AJ finally slowed her pace, panting slowly as she attempted to regain her stamina. Everyone had blindly run in opposite directions from the campsite when Rob had been killed, so she had no idea where she was. While she could usually find her way around, the shadows of the night lurking in the camp and the fear burning through her veins were hindering her sense of direction. However, she couldn’t be too far from the campsite. She had sprinted, like all the others, but she was no athlete, unlike Vanessa, Buggzy, and Tiffany. Though Chad wasn’t great at endurance, he was a speed demon too. A cold thought ran through her as she processed what this meant. She was going to be one of the most vulnerable, as one of the easiest to catch.
Especially since they’d decided to have a swim party! They were all running around in basically underwear! Some of the boys, like Buggzy and Adam, had actually dressed in suitable swimwear for the night, in tank shirts and shorts, but others, like Chad and Tiffany, were running around in the darkness in essentially nothing. Somehow, though AJ knew she should be freezing in her one-piece, adrenaline seemed to be warming her up more efficiently than any coat could, and at least now if she got forced into the water she wouldn’t be dragging wet cloth with her. Not that she’d be in the water; Packanack had two bodies of water, but it didn’t connect any of the land together, and there was no point in trying to swim out of the camp.
First point of call, then; find a house. She jogged over to the nearest cabin, carefully opened the door, and then barricaded it, figuring it would be safest if she travelled by window. That way, every house she came in might just be a safe haven for a friend in danger. The wooden barricade gave a solid ‘thunk’ as it closed, and AJ held her breath, waiting for the man to come – was he even a man? She couldn’t get a good enough glance at him to tell before everyone started to run – but there was only the chirping of crickets outside the window.
As she looked around, she assessed her own skills, and her own weaknesses. She wasn’t athletic or strong, so her best bet was just not to get caught. On her side, she had stealth. She had heard the others running from the campsite, and a lot of them sounded like they were stampeding rhinos. At a jog, her soft, worn out trainers and her natural light foot would make her very hard to hear. She couldn’t fight, but she could work on getting them out of there. If anything was broken, AJ reckoned she could fix it. Growing up, her dad had made sure she knew her way around a car, and she could fix the phone easily if she knew where it was.
She began rifling through drawers, looking for anything that could help her that could fit in the pouch on her belt. A plan formed in her mind. Look through for anything that could help her; find a map and a walkie so she could at least communicate with others; and make her way to the nearest car, or the phone to call the cops. The easiest thing to find would be the cars. Their designated parking spots were marked on the map, and only Jenny and Chad had left their cars here. Jenny would leave hers in the designated parking space closest to the top bunch of cabins, and Chad, as always, would take the much-preferred spot by the main lodge. She could look through the cabins along the way, once she found a map and orientated herself.
A bear trap glinted in the corner of her eye, and AJ considered it for a moment. She could put it at the door, and if somehow the man got through it (he was far too massive to climb through the fairly small windows, after all) he would get his foot stuck in it. They were fairly flimsy, but she needed any help to keep distance between herself and the man that she could. She set the trap up as close to the door as possible, and then began looking for some sort of weapon, in the tiny chance she could somehow find something that could stop him. AJ wasn’t exactly the strongest out of them.
The cabin yielded a map, a med-spray in the bathroom, and a flare gun, and AJ was about to leave when a scream rang through the night, clear and high pitched.
It was close to her, and AJ shrunk back into the shadows. The scream wasn’t close enough for her to help, and if she went over there she could be killed. She held her breath and crouched down in her cabin, hating herself for not trying, even though she knew there was nothing she could do.
Deborah had the same idea as AJ. She couldn’t do much – she was in even worse athletic shape than AJ - but she could repair. She had never partaken in extra-curricular sports, which was something she now hated her past self for, but this meant she had ample time to read. Her parents were quite strict and, one time when she had been grounded for a week and read through all her books, she read her dad’s manuals to abate her boredom. Since then, she had become a go-to for fiddlier repairs, while Adam handled the beloved cars. She could still repair a car if she tried, though. She just let Adam do it because, for some strange reason, he seemed to love pouring buckets of sweat while elbows-deep in grease. Fine by her.
Not long after she had come to this realisation, she had found a battery. Whether it was a spare, or the original battery, was unclear, but she had a car right outside her cabin. It was Chad’s gleaming yellow two-seater seater, and sure enough, when she opened the hood, there was a space where the battery should be.
She had merely stepped slightly to the right in order to get a better angle to repair it, when something had sprung up around her leg and a hot surge of pain exploded in her brain.
She instinctively dropped the battery to free herself and found her leg encased in a crude trap that seemed to be covered with leaves. The few seconds it took to open it seemed to take an eternity, and suddenly the man was back, hulking and walking quickly towards her, his intimidating presence unrelenting and seemingly unhurried.
Deborah ran, but with her leg, she was limping and barely faster at her jog than the masked killer towards her. Even though he was walking, it was brisk and the massive frame on him ensured that every step he took ate up significant ground. There was a house just in front of her, but she feared she wouldn’t reach it.
Just as she was about to accept her fate as the first person to die (apart from Rob), a challenging yell came from behind her and the man fell to the ground. Incredibly, it was Tiffany, holding a baseball bat, that seemed to have come to her aid. Tiffany urged her through the nearest window, barricaded the door, and Deborah got one last look at the man slowly getting to his feet before she focused her attention on the girl next to her.
Tiffany’s expression was grim as she rustled through her pouch and pulled out a med-spray. “I found this in the cabin down the road,” she explained before Deborah had the chance to ask anything. “Hold still. This will probably hurt.”
