Costume Party

I don’t know what happened to my friend John, but I fear for the worst. There has been no word from him for more than a week.

I hang out with him and the rest of my friends almost every week. We are your typical group of younger people in their early to mid-twenties. Some are students; some are part of the workforce, doesn’t matter.

Last weekend we threw a party. It wasn’t Halloween, Carnival or any other occasion, but we still decided on a costume party. Either wear one, or you aren’t getting in. The place we decided on for the party was my friend Thomas’ place. He was well off and could afford a nice, big place, unlike the rest of us.

I decided to dress up as a post-apocalyptic soldier, trying to be a raider from Fallout. In reality, it must have looked more like one of the weird homoerotic costumes from the Mad Max movies.

When I arrived at the party, a couple of people were already there. My friends Tom and Marie, and three other people I didn’t know. I said hello to everyone and went to greet Thomas who eyed my costume suspiciously for a moment. He said he’d invited a couple more people than the usual crowd. I shrugged, the more, the merrier.

Apart from the more normal ones like zombies or nurses, people showed up in the weirdest outfits. There were two guys dressed up as an oversized bottle of beer and an oversized pack of cigarettes. One girl was a huge beach ball and a guy in a full body dog costume.

I was already getting pretty drunk. I got to know some of the new people, took part in a ridiculous guessing game and won a drinking contest against beer himself. It was great, and everyone had a blast.

After midnight a couple of the students brought up the idea of going to a cheap dance club near campus. I had been to the place a couple of times before. It meant shitty mainstream music, more drunk people, and cheap drinks. I was so in.

It took some time to ask around, but in the end, a whole dozen of us decided to go. There was me, Tom, Marie, John, beer and cigarettes, the two students who had suggested going, three of Thomas’ friends and the guy in the dog costume.

A couple of beers to go, a funny yet uneventful subway ride later and soon we only had ten more minutes by foot till we’d reach the club.

On our way, John said he had to take a leak and asked if anyone else had to go. No one was answering, but as John walked off the guy in the dog costume joined in. The two vanished behind a corner to find some bushes.

It shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes, so we decided to get in line already.

The club was only a couple blocks away, so I sent John a quick message on WhatsApp, to come and find us. Call me an asshole, but I was pretty drunk, and he’s old enough to find his way.

The rest of the night is a blur.

We went in, got shots, then beer, then more shots, then it is all blank.

I woke up the next day with a splitting headache and the world slowly spinning around me. By the time I was able to get up and function as a normal human being again it was already early evening.

My phone was informing me that I’d gotten quite a few messages, but it was either nonsense or pictures of last night.

On Facebook things were different. I had gotten a message from Alison, John’s girlfriend. We weren’t exactly friends, so I was a little surprised to see it. She was asking what had happened last night and if I knew where John was. The last time she had seen him was yesterday evening.

I sighed, freaking overprotective girlfriend. Wasn’t John with us at the club and we went home together? I tried to remember, but I had no real idea about what had happened.

I told her what I remembered. We had a party, went to a club and that I had no real idea where John went. She told me that she had already asked Tom and Marie, but the two couldn’t tell her anything either.

I thought about it for a bit. I honestly didn’t know if he was at the club with us at all. Then I remembered that he had gone for a leak with dog guy. Must be one of Thomas’ friends, I concluded.

I sent him a quick message, and he told me he didn’t know the guy and that he arrived with beer and cigarettes.

Finding the two was easy. They were already tagged in the pictures on Facebook. The one who replied first was beer. I asked him who their friend was and a little puzzled he asked me if I was talking about cigarettes. The guy in the dog costume, I answered. At first, he didn’t even know who I was talking about, but then he told me he had no idea who the guy was. They had met him on the way to Thomas’ apartment. Weird, I thought, but ok.

I checked WhatsApp. The last time John had been online was before midnight. We were still at Thomas’ place at that time. My message about us getting in line without him was delivered but still unread.

The whole situation started to get a little strange. I sent him another message asking him where he was and telling him that Alison was worried. I tried to call him, but it went straight to voicemail. The battery must be dead I thought. Maybe he had lost it?

I started to ask around on Facebook because I couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was wrong. First I contacted my friends, then the other people who were at our party. No one could tell me anything. Everyone remembered dog guy, but no one knew who he was. He was a complete stranger who had turned up at our party.

Thinking about it now, I don’t know if I ever saw him drink or interact with anyone. He was always a quiet bystander. Standing somewhere away from the others, merely watching.

I now feel a cold shiver whenever I looked at the pictures he is in.

“Who the hell are you?”

When John went to take a leak dog guy had followed him. No one thought anything about it at the time. And no one remembers seeing either John or dog guy afterward. This person, this stranger, was the last one my friend interacted with. The damned costume makes it utterly impossible to find out who he is. By now there are only two questions:

Who the fuck was at our party and what did he do to my friend?