He wasn’t quite sure exactly how he’d ended up at the Fifty-Third Annual Deception Pass Fall Festival when he’d fully intended to drive straight home from The Xenon, but now that he was here, Andy was surprised to find he was actually managing to have a half-way decent time. The smell of cider and elephant ears was strong, pulling him forward to the vendors like an invisible hand. The streets were crowded with people, and he got the impression quite a few of them weren’t exactly human. His attention was drawn to a small stage set off to the east of the main thoroughfare where a local band was playing a song that, despite how ridiculous it sounded, quite a few people were dancing to.
He stood slightly back and stared mindlessly at the crowd for a few minutes before he got the strongest sensation that he was being watched. It only took him a few seconds to spot the culprit on the other side of the lawn, her vacant expression switching mechanically to a flirtatious smile when he caught her eye before she turned away and disappeared behind a handful of people.
Confused and tired of the ridiculous music, he took her cue and headed away from the concert and back the way he’d come. After all, it’d been years since he’d had a turnover; it was definitely time to become reacquainted with them. He quickly found a stand and got in line, trying to decide if he would get apple or cherry.
“These are a rip-off. The best ones are on the other side of the fair.” Andy jumped, startled as he turned around and found himself face to face with Tristan’s ex-girlfriend.
“Thank you for the suggestion, but I’m already right here.”
“Trust me; they’re worth the two minute walk.”
The silver-haired girl flashed her strange smile again, motioning him to follow her. Andy paused, wondering what sort of game she was up to, before deciding he was curious enough to follow her.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t remember your name.”
“Oh yes, of course. I’m Andy.”
“That’s a nice name.”
Though his recollection of her at his Christmas party a few years back was vague at best, he certainly didn’t remember her coming across as particularly vapid at the time. He was just about to ask her point-blank what she was hoping to accomplish when Tristan and his group of easily-amused friends from earlier stepped in front of them.
“Where are you going, Deanna?” Tristan asked, his voice slightly threatening.
“I was just taking him to the better apple turnovers.”
Deanna looked back and forth between the two of them, as if trying to make a very serious decision. After a few seconds, Tristan held his hand out to her and she stepped beside him. Andy found the entire scene both bizarre and fascinating, like the documentaries on cheese-making he could never quite seem to make himself turn off.
“Do you know where the old cottage is near the bridge?” Tristan asked, turning his attention to Andy.
“We’re heading out there for a party; you should come with us.”
“What are you playing at, Tristan?”
“I’m not playing at anything. It’s an invitation, that’s all; we just want to be friends. Isn’t that right, boys?”
Tristan’s groupies erupted in a chorus of affirmation and laughter that set Andy’s nerves on edge.
“See? We’re a friendly bunch.”
“Yes, I can see that. And just when does this little shindig of yours start?”
“We’re heading over there right now, in fact.”
“Why don’t we see who can get there first?” the shorter, blond lackey asked.
“What, in a demented foot race? There’s no way I could win against your kind.”
“Not on foot, Stone. You don’t have to win, you just have to keep up. Failing that, you know where to find us.”
He shouldn’t have even been hesitating to decline the offer, but something tickling deep inside his brain was keeping him from just walking off. He glanced at Deanna, who gave him a quick smile, and decided he’d join them after all.
“I promise you won’t regret your decision.”
“I’m sure things will work out for me one way or another.”
“See you at the party, Stone.”
Tristan turned and walked off through the crowd, followed by the three apparently brain damaged vamps and Deanna. Andy watched them for a few seconds, still not completely convinced he was actually going to end up joining them.
A few minutes later, he was well on his way to the abandoned cabin.