A noise woke Bradley up before the sun had risen on October 31st. He didn’t know what it was, but it sounded like something shuffling in the living room on the floor beneath the one he and his wife’s bedroom sat on. He listened for a few moments before rolling over and closing his eyes to go back asleep, but another noise soon took his attention. He looked over to Mariah, who still laid there, sound asleep. Not wanting to worry her, Bradley quietly got out of bed and went downstairs to investigate.
Every few steps he heard more noises downstairs. Not being one to let anybody put his home in danger, he went on without a second thought. He descended the stairs one by one, so as to not alert any intruder to his presence, thus retaining the element of surprise. His house was draped in shadows, the only source of light coming from the waxing gibbous moon outside.
Bradley reached the bottom of the stairs and peeked his head around the corner, at which point, everything went black.
He awoke again, but when he opened his eyes, he couldn’t see anything; wherever he was, it was completely dark. He could tell that the air was damp, and it was cold inside wherever he was. He was on his back, and when he scooted himself up, he found a wall behind him, and a chain around his leg. His eyes finally adjusted to the darkness and he saw Mariah on the ground next to him. He immediately turned his attention to her, making sure she was okay.
After a short while, Mariah awoke, and the two yelled out for help, but their efforts were fruitless. Following that, the did everything they could to free themselves of their chains, but that too, failed to yield any results. The two finally calmed down enough to have a conversation.
“What happened, how did we end up here?” asked Mariah.
“I heard something downstairs so I went to check it out, and someone hit me with something when I got downstairs. My head is killing me.” replied her husband.
“I don’t think I ever woke up, all I remember is going to sleep and now, here I am.”
“I will get us out of here, Mariah. I’m so sorry I let this happen.” offered Bradley. “I won’t let anything happen to you. I promise.”
“You can’t make that promise.” replied a sorrowful Mariah. “I knew there was something off about this town, these people.”
“Well, we won’t go out without a fight.” added a prideful Bradley, trying to convey more confidence than he actually had at the time.
And so, the married couple sat in whatever dungeon they were in for nearly two hours, when suddenly, a door opened to their right, flooding their enclosure in sunlight. This gave Bradley and Mariah a better look at where they were being held.
Their enclosure was a cellar of some sort. Stone walls surrounded them, some covered by racks with jars of food on them. Animal pelts adorned other parts of the walls, which had traces of condensation dripping down their stone facades. The ground was dusty and dirty, but clear footprints showed the couple that others had recently been where they now sat.
They saw a number of other chains with clasps at the end of them, which let them know that the cellar they were in was capable of holding even more prisoners. Just as they realized the additional chains, they saw the reason for the cellar door opening to their right: more captives were being brought in to be bound by said chains.
The first person to come down the steps was a portly man who carried a gun in his right hand.
“Who the fuck are you and why are you keeping us here?” Bradley demanded to know.
“Well, I’m Greg. And I’m not keeping you anywhere. I’ve never seen ya’ll in my life.” said the man.
“Then who the fuck brought us here?” replied Bradley.
“Fuck am I supposed to know?” said Greg with a chuckle. “Come on, Paul, bring em’ down!”
Then, one by one, three men, one woman and one teenage girl were walked down the few steps from the outside, and as they reached the cellar floor, the man who called himself Greg chained them up, by closing clamps around either their ankles or their wrists. Finally, Greg’s partner-in-crime (quite literally), Paul, came down the steps.
“Whew, looks like the spider already caught a few flies, didn’t he?” said Paul.
“I guess so. Well, it’s been fun, guys.” said Greg with a laugh. “I’d say good luck, but I don’t think luck has anything to do with what’s gonna happen to you.”
Following this ominous yet still poignant statement, the men walked up the stairs and shut the cellar door, enveloping the group of seven in darkness once again. They listened as the sound of a surely heavy duty lock was applied to the door, effectively sealing them all in. Fear permeated the air in the room, a silent agreement between every prisoner that each and every one of them was feeling hopeless. Finally, Matt broke the silence.
“Who are you guys?” he asked the chained up married couple.
“I’m Bradley, this is my wife Mariah.”
“Those guys get you too? You have to sit in the back of that truck for fucking ever like we did?” asked Dave.
“No, what truck? Someone broke into our house and knocked me out, I woke up and here we both were. Do you know where we are?” Bradley replied.
“Some farm. A guy named Jim Ranger’s.” answered Matt. “Where are you guys from?”
“Here….well we’re from Milwaukee, but we moved to Glarus a few weeks ago.” Bradley explained. “The people in this fucking town, they’re so goddamn weird. I should have known something was going to happen. Those freaks dress up in their Halloween costumes all month long.”
“Yeah, I don’t know about that, we just got here last night. A few weeks ago I was out for my morning run and one of those guys knocked me over the head, I woke up in the back of this semi-truck, that had like a kind of false back to it, then they brought me to some cabin where a few of these guys were, then brought some kids, we stopped somewhere else then ended up here. They kept us in some motel, was more like a prison cell if you ask me. And…fuck. There were these kids. Three kids that were with us for a short time. We stopped somewhere here and they took the kids out, and we heard them talking, I’m pretty sure they killed the kids.” said Matt.
“Jesus Christ. What do you think they’re gonna do with us?” asked Bradley, now more shaken than ever at the sadism his fellow captive’s abductors showed towards children, which was understandably a soft spot for he and Mariah, given the recent death of their daughter.
“Believe me, we asked about a thousand times, they just kept ignoring us, basically. Whatever it is though, it’s not gonna be good. That much they were clear about.” answered Matt.
For the next several hours, the group sat in the dark, talking amongst themselves, discussing the possibilities of what their futures held. They learned each other’s names and shared stories from their lives while doing everything in their limited power to free themselves from their chains, with no success. At some point, a man in a hooded black cloak brought them all sandwiches. They pleaded for any information but were met with stone silence.
More hours passed, with the thin strips of sunlight that had been seeping in through the cracks in the cellar door as the time passed slowly dying out. Eventually, night had fallen, and half the group was asleep on the cold concrete floor. Then, the cellar door opened once again, and in poured a group of masked individuals.
The captives were each forcefully taken from their chains and had black hoods placed over their heads, keeping them in even further total darkness. Their hands were then tied behind their backs, so tight that the slightest movement caused rope burn on their wrists. With a hand tightly gripped around their arms, each of the captives was led on a walk that took nearly 15 minutes. No words were spoken by anyone during their short travel, the only sounds emanating from outside the hoods over their heads being footsteps and cicadas. Eventually, though, they began hearing random chatter in the distance.
The closer they got, the louder the chatter became. There were too many voices intertwining to count, by Matt’s guess, there were easily a minimum of 50 people in the area they were approaching. However, as they reached the point of the voices, they all abruptly stopped. Not just the voices, though; it sounded as if every outside noise had been muted. Almost as if amplified, the sound of a match striking a box seemed to almost deafen the captives, followed by the roar of a raging fire.
It was time for whatever was going to happen, to happen.