Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Story Contest: The Party's In the Basement

            Sweaty. Dark. Loud. The basement of a fraternity house is just about the opposite of romantic. And yet, weekend after weekend, flocks of college students fill the sticky, beer-covered floors, convinced that they’ll be the lucky ones to find love in a hopeless place.
            Kathryn Miller didn’t exactly consider herself the frat party type. The smell of perspiration mixed with cheap alcohol and Axe body spray made her queasy, and she got claustrophobic in the midst of the dancing masses.
            But she decided to make the trek to the fraternity quad for Halloween, hoping that maybe tonight would be different. She straightened her hair and penciled on a neat ray of eyeliner. Tonight, she could wear a costume. She could be someone else—someone who wasn’t afraid of parties and crowds and boys.
            As Kathryn and her friends descended the staircase into the basement, they felt the temperature rise 10 degrees. She was nervous. Maybe this outing had been a mistake. Maybe her costume couldn’t protect her. Who was she fooling?
            But Kathryn’s friends saw the nervous look in her eyes and dragged her onto the dance floor.
            “Just have fun,” they told her.
            She awkwardly swayed and raised her hands in the air, bopping from side to side to the beat of the dub step blaring in the background. But all that she could think about was him, the boy who filled her thoughts as she tried to do her homework, as she walked to class, as she drifted to sleep each night.
            Kathryn knew he was there. Part of her hoped that he would spot her from across the room, call her name, and lift her into his arms. But part of her was terrified that he would avoid eye contact, nervously glancing at his phone instead of at her. And that would be that.
            She tried not to think about him. She danced with her friends and sang along to the music and dodged the various freshmen grinding in the middle of the dance floor. But then she felt a tap on her shoulder.
            “Kathryn?” He gave her a huge hug, lingering for an extra moment. “I’m so glad you’re here.”

            It might have been a sweaty fraternity basement, but Kathryn Miller couldn’t dream of a better place to be.

By: Samantha Max

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