Lisa from next door

by Jenny

This was going to be hilarious. Top bantz.

He found the simple costumes sold best; Murderous Clown had too much padding and Haunted Bunny was hot and itchy. Masks were always a winner. Whenever he got a delivery, Lisa from the shop next door came round for a preview before he put them on display.

He’d kept this one secret though, after she’d said she liked scary films, liked being scared.

The line of her neck dipping into the smooth satin of the Alice costume, the cold metal of the zip tracing the line of her body.

Her footsteps were drawing nearer. She was going to freak - maybe even scream a bit, then laugh, probably hug him. They’d go see a horror film together, she’d snuggle in for protection...

But instead she froze, terrified, the silence between them growing, thickening until he lowered his arms and pulled off the mask.

The cold brush of her fingertips on his arm in the half light.

She’d trembled then, nodding trying to hide the beginnings of her tears. Yes, it really was funny, she’d said, trying for that breathy, girlish giggle. She’d pulled off her damp hat and ruffled her frizzy hedgehog hair.

Then she’d shut her door to her shop before he could follow her in for their morning cuppa. Gareth heard the key turn and now she was standing very still behind the closed blind, waiting for him to leave. He’d fucked it.

Back in his costume shop, he thumped the rubber mask onto the counter. The dummy with the staring eyes and sheriff’s badge watched him pityingly and Gareth decided he’d dress it in Haunted Bunny. That’d show it.

Why choose the scariest mask he could find? Why not dress as something Johnny Depp had played? He could kick himself.

The swell of her breasts against the thin fabric, the smooth, bare skin of her back.

Suddenly the electric doorbell buzzed him into the present. The shutters were still down, and by the time he’d opened them whoever it was had gone. He sighed. Kids, probably. He’d better start unloading the costumes from the basement

The stairs creaked as he clumped heavily down. It was damp down here, dark. Dummies struck carnivalesque poses, waiting for this sad, lonely man; statues that watched him with flat, dull eyes. Sometimes he felt they were all he had in the world.

Her pale skin prickling, peppered with goosebumps, her breath coming faster, the delicious curve of her spine.

The door at the top of the stairs slammed shut plunging him into darkness. He heard the panic in his breath, forced himself to be calm. The door was just a few steps away. It had probably blown shut. But Gareth felt the eyes of the dummies penetrating the dark, watching for his humiliation.

He held up his phone for light, reaching for where the door must be, had to be…

Her hot breath steaming in the damp air.

Then a dangling figure, inches from his face, its mouth a rictus grin, all dripping teeth and malevolence. And he was down here, alone with it, no way out. He stumbled, panicked, terrified, scrabbling.

Almost imperceptibly he heard the ghost of a breathy, girlish giggle...