Deborah gritted her teeth through the pain as Tiffany sprayed down her leg carefully. It hurt like hell, but after a few seconds the pain dissipated, and she could stand on it perfectly. “What was in that stuff?”
Tiffany sighed in relief. “I think it’s just painkiller antiseptic stuff. But I have no idea. Luckily, it appears there’s one in every bathroom. I have another one on me. What do you have?”
“Not much. Firecrackers that someone left in their bedside cabinet, and a map.”
“Okay. Grab a weapon.”
Deborah nodded and grabbed a spanner from one of the cabinets. It wasn’t much, but at least it was something. The only other thing in there was a fire poker, and the man didn’t look like he had enough nerve endings left to feel the strike of one of those.
The killer, clearly recovered now, began to break down the door. As the gap widened, Deborah caught sight of him. He had a hockey mask which was slightly burnt and chipped around the edges, chains around his neck arranged like a scarf, and a machete that glistened in the eerie moonlight. It was dripping with fresh blood - Deborah refused to think of the possibility that it may have come from someone other than Rob. Even that was idea was bad enough.
Tiffany had gone up against that?
Tiffany? The girl currently wearing a skimpy bikini and armed with nothing other than med-sprays and a bat?
Deborah felt her head swim.
Meanwhile, Tiffany was talking into her walkie talkie.
“Yeah, I got her, Jenny. She’s okay. She got caught in a trap and I sprayed her down. What? Yeah, go, go now. We’re holding him.”
With that, the killer stopped breaking the door down, stared at them, and then seemed to vanish out of existence, though Deborah assumed he must have just been swallowed up by the darkness of the night.
Tiffany pressed a button on her walkie and suddenly Jenny’s sweet voice filled the room.
“Deborah?” Her voice was filled with concern. “Are you there?”
“Yes! Yes. I’m here. Jenny, are you okay?”
“I’m fine, Deborah. I’m betting on that he’s making his way to the other car right now, so you’ve got downtime. What did the traps look like?”
“Covered in leaves. I guess I could have spotted it now I know what they look like. He put it right where I was trying to get the battery in.”
“I’ll bet he’s done that with all the cars and the phone,” Jenny said grimly. “Deb, how fast do you reckon you can put the battery in?”
“Very fast.” It wasn’t Deborah that answered. Tiffany looked at her with respect. “You know Deborah, Jenny. She’ll have it in in an instant.”
“Okay. Put the battery in, and then report back to me if there’s a trap on the gas. Otherwise, I’ll assume it’s okay. I’ll keep trying to reach everyone.”
“Who’s on radios?”
“Just you two at the moment.”
Deborah felt her stomach twist.
“They’ll check in,” Jenny assured her, though she didn’t sound too sure. “Now, go. Soon he’s going to realise there’s nobody at the car and come back for you two.”
“Jenny...” Deborah asked quietly. “What if someone was at the other car?”
Jenny paused. “It’s a chance game, Deb. But we KNOW you two are safe.”
The radio spat out static and then went silent.
Deborah and Tiffany silently exited the cabin through the massive window and jogged to the car. What was there to say? They had just saved themselves, and they’d done it at the possible expense of one of their friends.
Deborah picked up the battery and put it in, thankful of the easy to connect and identify coloured wires, while Tiffany looked at the gas spot.
“No leaves? Wait – I can see you two! I’m searching the main lodge at the moment.”
Tiffany and Deborah looked up to see Jenny in the window.
“Let’s go,” Deborah urged. “We still need petrol.”
“And keys. But Chad probably has them.”
Deborah shook her head. “Speedos don’t have pockets, Jenny. They’ll be in a cabin somewhere, just like the battery was. If not, there’s probably a spare set to Jenny’s. It’s Jenny.”
“That’s true. Let’s go and look. I’m hoping we can find Chad’s keys, since I don’t really want to make a trip up north.”
Deborah nodded. “Okay. Shall we hit the cabins up to the east Work our way over?”
“Yep. I could do with something if I get caught. Unless I can spray a med-spray in his eye.” It sounded like a weak attempt at a joke, but the dire situation meant neither of them laughed.
Instead, Deborah simply nodded, and they jogged to the next house along the road.
Vanessa had run full pelt, and, as a result, was far on the other side of the camp. Even as she jogged, she was aware of how much noise she seemed to make. It seemed like her trainers seemed to snap every single twig under her feet, and every footstep she took made a ‘thud, thud, thud’ tune in time with her jog.
She was probably a beacon to masked, psychopathic serial killers.
It seemed she’d be noisy whatever she did, so she had run from house to house, quickly rummaging through drawers, arming herself with a pocket knife, a med spray, car keys, a map, and a flare gun. She didn’t know exactly how useful the pocket knife would be, seeing as she’d have to be arms length to – what? Stab a bitch? – but she figured she should fill up her pouch with as much as possible if she were to survive.
Finally, she found a walkie in the third house she checked, and nearly wept with relief. She was about to leave and check in with the others while she jogged before she saw an ancient-looking radio that, despite all odds, seemed to be working, as the power to this house was still miraculously on. She should at least try before he found the generators – they’d be pretty easy to break.
She decided she might as well give it a chance and knelt down to turn the knobs. She berated herself briefly for not knowing what any of the knobs meant, but then she decided it wasn’t her fault; how was she to know a masked killer would be on the loose and cut out the phone? She assumed the phone was non-functional - she’d seen the box blinking red while running around, rather than its usual blue colour, and she certainly wasn’t going to attempt to fix it. Firstly, she had no idea how to, and secondly, she wanted to wait to know what the other plans were before she tried. She guessed, if the box was that badly not working, the fuse was probably dead, too, and she didn’t have a spare, although, with any luck, she’d find one.
