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Friendship (The alternate story I wrote before switching to Dumb Supper for the Halloween contest last year)[]



Adam says the best houses for trick-or-treating are the big ones. He says it’s because people with big houses are rich and rich people shell out the good candy, sometimes they even give you the full-sized bars if you get there before they run out. I don’t agree but I don’t argue because he’s older and he says that means I’m supposed to mind him. I don’t like the big houses because they make me feel small. Normally being small on Halloween is good because people think you’re cute and give you lots of compliments and candy, but the big houses make me feel small on the inside. We went to one house last year, or no, a few years ago and the house was brand new. You could still smell the wood dust and fresh paint hovering around it. It was as big as five normal houses, as big as 20 of our little trailers. We went up the shiny stone steps and when I looked back I thought I could see muddy tracks on the slate left by my worn-out sneakers.

When the Big House Lady opened the door her eyes gobbled us up and I swear I saw her nose wrinkle up for a second like we stank. There were a few other kids there too and she smiled at them and gave them big fistfuls of candy. When the other kids pushed past us down the steps, screeching into the warm October night, she looked at us and smiled tightly. Her eyes lingered on the fuzzy gray ears that sat lopsided on my head. “What a cute little puppy you make,” she said, purposefully ignoring Adam’s horrific zombie mask.

“I’m a werewolf," I said, pinching our dad’s old flannel shirt I had spent hours ripping up to give the impression that I had burst out of my human form to become the deadly were-beast that stood before her.

“Oh I see. Very scary,” she said. She sounded disappointed. She dropped a meager sprinkle of candies into my plastic bag and then turned and walked back into the warm yellow light of her house. The heavy door closed and I heard the lock go ga-clunk.

Adam’s hormonal teenage pride walked him around the side of their house to the manicured bushes to unleash his revenge through a steady stream of pee. He must have really had to go because he was gone for a while and I got bored. I walked back down the steps and looked around for all the other excited children, their costumes, bought or homemade, depending on their zip code, that sought to imitate abominable and unspeakable monsters. But at that moment, none could be found. The street was empty and all but two houses had turned off their orange twinkle lights and packed in their plastic skeletons, apparently content that the spirits of Samhain had been properly scared off.

Yeah I know a lot about the origin of Halloween. Jonathan is literally obsessed with all that stuff. It’s all he talks about. Sometimes I think he’s talking to me but usually he’s just talking to himself, or the camcorder. Sometimes he forgets I’m here which is better. When he really sees me, he stares at me in a weird way that makes me feel small again, even though I’m much bigger now then I was when he found me. My bed bars kind of squeeze against me when I sleep and I can’t stretch out my legs.

I wish Adam had just listened to me when I said I didn’t want to go to that neighborhood. I wish he hadn’t left me alone. I have so many wishes that I put them in a glowing jelly jar in my mind so I won’t forget them. Sometimes when I’m scared I close my eyes and watch them float around in there like frantic lightning bugs trying to escape.


I’m so sorry, just give me a second. I have another bag of candy in the cupboard. Come in and wait in the kitchen and I’ll grab it, he said.

Mommy, I wouldn’t have gone in if I were alone. We thought it was safe because we were together. Abs and I always carry our little pocket knives when we’re out, but we’ve never had to use them. When guys are creepy we just flip them off and that usually does the trick. I know you say that’s un-ladylike but those creeps deserve it.

You didn’t know this, but sometimes on Saturdays we would sit on Abby’s stoop because it’s right on the main road where the red light is and when old dudes would stop there waiting for the light to change, some of them would whistle and say stuff to us. And we would say “Eff you!” and only one time did a guy get mad and make to pull into the driveway, but before he could even pull all the way in, Abs screamed for her dad and he came out from around the side of the house to see what was the matter and the guy sped off. After that we said we weren’t gonna do it anymore and we didn’t.

