One by one they started showing up. They carried funny shaped bottles.
Some wore funny looking t-shirts with weird names on them, like
Hoegarrden and Arrogant Bastard. Others dressed normal or wore more
Will didn’t always notice things. In fact he sometimes missed many
things. But when he wanted to, he could notice a whole lot. Like way
the people looked. There was something about them, something that made
them look… tired. They sort of lumbered up to his neighbor Vincent’s
Maybe it was because it was Friday. After all, the week was long. For
him at least. He had three quizzes and a test in Mr. Stokely’s. It
would’ve been fine if Mr. Stokely hadn’t pushed him. You see, he was
special. Well everyone in the class was already special. But he even
more so. According to his teacher Will “surpassed all his
high-functioning colleagues” in computer programming and therefore was
given tougher assignments and tests.
He did fine on the test, but that’s because he put in a hard week of
studying algorithms and formulas for software formatting. Tonight was
his night to party. Just like those guests trudging next door. Tonight
was Game of Thrones and pizza night with classmate and buddy Miles. The
best night of the week.
The two of them were watching the tail end of an Adam Sandler sequel,
waiting for the pizza he ordered. When the pizza came, the marathon of
knights and kingdoms and dragons would commence.
Will looked out the window again.
“Pizza here?” Miles said.
The car turned out to be that of another one of his neighbor’s
It was getting dark outside. The four-car garage was filling up. People
conversed on the array of couches and lounge chairs where cars were
supposed to be. Music was playing. Chinese lanterns cast dim lighting
on the medieval-patterned tapestry adorning the garage walls.
Empty cups, bottles, and growlers sat on tables and sideboards. Unused
kegs sat in the middle of the garage, the epicenter of the
congregation. The host calmly surveyed the hubbub. The guests
acknowledged him as he walked by, exchanging formal pleasantries.
Eventually he stood in the center next to the kegs and cleared his
throat. The room fell silent, all eyes on him.
“Thank you for coming,” The man said. “Our association keeps expanding
There was applause.
“We come to enjoy the fruits of our labor and celebrate fraternity of
More subtle applause.
The garage erupted in movement, guests going to their cups, bottles,
and growlers, then forming lines to the kegs.
The host moved to the porch and sat down. A pale, striking woman sat in
the chair opposite, a slight evening breeze rattling the soft wind
chimes along with her pitchy hair.
They exchanged a knowing glance.
“Anything?” he said.
She shrugged lazily. Then her eyes twinkled out into the street.
Will looked out and thought he saw a car topped with an LED Dominoes
sign driving towards his house.
He looked at Miles. “I think pizza’s here.”
They both grinned and high-fived each other.
The pizza man checked the order on the receipt along with the address.
He stepped out of the car and opened the backdoor to get the delivery.
As he lifted the flap to the heat-insulated carrier, the smell of
marinara and pepperoni hit him. And something else—a searing pain
invaded his entire right side.
He froze. There was this weight on his neck that quickly felt like
needles piercing skin. Consciousness left him as soon as he tried to
scream. The only sound to come out was a soft whimper.
The host moved with amazing agility, and in a moment he was inside the
threshold of his home with the body.
Will heard a car screech as he opened his front door. Down the street
he saw the Dominoes light flash off on the car as it turned out of his
neighborhood. “Huh?” he said, staring.
The porch-chair the pale, black-haired woman had sat in was empty.
Later that night, the host brought out a fresh keg labeled “dessert.”
"My name is Nolan Yard and I'm
28 years old and have been published in Foliate Oak. I've also
self-published two anthologies and worked with a former Random House
story in the Aphelion
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