“Seriously?” Apache asked, staring at the wrought-iron gates that had appeared in the middle of the road up to Reading Hall. Drake had already stopped and was frowning at the gates.
“Parking’s in the field.” Ace said pointing at a large wooden sign with white dripping paint telling them ‘Park there’, and an arrow pointing the way.
“Drake, how big does your woman go for Halloween?” Texas asked parking his bike up and getting off.
“How the hell do I know? All I know is Phoe barred me from home for a week. She’s not even let me sneak a peek. For a fuckin’ week I’ve had to sleep at the clubhouse.” Drake growled and Ace winced, Drake had been a bear with a sore head for a week. The whole MC knew that Phoenix had banned him from home while she decorated. Yeah, Phoe had stayed a few nights at the clubhouse but Drake wasn’t happy. They all knew it!
“Think she’s gone big.” Mac said with a grin as they pushed open the gates and walked through them. The men stopped and looked around amazed. A multitude of lanterns were hanging in the trees, depicting pumpkins, witches, black cats and many other things. Spider webs hung from tree to tree, their filmy strands floating in the light wind. On the ground aligned with the road were different sized headstones, with dull spotlights on them.
“Anything fuckin’ gets out of those I’m shooting it!” Gunner muttered, giving them a wary glance.
“Zombies?” Manny laughed.
“Fuck yeah. Nothing creepier than zombies. Eat ya brain.” Gunner replied, watching the headstones carefully. They began following the road up to the manor. Manny swore and jumped as a scream came out of the trees. Gunner cursed when they saw hanging bodies every so often. They stopped just before the road widened. A witch sat between two covered entrances, Drake couldn’t see around them to the grounds and Hall.
“Ah boys, you get the adult door.” She cackled at them.
“What’s the other door?” Drake asked.
“The child friendly version.”
“Shit.” Axel summed up for them. The witch cackled and let them through the adult door. They were in a black passage with spotlights in the roof. Drake snickered as his brothers pushed him to the front.
“Your wife.” Axel muttered heading to the back.
“You and you.” Drake pointed to his VP and enforcer. Ace and Apache looked unamused but took their places behind him. The others fell into place. Drake began walking down the passage with a grin as his brothers jumped as screams and groans met them. The walls buckled inwards as hands reached for them. It was scarier because they couldn’t see where and when the hands would grab them next.
They reached the end and in front of them was a ghost guarding a door. The ghost made them wait and then opened the door. They stepped into a wider passage that was well lit and the walls decorated as in a carnival.
“Oh, no!” Ace whispered. Drake bit a laugh back and turned to his VP.
“Clowns!” Ace whimpered. Ace actually whimpered. Apache’s lips twitched, and they heard Axel choke on a laugh. “I’m going back to the child friendly one.” Ace kept whimpering.
“No return.” The ghost hissed at them and shut the door.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Ace whispered. Drake snorted and began leading the way through the wide passage that twisted at turned. Ace let out a shriek when a clown rushed at him from a hidden cupboard. He barged past Drake and nearly ran ahead only to come flying back with five clowns chasing him. Apache was out and out chuckling.
“My boy always been terrified of clowns.” Drake had to admit the actors were creepy with their scarily painted faces and their hand-held weapons. Just before they reached them and Ace’s knees gave out, the clowns disappeared into the walls.
They carried on walking, Ace firmly entrenched between his brothers as clowns grabbed at them from hidey holes and cackling laughter chased them down the passage. They reached another door and a clown opened it. Ace took the furthest route available only to shriek again when a clown came out of nowhere and hugged him. Drake dragged his brother through the door and Ace sagged against it. Rock moaned.
“Brother?” Apache asked, waving his hands in front of his face. They were in a pitch-black room. Worse? They were completely blind.
“I’m terrified of dark spaces. Get me out of here.”
“Spread out.” Drake ordered. There were curses as his brothers stumbled into each other. Several laughed, but they heard Rock shriek a few times as someone touched him. Rock was frantically babbling prayers in between cursing. Drake was beginning to enjoy himself immensely, he had a sudden inkling of what else lay in front of them. His clever, wicked wife!
After a few minutes a dim light flooded the room and they saw a doorway. Before anyone else moved towards it, Rock barrelled through and bent over, his hands on his knees breathing deeply. Rage piled in behind him, coming face to face with the pumpkin king. Manny paled and began back away towards the path laid out in front of them by haystacks.
