Author's note: This is a spin off the Jeff the Killer 2015 reboot by BanningK1979. His remake can be found here. Both Jeff and Jane are considerably different than their original incarnations. I am well aware that 'Jane Arkensaw' is a plagiarized version of the original character but I was unaware of this at the time of writing this. I am honestly not sure what to do at the moment as I have actually been unable to find what the original surname was of the character. If anyone can help me with this particular issue, please contact or comment with some information or advice.
The poster read:
2017 Fall Masquerade
October 30 at the Hayden Memorial City Center
3450 US-190, Everlast LA, 70448
Doors Open 6:00 pm
Male and Female Masks Provided. Unique Masks Encouraged.
The bottom half of the poster featured two theater masks, one laughing and one sobbing.
Standing in the hallway of Everlast High School, Jane read the poster and reread it, trying to reassure herself.. She had lived in the small town for nearly five years, and she had dreamed of attending the Fall Masquerade as a High School Junior. She had snuck in years earlier, but this was her year.
“Hey JK, what are you doing here?”. Jane looked over in the empty high school hallway. Melissa was walking towards her with the new girl at school.
“Hey Mel,” Jane called, turning to face the two. Melissa was a dark brunette with with a side smile on her face, knowing that Jane hated what she was doing. The girl next to Melissa was blonde, and she looked unsure of herself. Jane was tall than both of them, something something for which Melissa and a few others had mocked her to no end, and her black hair extended to the crease in her back. She addressed the new girl. “I’m Jane.”
“I’m Tracy,” the new girl said, apprehension obvious in her petite voice. “I moved her like, a week ago but I haven’t started school yet. Too late in the semester. Melissa’s been showing me around.”
“Melissa likes to show new girls around. She did it for me when I first moved here.”
Melissa stepped in between Jane and Tracy. She gave Melissa a knowing look.
“Seriously JK, what are you doing herel? Class ended two hours ago. Plus, you told me that you still haven’t bought your dress for the Masquerade.”
“JK?” Tracy asked blankly. Clearly confused, she looked towards Jane with a raised eyebrow. “Are those, like, your initials or something?”
“Uh, no no.” Jane stammered. “My name’s Jane Arkensaw. It’s…’JK’ is an inside joke.”
“Just remember who’s in charge, Tracy, you may just learn it.” Melissa said, winking at Tracy. “Jane’s basically the queen of the town.”
“Don’t listen to her,” Jane said firmly. “She’s just messing with you.”
Melissa shook her head.
“Jane’s dad owns most of the town. That’s why we give our lunch money to her every day.”
I wish. Jane thought, tightly clutching the envelope she held at her side.
“Lunch...money?” Tracy spoke slowly and looked like a deer caught in a car’s headlights. Jane instantly felt sorry for her because she reminded Jane of how naive she herself was when she first moved there. She didn’t want to point out the obvious, so she changed the subject.
“Well, how are you enjoying the town?” Jane asked, trying to be enthused. “I always thought some parts were pretty weird.”
Tracy shrugged and looked at her feet.
“Is…” She started, as if she was considering whether she wanted to ask it. “Is this the 'Jeff' town. Melissa wouldn't tell me if this is where he started killing people.”
Melissa’s amused look vanished, and she gave Jane a serious look. Jane glanced at her quickly and then looked back at Tracy.
“Don’t talk about that,” Jane said quietly. Her father had only ever hit her once, and it was for talking about Jeff the Killer. She remembered the black eye’s swelling and how easily the teachers had accepted her bad excuses. “It’s really taboo.”
“Taboo?” Tracy repeated, incredulous. “Seriously?”
“Tracy.” Melissa said flatly. “Listen to Jane on this one. You’ll be better off.”
Melissa looked back towards Jane. She tried to resume her playful attitude, but she looked disturbed. Jane wondered how Melissa’s parents had disciplined her about the Jeff taboo. No one ever talked about it, but Jane presumed it was violent for everyone.
“So, let’s talk about the other elephant in the room.” Melissa said, addressing Jane. “You still haven’t told me why you’re at school after hours.”
“Don’t change the subject,” Tracy said stubbornly. “I want to know why you two look so freaked out all of sudden.”
“Are you really that stupid?” Jane asked spitefully. Now Tracy reminded Jane too much of how she herself used to be when she was new to town. Her face felt fuzzy remembering the sensation of her father’s fist coming into contact with it. “They renamed the town because no one’s supposed to talk about that. Just keep your mouth shut.”
Tracy seemed taken back, her eyes widening in surprise.
“Whoa, Melissa was right,” Tracy said flatly. “You really are a bitch. I think I’ve seen enough of the school for today.”
“Just go wait by my car.” Melissa sighed, rubbing her temples. “Okay?”
“Okay,” Tracy said quietly. Jane and Melissa watched her turn the corner of the hallway.
“I really hope she doesn’t get lost on the way to the parking lot,” Melissa said, trying in vain to lighten the mood.
“Did you really call me a bitch behind my back?” Jane asked Melissa.
“In my defense,” Melissa said, trying to keep a face straight. “I wasn’t very loud.”
“You know I just don’t want her to talk herself into a bad spot. Why didn’t you tell her before?”
“Well, first of all that’s like telling someone not to think about elephants. Second, telling her not to talk about it would count as talking about it. I was sort of hoping she wouldn’t ask.”
“Of course she would ask, Melissa. She’s going to get herself into trouble if she asks the wrong person the wrong thing. Let’s just try to keep that from happening to her, okay?” Jane asked. She realized that Melissa was looking at the manilla envelope Jane held in her hand.
“A late assignment. Mr. Dawson’s staying late today and said he’d accept it. Hopefully he doesn’t mind that it’s crumpled.” She had practiced the lie enough to say it without shifting her gaze or stuttering
Melissa’s incredulous look made her realize her practice was for nothing.
“Who carries homework in a manilla envelope, Jane? Why are you lying to me?”
“It’s essay from last week.” Jane said confidently. “I got caught up trying to figure out Fall Masquerade.”
Melissa glanced over at the poster Jane had been looking at earlier.
“Jane, I want to know if you’re okay. I don’t think you are.”
Melissa seemed like she could always see right through Jane. It didn’t even matter that Jane had practiced the lie. Even then, Jane felt like Melissa was the only one who cared about her. But Jane was sick of being taken care of. At the end of the day, she needed to make her own choices, and she had to do what she thought was necessary.
