Read Red Fox Online

Authors: Karina Halle

Tags: #David_James

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BOOK: Red Fox
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She nodded confidently just
as my parents entered the room.

As predicted, my father
produced a giant bowl of popcorn.

Did we miss anything?” he
asked, peering at the computer screen through his thick

I shook my head, the
nervousness threatening to swallow me whole. Normally I got nervous
about the smallest things (like calling to order pizza), which I
blamed on some unchecked anxiety problem. Now that I actually had
reason to be nervous, I started getting dizzy. I could feel the
suffocating reaches of a mild panic attack slinking around at the
corners of my mind.

My dad pulled out my desk
chair and my mother awkwardly sat down on my bean bag chair. She
smiled at me wearily. I could tell she didn’t have as much stock in
the show as I had originally hoped.

My dad passed the bowl of
popcorn to me.

Eat, you look like you’re
going to pass out,” he ordered.

I reluctantly popped a
handful into my mouth and glanced at the clock on the computer. The
big hand ticked over to 7PM. It was go time.

I took a deep breath,
almost chocked on a leftover popcorn kernel, leaned over and
pressed refresh on my browser. I quickly sat back and covered my
eyes with my hand.

Oh my God, I can’t watch
this,” I muttered, peeking out through my fingers, as if that was
going to shield me from possible embarrassment.

That’s why we’re here
honey, to watch it for you,” my mother said from down on the

I peered at the screen. It
was all black with creepy keyboard and guitar sounds coming faintly
from the speakers. The words “Experiment in Terror” flashed across
the screen.

I laughed. “Experiment in
Terror? That’s an old Blake Edwards movie.”

I shook my head at the lack
of originality even though it actually was quite fitting. It
figured Dex would come up with a hokey name like that.

Hope you’re not going to
get sued now,” my father said.

You can’t copyright titles
dad,” I hushed him.

Beneath the title, the
words “The Darkhouse” appeared.

Darkhorse?” asked my mom,

Darkhouse. Like the
opposite of a lighthouse,” I offered, though again, this was all
Dex’s doing.

The words faded from view
and a wavering, hazy image of the lighthouse appeared. A growling,
rough voice came through. It took me a few seconds to realize it
was Dex’s voice, albeit a bit lower than usual. I had only heard
his voice once in the last few weeks. It still took me by surprise
that it belonged to a somewhat short, thin, scruffy man instead of
a tall, hulking behemoth.

At the
turn of the century the Oregon Coast was a busy cornucopia of
merchant vessels, ships and boats which plied the waters heading
for lands both near and far,” Dex narrated. I cringed at the sloppy
writing and wondered why I hadn’t been asked to whip something up.
If I had known he was going to narrate the episode I would

Did you find some old
sailor to do the voiceover?” my mother asked.

No. Actually, that’s all

My mother didn’t look too
impressed. She exchanged a vague glance with my father and looked
back at the screen.

Dex’s voice went on, giving
a short and rather sinister history lesson before the stock footage
of old ships and wild storms ceased and suddenly my big fat face
filled the screen.

Oh, Jesus.” I put my hand
over my eyes again.

Perry,” my dad warned, his
religious side irked by my choice of words.

Ada reached over and pulled
my hand off my face.

Oh come on, you look
great,” she said excitedly. I cautiously peered at the screen

I definitely did
look great. I had
enough problems dealing with my body and face on a daily basis,
just looking into the mirror often sent me off into a tizzy. So
obviously with the camera (which, really does add ten pounds)
zoomed in it wasn’t doing me any favors.

I remembered the scene like
it was yesterday (or a few weeks ago). Dex and I were on the beach
near the lighthouse, battling the ferocious wind and attempting to
get a few good setup shots. I got nervous with the camera in my
face and Dex’s rather brusque way of directing, so I suddenly
started spouting off all this knowledge about the lighthouse and
its morbid history. It sounds crazy, but somehow I knew everything
there was to know about it. For a while there it was like I was
living it, moving through and witnessing its past like a ghostly
observer. And for some strange reason, Dex chose those scenes to
put in the show. I watched my round, blank face stare stupidly at
the ocean with my black hair flying all over the place.

You look haunted,” Ada said

I don’t get it,” said my
mother. “Are you having a seizure?”

The camera froze on my face
as Dex’s narration explained how the host, me, felt something dark
and horrible about the lighthouse.

An internal warning or a
message from the grave?” Dex said dramatically.

My dad snorted in laughter.
“I think she just forgot her lines.”

I glared at him and sank
back into the bed. This was not starting out well
at all

Thankfully my face faded
from view and the story began to move in a more linear fashion. A
lot of the shots that I wouldn’t have thought were useable worked
great at creating atmosphere, and the music that Dex used (or
composed) added to the creepiness.

We had watched the show for
about ten minutes when I realized that although the video
thoroughly intrigued and scared me, it didn’t have the same effect
on my parents. I had actually lived through everything – I knew the
end to the story, which was more horrifying than anything captured
on film. But did your average person, who didn’t know the things
that I knew, get anything from it?

