The Pink Lady
A Halloween Blog Post
by Michael Griffo
When I was eleven-years-old I had my first nightmare. Up until then my sleep had not been invaded by disfigured murderers or grotesque creatures or vengeful aliens. Up until then my sleep was peaceful. All that changed with the arrival of The Pink Lady.
I remember the first night she visited me because it was the night before my family moved from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs. We were leaving behind concrete, endless rows of conjoined tenement buildings, and noise to enter a world filled with grass, detached one-family homes, and quiet. I was thrilled because I was going to be able to play outside in my own backyard, nearby would be swimming pools, parks, and tennis courts. And, most of all, I would finally have my own bedroom.
The night before we moved I went to bed later than usual, way past my bedtime. I shared a room with my older brother so I wasn’t alone, but since he wasn’t as excited as I was about moving away from familiar territory he had turned in earlier that night. By the time I crawled into bed, he was fast asleep.
For a few minutes I was wide awake thinking about how my life would change the next day, but slowly the sights and sounds around me began to fade away. Gone were the packed boxes lining the wall in my room, gone were the sounds of my parents doing last-minute packing in the kitchen. Soon they were replaced by dreams of my new life. And very soon after that those happy dreams were shattered.
I heard her first. In the darkness I could hear clicking, a steady rhythm, click-click, click-click, and I thought the blinds were hitting against the window, but there was no breeze. The air was still, as if it were holding its breath in anticipation of what was coming.
The clicking continued, getting closer and closer and my own breath stopped flowing when I realized the sound was footsteps. Click-click, click-click. Heels clicking against the steps in the hallway, the steps that lead up to our apartment door, the door that opened up to the kitchen which was only one room away from where I slept.
Out of necessity my breathing returned, the sound so quick and harsh that it took me a few moments to notice the clicking had stopped. Not because the person making the sound had moved on, but because she had reached her destination.
I knew that my parents had locked the front door, they never went to bed without making sure the two locks were bolted and the chain was put in place. But somehow, and I’ll never know how, the door slowly creaked open as if my parents had left it unlocked or as if the intruder had her own key.
The clicks returned as someone entered the kitchen and then slowly closed the front door. When I heard the two locks snap back into place and the jangle as the chain was put back into its slot I tried to rise from my bed, but it was as if I was being strapped down. My arms, my legs, my head, all felt like they were being pressed down by some unseen force, whatever it was it weighed tons because I couldn’t move an inch. All I could do was wait.
Outside the moon was only half-full but it shone brightly so some of its glow filtered through the window and into my room. As the clicking resumed, I struggled and was finally able to turn my head to face my brother. I could see his face, but his eyes were closed and I could hear his slow, even breaths, telltale signs that he was sound asleep. I wished to God that I could be so fortunate, I tried to will myself to fall asleep right at the very second. But how can you fall asleep when there’s a strange woman standing at the foot of your bed?
The panic raced through my body like a rat running through a maze. I could feel it ricocheting from side to side, hitting a limb, traveling up my legs, down my arms, moving blindly, unable to stop. Despite the fear that was gripping me I couldn’t close my eyes, I kept staring at The Pink Lady and I’ll never forget what I saw.
At the foot of my bed was a woman wearing a pink jacket and matching skirt, tight-fitting, hugging the curves of her body. She looked normal. Her left arm was bent and the fingers of her pink-gloved hand were touching her chin. On her head she wore a pink hat with a huge brim that tilted forward and camouflaged the right side of her face. The left side of her face was visible in the moonlight and there was just enough illumination for me to see that whatever she was, she was anything but normal.
Some of her skin was the same color as her outfit, but most of it was either blood-red or charcoal gray. The discolored portion of her face drooped, hung from the bone as if it had caught on fire, but hadn’t melted off entirely. The iris of the one eye that I could see was bright red and the flesh around the socket was so thin it looked like someone scooped out the skin around her eye. As I peered at it I remember thinking that it looked like it was suspended in mid-air, as if it wasn’t connected to the rest of her face. Unfortunately, her face, her stare was connected to me.
