This is a great tale of birthday/bloody/horror/humor from C. Conley! Read it here or go to the Friday Frights link below. Bet you've never been to this kind of party!
"Today is the big day", Diana thought excitedly as soon as she opened her eyes that Saturday morning. She had been waiting an entire year for her birthday, because well they only come once a year. It had felt much longer than a year to her. Turning sixteen was a big deal.
She jumped up out of bed and checked her email. Diana was hoping to find more people from her school had accepted her invite. Still only three.
She had expected that really. To her, this was the only downside to being a bookworm. She found her friends in the stories she read. She found adventures there, and happiness too.
Other kids had never been kind to her throughout her entire life. Her thick glasses were always made fun of. She had one friend to speak of during elementary and middle school. Her friend Tammy was just like her. A fellow book lover. And she attracted bullies just as often as Diana.
Once she entered high school, she found two other friends she could relate to. Naturally, those people were bully targets, too.
Diana was hoping to make her last two years of high school more bearable by attempting to befriend the very people that bullied her. Her birthday party seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Diana went downstairs to see if breakfast was ready.
"Good morning, birthday girl", her mom said happily as Diana entered the kitchen.
"I'm not sure what's so happy about it", Diana replied sullenly.
"Why the frown, sweetie?", her mother asked, concerned.
"Only three people accepted the invitation to my party. I'm never going to make new friends at this rate."
"Why in the world would you want to be friends with those little assholes?! Excuse my French, but they have tortured you. Do you know how much of your hair I've had to cut off just so I could get the gum out those demon spawn threw into it?"
"Yes, mom. I know. It's my hair, remember? I do have a tiny bit of knowledge about what's happened to it."
"Well, it just pisses me off. They've yanked your books from your hands and threw them away! They've pushed you down in the hallways! They've shoved you into lockers! I'm sick of those bastards, dammit!", her mom said heatedly.
"Hey, Mrs. Sailor Mouth, have you seen my mom anywhere?"
Her mom let out a nervous laugh.
"I'm sorry, honey. It hurts me to know what a living hell they've made your life. You don't deserve it. You're such a sweet kid. I wish everyone could see that."
Her mom gave her a tight squeeze and kissed her forehead.
"You really want them to come, don't you?"
Diana nodded her head.
"Go email them and tell them alcohol will be served at your party. I'm sure that will get them here. I wouldn't be surprised if they were all alcoholics."
"Alcohol? Mom! What?! You have officially lost your mind. Toss me the phone so I can see about getting you committed."
"Not really, dear! I wouldn't actually do that. It will just get them here. That's what you want, right?", her mom said with a smile.
" I guess..but what will happen once they get here and discover there isn't a supply of alcohol awaiting them?"
"I'll take care of that. You just get them here", her mom said and went back to finishing breakfast.
"Now scoot! Those emails won't write themselves! Wait, or will they?"
Diana gave her mom a blank stare.
"What? Technology confuses me."
"Oh, trust me, I know. I've gotten the pleasure of watching you argue with Siri. Many times."
Diana felt weird writing the email, but she did it nonetheless. She wasn't sure how else to build some sort of bridge with these people and was desperate to try. The bullying was more intense than ever and she wasn't sure she could take it two more years. Suicide had crossed her mind more than once.
She was willing to try anything else other than taking her own life, even lying to them to get them to her party. She just knew once they arrived, they'd have fun and get to know her. She was convinced they would like her, if given the chance.
She was shocked when replies to her emails poured in within minutes after hitting send. Everyone was coming!
She raced downstairs to tell her mom.
"Well, I guess the lure of alcohol was too much for them. Little drunkards. I knew it", her mom said.
Diana laughed and squeezed her mom.
"I'm so excited!", she squealed.
Her mom held on to her, enjoying this too much to let go. She had felt Diana slipping away from her the last few years. She saw the hurt that was always present in her young eyes. She saw the marks those demon spawn had left on her beautiful skin. Therapy had not worked. Talking to school officials and parents had not worked.