“It’s an important assignment...I just can’t take my dad right now.” Jane didn’t lie, but it was still a redirect.
“Did he hit you again?”
Jane appreciated that Melissa never learned to beat around the bush, but hearing her ask that hurt a lot.
“He hasn’t done that in years,” Jane said timidly.
“Really?” Melissa’s tone was bitter, and Jane feared that she knew that Jane was trying to cover something up. “You’re acting like someone just hit you.”
Jane didn’t know what to say to that so she said nothing. Her lips tightened and her face felt numb again. But she could still feel the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me. I’m not gonna stand here and watch you cry, okay?” Melissa’s voice was sympathetic. But when Jane said nothing her voice was hard. “Fine, JK. Fine. Be that way.”
Jane knew Melissa hated watching people cry and she felt terrible about using it to get Melissa to leave. She washed her face off in the bathroom and walked down the hallway towards Mr. Dawson’s classroom. It was nearly six pm, and through the classroom curtains Jane could see the sun beginning to sink.
Mr. Dawson took a deep, nervous breath as he watched Jane enter the classroom.He opened his mouth slightly to say something, but he didn’t. Jane lightly placed the enveloped on the desk in front of him, and Mr. Dawson watched it like it was the only thing in the world. He slowly grabbed it, watching Jane closely with suspicion. His eyes shot open when he opened the envelope.
Mr. Dawson involuntarily licked his lips and put the pictures back into the envelope.
“You...you are very beautiful, Jane.” Mr. Dawson offered, trying to smile.
“Can you just go fuck yourself already and give me the cash?” Jane spat back, nodding towards the envelope of pictures. “My face isn’t on any of them, but if I see any scans or digital copies around, I call the cops first thing. I’m still 17, so it’s still child porn.”
Jane couldn’t believe she was talking about herself.
“So you do know how to do your homework. Interesting.” Mr. Dawson laughed, a wretched smile spreading across his face. “I assure you, I’m not sharing these with anyone.”
Jane nearly threw up in her mouth but she forced it down. He used the same tone he used in class, and Jane couldn’t believe this was the same person who was supposed to teach her things. Somehow in all the years she had spent in school, she hadn’t learned of a way to get out of this. She watched Mr. Dawson slide the money across his desk. Jane quickly counted it and nodded, disgusted with herself.
Mr. Dawson let out a smug laugh.
“Few years ago they almost fired half the teachers. Now I can afford something like this.” Mr. Dawson sighed, satisfied with himself. “Your father really did bring this city back from the brink, Jane.”
“He could have you fired,” Jane shot back. “I could ask him to do that.”
“You won’t.” Mr. Dawson said confidently, holding up the envelope. He gestured towards Jane’s seat in the front row of his classroom. “I’m amazed how many of your classmates pay more attention to you than they do to me. Like I said, Jane, you are very beautiful. To be frank I doubt they’d need your face all.”
Jane numbly placed the money in the black wallet that belonged to her mother. Her mother’s old driver’s license stared back at her, the last picture Jane had managed to save from her father’s purge. Jane had seen the resemblance grow the longer she carried it, but her mother always smiled, a quirk Jane lacked. She placed the wallet in her pocket.
As Jane closed the door behind her, she heard the faint sound of a zipper. She began to cry and ran towards her car in the parking lot.
Melissa was there waiting for her. Jane didn’t say anything and just ran to Melissa, and hugged her, crying on her shoulder and letting the money fall from her hands. And like she always did, she told Melissa everything.
“I’m sorry,” Jane sobbed. She couldn’t think of anything else to say, so she hugged Melissa closer and kept saying the same thing. “I’m so sorry.”
Melissa said nothing and helped Jane stagger towards the passenger seat of Jane’s car. Jane saw her gather the money from the parking lot ground and go back into the school. She emerged holding the envelope Jane had carried to Mr. Dawson.
“Don’t ask,” Melissa said, entering the driver’s seat. She tossed the envelope of pictures onto Jane’s lap. Jane looked at Melissa quickly and got a silent look in return. Jane tore it to shreds. and by the time she finished she was covered in bits of herself.
Melissa drove Jane through the old part of town that used to be called Mandeville. It was the area hit hardest in the town’s economic downfall after Jeff the Killer’s emergence. Jane could tell that Melissa was taking Jane home, but Jane noticed they were close enough to an important spot.
“Turn here,” Jane said, her voice still rough from crying.
“Huh?” Melissa blinked and did as Jane said. Jane guided her along the old roads which hadn’t been repaved in years. The various shops and stores were decrepit and those that weren’t already closed had various signs on them. For Sale. For Rent. Her father had told her that they moved to this town to try to rebuild it. Jane always felt like she was just along for the ride. Anywhere else in Everlast, Jane would be worshipped as the savior’s daughter, but this part of town was the one her father chose to leave on its own for a time.
“There.” Jane said quickly, realizing that she had almost let Melissa pass it.
“Oh God.” Melissa said, seeing the building Jane pointed to. She parked across the street on the desolate road. Dusk was just beginning to fall. Melissa barely looked away from Jane’s destination. “The costume shop? What do you want to do there?”
Jane undid her seatbelt and stepped out of the car. “I’ll explain in a second, I just have to do something first.”
Looking down, she saw that she still had shreds of the photos clinging to her pants. She brushed them off and watched the wind carry away the indiscernible fragments away. Jane crossed the street. She walked toward the costume shop, but she forced herself to look away from the display window holding an elegant black dress on a white mannequin. The store next to the costume shop was an abandoned video store. Melissa told her that it used to be a video store. It was empty now, devoid of shelves, seats, or anything. In front of the old video store was a rusting bike rack. It was brown and most of its limbs had been torn apart, likely from people using tools to steal the bikes people had there. Jane shivered as she passed it.
The display window was clear glass and even in the dusk Jane could make out the details of the dress. It left nothing to the imagination. Two straps were slung around the mannequin’s shoulders, holding the dress up. It hugged the mannequin’s hips closely, and draped around the figure’s legs before ending short of the knees.
Jane walked into the store and saw the owner, Edwin Dresher, standing behind the counter. Dresher’s face was wide and red, and he was portly. His large arms rested on the counter. He watched Jane closely with his wide face and thoughtful eyes. His gaze was intense.
“Arksensaw’s pretty little girl back again,” Dresher said, grinning. “You get it?”
Jane felt her gut tighten as she tried to speak.
“I...I need to-” Jane started, but Dresher interrupted her.
