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Sleepover snake

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Despite what one may think, those who classify as ‘goth’ aren’t always a source of mystery destined to be shunned by an entire school. Among those few who had the pleasure of being friends with Lydia Deetz included Delanie Page.

Delanie classified more along the lines of ‘typical anime and video game nerd’ when it came to school labels, but she also had an added fascination of classic and foreign horror and monster films. All it took was one glance at one of Lydia’s impressive photo albums for the girl to ask if she was ok with taking pictures of people in costumes (or ‘cosplay’ as some would call it) because she wanted to model some of her own for fun. After one small photo shoot on a Saturday afternoon in the park and some chatting later on up town, they both found enough common ground with each other to want to hang out together.

They both liked horror films, they both liked unique clothes and designs, and while their preferred subjects behind a camera varied, Delanie had enough appreciation for photography to discuss it with Lydia. Delanie’s interests and intuition meant that she could sense what kind of games or anime she could recommend to certain people and in Lydia’s case, that included anything visually artistic or related to horror or the supernatural (and in this day and age, there was plenty of indie horror games to talk about and waste time over on a laptop together).

Delanie also understood what it was like to feel a bit different, even if wasn’t exactly the same. Her family was one of the few in town with a dark complexion, was more well off than others, yet she herself was not open to most students. While Lydia had some obvious personal things about herself that she wasn’t open to sharing with others, Delanie respected that, but as she grew to hang out with Lydia more, she picked up on certain things.

One of which was that as much as Lydia adored her family, she had yet to see photos of two of them in particular (she swore the names ‘Adam’ and ‘Barbara’ were familiar, but where?) Another was that... well... sometimes it seemed that Lydia would talk to herself.

It wasn’t often, but Delanie would catch the girl talking to nothing but thin air, a mirror, or would just suddenly laugh out of the blue when there was nothing to laugh at, like in class. In English when they were supposed to be reading The Scarlet Letter Lydia would be staring at something behind the teacher and then giggle before shaking her head and whispered “You’re so awful.” before resuming her silent reading. Delanie didn’t want to immediately assume anything. Her eight year old brother Daniel was on the mild side of the autistic spectrum and he had a habit of talking to himself too whenever he withdrew into the world inside his mind. She was dying to know why Lydia was doing it, but refused to ask in case she took it the wrong way.

There was one thing she also noticed–if any of the snobbish students especially bothered Lydia to the point of borderline harassment, there was a chance that something would happen to them, like the water faucet spraying them, lockers would be trashed and filled with strange icky substances that barely looked safe, their food exploding into their faces, or a bug or rat would sneak into their backpack for them to discover and scream at in class. One of them thought it would be funny to insult Lydia’s late mother to the point that Lydia tried to physically attack him, only to be stopped by one of the teachers after landing a fist into his cheekbone. He got off scott free and she was suspended for a few days, much to her fury.

Within half an hour after this happened, the rude boy was running out of the bathroom, white faced with horror and screaming his head off while his pants... well... they weren’t white, but they were now a slightly different color, much to his humiliation.

Did Lydia have some sort of invisible guardian angel hell bent on bestowing revenge on behalf of the girl? No it was too coincidental and Delanie didn’t care and neither did most of the students who hated the snobs with a passion.

*****

Delanie’s parents were going out to New York City for the weekend and Delanie made an offer to Lydia that many teens rarely turned down–the chance to spend the night over without any parents.

Naturally, Lydia was all for it and admitted “My family’s been wanting me to do more stuff with people my age. They’d be all for this, even if they knew you’re parents weren’t here.”

Delanie’s parents had jobs that brought in enough money to get a large house. They weren’t flat out rich, but they were well off to get a nice house with a pool and a lot of pricy objects inside, and it wasn’t gated, so it wasn’t like they were an enigma to the town either. It was the kind that was perfect for throwing large parties, but for now it was perfect to show off to one person and let Lydia take as many photos as she wanted around the grounds–especially outside where there was a lot of potential subjects.

“You’ll let me see your house too, right?” Delanie asked. She knew about the house Lydia lived in and heard rumors that it was haunted, but she wasn’t ready to believe it right away (though it would have been cool if it was). Yet the other girl hesitated before saying “Maybe in a few months. When I know you’re ready.” Delanie raised an eyebrow at this and said nothing.

Everything was set up perfectly. Delanie bribed Daniel with some of the pizza she had ordered and would let him barrow one of her Nintendo systems and her Legend of Zelda games (“Don’t erase my save file or else!”) for the week in exchange for his silence and to not bother her and and Lydia unless it was an emergency. Once he was in his bedroom with one half of said bribery, the teens were free to watch Japanese horror films in the living room for as long as they pleased, while switching between watching in morbid fascination and anticipation to making slight remarks now and then.