I looked over at my mother.
She was staring at her fingernails. At least my dad watched, though
I could see an impatient look in his eyes. Even during the part
where Dex filmed (shakily) the hallway flooding and the fire
creeping up the walls of the lighthouse, and me, their daughter,
getting dragged underwater, neither of my parents seemed moved or
concerned. Even when the screen went blank as Dex chucked the
camera out of the window. Nothing.

Ada, on the other hand, bit
her lip hard, fully engrossed. That would have been a great sign,
had she not already known the real danger involved.

Needless to say, an
uncomfortable silence filled my room as the show ended.

Well, Perry,” said my dad.
He got up and didn’t finish his sentence.

My mother got up too. “That
was interesting. You looked good.”

Ada gave our parents an
annoyed look and turned to me. “That was fantastic.”

It wasn’t fantastic. I
don’t even know if it was interesting. And I definitely didn’t look

So,” my dad cleared his
throat. “Do you really think people are going to buy


He chuckled. “Perry, you’ve
based a whole show on a lie.”

It’s not a lie,” I said

So you’re telling me that a
ghost set the lighthouse on fire? Because the last time I checked,
you, Al, and the police were blaming the explosion on faulty wiring
or something of that matter.”

The police said it must
have been faulty wiring,” I told him.

And now you’re saying it’s
the ghost of the lighthouse.”

I’m not saying that now,
I’ve always said that. I just didn’t tell you guys that because you
wouldn’t believe me.” I felt my cheeks flush and gave Ada a
helpless look. She shrugged, not wanting to get dragged into a
senseless argument with our dad.

You’re right about that,”
he sighed. “Look, pumpkin, I don’t care what you do in your spare
time, so as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job. Your


But don’t get your hopes up
on…this. I honestly don’t see it going anywhere. I’m not saying
that to be mean sweetie. I’m just being your dad. This

Uh-huh,” I mumbled and
looked over at my mom who edged silently towards the door. She
caught me looking at her and pasted on a sympathetic

You know your
parents…we’re too old for this kind of stuff. You know ghosts and
the internet and things aren’t really made for us. But your writing
was good. And you looked good. And that’s what’s

Of course my mother, being
an ex-model from Sweden and all, would say that.

You didn’t even read my
writing!” I never saw her glance once at the blog I had written,
which was posted beside the video in plain sight.

She looked embarrassed.
“No, not yet but I know it would be good anyway. Stick to your
writing and your job Perry and good things will happen.”

going to go watch
.” My dad waved and shut the door
behind them.

Fuck,” I moaned and flopped
back on the bed.

Don’t be so dramatic,” Ada

My eyes flew open. “Excuse

She got up and walked over
to the computer.

It wasn’t bad at all,
Perry. Seriously, my friends would find this shit


Well they would. They are
your demographic, aren’t they? Little tweens and teens?”

I was kind of hoping
everyone would find it scary.”

And I’m sure they do. But
come on, it’s just a demo like you said. It’s not going to be
perfect your first time out. Besides, you almost fucking died
making this. That’s insane.”

She had a point but it
didn’t help with what my parents said about keeping my day

Anyway,” she continued, “I
think it’s awesome and I’m gonna get everyone else to think it’s
awesome. You’ll get a million likes on YouTube. And the next time
you do this, it’ll be even better. You guys just need

No, I need practice. Dex is

She laughed. “He at least
needs to practice his narration.”

It was a little Vincent
Price, wasn’t it?” I mused.

Who’s Vincent

Oh, for crying out

Nevermind, nevermind.” I covered my face with my hands again.
I knew if I got more comfortable being on camera, and if we had a
better script and an actual game plan, the next time would work a
lot better. The thing that bothered me though was if there
a next

What did Dex think of it?
What did his boss? I eyed my cell and contemplated calling Dex but
decided I was too afraid to hear what he had to say. I couldn’t
handle brutal honesty at the moment and I knew if I couldn’t make a
go of this show then I didn’t have anything else left.

I moaned and rolled

Ada hit my leg with her
hand. “Snap out of it. I don’t want to see you go into another

I’m not depressed,” I
mumbled face down into the bedding. “I’m screwed.”

No you’re not. You hated
your job anyway, right? So go get a new job. Stop being so

I couldn’t help but laugh.
That said a lot coming from Queen Emo herself.

Ada, when you’re my age
you’ll understand what a big deal it is to be without a

Oh shut up. Spare me your
dramatics. You’re in your early twenties and you live at home, you
loser. Half of the country is out of work right now and they
actually have real problems, such as mouths to feed and mortgages
to pay and whatever.”

It’s a
terrifying world when
are the voice of reason,” I

And it’s a terrifying
world when you have to tell your older sister that everything will
be all right. Just…promise me you won’t lock yourself in your room
and mope all week. Go out and get another job. I’ll keep your
secret safe from mom and dad. You’re going to have to do something
between nine and five anyway and like hell I’d want you following
me around at school.”

I wouldn’t dream of




The next morning felt like
I was on a super secret spy mission; I was a spy who wore a
business suit and rode a motorbike.

You look nice,” my mother
said as I tried to sneak through the kitchen without her

BOOK: Red Fox
3.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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