Tag Archives: Halloween

A Dark and Lonely Road

One last little ‘creep’ until next year. I hope you enjoy it.

Anderson Bartholomew Mortenson was pissed!  He would deal with that ‘Bitch’ in his own way and in his own time! He slammed the door of his car and squealed out of the parking lot!  He didn’t care what direction.  He was one of the elite, one of the privileged people, he had money!  His wealth gave him certain privileges!  Privileges that did not include getting a tongue lashing from a servant!  Anderson shook his head, this was ridiculous.  He did not have to justify his presence to anyone.

That woman in the gallery might be the manager but she had no right, no bloody right to embarrass him in front of his friends or to call him a ne’er-do-well.  A ne’er-do-well! Bloody archaic expression and he was offended!  His family, his grandfather, sponsored that gallery and that entitled him to certain privileges.  How could that bloody woman not know that! How dare she ask him to leave!  The people there seemed to think his jokes were funny. They were a little off colour but still they laughed. So what was the big deal?  These affairs took themselves far too seriously.

When Anderson was strongly invited to leave the Art Gallery he did so alone; his friends decided to stay and enjoy the free champagne. Perhaps that is the reason he took the wrong road, or maybe it was his anger, or perhaps something else was at work.  Regardless, Anderson was lost.  He didn’t know this side of town well but he was sure that at any moment he would come across some buildings, a highway exit sign, something to denote civilization as opposed to this endless ribbon of nothing. The road seemed to be mocking him, laughing at him: he was lost, what a fool!

With a sigh Anderson took stock of his situation.  Okay, he thought, I’m lost.  Bit deal.  People get lost.  The fact that he was not in control was annoying but knew he could get out of this. He forced himself to relax and think. First, he needed to find out where he was and where this bloody road went. There were no signs, there were no buildings, there were no street lights, and it was dark. There was, however, a familiarity to the place.  He didn’t know where he was but there was a memory buried deep that knew this road. This was not a promising situation.

As if it was written in a script, a figure materialized out of the dark.  He slowed the car as the headlights brought into focus a man dressed completely in black. Maybe this person could direct him back to civilization.  Anderson pulled the car over and rolled down the passenger side window.

“Excuse me,” he started, “I’m afraid I’m lost can you direct me–“

Before he could finish his question, the stranger opened the car door and got in.

“I think young man that we are headed in the same direction.” The voice that emanated from this strange man was deep with an almost hypnotic quality and his eyes were painfully intense. It was the only part of his face that seemed to be in focus.

The car door slammed shut as if to punctuate the comment. Without thinking Anderson put the car in gear. As they moved slowly forward Anderson’s mind, equally slowly, became clearer.  With a mental shake of his head he turned to the stranger,

“As I started to say sir, can you direct me to a main thoroughfare?”

Anderson was quite pleased with his manner, all he wanted to do was to kick this sorry sot out the door and take off.  But he did not.  He restrained his impulse. His mother would be so proud.  As he spoke Anderson glanced at his passenger:  this strange man hadn’t moved since he sat down, his head was in shadow and facing straight ahead. His entire body was as if it were made of stone.  Not even a sign of breathing was apparent. His hands rested on his knees, relaxed and unmoving.

“I will take you to where you are headed, but you may not like the destination.”

It was a strange comment but Anderson ignored it and once again glanced at his travelling companion.

“My name’s Anderson, and you are?”

The stranger remained silent.  Anderson wasn’t sure what to make of this guy. He had helped himself into the car; he had offered no information, not even his name.  How does one strike up a conversation with a man who seems to like being an enigma? Well this stranger had gotten into the car under false pretences.  Either he coughs up a way to get out of this situation or he’s getting dumped!  In his mind Anderson could be as tough and as authoritative as he wanted.  But when he again glanced at this strange man dressed in black, he felt like the child who had done wrong.  Anderson wondered what the great Cecil Mortenson would do in a situation like this one.  His grandfather was a successful businessman who had built himself up from very humble beginnings.  While Anderson admired that in his grandfather, it also intimidated him and made him want to rebel.  So, what would his grandfather do in a situation like this?

