While most people associate Savannah, Georgia with St. Patrick's Day, Halloween's the city's second biggest event every year. Where better than the haunted halls of the old waterfront bars and stately mansions of the old river town to celebrate all things ghoulish and spooky? From the pub crawl on River Street, to the private costume parties in the Historic District, the town wore an air of mustiness and fake cobwebs with equal dignity.
Cassie leaned against the balcony railing, watching the crowds begin to gather outside, even though the official start of the party weekend was still three hours away. Linda and Wendy were out shopping for last minute parts of costumes, while Mike went for a run. Though she still didn't have a party mood, Cassie had to admit the air of anticipation was contagious. Maybe this adventure wouldn't end as poorly as some of their other outings.
The sun was beginning to sink below the western horizon when the girls returned from their errands. When Wendy opened the hotel room door, there was a box in the hall leaning against the door frame. A heavy creme envelope fell on the floor. Linda grabbed it while Wendy wrestled the box inside.
"What the hell? Who's that for?" Cassie walked back into the room, only to feel a sudden chill run down her spine.
"The card says, 'Cassandra'. Nothing else, just your name." Linda handed it to Cassie, then returned to her purchases, pulling out eye shadows, sponges, liquid makeup and fake blood. "Are we going to Kevin Barry's first, or Wet Willie's? Either one is going to be crazy tonight."
"I don't know," Wendy confessed. "Let's wait until we're all here before we decide."
Cassie opened the envelope. The handwriting was the same as the letter she'd received at work, calligraphy on heavy stationary.
It read, "Tonight at the Masquerade, we shall rekindle our love." It was signed with a single letter. 'J'
She wrinkled her brow trying to think who would have sent her a package. No one in her family had a name that started with a J. Not even in her mother's family in Japan, at least no one she could think of. Turning her attention to the box, she pulled the satin ribbon and removed the top.
Inside the box was the most beautiful costume she'd ever seen. A sky blue silk with golden underskirt, it came complete with a hand-made mask. Another faint whiff of Bay Lime rose from the tissue paper. There was no other note inside.
"Alright team," Cassie managed to croak through her tightened throat. "Something odd is going on, and I think I'm losing my mind."
She quickly related to the others everything that had happened so far, another chill racing down her spine as they began throwing out suggestions and ideas. If only she could pick up the phone and call Sean, but there was no way of knowing if he were even able to answer. She was going to have to go with her own instincts on this one.
When Michelle arrived, she agreed they would all attend the masquerade, at least until this mystery admirer showed. She also called a sorority sister who lived in Bluffton across the river in South Carolina to let someone know of their plans, in case some mad serial killer was stalking them. Another call to the Savannah police and by the time the three others were ready to go, Mike had lined up quite a backup group.
Mike and Wendy were Peter Pan and Wendy, dressed as from the live action movie, not the Disney version. Linda was, as always, a pirate. She insisted her Carolina low country family could trace their family back to the privateer pirates who made fortunes during the Civil War, and lived to dress the part any chance she could.
Cassie's dress fit like a silk glove, and once her hair was pinned up and make-up finished, she stood and looked in amazement at her reflection in the full length mirrors on the closet doors. She looked very much like someone from another era. The chill on her neck brought goose bumps. Why did she feel as though she'd been in this dress before?
With butterflies the size of elephants in her stomach, Cassie grabbed her cell phone, purse, and hotel room key. As she pulled the door behind her, for a moment she thought she saw a man dressed in a Continental Army uniform looking back at her from the balcony door. Blinking hard, when she looked again, he was gone.
Tomorrow - Part Three: Masquerade
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN HOP: http://casimclean.com/aba-halloween-hop/
5 Kathryn Knight ~The Haunted Jail Haunting Halloween kathrynknightbooks.
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