Sometimes horror can jump right out and grab you. At others it can be serene and subtle. Luring you into a false sense of security… then shattering it. But every now and again, true underlying terror is just a matter of convenience. Welcome back to Hell-o-ween.

Rows of corn fall away to darkness as the Schwinn cruiser passes across the Mayfield County line. A bedroll wrapped round the cross bar and milk crate strapped to the luggage rack containing all the worldly possessions of the rider. Astride the bike 22-year-old Trevor Baltimore is drawn towards the welcoming luminescence of the Texaco station’s canopy lights.

For his current lot in life, Trevor is none too worse for wear. Physically fit and ruggedly handsome, he has been drifting for a while. Thus, he knows to stow and secure his bike before going inside.

The bell above the door’s fading jingle is the only sound within as he enters. It’s awfully quiet here. But a gas station, in a little podunk town, probably isn’t going to be hopping at quarter past 8 on a Saturday night.

Selecting a beverage and snack he approaches the counter to find the post vacant. Looking around he scans the small interior for signs of life. Finding none, he calls out several times to no avail.

He could just walk out, he’s hungry and thirsty but he’s no thief. An eternity seems to pass before he comes to a radical decision. Stepping behind the counter and giving full view to multiple security cameras of his intentions he prepares to ring up his purchases.

“$20 on pump 3.” A gruff voice exclaims as a $20 bill is slapped onto the counter. Trevor jumps but has no time for explanation as the man is already back out the door.

Okay fine. Just ring up the gas and… a gallon of milk for the next customer, a 6 pack and some cigarettes for the next and so forth. For the next hour the store is bustling with commerce, and with nothing better to do, Trevor simply smiles and rides the tide.

When it finally ebbs, he’s about to slip out when a girl looking of high-school age approaches the counter. Dressed in a modest skirt, matching blouse and a Texaco smock “Megan” — so claims her name badge — is a pretty petite brunette. Though a bit on the pale side.

“Hey, I’m not feeling that well. Could you please just keep doing what you’re doing. Till Stewart shows up for his shift at 10?” she asks softly. Then, without waiting for a response, disappears into the store’s back-office. Trevor is a bit taken aback, but other than sleeping under the stars he’s got nothing better to do, so Trevor obliges the sick girl.

Aside from a steady trickle of customers the next half hour is uneventful. That’s when a patrol car sweeps into the lot and a sheriff’s deputy enters the establishment. Zeroing in and sizing up Trevor he queries about the “usual girl”. Trevor explains the situation and points the officer towards the back office and tends to what will be his last customer.

Moments later he’s drug across the counter, slammed to the floor. Then handcuffed as the enraged officer quotes his Miranda. As he’s led out to the waiting patrol car, he momentarily glimpses the back-office’s interior — the floor coated and walls spattered in blood and back door ajar.

After two hours of intense and accusatory questioning, Trevor Baltimore sits exhausted and alone in a dimly lit interrogation room. There was a lot of blood but no body. There will be apologies later. Once the Sheriff has reviewed the security tapes. Tapes that clearly show Megan Follows, for reasons unknown, entering the store’s office a full 45 minutes before Trevor’s arrival at the Texaco.

He’s about to drift off when the interrogation room’s door slowly swings open and he looks up to see Megan. She looks different. Almost luminescent in a flowing white robe. She looks at him and smiles. “It’s all going to be alright,” she says, “but before I go, I wanted to thank you. There were two pieces of ‘unfinished business’ I had to see to — completing my shift and meeting a genuinely nice guy — you took care of both.”

I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.