By Kaitlin Perry
Your group is approaching the first haunted house at the theme park.
The rules? You can’t touch the frightening characters, and the frightening characters can’t touch you.
As you enter the building, you hear screams and the sound of compressed air escaping from tubes. An insane-asylum patient begins to follow you through the maze as you scream with terror, but you know that you’re safe because he can’t touch you, right? But then he steps in front of you, separating you from your group. You yell your friend’s name as you try to get around the young man that is taking his role a bit too far. Forced to turn back, you realize there is no one behind you. You are the last one in the maze.
Then he grabs your hair,
and pulls you behind the curtain to your left,
exposing the extra costumes on the ground.
You try to yell for help, and thankfully you are able to, but the people walking past laugh, thinking that someone ahead of them is getting “attacked” by a fake zombie or ghost.
But it’s not pretend.
The young man rubs his hands up and down your body. He puts his face up to yours, wiping your tears away. He tells you not to be scared as he quickly ties your hands together with rope. And then he hits you over the head with the handle of a prop sword.
Upon waking, you realize that your hands are tied in a pleading position, and your wrists are burning, bleeding from the tightness of the rope. You look around, and notice that the surrounding space is just wooden walls and wooden floor, like a movie set. You look out of the makeshift window and see a sign that reads “Bates Motel.”
You are on the Psycho set.
You see the Universal Studios tour tram drive by.
You begin hyperventilating.
You remember being face to face with someone who wasn’t supposed to touch you.
You thought you were protected by the words of a contract.
Then he enters, dressed like Norman Bates. He has set up the mother’s corpse in a rocking chair, just like the film. But this corpse is real, and rotting.
He lifts you up by your shoulders and tells you the story of how he transported you to his mother’s home, and explains to you why he is doing this. He says you were the most beautiful girl that had walked through the maze, and he had been waiting to find the perfect girl to reenact one of the most famous scenes in movie history. But your bruised and battered head doesn’t know what scene he is talking about.
And then you realize you can’t walk on your own. Or talk. And he notices your sense of panic and tells you that he injected you with a paralyzing agent, but it should wear off in about two minutes. As tears roll down your flushed cheeks, he starts telling you what you are going to do.
You are going to get in the shower and pretend you are calm, relaxed and completely unaware of what is about to happen. He will then come in with a knife, and stab you. He says it has been his dream to act this out. “This,” he says, “is the scene that made me the man I am today.”
You try to resist being dragged to the bathroom he has set up. You kick, punch, pinch, bite – but really, your body is still.
He sets you down on the tile floor and takes off your clothes, turning his face to the side. He wants your body to be wet, clean and at ease when he sees it for the first time.
You notice that your voice is coming back, and you scream for help, but it comes out as a whisper. He starts to breathe heavily and, eyes closed, carries you into the shower.
Your knees hit the side of the tub.
“Please,” you beg in a hushed whisper.
“You don’t have to beg,” he says through gritted teeth. “The best is yet to come.”
He quickly closes the curtain, and he walks over to a cd player to test the music, which is the unmistakable screech of Norman Bates’ knife splitting through the skin of a blond actress.
Music to be murdered to, as they say.
Skipping backwards to the track before, he explains that you have 53 seconds of silence to clean yourself, and play the role you were born to play. The paralyzed state you were in has warn off, and you turn on the shower, trying to devise a plan of escape, but there are no windows, and Norman is waiting behind the door, counting down the seconds to your inevitable death.
You fall to the porcelain floor.
You lose hope.
His figure is visible through the shower curtain.
The outline of the butcher knife is visible through the shower curtain.
The screeching is audible through the shower curtain.
The shower curtain rips open, and the skin of your thigh rips open, and the skin of your belly rips open, and the skin of your arm rips open.
The point of the knife pierces your spine as he begins to slice you down the middle of your back, and your warm blood coats your left eye and outlines your face, which is pushed down against the porcelain. Your hair has become red. The blade moves in and out, in sync with the music.
You think of your mother, your father, your sister, your brother. You think of your hands, your smile, your hair, your teeth. You see Norman’s face, smiling and sweaty, as he kisses your lips, and you feel the knife move from the left side of your neck to the right.
All is finished, and all is black.