Wicked Needs (Wicked Bay Book 5)(9)

By: L.A. Cotton

“What?” She shrugged. “A girl can dream. Besides, I heard the barn is the real deal this year. Apparently, Sam hired a professional theater company to do one of those live-action experiences.”

I groaned, imagining what kind of torture lay ahead. Ghosts, spiders, and a whole load of fake spider web didn’t freak me out, but a dark barn full of actors lying in wait to scare the shit out of me... that was a different thing entirely.

“Ladies,” a deep voice called, and Sam Limer stepped out of the shadows, the Joker style grin on his face menacing under moonlight. “Welcome to the Farm of Fears.”

A couple of girls giggled, but I muttered under my breath, “Farm of Fears?”

“Your task, if you dare to accept it, is to navigate your way through the barn. But beware,”—he thrust a gloved finger into the air and Kara yelped—“for things lurk in the shadows. Depraved and evil things. Things that devour cheerleaders for breakfast.”

A chill ran up my spine and I mentally scolded myself to get a grip. Kara dropped back from Trina and slid her arm through mine, squeezing tightly. “Okay?” she mouthed, her eyes alight with anticipation. Most kids lived for this shit. But things that used to seem all part of the regular teenage experience, no longer held the same appeal for me.

“Do we have to do this?” I kept my voice low to avoid Caitlin overhearing. One thing our captain did not appreciate was insubordination, and me fleeing from the Farm of Fears would be just that.

“Come on, Mace, it’ll be fun. And just think, once it’s done, there’s a party waiting for us on the other side.”

Another party.

Just what I didn’t need.

Offering her a tight smile, I nodded. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Sam motioned for us to join the line. The football team were up ahead. Laughing and joking and acting all macho until a blood-curdling scream poured from the barn and everyone fell silent. Sam’s mouth tipped in an amused smirk. He lived for this—getting off on terrorizing high school kids—and more fool us, we were willing participants.

The air around us crackled with a potent mix of fear and excitement. Even I couldn’t deny the way my heart thrummed in my chest as we slipped through the black plastic curtain. A smoky haze lingered, making it difficult to see. Kara’s hand slid down to mine as we followed our small group, the screams and high-pitched laughter of those already inside piercing the air.

“I can’t see a thing.” Caitlin said from up ahead, making a point of leading the squad. Maybe the lurking things would get her first.

A girl could hope.

“AARGH,” someone screamed, and we huddled into a tight formation. “Something touched me,” Monica cried. “I swear the walls are alive.”

My eyes strained against the darkness. Although the barn was a huge building, we seemed to be enclosed in a narrow passageway. But as my eyes adjusted to the light, I realized the walls weren’t walls at all. They were blood stained plastic sheets and there were things moving on the other side of them.

It’s only pretend, I tried to remind myself. None of it is real.

“Stay away from the walls, look.” I lifted a shaky hand and pointed.

“Oh my god, what is that?” There was no disguising the tremor in Caitlin’s voice. “Come on, let’s hurry.”

We moved as one, navigating our way around the maze. Whoever said this was supposed to be fun, needed their head checked. Screams reverberated around the room. There was the cackle of demented laughter. The click-clack of our heels against the ground. The eerie rustle of the plastic sheeting as we rushed past. It was sensation overload and adrenaline pumped through my veins.

“Oh no. No fucking way,” one of the girls said, and I craned my head around Trina’s shoulder. Someone stood up ahead, his face illuminated by a flashlight. He grinned, revealing a set of yellow-stained teeth. He looked like something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in his blood-soaked denim overalls, holding a meat cleaver in one hand.

“Why is he just looking at us like that?” Kara cried, gripping my hand tighter.

“He’s not moving,” someone else shrieked.