Story rights belong to Wes Craven and DreamWorks Company.

Written in honor of my favorite Holiday.


Lisa honestly didn't know what possessed her to agree with Cynthia's idea to host a trendy Halloween Masquerade. Maybe it was that certain part of her that needed to get caught up on the fun and games, somewhat forgotten in the midst of her mundane lifestyle. Or maybe it was the fact that the idea would pull in more business for her staff altogether.

But no matter who the party benefited exactly, there Lisa was nonetheless, ensnared within the chaos, nearly overwhelmed by the surrounding mass of liquor, cheap makeup, and the wild costumes lost from the olden years.

Her main goal for the night, however, was to avoid tripping over the lacey hem of her shimmering emerald, voluminous Victorian ball gown.

Lisa was in the process of pointing an intoxicated English princess towards the lobby restrooms later on, when Cynthia came trotting up in her sexy housemaid getup, waving madly. "Hey, Boss, hey!"

Sighing heavily, Lisa was forced to set Her Drunkenness on her own the way, and moved swiftly to catch her bubbly assistant by the elbows. She could just picture this tipsy version of miss one simple step in those spiked heels and plummet straight down upon her silly face!

Lisa tried her best to suppress a laugh at the thought of it. She certainly knew better than to make fun of a drunken friend, especially when she's basically endangering herself. "Whoa. Slow down, Cyn, won't you?"

Cynthia was the one who released a loud chuckle though, sweeping the bangs out of her bright doe eyes. And of course she began to tirade about some nonsense in no time whatsoever. "I'm fine, don't worry...anyways, don't get too mad, but there's a guy standing waaay over there, and he actually asked for you." Lisa beckoned her to heave in another breath. She did. "...I know he meant you 'cause he called you Lisa the Manager. I don't really know what he needs, but I figured it's a party and you could solve the mystery yourself, ya know? He's wearing a black tailed tux thing, like he's a younger James Bond of the Opera or something, okay?"

"Yeah...," Lisa nodded and hoped she managed to process all of this vital information successfully. "Just stay on your feet, alright?"

Cynthia withdrew from her hold as soon as she spotted Shirtless Shakespeare strut them past yet again and flashed her another wink. "Yup, sure thing!"


So, seeing that Cynthia found something else...or whether, someone else...to keep her occupied for the rest of the night, she headed back to the Ballroom and scanned the number of dancing couples weaving through the colorful smoking fog, until she located the tall tail-coated stranger standing patiently alone on the sidelines. That must be who Cynthia was referring to.

Lisa gathered up her bulking velvet skirts once more and advanced in his direction. "Excuse me, sir, how may I help you?"

At this close of a range she could see his sharp facial features more clearly, how his dark hair was neatly slicked back. He had a white rose bud pinned to his front pocket too, and a smooth dark Antique eye mask rested over the bridge of his nose.

He merely rotated afterwards, greeting her with, "It's been a while."

Lisa's eyes widened slightly. She couldn't fully trust this image before her. Exactly how much wine had she taken in during the past two hours, what was in that wine? It surely couldn't have been enough to trigger hallucinations. She promised herself she'd be careful.

Well, regardless of realities or delusions, she was certain of one chief detail; he could wear that stupid little black mask as long as he wished it, but to her, those piecing blue of eyes of his beyound it, were purely unmistakable.

"Two years, I believe, Jackson." Lisa spoke rather bluntly. "But who's counting?"

"Time is such a fickle thing, I'm admit."

"Do you honestly think standing here all by yourself like a vulture waiting for something to die is going to make you inconspicuous?"

He appeared to be thinking things over and in the end, made the leading physical reaction by leisurely pacing into her circle of personal space. Getting a bit too close for comfort. As he finished, he offered his gloved hand up for her to accept. "Dance with me, then."

Really, what kind a joke is this?

What amazed Lisa even more was how little fear she felt wash through her system. He was nothing more than a small unwanted pest at the moment. Therefore, Lisa only arched an eyebrow in return. "Why would I?"

He shrugged lightly. "Even if you wanted to call security instead, cause a dramatic riot right here and now, I don't think anyone shall take you that seriously."

After a couple seconds had gone by, it dawned on Lisa that his words weren't meant to be a mocking remark...it was truly a direct and general observation. This was Halloween. Screaming for aid because a killer was in the room would be almost futile. The guests would most likely assume their possible-horrifying-round-two was a special theatrical skit prearranged for the party. It'd be like Crying Wolf. With this holiday nowadays, any type of real terror was easily overshadowed by the usual stunts and pranks.

Lisa gritted her teeth, becoming even less impressed. This had to be planned somehow. He planned to corner this time her without any obstacles, without so many social interuptions.

And so, before she knew it, the hired Orchestra currently transitioned onto a new Gothic melody, and she was being lured into motion.

Lisa had no choice but to let him lead, naturally.

"No mask to go with your dress?" he questioned shortly after. "I thought this was a Masquerade."

In truth, Lisa did have a private reason for not having one like every other person here—and surprise, surprise—if anyone would understand her theory, it'd be him.

"I'm already wearing mine." she clarified, as the climax of the song reached her ears. "...You and I tend to wear masks on a daily basis, anyway... You're wearing your Jackson Mask right now. And I guess...I'm still stuck with Lisa as of this moment. Jackson hides Jack...in the same way I use Lisa to hide Leese. Right?"

"Hm."

Following a few more measured sideway strides and taking part in one last delicate twirl, Lisa suddenly found her professional sense again. She cleared her throat and teared herself away in order to flatten her gown at the torso. "Please show yourself out. I'm not taking the fall for fraternizing with an escapee."

True, she didn't know anything of his present situation. Lisa thus resorted to basic logic.

In place of showing any degree of disappointment or fury however, Jackson in fact, bowed to her in the manner of a perfectly refined gentleman indeed. "Have a great Halloween, Lisa."

She noticed how he said Lisa, not Leese. For they were both wearing masks alike, and in any case, tonight was all about staying in character. And just for that instant, they were Jackson and Lisa.

Lisa took this mild truce as her chance to clense her mind and simply walk away.

And once she mounted the last marble step of the nearby staircase, turned briefly to watch him exit the building from the top platform. But oddly enough, Jackson was no longer anywhere in sight.

He vanished in thin air, like a wisp of a haunting memory.