It was Halloween night, and as was the yearly tradition, there was a costume ball being held at the old Murphy mansion. James was excited because he had finally gotten an invitation, after three years of trying to get in. He had just moved to Wellstown five years ago to take the position as CEO of the large construction firm which belonged to the family for which the mansion was named. Technically, the mansion still belonged to the family, but no one had actually lived in it for the last ten years. The family had decided to open it up to the public on special occasions and the occasional tour.
As he had gotten used to know some of the family, he had found himself intrigued by one of the female members of the family. Her name was Anna, and she was the niece of old man Murphy. She had only come into the office about ten times in the five years that he had worked for the family, but he found himself thinking of her from time to time. As many men in town were, James was stunned by Anna’s beauty. It was just so hard to get to know a lot of the people in town though. Especially the ones who ran in the same circles as the Murphy’s. They were a little clannish in this small town, and even though he held a high position in the company, he had never been invited to any of the party’s which they had hosted in the time that he’d known them. They were polite enough to him, but they didn’t really accept him as part of their group of friends and family.
So, when he had gotten the invitation, he was surprised. Especially since Anna had come into the office and hand delivered it herself. She had handed him the envelope and said that she hoped he could make it, and that she was looking forward to sharing a dance or two. James had asked how he would know who she was, since the ball would be masked as well as costumed. Anna grinned at him and told him not to worry…that she would find him. As she walked away from him, leaving a cloud of perfume James sat in a half dazed state for a while, intoxicated by her.
His excitement about being included on the guest list mounted until the day arrived. James had gone to a specialty men’s shop and gotten a vintage looking men’s tux altered. It was midnight black with deep burgandy crushed velvet accents. He had even found a mask to match. At 7 p.m. on Halloween night, he left to make the 15 minute drive to the mansion. Upon his arrival, he was flabbergasted by the ornate yet classic decorations, both outside and in. As soon as he stepped into the foyer, a uniformed butler stepped forward to take his cape. Before the man had stepped away from him, a familiar female figure approached. Anna didn’t even have to utter a word. He just knew that it was her.
They began to laugh as soon as they said hello, because somehow they had managed to wear matching costumes. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she looked in her form fitting black and burgandy Victorian ball gown…and her mask…it was adorned with copious amounts of feathers and rhinestones. Her costume was made complete by elbow length satin gloves and a gorgeous set of jewelry made of rubies and onyx. Hooking her arm through his, she led him to the bar for a drink before taking him around the room for introductions. As soon as they had made their rounds, she led him out to the veranda and told him that she had been attracted to him since he had arrived in town. He was astonished that a woman as beautiful as she was felt that way. It wasn’t as though he were unattractive, he just had always felt that she was way out of his league.
As the night wore on they had a great time together, dancing and mingling with the other guests. At just a few minutes before midnight, she leaned in and whispered in his ear, “Do you want to go find someplace private?”
She didn’t need to ask him twice! Anna led him downstairs into the basement area. James found it a bit odd that she would choose the old, unfinished basement when there was an entire mansion to choose from. He figured that her reasoning for doing so was probably that it wasn’t likely that anyone else would come down here. They walked through the dimly lit basement, clear through to the back corner or the house. When they arrived at a thick metal door, she reached out and slid it open. The room was pitch dark. James felt a little nervous, so he asked her where they were going. She put her finger to his lips and told him that they were almost there.
“It’ll be worth it James.”, she said.
He heard another door sliding open and thought to himself that he was glad that she knew where she was going. As they walked into the chamber, he noticed that the room was flickering with candlelight and that there was a large table in the center of the room surrounded by several shadowy figures. This definitely made his heart beat faster. As he turned to go back out of the room, he heard the doors slamming shut.
Before he could ask her what was going on Anna said, “Tonight James, you are about to fill a very important role in this community. We know how much you’ve wanted to be included in our group, and even though it may not be as you expected, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ve made the cut”.
As soon as she uttered those words, a large man stepped forward holding a gleaming silver blade. James stepped backward, only to find himself being restrained by two more large men. The two men holding his arms forced him over to the table and pushed him down onto its surface. That was when old man Murphy stepped forward from the darkness.
“James, now that we’re all here it’s time to tell you the truth. Every person in this room is at least 200 years old. About every fifty years or so we hire a new CEO, which in our case stands for chief executive offering. All of us have made a pact. The details of that pact are irrelevant to you, except for the part which we’ve brought you here to fulfill. In order for us to remain among the living to fulfill our end of the pact, we have to make a sacrifice about every fifty years. You are that sacrifice. We are going to cut you and drain you of blood, which we will consume. The unfortunate part of this is that we are not permitted to kill you before taking your blood, because the other party to our pact requires a living person to consume. When my ancestors first came to this country, one of my forefathers made a deal with some of the Natives in order to live longer and create a legacy for the family. As a result, he turned into a Wendigo and requires human flesh to keep the bloodline strong and prosperous. So, tonight you will be most useful in your role as CEO”.
Before James could scream, someone shoved a gag into his mouth. He could feel the cuts of what felt like twenty knives all over his skin. People were stepping forward to catch the blood in ornate goblets and guzzled it down. As his vision began to fade, a creature stepped out from the deepest recesses of the room. He knew at that moment, that everything that old man Murphy had said was the truth. Completely helpless, he watched the Wendigo step close to him with its teeth bared. The only mercy in this entire evening was that when the Wendigo took its first, and fatal bite it went for his neck. He could hear the crunch, before the lights went out of his eyes.