I didn’t have my knife on me that night because my cat costume didn’t have any pockets, but Abs had the Michael Myers jumpsuit on so she had hers, but she couldn’t get it out in time. We ended up in front of his place because Abs said she heard the old shack had really scary decorations and that the guy was kind of weird and she was curious and I know you always say Abby-Lynne is trouble because she’s always coming up with kooky ideas, but there were lots of other kids around and when he said we should come in and wait for the candy it wasn’t just her fault. I agreed to it too. If you ever read this please don’t be mad at her. She’s my best friend and she fights to keep me safe. He treats her worse than me. She antagonizes him so he’ll focus on her more, so don’t be mad at Abby please. I love you Mommy.


You are a pathetic loser, Jonathan. You’re disgusting and you are fucking insane. I hope you read this and never forget it. You will never have a real friend. No one would ever willingly want to be around you. You smell like old socks and your breath stinks. I hope you die!

Royersford, Pennsylvania Tribune, October 31st 2016

Today marks the five year anniversary of the disappearance of Allison Parker, the thirteen-year-old daughter of Samuel and Melissa Parker, life-long residents of Royersford, Pennsylvania. Since Allison’s disappearance on Halloween night, 2012, the family has never given up hope that their daughter will someday be found safe. “She is the most kind, funny, and intelligent girl in the whole world and we know that she is out there somewhere,” Allison’s father stated when last interviewed in the days leading up to the five-year anniversary. Allison’s mother simply stated, “We will never give up hope.” Allison’s brother, Adam Parker, has never agreed to be interviewed by the press and this year was no exception. An understandable stance considering he was the last to see Allison alive on that fateful Halloween evening.

Many residents of Royersford do not share the Parker family’s optimism about the return of their beloved daughter, as Allison’s disappearance is but the first of multiple disappearances of young girls over these last five years. The two other missing girls, Abby-Lynne McGrath and Kayleigh Wheaton, were together when they were both reported missing on Halloween night, two years after Allison’s disappearance.

Many in Royersford fear the worst and suspicions of a serial kidnapper have been shared by multiple Royersford residents. “I don’t let my kids go out on Halloween anymore and it breaks my heart to deprive them of something that’s always been a happy tradition, but I’m not taking any chances,” Amanda D’Angelo stated. Another resident, who preferred to stay anonymous, said, “It could be one of us. Someone took those girls, and I don’t like to think about what they did to them, but it can’t be anything good. They say you never really know who a person is, and I think there’s a chance it could be someone who’s still around, someone who lives amongst us.”

Attempts to get a statement from the Royersford police department went unanswered, but it’s hard to miss the increased presence of police cars on the streets on this chilly Halloween day. Jonathan

Trial #112: Abby-Lynne had a bad heart. You could tell just by the way she looked at you. I can tell a great many things by looking into the eyes of a potential friend. Sometimes it turns out they’re not your friend at all. Abby-Lynne was cruel and cold right from the start and I should have seen right away that she was uninterested in building our friendship. Some of them seem stand-offish at first but once they see the way of things they come around. Abby-Lynne never came around and I was really sad when I had to say goodbye to her. I didn’t even let my neighbor’s dog eat the heart for fear that it would poison him with her sickness. Then who would I feed all the scraps to? It would be a waste. There are other parts of her though that I had hoped would work, but still, nothing. Samhain is still but a week away and I am certain that the thinning boundaries will allow her spirit to return to the body. I just need to find the last few parts.


Trial #113 was a disaster. I’m having nervous spasms in my arms and hands today and I can’t get the stitching right. I have a strong stomach but the smell is starting to get to me. I hadn’t done anything to preserve the bodies before burying them because I had no intention of digging them up again. It wasn’t until I read Aunt Adeline’s diary that I realized they could still be useful to me. The other problem is that cutting, stitching and re-stitching only works with pliable pieces of skin. The skin on the chest is taught and thin and I can’t find a way to fuse the two rib cages without adding on more skin from some other area to bridge them. It will have to just be Allison’s torso. Extremities are easier to mix and match.

