Originally published on r/nosleep 22 days ago.
I passed that girl, that girl on the missing flyer from two weeks ago. I passed her in the window of a Halloween pop-up shop, hanging as one of the decorations.
Two weeks ago, she had disappeared into thin air. The police ruled it as a runaway case and then left it as that. Her family had put up posters, and even dedicated a website to finding her, despite the police’s protests.
I didn’t know her on a personal level; she was a junior, and I was a senior. The social hierarchy didn’t end there; she was pretty, and the only person who ever called me handsome was my mom. It was safe to say, the only time we would ever cross paths would be if she needed a tutor for AP Calculus.
Pausing outside of the front of the window, I just stared at the limp body hanging. Above her, the sign on the top of the store read; “WITCHES STITCHES – PREMIUM HALLOWEEN COSTUMES AND DECORATIONS”.
Every year near Halloween, a pop-up store will take over an empty car dealership and utilize the space with Halloween decorations. Coffins, headstones, and porch props would cover every square inch of the floor, while pre-packaged costumes lined the walls from top to bottom.
I looked back at the girl hanging in the display. Her body had been painted ivory white, her white-blonde hair almost blending in with her new ‘skin tone’. I walked up closer, chills going up and down my spine. Her eyes had been hollowed out, a black gaping hole had replaced where her eyeballs should’ve been. The worst part was her mouth – it was stretched out. The corners of her mouth were stretched to her ears, the skin on her lips ripping and cracking, like old foundation in the walls. To top it all off, stuffed in her mouth was an oversized round lollipop.
“Ooh, cool!” Someone exclaimed from behind me, pointing up at the same hanging ‘decoration’ I was looking at.
I looked behind me and saw a fourteen-year-old twerp perched on his bicycle, chewing on his gum, smacking it in between chews. I grimaced; how did he not realize he resembled a cow eating?
“I bet Old Man Harris is going to buy it and put it in his haunted house this year!” He smacked his gum, and I was just about ready to smack him across the face.
Ignoring him, I walked towards the front door, and pulled. The chimes above me sang, and a very bored looking employee glanced up from her tabloid magazine.
In a monotone voice, she greeted me: “welcome to Witches Stitches,” and then went back to her magazine. It was as if the life inside her had been sucked out and stuck into one of those prop coffins. I guess good customer service didn’t exist anymore.
I walked through the aisles, looking at the Halloween costumes that hung on the wall opposite to me – Sexy Nurse, Cat Woman, Heiress in Parisian Jewelry Heist, Gorilla, and so forth. What happened to traditional Halloween costumes? A witch? A black cat? Not these sexy-insert-noun-here, costumes that could be mistaken for something a couple would use in the bedroom for roleplay.
Walking through the aisles, I peered closer at the decorations throughout the store – those seemed realistic too, but there was some more eerie, more sinister about the one hanging in the window.
I almost dropped the Jason mask I was holding in my hands when I heard it – a high-pitched scream, piercing through the walls of the store. I looked up, quickly walking to the entrance.
The bored employee was standing with the door cracked open, her eyes bulging out of her head.
We both stared at the couple in front of us – a man with glasses, appearing to be in his late 40’s was trying to calm his wife, a blonde hair woman with one too many fillers in her face. She was screaming, pointing at the decoration hanging, and then pointing to the employee.
“YOU MONSTERS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? THAT IS MY DAUGHTER! THAT’S MY CARLY! MY DAUGHTER! WHO ARE YOU, MONSTERS?” She was hysteric, pointing at me, yelling at me to call the police.
I stood frozen in place. After a deep breath I looked at the employee, “where did you get that decoration from?”
She looked at the crowd that the woman was attracting and lowered her voice so that only I could hear.
“My boss orders it from some weird guy who dedicates his whole life making these decorations – there’s only one for each decoration. He makes like, ten a year. Last year, we had two infant Siamese twins – those sold immediately.”
My stomach lurched. These ‘one of a kind’ decorations seemed life-like for a reason; they were real people.