In the end, she resorted to just twiddling the dials of the radio, just attempting to reach anyone. Perhaps they could call the police from there.
“Hello? Hello? Is anyone there? We’re the kids at camp Crystal Lake. This is not a prank - we need your help! He’s killing us! Bring a gun! Oh god, please - help us!”
The radio made a slight static noise, and then the power went out. Vanessa’s blood ran cold - both at the fact nobody might have heard her on the radio, but also the power box was near her house, and she had really been screaming at the radio there.
It practically froze to ice when she realised she hadn’t locked the door.
It reached absolute zero when she realised the crickets had stopped singing, and she could hear steady, menacing footsteps just outside.
Buggzy had been less focused on repairing things and more focused on grabbing weapons. So far, he’d found an axe (thank God for the lax safety regulations), pocket knives, and a med spray in the cabins nearest him. He’d also been less concerned about locking doors, preferring to quickly run in and out, not really looking for anything but a walkie. He was just looking through his third drawer when he heard the sound of the door behind him.
Fear ran through him as he spun around, pulling back his axe to swing, but paused just before the axe connected with the person in front of him.
After all, he doubted the masked killer had donned a leopard-print speedo after starting his massacre.
Chad finished barricading the door and turned to Bugzzy with a sad, tired expression lurking in his eyes. His hair, usually perfectly styled, was now messy, as if Chad had been raking his hands through it. On his back was a gun, which must be freezing against the bare skin of his legs and torso. Then again, the cold of the night was already seeping through the camp anyway.
“Dude!” Buggzy exclaimed. Out of everyone he could have met up with, Chad wouldn’t have been his first choice, but Buggzy was glad to see him all the same. “Thank God you’re still alive!”
“Yeah.” Chad’s voice was tired and deflated. “Good to see you too, Buggzy.”
“Where did you get the gun from?”
“I found it at a campsite.” Chad absentmindedly run his fingers through his hair again, pushing the waves out of his face. “I ran for about five minutes, but I don’t know this camp as well as all of you guys. I ended up in the middle of nowhere. Found the campsite – it had a med-spray and this gun – it only has one bullet in it, though. Guess someone thought one bullet was enough for your average bear. Anyway, I kept running in that direction, and I found the edge of the camp. You know, the wire fencing that goes all around. But I found –“ Chad gulped. “Buggzy, I think I found his house.”
“It was a shack made out of wood and roofing and stuff – I guess he must have built it himself. It’s in that big bit of the woods that nobody goes to, because there’s nothing there. Anyway, I didn’t go in, I just peered in, and there was a grimy toilet and a room and a room behind it with candles. No door, and just a hole for a window.”
“Not a house from the camp that’s fallen into disrepair?”
Chad shook his head. “No way. That thing – it looks like something out of a horror movie. Which I guess makes sense. By the way, can you work these walkies?”
Chad passed Buggzy a walkie and kept the other one for himself.
“I didn’t remember how to,” Chad explained. “That place gave me the creeps. I panicked.”
Buggzy shuddered and pulled off his tank top, handing it to Chad. Chad looked confused, but shrugged the tank top on anyway, although it hid the speedo so it was just Chad in a tank top and completely bare legs. Ah, well. Chad needed warmth more than any sense of decency.
“I guess we’ll just have to figure it out, dude,” Buggzy said, smiling bravely at Chad. Chad nodded and seemed to stand a little straighter, and they fiddled with knobs and buttons until Chad’s walkie suddenly filled with Jenny’s voice.
“Jenny!” Buggzy almost shouted. “You’re there!”
Jenny’s voice filled with relief. “Oh, thank God! Buggzy!”
“I’m here too,” Chad added, sounding a little resentful.
“And Chad! Where are you guys?”
Buggzy frowned. “I haven’t got a map.”
“I have. Can you explain where you are?”
“I can,” Chad offered. “You see that big bit of the woods that’s empty? No buildings or anything?”
“No – I came from there. It’s the cabin nearest.”
“There’s a cabin North-West and West of there,” Jenny said.
“Well, I was running straight away from the campsite where we scattered, and when I found his house, I turned left, I think.”
“Wait, his house?”
“Yeah, I found this cabin built in the woods. I reckon it must be his. It’s definitely not one of ours.”
“Well, you’re to the cabin west below Woodbury.”
“Who have you got on radio so far, Jenny?” Buggzy asked.
“You two and Deborah and Tiff,” Jenny answered. “I haven’t heard from Adam, AJ or Vanessa yet – but now we know at least most of us are safe. Deborah and Tiffany put in the battery in one of the cars, but guys – there might be traps next to ways to escape, like the other car and the phone.”
“Which car is partially repaired, then?” Chad asked.
Jenny seemed genuinely ashamed when she replied, “I didn’t think to ask, but it’s the one by main lodge, so it must be yours.”
At that moment, the lights went out.
Both Buggzy and Chad screamed – Buggzy was bizarrely pleased to note that his scream was lower and quieter than Chad’s. However, more piercing to their ears was a scream that both Chad and Buggzy immediately recognised as belonging to Vanessa.
Chad and Buggzy looked at each other and understanding passed between them as they both headed towards the window.
“If you boys are going towards that scream –“ Jenny began, but was cut off by Chad turning off his radio, giving Buggzy a shy grin as they sprinted North.