Of course, having an eight year old who needed to get to bed before ten meant cutting the fun in the living room short, but once Delanie bid her brother good night and closed his door, she lead Lydia to her bedroom and began to set up her laptop.

“Little siblings can be a handful, but he’s sweet.” She told Lydia with a smile. “You know what I mean? Oh wait, you told me you don’t have siblings. Sorry about that.” She shot an apologetic look.

The other teen thought for a moment. “I guess if your best friend acts like a little kid now and then, then yeah I suppose I can see it.” She mumbled under her breath. “If he wasn’t such a pervert to other people.”

There it was again–Lydia making a random mention to having a best friend. She mentioned him once or twice at school before and it was easy to remember this because she mentioned that he was also into the macabre, yet she never revealed too much about him or even his very name. It made Delanie curious, but she paid no mind as she got everything started up and loaded a new horror game for Lydia to try out. But not before letting her put in the earbuds and shutting off the lights to get the full experience.

For almost a full hour it was just the two of them playing a game (well, more like letting someone play a game while you watched and provided hints). The only world that mattered was that which was projected on the screen in the darkness of the room. Sure there were numerous jump scares and near heart attacks thrown in the mix, but it was a lot more fun when you had a buddy with you.

“God, this music is the kind of stuff Oingo Boingo would have played back in the day.” Lydia commented at one point.

“What’s Oingo Boingo?”

Before the teen could answer, there was a loud shattering sound that erupted but it was not from the game. Rather it was somewhere outside the room and it was loud enough for Lydia to hear though the earbuds as Delanie jumped in her seat and glanced back.

“What the shit?!” She whispered.

There was another shattering sound. Like that of a window breaking. From within the living room.

The moment they heard another series of sounds, they instantly realized what it meant.

“Oh shit, oh shit!” Delanie whispered as she closed the laptop and covered her mouth with her free hand while Lydia backed away. Hours upon hours of horror and now they were thrown into an actual horror scenario with the apparent theme being an honest to god break in.

“Let’s hide and call the cops!” Lydia hissed at Delanie.

The girl was about to agree when it hit her. “I left my phone in the living room–oh shit! Daniel!” She moaned. “He’s still in his bedroom! I got to get to him!” She made for the door, but the sound of unfamiliar voices behind the door made her stop. “Oh God, what do I do?!” She grabbed her head in dismay while Lydia stayed calm and level headed.

(The truth that the other girl did not know was that Lydia had been the bestower of horror many times before, though it bordered on safe, yet mentally scarring. She also had looked at the face of death several times and had other ‘credentials’ that made this moment pale in comparison.)

They both waited in stomach churning anticipation as they could hear the quiet voices and the shuffling of men who had chosen that night of all nights to steal from the house and leave. Delanie was ready to lunge out if her brother’s safety was at risk and she even managed to grab the lamp off her nightstand and braced herself while Lydia stayed still and didn’t even attempt to hide, though she was ready to do so when the sounds grew louder. Had the other girl looked, she would have been Lydia mouthing something, but not saying it out loud, as if whatever words she wanted to say would be a weapon she could use if the worst were to happen.

It felt like hours when it was only minutes.

Then the footsteps grew louder.

A door opened.

Seconds later, a terrified scream confirmed Delanie’s worst nightmares.

Against her better judgement, she opened the door and ran out, screaming and brandishing the lamp like she was a knight.

That’s when she heard Lydia frantically cry out from within the bedroom:

“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!”

It only alerted one of the robbers to the goth teen and while Delanie desperately tried to bash at the man in Daniel’s room with the lamp, the other man grabbed Lydia by the wrist and roughly pulled her out of the bedroom as another man waited in the hallway. It wasn’t long before Delanie lost the battle and found herself getting dragged out by her arm, her mind too soaked in fear to dare imagine what was going to happen next as she screamed and thrashed about.

The third man went down the hallway as the other two took the screaming girls out and entered the living room. Yet seconds later, he suddenly tripped and fell.

“Damnit! What the–?!” He cursed in confusion and turned around, only to see something that wasn’t there before. It was a long, dark, thick mass of something which had a scaled texture that could only be seen by the moonlight from the window.

He turned around to see that his comrades had finished pulling the girls out. Yet they only took a few seconds before they came to a stop and noticed something to their right and became completely still as they gapped in shock.

Delanie saw it and for a moment, she wondered if her mind was making it up in the haze of panicked fear as she heard an ominous rattling sound. Lydia on the other hand almost instantly started to calm down upon seeing it.

Before them was what appeared to be a giant snake as thick as an average man, yet clearly many times that same length. But this snake was not ordinary–it bore a human head with a face that was grotesquely cartoonish. If it wasn’t the huge, bulging yellow eyes with slits for pupils that almost seemed to glow in the darkness that made it so off putting, then it was the huge mouth filled with needle like sharp teeth.

