|Based on DarkMedia City's Friday Fright's theme: Dance of the Dead or Undead|
I roll over on my back and watch the sun creep its morning presence through the strung up torn sheets used as a sorry excuse for drapes. This morning I didn’t care, because for the first time since Mama and I moved to this dead beat town to live with Granny I feel human again.
“When the sunbeam gets to the large crack in the middle of the ceiling I’m gonna get up.” I promise myself aloud. I stretch my thick legs over the end of the same bed I’ve had since I was twelve and think about health class yesterday and learning how the sperm finds its perfect mate. “Hum, I wonder what Brad’s thinking about right now?”
I smile at how yesterday’s usual crappy morning turned out to be the perfect day. I’m sure it’s not every day that Brad Weasley, the all star Senior Quarterback and winner of last year’s State Championship Wrestling Competition, and just about the hottest guy at Valley Hill High, asks an all star seventeen year old nobody from out of town to the Senior Prom.
I can’t wait to see the look on the cheerleading squad’s starving supermodel wannabe faces when Brad Weasley walks into the dance holding hands with a well fed, never worn lipgloss, never worn nail polish or eyeliner and a never have had their hair cut in fifteen years super babe!
Holding true to my promise, I get out of bed and pull my stretchy jeans and faded tee shirt from the dirty clothes pile. Giving some thought to how my frizzy hair looks for the first time since maybe sixth grade, I walk into the bathroom and confirm it looks best in a ponytail, like it does everyday.
I make my way down the tiny dark hall toward the kitchen and find my usual plate of mile high pancakes covered in loads of melted butter and syrup. “Morning Mama and Granny.” I plop down and shovel a forkful of the gooey goodness into my mouth.
Mama looks up from the spread out paper. “Morning, Tracey Ann.”
Granny nods and smiles.
“I was just reading here the Senior Prom is this weekend. Be nice if you were going.” Mama said.
Mama jumps up from her chair and lifts Granny by the arm and the two burst into a silent square dance.
“Oh Mama, it’s nothing special he’s just some boy from the football team.”
Mama stops swinging Granny around and staggers over to me and pats her right hand on top of my head. “Tracey Ann, going to your Senior Prom is a big deal, it’s a dance you’ll remember the rest of your life.”
The week went as slow as molasses dripping from a tree, but Saturday finally arrived and I couldn’t wait for six o’clock to come and to watch Brad Weasley pull into the driveway in his red hot Mustang.
I made my way down the hall and into the sitting room where Mama was watching the same episodes of I Love Lucy she watches every Saturday night and Granny was crocheting the ugliest blanket I have ever seen. “Is that for me, Granny?”
As usual, she just nods.
I spin around once and clear my throat. “How do I look?”
Mama waits to mimic a line with Ethel before taking her eyes off the television. “Tracey Ann, you will knock them all dead.”
Granny looks up, nods and goes back to crocheting my ugly blanket.
Sick of listening to Mama repeat every word of I Love Lucy, including Lucy’s annoying whine, I get up from the couch and peek through the worn drapes. “Mama, I think my date forgot to pick me up. I’m gonna walk down to the school.”
I grab the cool vintage handbag I found at the second hand store with my dress and swing open the front door. “Good night, don’t wait up.”
“Tracey Ann? I’d be careful if I were you.” Granny never looks up from her crocheting. “Things ain’t been right in this town ever since, oh what do they call them, showed up.”
“I will Granny.” Geez, when she does talk she says the weirdest things.
The closer I get toward the end of the block, thumping music fills the empty street and when I turn the corner every window of Valley Hill High is flashing like the disco floor from that old fashioned movie Mama makes me watch with her.
The ear piercing beat of the music along with the thumping lights shoots a tingle of excitement down my spine. I pull the door open and suddenly it goes silent and I shout into the darkness. “Hello!” I take a step inside and the door pushes me further in. “Brad!”
Using my hands along the locker walls to make my way to the gymnasium I think about turning back and running home. Then I remember how excited Mama was I was going to the Prom and decide to find out what’s going on.
I pause outside the wooden doors and adjust my under garments, take a deep breath and smile like Mama always told me to do when I was scared and then count to three before pushing my way in.
Through the shadowed light, silhouettes of heads fill the gym and soft whispers echo from the walls. “Tracey Ann, you made it.” Brad steps forward from the crowd and I’m blinded by the sudden lights.
“Brad, what happened to your face!”
“This is my face, I wear a mask like all the teenage zombies do.”
The cheerleading squad stepped forward and one by one they pulled their starving wannabe supermodel mask off and the last thing I remember is smiling at the site of their sunken eyes and rotting flesh.
The sound of Mama’s footsteps echo down the hall as she makes her way into the kitchen. “Tracey Ann, why are you on the floor?
With ease, I twist my head backwards and hold up my morning delight for her to see. “Mmmm, yummy!” Starving, I rip the last delicious bit of morsel left clinging to Granny’s thigh bone and shove it in my mouth.
I can still hear Mama screaming after she slams the front door and decide to let her go for now, because dinner will be here before I know it.
I twist my head back around and sink my teeth through Granny’s wrist like a hot iron on a cow’s behind. The crochet needle that was tightly grasped in her hand clings to the floor and I wonder if she finished making my ugly blanket.
Granny’s fingers are as sweet as fresh husked corn drenched in butter and I think about dinner. “Geez, Mama was right, it was a dance I’ll remember for the rest of my endless existence.”