They barely got half way to the cabin before they met Vanessa, who screamed “Run!” – rather unnecessarily, since she was sprinting as fast as she could in the opposite direction from where she had just screamed.
And, just in case neither of them had had enough brain cells to put these pieces of information together, a masked killer was behind them, wielding a machete dripping with blood.
Chad and Buggzy both turned and sprinted at full speed behind Vanessa, and, although they couldn’t keep up with her, they easily outpaced the man behind them, who seemed either unable or couldn’t be bothered to jog after them and kept at his slow but steady brisk walk. Chad stumbled and Buggzy pulled him back to his feet, and thankfully they reached the cabin in time.
When they got back to the cabin they had both exited from a few seconds before, both Buggzy and Chad were panting as they tried to recover Oxygen. Vanessa didn’t seem as affected, instead turning on her own radio and checking in with Jenny.
“Hello? Anyone there?”
“Vanessa! Oh, thank God!”
“Jenny! I’m with Chad and Buggzy. The man’s here –“
With that, the killer began to break down the door in fast, sure strokes. The heavy wood groaned and splintered as his gruesome mask and disformed body began to appear through the gaps. Through a large tear in his shirt, Buggzy could see ribs, not under skin but literal bone sticking out of the shirt.
“He’s breaking down the door. But we’re safe.”
“Okay. Get as far as you can – wait, I hear someone downstairs. Someone else must be here! I have to check!”
“Be careful,” Vanessa urged, as Chad drew the gun from his back and pointed it shakily at the door.
In a few seconds, but what felt like a life time, the man in the mask succeeded in breaking down the door, which gave one last heave of protest before shattering and then there stood nothing between the three teenagers and their impending death.
Nothing, that is, except from one small bullet, which travelled straight at the mask, striking the man down onto his back.
The man fell down and Chad ran to grab a frying pan that was laying on a nearby table, urging everyone out. “Go. Go! Next house!”
“Hey, man, nice shot,” Buggzy said, as they sprinted down the road to Palmer’s.
Chad did his best at a shrug, although, since he was running, it was hard to tell what exactly it was. “It wasn’t a moving target.”
Jenny crept downstairs, a machete in her hand. She’d finished going through the main lodge, and had found a spare set of keys to Chad’s car, so all they needed was some petrol and two people, at least, could get out.
As she crouch-walked down the stairs, she heard a soft but throaty voice call out, “Is anyone there?”
A stranger was standing next to the fire. He was clad in a denim jacket, an open plaid shirt with a denim shirt under it, and jeans. He had a gun slung on his back and messy hair that resembled Chad’s a little, although their faces were different.
“Who are you?” Jenny asked, approaching him cautiously.
“My name is Tommy Jarvis,” the man said. “I got a call from someone on my old radio saying someone was killing them and they needed help. So I dropped everything and came here.”
Jenny raised her eyebrows. “That’s very… courageous.”
Tommy shrugged. “Did he have a mask on?”
Jenny was caught off guard by the question. “Yeah. He did. A hockey mask.” She shivered at the memory.
Tommy didn’t seem too surprised, just weary. “He’s back, then.”
“You know who he is?”
Tommy nodded. “His name is Jason Voorhes.”
Jenny gaped at him. “The boy from the legend? I thought he drowned? How can he be back?”
“I faced him three times already. I don’t know how he’s back, but he is.”
“So, what can we do?”
Tommy faced her and looked her dead in the eye. “You can escape. But I’m making sure he goes back to the lake where he belongs.”
“Okay, how can we help?”
Tommy looked genuinely struck as he looked into Jenny’s earnest face. He opened his mouth to try and dissuade her, but then seemed to give her up as a lost cause and sighed. “We need to take that mask off. If he gets enough hits with bladed weapons, I think it will come off.”
“Any other vulnerabilities he has that we can take advantage of?”
Tommy nodded. “When I first defeated him, I pretended to be a child version of him. We’re all too old to do that now, but I heard that, before I ever met him, a girl pretended to be his mum. She took a jumper he kept at his house and talked to him like his mother used to. He’s not – functioning like everyone else. The only trouble is… we don’t know where his house is… It might be miles away.”
Jenny shook her head. “We know where it is. Chad found it. We can –“
At that moment, Adam’s deep voice came through on the radio. “Hey, guys. I found the petrol.”
“Adam!” Jenny exclaimed, fumbling with her radio. “You’re still alive!”
Adam laughed mirthlessly. “Yeah. I’ve been through all the houses in Flat Rock. It was only me down there. It took me a while to work out this fucking radio.”
“Can you put it in Chad’s car? We already have the battery in, and I found the keys in the main lodge. Adam, this is fantastic news! So far, we’ve heard from nearly everyone!”
“Wait – who have we not heard from?”
Just then, AJ’s voice crackled in, in an amazing sense of timing. “Hello? Who’s there?”
“Okay, that’s everyone.”
“All of us?” Adam sounded incredulous. “How? What has that maniac been doing?”
“The maniac is Jason – and I have someone here that says he knows how we can kill him.”
“Jason? As in the guy from the legends?” AJ asked.
“Are you sure he’s not just a copycat?” Adam asked.
“If he’s a copycat, we’ll see soon enough,” Tommy said grimly. “The jumper won’t work unless he’s really Jason. Jenny, you said we know where his cabin is?”
“Yeah. Far East.”
“Okay. We need a woman to grab it. And the rest of us need to start beating him with bladed weapons.”