“Fuck, shit.” He cried out. One of the haystacks moved and a pumpkin head popped out. Manny yelped and began backing back towards them. The actor stepped forward and Manny gave a half-strangled scream and barged past everyone. Drake roared with laughter and began following his brother. Every few seconds, they heard another strangled yelp and knew Manny had discovered another hidden pumpkin.
Arms popped out of haystacks, heads of pumpkins, hideous laughter and cackling followed them through the maze. The final horror was a pumpkin actor who fell from the ceiling straight above Manny. Drake could have sworn Manny nearly pissed his pants as he spied a door and fell through it. The wolfman in front of the door grinned evilly.
Drake stepped over him and reached down to haul his brother up. They stepped into a dimly lit, covered haystack passage that they could stand six abreast. They looked around cautiously as the door shut behind them.
“Don’t look so bad.” Ace muttered. There was a rustling above their heads and they looked up as a giant spider fell from the ceiling and just missed their heads. The things legs were moving frantically and its jaws clacked.
“Fuck me!” Jett squealed and backed away fast. He stumbled over Ace, who was also backing away horror etched on his face.
“Spiders too?” Drake muttered to Apache as Ace tripped and took Jett down with him. Both men scrambled to their feet as spiders began dropping from the ceiling and popping out at them.
“Yup.” Apache said grimly. Drake snickered as he realised his enforcer had put two and two together. Phoe was in so much trouble! Ace shrieked again as a real looking spider came inches from his face. Spiders began running around their feet and Ace and Jett both took off running. Fish was howling with laughter and Drake joined in, simply because Fish hadn’t cottoned on yet to what Phoe had done.
A few minutes later with horrified yells from Jett, Ace and a few others they stumbled into a door that opened into another passage. This was grey and dimly lit. The Grim Reaper shut the door behind them. Screams and yells hit them from all around. Apache began striding forward when ghosts and phantoms flew towards them. Apache shuddered as one passed through his body and Jett snickered.
“I’m gonna kill Phoe.” Apache muttered as he visibly flinched, ducked and cringed his way through the passage. Clearly Apache had a thing about spirits!
“Did we all tell her our fears?” Lowrider asked looking pale. Drake wondered what his fear was. He’d soon be finding out. Ezra nearly passed out when confronted with a maniac chasing them through another haystack maze with a chain saw. Fish cursed and shrieked his way through a maze filled with low flying and hanging bats. Marsha was carried out because she was laughing too much at Fish, who glowered at her.
Blaze refused to move when faced with evil Santa’s. They had to carry him through that one! The man was still pale when they encountered Hunter’s horror of slimly maze walls. The man absolutely refused to move unless someone had his back, front and sides. That didn’t help when slimly things dropped from the ceiling.
Lowrider and Slick yelped and cursed their way through a pit filled with snakes. The rubber snakes were fuckin’ lifelike and Lowrider looked green when they finally found the door. Phoe had put in moving snakes too, yeah Lowrider was fucked! Slick was physically shaking when he left the room.
Slate and Hunter both shook and squeaked when faced with a dimly lit room full of startling noises and scorpions chittering at them. Rubber scorpions fell from the ceiling to get into the men’s hair and Hunter curled up in a heap. Apache and Texas had to carry him over the threshold.
“What was your fear?” Gunner asked as they approached another door.
“I don’t have any.” Drake replied.
“Wouldn’t bet on that! I lay money Phoe knows something that will terrify the fuck out of you.”
“Nah.” Drake denied.
They entered a room where there was a long table, Lex groaned. The damn table was filled with body parts and people appearing to be at a dinner party. Lex plastered himself to a wall as actors got up and chased each other with weapons, appearing to kill each other and rip limbs off to eat. A woman shrieked and wailed in a cage in the corner, rattling her bars. After the scene was acted out, another door opened and Lex headed towards it running.
Mac was terrified as actors ambled towards them showing signs of the Black Death in various stages. Gunner paled but kept going. Mac froze as women brushed past him and reached out. There were even some child actors amongst them pleading. A doctor wearing a plague mask chased them away with a knife, threatening to save their souls. Mac couldn’t get out quick enough.
They entered a brightly lit room with tables set up with boxes of cookies and little girls standing behind them. Their faces were painted ghoulishly and their uniforms were torn. Blood dripped from various parts of their bodies.
“Oh my god!” Axel blustered. The big man lumbered away as the little girls called out to him and threw cookies at him. Axel ducked his head and kept powering through his nightmare.