“I doubt very much your grandfather would ever be in this situation.”  The stranger had spoken again.

Anderson was startled; does this guy read minds?

“No son, but I do read faces. You are surprised that I would know about your family.  You would be very surprised at just how much I know about a great many things.  And I will see your Grandfather one day, soon.”  There was an ominous quality to his voice.

As he spoke the man continued to look straight ahead, his eyes only on the road disappearing into the distance. Now that the stranger had broken his silence Anderson thought he should direct another question:

“Are we headed back to town?  I don’t know this road at all.”

“Actually,” said the stranger, “I believe you need to spend a little more time on this road, or perhaps it needs to spend time with you.”

The words that the stranger spoke were bizarre and the feeling that they instilled in Anderson was one of desperation.  He was feeling more and more out of control.  He took his left hand off the steering wheel and placed it on his hip and without thinking he started to tap two fingers against his leg.  It was a nervous habit he had picked up as a child. Only one person had ever noticed it, other than his mother, and that was his friend Bob.  It was strange to think about Bob in a situation like this. It had been many years since he’d spoken to him but he had thought of Bob often and always fondly.  Bob had been Anderson’s roommate for the three years he had spent at University. He had never been impressed by Anderson’s wealth nor was he intimidated by it.  He really just didn’t care.  What he did care about was friendship. Bob believed Anderson was a better man than he really was.  How could he have let that friendship lapse?  And why did he think about him now of all times?

“I met a friend of yours the other day,” offered the stranger, “his name was Robert Delaney.  There was a car accident.  I believe you knew him as Bob.”

This time when Anderson looked over at the stranger, he thought he saw a small smile starting to curl up his lips. It also seemed to grow colder in the car and yet Anderson could not make his hand turn on the heat. He just sat there in the cold and in his growing fear. This man knew things he had no business knowing! What exactly did he know?

“You have done a great many things you should atone for, young man.”

That voice again.  Anderson felt paralyzed, but only in his body.  His mind raced frantically.  He was ashamed as he remembered the cutting comments he had made to perfect strangers, the complete disregard with which he treated those who offered him their services and he could not forget, nor could he excuse, his behaviour in the art gallery that had happened only an hour ago. The night should have been in celebration for a new and upcoming artist.  Instead he had turned it into a bad stand-up comedy routine. But that was who he was: the jokester, the bad comic.  Why should he have to atone for lousy manners?  And then the memory that was buried deep within his mind surfaced.  It was not a pleasant memory.

It seemed as if he had been driving for days.  He felt as though he had been locked inside a prison, unsure of his crime.  But he knew now, he was sure.  He had committed a terrible crime three years ago, on this road. How can you atone? They say that when you are about to die, your life flashes in front of your eyes.  That’s how Anderson felt.  He loved his grandfather and yet he had never told him that.  Quite the opposite, he went out of his way to antagonize the old man who had done so much for him.  He remembered his deceased mother and the dreams she had had for him.  He had not lived up to those dreams.  He remembered his father but not fondly. He simply thought of him as a sperm donor. He hated the fact that he was named after this man who took great delight in calling him ‘Junior’. To Anderson, being in his father’s presence was pure purgatory.  At least he had had the good sense to die many years ago. With any luck he was in hell.

Throughout his life people had tried to be kind to Anderson and he had belittled them and denigrated them. Bob believed the he was a better man than Anderson himself believed.  It was his shame.  And now because he was lost on a lonely road with a strange man sitting next to him, it was causing him to question his life and to remember.   Anderson squirmed in his seat; his eyes still focused on the road ahead just like the stranger. Did he deserve what he had? He felt as if he were on trial for his life! It wasn’t his fault; he had been drinking three years ago.  That young girl had no business being on a dark road at night.  It wasn’t his fault!

The road was the focus of their journey.  There was no lessening of the darkness.  The road itself never varied off the straight and narrow, there was no relief.  No other cars were in sight, there were no sounds of crickets or of people.  It was almost as if nothing existed outside the space that the car traveled each second.  There seemed to be nothing behind and nothing ahead, only dense forest on either side of the long and unforgiving road that they must travel.  Anderson was lost in thought: they say the road to hell is paved, where was this road taking them?