Debbie knew she couldn't allow Diana to suffer any longer. She was concerned even more about her daughter after finding a razor blade hidden beneath her pillow.
She wanted to ask Diana about it, but she already knew what would happen. Diana would deny it and pull away, back into her dark corner.
Debbie wasn't willing to risk that happening right now. Not when she was finally seeing Diana's smile again. It had been far too long.
Debbie forced back the tears that were threatening to fall.
She reluctantly let go of her daughter and turned away before Diana could see the sadness in her eyes.
"We have lots to do, munchkin. Eat your breakfast, then go get dressed so we go shopping. We have a cake to make."
"But I already have a cake, mom. It's in the fridge."
"That cake cost me a fortune! I refuse to let those butt munchers eat it."
Diana laughed and hurriedly finished her eggs.
They spent the day shopping and as much as Diana hated to admit it, she had fun. Shopping was usually something she dreaded.
Once they arrived back home, Diana raced into the house and up the stairs to her room so she could get ready.
"No worries, dear. I can carry these bags that weigh a ton on my own! I have the strength of Superman, ya know!", her mom called after her.
Diana stopped in her tracks and went back to help her mom. After getting everything inside, Diana was off again.
Her mom laughed at her excitement. She could get used to seeing this Diana again. This is the happy child she remembered.
While her mom was busy baking a cake for her guests, Diana was pacing her room. She was struggling with her mousy brown hair. After failing to fix it like she wanted, she pulled it into a ponytail.
She glanced at the clock and realized she only had minutes until her guests would arrive. Just as she opened her bedroom door, she heard the doorbell ring.
She ran down the steps and was out of breath by the time she reached the door.
Her mom watched her with amusement from the living room.
"Calm down and catch your breath, dear. Don't work yourself up and cause a stroke. I'm not taking you to the hospital on your birthday."
Diana stuck her tongue out at her mom and giggled. She took a second to calm down before opening the door. There in front of her stood Tammy. Her best and oldest friend.
"Wow, happy to see me much?" Tammy asked when she noticed Diana's frown.
"I'm so sorry! Please come in", Diana replied apologetically.
The girls went in to check out the cake Diana's mom made.
"Mrs. Johnson, you know I love you, but I hope you don't expect me to eat that hideous looking cake", Tammy said.
Debbie laughed and shook her head.
"I have one for you and Diana in the fridge. This one is special. It's for our other guests. You and Diana aren't to even touch it, got it?", Debbie said sternly.
"No worries there, mom. I wouldn't touch it even if you paid me", Diana said as she looked at the foul smelling cake, that appeared to be bubbling.
Before long the other kids arrived and the house was close to overflowing. They asked for beer the instant they walked in. Diana glanced nervously at her mom.
"You'll get it soon enough. The birthday cake is soaked in Jack Daniels. Plus, I've got vodka for after that. But cake first! I can't have you wonderful kids drinking on an empty stomach", Debbie said.
Diana's mom called them all out to the back patio to cut the cake. Debbie watched with a smile as Diana blew out her candles. She looked so happy, so carefree.
Debbie had the other cake already cut up and put on paper plates. She handed a slice to each one of the young guests.
She remembered these faces all too clearly. These were the faces of the children that tormented her daughter. She forced a smile as she went to each one.
"Eat up!", she said with a smile.
Debbie made sure Diana and Tammy, along with a small handful of other innocent kids, only ate the cake that was bought for Diana.
After watching the kids nearly swallow the cake whole, Debbie watched in silence as each one started to choke. Foam and blood began to seep from their mouths.
Debbie ushered Diana and the few other unaffected kids inside, locking the patio door behind her.
Debbie watched through the glass as they all began to drop like flies. She almost felt giddy. This was the best gift she could think of to give to her daughter. She would take the lives of these people before she could allow Diana to take her own.
She turned around and smiled at her daughter.
"Happy birthday! Now let's celebrate!"