldn’t matter for much longer, as through his whole body he felt this indescribable sensation, as if his body knew its soul was about to be ejected. His family was gone or about to be gone anyway, so wherever they were going, they would be going together. His head faced toward his last victim, who lay facing up, blood shooting up from his body as his family gathered around desperately trying to help, but Milton knew it was too late. A wound like that is something you just don’t survive. He took pleasure in the shocks and agony that hung on their faces like flesh hanging from a meat hook, not to mention the disgust when they saw Milton smile. As he lay face down in a pool of blood, he knew he finally accomplished what he set out to do. “I beat his record.” were the last words that escaped his lips. No one around him knew what they meant, but Milton would die knowing he was king of the body count.

His moment for basking in glory was short lived, as now it was he whose face wore a look of terror. For what he saw next, not even the epic poetry of Dante’s Inferno could accurately describe. What he saw was not in this room where he was but was where he was going. All the horror he inflicted on other people was coming to fall upon him a thousand-fold. For all his madness and violence, Milton always prided himself on his intellect and articulateness. His whole life he quoted the great poets like Whitman and Chaucer, but as his soul fell into the abyss, the final sound his body ever made was a simple, unintelligible, animal-like squeal. 

Grandpa was now the only one left of his clan. Laying on the floor in emotional agony, he kissed and caressed the dead corpse that was his bride. “My family.” he said as he looked over at what was his son, who for nearly twenty years was his only son, but he was now gone too.

“My family!” Helen shouted as she pointed to her bleeding father on the floor. “Your granddaughter or whoever that sick fuck was, her brains are splattered all over the grass outside!”

Kristina shrieked horribly at the buffet of death as she entered the kitchen. The worst sight for her was not the bodies hanging on the meat hooks, or the dead murderer laying in front of her, but Henry bleeding out on the floor. Unrelenting pangs of guilt filled her as she saw an elderly man crawling in the back, and when she saw the sledgehammer, she instantly knew this was the man who gave her mother a lifetime of pain. She marched over the bodies towards the elderly man and said “Mary’s daughter sends her regards.” before kicking him in the face. 

As his head bounced back, she saw the birthmark on his chin, hidden within his stubble. She could see his eyes widen with understanding, comprehension of the incalculably mad events that brought them together. “You’re her granddaughter?” His tone was a cross between an inquisitive statement, and an acknowledgement of what he already knew.

“Who are you?” Kristina asked. 

“I’m, I’m your..” his head then burst open, and the thunderous sound of the shotgun once again roared as Helen could no longer wait to complete her vengeance.

Kristina screamed at the sudden sound of the firearm, but she did not blame Helen for her spontaneous action, she fully understood her need for vengeance. Kristina simply felt guilty, if only she’d just gone home, but it was too late for all that now now. She rushed to Helen’s side. “Oh my god I’m so sorry, Helen I…”

Through her tears Helen answered “It’s OK, it’s not your fault, but I need you to help me now and get an ambulance.” Kristina nodded and rushed into the next room to use the phone.

Chuck and Helen knelt beside Henry. “Oh God dad,” Helen cried, “we gotta get you to a hospital.” She grabbed some paper towels and desperately tried to cover the wound. 

“Love you two.” Henry said, coughing up blood, “so proud of George.”

“No dad,” his daughter pleaded, “just hang in there, we’ll get an ambulance.”

“It’s OK. Everything is impermanent. Franki taught me that.” Then he looked away, up at the ceiling, as if he could see something far beyond. He only said one word. “Sally.” Through the pain he was smiling. His eyes did not reflect the grotesque sights of this room, but a sense of wonder as he said “She’s singing to me.” Helen was even more scared now as it appeared he was babbling.

Her fears seemed to be confirmed as he said his last words. “Careful in the shower.” Helen wailed as her father grew cold. She couldn’t possibly understand at that moment, but here in this room filled with horror, a man died at peace.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Thirteen: Bloody Reunions

Pine Grove, Wisconsin. December 8th, 1954.

“Keep your chin up kid.” Mary wasn’t the crying type, but tears welled up in her eyes as she wrote these words before stuffing the paper in a white envelope. Upon sealing it, she placed the envelope in a small bag filled with what was left of the family jewels now hidden it under the floorboards of her bedroom. Placing the wooden boards back in their proper place, she remembered the last time she hid something in a spot like this. Saved her husband from a lot of trouble when cops raided. Looking back on it, maybe she would have been better off if the cops caught her crazy ex. Who knows, maybe Marilyn was better never getting anything from her at all. What she did know was that in that moment she needed to get out of the house. 

Stepping outside into the Wisconsin plains, she marveled at how It was so open out here, it was like you could see off into forever. This definitely was Kodak country. Someone could be watching her from miles away and she would never even know. She didn’t like to think about that as she drove to her establishment that she’d opened with the money she grabbed from Whitman. Figured for all the insanity she’d endured; she should get something for her troubles. 

