Friday, September 17, 2010

Grab an Apple Cider and Some Donut Holes; Here's a Spooky Story

Nightly Spirits
The temperature was way too mild for two weeks before Halloween, but that didn't stop the feelings of uneasiness. The gusting winds battered the trees raining orange, red, and gold leaves onto the narrow, well-worn streets around the cemetery. The full moon illuminated dark black clouds that just radiated doom, even to the casual observer.

"This really isn't the night to be out," she told her date as they walked back to their car from the restaurant. The young man and woman, in their mid-twenties, hadn't noticed that the other couples had seemingly disappeared as they walked until their footfalls on the macadam made eerie reverberations off of the headstones, "I don't feel comfortable."

"What do you mean?" he asked looking at her.

"It's a little scary that's all. Passing the cemetery, the wind blowing the trees, the moon making shadows on the ground like that," she pointed at a particularly lattice-like shadow which darted and swayed across the ground and nipped at the toe of her pumps. If she weren't trying to be so bold, she would have run back towards the restaurant again.

"Really, I don't see what the problem is," he turned to face her and just then grasped the situation, "outside of the wind" which kept whipping her hair across her face while it blew the neighborhood flora into a frenzy. He grabbed her arm reassuringly (and to lead her because she seemed frozen in place) and she gripped his arm a little too eagerly she felt, but then she'd do just about anything to get out of there.

Little by little the golden glow of the neighborhood lights went out as homeowners went to bed and less vehicles were on the roads. Dan and Jennifer graciously eased into his car, grateful for its reprieve from the elements. Their sense of security was dashed though as Dan found the car wouldn't start.

"Let me try," she offered climbing over the floor-shift into the driver's seat, knowing it wouldn't start for her either. The battery was too weak.

"I'll call for a jump," he reassured her, only to find he couldn't get a signal on his cell phone. He figured the weather must be affecting satellite transmissions, "I'll have to find a payphone or something. Wait here." She nodded sheepishly. Staying put was certainly better than having to walk past Darklocke Cemetery two more times tonight.

Jen brushed her ash blond hair back out of her face. Something moved out of the corner of her eye on the left. Darted really. Too quick to see what it was. But as much as she wanted it to be Dan, she knew it wasn't him. She leaned out from behind the steering wheel to close the door and lock herself in the car and that's when she saw it. Her scream gave out with an unanswered whelp and had Dan made it back to the car, he would have seen she was gone. Instead, Dan was found the next morning alongside the cemetery fence, having been struck dead by a felled tree limb of some girth, never having made it for help in getting the car started. The only trace of Jennifer was the beret from her hair on the driver's seat.


The above story first appeared on October 21, 2007, on my first, now rarelY!, used blog. The trolley happens to be relevant as the weather and location were inspiration for the above story, although I doused it heavily with creative license.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Haunting Season

For those who may not be reading along I've stated numerous times how much I really, I mean REALLY love Halloween. One day just isn't enough. I like to stretch it from the Tuesday after Labor Day until roughly Veteran's Day. It's a time frame I call Haunting Season; not just for the spooky tales and urban legends, but also for the chilled blustery winds which thrash at rickety gnarled limbs and the contrasty sky of dark cumulus clouds against a setting red-orange sun. The kind of weather a person wants to bundle into cozy clothing and sip hot beverages.

The colored leaves; the spooky, scary decorations; the Halloween costumes and the suspenseful ghost stories when all combined really excite and entice me. And yet as a youngster since when the actor in the Jaycee's funhouse in my home town "spooked" my mother when I was roughly six up until I discovered the legend of Ichabod Crane - The Headless Horseman -- through Troll's at home Library -- I couldn't stand to be scared, I hated being scared, and didn't want to be.

In the following years I was more mature, smarter, more cynical, more of the scientific belief than the spiritual belief and frankly, it got really had to scare the wits out of me. Sure, I startle fairly easily to this day, but out and out scared, not so much. So I went in search of the scare thrill after college. I'm not one of those risk taking thrill junkies who plays chicken, but I do enjoy a good theme park decked out in spookiness, or a "haunted" trolley ride, or a spooky maze.

So I'm looking forward to the spooky, macabre, dark, murky, damp, ghoulish fun this year as in past ones. Rest assured I'll be sharing more examples of why I love Haunting Season. It's not ingestable candy anymore it's the eye candy.

Why yes, that DOES happen to be my home in these photos.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Thriving Garden

One of the recurring themes throughout my five years of blogging is "Not everything is gloom and doom". Yes I've experienced more than a few close calls (some a little too close!) recently. Yes, my finances aren't as secure as I'd like them to be -- which means I need to get busy if I want heat this Winter...and yes, I've fought off two court summonses this Summer alone from outfits I owe money to.

The bright side is, the debt monkey is again standing on his paws and not on my back for the time being. Both outfits have been willing to negotiate new payment plans. I feel a little bit like I've made a deal with he devil, but these were the best options available at the time.

Yes, metaphorical dark skies (and literal dark skies) loom in my future, but as long as trouble comes knocking one at a time, I'm confident I can muster through it all. Indeed, this year has been the first in five where I haven't felt oppressed and depressed about my life situation. Life is intimidating and daunting, and I've been so scared and overwhelmed that I've been nauseous and heartburned for weeks on end and afraid to go to sleep, but for the time being all of that has passed and I feel confident I will be able to sleep a little more soundly these next few nights.

Fortunately, I recognize that I am currently blessed to have the job I have, the people I work with and the understanding to be grateful for it all.

I also wish to thank my friends (close and internet pals) and family, and God.