The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Truth or Dare
by Sheri White
The four girls hung out in Sam’s basement, lounging on big pillows, dressed in jammies pants and tank tops. Potato chip crumbs littered the carpet and a stack of soda cans teetered precariously on the coffee table. An old black and white horror movie played on TV, the sound turned down.
“All right, Hannah, your turn. Truth or dare?” Missy asked.
“Come on, you guys!” Sam said. “Nobody is taking a dare.” She passed the joint to Courtney.
“It’s because we’re too stoned to do anything else,” Hannah said, then laughed. “Okay, what’s the question?”
“Who are you hoping asks you to the prom?” Missy asked.
“No, I’m not answering that! Give me another question.”
“You have to answer it, Hannah!” Sam said.
“This must be good if she doesn’t want to answer it, Sam.”
“I agree, Courtney. Spill it, Hannah.”
Hannah covered her face with her hands. “Jordan.”
“WHO?” all the girls yelled.
Hannah took her hands down. “Jordan!” she yelled back, her face beet red.
They laughed together, then Missy said, “Let’s play something else. This isn’t fun anymore.”
“Stiff as a Board?” Courtney suggested.
Missy shook her head. “That is so middle school. Come on, it’s Sam’s 16th birthday! We have to do something really cool and special.”
“Hey, I know!” Sam said. “Let’s go to the upside-down church. It’s only 20 minutes away. Hannah can drive us, right?”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Wait,” said Courtney. “An upside-down church? How does it balance on the pointy steeple?”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Seriously, Courtney—open your physics book sometime. An upside-down church is one that has secret Satanic rituals in the basement.”
Courtney shuddered. “No, thanks. Too scary for me.”
“It’s not real, Courtney. Just an urban legend,” Sam replied. “We can go inside, grab something to bring back with us, and then we are the cool girls in school who dared to go into the upside-down church. This will be a dare in our Truth or Dare game.”
“I guess. I’m still scared, though.” Courtney shrugged and gave a little smile.
“What about your mom, Sam? Isn’t she home?” Hannah asked. “If we sneak out and get caught, my parents will take my license away for a few weeks.”
“Please. She’s been in her room all day with another new boyfriend and a bottle of vodka. She’s passed out by now.”
The other girls sat in awkward silence for a few minutes. Sam’s home life was something they didn’t often talk about.
“It’s fine, you guys. Let’s go.” Sam led the way to the front door, and they crammed into Hannah’s Mini-Cooper.
“Okay, Hannah—turn into that driveway. We’ll park and walk the rest of the way. It’s just a little ways up the road.”
“We’re in the middle of nowhere! I don’t like this,” said Courtney.
As Hannah drove up the driveway and through open iron gates, Courtney gasped.
“Why are we parking in a cemetery? Let’s park at the church!”
“We’re about to break into a church,” Sam said. “We don’t need cops seeing a car in their parking lot if they drive by. They don’t check the cemetery.”
“Sounds like you’ve done this before, Sam. Have you?” Missy asked.
“I’ve only hung out here in the cemetery and gotten high. It’s peaceful. I’ve never been to the church, though.” She turned and looked at Courtney in the back seat. “It will be fine, Courtney. We’ll only stay long enough to grab a souvenir.”
Courtney sighed. “Okay, I guess.”
They walked through the cemetery, still wearing their jammie pants and tank tops. Although it was a warm night, Courtney rubbed her arms as if she were freezing. She couldn’t keep her head still; she looked all around the cemetery like she was expecting ghosts or zombie to chase them.
They walked on the road after leaving the cemetery. Cornfields lined both sides of the road, cornstalks towering over them. The girls chatted as they made their way to the church. Suddenly, Courtney stopped.
“Did you hear that?” she whispered.
“Hear what?” Missy asked. They stood silent. “There is nothing out there to hear, Courtney. You’re just spooking yourself.”
“I heard whispers in the cornfield. Like chanting or something. They sounded creepy!”
“Courtney, we all love ya, but you are getting on our nerves,” Hannah said. “Quit being such a scaredy-cat and try to have fun, okay?”
“Fine. But don’t blame me when something pulls you in there and you’re never seen again.”
Hannah and Sam looked at each other and rolled their eyes. “I saw that,” said Courtney from behind them.
Missy pulled on the gilded handle leading into the church. The tall oak door opened with a metallic screech.
The girls giggled nervously. “That was so loud,” Hannah whispered.
They stood in the foyer, looking at the main church area through glass doors. Candles flickered in sconces on the walls, giving just enough light to see inside. Rows of wooden pews led to a huge organ, watched over by Jesus on the cross.
“I bet that organ sounds beautiful,” said Chelsea. “I’d love to try it out.” Chelsea had played piano since she was a little girl and hoped to go to Juilliard one day.
Sam pointed at a set of stairs heading to the basement on the other side of the foyer. “Come on, let’s go.”
They tiptoed down the stairs, as silent as they could be.
“This is ridiculous. Why are we trying to be quiet if there isn’t anybody here?” asked Courtney. “Or is there? Sam, you said nobody would be here!”