Plainfield Wisconsin, 2003

Milton wasn’t about to find any literary magazines at the hardware store, but his mother was happy as she browsed the wrestling magazines. Milton couldn’t quite understand his parents’ love of this glorified carnival show, “It’s Shakespeare for the masses!” his mother once explained to him. 

As Milton’s mother flipped through one of the grappling magazines she came across a special report from Japan. There was a large photograph of a wrestler standing in the middle of the ring holding a chainsaw. Clarice walked by and grew excited upon seeing the picture. “Wow.” she exclaimed. “That looks like you Uncle Milton!” 

Milton didn’t care either way for the picture, but Clarice’s grandmother complained “That bastard stole your uncle’s bit! We should sue!” She said jestingly. 

“I don’t understand why you still like that stuff.” Milton complained. 

“Well,” his mother answered, “they say wrestling is in your blood. I don’t know about that, but I once had a wrestler in my belly!” she cackled.

“May I help you?” Milton and his family turned around to see a very elderly woman standing before them.

“Do you work here?” Milton said, not hiding the surprise in his voice. This woman looked even older than his own parents.

“Oh heavens no, I’m long retired.” The woman answered. “But I owned this store a long time ago. I still like to visit sometimes.” The woman introduced herself as Bernice, spying the magazine, she added. “Oh, are you a wrestling fan?”

“All my life!” Milton’s mother said. Then, pinching her son’s cheek as if he were a newborn, she said “When this one was just a little baby we used to watch Gorgeous George on the television set.”

“I remember him, he was such a scoundrel!” Bernice recalled. Her wrinkled cheeks then blushed as she added “I was a fan of Lou Thez. That man was a tall glass of water!” Then she revealed with a giggle. “Used to make my husband so jealous!” The ladies shared a laugh before Berncie said “Well if there’s anything I can help you with just let me know.”

“Actually, we’re in the market for a new chainsaw.” Milton said.

“No problem, right this way.” Bernice immediately led them to the section that held chainsaws. She detailed what they had in stock as if she were still an employee. Milton gazed at the selection, and there, hanging up high on the shelf, was the one for him. It was a ferocious looking farm and ranch saw like the one he had in his heyday. “That’s our newest model.” Berncie said as she watched Milton eye the particular saw like a kid in a candy store. “The 74 Hooper. Runs 20% longer than other saws before refueling, has a built in shock absorber, throttle trigger, and a pre-separation air filtration system. A few of the rancher’s around here picked this one up and I haven’t heard any complaints!”

“Imagine the damage you can do with this Uncle Milton.” Clarice said in awe.

Milton reached his hands up to the saw and firmly gripped its handle. It felt very comfortable in his hands. It had been so long since he’d held a saw blade, he felt like Arthur withdrawing the mythical sword from the stone, proving by that act alone that he was the rightful King. Staring at the blade as if it were an extension of his own body, he only said one thing. “I’ll take it.”

Kristina sat alone in the police station waiting room. She wasn’t sure what to expect. Since the local news broke a lot of reporters and curiosity seekers were descending on this small little town. It hadn’t occurred to her that con artists and attention seekers might come out here to tell a similar story to what she had. She hadn’t come out here for attention, she just wanted the truth.

“Kristina.” The secretary said. “He will see you now.” 

She walked back to the Sheriff’s office where she found the Officer who’d previously introduced himself as Jonathan sitting at his desk and on the telephone. “OK see you soon Henry.” she heard him say before he hung up. Seeing her, he stood up and gave back her driver’s license and the stack of papers back that belonged to Kristina’s mother. “Here you go ma’am.” the officer politely said. “Please understand, there’s been all kinds of weirdos coming out here since the story broke, but your story checks out.”

“Do you have information about my grandmother?” She asked. 

“Ok, here’s what I’m gonna do.” Jonathan said in a low voice. “I’m gonna give you directions to this address.” He handed her another slip of paper saying “It’s my friend Fred’s home. I want you to go there in about a half hour. He’ll be expecting you. Myself and some others will be there shortly. There won’t be any prying eyes there, so once we get settled in, I’ll give you some information.”

Kristina wasn’t expecting Tom Clancy Cloak and Dagger business coming out here but given how many people she saw snooping around she could understand why. The directions brought her to the old house on the outskirts of Plainfield, where she was greeted by an elderly gentleman named Fred, who was Jonathan’s father. He invited her in, where she met another older man, along with a couple who looked around her age.

Fred introduced Kristina to the three saying, “This is Henry Kohler, his daughter Helen, and this is Helen’s husband Chuck.” 

These three looked familiar, but Kristina couldn’t place it. “Have I seen you before?” she asked. 

“No, I don’t believe we’ve met.” Helen said.  

Kristina was certain though. “No, I’m sure I’ve seen you before. Were you on TV?”

