Short Story
                                              The Soiree
                                                                    By Nolan Yard


    One by one they started showing up. They carried funny shaped bottles. Some wore funny looking t-
shirts with weird names on them like Hoegarrden and Arrogant Bastard. Others dressed normal or wore
more fancy-type clothing.

    Will didn’t always notice things. In fact, he sometimes missed many things. But when he wanted to, he
could notice a whole lot. Like way the people looked. There was something about them, something that
made them look… tired. They sort of lumbered up to his neighbor Vincent’s front door.

    Maybe it was because it was Friday. After all, the week was long. For him at least. He had three
quizzes and a test in Mr. Stokely’s. It would’ve been fine if Mr. Stokely hadn’t pushed him. You see, he was
special. Well everyone in the class was already special. But he even more so. According to his teacher,
Will “surpassed all his high-functioning colleagues” in computer programming and therefore was given
tougher assignments and tests.

    He did fine on the test, but that’s because he put in a hard week of studying algorithms and formulas for
software formatting. Tonight was his night to party. Just like those guests trudging next door. Tonight was
Game of Thrones and pizza night with classmate and buddy Miles. The best night of the week.

    The two of them were watching the tail end of an Adam Sandler sequel, waiting for the pizza he
ordered. When the pizza came, the marathon of knights, kingdoms and dragons would commence.

    Will looked out the window again.

    “Pizza here?” Miles said.

    The car turned out to be that of another one of his neighbor’s partygoers.

    “Not yet.”

                                                                            * * * * * * * * * *

    It was getting dark outside. The four-car garage was filling up. People conversed on the array of
couches and lounge chairs where cars were supposed to be. Music was playing. Chinese lanterns cast
dim lighting on the medieval-patterned tapestry adorning the garage walls.

    Empty cups, bottles, and growlers sat on tables and sideboards. Unused kegs sat in the middle of the
garage, the epicenter of the congregation. The host calmly surveyed the hubbub. The guests
acknowledged him as he walked by, exchanging formal pleasantries.

    Eventually he stood in the center next to the kegs and cleared his throat. The room fell silent, all eyes on
him.

    “Thank you for coming,” the man said. “Our association keeps expanding every meeting.”

    There was applause.

    “We come to enjoy the fruits of our labor and celebrate fraternity of our kind.”

    More subtle applause.

    “Please… drink.”

    The garage erupted in movement, guests going to their cups, bottles, and growlers, then forming lines
to the kegs.

    The host moved to the porch and sat down. A pale, striking woman sat in the chair opposite, a slight
evening breeze rattling the soft wind chimes along with her pitchy hair.

    They exchanged a knowing glance.

    “Anything?” he said.

    She shrugged lazily. Then her eyes twinkled out into the street.

                                                                            * * * * * * * * * *

    Will looked out and thought he saw a car topped with an LED Dominoe’s sign driving towards his
house.

    He looked at Miles. “I think pizza’s here.”

    They both grinned and high-fived each other.

                                                                            * * * * * * * * * *

    The pizza man checked the order on the receipt along with the address. He stepped out of the car and
opened the backdoor to get the delivery. As he lifted the flap to the heat-insulated carrier, the smell of
marinara and pepperoni hit him. And something else—a searing pain invaded his entire right side.

    He froze. There was this weight on his neck that quickly felt like needles piercing skin. Consciousness
left him as soon as he tried to scream. The only sound to come out was a soft whimper.

    The host moved with amazing agility, and in a moment he was inside the threshold of his home with the
body.

                                                                            * * * * * * * * * *

    Will heard a car screech as he opened his front door. Down the street he saw the Dominoe’s light flash
off on the car as it turned out of his neighborhood. “Huh?” he said, staring.

    The porch-chair the pale, black-haired woman had sat in was empty.

                                                                            * * * * * * * * * *

    Later that night, the host brought out a fresh keg labeled “dessert.”
About Nolan Yard

My name is Nolan Yard
and I'm 28 years old and
have been published in
Foliate Oak. I've also
self-published two short
story anthologies and
worked with a former
Random House editor.
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.