“You hear me, pretty girl?” Dresher asked, mockingly. “I said show me the money.”
Jane grunted and reached into her pocket, pulling out mother’s old wallet. She removed the credit card behind the license and tossed it onto the counter.
The name on the card was DRAKE L ARKENSAW.
“Listen kid,” Dresher said condescendingly. “I don’t know when you got a sense of humor but I already told you, I’m not taking your dad’s money. I told you to earn the money yourself and come back. Until then, the dress ain’t for sale.”
“Fair enough.” Jane said, putting the card back into her wallet behind her mother’s license. It was the only picture of her Jane had saved. Her father had destroyed all the others. “But you wanna know something? I just tried to do something really stupid because I really thought I wanted to buy the dress you keep in the window. And then I found out that I have a friend that I will never deserve and she saved me from making a terrible mistake. The only reason I’m here is because I wanted to tell you that your dress is not worth as much to me as I thought it was.”
“Well shit kid, that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” He raised an eyebrow and his face looked interested. “Who’s this friend of yours?”
“It doesn’t matter, we’re done. Have a nice night.”
Jane turned and started walking to the door but Dresher called after her.
“Kid,” he called. “Do you wanna know why I hate your dad’s guts?”
Probably not the same reason I do, Jane thought bitterly. She stopped and turned around.
“My name’s Jane,” she said, annoyed. “And why would that be?”
“Well Jane, your dad came here with his bags of money, promising to make this town a place where no more ‘Jeffs’ could come from. Nothing’s changed.”
“Mr. Dresher,” Jane said, the numb feeling in her face returning. “We’re not supposed to-”
“Oh, would you shut up. I know the rule and I don’t give a shit.” Dresher growled. “You really think not talking about him’s gonna make him go away? Won’t bring back my little girl, that’s for damn sure. That’s who I made that dress for.”
Jane’s eyes finally spotted the bottle on the far side of the counter. Dresher was drunk, and suddenly Jane didn’t feel very safe. Dresher stared at her intensely, but his eyes became tired suddenly.
“Hear me out,” he said quietly, just loud enough for Jane to hear from where she was standing. He took a deep breath. “I watched my grandson walk out of this costume shop five years ago and he decided to mess with the wrong crazy kid. I watched him and his piece of shit friends get their assses kicked. None of them deserved what happened to them. My daughter and her daughter sure as hell didn’t either. Renaming the town, switching the zip code. Just because your dad tears down a few buildings and builds a city center with their names on it doesn’t mean this town is any different. He’s a fraud, and everyone’s so drunk on his money they can’t even see that another kid’s probably gonna start stabbin’ people soon enough.”
“I don’t care what you think of my dad.” Jane asked, shrugging. She wanted to run away, but for some reason she couldn't turn away from Dresher. “What does this have to do with me?”
“Jane, you’ll probably live longer if you just learn to shut up and listen. Look, whoever this friend of yours is, I guarantee is out for themselves. Don't kid yourself, no one’s got any friends in this town. My grandkid Randy learned too late he didn’t have any real friends. Everyone is out for themselves. Pretty much everyone's a sick fuck deep down. I hope you can see that it was like that before Jeff and it won’t change unless someone burns this town to the ground.”
Dresher stepped from behind the counter and walked past Jane. He opened the back of the display window and methodically removed the dress from the mannequin. Jane watched him pass her again and bring the dress back to the counter. Dresher swiped the bottle of alcohol to the side and it slipped off the counter, shattering on the floor. Dresher didn't look like he noticed as he removed several tags from the dress and put it on a hanger.
“Take it,” he said calmly.
“What?” Jane asked in confusion. “W-why?”
“It's for the Masquerade, right?” Dresher grinned, but he looked sad.
Jane blinked in surprise.
“Should be just enough time to get it tailored and cleaned. There's a place down the road that’ll do it quick. Now take it.”
Dresher extended his arm around the counter and held the dress out. Jane stepped closer to where it was in reach, but she hesitated taking it.
“Why are you doing this?” She asked, surprised that she sounded angry. “After everything I just had to go through to try to get the money, you're just going to give it to me? What is wrong with you?”
“You didn’t tell me what you had to go through, first of all, but in case you haven't noticed, I was just celebrating my going out of business sale.” Dresher looked sadly at the bottle fragments on the floor. “Sale starts tomorrow.”
“Yeah, now can you just take this thing already?” Dresher shook the hanger holding the black dress. “My arm’s getting tired.”
Jane took the hanger and looked at the dress, feeling a bittersweet taste in her mouth.
“What's the catch?” she asked, eying Dresher closely.
Dresher leaned against the wall.
“I expected you’d just make a withdrawal and walk in here to try to pull one over on me. Or just have your dad threaten to close my store. That wouldn't have worked since I'm closing anyway. But you actually tried to raise the money. Never believed you would.”
I almost did, Jane thought. A chill ran down her back.
“So...thank you?” Jane wasn’t sure what to say.
Dresher grinned and yawned.
“Look kid, I've never actually met your dad, but I think you got spunk.”
“‘Spunk’?” Jane laughed awkwardly. “Okay then.”
Dresher shook his head and crossed his arms.
“Jane. My time in this town is up, and you seem hell bent on getting that dress for some reason. If I can do one thing right before I go, then maybe my life wasn’t completely worthless, even if being a father was.”
Jane tried to think of some way to comfort him, and instead she told him a secret. One that she had never told anyone, not even Melissa.
“Jeff killed my mother.” Jane said sadly. She wasn’t sure why she said it and she didn’t know if she had made a mistake telling this man or not. “I’m sorry about your family.”
Dresher nodded and didn’t say anything as Jane left. As she crossed the street he whispered under his breath.
"Might be hope for this goddamn town yet."
Melissa saw her approach holding the dress. Jane opened the back seat and hung the hanger, carefully folding over the lower half of the dress to make sure it didn't get damaged from the back door.
“Well?” Melissa muttered as Jane entered the car. “You want to talk about it?”
“I'm lucky you were there,” Jane said quietly, letting her head sink. “What happened to Tracy? And your car?”
Melissa blinked in surprise and answered.
“I let her drive herself home, since it wasn't too far. She’s a quick learner. Lives across the street from me, so she could park it at my house.”
“I can drive you back so you don't have to walk.”
“Jane I don't know if you noticed, but you're kind of a wreck at the moment.”