“Helen’s brother is George Kohler,” Fred explained, the film director. 

“Oh wow!” Kristina now remembered seeing them on the entertainment news, but then, understanding the implication of what she just heard, she grew a little worried. “Um, are you going to make a movie here?”

“Hey Dad.” Jonathan said as he walked in and greeted Fred. After greeting the rest of the group, he said “To answer your question Kristina, no, they won’t be making a movie. Actually, they’re here for a similar reason you are. You might want to sit down.”

Once everyone took a seat in the living room the Sheriff cautioned. “Now what you hear in this room stays here OK? I’m doing my damndest to keep a lid on this thing so this whole town doesn’t turn into a carnival. Understand me?”

“Sure.” Kristina said. She had no desire for publicity, she just wanted to know what happened to her grandmother.

“That pit where they found those bodies” the officer explained, “about a quarter of a mile away there used to be an old farmhouse. About 50 years back there was a man there by the name of Edward Gein. Ma’am, I’m afraid your grandmother’s body was on his property.”

“OK.” Kristina tried to calmly process this fact. “How do you know this?”

“I had a sister.” Henry began to explain. “Her name was Sally. Long story, but one night she accidentally ran into him. Almost got killed herself.” Pointing to Fred, Henry went on, “Short version of the story is she got a hold of Fred. He went to the house along with a policeman. They weren’t sure what was happening, but they’d found Ed, and.. God.” Henry shook his head as he remembered that horrible night when he learned the truth about his sister.

Fred took it upon himself to finish Henry’s sentence. “It turned out Ed had been grave robbing for years, and he’d kept the bodies in his house.”

“Oh my god!” Kristina exclained. “This man robbed my grandmother’s grave!” 

“No, actually we think he murdered her.” The officer said. “She lived in a town called Pine Grove just down the road. Her old house is still standing actually. Anyway, she had a little tavern which Ed was known to frequent. One day she came up missing, and in her tavern a pool of blood and a bullet cartridge were found on the floor. There were always rumors she was hiding from the mob out here, so at the time people figured her past had caught up with her. But that night, my dad found your grandmother’s, uh, body.” He did not wish to tell her the awful details of how his father found Mary’s face peeled off and stored in a plastic bag. He could see his father shiver, knowing he was reliving that horrible moment. Jonathan went on. “We know Ed owned a gun that would have matched that cartridge, and rumors were he joked about having Mary at his house. Dad figured he killed her. I’m really sorry ma’am.”

As much as it was a shock, at the same time it felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. The truth was god-awful, but at least she knew what that awful truth was, and at least she could tell her mother before she passed. “You said she had a house nearby?”  She asked.

“Yes, that’s correct ma’am.” The officer said.

“I’d like to see it.”

“You’re perfectly free to do that on your own time.” Jonathan said. “Anywhere I go now is going to draw attention, but you are free to do that if you like”

“We’ll go with you.” Henry said.

Kristina was grateful for these people willing to accompany her. The officer gave her the address. She would see this home where her grandmother walked, hopefully this would provide some closure, and then she could tell her mother what she’d learned.

Pine Grove Wisconsin 1954.

Cleaning off the bar, Mary couldn’t get the thought out of her mind. Maybe Marilyn was better off without her. No, no she needs to see her. Maybe she should leave right now and go see her, but what if she got caught. Her mind bounced back and forth between the possibilities. Luckily happy hour was about to start. The locals came pouring in and the usual conversations kept her mind off her troubles.

Hours later she announced last call. Soon the usual hangers on staggered away. Her little establishment was doing well for itself, but as the patrons left, Mary’s troubles rushed back into her mind like the tide of an ocean that never reached this land. The bell chimed as the door opened again. “Shit” she thought, “who was coming this late?” Then she heard the footsteps, quiet little footsteps that sounded like they belonged to a small man.

“Hi Mary. You OK? You look upset?” The late patron observed.

“Oh, I just got something in my eye. No trouble.” It was old Eddie Gein. “What are you doing out so late? If you’re hunting rabbits, you won’t find any here.”

“Oh, I know, I was just having trouble sleeping.” Eddie’s hands fluttered and his eyes darted around the room as he spoke. “Is it okay if I have a drink?”

“Well, I’m closing soon, but I’ll give you just one, OK?” Mary then turned her back to him as she poured a short beer. Eddie always seemed like a harmless fellow, if not a little odd. She heard about how he often helps out around town, sometimes played with the local kids. She also heard about his crazy mom. What she never heard was the gunshot. She didn’t hear her own body hit the floor either, as she was already gone.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Twelve. Campfire Stories

Carcasses of their victims hung from a spit over the fire as the family camped out in a secluded area of forest just off the highway. Milton was grateful his mother packed bread in their cooler so he could made himself a nice little sandwich. “Oh my god, this is the best meal I’ve had in years!” he said, taking a bite of the freshly cooked flesh packed between the two wheat slices. Looking at his niece he said through a mouth full of food, “I’m telling you; don’t you ever go to prison. The food there is awful!”