As Anderson was staring at his traveling companion his peripheral vision registered something.  It took his brain a split seconded to realize he was looking at a deer in the middle of the road, a big ten-point antlered buck.

Deer. Deer!  DEER! Anderson wrenched the wheel of the car to the right!  Adrenalin purged all thoughts of the stranger.  His concentration now was on the trees that were fast approaching. The deer was startled and moved into the forest. At least its life was saved.  Anderson reacted to the movement of the deer and quickly pulled the wheel to the left.  He had missed the trees on the right-hand side of the road by millimetres, but now he was looking at a ditch on the left side of the road.  Anderson stomped on the brakes and the car came to rest straddling both lanes.

With what seemed to be a focused determination a mist began to emanate from the tarmac. It drifted slowly over the car like a ghostly embrace. The silence was total. Anderson put his head down on the wheel and started to weep.

The depth of the sorrow that Anderson felt was out of proportion to the certain death he had just escaped.  He was thankful he was alive and he knew it was a near a thing but that wasn’t why he was crying.  He was crying for missed opportunities, for the cruelties he had inflicted on others, he was crying for a young girl and he was crying for his mother.  She had expected better of him and he had let her down.  But now he had a second chance to recognize his shortcomings and he knew that it was in his power to correct them.  He didn’t know if it was a cliché, but he felt himself a better man because of this epiphany

Anderson sat back in his seat. As he raised his head, he could see the dawn rising in the east and through the lessening of the shadows he saw a sign:

L_ ST CHANCE CAFÉ. His long drive was over. With a smile Anderson turned towards his passenger just as the stranger turned towards him.  In the early morning light he could see the full face of the dark man for the first time. Anderson stopped smiling.  It was a familiar face.

It is said that time is not the only way to make a young man old. A sour disposition, an angry character or overwhelming terror can cause men to be old and withered before their time. A man can age a lifetime in a second.  Purgatory is a place that all men fear and more than a few will face in their own time.

“Hello Junior.”

***************

Anderson shook his head, he was confused, unsure of something. As his eyes started to focus, he became aware of his surroundings.  He was on a road, a dark road.  There were no lights and no buildings anywhere in sight.  He also noticed something else that terrified him.  He was sitting on a bicycle.  It was a young girl’s bicycle.  It was terrifyingly similar to one a young girl was on three years ago, a young girl that he drove down in a drunken stupor.  She had died, miserably. And now he was on that bicycle, on that road, on that night.  He could hear the wind in the trees and the faint murmur of a car approaching him. Anderson was going to die just like she did under the wheels of his car.

“Welcome to Hell son.”

 

-END-

Walk With Pride

 

 

They can’t really see me

They don’t know that I’m here.

Then why all the fuss

The hysterical fear?

 

This Halloween craze

Is really bizarre.

People pretending

To be what we are.

 

They wear their costumes

And go out for a lark.

Then I and my kind

Can wander the park.

 

I know you’re pretending

But I’m certainly not.

And once in a while

It ok to get caught.

 

I hide from your view

The rest of the year.

But today I’m quite close

Inhaling your fear.

 

Over your shoulder

Just by your side,

Are others like me

The dead walk with pride.

 

The Witch’s Brew

Eddy stepped back from the sign that she had just hung up outside the open door and thought about what had brought her to this point.  Edwina Roxanne Dupuis was a woman of exquisite taste.  Even if she was the only one who thought so. She had conjured up the idea of a neighbourhood coffee and tea house almost 3 years ago and it was only now getting its finishing touches.  It seemed appropriate that opening day was actually Halloween.  It was Edwina’s favourite holiday. She also felt that the name Edwina didn’t fit her character on any day so she always went by Eddy.

“Eddy do you want to use orange tablecloths or burnt umber.  And what in heaven’s name is the difference?  They both look the same to me.”

The voice that had just interrupted her reverie belonged to her not so silent partner Joshua.  They had met and become friends while both were attending university.  Years went by while they pursued their individual careers.  Unfortunately, neither was satisfied and when they met up again in a coffee shop, they were each looking for something new.  From that coincidental meeting came the idea for The Witch’s Brew.

