Carly jumped as the clock struck six. She had been lost in her thoughts, thinking about the details for the party later that night. Halloween was her favorite holiday and she wanted everything to be perfect.
Her costume was laid out on the bed. Afraid of messing it up, she wanted to wait until the last minute to put it on. Her make up looked perfect. She could hardly believe that she looked like a dead person but that was what she had wanted to achieve. Carly was planning to be a bride.....a dead bride. She still wasn't sure why but she had gotten the idea when she found the wedding dress in an old thrift shop downtown a few weeks ago. That was when she decided to have the party. Later, she was surprised at her own self because having parties was not her thing. But something happened when she picked up the beautiful old wedding dress. It was in remarkably good shape to be so old and it fit her perfectly.
Tom, her boyfriend, had agreed although somewhat reluctantly to dress like the groom of the dead bride. "We'll be the talk of the town in these costumes," she thought smiling to herself. For some reason it brought her a lot of pleasure to imagine their being bride and groom even if it was just for the party. In reality, she knew that Tom had been seeing other women and she was hurt over it but felt helpless to do anything about it. He didn't know that she knew and Carly wanted to keep it that way. If he cared about her, he would have to decide on his own to date only her.
As she walked through the house Carly clicked off the items on her list. The food was out and looked delicious, the bar was stocked and the candles were lit and provided just the eerie look that she wanted. Her little cottage had been transformed into a "haunted house", cobwebs and all. As the clock stuck seven, Carly smiled thinking that even the clock added to the creepy ambiance that she wanted to set for the party.
Walking back up the stairs Carly had no idea how creepy things would get before the night was over. She slipped on the wedding dress and when she looked into the mirror, she hardly recognized herself. The makeup looked so much more realistic with the dress on. Staring into the mirror she thought she saw a strange greenish glow that seemed to surround her. The dressed hugged her so tightly and for a moment she wished that she had not bought the dress and wondered if the party was a mistake. This was all so unlike her. As quickly as the thoughts entered her head, they vanished and she suddenly felt almost protective of the dress. The dress was far too beautiful to hang in a thrift shop to rot. She briefly wished that it was a real wedding that she was dressing for. Carly put on her grandmother's red garnet necklace and picked up her dried bouquet of flowers. "Can't have the bride get married without some dead roses now can we?" she thought. As she walked out the room, the green glow followed her.
The doorbell rang as Carly came down the stairs. Tom was the first to arrive as she had planned. He looked so handsome in his tuxedo. Carly picked up the small boutonniere from the table in the entry to put in his lapel. Tom, a little surprised at her appearance, said "wow, Carly you look amazing. You really look like a dead person. How on earth did you get that greenish glow to surround you?"
Before she could answer, the doorbell rang and the guests started to arrive. They all marvelled over Carly and Tom's costumes and remarked on the realistic makeup that she had applied and how her dress looked so eerie. Carly barely recognized the voice in her head that was was laughing and saying, "Oh, it's not eerie yet but it will be."
Everyone was enjoying the food and the punch that Carly had made. It was in a cauldron and had smoke drifting up from it. For some reason Carly couldn't remember when asked what was in the punch but everyone seemed to like it. As the evening wore on, she felt strange and decided that she wouldn't have anymore punch. It was almost midnight and Carly felt that there was something that she needed to do but couldn't remember what. She went into the kitchen and brought out a cake. Everyone was a little surprised that she had gone to the trouble to have a wedding cake. Carly was confused and didn't remember buying the cake but she set it down on the table and asked Tom to help her cut it. Tom, by now, had gotten a little tired of this entire wedding scenario. He wished that he had told Carly that he wanted to break up before the party and knew that he would now have to wait until another time. He was annoyed at the elaborate fake wedding that Carly had prepared and snapped at her when she told him he should make a toast. "This is out of hand, Carly. It's not a real wedding, okay?"
That was the beginning of the horror that followed. Carly became angry and instead of cutting the cake with the knife she held in her hand, she stabbed Tom in the chest. At first the guests started to laugh because they thought that it was all part of the facade that had been created. The blood gushed from Tom's chest and he fell over into the cake. Carly had a strange look on her face and she laughed and kept saying, "darling, now we'll always be together."
The guests panicked. Someone yelled, "This is not a game. Let's get out of here." The clock struck midnight and the lights dimmed and the doors all slammed shut. They tried to open them but they were locked. Carly was still laughing a shrill and demonic laugh. Her eyes were like ice blue glass and she had Tom's blood all over her dress. She was kissing him now and telling him that she loved him. The music seemed to get louder and everyone was screaming and looking for a way out of the house. Two of the guys decided to try to grab Carly and take the knife from her. Coming up from behind they managed to get their arms around her and she fell to the floor with them on top of her. The knife went flying. During the scuffle the dress was torn so badly that most of it was ripped from Carly as they tried to stand her up.
With the dress off Carly immediately became alert and when she saw Tom she started to scream loudly. "Oh, my God, what happened to Tom, please call an ambulance now," she yelled.
The police and the ambulance came and when the guests told the police what had happened, Carly, looking totally mystified, exclaimed, "Have you all gone mad? I would never stab Tom. I love him." The paramedics pronounced Tom dead and took him away. The guests were asked to stay and give statements and Carly was taken to the police station.
After Carly was found guilty of murdering Tom, her house and all of its contents were sold. No one could explain why she had killed Tom or her strange actions afterwards. A few noticed that when the dress was removed, it seemed to change Carly's behavior but they didn't dwell on it for long; it was just too bizarre.
A couple of years later in a little thrift shop on one of the side streets downtown, a young woman was looking through a rack of clothing. She stopped when she spotted the wedding gown and although she wasn't getting married, she felt compelled to buy the dress. It was in remarkably good condition and fit her perfectly. Later as she hung the dress in her closet, she smiled and ran her fingers over the lace and thought to herself, "I think I'll plan a costume party and of course, I'll be a bride. Bob can be the groom."