“Don’t worry Uncle Milton,” Clarice giggled while using her fingers to eat a piece of meat off a paper plate, “they’ll never take me alive!”

“They’d better not. By the time you’d get out I’d be dead.” Clarice’s grandmother cackled.

“You’ll be dead a lot sooner if you don’t stop using so much salt!” Clarice’s grandfather said as he ate his freshly made stew.

“Whitman, I’ve been making it that way since before I even met you and don’t you forget it.” Emily barked back.

“Wait,” Clarice said, “I thought the family recipe was from Grandpa’s side?”

Pointing to the old metal pot in which chunks of flesh floated from their latest victims, Clarice’s grandmother, Emily, explained, “The meat stew is from Whitman’s side.” Then holding up her own sandwich she said, “I’ve been eating this since the Great Depression.” Watching the flames dance around the remains of their victims she recalled “Daddy went and died, and mom and I could barely survive on the farm in Oklahoma. I remember being so hungry, so hungry it brought me to tears. Must have drove my poor mother mad, how I couldn’t stop crying.” Her voice shook from the sting of that pain she still felt decades later. “We had a loaf of bread, but not even a lousy vegetable to put between two slices. One night a straggler came by, tried to take advantage of my mom. She killed the bastard dead.” Emily had the full attention of her audience as she finished her tale. “We were starving, but, next thing you know,” Her face changed from an expression of sorrow to triumph as she proudly held up her sandwich and proclaimed. “Bon appetite!” 

“Wow.” Clarice marveled at the story. “So did you introduce the appetite to grandpa?””

“No, I already had it.” Whitman answered his spouse’s question. “In fact, when we first met, I kept it a secret!”

“So how did you find out?” Clarice asked.

“Well, actually he caught me!” Emily laughed. “I kept the appetite to myself when we’d first met. One day he was away on business, and I was at home starving. We had plenty of food mind you, but the appetite was overpowering. I went and out and got somebody tasty, but loe and behold he came home early, I thought I might have to kill him!”

“I almost killed you when I saw how much salt you were using!” Whitman reminisced.

Looking at his niece, Milton laughed, “They’ve been fighting about that all my life.”

“Aww,” Clarice fawned, “the appetite kept you together. That’s so sweet.” 

“Yeah, my first wife couldn’t take the heat,” Whitman recalled. “so she got out of the kitchen so to speak.” he said laughing.

“Wait” Clarice was shocked at this truth her grandfather just dropped. “You had another wife?”

“Yeah, her name was Mary, tough old broad, just like your grandmother, but she didn’t like our family’s peculiar, uh appetite, as we say.” Grandpa explained before eating another mouthful of his stew. 

“What happened to her? Clarice asked.

“Actually, this is why we’re heading out west.” Whitman revealed. “I had this old set of jewelry; it belonged my mother, bunch of diamonds and shit. That bitch took it all along with some cash and took off. Never saw Mary again.”

“Wait,” Clarice asked, “so did you just find her?” 

“Well someone did!” Whitman laughed. “You see the news about those bodies that turned up in the plain states?

“No, really?” Clarice answered.

“Too busy on that internet shit!” Her grandmother complained.

“Hey,” Clarice protested, “rotten.com is an awesome site! I’m telling you, you’d love it.”

“Look I don’t give a dam about gotten.com or whatever the fuck you’re talking about!” Clarice’s grandfather said, agitated. “Those jewels belonged to my mother, and I always wanted to kill that bitch for running off with them. Well, it turned out some Psycho beat me to it like 50 years ago. Apparently she had a home out in Wisconsin.”

“And you think you’re going to find these jewels 50 years later?” Clarice wondered out loud. “She probably pawned them off.”

“Maybe, but I just gotta know. Mary always hid shit in that space under the floorboards some old houses had.” Grandfather laughed as he recalled. “Actually, Mary saved my ass one time during a police raid. If her old house is still standing. I bet that at least some of that shit is still in there.”

“And if there’s any people in that house?” Clarice asked out loud, knowing full well it was a rhetorical question.

Grandmother ate the last bit of her sandwich before answering. “Well, we’ll get hungry again I’m sure!”

Then Clarice wondered, “So how did you get the appetite Grandpa?”

“It was the war.” Grandpa remembered. “We were on a fishing boat off the coast of Iceland. One night a German U-boat took us out. Our boat was partially afloat, and me and a few other guys clung to the wreckage.” Taking a sniff of the night air he could recall that peculiar aroma from so long ago. “I remember the smell of the ocean mixed with that distinct smell. It was the smell of cooked meat. A few bodies floated by. I remember one in particular, chest was blown off, and the heat from the explosion burnt some of the flesh. We could all smell the meat. I’m sure we were all thinking it, but I was the first one to say it out loud. Of course, the other survivors thought I was mad.”