“Fair point.” Jane shifted her weight to lean against the car door. “Want to drive me home then?”
“You want to tell me what the deal with the dress is?” Melissa glanced towards the back of the car.
“Sure,” Jane said sourly. Melissa deserved to hear the truth, but that didn't make saying it any easier. “I wanted the dress, and they guy who owns the store wouldn't let me pay for it with my dad’s money.”
“So you…” Melissa glanced at the bits of shredded photos on the floor of the car. “Jane…”
"I needed cash," Jane said frankly, trying to sound in control. "My dad won't let me get a job."
“Yeah, maybe because he’s afraid you’d do something insane like this!” There was a bitter sarcasm in Melissa’s words.
“Melissa, I swear to God, if you start taking his side-”
“I'm on your side,Jane! Why’s that dress suddenly so important to you?”
“It’s not sudden!” Jane said sharply. “It’s for the Fall Masquerade. Ever since we snuck in when we were Freshmen I had this perfect idea of how I wanted it to go. That dress was part of it, and I guess nothing else mattered besides getting the money for it.”
“But I threw that money back into Dawson’s face. How’d you get the dress?”
“He just gave it to me, and I’m not entirely sure why. He kept saying everyone’s out for themselves, and Jeff killed his daughter and grandson. Is that true?”
“Dang Jane, that’s the first time you’ve ever brought him up. Naughty naughty.” Melissa said playfully. “He was Randy Hayden’s grandpa. Mom’s side. Jeff let everyone know he was going to kill Randy and the others who messed with him. But he also killed most of Randy’s family. His dad somehow lived, but Mrs. Hayden didn’t. Neither did the child she was pregnant with.”
“Christ,” Jane whispered. “When did that happen?”
“Year before you moved here. Randy’s dad took all of his money and left. Town dried up because no one wanted to visit a serial killer’s hometown in case he came back. Looked bad for a while, but then your dad moved in and things got better.” Melissa glanced past Jane towards the video store and Dresher’s costume shop. “For most of the town, anyway.”
“How do you know all of this,” Jane asked.
Melissa pointed towards the costume shop.
“Dresher wouldn’t shut up about it. He had signs and everything demanding all kinds of stuff. Best part he actually had a decent sized crowd doing it with him. But when your dad took over the town, all that stopped. Town went from Mandeville to Everlast, USA. Even gave us a different zip code. It’s like Jeff killed the town itself. Insert taboo.”
Jane remembered how Mr. Dawson said that he was able to afford the pictures because of Jane’s father. Jane had obeyed the taboo religiously because she was so afraid of her father, and she saw now that she had ignored how most of the town was still living in Jeff’s shadow. The town followed the rule as well, and Jane wondered how the town thought of Jeff. Were they still scared of him after all this time?
“He said he made the dress for his daughter.” Jane said, trying to make sense of things. “Randy’s mother.”
“That’s morbid.” Melissa said. “Kinda creepy how he kept it in the window this whole time.”
“Yeah,” Jane said, her head spinning from all the new information.
“Well either way, JK” Melissa said, starting the engine of the car. “You got your dress, and I hope to hell it was worth it.”
Jane couldn’t say for sure if it was, but there was still one other thing she had to say. She tried to find the words she had practiced, but suddenly her phone vibrated with a text message.
From her father.
Home late again tonight, the message read. Sorry.
What would happen if I locked you out? Jane almost responded. Backspace.
Why are you such a fucking asshole? Backspace.
Whose marriage are you destroying tonight, dad? Backspace.
Jane took a deep breath to calm herself. The last thing she needed was to piss off her dad.
Okay. She finally texted back. Annoyingly, the read receipt popped up. Sometimes Jane thought that her dad left them on just to aggravate her, but she knew that she was the last thing on his mind.
“Was...was I right to tell Tracy to keep her mouth shut?”
“Probably could have worded it a little nicer, but other than that what do you mean?”
“What if we can’t keep ignoring what’s wrong with this place?”
“Jane,” Melissa said, concerned. “Don’t start carrying the weight of the world on your back.”
Jane responded by asking a question she knew would shock Melissa.
“How many times has my dad slept with your mom?”
“Once,” she said dryly. “About a week after you moved here.”
"He threatened to have her fired, didn't he."
"I'm so sorry, Melissa.” Jane said in exasperation. “When he goes out some nights I’m convinced someone’s just gonna shoot him but no one does! It’s fucked up but no one does anything and I don’t understand why!”
“Well, my dad doesn’t want to go to jail, first off. Second, without your dad, no money. No money, no Everlast.” Melissa let out a long sigh. “You’re not new to town anymore, Jane, you know how it works.”
“Well maybe I’m just sick of being complicit with it.”
“None of what your dad does is on you. Nobody cared about this town until Jeff started killing people, and everyone’s just trying to move on. Let it go.”
“Yeah,” Jane said bitterly. She remembered how Dawson said he owed his financial status to Jane’s father. “Moving on…”
They sat in silence for a while before Jane thought of something terrible.She remembered what Dresher said about everyone being out for themselves.
“Are you my friend because of my Dad, Melissa?” Jane was so emotionally exhausted she had no filter.
“Jane, shut up.”
“Answer me, please.”
“No, I won’t!” Melissa barked back. “I just saved your goddamned life so don’t start pointing that bullshit at me.”
“I’m sorry, I just…” Jane searched her memory for the first time she and Melissa met. “I just couldn’t remember how we met for a second. You knocked on my door and asked to show me around town, like you’re doing with Tracy. You didn’t do that until I moved here, why?”
Melissa’s face hardened, and Jane could tell she was trying not to cry. She pulled over and hung her head in shame.
“My mom told me to.” Melissa’s jaw twitched as she fought back the urge to sob. The tears came nonetheless. “I’m sorry, Jane. Your dad backed off her when he saw we were friends. I’m so sorry.”
“You used me.” Jane said in disbelief.
“That’s not fair. It was for my mom! All I did was be your friend!”
“I don’t care about how or why. You used me!”
“You really think I had a choice?” Melissa asked desperately. Her sense of humor degraded into bitter sarcasm. “You really think anyone has a choice in this town? Everyone puts up with your dad because you do what you gotta do to survive, and if the price is too high, it doesn’t matter. You pay it however you can, fuck everything else.”
“Yeah, fuck me.” Jane said sourly. “I just realized I don’t have any real friends. Get out of my car.”
Melissa’s jaw dropped, and she stared at Jane for a moment.