“Burnt umber Joshua.  If you can’t see the difference then you are colour blind.”

Joshua stood for a moment looking at the two tablecloths, one in each hand.  His head went back and forth trying to discern a difference.  Instead he just shook his head.  Fortunately, each had a label so he was actually able to tell which was which.

“There is no difference,” he whispered quietly to himself.  They might be partners but she was still the boss.

A little louder he said, “The place looks fabulous!  You’ve done a great job Eddy.”

The woman in question came in to the coffee shop proper and she was smiling. “We did a great job Joshua.  I may have been the driving force but you provided the money and the moral support.  I’ll never forget that.

Joshua smiled.  Maybe she’d start to look at him a little differently.  There was more to him than friendly support and a buck or two.  He had been nursing a crush on Eddy since the day they met more than 10 years ago.  Unfortunately, circumstances did not allow them to explore a relationship.  Maybe now it would.  She just had to see him as more than a business partner.

“I’m curious, why did you choose Halloween as the opening day?”

“It’s my favourite holiday.  It’s nice when people are able to let go of convention, and be something they are not.  Or perhaps it’s when their real characters are allowed to shine.  We have no idea who and what people really are unless they tell us.”

As she spoke Eddy moved behind the coffee bar and started to polish an already gleaming counter.  She didn’t look at Joshua as she talked and he wondered if the words she used were meant for him specifically.

“Okay boss lady, what do we still need to do before tomorrow’s grand opening?  Geez, do I have to wear a costume?”

Eddy stopped fussing and looked at Joshua. “Of course you have to wear a costume!  It’s Halloween! And all that’s left to do is put out some flowers and put on a couple of pots of coffee.”

Joshua looked slightly alarmed. “I can handle the coffee, but a costume?”

“Oh and everything is going to be free tomorrow morning, just up until 12 o’clock.  I can’t think of a better way to get people to come into our shop.  It’ll cost a few dollars but I think it will be worth it in the end when people realize what a great place it is.  Are you okay with that money man?”

“Sure Eddy what ever you want.” He seemed somewhat distracted, “I could go as a pirate. They’re macho.  What are you going as?”

“Well as a witch of course.” Eddy’s laughter brightened the room immensely. “Don’t worry Joshua I promise not to turn you into a toad, unless of course you use orange tablecloths instead of the burnt umber!”

The two friends shared a good-natured chuckle.  There was only one problem: the two people in the room were not exactly what they appeared to be.  Each one had a secret they were hiding from the other.

*******************

 

The day was finally over and with a satisfying click the front door was closed and locked.  One individual was already sprawled over a couch, his shoulders sagging with relief.  The other was slowly patrolling the room picking up the odd cup and saucer.

“We did it Joshua.  And I think it was a huge success.  Now I am so tired I could cheerfully sell this place for a dollar.” With that Eddy sat down in the nearest chair, her chin slowly sliding towards her chest.

The figure on the couch stirred for a moment, his hand raised and a very small voice uttered only one word: “Sold!”

After a moment the two laughed quietly.  Several more minutes went by before Eddy forced her head to rise up and survey the newest hip spot on the street.  The Witch’s Brew was a success!

“Wake-up Joshua, there is still a ton of work to do.  We have to tidy this place up and get it ready for tomorrow morning.  And we have got to hire some staff. . . .”  Eddy’s voice continued on.  She was outlining the necessary steps for the successful run of their joint venture.  While she straightened up, she continued to talk.  She assumed that Joshua was listening.  But he was not.

Some movement had caught his eye.  From his comfortable perch on the couch he could just make out a piece of black wool that seemed to be undulating from behind a coffee bag.  He was mesmerized. For the life of him he could not understand why someone would have draped a piece of wool on the shelf.  Maybe he was still sleeping.  But that piece of wool seemed to be beckoning him.

With a quick glance to be sure that Eddy was otherwise occupied, Joshua slowly approached the wayward wool.  He was pretty sure he was over tired and hallucinating which is why he didn’t want to let Eddy know what he was doing.  After only half a dozen steps he could actually reach out towards his vision.  A fraction of an inch away from the piece of wool he stopped, inhaled deeply and thrust his hand forward.

