Chapter 2 – New Neighbors Part I
Bradley and his wife Mariah purchased a house through a realty company in a small Wisconsin town. They uprooted their whole lives after the death of their 8-year-old daughter, who lost her life after being hit by a drunk driver. Wanting to get away form the city, at the same time the place their daughter took her last steps, they moved out to what most would consider “the middle of nowhere”.
The town they chose had a population of roughly 120. There was a small diner called “Daisy’s”, and a burger/malt shop. There was a small clothing store, a library, and a variable bevy of small mom-and-pop shops. It was the kind of place that had a strong sense of community, but where privacy was not lost. They hired a moving company to transport their belongings and made the trip to their new home.
While setting things up inside their new home the morning after the moving truck dropped all of their things off, Mariah decided to take a break and get some fresh air. She walked down the hallway towards the front door and opened it, feeling the cool autumn breeze splash against her face. She opened her eyes and was immediately taken aback at what she saw. Her new neighbors across the street were standing on their porch, staring at her.
Not only were the elderly couple across the street staring at her, but also the houses next to the one across the street. Just standing on their porches, eyes glued on Mariah and her new house. She took a step outside and looked to the house to her left. Sure enough, they were standing on their porch, gaze fixed on her. Same with the house to the right.
In a state similar to that of shock, almost frozen in fear, Mariah stood there, the object of all her new neighbor’s attention. She called out her husband’s name until he heard her, and he then joined her on the porch, letting out a whispered “what the fuck” when he noticed his fellow Elodie Street dwellers eyes fixed on him and his wife.
“Are they looking at us?” he asked, rhetorically.
Mariah felt her anxiety rising, and backed her and her husband back into the house. For the next several hours, they occasionally looked out their windows while setting up their new home, and every time they did, their neighbors were still standing in the exact same spots, staring back at them like statues. The two contemplated calling the police, but knew that in reality, all their neighbors were doing was being strange and awkward, not actually committing any crime..
Finally, around 8 PM, the couple looked out their window again, and much to their relief, they found that none of their neighbors were staring at their house anymore. Bradley, however, pointed out that each of the neighbors had two torches, one right next to the other, lit in the front left area of their lawn. Even knowing it could be something they did as a neighborhood thing, Bradley felt they gave off an minous vibe. He and Mariah finished up their work for the night and went to bed early.
The following morning, Mariah went outside to do some garden work in the front yard, while Bradley set up Halloween decorations for the forthcoming holiday. After about 15 minutes, they were approached by two of their neighbors, although they were wearing burlap sack masks. Their steps were nearly silent as they walked up to Bradley and Mariah, causing the latter to jump and exclaim in fright. Bradley looked at her and then the two masked strangers standing in front of them.
“What the fuck?” Bradley exclaimed.
“Hey!” said one of the people, a woman, in a chipper tone. “We come in peace! We’re your neighbors from right there.”
She pointed to the house to the left of Bradley and Mariah’s, showing them where they lived.
“As you can tell from our masks, Glarus takes Halloween pretty seriously. We sort of celebrate a little bit each day of the month.”
“I see that.” said Mariah, with an uncomfortable chuckle.
“Hey, uh, what’s up with the torches in everybody’s yard?” asked Bradley.
“Oh that’s just something some of us do for the Halloween season. Totally up to you if you wanna join.” said the woman.
Bradley acknowledged what she said with a nod.
“Can I ask why everyone was staring at us yesterday?” asked Bradley.
“I really hope we see you guys at the birthday celebration!” the woman replied, ignoring Bradley’s inquiry.
“…who’s birthday?” inquired Mariah, offput from not getting an answer to the question her husband had posed.
“The town’s.” said the other masked person, this one a man. “In Glarus, everybody’s birthday is Halloween. And I have no doubt we’ll see you there.”
The entire time, the masked man and woman stood there motionless. If it weren’t for their different body types, Bradley and Mariah wouldn’t have been able to tell which person was which from their voices. The new residents of Glarus looked at each other, somewhat skeptical of the ominous words just spoken to them.
“Because the whole town shows up!” the man added, somewhat alleviating the tension that had been brewing between them from the moment they began interacting. The group shared an awkward, uncomfortable laugh.
“Where is it held?” asked Bradley.
“Oh it changes every year, but when the time comes, you’ll know exactly where it is.” said the woman.
It didn’t feel like that statement warranted a response, so neither Bradley nor Mariah gave one. And with those final words, the two masked neighbors turned and walked away, heading down the sidewalk in the opposite direction from their house. Bradley and Mariah continued what they were doing outside until they were finished with their work, and then headed inside.
The following morning, Bradley woke up and went outside to get the newspaper. When he walked out the front door, his eyes were immediately drawn to the bright red “X” that was now spraypainted on the walkway leading up to the house. He got the paper and went back inside, deciding to call the non-emergency police number.
He told the police what had happened, that it wasn’t an emergency, and was told that it was more than likely some kids who had done it, and that in the next few weeks someone would be there to remove the spraypaint from their property. Satisfied with the answer he’d gotten, he hung up the phone and went and told Mariah what had happened, who took it the same as he did, that there was no real cause for alarm.
The next two weeks went by without incident, save for some staring by people walking by every once in a while.
Then came the morning of October 31st.