“Are you force broadcasting?” AJ asked.
“That’d be a no then. Hang on two seconds. I’ll tell everyone else to turn on their walkies to pick you up.”
In a few seconds, both Vanessa and Tiffany were talking into their microphones.
“Hang on,” Jenny instructed. “Vanessa, are you still with Chad and Buggzy?”
Vanessa answered affirmative.
“Okay. If you’re still with Jason, turn off your walkie.”
Vanessa’s walkie turned to static and then dropped connection.
“Okay. Deborah, AJ, Tiffany, one of us needs to go and get the sweater from his shack. Vanessa would probably be ideal, but she’s with Jason at the moment.”
“I can do it,” AJ offered.
“No,” Tiffany interjected. “It should be me.”
Silence came from all walkie talkies.
“Look,” Tiffany insisted, “I’m nearly as fast as Vanessa, and I could run for just as long. But I’m quiet. I could run there and back, and he wouldn’t even notice I’m gone.”
“She’s right,” Deborah said quietly. “She saved my life, Jenny. She’s probably the best one to go.”
“Okay.” Jenny nodded. “Have you got anything to defend yourself?”
“I’ve got a bat, a pocket knife, firecrackers, and a med-spray. I’ll be back before you know it.”
“Okay. East side of the map, big empty area.”
“Okay. Is anyone near me? I’m between the lodge and Woodbury,” Deborah said.
“I’m near you,” AJ replied. “Can you see me?”
“Yeah! Come in!”
“Okay,” Jenny said, more thinking out loud to herself than giving instructions. “We should split up into teams. Tommy and I will grab some weapons and try and break the mask. AJ, can you two keep looking for things to repair. The phone is a priority. It must be in Woodbury next to my car. Also, can you tell Vanessa, Chad, and Buggzy to pick up bladed weapons and start trying to knock the mask off too?”
“Yep,” AJ answered, and cut off her walkie.
Jenny gave one nervous look to Tommy and they opened the door, ready to travel to Woodbury.
Then the scream came, and Jenny watched as the killer – Jason – picked Adam up by his throat.
Adam punched his arms, but Jason held him up off the floor as easily as if he weighed one stone instead of ten.
Jenny ran to try and free him, knowing it was futile but ready to attempt to save him anyway, but Tommy cocked his gun behind her and shot a bullet straight at Jason’s mask.
Jason released Adam, who gulped like a fish out of water, trying to regain Oxygen, while he fell backwards, hitting the floor with a crash. Both Jenny and Adam stared as he lay on the floor, hoping beyond all hope that he wouldn’t get back up, but after a few seconds, Jason clambered back to his feet like a slow, lumbering zombie.
“That’s no copycat,” Tommy said grimly. Jenny glanced back at him to see he’d picked up a fire poker while Jason was on the ground. She supposed it would have to suffice.
“Let’s go,” she said, charging towards Jason with Tommy running silently next to her. “Adam, grab a weapon!” She swung her machete straight up at his mask, cracking it slightly down the middle. However, it didn’t seem to stun him like the gun had, and he reached out his arm and suddenly Jenny could feel his slimy fingers pressing down on her windpipe, crushing the air from her lungs.
She was saved by Tommy, who sung his fireplace poker at Jason’s back with a surprising amount of strength, considering his lean frame. Jason released Jenny and stood frozen for a second while Tommy yelled “Yeah! Fuck you Jason!”
“Wha- why are you insulting him?” Jenny asked incredulously.
Adam then joined in Tommy’s spirit, swinging his axe at Jason’s face and yelling, “You want some more? Huh?”
Jason unfroze and started towards Tommy with a menacing gait, reaching out to grab him, and would have succeeded if Jenny had not swung her machete first, finally snapping the mask in half and revealing the monster underneath.
Because this couldn’t be a man. The monstrosity in front of her could never have been a man.
First of all, he had no skin – or, if he did, it was brown, wrinkled, and looked more like that of a tree trunk than a human. He had one single eye on his right side, which was clouded and bloodshot, with just an empty socket where his left eye should be. Also missing was his nose; he simply had two, misshapen holes to breathe out of, if he even breathed at all. He had no lips, just crooked, tombstone-shaped teeth. Jenny was too scared to scream, or even to move – she was just staring at the rotten, walking corpse in front of her.
Jason stared her right in the eye, and then disappeared.
“Um… Did he just teleport?” Adam asked gingerly. “Where did he go?”
“I’m betting that he went to his shack,” Jenny said slowly. “To protect his mum’s jumper.”
“Where Tiffany is?”
“Well, being able to teleport is bit fucking unfair,” Adam said.
Tiffany split up with Deborah and headed East at a light jog. Her stomach was writhing as she headed out there alone, weaving through the tall pines of the woods and over tree trunks carefully. Even though she was armed with a bat and a pouch full of protective items, the very little protection her swimwear offered and the emptiness of the woods around her made her feel very vulnerable. Her pace felt laboriously slow, but Tiffany didn’t want to risk sprinting.
It was hit and miss for a while, since the wooded area was quite large, but eventually Tiffany caught sight of a small structure at the very edge of the camp. It seemed to be made out of sheets of metal and wood, grimy and more resembling a shed than a home. Tiffany couldn’t imagine living somewhere like that – what did he do all day except from plan out murder sprees?
She supposed she was going to find out.
Steeling her breath, she entered the shack through the hole that she supposed was supposed to be a door. In the front room, there was nothing but a grimy toilet.