“I said get out.” Jane said sternly, without raising her voice. Melissa let out a single, disheartened laugh.
“Whatever you say, JK.”
As Dresher said, she got the dress cleaned and tailored in record time. The City Center was covered with pictures of Bridget Hayden, Randy Hayden, and a few instances of the unborn daughter’s name: Everlast. Randy’s father had given the name to the girl after Jeff had murdered her. The town had decided to take that name as its own. It was hypocritical to Jane, since everyone didn’t talk about Jeff but named the town after his most innocent victim.
Jane and Melissa avoided one another for hours before Jane had enough. She approached Melissa, who wore a white porcelain mask she had ordered online. It disturbed Jane as she walked up, but she tensed as Melissa turned to look at her.
“Nice mask,” Jane said evenly. Melissa didn’t respond and kept dancing with her date, who awkwardly glanced between Melissa and Jane.
“I wanted the dress because of you,” Jane said. Melissa stopped dancing and looked at Jane.
“You blaming that on me too?” Melissa looked at her date and asked to have a minute alone. She removed her porcelain mask. “What do you want from me, Jane?”
“I want to say I’m sorry. I was a bitch. Again.”
Melissa laughed softly.
“Apology accepted. Tell me, is the Masquerade everything you hoped it would be?”
“Almost.” Jane said, offering her hand. “I just need to dance with my best friend and it’ll all be perfect.”
Neither Jane nor Melissa danced very well, but for a few precious moments, Jane’s life truly was perfect.
“Fuck you!” Tracy shouted, grabbing Jane’s arm and drawing the attention of the entire masked gathering. Tracy’s makeup ran with her tears, and it looked like she was crying in. “My parents are getting a fucking divorce because of you and your fuck-happy dad!”
“Tracy, calm down!” Melissa ordered. “Leave Jane alone.”
“No!” Tracy screeched. “This isn’t right! It’s not fair that that fucking pig can come into anyone’s house and just...and just do what he did to my mom. He fucking raped her and threatened to fire her, and now my dad’s skipped town because she wanted to keep her fucking job!”
“That’s not my fault!” Jane protested.
“Shut up!” Tracy shouted again, scratching at Jane’s face with her nails. They cut into Jane’s skin, and she clutched her wounded face, feeling the blood spreading onto her fingers. Jane didn’t make a sound.
She looked around, and everyone was staring at her. No one moved, no even Melissa, who was too shocked to stop Tracy from talking.
“That’s really nice dress, Jane. Who bought it for you?” The distance between Jane and Tracy shrunk, and Jane looked Tracy in the eyes as she spoke. “Does daddy like to keep his favorite toys close?”
The whole crowd went silent and Jane felt their eyes on her. She stood there. She wasn't angry because she knew that Tracy only wanted to hurt Jane because she wasn't in a position to hurt Jane's father. She understood that blind anger, that powerlessness that Tracy was feeling more than she could say. She knew that Tracy didn't mean anything she was saying, she was just angry.
But Tracy was right. At that moment Jane felt a flood of memories she had suppressed rise to the surface. Her father had abused her and her mother for as long as Jane could remember. The abuse was unspeakable, and Jane had tried to kill herself so many times growing up that she and her mother ran away but her father found them. Her mother had been stabbed to death in front of her and the police thought it was Jeff the Killer but Jane had seen it and somehow blocked it out all these years. She also realized that she had occasionally acted out on her desires to lock her dad out ever since they moved to Everlast. Any night she did that he just drove to another house and...
"Oh my God." Jane whispered under her breath. "I...I did this. This is my fault."
In an instant her panic devolved into hate. She wasn't angry at anyone, least of all Tracy, but she glanced around and saw them looking at her with concern when they had no idea that she was the reason why this town was so dark. She heard Melissa at her side, saying something to her but Jane's mind acted too fast to listen. She curled her fist and punched Tracy as hard as she could.
Tracy fell backwards like a log and her head hit the hard marble floor with a thud and a crack. Suddenly sound returned to Jane's ears and she heard everybody yelling. Melissa was holding her back but Jane didn't struggle at all.
"Christ, Jane!" Melissa shouted, her composure gone. "What have you done?!"
Jane looked at Tracy's body and all the people that surrounded her. She saw a bit of blood but her mind raced with doubt. She couldn't be dead. No no no, Jane wasn't even that strong and it was only one punch. This couldn't happen, not in real life. Jane tried to see past the people standing over Tracy and look at the girl's face but she couldn't. One guy was trying to give her CPR. People started screaming she heard voice mumbling into their phones and taking pictures and videos.
"Let me go, Melissa." Jane said over the crowd, her voice surprisingly calm.
"Jane..." Melissa was crying now.
"I said let me go!" Jane screamed, shoving Melissa off of her. Maybe Tracy was so new no one cared enough to chase her, but Jane ran and didn't look behind her until she she pulled out of the parking lot as the paramedics and police arrived.
Jane entered her house and walked into her kitchen. She pulled a knife out of the knife rack and held it to her wrist. For an instant, she had to wonder if suicide was what she wanted, but to her amazement, it disgusted her.
She had no desire to kill herself.
The front door lock clicked, and Jane’s heart skipped a beat. Fear raced through her mind. She would have heard the police but she froze as she realized that she had not locked the door.
“Dad,” Jane said shakily, watching the man emerge through the door. “You're home early.”
Drake Arkensaw was built like a tank, and his face sunk when he saw Jane.The door was close enough to where Jane could smell him. He smelled of alcohol, his clothes hastily put on and most of his shirt buttons undone. “Jane,” he said, his voice slurred but concerned. “What are you doing?”
Jane still held the knife to her wrist. It looked like she was about to cut herself. She realized that she wanted to hurt him before the police arrived to arrest her, so she acted like she did want to harm herself.
“You know what Dad? I've decided that I hate my life and the only thing I can do is kill myself.” Her father was so drunk that he actually believed this. His breathing became closer to a sob.
“Oh my God, Jane. What are you talking about? Just….just put the knife down sweetie. Please.” Jane remembered what Tracy said. She remembered how her father had ruined her perfect night. She put the knife to her throat.
“Jesus, Jane! Stop! Why are you doing this, just stop!” His yelling made Jane wonder if the neighbors were concerned, but Jane remembered that they knew better than to call the cops on Drake Arkensaw.
“I'm doing this because I hate you.” She rested the flat edge of the blade against her throat, but her dad’s eyes widened. He was starting to cry. Jane’s voice was breaking up too because she wasn’t lying about what she was saying.