Grandfather finished off his meal as he came to the conclusion of his story. “As the night passed, one by one the other survivors faded one by one. By the time the sun came up the next morning, I was the only one left, all the others sank into the sea. I could feel something, something in my whole body. I can’t describe it, but it was almost like I could feel my soul about to leave. As the sun was coming up, I looked out at the surface of the water kissing the horizon, and I could see my parents. They were at their old home in the highlands, sitting on the porch waiting for me. I knew what was about to happen, but I didn’t want to go. I turned away to see one of the bodies floating past me, big burly guy, his frame could have filled up a whole doorway. His arm was blown off from the night’s explosion, and parts of his flesh looked like they were partially cooked. Looking down at the flesh, I bit in, and I stayed alive.”

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Eleven: Road Trip From Hell

Milton missed driving. When they first embarked on their journey his parents insisted on taking the wheel, as Milton couldn’t even remember the last time he drove. His folks were getting up there in age though, and he could tell they were getting tired; so after some persuading, he at long last had his own foot on the gas.

After living in a box for so long Milton was now On the Road with the whole country spread before him like an open atlas. He felt like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, zig zagging around the country with no end in sight. He wasn’t sure where they were going, but they weren’t going to stop until they got there. Milton always appreciated America’s heartland. New Jersey, in the shadow of the Big Apple, was so cramped and crowded, but once they got past Chicago, they entered that realm where you could see for miles. Far off in the distance, the sun was setting in the prairie fields. It looked so far away that Milton pondered how he was probably watching the sun set in the next time zone.

The blare of the semi-truck’s horn shook Milton out of his daze, where he had unknowingly drifted ever so slightly into the next lane. “Watch the road moron!” His father shouted as Milton yanked the van back.

“Watch your speed too.” His mother nagged. 

“I’m not speeding!” Milton insisted as he glanced at the speedometer.

“I know but we’re coming up on the spot.” his mother said.

Milton had forgotten, but his memory jogged once he saw the road sign his mother told him to look for. Hitchhikers were common out here. Dangerous thing that is, especially for a young girl, a young girl like the one who waited there before him. Her golden locks bounced in the setting sun as her thumb pointed in the air. Her sexy midriff was bare and exposed like Shania Twain, and she was decked out in cut off jean shorts and cowboy boots. To top it all off was her sign. On it was a pair of thick red lips with a tongue sensually slithering out, a drop of saliva falling from the tip. Above it read, “Head for Food.”

Milton’s heavy foot pounded the breaks hard. The van door swiftly slid open as the woman stood there grinning. “Young girl like you shouldn’t be out here hitchhiking,” Milton heard his mother say, “could be dangerous you know.” 

“Dangerous for who?” The woman shot back. 

“Get in here.”  Milton’s mother took the young girl by the arm and pulled her into the van.

The girl’s arms wrapped around the elderly woman as she said, “Grandma!” 

Milton’s father turned around from the passenger seat and patted her on the head saying. “Good to see you, Clarice.”

Confused for a moment, Clarice asked “Wait, then who’s driving?”

Milton gave a polite little wave as he pulled back onto the road. Clarice beamed like a child on Christmas morning as she saw the scarred face in the driver’s mirror. “Oh my god, Uncle Milton!” From behind she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him on his scarred cheek. “They finally let you out!”

Milton patted her niece’s hand as he continued driving. “That’s right baby, I’m finally out.” Looking at her reflection in the rear view, a flood of memories came rushing back to him. Taking a deep breath, before setting his eyes back on the road he said “You look just like your father.”

“Awww.” Tears welled up in Clarice’s eyes as she again kissed her Uncle on the cheek. “That’s so sweet.”

“Just keep your eyes on the road!” His mother interjected as the van got back on the highway.

Darkness was falling over the plain states as the white can continued down the road. In this part of the country there were almost no other cars around. Only a few lights here and there lit the road, their surroundings otherwise covered by forest. Far ahead Milton noticed a pair of yellow lights blinking. Driving further forward, everyone in the van could see a car sitting on the side of the road. An older man was inspecting a flat tire, and it looked like two other people were inside the car. Milton’s blood rushed through his body, his breathing grew heavy and sweat began to form on his forehead as the possibilities illuminated his mind in this darkness. Milton only had one question. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Whose hungry?” his mother cackled. It was a rhetorical question. 

The van pulled up to the parked car, and the door slid open. “Need some help?” Milton asked as he shined his Mac flightlight on the man inspecting his tire. 

“I could sure use your light if you don’t mind.” The man said, not noticing Milton’s scarred face in the dark. “I can change the tire, but I can hardly see out here.”

