Nick was looking forward to a weekend of beer and basketball with his old college buddies. They met every March for the first round of March Madness at Jim’s lake house in the small town of Black Crow. Nick was also the king of pranks and this year he had one that would top last year’s by far.
His excitement was dampened when he found himself driving through dense fog. He could barely see the lines on the road and had to crawl along so he could navigate the sharp curves leading into town.
He was just thinking that he had to be close when a stopped car suddenly loomed out of the fog. He slammed on his brakes and stopped just inches from the car. Its hazards were blinking, and the driver’s door was open.
He recognized it. It belonged to Gordy, one of his buddies. He eased around the car and parked on the shoulder. The car was empty and no one was around. He saw a dark puddle of something by the open driver’s door. He stooped and shined the light from his cell phone on it. It was a dark red. He sprang up and took a step back. Was it blood?
He quickly got back in his car and tried calling Gordy, but as usual, there wasn’t much cell reception around Black Crow. He swore to himself and threw the phone on the passenger’s seat.
He drove on into town. It was eerie in the fog. It was early evening and there didn’t seem to be lights on in any of the houses. The town almost seemed deserted. Finally, he recognized Jim’s place and pulled into the driveway.
He was relieved to see the house lit up. He went up to the door and knocked. The sounds of a basketball game on TV played loudly in the house. But, there was no answer.
He tried the door and found it locked. He went around to the lake side of the house and checked the deck door. It was hanging open. He looked in.
The living room was a mess. Furniture was overturned. Pretzels and drinks were spilled on the floor. He went over to the TV and turned it off. The house was silent and empty.
“Jim?” He called out. All he heard was a groaning coming from outside.
He went back to the deck. There was a figure out on the dock.
“Jim?” He called as he hurried down to the dock. The figure turned around.
It was Gordy. But Nick took a step back in horror. His friend had a wild look in his eyes and was covered with blood. It dripped from his mouth and hands and covered his shirt. He shuffled forward and reached out toward Nick, grasping and groaning.
He scrambled backward and turned back toward the house. More of his friends came shuffling out from the fog along the shore. Jim and Dave came at him from the left and Bob and Paul from the right. They were all reaching their bloody hands out toward him.
His mind was reeling. He realized his only escape was to go through the house. He ran up onto the deck, pulled the door shut behind him and locked it. He ran through to the front door and pulled it open. Jim and Paul were just outside. Jim grabbed at his arm. Nick pulled away from him, slammed the door and locked it again. Then, the pounding started. They were at both doors trying to get in.
What had happened to his friends? Was everyone in town a zombie?
He glanced around looking for a way out, his heart racing. As he remembered a way out through the basement, both doors flew open and whatever his friends were now, burst into the house.
He ran to the basement and flipped on the lights. Taking the steps two at a time, he raced down and crossed the room. He could hear them following him down the steps. As he got to the steps leading outside, the door at the top pulled opened and two figures descended down toward him.
As the four figures closed in on him, Nick backed away into a corner. He held his arms out to ward off the attack and closed his eyes.
The attack didn’t come. He opened his eyes to look at the four people who until this night had been his best friends from college. They stood there silently and then, they started to laugh.
“Got you.” Jim said.
Nick just gaped at them. Then, he realized that he was no longer the king of pranks. They’d gotten him back for last year.