The room behind was much more horrifying. Tiffany nearly threw up when she entered. There was a mummified-looking corpse next to a big rock that seemed to function as a shrine, with lit candles and a mummified head on top. Just in front of that head, laid out carefully, was a grey – moth eaten shapeless jumper.
The only furniture in the whole house was a shelf with just a single axe on it. Tiffany thought about swapping her weapon, but then decided to stick with the baseball bat – it had worked well so far. She pulled on the jumper, cringing a little at the rough fibres on her skin. With that completed, she began to jog away out of the woods, and had to stifle a scream when she saw the man coming towards her.
She crouched in a bush, praying that he didn’t see her. He didn’t have his hockey mask on, and so she was privy to every gruesome detail of his face. He didn’t seem to see her; he stalked past her into his house. As much as Tiffany wanted to sprint away, she forced herself to jog, reasoning it would be nearly suicidal to make noise with Jason so close by.
While Tiffany was being careful about her survival, those at the car were (rather bizarrely) arguing about who should escape in Chad’s two-seater. Chad, Vanessa, and Buggzy had come to meet Jenny and Tommy, while AJ (who found the fuse in one of the houses along the road to the Main Lodge) and Deborah had headed North-East to repair the phone box.
“It’s Chad’s car,” Jenny said, reasonably. “He and someone else can leave.”
Chad shook his head. His bravery had seemed to return very quickly. “I’m not leaving anyone here. Someone else can go in the car.”
“Well, it has to be one of us,” Jenny pointed out. “Tiffany, AJ and Deborah are all busy right now. We’re the only ones that aren’t necessary to the whole ‘staying alive’ thing.”
“Why don’t you leave, then, Jenny?” Vanessa asked. Jenny pursed her lips up as she thought up a response.
“I don’t want to leave you guys here.”
“I think that goes for all of us,” Adam pointed out. “I’m not leaving AJ.”
“Well, if Chad’s staying, I’m staying,” Buggzy said. “Someone needs to make sure he doesn’t die, because, to be honest…”
“I’m going to have to stop you there,” Chad said stiffly, but a smile was playing on his lips.
Jenny sighed. “Vanessa? Will you go?”
Vanessa shrugged. “Sure. I’m fine with escaping. I can’t do much to help anyways. But I can’t drive for shit, so someone’s going to have to drive for me.”
“Adam, please leave with her. AJ will be fine.”
“You can drive better than I can,” Vanessa pointed out. “I’d probably just crash into a tree.
Adam gave in. “Fine. I’ll get you out and we’ll go straight to the police station and warn them if the others can’t get the phone off. But you guys had better make sure nothing happens to AJ.”
Jenny dropped the keys into Adam’s hand and they got into the car. There was a moment as the car’s engine groaned and whined that it seemed the car might not start, but in the end it roared to life and Adam floored it down the road away from the main lodge.
They got most of the way down the road when Jason appeared in front of the car. Adam swerved off the road around him, and for a heart-stopping moment it looked like he was going to crash into the fencepost, but he righted the car and continued at full speed towards the exit. Jason turned towards the group standing in the road, and appeared to cast an eye over them, perhaps to see if any of them had his mum’s jumper. He seemed to decide that the car escaping was his main priority and blinked out of existence again.
By this time, the car had disappeared, and the others had no way of knowing whether the car would make it. It was the battle of teleportation versus Adam’s mad driving skills. Not exactly a fair fight.
At that point, Jenny’s radio crackled and AJ’s voice came through. “Hey, Jenny? You guys there?”
“Hey, AJ,” Jenny replied, scrambling to get the radio out of her belt. “What’s going on with you guys?”
“Found the phone. There was a trap at the base, but we disarmed it with a pocket knife and got the call off. They’ll be here as soon as they can. They said to meet them at the main road.”
“Okay. Get out of that house just in case he comes to find you. Find a barricaded house and wait out the time, okay? Adam and Vanessa are keeping him busy with Chad’s two-seater at the moment.”
“If that’s the case, we’re going to start heading down towards Flat Rock. The only road in or out of here is that one down at the South of the map.”
“That’s risky,” Jenny warned.
“Riskier is staying here like sitting ducks, waiting for him to get to us, Jenny.”
Jenny sighed. “Fine. Do whatever you think Is best. Just please keep yourself safe, AJ. Adam was very insistent on that.”
“I don’t plan on dying today, Jenny.”
The radio cut out.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” Adam swore as he narrowly dodged Jason for the second time. Vanessa looked at him to see his knuckles were practically white from gripping down on the steering wheel, but he looked fairly in control. Vanessa was beginning to panic even in the passenger’s seat. She glanced behind them to see the man staring at the car – it seemed he couldn’t just teleport constantly.
“You’re doing great, Adam,” Vanessa said, but her voice cracked in the middle. They were speeding down the road as fast as Chad’s car could go, which was very, very fast. So far, Jason had tried to teleport directly in front of them, so she doubted that he was at all worried about being run over. Which meant that if he could get in front of them, he could probably stop the car. And Adam would have to restart it, which would eat up valuable time.
As she thought this, Jason appeared on the road in front of them, not close, but hoping perhaps to intercept them. Adam slammed on the brakes and then put the car into reverse, driving backwards away from the man that was now walking towards the hood of the car.
Adam pulled on the steering wheel and executed a very risky 3 point turn, and then they were once again speeding towards the other exit to the camp.
“Shit, shit, shit,” Vanessa swore under her breath. It was terrifying to have her life in someone else’s hands, even if those hands seemed to be very competent on the steering wheel.