I will record here, not only my process, but also the story of my dear Aunt Adeline’s life based on her diary entries. We are inextricably linked through time, she and I, and it is important that anyone who reads this understands the path that led me here to this momentous experiment.

It seemed that Aunt Adeline was tired of being lonely. Solitude had been her only suitor during the blank and barren pages of her life. The year was 1874. The date of the actual ritual has been recorded in her diary, but the number of weeks between Cousin Mary’s wedding and that Halloween night is unclear. The writing in her diary turns frenzied by the beginning of October and I am making my best supposition about the timeline of things. The accuracy of such a thing as timing does not matter as much as her tipping point. We all have one, and the resulting tumble can sometimes beget pleasurable results. I digress.

At thirty-four, Adeline was the only unmarried woman of the small social circle she had grown up in. The rural Royersford dances, which to a worldly person would have seemed like somewhat grim, country affairs, were still considered the proper place for young, unmarried women to come out in society and find suitable husbands, or rather, it was a place for men, young and old, to pick out a woman to keep.

If an acquaintance were put upon to describe Adeline’s features they would probably come up short. From the few photographs that our family saved, I can tell you that she had a long, slender neck, with a rather attractive, oval-shaped face. The pretty shape of her head is overshadowed, however, by less comely features, like the brown hair pulled back into a severe bun at the nape of her neck, the sparse eyebrows, and the long hawk-like nose. There is nothing wrong with the shape of her brown eyes, but in the photograph they appear heavily-lidded, like the eyes of one who is either exhausted or caught mid-blink by the photographer’s flash. There doesn’t seem to be any sparkle or sheen in them either, although that could be due to the antique nature of the camera. Overall, there is simply a dullness to her appearance and from her diary entries alone, it is clear that attracting a mate based on looks had become impossible for her. It is also clear that a bitterness had set in long before the humiliation she endured at her cousin’s wedding.

There are two mentions of her much younger cousin’s nuptials in Adeline’s diary. One is mentioned on August 30th of that same year and it states:

Mary and Aunt Cecilia joined us for tea today and revealed their plans to hold the wedding outdoors in the meadow behind the church. Mother had that puckered look on her face that means she does not approve, but she had learned to hold her tongue around Aunt Cecilia and Grandmother. Aunt Cecilia has always been Grandmother’s favorite and Mother knows it. If she were to contradict her sister or the jubilant bride-to-be in any way, we would get the cold shoulder at the wedding and be quietly shunned for the weeks leading up to it. Grandmother can be frosty when she is not unconditionally obeyed, so we sat quietly, nodding our heads.

Mary made a comment about eligible bachelors that would be in attendance and shot me a syrupy sweet smile. She said it in the name of cruelty of course. Everyone knows I will never marry and to make mention of it so lightly is an intentional provocation. Teasing smiles and underhanded comments are Mary’s modus operandi. Everyone knows it, but no one speaks of it because she is so pretty. Possibly they are afraid her sharp tongue will turn on them if they stand up to her. I am beyond standing up. I have long-since surrendered myself to my position.

I will pause here and take up the account tomorrow. My eyes are strained from too much work today and I need rest. Trial #114 commences tomorrow.


Trial #114: Cecilia was my first attempt at a living dissection. I thought if the heart was still beating while I pulled it out, the reattachment to the new body would take. Unfortunately, she woke up midway through the operation. I tried to knock her out but hit her too hard. I don’t usually work with such small children. She was kind though, and trusting. I think her heart is the key to the ritual’s success.


After the first entry detailing the discussion of Mary’s wedding plans, there are several entries throughout September that simply state the date, time and a brief is made on September 30th, presumably after the previously discussed wedding. It states:

Cursed, evil monsters! How I have hoped that my suspicions of their true nature had been unsound. She walked right up to me with that smug look on her face and handed me the bouquet. She was meant to throw it back for the single young women to fret over and I, like always, make sure to be elsewhere so as not to feel any eyes watching me in amusement. That Mary, that little beast walked right up to me and handed the flowers to me, then she went around grabbing the arms of all the young men and tried to pull them towards me. In mock horror, one of them, Milton Andrews, screamed and tried to run away, all the while his ruddy cheeks and twinkling eyes were filled with sadistic mirth. I ran out then, ran all the way home and I sit here now, writing this and I vow to never go near them again. They will see no more of me.