Her gaze was relentless, she never blinked (though I’m not sure she could have even if she wanted to), and her stare was filled with disgust and accusation and cruelty. I knew instinctively that she wanted to make my last night in this room a living hell.
I was only half right.
She placed one hand on my bed and then another pausing only to lift her head so I could see her thin, burnt lips spread out into a ghastly smile. I tried to lift my legs to kick her, raise my arms to push her away, open my mouth to scream, but I was frozen, pinned to my mattress unable to defend myself in any way. I was unable to do anything, but watch The Pink Lady crawl up my bed, lift one hand, then another, her body grazing against me, until her face was directly above mine.
Lowering her head, her one crimson eye stared at me, taking in my terrified face and she laughed silently. The smell that escaped her lips was putrid, like unattended waste, and covered me like a soiled blanket. She lowered her head even further until her lips were pressed against my ear.
“I will never let you leave,” she hissed.
When I woke the next morning it took me several minutes to discover that I could move. I was once again in control of my body. I breathed in deeply and the room smelled as fresh as the sunshine pouring through my window. The scent of rotting garbage was a memory.
Every once in a while during the drive to our new home I would get a flash of The Pink Lady in my mind’s eye. Sitting in the front seat in between my parents, standing on the side of the highway, looking at me in the rear view mirror. But those images weren’t real, she wasn’t real. She had just been a nightmare.
That’s what I thought. That’s what I hoped.
When we pulled into the driveway I clung to those feelings, but when I reached the top of the stairs they were viciously plucked from my heart.
“How lovely,” I remember hearing my mother say as she picked up the planter that had been left in front of our new door. A planter filled with thirteen roses all the same beautiful shade of pink.
Two words were hand-written on the card that had been placed in the center of the roses. When I read them I shuddered so violently I had to grab hold of the banister so I didn’t fall over.
Author: Michael Griffo
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 352 Pages (February 28th, 2012)
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: The boarding school known as Archangel Academy possesses a legacy of secrets known only to a privileged few. For in this peaceful, charming part of England lives a population of vampires at war with one another--and Michael Howard is caught in the middle of it all. . .When Michael left his small Nebraska hometown to enroll at Archangel Academy, he couldn't have imagined how much the experience would change him. Once mortal, Michael is now a vampire with a destiny that was foretold long ago, and a group of friends with their own mysterious abilities.
But there are enemies too, some of them hiding in plain sight. Being strong enough to defend himself isn't enough. Michael must find a way to protect his entire race of vampires. Dark forces within the school will drive everyone to take sides in the escalating violence. And for all his new powers, Michael will discover that love, jealousy, and vengeance have a danger all their own. . .
Find Michael Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook
Order The Archangel Academy Series Online:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Also, check out two other books Michael has for sale – HOLD BACK THE NIGHT, a supernatural saga (Dark Shadows meets Knots Landing!) and PEN PALS – female fiction based on his mother’s real-life relationship with her British pen pal >>>CLICK HERE<<< for more info and how to order.
ENTER TO WIN ONE of THREE COPIES OF UNAFRAID!
- THREE winners will receive the above title
Rules and how to enter -
- Please fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter this giveaway.
- Name & Email Address must be provided. (Easy Entry, just click the form & it does it for you!)
- You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
- This giveaway is open to US & CANADIAN residents only.
- Giveaway ends: November 20th, 2012 (12:01AM EST)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Michael, thanks for writing this truly terrifying story for this years Haunted Halloween. Each year I save the 31st for what I believe is the scariest story and yours has won that place. Your story really freaked me out and I hope it does that for everyone who reads it too.
Also a HUGE thank you goes out to Kensington for donating the three copies of Unafraid for giveaway.
REMINDER: *If you are interested in the COMMENT CONTEST, remember to include your email address with your comment for an extra entry.
Please ready full entry rules >>>HERE<<<