“I hate this town, I hate the people. I hate everything about this place!” Jane’s father was inching closer, and he smelled putrid. She gripped the knife tighter.
“Jane, whatever’s happened, I swear that we can get through it. We always have.”
“There is no getting through this!” Jane remembered the Masquerade, how they had all looked at her. What she had done. There was no going back for her.
“There’s gotta be a way, Jane!” Drake Arkensaw tried to sound composed but his breathing had quickened. “There’s gotta be another way forward, or something! Please!”
“I think....” Jane felt herself shiver as a new, terrible idea worked its way into her head. She fought back the urge to smile. She was already going to prison, nothing could change that now. But what she did on the way might save the town. “Maybe you’re right….maybe there is a way.”
“Good, good.” Her father exclaimed. He extended his arm to take the knife. “We can find it together. Just give me the knife, please.”
Her father’s outstretched hand was shaking. Jane could see the sweat dripping from his forehead. But she could smell the alcohol from his heavy, nervous breathing. Jane slowly brought the knife away from her own throat and her hand floated towards her father. She moved forward quickly and pushed the knife into her father’s chest. Drake yelled and moved back. The cut was shallow but blood still flowed from his lower abdomen. He gripped the wound and grunted in surprise. Jane ran forward and tried to stab her father in the throat, but he lifted his hand to catch the blade. Drake’s other hand grabbed the wound on his gut. Jane used both of her arms to push the knife closer, and the blade cut into his fingers.
“Jane!” He yelled, desperation in his voice. “Jane, stop!” Jane’s father took his hand off of his bleeding gut and grabbed one of Jane’s wrists. He grunted in pain and Jane felt the pressure close around her wrist. Drake let go off the blade and put his cut hand around the same wrist, and Jane screamed as her father twisted her arm in an excruciating way. The knife fell onto the floor and Drake shoved his daughter away. Jane fell over and scrambled towards the kitchen away from her father, who was still standing despite desperately clutching his abdomen.
“Jane?” He was bleeding intensely, and his eyes were wide with fear. Jane rose to her feet and watched her father look at her, a shocked expression on his face. She grabbed another knife from the knife rack and held it out.
“Stay away from me!” she hissed.
“How could you?” Her father asked, his voice strangely calm. Jane watched as he glanced back at the blood dripping onto the floor. He looked at Jane again, his sorrow and shock turning to anger. He screamed at Jane with a hatred she had only heard him use with her mother. “After everything I've done for you?!”
"You raped me!" Jane shrieked.
Drake Arkensaw let his hand holding his wound fall to his side and he marched over to Jane, a look of conviction on his face. Jane tried to swipe at his head but he leaned back and the knife cut only the air in front of him. He seized Jane’s arm holding the knife, and despite Jane’s protests and punching, she shrieked as she heard her wrist snap. In a pained gasp she looked back towards her father in time to see his fist hurtling towards her face. The punch stunned Jane, and she felt her head slung back in response to the blow and her legs gave out beneath her. Jane was half conscious from the punch, and she reeled in pain from her broken wrist. Her breathing was shallow and her vision came and left. She shut one of her eyes as something wet and warm spread over her face.
She saw her father back away from her, trying to hold his wound. He tripped and fell over, and Jane could see him begin to crawl away.
A ringing in Jane's ears deafened her, and she lost consciousness.
She saw her father back away from her, trying to hold his wound. He tripped and fell over, and Jane could see him begin to crawl away.
A ringing in Jane's ears deafened her, and she lost consciousness.
When she woke up she was in her bed, her ankles and hands bound to the corners. Her mangled wrist made her cry out in pain. The room spun as her head throbbed, and Jane realized the dried blood was still on her face. How long had she been out?
“Help!” She called. She was in complete darkness. How had her dad tied her up? He had looked like he was bleeding to death. Footsteps made Jane breath faster. They were slow, and Jane realized it was her father. Anyone else would have come running. Above the ringing in her ears and the footsteps, Jane heard another sound that confused her.
Pouring water sounded from the same direction of the footsteps, and Jane’s mind tried to piece together the situation she was in. She listened closer and heard the water hitting the floorboards outside, splashing against the walls and making the footsteps wetter. Why was her father pouring water around the hallway?
“Dad?” She called, despite her vivid memories of where the pain in her head and wrist had come from. The footsteps and the pouring sound stopped for a moment. Her father didn't respond and Jane heard him continue walking and pouring the water. Jane was about to call again but she realized there was a terrible smell in the air, and she gasped in fear as she realized that it wasn't water being poured.
Jane started to furiously pull at her restraints despite the pain in her head and wrist. She didn't understand, and that fear made her move and breath sporadically, but she failed to break free of the restraints.
The door opened, and Jane couldn't see who entered. Some light from the street lamps outside made it through the window, and Jane could vaguely see a tall figure holding a gasoline canister. It was too stringy and slender to be her father.
“Who are you?” Jane shrieked. “Get the fuck out of my house!”
The figure stopped pouring the gasoline and in the dim light it looked like it turned its head to look at Jane. A ragged voice responded.
“This is my house.”
She was about to start screaming at it again, but it splashed some gasoline onto her face. Some of it made it into Jane’s eye, and she clamped both eyes shut as a new, terrible pain made her rabidly try to break free. She yelled and cursed, and she vaguely registered that the figure had started pouring gasoline onto her bound body. Her reflexes made her want to rub and wash her eyes to remove the gasoline, but the restraints prevented that. She screamed, her voice straining and becoming harsh.
“Help me!” Some of the gasoline had gone up her nose and into her mouth. The taste made her want to vomit but she fought the urge in order to keep screaming. “God please, somebody help me!”
“Good luck with that,” the ragged voice said, although Jane could barely focus enough to hear it. “No one’s coming.”
Minutes passed as Jane struggled, the burning in her eyes intensifying. In the background of her own shouts she heard a man yelling. Then Jane heard the ragged voice in another room.
“Shhhh. Go. To. Sleep.”
A muffled whimper made Jane stop struggling. She heard cutting sounds, and the pain seemed distant. Jane knew that it was her father dying, but she didn't know how to respond. She stared at the ceiling and just listened to tearing flesh and snapping bones drowning out the quiet groans. She didn't try to scream anymore. Her heart seemed to slow as Jane felt a strange calmness pass over her. The gruesome noises stopped, and Jane realized that she wasn't alone in the room anymore.
