“Honey, would you get the door please?” Ilene asked. She smiled at her reflection as she stood before the bathroom mirror admiring the results of her latest cosmetic surgery.

“Sure, I’ll get it,” said John, rolling his eyes.

John opened the door to a forceful morning sun. He shielded his eyes, blinded momentarily.

“Package for John Sullivan,” the man hidden by the brightness said.

“Thank you,” John said, extending his hands and taking hold of the large box offered him.

John closed the door and stood for a moment until his eyes could adjust to the dimly lit foyer. He then checked the box’s cover. All that was displayed was: Costume.

“Who was that?” Ilene asked as she met John in the living room.

“I guess it’s the costume I ordered for the Halloween party we’re attending. All it says is ‘Costume’ on the box.

“Well it’s about time. Mine arrived three days ago. Not a minute too soon with tomorrow night being Halloween,” said Ilene.

John found a pair of scissors and cut the binding on the box, saying, “Let’s make sure this is the costume I ordered.”

Peering inside the box, the corners of John’s mouth turned down.

“I distinctly told them the Superman costume.”

“Oh my, that thing is ugly,” said Ilene, putting her hands to her mouth.

John sighed, “Well. It’ll have to do. It’s too late to exchange it, especially since we ordered it from so far away.”

“You’re right there. Oh well, we don’t have to change into our costumes until we get there, thank goodness,” said Ilene as she used a hand mirror to gaze once more at her unlined face.

John closed the lid on the box, saying, “I think this is going to be the biggest and best party we’ve been to in a long time. The Jeffersons are known for their lavish bashes.”

“Yes, and to think we got invited. I bet there will be three-hundred people there,” said Ilene.

“Think they’ll notice my face-lift and breast enhancement?”

“How could they not with that revealing costume you chose?” said John as he turned and rolled his eyes again.

#

John and Ilene arrived via Limo, supplied to all guests of the Jefferson’s. Once inside the huge mansion a butler showed them the way to the changing rooms.

“I’ll meet you downstairs,” Ilene said, taking the box with her costume inside a large room with a gold ‘Female’ nameplate on the dark cherrywood door.

John glanced at his watch: 11:59, almost the “witching hour.” As he entered the lavish guest room, he looked out the large window. A sudden wind whipped at the oak trees near the balcony. Opening the box, he removed the costume, laid it on a nearby stand and got undressed. As he reached to pick the costume up, something leaped onto him, plastering itself to his body. It oozed under his skin, invading his body, his brain… his entire being. Thick, dark hair now grew all over him.  The costume had sprung to life and some malevolent being had taken control of him. John screamed, but it came out as a loud, guttural howl……and then his thoughts turned dark, evil.

#

Ilene stood with the Jeffersons. Surrounding them, the large hall was filled with costumed guests. “I wonder what’s taking John so long?” she asked, impatience in her voice.

Mrs. Jefferson, in her Queen’s costume, barely able to cover her three-hundred pound body, said, “Oh, I’m sure . . . He’ll be down any minute.” Her words were interrupted as every light in the mansion suddenly went dark.

“Oh, Mrs. Jefferson, you are always so resourceful!” said Ilene with a chuckle.

The immense hall was suddenly filled with the loudest, most horrendous roar imaginable. It was as if a hundred lions had let the contents of their powerful lungs loose at once. Agonizing screams erupted from near the bottom of the stairwell which led to the second and third floors. Something hit the floor, sounding like a large melon dropped from five-feet or more. More thunderous roars and frightening screams drowned out all terrified inquiries as to what was happening.

The police arrived in caravans a few hours later. What they discovered sickened the most hardened of them. There were bloodied body parts everywhere. Heads lay on the crimson marble floor. One was Ilene’s, her eyes wide and her mouth opened in a silenced scream.

Upstairs, in the guest room, John opened his eyes. He lay on the floor, naked and drenched in blood. Near him was the box with the costume nicely folded and put away. Its wolf’s head staring out…

– The End –

RICHARD NEAL HUFFMAN served in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam War and later became a police officer, working his way from patrolman to assistant police chief; he also served as a village councilman and then a mayor of his hometown. He has published two books. Dreams in Blue: The Real Police and Rubal, a fascinating story about a Civil War soldier with mysterious powers of survival and longevity. “Dreams in Blue is my story,” Huffman says.