Night of the… What now!?
It’s Halloween night. You and I are in a pickle. Figures. Last week you did the thing I explicitly told you not to. Now they’re after us. There’s a distinct possibility our lives will end before sunrise. But I’m not sure you care as much as I do. For some reason, you think that reading a comic book is worth more than surviving to see another day.
To be fair, it looks undeniably kickass. But, still…
Right now, we are stuck inside a barely lit room made entirely of rotten wood. You guessed it: it’s part of an abandoned cabin. As cliché as we feel, it seemed like our only possible hideout.
In order to prevent them from reaching us, we have tried to bar the door with everything but the corpse that was hidden below the bed. The one that looks eerily like your mom. And, in the face of everything, before us lays a copy of a comic book issue that boldly proclaims itself to be titled Night of The Mullets with impact bold letters resembling a 1980’s horror film that went straight to VHS.
We don’t know how it got there, nor do we know who put it there. But it is actively luring us towards it. Maybe it had always been there, poised as a displayed artifact in the middle of a comic book convention table, individual acrylic stand and all, glistening below a moonlit spotlight, but my memory says otherwise.
I am unable to recall its presence on top of the very same drawer you used to block the door’s handle as soon as we entered. In fact, a few seconds ago, when we were looking out the window to visually confirm that we had lost the black 1987 Ford LTD Crown tailing us through the woods, I was sure this room had nothing even remotely interesting inside. Just a couple of mid-rotting wooden furniture and dark irregular blotches adorning the floors.
And yet, the comic book is there. Taunting us. Asking us to read it. Singing a melodious 1980’s tune that resonates throughout our minds like a mermaid’s chant.
You are the first one to grab it.
“What’s this?” you ask, leaving your post as the human component of our barricade. You seem to have forgotten how dire our situation has become, every second demanding our complete attention in order to assure our survival. “Do you think it’s worth a read?”
I grab the book off of your hands. I take a closer look at the cover adorning the book. Maybe it’s not obvious from the get go, what with the illustration going more for a striking image that, instead of trying to surmise the plot of the book in a single picture, it aims to emulate its mood, but I know exactly what this is. I can smell it. If I wasn’t so afraid of the virus, I could taste it, too.
“This is a b-movie. A b-movie in comic book form.”
“How do you know?”
“That’s easy”, I say, giving the book back to you, “I read the title.” As soon as the glossy paper leaves the comfort of my fingerprints, I scurry back towards the window. I could swear I saw something moving amongst the trees, something big.
“How so? These words could mean anything! Maybe it’s one of those indie stories about a kid coming of age in the tumultuous 1980’s”
“Turn it around.” I squint at the forest that surrounds us. There is wind, the howling kind, and yet, now that I look at it closer, all the trees remain perfectly immobile, as if they had been time-frozen, as if they were holographic images sent forward from another dimension. Something’s wrong, I know it. I just don’t know what this means for us yet. I only know I need to fear it.
You turn around the comic book. In an instant, the weathered “Got Milk?” add featuring characters from Rugrats fades out before your very eyes and is replaced by a completely black back cover.
“There’s nothing he—”
Your words are cut off short when a block of white text starts appearing over the black sea of nothingness, one letter a time, following the speed you use to read the official comic book synopsis out loud.
“As meteor showers rain down over the small town of Crater Springs, Texas, a gas station attendant named Clarence faces off against a strange creature lurking in shadows, the first in a wave of infestation which hasn’t been seen on Earth for centuries. And it’s up to Doreen Rivers, elite member of the Hairforce – a sisterhood of hairdresser resistance fighters – to keep all hair from breaking loose. Because if these parasites have their way there’ll be Hell toupee!”
Silence becomes the only audible sound inside our hiding spot. Complete and utter silence. Then, a single gunshot, close enough to make my ears ring, but far enough to know it will not hit us. When the ringing dissipates, I hear steps crunching over grass and twigs moving in our direction. I can’t locate who – or what – is moving outside, but they move as if they wanted to be heard. That alone is enough to make my stomach become an anxiety ball.
“I don’t know, mate”, you finally say, a look of confusion liquefying your face. “Sounds weird, I don’t know if I’ll like it.” You start leafing through the issue unconvinced, trying to find some sort of hope printed on its pages.
“Yes, you do”, I say, my face utterly compressed against the window while my eyes scurry all around the visible perimeter to identify the owner of the steps that keep getting nearer and nearer.
“I just said I didn’t!”
“Look, you saw the cover, you read the title and read the synopsis. That’s all you need. You should know by now if you’ll like this comic book or not, alright? It’s simple.”
“Oh yeah? Why don’t you give me your review of it, then?”
“It is glorious. Absolutely glorious!”
“Well, I disagree! It sounds stupid!”
“Not only is that the point, you just proved my point. And it’s fine you don’t like it, this is not for everyone.”
“So, you’re telling me it’s perfect then?”
“Oh, far from it. Like, for instance, the artstyle? It’s not bad, but it is so not my cup of tea. But I’m not complaining. It gets the job donde perfectly. Because you read these things for the spectacle, for the show, not for the perfectness of it all. It’s an experience.”
“Yeah”, you say, closing the issue with disdain. “I think I’ll pass on this one.”
“Your loss, mate. Your loss.”
And, just as I start smiling, thinking about all the possibilities hidden within this magnificent premise some paranormal entity bestowed upon us as our possible final meal, the door we spent so much time blocking with furniture opens just a crack, pushing back all of the furniture like if it wasn’t even there. We were distracted.
Our hearts stop beating.
Something comes through the room from outside. It is a solitary strand of hair.
We know this means our end.
Meanwhile, you can pick up The Night Of The Mullets #1 on Comixology,