“You’re Jeff.” She said quietly, addressing the figure standing next to her bed. The light wasn't bright enough to see him clearly.
“One and only,” he said, devoid of emotion. He struck a match, and Jane sucked in a harsh breath. The light showed that Jeff’s face was tilted, and she could only see the half that wasn't mutilated. His hair was disheveled and grew past his forehead, making it hard to see his eye. The red match light made it hard to tell, but his skin was pale. What Jane found most surprising was his demeanor. Jeff stood over her, holding the match but his eye was calm.
“Should have burned this place down years ago.” Jeff said, a tired grin forming on his face but quickly vanishing. “But times flies when you’re having fun. Now you get a front row seat.”
“Why are you doing this,” Jane asked, her voice calm and steady. She should have been struggling, but some part of her knew that wouldn't do any good now.
“Why not?” Jeff responded. He held the match a little closer to Jane. “Do you know anything more beautiful than fire? Can you think of a reason why I shouldn't?”
“What's wrong with you?” Jane asked in amazement. “You’ll set yourself on fire, you fucking psycho.”
Jeff let out a single laugh.
“A little old for name calling, aren't we, Jane?” Jeff said, extinguishing the match.
“How do you know my name?”
Jeff walked over to the window and opened it. The fall air made Jane shiver, the gasoline on her body was suddenly icy cold. Jeff looked out the window, seeing the lights on in every house in the neighborhood. Just like when he had killed his parents, they all had heard the screams but did nothing. A cop car passed by in the streets. It slowed and Jeff could see the officers’ silhouettes watch the house but in a moment the car continued down the road. Clearly, they must have remembered what Jeff had done to the last police officer that had come into his house. Jeff laughed a little harder. “A nice quiet town.”He turned back toward Jane, showing his full face.Jane saw that he was holding a bloody knife, and he brought it to his face and stared at it, his eyes widening in genuine happiness. He narrowed them again and looked back to Jane. Stepping closer to her, he tilted his head, and Jane could see the other half. It hadn’t aged well. Poorly heeled burns coated the left side of his face. A thick scar rooted itself on Jeff’s cheek, beginning at his cheek, passing over his blue eye and ending along his scalp. His other eye was white, his eyelid half open. Part of the hair on the other side of Jeff’s head had grown over, but Jane could make out scar tissue old burns on the exposed part of his scalp. The scar gave the appearance of a half smile, and the undamaged side of Jeff’s face widened in a malicious grin, completing the gruesome picture.
“They all want to keep thinking they live in a nice quiet town. That's what keeps them happy. Makes them feel safe.” Jane watched him closely. He wore a black hoodie with holes in it, and his jeans were filthy. She could see his ratted hair a little better now, and it clearly hadn’t been washed in a very long time.
“He liked to talk.” Jeff said, grinning again, although this time it looked pained. He held the knife out in front of him. “I don’t usually enjoy making it go slowly with people I’ve never met. But the more I hurt him the more he told me.” He stood over her, and tilted his head.
“He begged me to let him go because all he wanted was to take care of his poor, sick daughter named Jane. I asked him if it was the same daughter knocked out from that bump on your head, and when he started to stutter I...started.”
“You’re a monster.”
“Is that right?” Jeff’s eyes widened, his smile growing to show his teeth. He produced another knife, already coated in blood. Jane recognized it as the one she had attacked her father with. “You did most of the work. I just made the ending interesting. You're not bad."
“You don’t know shit about me!” Jane said sternly.
“I know your father killed your mother and blamed me for it.”
Jane felt something twist inside of her. Jeff saw Jane’s face and started laughing.
“That’s why he thought I was here! He thought that I came to punish him for using me as a coverup. But I’m here because this place needed to burn once and for all.” He looked at Jane again, still smiling but his eyes were wide and somehow looked spiteful. He leaned his face into Jane’s. “He said that without him, you would never make it in life. And you know what's funny?" He started laughing again. "He was right!”
She spat in Jeff’s face. The hate that she had killed Tracy with had returned and her common sense abandoned her as she felt herself fill with hate once again.
Jeff’s smile vanished on the unburnt side of his face.
“You gonna make me go to sleep now?” Jane said mockingly, watching him wipe the spit off his face.
Jeff laughed as he pulled the match bed out of his pocket and lit one.
“You don't know when to shut up, do you?” Jeff lit a second match and gazed at it before his smile vanished and his face grew grave. He extinguished the match. “You’ll be awake for this.”
Jeff began laughing as he brandished his knife and climbed over Jane’s body. Jane saw the tip of the knife approach her open eye. Still laughing, Jeff clawed out Jane’s eyes one at a time. It seemed to last hours, and as Jane faded in and out of what she presumed to be consciousness, Jane heard Jeff laughing over her anguished cries. At one point Jane heard Jeff’s voice somewhat clearly.
“Jane,” he said, caressing her face. He watched her writhe in pain and choke from the blood that was filling her mouth after seeping from her empty eye sockets. It looked like she was crying blood, and in the dim light the blood was black and matched her ebony dress and inky hair. Jeff had never seen a more perfect picture. “Our time’s up Jane, but I want you to know that I think you are very beautiful. Now...”
Jeff pressed the knife to Jane’s chest.
“Go. To. Sleep.” He sank the bloody knife into Jane’s chest, pressing it into her lung and enjoying her pained gasps. To Jeff’s amazement, the knife became lodged in between Jane’s ribs and he could not remove it.
“You know what, you look even better with it.” Jeff stepped back and examined his work. The girl was making her last pained attempts to breath. The knife lodged in her chest made it perfect. “Jane do you want to know the thing about beauty? The thing about looks?”
He positioned himself by the window. He glanced down, wondering if the fall would kill him and smiled at not knowing. He glanced back at Jane’s tortured form and he laughed.
“Looks can kill!” Jeff yelled. He tossed the match across the room and disappeared through the window into the night.
Jane couldn't see the fire but she felt all of it.
No one at the Masquerade had told the police Jane had killed Tracy. The cops didn’t need to be told. They all knew the Arkensaws were off limits. Before the cops arrived, Melissa loudly announced that Tracy had jumped from the building’s rafters because of her parents’ divorce. She knew none of the kids and none of the cops cared enough about Tracy to question the story. Tracy’s father had already left town and the only one that would care was Tracy’s mother. Melissa didn’t know what would happen to her, but if she tried to go after Jane, then Jane’s father would probably have her killed.
