“So all we have to do is pull down the shutters, turn off the lights and that’s it for another season.” Jeff, hands on hips, turned to his teenaged apprentice, who didn’t appear to be particularly interested. At least he had taken out his ear-pod things. This counted as progress, in Jeff’s view.
“And then what?” Toby grunted. Jeff’s eyebrows raised: showing an interest! Progress indeed!
“And then we get to go home until the spring,” said Jeff. “That is, if they decide they want to reopen the place next year.”
“Why wouldn’t they?” Toby glanced around. “This place is kinda cool.”
Jeff chuckled. “I knew you’d like it. You kids are into all this, aren’t you? Serial killers. What do you call them, flashers?”
“Slashers!” Toby rolled his eyes but the curve of his lips showed he was amused. “And yeah. I mean, it’s not the murders. It’s part of local history, isn’t it? Heritage and what not?”
“So, why would they want to close the place down? And who are ‘they’ anyway?”
“They are the town council. And, to tell you the truth, business hasn’t been great for a couple of years now. The victims are all but forgotten. Footfall has dropped considerably. We are nowhere near back to where we were before the pandemic fucked everything up for the industry.”
Toby nodded. He looked around. The gift shop, in shadows, boasted tea-towels with a likeness of the killer’s mask, his name slashed in red diagonals.
There were Demon Blade pencils, bookmarks, and statuettes made of resin. There was even an alarm clock that played the theme from Psycho to get you out of bed in the morning.
Out there, beyond the windows they were about to shutter, was the site of the murders. A massacre, really. Twenty-two teenagers cut to ribbons during one night’s rampage through the campsite. It was like a film.
But that was a long time ago. Interest had waned. Demon Blade had long since disappeared. He’d be a geriatric by now, if he was still around. He could be anyone. The elderly neighbour shuffling to the end of his path to pick up his newspaper. The old guy at the bar, complaining about kids today and the weather. Or he could have gone to meet his maker long since.
“Give me a hand?” Jeff stretched up to pull down a shutter. “Hand me that pole.”
Toby turned around. Leaning against the wall was a long pole with a hook on the end. The curve of metal glinted suggestively in a beam of sunlight. Its intended use was to pull down the metal shutters which could then be padlocked to the floor.
It would be a crying shame if those shutters were never to be raised again…but if there were more murders, another killing spree, the tourists would come flocking…
“Today would be nice,” Jeff prompted impatiently. “Earth to Toby…”
Toby shook himself and handed over the pole. He didn’t know what had prompted such dark thoughts. He shivered. Perhaps the ghost of Demon Blade had whispered in his ear.