The next entry, on October 10th of the same year, simply says “Dumb Supper,” with a lop-sided circle drawn around it in dark charcoal.


Aunt Adeline’s diary entry on October 31st, 1875 read as such:

Dumb Supper. In silence I dined with the spirit of my beloved. From another place, another time, from some OTHER…his spirit appeared in my doorway and I knew he would take me away from this place once he attached to the deceased body of Milton Andrews that I had propped up at the table. This will be my last entry, for I have found bliss. When I found Adeline’s diary in my mother’s old trunk of keepsakes ten years ago, I read it in one sitting. Reading her words was like reading my own thoughts. I know what it is to be an outcast, unwanted, humiliated and ignored by so-called civilized society. My breaking point came shortly after my first birthday when my own parents began their cycle of neglect and torture. All I’ve ever wanted was a friend, and when I read Adeline’s words I felt happiness for the first time in my life, for she had found a way, a door to love and joy and companionship. I dedicated many years to the research and practice of the Dumb Supper after that. Before the discovery of the diary, I had tried to force love out of people, but in the end they had to be put to sleep for being difficult. Now that I know there is another way, I’ve made it my life’s work to follow in her footsteps.


Trial #115: It is Halloween night and she is beautiful beyond words. If anything, the rot has only added to her ethereal presence. The old gods would look upon such a divine creature with wistful tears in their legion of gleaming eyes. Conflagrations will be set in devotion to this most pure and sacred being. My hope is that the time has come for such an introduction to take place in our humble town.

In the darkness of our cabin, the candlelight shows her shape in flickering vignettes that appear in dappled light: a curved hip here, a squat, strong neck there. Her skin is decorated with flowering purple bruises, like the robe of a king. Her face, taken from the faces of many, now made whole to perfection, is bloated like a balloon. It is a welcome change from the scrawny, rabid faces of the respective girls. My careful stitching only divulges a hint of separation from skin to skin.

Preparations for the Dumb Supper are under way and I’ve already prepared the seat at the head of the table. The chair has been placed backwards, plastic forks and knives set downward on the table so that their sharp edges face the abdomen. I’ve reserved this special place for her and if everything is done just so, they will come back to me and in that green and violet skin, they will become one and then we can finally be together, forever friends.

Deputy Andrews

10/31/16: 911 report #4: A fourth call was put in describing a person wandering on private property in an Upper East neighborhood cul-de-sac of Royersford, PA. Adam Parker, twenty-one years old, put in a 911 call at 10pm on 10/31/16. After speaking with him, he stated that he was, as was his annual tradition, walking around the cul-de-sac where his sister, Allison Parker, disappeared five years ago. He was standing on the street looking up at the house where he last saw her, when he spotted the figure of what looked like a girl standing in the shadow of the big weeping willow in front of the house. He said she was just staring at him.

He said it looked like she was wearing a costume- a skin-colored mask with scars and black stitching, no nose, a red mouth with a few teeth jutting out on one side, the tongue lolling out from the other side of the mangled lips. He said the rest of the body was purplish and disfigured. He said he started to walk away, but the girl started coming after him. When it got within arm’s reach of him he says he knew it was not a costume and that it was an injured person. He said, with some difficulty, that she started reaching for him and he said, “Allie?” and moved closer to her. He said it was then that her hands gripped his neck. He said the hands did not look like her hands and were covered in dirt. He stated that her hands clamped onto his neck and started to squeeze. He called for help and when a light went on in the living room of the house nearby, she ran away. That’s when he ran home and called 911. He says he believes it was his sister. The other reports from the area had similar descriptions, but those callers stated that they assumed it was just some kid in a Halloween costume messing around in their yards.