When Melissa arrived at her house she tiredly walked up the stairs into her house and dropped her mask on her desk before she undressed and collapsed onto her bed. She dreamed of the first Fall Masquerade she and Jane had snuck into together. Melissa had tried too much alcohol and neither she nor Jane had cars at the time, so after Melissa got them kicked out Jane decided for the both of them to bring Melissa to her own house. They had to pass through the shopping center, and Melissa noticed Jane looking closely toward the costume shop next to the video store. Melissa looked towards the closed store herself and saw the dress in the window display case. She was so drunk that she found herself walking towards it instead.
“Melissa, what are you doing?” Jane asked, grabbing her friend’s shoulder. Melissa looked at the dress closely and how several display lights illuminated it.
“That’s too nice a dress for a costume shop,” Melissa said, slurring her words. “Why do you think he has it?”
“I don’t know,” Jane responded. “Let’s just go Melissa.”
“No, wait a minute.” Melissa’s vision was spinning slightly and standing was difficult. However, she watched the dress intently. Suddenly her legs gave out and she sat against the costume store wall. She glanced at the old bike rack not far from her and remembered that this was the place where it all started, all of the craziness, all of the killing.
“Mel, stand up. I don’t want you to pass out on the ground.”
Melissa looked up at Jane.
“I think you’d look great in the dress, Jane.” Melissa said. The alcohol was talking more than she was.
“What are you talking about?” Jane asked, trying to help Melissa stand. “It’s kind of slutty for me.”
“I think you’d actually look...really nice in it.” Melissa’s cheeks swelled with heat. She stopped caring what she was saying. With some help from Jane, she steadied herself.
“Do you really think so?” Jane’s eyes had widened slightly, her mouth slightly agape at what Melissa was saying.
“Do I really think so,” Melissa repeated jokingly. “Jane, you’re the most beautiful girl in this town and you don’t even know it. Yeah, you’d make the dress work. You’d...you’d walk into a room with it and bam! You would knock ‘em dead, every single one of them. You’d be…”
Melissa glanced at the bike rack, the story of Jeff sticking out. A sick joke formed in her mind, but she was too gone to keep herself from saying it. She looked back at Jane.
“You’d be a real killer!” Melissa said, giggling obnoxiously. She made an unbalanced gesture towards the dress. “Jane the Killer!”
“Jesus, Melissa.” Jane whispered, trying to keep Melissa from falling over. “I think you need some sleep in a bed. Come on, my house is isn’t too much further.”
Melissa fell over and Jane couldn’t catch her. She began to cough and before she knew it, she vomited. Rolling onto her back, Melissa could already feel herself blacking out.
“Call 9-1-1,” she said, feeling another heave coming. “I can’t see straight.”
Melissa was fading, and she couldn’t help but keep talking playfully.
“I think I need to go to sleep!”
“Melissa you might have alcohol poisoning. Don’t go sleep!” Jane replied, concerned. Her voice sounded far away. “You won’t wake up!”
“Whatever you say, JK!” She leaned on Jane and felt her head grow light.
Melissa awoke briefly from the dream, breathing heavily. A chill crept through her body, and she pulled her blanket closer.She didn’t sit up and only stared at the ceiling for a moment before closing her eyes and drifting back asleep.
At the side of the bed, Jane watched Melissa sleep. Her skin cracked and oozed pus that stained the patches of her dress that had survived the fire and stuck to her skin. A knife wound spread across the left side of her bare, burned torso and she held the knife in her right hand. Her right hand reached out to wake Melissa, to apologize for what she needed to do, but she decided that this would be easier if Melissa was asleep.
“You’ve saved me so many times Melissa. It’s like you told me, if there’s a price to survive you pay it. It doesn’t matter how high. I don’t want to do this but I don’t have a choice. God help me.”
But it wasn’t God who had whispered to Jane as she burned. God wasn’t the one with whom she had made her deal. God was not the one that kept her alive in her miserable state as she made her way to Melissa’s house.
“I will cut out the part of him that still feels. I won’t waste this. I’m going to kill him. For you.”
Jane rose to her feet and stood over the sleeping girl. She examined the knife she had removed from her own chest. The fire had charred the blood and left a layer of soot that could not be removed. Jane took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and remembered Jeff’s face inches from hers.
She plunged the knife into Melissa’s heart and used her hands to muffle Melissa. Jane sobbed harder but still no tears ran down her ruined face.
“I love you Melissa. I love you Melissa.” Jane said. She kept saying it until Melissa stopped moving. She left a gentle kiss on her friend’s lips, and the body burst into flames.
Jane stepped back from the inferno and glanced at her own reflection.
Her eyes were black orbs that stared back at her. The burn marks coating her body healed, and her deformed face took on a perverse form of beauty. But she remembered how hideous she was, inside and out. Jeff did that to her. Jeff forced her to kill Melissa to keep herself alive.
For now. She had to offer more blood to keep herself alive until she killed him.
On the vanity by the mirror was Melissa’s porcelain mask from the Masquerade. Jane picked it up and walked out of Melissa’s house as it burned.
The fire spread to consume the entire town.
The handwriting on the note was beautiful.
If you're reading this then you know that I found you. And if I can find you, then there’s no one I can’t find. There’s still a little bit of humanity in you, something that still remembers what love is. That's the part of you I'm going to kill first. When I find your brother I'll start with the eyes and go on from there. He’ll probably ask me why I'm doing this to him, and I'll tell him that he died the day you let him live. If there’s any mercy left in you, you'll make it as painless as possible for him. But I know you, and I wonder something. Do you know how to kill without enjoying it? Poor Liu, caught between two killers. Which one of us do you think he will be more afraid of? Either way, when his life is over, and there’s nothing but evil beneath our skin, then I will finish what that flare gun started. Maybe you think you can kill me before I find him, but just because you hide in the dark doesn’t mean you know what the dark is. Thanks to you I can finally see.
Sleep well, Jeffry.
-Jane the Killer
Jeff tilted his head and observed the note. He reached into his pocket and looked intently at the match bed. Inside there was a single match remaining. Fire was a special tool and he used it very rarely. Jeff lit the match and set the letter on fire. He let it fall to the floor, and as it landed it flipped over, revealing the back. Jeff saw an old poster. He bothered to read just the title.
Everlast Fall Masquerade
At the bottom was an image of two masks, one laughing and one sobbing. The fire burned them both.