Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Short: Party Demons

(Another holiday-inspired chilling tale in my October series, expect one every day until Samhain, unedited)

The community Halloween party this year was an ambitious endeavor. The first year, it was nothing more than adults with beers standing around a fire burning in a huge metal trashcan. The next year, it was a costume affair in the Morrison’s backyard. This year, however, Howard had taken control of the event and with his usual flare to outdo the others, he found the ideal location for a truly spine-tingling adult party.

“I’m not sure about this.” Madeline shifted on her swollen feet. The Jack O’Lantern costume was ideal for her bulging pregnant belly, but the extra weight was obviously uncomfortable.

Trina had to smile when she watched her friend and neighbor hop back and forth in need of a restroom break. The problem was the location of the party meant taking into the wooded hillsides to find a bush to hide behind, that combined with getting out of the costume was a sure frustration in the making.

“Why here?” One man nearby asked, his voice rising above the crackling bonfire.

“Sacred ground.” Another man called out. “This is an Indian burial ground beneath our feet. A full moon. Halloween. It’s like the perfect magic. To top it off,” the man swept his arm around the clearing, “Howard lined up quartz stones all around the periphery.”

“Why quartz?” Madeline asked in a little scared voice.

A man in a vampire costume stepped forward, his long silvery hair queued back, a hood over his head, leaving his face in shadows. His skin was dark and golden, his white fake fangs flashing against his flesh. The tall and powerful man was unfamiliar. Trina surely would have taken note of this man before as a newly divorced woman who was summing up her prospects.

“It’s a very bad idea. That’s what it is.” The vampire announced in a husky voice. “You see, the quartz holds the magic within this place. When the full moon casts its light here, it won’t be pleasant.” He warned cautiously.

“Oh, no, it protects us from evil.” Howard stepped forward, his forehead wrinkled as he squinted through his monocle, a part of his Sherlock Holmes costume.

The vampire turned to Howard. “You have that all wrong. Halloween is not a game. Playing with magic without knowledge can be deadly.” He cautioned. “The quartz amplifies the powers here from the granite in the hillside to the burial ground to the full moon and the recent solar flares. This is a cocktail for madness. How can you not feel it?” He sniffed at the air, a gesture like a wild animal.

Trina felt a shiver of forewarning down her spine. She believed right now she could feel it.

Howard snorted. “It didn’t stop you from attending, Mister. By the way, who are you?”

“Someone to attend to your foolishness.” The vampire flicked his cape and stalked away like a prowling beast barely contained within the small clearing.

“Should we be messing with sacred ground like this?” The first man asked.

“Don’t be childish, Bill.” Howard grumbled.

“Paul, I wanna go.” Madeline whined to her husband.

Paul protectively gathered his wife in his arm.

“You go put your feet up.” Trina smiled.

“You gonna be okay alone?” Madeline asked.

Trina nodded and watched the couple rush off into the darkened forest pathway. She saw two wives across the clearing that were usually friendly. She made her way over to them, her eyes glancing skyward with everyone else as the full moon came into sight and shone on them. The bonfire snapped up loudly and the flash of golden light nearly blinded everyone. Trina stumbled back in her fairy costume and fell into the arms of a cowboy who hooted and bent her over, kissing her mouth loudly.

She struggled to free herself and swayed dizzily as a pair of clowns danced past drunkenly. It was early in the party for so much strangeness. The clowns began to skip and lock arms and then went into cartwheels. The nearby woman dressed like a cat hissed and slashed her nails at the clowns and then strangely went to her hands and knees and crawled away, her long tail dragging in the dirt.

Trina frowned. Everything was unsettled around her, as if she were in some sort of alternate reality. The costumed participants came to life as if from the pages of storybooks. The pirate rushed forward and gathered up a barmaid, dragging her to the ground as he tore at her bodice. The woman’s husband dressed in a ghost costume glided in a willowy fashion around the clearing, waving his white caped arms and howling at the party goers as if unaffected by his wife’s debauchery.

Trina’s own mind was becoming foggy and strange. She startled and her legs twitched wildly as she felt her feet lift from the ground, her toes dragging in the dirt. Studying her slippered feet, she realized she was floating. Inches off the ground. Her white gossamer wings fluttered behind her and she felt them as if they were part of her shoulder blades, her muscles working them to make them flutter faster. Her heart beat like a hummingbird. She tested her feet and still they were above the ground. She had no idea how to get back down again. Trying to stop her wings from fluttering, she concentrated hard and her feet came down to the ground again.

Just then, a zombie came towards her, arms extended, groaning loudly as he grabbed at her. Instinctively, her muscles in her back worked to make her wings flap as if it were second nature. Trina lifted from the ground, sweeping her feet up under her so the zombie couldn’t grab her. Floating above the riot, she wobbled as if top heavy and unused to how to move so far off the ground. Below her the orgy of madness unfolded, the characters becoming real. A lumberjack with a rubber ax repeatedly struck at a tree, a witch rode a broom around the fire, and a sexy nurse was being mounted by a pimp.

As she drifted over the confines of the circle towards the woods, Trina felt her body go still. No longer did she feel fine muscles moving to make her wings flap and she fell to the grass below at an alarming rate. She hit the ground with a grunt, but thankfully unhurt. The vampire came to the edge of the circle and kicked aside one of the quartz rocks.

“Break the circle. Hurry!” He instructed.

Trina scrambled to her knees and began to toss rocks aside. The vampire went the opposite direction, kicking the rocks aside.

When the circle was half broken the firelight died down, the sounds within the circle quieted, and the occupants fell to the ground, sitting around in wonder, their costumes tattered,

Trina turned to the vampire. He flicked his cloak over his shoulder and stepped out of the circle, swallowed into the dark void of the night. She squinted against the darkness of the forest to see him seem to lower to the ground, no longer dark, but silvery and gleaming. It was when he turned away that she realized, he retreated on all four.

She shook her head, confused by what she’d seen. Some strange effect from the potent circle? Or perhaps a play of the light and dark with her eyes adjusting? When she picked up her purse, Trina’s eyes focused on the edge of the walk to the tract houses where a coyote sat. Curiously she walked to the magnificent silver beast. He stood up and nudged her hand affectionately. She reached down with a trembling hand and pet his silky head and followed him through the woods to the safe edge of her neighborhood. Somehow in this insane evening, even an affectionate coyote didn’t seem such a strange prospect.

When they reached her backyard, the beast sat back on his haunches and watched her as if waiting for her to unlock her back door and go inside. His mouth opened, his long white fangs gleaming. A flash of memory alerted her and she raced into the house and peered out the window from her darkened room to see the coyote turn and slowly trot back into the darkened woods to escort the other intruders from his sacred place.


  1. you wrote that, right? that was good!

  2. Thanks Libby.
    I'm doing one every single day until Halloween. I think you'll really enjoy tomorrow's.

  3. I enjoy reading these everyday...this was excellent. I know I've told you this before - but, you are an excellent writer. I can't wait until your book gets published!! ;-)

  4. Michelle;
    You and me both! I hope I can get it ready and sent off by the end of this year. I have two others that are almost done, so when I send one, I should be sending another soon after. Hopefully, one of them gets picked up.

  5. Very cool once again Autumnforest! I love these! Did I read you right/write;-) that you might have put in some details from your own wonderful and intelligent research? beautiful work as always my friend-all the best to you and yours!!