“Girl scouts? He’s terrified of girl scouts?” Lex asked in disbelief.
“Girl scouts ain’t evil.” Manny agreed.
“To Axel they are.” Jett chuckled. Lowrider snickered and then went silent as someone hissed from behind him. He shot a dark glare behind him.
“Can’t believe that man’s terrified of girl scouts.” Marsha muttered.
They walked through the door and found themselves out in the open, surrounded by gravestones. Gunner didn’t hesitate. He shot off through the maze as zombies came out of graves and chased him. Zombies popped up from hidden traps and grabbed at his feet as he ran past. He was sweating and pale when the others caught up to him. He’d stopped at the door and looked haunted as two zombies guarded the door. Flesh fell off their faces and Drake had to admit it was horrifying.
The door was surrounded by zombies. As Drake approached one of them opened the door and Drake screamed. Yeah, a full on scream. His brothers winced. In front of him floated a ghost of a pregnant Phoenix. Her face was white and she wore a lace bride’s dress. Her throat had been slit and her stomach gushed blood from a knife wound there.
By her sides were ghosts of the eldest kids, Micah, Jodie, Carmine, Tye and Serenity. Drake hit his knees and Gunner came up behind him. The ghost of Phoe wailed with the kids.
“Drake, Drake, why did you leave us? Where was you?” She wailed. Gunner sent Drake a shit-eating grin.
“Yeah, I think your wife knows your deepest fears!” Gunner smirked and hauled Drake to his feet. Drake was stunned. It had been so unexpected and terrifying. He climbed back to his feet, his face as pale as his brothers. It felt as if someone punched him straight in the gut.
“Well shit.” He said as the phantom of his wife faded. “That’s some special fuckin’ effects!” Axel laughed and the others joined in.
“Man you screamed!” Lex snorted setting Manny, Mac and Gunner back off. Drake sent them a glare.
“I did not scream!” Drake snarled as they passed through the last door and saw the Hall in front of them.
Phoenix had turned The Hall into a haunted mansion. Spider webs hung from the balconies, skeletons climbed the walls of the towers, their bones glowing in the dark. Purple, orange, and red lights glowed eerily at windows. Carved pumpkins decorated the wrap-around porch. He could see ghosts and bats hanging from the walls and balconies. Ghosts floated in other windows. Eerie noises were played through hidden speakers.
One tower window was open with a zombie Rapunzel leaning out of it. Below was a zombie prince hanging from her hair and swinging slightly. The other tower kept lighting up with flashes of lightening and they could see a huge Frankenstein on the elder boy’s balcony. On the battlements stood a huge Dracula with his teeth sunk into a maiden’s neck. A spotlight illuminated him to everyone
Behind them the fountain in the middle of the circular lawn on which they drove around was lit in LED lights. Rapid looking, life-sized mermaids swam around it. There were people all over. Some were actors and others were guests. Drake spied Chance and made his way over to him as the rest of Rage bolted. Other buildings were scattered and Rage were going to investigate them.
“You made it through?” Chance bit out. Drake snorted, Phoe had done a number on Hellfire as well.
“Your fuckin’ wife. Chatter’s still gibbering in the corner after what she did to him.” Chance tilted his head towards the porch and Drake could just make out a figure there.
“Yeah right.” Drake drawled. Chatter didn’t gibber at anyone.
“No, the man is gibbering. Literally a gibbering mess.” Chance said.
“What the hell did Phoe do to him?” Drake asked, trying not to laugh.
“Fucking dolls. He hates ‘em. That building there, full of corridors with dolls’ heads, full sized dolls, dolls with weapons, dolls being tortured. Chatter’s in shock and gibbering. Rooster is in the shower.” Drake blinked.
“Why is Rooster in the shower?” Chance snorted and chuckled.
“Who’s have thought it? Fuckin’ man is terrified of zombie chickens. No guessing what she did with that one.” Drake burst out laughing. Zombie chickens! He looked and spied a fence, behind it was a set of passages leading to a building. Pecking the ground were a few squawking chickens. They had clearly been made up to appear half dead. (They were healthy chickens, don’t worry!)
“Celt’s hiding from the gallows. Fuckin’ Pyro, how did he get that name? She set up a series of stakes with actors pretending to be burned alive. Pyro heaved in the trees. Pyro my ass.” Chance muttered. Drake looked over Chance’s shoulder and saw the gallows and the stakes. There were cages with actors in screaming and rattling the bars. He could swear half of the Walking Dead zombies were milling around as well. No sign of Gunner then.
