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“I love autumn dahling,” Nancy said from the back seat  of their chauffeur driven Lincoln. “It’s perfect weather for pairing my leopard print dressing gown with open-toed heels.”

“I know dahling,” Darcy said.  “I’ve just been dying to wear this cheetah print dressing gown with my open-toed heels..”

“I completely understand why,” Nancy said.  “You look glorious in it.”

“And you look glorious in your leopard print dressing gown.”

“Which is why I love autumn, dahling.”

“We do look glorious in the autumn,”Darcy said.

They sat in silence for a moment, admiring how glorious they looked as they drove along a street of an ungated neighborhood.  Their driver had accidentally gotten off of the highway one exit too early which was how they found themselves in what they called the proletariat part of town.  

In unison, each woman took a puff on their cigarette from their right hand followed by a sip from the high ball they were holding in their left hand.

“Why do so many people have pumpkins on their door stoop with faces carved into them?”  Darcy asked.

“It’s nearly All Hallow’s Eve, dahling,” Nancy said.

“Really?” Darcy said.  “As a child, I used to love All Hallow’s Eve, dahling.”

“Did we dress up and go door to door?” Nancy asked, squinting in an attempt to better see her childhood memories.

“No dahling,” Darcy said.  “We used to swill Shirley Temples, sit on our balcony and deride the blue collar children as they went door to door partaking in their hoi polloi merriment.”

Nancy nodded, “Now I remember.  That was fun, dahling.”

They sat in silence again, drawing from their cigarettes and enjoying their childhood memories of looking down on commoners.

“I always wanted to try out a haunted house though, dahling,” Darcy said.

“Really?” Nancy said.  “Now that you mention it, dahling, that does sound charming.  I wonder how one finds a haunted house.”

Darcy scanned the scenery outside the windows of their Lincoln.

“There’s one right up there,” Darcy said, excitedly pointing to a house and putting her high ball in the cup holder.  “Driver pull over!”

Darcy was exiting the car and starting up the drive practically before the driver had even managed to stop the Lincoln.  Nancy put her high ball in the cup holder and hurried after her.

“How do you know that’s a haunted house, dahling?” Nancy asked.

“The mini-van in the driveway dahling,” Darcy said.  “It’s clearly meant to inspire fear.”

“So true dahling,” Nancy said.  “It is quite terrifying.”

Cigarettes finished, each woman dropped the butts on the street and mashed them out with their open toed shoes.

They clip-clopped up the driveway alongside the minivan.  They passed styrofoam gravestones in the yard, a fake dead body and a zombie figure that shook and moaned when they passed it.

“How absolutely adorable,” Darcy said.

“It reminds me of that primitives art show out on the Hamptons, dahling,” Nancy said.

“Or my plastic surgeon’s waiting room, dahling,” Darcy said.

They arrived to the front stoop and giggled at the fake cobwebs and the giant, decorative spider attached to the door.

“If they really wanted to scare people, dahling, they should decorate with stray chin hairs and unexpected wrinkles,” Darcy said.

“Or Crocs, dahling!” Nancy said.  “A pair of Crocs would send me running screaming in horror.”

“Oh me too dahling,” Darcy said.  “I’d have to sleep with the lights on for a week.”

They opened the front door and entered the house without knocking.

“Uh, can I help you?” a startled man sitting on the couch in the living room asked.  He was watching television.

The two women didn’t hear his words.  They were stunned into a state of shock.  The room started to spin for each of the women and they grabbed onto each other in fright.

“My God,” Nancy said in a flat voice.  “The department store decor!”

Darcy was trying to look away, but couldn’t.  “Is that… Ikea furniture?!”

They looked at each other and in unison screamed, “There are scribbles on the walls and I don’t think they’re ironic!”

“My kid got a hold of a Sharpie…” the man sheepishly started to say as some sort of embarrassed parent reflex but before he could finish, the women were running in a blind terror into the next room.

They clung together as they entered the dining room, afraid of what they’d find next.

“Ah!” Nancy said, turning her head in trepidation.

“What is it, dahling?” Darcy asked, trying to see what her sister had seen.

“There’s no dessert fork in the place setting, dahling,” Nancy said, “No dessert fork and no salad fork.  And the glasses don’t match!”