“Ahhhhhhh! Oh my….!!!!  Call 911! It has eyes!” In his hurry to get away from the apparition, Joshua backed into a chair and sat down, hard.  The chair tilted back and he was on the floor with his legs in the air.  His mouth opened and closed repeatedly as he tried to speak.  All that came out was a guttural “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”

Eddy raced to his side and knelt down, concerned.  Her eyes followed the direction of his finger that was pointing in desperation at the path from which he had just fled. A small black figure raised its head and stared pointedly at the two people in the middle of the floor.  The demon in question then opened its mouth and uttered one syllable “Meow!”

With no regard for her fallen partner’s about to be bruised ego, Eddy burst out laughing hysterically.  She patted Joshua on the shoulder and then move towards the shelf.

“So that’s where you’ve been hiding Sebastian.  I wondered where you’d been.”

The aptly named Sebastian was cleaning his whiskers when he was unceremoniously picked up.  Eddy cuddled the tiny black kitten with the big-name and turned to face poor Joshua.

“Did I forget to tell you that The Witch’s Brew has a mascot?  Sebastian this is Joshua.  Joshua meet Sebastian.”

Joshua could do nothing more than stare at what he thought was a demon.  It is doubtful that the small kitten weighed more than a pound or two.  He was completely black except for those mesmerizing green eyes and a very tiny pink tongue.

Eddy was nuzzling the furball and her voice was muffled.  “I know you love me Joshua, and I love you too but you have to love my cat as well.”

Stunned, Joshua stood up. “I do, you know, love you.  I always have.  I didn’t know you knew.” He approached Eddy and put his arm around her and the small kitten. “Yes, your little demon is lovely and what a wonderful idea for the shop.  I guess every Witch needs her familiar.” The two chuckled, comfortable with themselves and with each other.

“Well, I guess we have a lot of work to do and we had better get at it.” Joshua left the two after a few moments and continued on with tidying the café while Eddy continued to cuddle Sebastian. It was almost as if the two were in deep conversation.

“I think it’s going to work.  But no magic Sebastian, you have to remain a cat.  And I have to make sure he never finds out that I am a real witch.”

The end

All Hallows Eve

 

 

It’s a dark quiet night,

The mist seems so slow.

The sounds that you hear,

They are deep and they’re low.

 

Something’s alive,

Like the hairs on your neck.

So very determined,

They creep slowly erect.

 

A touch on your shoulder,

A hand out of sight.

You skin starts to quiver,

You’ve taken a fright.

 

Look not behind you,

Breathe deeply and pray.

They’re moving so closely,

You hope they don’t stay.

 

There are goblins and witches,

A vampire or three.

They’re starting their haunt night,

So dangerously free.

 

Evil surrounds you,

It must be remembered.

Nothing is sacred,

You could be dismembered.

 

Of spectres and ghouls,

It’s one day a year.

Zombies and trolls,

There is so much to fear.

 

Take care you don’t anger,

Those near in your sight.

Membership is optional,

Except for tonight.

An Error in Judgement

Underneath an azure blue sky the trees swayed in a gentle dance with the wind in attendance.  It was a bright beautiful autumn day.  It was the kind of day where children want to play outside and adults secretly want to join them. Except no one in that boardroom was paying attention to the beauty outside the window.

Twelve men sat to attention. Twelve men carefully watched the only individual who was standing in the room. To say you could have heard a pin drop would be an understatement. Lives were about to be changed, perhaps permanently.

”Is that your answer Stevens?”  The question was asked gently, almost friendly. But those in the room knew the dangerous undercurrent that resided in those few words.

The man known as Stevens visibly blanched. He knew he’d made an error in judgment and he also knew that it could be the end of him.

He tried to sit a little straighter.

“Well, um sir . . . I thought . . . you always say . . . um . . .”

“Do you know why I chose you for this job Stevens?”

The proverbial pin hit the floor. The man who had just moments ago spoken with such compassion in such dulcet tones, erupted.

‘WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE!  YOU’RE AN IDIOT! YOUR JOB IS TO CONVINCE THEM TO SIGN NOT DISSUADE THEM!”

