Rain fell outside the Hillcrest dorm. A loud crack of thunder caused the four girls' hearts to skip. Olivia, Ashley, Christina, and Abby were all getting ready for the biggest frat party of the year.
"Maybe we should call a cab to take us over to the house," said Olivia as she straightened her long, luscious blond hair -- trying to look beautiful so she could go out and catch a man tonight.
"Olivia, it's only five blocks! I think we can make it, it's just rain," said Ashley.
"There is no way that I am going to ruin my brand new Prada shoes walking to that stupid fraternity house!" Olivia snapped.
"Well, then you can get a cab, but I am walking over."
"I'll walk over with you Ashley," said Christina.
"Sounds good, let's go."
Ashley and Christina took off heading towards the Zeta Eta Theta fraternity house. The sun was setting and the sky was becoming a little darker and mysterious.
"Man, it is really chilly out here, isn't it?" Ashley said
"Yeah it really is, but we are getting really close," said Christina as the girls walked past the old theater.
"Hey Christina, I know a short cut to the house -- we just have to take a right and go down this ally. It will take us right up to the back door of the house," Ashley said.
"It is really dark and scary looking. Are you sure you know where it will take us?"
"Yeah. Follow me." Ashley demanded.
Christina turned right and followed Ashley as she strutted down the ally that was as dark as the bottom of the ocean and had a stench of sour milk.
All of a sudden, Ashley came to a complete halt and Christina ran right into the back of her.
"Why did you stop, Christina?"
"I heard something."
"What is it?"
"Don't you hear it -- that whisper!"
"Just keep walking. You stupid ass, you're just hearing things."
"No really! Be quiet so I can hear what they're saying."
Right then, Ashley saw a black and white mask out of the corner of her eye.
"Jesus! Christina, you didn't tell me that they were doing the freaking Phantom of the Opera this weekend! That mask scared the crap out of me. Why'd someone leave it here?"
When Ashley reached for the mask, a mysterious breeze whirled through the alley, grabbing the mask with its transparent hands and flinging it into the air.
Ashley's voice broke off when the breeze flew into her open mouth, cutting off her air supply. Invisible hands wrapped themselves around her slender throat and the treacherous wind exploded in a burst of energy, knocking her off of her feet. Christina pressed herself against the brick wall of the alley, her skirt flying up in the insane wind. Ashley kicked at the air, scratching at the nonexistent eyes of her attacker.
"Leave her alone!" Christina screamed, shoving away from the wall and running to her friend. The wind swirled through Ashley's hair, shoving tendrils into her gaping mouth and smacking her head against the cracked cement of the alley.
Suddenly, the mask dropped back down to the ground and the wind fell silent.
Notes of a tango song echoed throughout the enclosed alley; Christina's phone was ringing loudly, but she couldn't find it.
"Ashley! Oh God! Wake up Ashley!!!" Christina yelled, trying to see if her friend was still alive. She pulled the hair from Ashley's mouth and tapped on her cheek. "Ashley!"
Ashley's eyelids fluttered a few times and opened.
"Where am I?" she whispered, barely able to speak after the attack her throat had suffered.
"We were just attacked, Ashley, by some fucked up wind and mask thing. It was so fucking weird! Oh God, please, we just have to get out of here!!"
Christina grabbed her friend under the arms, trying to pull her up. One of her heels snapped under the weight, sending them both back to the ground. She threw off the shoes and grabbed Ashley again. The girls stumbled as they tried to get up and walk.
Christina's phone went off again, but she waited to answer it until she and Ashley made it out of the alley and were only steps away from the frat house.
"Where are you guys, we have been waiting at the house for forty-five minutes for you," said Olivia.
Christina couldn't find her voice, she just started shaking and gasping for air.
"Christina? What is it? What's going on?"
"Ash--Ash…" Christina sank to the ground, her shaking limbs no longer able to support Ashley. The two girls laid sprawled on the sidewalk; Ashley coughing and Christina with a death grip on her phone.
"Where are you?" Olivia demanded.
"Outside," Christina whispered.
The frat house door burst open; Olivia and Abby rushed down the steps, seeing their defeated friends. Olivia was already re-dialing her cell and demanding that a police car be sent out immediately.
"What happened?" Abby asked for the second time.
Christina just stared up at her. "I don't know," she finally said.
"What? Just fucking look at Ashley--obviously something happened!" Olivia had snapped her phone shut and was quick to jump into the conversation.
"Look, we were taking this crappy short cut through the alley behind the old King Theatre--"
"Holy crap, did you get mugged?"
"No, it wasn't a person…" Christina's voice trailed off.
"What was it then, Barney?"
"Yeah that was it," Christina sarcastically mumbled. "No, it was like the wind freaked out or something. And there was this creepy flying mask…"
Olivia just stared at her. "Were you smoking weed before you got to the party, Christina?"
"You better not tell the police that or they will probably keep you there for years running every damn drug test they can think of." Olivia examined her perfectly manicured nails. "Is Ashley okay?"
"Does she look okay?" Christina snapped.
Abby was kneeling beside Ashley on the grass stroking her forehead and talking to her quietly. The blazing sound of sirens cut through the evening. Christina bit down on her lip wondering what she was going to tell the cops.
The doors of the frat house burst open and underage college students ran in every direction.
"The fucking coppers are going to try to bust us!" She heard a drunken boy yell before he tripped down the front steps. Girls in stilettos ran around them, not even noticing Ashley was laying there. All the underage drinkers had escaped when the police car finally pulled up next to the curb with an ambulance close behind it.
Two young paramedics carefully placed Ashley on a stretcher and lifted her into the back of the vehicle.
"Is she going to be okay?" Christina cried out.
One of them looked back over his shoulder at her. "She'll be fine, but I think she has a severe concussion and signs of an attempted strangulation." He stepped up into the drivers' seat, slammed the door, and threw the ambulance into gear.
"We're going to have to talk to you, miss," said one of the police officers as he ran his fingers through his dark, wavy hair. He led her over to the car, away from Olivia and Abby. "What exactly happened tonight?"
Christina wiggled her bare toes in the grass. "Uh, some guy came up behind us in the alley. He tried to strangle Ashley and he kept hitting her head against the cement."
"Did you see what he looked like?"
"No, sorry Officer, it was too dark." Christina looked back down at the ground.
"We'll need you to come down to the station in the morning so we can ask you more questions. But for now, you should head home and get some rest." The cop flipped his notebook shut and handed her a business card. "Just tell the desk you need to talk to me."
As the police officer drove off Olivia and Abby came up behind Christina.
"Well, at least you didn't tell him your cracked out theory," Olivia said as she lit a cigarette.
"Yeah…" Christina let out a deep breath. "Let's get out of here."
But as the girls walked back home, Christina couldn't help but feel a shiver of terror every time the wind picked up or danced around the bottom of her skirt…
First of all I would like to thank Laura for all the thought and time she put into my story. Also I would like to thank my entire class and Terry for their critiques and helpful suggestions. Without all of your help there never would have been "The Mask!"