As its wild, wispy flame-like emerald green hair changed to a deep crimson, and that rattling sound grew furious, Delanie instantly recognized the emotion it displayed as it eyed them all and especially the man who had his grasp on Lydia’s pale wrist–it was downright pissed.

The moment it let out a terrible growl, all chaos ensued.

The robbers let go of the girls and made a run for it towards the door to the outside, but the snake reacted fast. It caught one by the leg with its tail and hurled him into the air, right into one of the other two men, and he screamed the entire time it happened. It quickly shot around and stopped in front of the other one and let out a ghastly sound from its throat, causing him to stumble and run back into his pals.

Another tried to crawl out from under his partner and made a run for it, but the snake was able to watch him out of the corner of its eye. As if to taunt him, it let the man run through the back door before it shot off after him, knocking the other two down in the process with the other half of its body. There was a scream and a splash of water and within moments the girls watched as the snake dragged the soaking wet man back into the house with its rattle adorned tail and threw him back into the pile of the would-be robbers.

As the three men scrambled to get up, they found the tail quickly whipping around them, trapping them together before they were ensnared several times over by the long body of the creature. They all screamed and cursed as they tried to wiggle and pull free, but it only made the snake tighten its hold and nearly crush them to death as it moved its ugly head close towards them.

Then it spoke in a gravelly, masculine voice:

“Touch her again and I’ll bite your friggin’ faces off!”

He then opened his mouth wide–needle like teeth almost glistening with saliva–as he moved towards the robbers, causing them to scream as he appeared to make good on his promise as he inched closer and closer to their faces to the point they could practically stare down his throat.

Then he loosened his hold on them, causing them to collapse to the floor.

“NOW PISS OFF BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND AND BITE SOMETHING ELSE OFF!” He roared at them.

The girls–and Daniel, who had attempted to try to run after his sister, only to come to a stop upon seeing the monster snake–were then treated to the sight of the robbers screaming and scrambling to get the hell out of the house through the broken window as the snake crackled with sadistic laughter over the whole thing.

Delanie could only stare and shudder as the monster snake continued to laugh, but then she was stunned to see Lydia walk calmly towards the thing. The second the snake caught sight of her, his laughter died to chuckling as the angry red flames of his hair gradually turned back to green and his hideous eyes softened up with what could only be described as relief as the goth teen moved closer to him. He gradually lowered to Lydia’s level and Delanie had no clue what was going to happen next.

Then to Delanie and Daniel’s equal shock, Lydia wrapped her arms around the snake’s thick body and buried herself into him as if he were some ugly as sin teddy bear she genuinely wanted to hug, with her head securely tucked under his chin.

Lydia remained as she was, her cheek pressed against the smooth scales as she closed her eyes and felt her heart gradually calm down. She didn’t move as she felt the snake’s cold body shift and change in size and as the scales turned into cloth upon a much softer and very human-like body. Soon a familiar pair of arms hugged her right back, and the scent of dirt, sweat, and something ancient like an old musty book that hit her nose was welcoming to her as she felt her head get pressed up against the other’s cheek.

Delanie’s jaw dropped. The snake that Lydia hugged had changed into an average sized, though slightly hefty looking man who appeared to be in his early to mid thirties and was dressed in a ratty looking black and white stripped suit with a black and green tie. He still had emerald green woven through his black strands of flame like hair, but his now normal face had changed to the point that he was now handsome in a sort of ‘round face with a slightly scruffy green and black beard, but also was pale and had bags under the eyes like he just rose from the dead’ sort of way. His eyes were shut, and the way he held the teen tightly in his arms more than hinted at a deep, friendly affection towards her.

“You go sleep over at a friend’s house and it turns into an honest to god horror movie.” He cracked a grin as he moved away from Lydia, yet still held her arms, as he spoke with that rough, almost gravelly voice again. “What are the odds?” His eyes opened to reveal a normal set of dark brown eyes.

“Thanks for coming when I needed it.” Lydia ignored his question and merely smiled in appreciation.

“Hey, what are best friends for, kid?!” He then perked up as he noticed the confused siblings behind Lydia. “Oh hey!” He grinned and waved at Delanie. “It’s nice to finally meet one of Lydia’s high school pals for reals! Not like actually haunting around and occasionally scaring the crap out of someone, but face to face, ya know?” He grinned as if she’d get the joke he thought he cracked. “Do you mind that I crashed your sleepover?”

Overcome with anxiety (both from all that had happened tonight and knowing her parents were going to kill her sometime after they’d have a heart attack from this) Delanie’s response was to just promptly collapse to the ground and black out while her brother’s only response was to break out a grin at the strange man and exclaim “That was so cool!”