“But I thought the good will generated by  . . .

Stevens stopped speaking.  Perhaps he had gone too far but he was trying to help a young family.  And they really didn’t need what he was selling.  There was plenty of time to make decisions like that down the road.

The room was quiet, too quiet.  Stevens raised his head and looked around the room.  No one would meet his gaze.

“They didn’t sign the contract did they Stevens?”

A very small voice replied, “No, sir.”

“Then you will.”

Eleven men stood up from the table and stepped back.  Eleven men did their best to distance themselves from the man known as Stevens.  They didn’t want anything to tarnish them.  They knew the job and they knew the consequences of failure.  The Boss wanted signatures.

Matthew Stevens remembered.  He remembered coming to the big city for work. He met and married a beautiful woman, the love of his life. It was hard to find work for a newly minted lawyer who was pretty much run-of-the-mill. He hadn’t passed the bar with honours, he had actually just scraped by on his third try. But he had a little piece of paper that said he was a lawyer. That’s what he thought he should be doing. So he found work in small low paying law offices. He was a paper pusher. Nothing seemed to fit. Until . . .

He had received a letter in the mailbox, hand delivered.  It offered him a lucrative job in a mid level Corporate Law office. He jumped.  His wife was pregnant with their second child.  He needed this job.  So Matthew accepted the position and proceeded to push more paper. He wanted to go out in the field to sign people up for their policies. He was impatient. In just a few months he got exactly what he asked for. This was his first assignment. It was also the first time he actually read the policy.

His job was to get the head of the family to sign the contract. Simple actually. It was to give the family security and insurance over the life of the policyholder.

Insurance for life

                               This policy entitles the signatory Health, Wealth and Good Fortune for the length of his/her life.  Upon termination of said existence, payment for the above contract will be collected:

                                                One (1) Soul.

 

 

                             _________________________________________

                                          Policy Holder

 

 

 

Thank you for your business!

Mr. S. Atan. Esq.

 

Beware

All Hallow’s Eve

 Is a cold night to ponder.

To think of the dead,

Of how they might wander.

 

The kids dress as ghosts

And dragons and such.

Adults hand out candy

With a delicate touch.

 

But if you believe,

There is more to this night.

Ghosts in the shadows,

Just out of sight.

 

The Dead walk the street

With nary a care.

Because you are too busy

And so unaware!

 

Don’t look behind!

A hand is outstretched!

You think I am kidding?

That this is farfetched?

 

A flicker of movement!

Just out of sight!

The locals are stirring, so

Beware of this night!

                                                 

 

 

 

Walk With Pride

They can’t really see me

They don’t know that I’m here.

Then why all the fuss

The hysterical fear?

 

This Halloween craze

Is really bizarre.

People pretending

To be what we are.

 

They wear their costumes

And go out for a lark.

Then I and my kind

Can wander the park.

 

I know you’re pretending

But I’m certainly not.

And once in a while

It ok to get caught.

 

I hide from your view

The rest of the year.

But today I’m quite close

Inhaling your fear.

 

Over your shoulder

Just by your side,

Are others like me

The dead walk with pride.

 

I survived

 

I survived

The day before

Nasty creatures

At my door

 

I survived

The candy crush

Anxious kids

In all a rush

 

I survived

That crazy day

The scary night

Has gone away

 

I survived

Until next year

When once again

I’m filled with fear

 

I survived

I ask what for

Those silly kids

Are at my door

 

I survived

I have a place

Halloween night’s

A state of grace

Halloween

HALLOWEEN 2

They are gnashing their teeth

And moaning so low

I fear for my life

With the world all aglow.

The demons and vixens

Are closer I fear

Evil odd creatures

That suddenly appear.

I’ve tried to use reason

Even going with the flow

Nothing will stop them

It’s on with the show.

I just heard a knock

It was solid and sharp

Maybe what’s next

Is a heavenly harp.

I must not show fear

To the goblins and such

I’ll toss them the candy

And run from their touch.

Why every year

Do we suffer this vile?

Cuz along with the scary

The cute makes us smile!

ink sketch

ink sketch