He saw animated witches and warlocks around a cauldron. There were heads on stakes dotted in rows. A far too realistic hanging, drawing and quartering was being enacted. Axel shot past him with three zombie girl scouts on his heels.
“She never got Texas.” He realised as he saw the man laughing at Axel.
“She will have, trust me!” Chance muttered. Drake took a close look at him.
“She got you with that ghost thing. Her and the kids.”
“Fuck she did. Only wasn’t just her.” Chance confirmed. Drake looked at him. “You were there too. Brought me to my knees. Nearly bawled like a baby.”
“My heart stopped.” Drake admitted.
“You screamed like a little girl. I watched.” Chance smirked. Drake went to fire back when Texas hollered and run past them at full speed. Behind him on a huge black horse the Headless Horseman rode. Smoke wafted from the head being carried under the Horseman’s arm. An eerie glow surrounded the Horseman.
“She got him.” They said together. They recognised some of Phoe’s HQ staff and waved at them. The staff were busting up laughing at Stuart being chased by luminous fairies. Stuart looked freaked out of his mind. Drake chuckled.
“Well who’d of thought that, damn Stuart!” Drake muttered in sympathy. Stefan, shrieking, ran past them with a manic looking chef, chasing him, holding a carving knife, half the size of his body. Bernard was near them laughing.
“Shall we go find my wife?” Drake muttered.
They found Phoe, in the formal gardens at the rear of the Hall. The decorations had carried on here but no live actors. Children of all ages ran around and Drake understood why there had been a child friendly entrance. He spied his daughter Eddie running true to form and bossing everyone around. The teenagers were huddled around tables and adults stood eating and drinking. The entire area had been fenced in for the kid’s safety.
There were long tables laden with food. Hotdogs, burgers and jacket potatoes abounded. There was chilli and nachos and other titbits to eat. Large trays of pork cobs and sweetcorn and platters of roasted meats and bread cobs.
Drake spied her standing on the back porch watching everyone with a smile on her face. She walked over to them and Drake snatched her in his arms for a kiss. Chance grabbed her and planted one on her head. She grinned at them both.
“Did you enjoy it?” She asked as members of Rage and Hellfire began appearing.
“One of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen.” Hunter answered her with a smile.
“Dolls!” Chatter whimpered and Drake felt for the man.
“It’s okay, honey. The dolls won’t get you.” Phoe soothed and Chatter sent her a horrified look before searching behind him.
“I love Halloween.” Phoe glowed in happiness.
“Can tell.” Hunter muttered, glaring at her balefully.
“It was amazing, this is amazing. So many people here.” Lex said looking around.
“All of HQ are here with their families, Hellfire, Rage, Antony and Andrew are somewhere although Andrew is a bit green. Those girl scouts didn’t just frighten the hell out of Axel.” She giggled.
Drake looked at her. She was glowing. She wore the same dress as her phantom and her hair was dyed black for the night and her skin had been paled. Her dress was white stained with blood. She looked beautiful and Drake thanked God for the beauty she brought into his life. Her hand rested on their baby bump. He placed his hand on top of hers and she smiled again.
“He screamed.” Mac smirked shoving Drake.
“I did not!” Drake snapped.
“Oh yeah ya did.” Jett insisted.
“Fuck you prospect, I didn’t” Phoe placed a hand on his arm.
“Honey, you did. I got it on film.” Rage and Hellfire turned as one.
“You filmed us?” Chance asked appalled. Drake shot him a look. Nuh huh, what was Chance hiding? Did his cousin actually cry?
“Yup. Liz and her team got every single one of you on film. If it was too dark, we switched to infrared.”
“No way.” Axel boomed, looking hurt.
“Oh, not just you guys. We got the HQ lot, Antony’s lot, Andrew’s lot, Rapid City police department, the fire department and Hawthorne’s. Liz was killing herself laughing all night. We’ll be sending you copies of your own footage. It will be movie night.” Drake and everyone paled as his wife laughed heartily.
“Well Halloween only comes once a year.” Chance finally sighed rubbing his hand over his head. Phoe turned to him with a beatific smile.
“Yes, but we got Guy Fawkes coming up, Thanksgiving, Christmas and so many more holidays to come!” She exclaimed in delight. Rage and Hellfire, brothers in arms, turned together and looked at each other.
“Oh, shit!” They said as one. Phoe smiled.
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