They were nearly at the bridge at the end of the road, and then, miraculously, they passed through it and out of the camp boundaries.
“Is he still chasing us, Vanessa?” Adam asked hoarsely. Vanessa looked at the car mirror and saw Jason standing in front of the bridge, staring at their retreating car.
“No,” Vanessa said shakily. “He doesn’t seem to want to leave, even to chase us.”
Adam slid down to fourth gear, navigating his way around the bending, twisty roads until Jason was out of sight. He started laughing under his breath, Vanessa guessed out of sheer disbelief. “We did it.”
“You did it,” Vanessa correcting him. She picked up her walkie and spoke into it. “We made it out, guys. You’re on your own.”
“Protect AJ,” Adam added loudly into the walkie.
Jenny’s life came through the walkie. “The police are coming. AJ and Deb got it working and they’re making their way down to the road. They’ll be safe there, Adam. He’s coming for us.”
“Jesus, Tiff,” Chad said. “That thing looks disgusting.”
“Thanks, captain obvious,” Tiffany said snarkily. “What are we going to do then? I’m guessing he’s going to be here in like five seconds.”
“Tiff, give Buggzy your baseball bat,” Jenny instructed, and Tiffany and Buggzy swapped weapons.
“I’m killing him,” Tommy said urgently. “I’ve done it before. Give me your machete.”
“Tiff, you need to ready as soon as he comes, okay? Then Buggzy, you smack him on the back, but try to do it on his shoulders so he falls to his knees. Then Tommy –“
Her speech was cut off by slimy fingers once again wrapping around her neck. He had come from nowhere and only had a split second until Tiffany started, sounding angry but trying her best.
“Jason! Mother is talking to you!”
Jason dropped Jenny to the ground and took a few steps towards Tiffany, who visibly cringed, but did not move.
“Put the weapon down,” she instructed, and Jason dropped his machete to the ground. Buggzy whack Jason as hard as he could with the baseball bat, the force of his hit pushing Jason to his knees, but Jason didn’t even seem to feel it. He was still staring up at Tiffany.
“That’s it. That’s my good boy.”
Tiffany had just finished the sentence when Tommy slammed his machete into Jason’s face. He pulled it out, and somehow there was no blood, but nobody had time to think about the implications of that because Tommy drove the machete into Jason’s face again.
He didn’t need to retrieve it. Jason fell all the way to the floor, his face slicing down the machete, before it finally hit the ground. The group waited with bated breath, a lot ready to run at a moment’s notice, but Jason did not stir.
Jenny, still the calmest in the group despite having narrowly escaped death a few minutes before, kicked at him lightly with her foot.
Jason did not stir.
Tommy dropped his hands to his knees, breathing in and out heavily, as Jenny picked up her walkie and quickly talked into it, sounding incredibly steady for the situation they were in.
“AJ? Deb? Are you there?”
The radio crackled. “We’re here. We’re making our way to the police. Are you guys okay?”
“We’ve killed him,” Jenny said. There was silence from the other end. “Tell the police cars it’s safe to come up. They need to get Jason’s body.”
“No way,” Tommy cut in. “He needs to be put in the lake. Chained there. He can’t be allowed to come back!”
“Tommy!” Jenny urged. “They need to see him! If we don’t have a body to show them that it’s Jason, God knows what’s going to happen to us! It’s going to look pretty fucking weird if we’ve called the police, saying Jason’s back, and then the police come and Jason’s not here but a murdered Rob is! They’ll think one of us killed him!”
“I don’t care if they think it was me,” Tommy said surly.
“They won’t! You got called on the radio, remember? After Rob’s murder. It’s going to be one of us that takes the hit!”
Tommy stared directly into Jenny’s eyes and sighed.
Jenny seemed to take this as a sign of defeat.
“So…” Buggzy said. “What do we do now?”
“Just wait here, I guess,” Jenny said.
There was silence for a moment.
“I don’t really wanna do that,” Chad said. “It’s creepy.”
“Well, we can’t just walk out of here and leave it,” Tommy said logically.
“Does this mean I can take this god-awful jumper off now?” Tiffany asked, but it seemed rhetorical, as she was already pulling it off over her head and dumping it onto the floor.
“Is it weird that this seems disrespectful?” Jenny said hesitantly.
“Fuck disrespectful. He tried to kill us all,” Buggzy answered almost immediately. This was accompanied by his foot stamping a dirty footprint onto the jumper.
“He kind of looks – pathetic,” Jenny said. “It’s kind of an undignified end.”
Chad, Buggzy, Tiffany, and Tommy all stared at her in disbelief, but nobody said anything as a police car pulled up in front of them and two policemen stepped out.
“Those girls said you killed Jason,” one said sarcastically. “After he killed your friend? It’s a tall tale.
Tiffany, Chad, Buggzy, Jenny and Tommy parted to show the massive body laying still on the ground.
“Let’s move him over,” the second policeman said. The first nodded and they pushed Jason onto his back.
The first policeman threw up. The second policeman managed to keep his stomach contents in, but he turned a light shade of green.
“That’s not a human,” he said, rather unnecessarily.
“I think it used to be,” the first policeman said weakly, having returned to stand next to his coworker.
The stunned second policeman seemed to pull himself together. “I’ll radio for some patrol cars to come and pick you kids up. We’ll take care of this.”
“Will there be any charges pressed?” Asked Jenny hesitantly. “It was in self defence – he killed Rob!”
“I think you have to kill a human for a murder charge,” the first policeman said weakly. “Don’t worry. Nobody is gonna think you guys are murderers.”