“At least someone knows how to change the tire.” A woman, Milton presumed to be the man’s wife, said while puffing a cigarette. She stood on the other side of the car and nodded her head towards her vehicle. A faint light glowed from inside, and for just a moment, a pimply faced teenager turned his eyes away from the screen of his Game Boy Advance. Looking out the window with a dazed look on his face, he asked “What happened?”

Milton’s hands trembled ever so slightly as he held the torch like Mag light in his hand. Here were two potential victims right before him, but he knew the dangers of tied being greedy. Someone else could have the punk in the car, but once he took out the parents, he would have tied Jason’s record. As the flat tire was finally released, Milton saw Clarice creeping toward the car. He was a little nervous for her, but was excited too. This would be the first time they would have some action together. He laughed as she got the teenage dork’s attention. His mouth fell agape as she pulled up her shirt, teasing a flash of her tits. Her hand let go of her shirt before the full reveal as she then made a motion mimicking fellatio then nodded her head towards the woods. The Game Boy instantly fell to the floor as the car door quickly opened and the boy almost fell out of the car.

“Where are you going?” His mom asked, not noticing the girl who already pranced off into the nearby forest.

“Uh, I’m just going to stretch my legs.” He nervously said before bolting off into the woods.

“Ok, well don’t go too far.” his mom said.

Milton was so proud of his niece; he could already tell this wasn’t her first rodeo. With that dork out of the way, he raised the flashlight higher in the air. Just as he was about to bring it crashing down, he spotted his father who had gotten out of the van. He motioned with his hands indicating he wanted Milton to wait.

The few minutes it took for the spare tire to get on the vehicle felt like an eternity, but finally it was done. “Thanks for your help.” the man said. Milton only nodded in affirmation. It was then he heard the whistling. In the moonlight they could all see the female form of Clarice skipping towards the two vehicles whistling along the way, not another soul in sight. She was carrying something in his hands.

“Where’s Troy?” The mother asked, stomping out her cigarette.

Upon hearing that Clarice shouted “Heads up!” before swinging her arm into the air. The object released, and spun like a basketball as it flew through the sky. It was a perfect shot, crashing into the windshield cracking the glass. Both parents screamed as they saw the decapitated head of their son bouncing off the hood of the car.

Their screams were mixed with howls of laughter from Milton and his family. “That’s my niece!” Milton boasted. Beaming with pride he forgot anyone else was even around him. Only the screams of his father snapped him out of it. ‘Oh yeah,” Milton thought to himself as he grabbed the father from behind. Milton allowed him to struggle a bit, he enjoyed letting his victim think he had a fighting chance as Milton released one of his arms to grab his small blade. His body felt that incredible rush of adrenaline as he held the blade up in the evening air. Once he couldn’t withhold his urges any longer, Milton plunged the blade into the man’s throat, letting the blood wash over his hands in the warm night. Another body for the count, one more, and he would tie Jason’s record.

Milton lustfully looked at the newly made widow as her breasts heaved with her deep breaths of terror. “One more.” he thought to himself. Clarice’s laughing was only matched by the screaming mother running down the road. Milton immediately followed in pursuit. He didn’t chance throwing the blade. He hadn’t thrown in so long, and if he missed then his blade easily would be lost in the dark. He made a point to exercise while in prison, hitting the weights and walking the track, but he hadn’t run like this since he was young. His chest heaved heavily as his thick legs pounded the macadam trying to catch up to his prey. She wouldn’t get away. She couldn’t get away. He had to get her, he had to tie Jason. Thoughts of murderous glory propelled him faster down the deserted highway, allowing him to close the distance between him and his victim. She was so close he could taste her fear. Now he would have her, soon he and Jason would be equals. 

There was a popping sound just before blood squirted from her head. The next sound was the woman’s body hitting the ground, and then there was that distinct smell, a smell he hadn’t experienced behind bars. He turned back to see Clarice standing in the moonlight, a whiff of smoke rising through the air from her pistol.

“Dammit Clarice, I almost had her!” Milton protested.

“Bullshit, your old ass wasn’t getting anything!” Clarice mocked.

“Well, since when do we use guns anyway?”

“Come on Milton, it’s not the 70’s anymore. We gotta keep up with the times! “

To Milton, this was blasphemy. “Keeping up with the times isn’t our modus operandi!” He complained.

Holding up the pistol, Clarice explained, “Well this is mine. I’ll have you know this gun was a gift given to me when I was but 13 years old. The motherfuckers who had it before me were the ones who killed my daddy!”

Milton was struck dumb by this truth. He couldn’t possibly respond. He stood still for a moment as he remembered his brother, this wonderful girl’s father. As he reflected, he became bathed in the glow from the headlights of the family van, through which he could see Clarice walking away from him. He also saw his mother poking her head out the window shouting, “Will you two stop fighting and get these bodies off the road! I’m starving!”

No Gein II: A Second Helping

Chapter Ten: On Set

“Cut!”