“There shouldn’t be, Courtney. But, you know, maybe a priest comes in during the night sometimes to pray or something? Just calm down, nothing is going to happen.”
They got to the bottom of the stairs and looked around.
“I guess that’s where we go?” asked Missy, looking at the double doors at the end of the hallway.
“Well, there are no other doors down here, right?” Hannah walked over and looked in one of the rectangular windows, cupping her hands around her eyes. “It’s too dark to see anything.”
“We came here for a souvenir,” said Sam. “No use standing around. Let’s go in.”
They opened the double doors and walked into the room. There was no light at all, no windows to let the moon shine in.
“Let’s see if we can find a light switch,” said Hannah.
They felt along the walls, but there were no switches, just smooth walls. “Someone use the flashlight on their phone,” suggested Missy.
“Hang on.” Sam held hers up and swept it around the room. The faint light only cast shadows.
A piercing scream filled the room, making the girls jump.
“That was Courtney! Courtney, are you all right?” Hannah asked.
“I’m fine, Hannah.”
“Where are you? You sound like you’re across the room,” said Missy.
“What happened? Why did you scream? And why can’t we find a light switch?”
“So many questions, Sam! But I can help you with one of them.”
The room lit up with an eerie red glow. Courtney stood before them wearing a hooded black robe. Strangers in red hooded robes flanked her on either side, hands clasped to their chests. All of them, including Courtney, had their heads bowed, obscuring their faces. Then Courtney looked up at her friends, giving them a smile that chilled their spines.
“What the hell, Courtney? Is this a joke? A prank for my birthday?” asked Sam.
“Had you fooled, didn’t I? Acting so scared. The rumors about this being an “upside-down” church are true, obviously. And honestly, I acted scared so you would change your mind about bringing us here because I knew there was a meeting tonight. But you all kept making fun of me, so here we are.
And you know we can’t let you leave, right?”
“I don’t understand. What is happening, Courtney? This is insane!” Missy’s voice hitched with a small sob.
“How does it feel to be the one scared, Missy?” Courtney taunted. “Grab them.”
“What? Wait—” Sam felt strong hands grab her upper arms from behind. “Courtney, stop this!”
A cloth was shoved under her nose, and everything went black.
Terrified screams startled Sam semi-awake. She tried to focus, but everything was blurry. She sat up, realizing she was on top of a marble slab, dressed in a white gown.
“Hannah? Missy?” She looked around, and saw them on slabs also wearing white gowns, but theirs were covered in blood. Their throats had been slit almost to decapitation. Sam screamed, drawing Courtney’s attention. The red-robed figures were no longer with her; the two of them were alone with their dead friends.
“Hey, sleepyhead! Glad you’re up—we saved the birthday girl for last.” Courtney held a knife at her side, the blade dripping with her friends’ blood.
Sam sat up, and held onto the edge of the slap, her legs dangling. She closed her eyes, trying to make sense of what was happening.
“Why, Courtney? We’re friends. Hannah and Missy were your friends too.”
“There’s no such thing as friends, Sam. But I did try to keep you from coming here. So really, this is all your fault.” Courtney laughed at Sam’s incredulous expression. “Don’t worry. It only hurts for a few seconds.” She approached Sam and lifted the knife.
Sam lifted her leg and kicked Courtney in the stomach. Courtney dropped the knife and bent over, clutching her stomach. “Oh, you bitch!”
Sam jumped down and grabbed the knife. “Fuck you. I only invited you to my slumber party because I felt sorry for you!” She rammed the blade into Courtney’s back, shuddering and screaming at the chunk sound it made. She pulled it out and ran.
“Go get her before she gets out of the church!” Courtney screamed, blood bubbling out of her mouth. The red-robed strangers seemed to re-appear out of nowhere and ran after Sam.
Sam stopped beside a pew to catch her breath. She heard footsteps coming up the stairs and knew she wouldn’t make it outside before they caught her. “No, please,” she whispered. Then she noticed a door by the altar. She ran for it, her bare feet slapping on the tile floor. She pushed the horizontal metal bar and ran out into the cool air.
Right into Courtney.
She grinned at Sam, her teeth red with blood that dripped down her chin. “Here, I’ll take that.” She gently removed the knife from Sam’s clenched hand.
Sam’s arms were once again grabbed from behind, but she didn’t struggle. Her body went limp and she bent her head. Then she looked up with pleading eyes.
“Please, Courtney,” she whispered.
“Sorry, Sam.” She gestured to the figure holding Sam to go back into the church. She walked alongside them.
“I have to say, though—this has been one hell of a Truth or Dare game.”
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Sheri White:
When the Clock Strikes 13
Tick – tock
Tick – tock
Tick – tock
Your time is running out. When the clock strikes 13, all manners of hell will break loose.
When the Clock Strikes 13 is a collection of thirteen short horror stories by some of the best horror and dark fiction authors writing today. Inside, you will find stories to frighten, shock and gnaw at your inner fears, and take you places that belong only in the dark recesses of your mind. There are monsters on these pages; some are human, some are not.