It was daylight, but the lights were still on. They were in Jenny’s apartment, the closest thing she could find to a big city. All of them had relocated to places where humans were abundant – and nobody had ever gone near a forest again.
AJ and Adam were on one of the sofas, AJ snuggling into Adam’s side. Buggzy was sitting on the end of the other sofa, looking distinctly uncomfortable as Chad’s head was nestled into the edge of his left leg and the rest of his body was laid out across his legs and the rest of the sofa. He appeared to be dozing.
Tiffany and Deborah were curled up on an arm chair, Deborah resting on Tiffany’s lap, her head resting on Tiffany’s shoulder.
Tommy Jarvis was splayed out on the other armchair, looking at ease.
Jenny came into the room with a tray on which were mugs of steaming tea and coffee and a tray of biscuits. Tommy Jarvis immediately reached for a coffee, while Jenny passed out tea to Tiffany and Deborah. She offered a mug to Buggzy, but he shook his head, gesturing at Chad laying on him.
Jenny took a mug of coffee and sat on one of the chairs she’d pulled in from the kitchen. Vanessa was sat sideways on the other, one arm leaning on the backrest, her legs splayed out in front of her.
There were only slight differences in every person. Tiffany still had her cropped jumpers and short shorts, but her skin was less tanned (presumably from spending less time in the sun) and her hair was now pulled up in a bun at the back of her head.
Deborah had grown her hair out and had, on Tiffany’s advice, switched out the admittedly quite frumpy jumpers for tucked-in T shirts and long cardigans. She still had similar jeans, shoes, and her glasses, though – she didn’t want to change herself completely.
AJ had retained her goth aesthetic, but now her hair was completely black, and her makeup less heavy. Her clothes remained the same, though she’d never worn the ones she’d taken to camp again.
Adam looked pretty much exactly the same, but now smiled a lot more that AJ and him were dating.
Chad’s clothes were more normal, and he looked a lot less posh. His hair was messier, and his whole demeanour had changed. He was now a decidedly average guy, rather than the stuck up posh guy that he had been a year earlier.
Buggzy looked exactly the same, and acted pretty much exactly the same, as did Jenny and Tommy.
Vanessa had stopped wearing tracksuits everywhere and now only wore them while running. It seemed like she’d started disliking them when they reminded her so distinctly of camp.
“So, Buggzy,” Vanessa asked, “How’s living with Chad?”
“He drives me mad,” Buggzy answered without hesitation. “I don’t know why we decided to do it in the first place.”
Jenny noticed the ghost of a smirk on Chad’s lips. “Well,” Jenny said, “I think it might have been because you wanted to have him around.”
“Yeah, and I don’t know why that happened either,” Buggzy muttered.
“Nah, you love it Buggzy,” Chad said without opening his eyes.
Buggzy glared at the back of his head.
“Well, Tiff, Deb, are you any more happy living with each other?”
“It’s been good,” Tiffany answered. “It’s good living with someone that has more sense than I do. And who’s smarter than me. And knows how to do the ironing.”
“You don’t try,” Deborah’s voice came out, slightly muffled.
“I do the vacuuming and I do the washing. I do my bit.”
“So that’s the only reason you like living with me?” Deborah asked, raising her head.
“Nah,” Tiffany replied lightly. “You also cook really good food.”
Deborah rolled her eyes. “Well, I would ask if you and AJ are happy, Adam, but I think we can all kind of see it right now.”
“Yeah, it’s going good,” AJ said. “And it’s nice to have someone in the house with you. How come you guys decided to live alone?”
Vanessa shrugged. “I just haven’t found anyone I want to live with. I’m happy on my own, anyway. And I’m not really alone. I have my dogs.”
“We need to come and see them!” Jenny exclaimed. “They won’t let me have dogs here. And the turtles – well, they’re cool, but they don’t really do much. Tommy, I want to see yours too!”
“Sure,” Tommy shrugged. “Come down whenever you want. Maybe it will get Trish off my back.”
“What do you mean?” Asked AJ.
“She’s always going on about me being alone. It’s annoying as hell.”
“My mum always goes on about me seeing you guys,” Jenny said sympathetically. “We have the opposite problem.”
“I couldn’t give less of a shit what anyone thinks,” Vanessa said.
“Same here,” Buggzy said. He imitated a high voice. “Don’t you think you should be getting a girlfriend instead of living with a boy? When are you going to grow up?”
“I think Chad almost counts as a girlfriend,” Adam snickered.
Chad sat up and glared at him. Buggzy supressed a laugh.
“You were just laying across him, Chad,” AJ pointed out.
Chad sighed dramatically. “I’m always the butt of the jokes in this group.”
“You make it so easy,” said Tiffany.
“Although less easy than it used to be,” Jenny conceded.
“Buggzy’s been good for you,” Deborah said kindly.
Chad gave Buggzy a soppish smile, and then laughed at Buggzy’s face of horror. “You’re so easy to wind up, Buggzy.”
“You drive me crazy. I’ll move out one day.”
Chad shrugged and returned to laying on Buggzy’s legs.
As the circumstances changed, and the people changed, it had got easier and easier to avoid what had happened that night. It had brought them closer together, and yet, in a strange way, it was like it hadn’t happened to them. They weren’t the same people that had survived attempted murder the year before. They were different, and they’d grown different together.
Finally, the future held something normal, and they all looked to the future and not the past. Jason was ashes. Rob was dead, but they were all alive. Packanack lodge had been permanently closed. All the ends had been tied up.
They were just ordinary friends.