At that command the cameras stopped rolling while Dan, George’s old friend from film school, removed his Norma Bates wig. Looking down at his “victim” Dan teased, “Anyone ever tell you you scream like a girl?” 

Relishing being covered in fake blood, the director of Psycho II popped back up to his feet and replied, “Anyone ever tell you dress like one?”  

Flipping through the pictures on the dresser. Dan teased his friend saying, “Dude, your sister’s hot!” knowing the woman in the prop photo wasn’t really Helen, but a random model they’d cast. 

“I know right?” George agreed. “Even she were my sister, I’d still wanna fuck her!”

“You sick bastard!” Dan laughed at the director’s morbid humor as they walked out of the room.

An assistant provided George a towel as he entered the house’s working bathroom. George thanked the assistant before cleaning off the fake blood. As water splashed his face he asked his longtime friend, “Haven’t had a chance to chat with you lately. How is Vicki?”

“She’s great!” Dan wasn’t sure if he wanted to share the news yet or not, but since George asked he figured he might as well. “Actually, I wasn’t sure if I should bring it up now, but, well we’re expecting.”

George’s face lit up like a child’s. “Wait, you two are gonna have a baby?”

“Yeah.” Dan said with a nervous smile.

“Shit that’s awesome! Congrats man!” Dan received a high five from his friend who continued, “We gotta go out and celebrate!”

“Uh, Mr. Kohler?” George’s assistant returned.

“What’s up?”

“That news reporter is on set.”

“Ah shit!” George exclaimed. “Hey man, I gotta step out a minute, but we’ll talk about this later. Proud of you man, awesome news!”

“Thanks.” Dan said. As George walked away, Dan thought to himself that he was proud of his friend as well. Even back in film school, Dan knew George had the talent to really make it in this business. More importantly to Dan, he was also proud that his friend scaled back that grating ego everyone remembered. Hollywood success seemed to have had the opposite effect on George than it has on most people. Actually, as Dan thought about it, George actually seemed to have a change in attitude pre-fame. 

A few years back he ran into him at a horror convention, where he seemed to be the same self centered nerd, but maybe a year later George called him out of the blue. Dan was surprised to hear from him, but as they talked on the phone, George asked how he and Vicki were doing, and they had a good hour long conversation. When Dan hung up the phone he told his then fiancé Vicki that George seemed really different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. “What was it?” She asked.

It took a minute for it to finally register with Dan before he answered. “He actually asked how you and I were doing.” 

“So?” 

“He never does that. Back in school whenever he’d call me it was either to brag or complain about something.”

As time went on George and Dan rekindled their friendship, and, while Dan never pressed the issue, he got the feeling something happened to George. He didn’t know what it was, but George very suddenly appeared to grow humble. In fact, sometimes it seemed like something really rattled him, but George never divulged what it might have been, and Dan never asked.

Outside the Psycho House, George grabbed a special item he saved for moments like this. He didn’t like interruptions while he was working, and he didn’t know how this nosy reporter got on set, but he was tired of her mess. There she stood with her cameraman anxiously awaiting him.

“Mr. Kohler, did you believe the stories of your Aunt Sally to be true?” George furiously pumped the shotgun like device he carried in his arms. Showing no fear, she continued “Do you have any comment on the mass grave found near Plainfield Wisconsin, near what was believed to be the property of a Mr. Geaaahhh!!!!”

Vanita gagged on the blast of water erupting from George’s high powered water gun. “Eat it bitch!” he yelled as the water continued to hit her in the face causing her to fall to one knee. He then aimed the stream of water directly at the camera.

The camera man backed away as he protested “Shit, you got my camera!” 

“You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” Vanita protested as her and her camera man stormed off as George and others on the crew howled in laughter.

Among the crew laughing was his friend Dan, who came outside knowing shenanigans were about to take place. As he came outside, he passed on a message he’d just heard from George’s assistant.

“Hey, your dad wants to see you?”

“Ok, but I have to prep the next scene.”

“He says it’s urgent.” Dan added. “Something about back home.”

Turning to his friend, George said “Well the next scene is mostly set up, think you could take over for a minute?”

“Sure!” Dan said. And just like that, Dan would be directing his first scene in Hollywood.

Walking towards the private trailer Enterprise Pictures provided for George’s family, he saw his father pacing outside. Eyeing some of the fake blood that still remained on George’s clothing, he asked “What happened to you?” 

“I just died on screen.” 

“What are you trying to be like Hitchcock, appearing in all your movies?” 

“Look at you taking a shot!” George said laughing.

From a distance Henry saw that reporter and her cameraman leaving the set. “Eying her legs as she ran off Henry said “That’s that bitch that was just on TV. I would have liked to have a shot at her.”

“Don’t let Franki hear you say that.” George smirked. Then he realized what his father just said. “Wait, you just saw her on TV?”

“Yeah,” Henry said. “Son, we gotta talk.”

