3rd Place Halloween Short Story: “Prom Night”

3rd Place Halloween Short Story:

Prom Night

Based on the tale of

Mary Jane’s Bridge

“Justice? You get justice in the next world,

in this world you have the law.”

-William Gladdis Jr., A Frolic of His Own

It was a warm spring day as Mary Jane sat on her front porch. Her sweet tea was dripping and watering down quickly as the sun rose higher in the sky. She sat there, rocking on the porch swing and talking to her father about the night’s events.

“He ain’t the captain of the football team, but he was the first to come a askin’.” Her father nodded his head in his all-knowing way.

“Mary Jane!” her mother called from the kitchen, “I reckon it’s ’bout time you’s to get ready!” She kissed her father and went inside.

“You need help getting made up? You got cha dress? And what about cha shoes?” Her mother asked.

After much reassuring, Mary Jane convinced her mother that she would need no help getting ready for her junior prom. She walked in her room and admired her dress. She simply adored it. It was a beautiful white gown that shined like the moon, and once she put it on she danced merrily and did her hair. By seven o’clock, Mary Jane was ready. Astonishingly beautiful, as she stood in her yard waiting. The moon reflected off of her dress giving her an angel-like aura.

By seven-thirty, her date arrived. She walked down the front porch steps and her family was delighted.

“What a beautiful young southern belle we’ve made.” Her mother said to her father.

Again, he nodded his head in approval. He was never a man of many words. After many pictures, kisses, and laughter, they were off with promises to be back by midnight. Her date’s name was Damian. She only had one class with him at the high school, and he rarely talked. He always sat alone at lunch and was never at any parties. Damian at prom would be like Mother Teresa at a casino. Needless to say, she was very surprised when he asked her, but still she was polite and accepted his request.

Now, as they drove along in his car, Mary Jane asked him what he liked to to for fun. He simply replied “think”, and they did exactly that for a long time. She thought about seeing Damian in the hallway, always looking down. In a way, she found him intriguing. She would like to get to know him better, if he would ever talk.

They sat quietly, until she turned on the radio to try to break the ice. No response. Damian sat completely still, only moving his arms to steer. They drove for what seemed to be ages. She finally gave up. She was bored out of her mind. But then, she looked outside her window. She had no recollection of this place at all. She didn’t know where they were, much less a way to get home.

“I’ve never been down this way before, are we in Broussard?” He could tell she was anxious.

“You ain’t never heard of a shortcut?” Damian spat back at her. It was the first full sentence he’d said to her all night. It wasn’t positive, but at least it was something. He had the personality of a mop bucket. Soon, he pulled over on a bridge, killed the ignition, and got out of the car. She recognized this place.

“Bayou Tortue? Why are we here?” she thought to herself.

Getting out of the car, she felt a cold chill run down her spine. She spun around, facing him nervously.

“What, you ain’t never been alone with a guy before?” Damian said in an inquisitive tone. She stayed quiet and stared at the night sky. Now he was the social one. “Oh c’mon Mary Jane! I just wanna hold ya hand!”

He lurched forward trying to grasp her hand, causing her to pull away, almost instinctively. She could tell this offended him, so she tried to change the topic.

“We’re gonna be late…” She said, swallowing nervously. But sadly, Damian had no intention of getting to prom on time. He grabbed her neck so quickly, so violently, It put Mary Jane into shock.

“You just couldn’t play nice, could you?” Damian spat at her.

Terrified, Mary Jane screamed and begged for mercy. But this could never stop him. He proceeded to rape and torture Mary Jane. Damian looked directly into her terror filled eyes as she took her last breath and her soul fled from her body. Then, he threw her corpse into the Bayou Tortue and staged her death as an accident. He put her blood on the railing, broke his front windshield, and rammed the car into the side of the bridge.

Now, it was time to exit the beautiful nightmare he had created, and leave it up to the “always reliable” law force. Damian walked down the road for a good while before catching the city bus. He got on it, the stench of fear lingering about him, and applauded himself for a job well done. But it wasn’t over yet. He had timed it perfectly, and now he was at his stop, which, as he had planned, was in walking distance of the high school.

After getting off, he went to Prom only to form an alibi. He sat in the back, watching veveryone, contemplating his victim for next year. After what seemed like ages to him, the party ended, and he went home. The next morning, the police came to question him.

“Dead? Oh no, she can’t be. She could never, never be. I told her to go straight home, oh God she was so drunk! She took my car, I tried to stop her, really. I just didn’t want to hurt her! Oh no, look what I’ve done!” Damian said, sobbing at the officer’s feet. They left in a hurry as to not cause the poor boy any more emotional trauma.

Oh, the horror indeed. They say you can still see her some nights. She’s always wearing that same white dress on that same old bridge. The locals love her, and maybe one day you too could witness her standing there, waiting and hoping for peace.