Sheriff Stanton

11/6/2016: We have retrieved numerous pieces of evidence that are in the process of being evaluated, including: a trunk of old photographs and women’s clothing and jewelry; one butcher knife, one scalpel, a backpack of zip ties, duct tape and rope; two pieces of paper with cramped words covering the front and back, written in crayon; three Halloween costumes that were presumably worn by victims when abducted; a dog crate; bedding and pillow from dog crate; plates and utensils from table; man’s size twelve hiking boots (to be matched with tracks near dug up graves behind house). Those reports will be filed by end of week. The purpose of this log is to transcribe the footage on an old Hitachi VM-2100A VHS Camcorder found in the cabin of the deceased, Jonathan Robert Lodin.

The footage starts on listed date, October 31st, 2016 at approximately 9:00pm. The entire ten minutes captured are almost entirely without sound. The footage flickers on with some amount of static and shows a rectangular wooden dining table with two wooden chairs placed at each end. A slumped figure is seated at the chair on the right and is facing away from the table. The chair on the left is facing the table and is empty. A few seconds later, a man, Michal Robert Lodin, enters the frame, presumably having been busy starting the recording. He retrieves a lighter from his pocket and lights the three stumpy candles that sit in the middle of the table. His motions are delicate and his hand appears to shake. He quickly adjusts the plastic cutlery and paper plates that are on the table.

It is at this point I notice that the items set in front of the backwards chair are also facing the wrong direction. The sharp end of the fork and knife are pointed at the figure dangling from the backwards chair, rather than at the center of the table like the other place setting. Jonathan walks out of frame again to the left. The figure in the other chair is still completely still and his or her face cannot be seen. They appear to be wrapped in a dark-colored blanket from head to foot.

Jonathan re-enters the frame with a rusty metal pot in one hand and a ladle in the other. He slowly distributes a dollop of what looks like beans onto the two plates, serving himself last. He then walks off camera again. He returns without the pot and sits in his seat. He picks up the fork and begins to eat the beans slowly. No sounds, not even chewing can be heard. The candle flickers for a moment and Jonathan stops mid-bite and looks around with wide eyes. Then, he resumes eating. When his plate is clean he puts his fork down, wipes his mouth on the paper napkin and then rests his hands in his lap.

Jonathan sits there silently for about 5-minutes, staring at the blanketed figure. Both dinner guests are motionless until the last minute of the recording. A bang can be heard and Jonathan stands up. He rushes towards camera and seems to pick it up, as the frame shifts to the front door. The camera, now with Jonathan behind it, is recording the open-door. It swings a little bit in a gust of wind and nothing but blackness can be seen outside beyond it. The camera stays on the door for a few more seconds and Jonathan’s labored breathing can be heard. Then, the camera drops to the ground, resting its gaze on a wooden table leg. Jonathan’s voice, small and nearly a whisper, can be heard saying “Hello, friend.” Then, something white slides in front of the camera. The white is marbled with purple veins. It moves again out of frame and as it goes it’s clear to that it’s a foot. A piercing scream rings out and then the sound of someone choking. Then, nothing and the camera turns off.

There are still many questions to be answered. When a neighbor called in a wellness check for Jonathan on November 4th, officers found him deceased on the floor with purple bruises around his neck. The autopsy corroborated the report, saying that the victim had died by strangulation and a broken windpipe. The blanket that had been covering the figure in the other chair was found next to Jonathan, but no other person was ever found. It is unclear if the figure under the blanket was indeed a person or if the attacker had come in through the door.

No one else was found in the residence, but there was DNA evidence that someone other than Jonathan, had been living in the dog crate. There were also three open graves behind Jonathan’s house and the DNA on the Halloween costumes matched that of the three missing thirteen-year-old girls; Allison Parker, Abby-Lynne McGrath, Kayleigh Wheaton. A fourth grave revealed the deceased body of ten-year old Cecelia Dobbins, who died of blunt force trauma to the head before having her heart removed. The heart was never found.


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