Henry revealed to his son how the now wet reporter dug up information on their family, and how a mass grave had been dug up in Plainfield Wisconsin, near the former property of one Ed Gein, a name neither of them wanted to hear again.

“I can’t show my face there.” George said after thinking about it for a while. “I’ll draw too much attention.”

“Since when did you not want to draw attention?” His sister Helen playfully jabbed him.

“I was thinking,” Henry explained, “maybe Franki and I will go. We could stay at my property out there and scope things out for a day or two.” Since George made it in Hollywood, he bought his dad a house where he was born in Amherst Wisconsin. The last few years he’d gone back and forth from there and his other home in Bethlehem PA while reconnecting with the few distant relatives he had left.

“We’ll go out with you too.” Helen said. 

“Yeah, sounds like a good idea.” her husband Chuck added.

“You’ll like Fred.” Henry said to his son in law, referring to a fellow Wisconsinite in Plainfield he’d formed a friendship with a few years back.

And with that it was decided. The Kohler family, save George, was going back to their homeland, back to a place where a long-buried horror awaited.

No Gein II: A Second Helping

 Chapter Nine: Counterfeit Sympathy

Hollywood California, Enterprise Pictures back lot, September 2003

After a post lunch meditation Franki remained in a lotus position as she sipped her herbal tea. While she had no care for the glitz and glam of Hollywood, California was growing on her, with its various locations for spiritual retreats and yoga sessions.

A now familiar cracking sound of air rushing out of an aluminum can pierced Franki’s ears. Her husband Henry walked back from the fridge with a cold one in his hands. It wasn’t her beverage of choice, but she loved her husband just the way he was.

“So, you don’t want any tea?” Franki asked rhetorically.

She blushed as he answered. “I think the universe wants me to have a beer.” 

Chuck, who also joined their meditation exercise along with his wife Helen, laughed at his father in law’s joke. “I wish I’d thought of that.” he jested as he sipped on his own tea. Franki could tell by his facial expression he didn’t really care for it.

“I don’t think Buddha had beer in mind when he talked about enlightenment.” Helen said jokingly.

Henry then walked over to the small television that sat in the trailer. “Let’s see what’s on TV.” he said as he turned it on.

Franki never cared much for world affairs, so she went to the extra room she used for a little studio. While her husband and the other’s watched the news about Iraq she continued working on one of her paintings.

Normally she could zone out the television, but something caught her ear that brought her back out to the room. Her husband didn’t notice her coming out as he watched the TV intently.

“Now for some breaking news.” The small TV announced. “An employee of the Mendota Mental Health Care Institute in Madison Wisconsin has come forward claiming he treated Sally Kohler, who allegedly encountered a killer in the town of Plainfield Wisconsin in the early 1950’s. Ms. Kohler committed suicide in the institution in 1975. She was the aunt of controversial film director George Kohler, whose latest film, a remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has been heavily criticized over its alleged influence from the Jeffrey Dhamer murders. This controversy has not hurt its box office, as the film has now grossed….”

Franki recognized the female reporter on the TV from their night at Mann’s theater. She didn’t recognize the man whom she was interviewing, and her gut told her neither did Henry. “I always believed her,” an older man said into the microphone, “even when no one else did.” Franki watched Henry’s face fill with disgust as the man on the television shed crocodile tears. “Sally was a beautiful young girl, so full of life. One night she was driving through Plainfield and ran out of gas. She went to get help, but what she found was a true house of horrors. When I think about the things she saw there.” He wiped the tears off his face while Vanita looked on with expressed concern, “Oh my god, it’s just too horrible, there were bodies everywhere. She encountered a man, well, God he wasn’t really a man, he was more like a monster.” Franki placed her hand on Henry’s shoulder, who seethed at this bastard milking it for all it was worth. “She just barely fought him off and managed to escape the house, but she couldn’t escape that nightmare. No one ever believed her, no one believed her but me.” 

The man sobbed openly as the camera panned to the attractive reporter, her hair still in perfect place, her makeup untouched by this outpouring of emotion. “This is Vanita Williams signing off.”

“That son of a bitch!” Franki was startled as Henry’s beer bottle struck the TV.

“Oh, hon don’t let this get to you.” Franki said. “He’s probably just looking for attention.”

“We should sue him.” His brother-in-law Chuck said. His wife, Henry’s daughter, agreed. 

“Somebody better tell George.” Chuck suggested.

“I’ll tell him.” Henry left the trailer and walked towards the movie set on the Enterprise Pictures lot. “I wonder where Talbot is?” He thought to himself as he didn’t see the security guy at his usual post. No matter. Henry began the long climb up the facade of stone steps toward a solitary house up on a hill. The crew designed it to be a spooky old house, in the style of Second Empire Victorian. That’s where his son was. George always loved scary movies, and despite the horrors his own family faced, he was proud of his son for doing what he loved. Inside that house, Henry knew that George was in heaven.