“The horror!” Darcy said as she peeked through her hands which she had over her eyes.  “And they’re serving white wine with beef! Or is that? Oh the inhumanity! It’s not white wine, it’s soda!  They’re having soda with dinner!”

Just then, Nancy grabbed her hair with both hands and let out a scream.

“What do you see, dahling?” 

“There’s a hairbrush on the table!” Nancy yelled as she buried her face in Darcy’s shoulder.

Darcy saw the hairbrush that had so horrified her sister and let out a scream of her own.

“It’s filled with hair!” Darcy yelled as she burrowed her head into her sister’s neck.

“Let’s get out of here,” Nancy squealed, “Before someone puts their elbows on the table.”

“Or chews with their mouth open, dahling,” Darcy said as the two shuffled out the door, huddling together.

They made their way along a poorly lit hallway until they came across a closed door.

“Excuse me,” said the man from the couch meekly.  He had followed them from the living room, but this was the first break in all their screaming to allow him a moment to talk.  “What are you doing in my house?”

They didn’t hear him, so focused were they on the door before them.

“Shall we go in dahling?” Nancy asked.

“We might as well dahling,” Darcy said.  “Whatever is behind this door can’t be worse than that dining room.”

Together they turned the knob and pushed the door open.

“I was wrong dahling,” Darcy said, fear washing over her face.

The two women found themselves in a small bathroom. 

“There are no guest soaps!” Nancy said, her hand flying up to cover her mouth in shock.

“And no guest towels!” Darcy said.  “What are guests supposed to dry their hands on?”

They both looked in alarm at a used, wet bath towel hanging on a hook.

“Ahhhhhhhh!” they screamed as they backed out of the bathroom together and raced down the hall to another door.  

Nancy clamored with the knob while Darcy pushed at the door until they both spilled into the room.  It was a bedroom.

“This is easily the scariest room of the haunted house, dahling!” Nancy said in a shaking 

voice.

“Excuse me,” said the man from the couch meekly.  “This is my bedroom. Why are you in my house?”

They didn’t hear him, so focused were they on the room surrounding them.

“Cheap perfume on the dresser!” Darcy said in a panicked whisper.

“An unmade bed!” Nancy also whispered, tears of fear streaming down her face.

“Those sheets are less than a hundred thread count, dahling!” Darcy said, shaking with sweat breaking out on her brow.

“There is no bed skirt and no pillow shams,” Nancy said, nearly faint.

“God help us Nancy dahling,” Darcy said, crumbling to the floor.

“What is it Darcy, dahling?” Nancy was almost afraid to ask.

“The night table,” Darcy said, pointing with shaking finger.  “The book. It’s by a…”

“Go on Darcy dahling, what is it?!”

Darcy took a moment to compose herself.

“That book was written by… a republican!”

They both screamed.

At that moment, a young boy with big blue eyes and a mop of curly hair appeared.

“Are you guys okay?” he asked, a concerned look on his face.

Both women looked at the boy, looked at each other and then looked at the boy again.  They both let out shrieks of terror, got to their feet and raced out of the house as fast as their open-toed heels would allow them.

“That child spoke to us without being spoken to!” Darcy wailed clip-clopping down the driveway with very little poise.

“He was seen and heard,” Nancy cried, before tripping in the lawn and crawling the rest of the way on all fours.  It’s interesting to note that even on all fours, Nancy managed more poise than Darcy.

Once safely back in their Lincoln, lit cigarettes and high balls in hand and driving towards their gated community, the women regained their composure.

“That was fun dahling,” Nancy said, color returning to her ashen face.

“An absolute hoot,” Darcy said, her heart rate returning to normal.

“They did a marvelous job with that haunted house, dahling,” Nancy said.  “I was absolutely aghast.”

“I agree dahling, they did a tremendous job,” Darcy said.  “Dr. Pritchett will probably have to increase my anti-anxiety dosage.”

“Oh definitely dahling.  I’ve been set back years in therapy.”

They each took a drag off their cigarettes and a sip from their high balls.

“Have I told you you look fabulous in that leopard print dressing gown?”  Darcy asked

“Thank you dahling,” Nancy said.  “You look fabulous in that cheetah print dressing gown.”

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