October’s 13

by Paul de Denus

1. In Our Town

No one goes out this night. Here, the earth binds and bends, gives up its contents in oily vomit, wet worm stench and all. Building exteriors blister and boil, statues and facades exhibit carvings of sutured faces bathed in blue moonlight, avenues of blasted trees stretch like black boned fingers, their silhouettes clutching and grabbing at the maw of night. Unspeakable monstrosities loll in every corner, slither over bridges, coil and cut along the gutters and walkways. Windows burn orange in blackened sockets and bristling lawns stab and carve. The waning moon is a rolling eye. Any other night though, it's quite pleasant for an evening stroll. Really.


2. Deep Down

It's something we don't talk about, even after all these years. We probably would laugh about it if we did. Maybe. What the hell, we were just kids then, our imaginations raging out of control like some unstoppable disease. But we did see it… that thing in the doorway. It was real. Deep down, we know it was real.


3. On The Street Where You Live

Oh yeah, there's our dentist Dr. Stedman, wearing that same lame werewolf mask he wore last year. He's still dressed in his office khakis and blue shirt, like he's just left work - - nice costume, Doc! Other neighborhood parents pace about the curb waiting for their kids to finish trick or treating at our house. I recognize Mrs. Urich and Mrs. Lowry out there, milling about impatiently like a couple of zombies and oh, Mrs. Dolby dressed in a Dorothy-like costume showing plenty of cleavage but ha, no Toto in sight. Oh boy, that guy coming up behind Dr. Stedman in a superb Dracula outfit apparently can't wait to get going either. Hell, his feet aren't even touching the ground!


4. Grimalkin

If I venture out, I will only be a shadow, one of many shadows shifting about this dark night. I am not a monster. Though I am old, I'm not afraid. I am on a quest. I will move under the copper moon and watch the other shadows play. And in the morning, my belly will be as full as the waxed moon.


5. Carnival

Delicate bone structure surrounds lost doe eyes where a rainbow spectrum radiates the glowing opalescent like mother's carnival glass stored deep in our basement.

I quietly approach and make sure he sees my tin badge and revolver tucked with authority inside my blazer, gently tell him I'm Detective Tom and that his dad is waiting by the security corridor and I take his small hand, take him away. Boys are attracted to such things, the things so dangerously bright, and the shiny objects they can't resist and must have. I'm walking proof of that.


6. Frankly-Doctor-You-Make-Me-Crazy

i-not-think-good-for-nice-words. body-sore-from-needle-holes-and-slice-parts. doctor-say-I-truly-alive. me-grateful-for-all-parts-he-give. only-hate-blue-jolt-he-repeat-send-through-my-being-while-he-laugh-crazy-to-sky. jolt-work-first-time-and-now-annoy-with-fry-brain-and-once-he-finish-with-new-hand-sew-i-help-remove-laugh-from-crazy-him-face.


7. Mr. Thompson

I love it when the kids come to my house on Halloween. This old place is dark and a bit dilapidated, the overgrown yard full of piss-yellow weeds, which makes it the perfect neighborhood haunted house. I dress in a big old denim shirt and baggy jeans, put on my best ghoulish face and slump in my chair on the porch in the corner shadows, a heavy red axe laying across my lap. I hear the children whispering, daring each other to run up and touch the front door, which I always leave slightly ajar. And oh my blood runs hot when they scream that sweet old rhyme as they tear away down the street. ‘Mr. - Thompson's — been - long — dead . . . Mr. — Thompson — wants — your - head!'


8. Dark Maria

Wrapped in an indigo cloak, I follow small shadows moving restlessly through town. My face is scarred and broken, pale. This night, it is painted a ghostly white, bloated and full of wonder. Some look up to me in fear. Others contemplate my dark side. I mean no harm. I am just another glowing face in the dark.


9. The Sound of Silence

The man on the east side of Bornand-sur-Mer who calls himself ‘doctor' will pay top dollar for parts. The scribbled note left for Marcel indicates any part will do; the ‘doctor' has use for them all. Marcel isn't particular, he just digs and digs by lantern light and shovels out the damp earth until he hits something hard… or soft. Marcel is deaf as a stone and his task challenging but out here a mile from town, he is soothed by the surrounding silence in his head and in the marked ground around him. He has only one disadvantage. When the wormed hand clasps his forearm and pulls him down, he does not hear his own scream.


10. Type O

You think you're not my type. That would be a mistake. Perhaps you're an A or a B, even a rare AB. Ah… you're a type O. It doesn't really matter; it's all the same to me. Type O is perfect; there are more of you and I do prefer its taste.


11. Dead Serious

That damn virus killed almost all of America, at least everyone I ever knew and loved, took our dreams and most of our wants. It left some alive… like those healthy slabs of red meat I see lurking behind the glass at the old butcher shop. I've seen what their guns can do; they're heavily loaded but it doesn't really matter because there are more of us than the bullets they are running out of. Oh Lord I hunger for the days when we embraced our dreams, grabbed on tight to all this country had to offer. We are still those Americans - - even in death - - relentless and picky to the end, hungry for what we truly want and right now that would be living flesh. And seriously brother, we want you… fresh.


12. Silver Moon

My eyesight ‘aint that great and some say I tilt the drink too much. With those two strikes, I shouldn't be driving either. But I do have most of my marbles and stay up to date on the folklore well enough to live right.  What I just seen crossing the road past Thompson Cemetery there wasn't human… too vulpine lookin'… ragged and unfinished. Thing is, it weren't no animal neither. The moon's up, a wolf's eye, so I'm gettin' on home quick to lock my doors, pour me another and shut my eyes ‘til mornin'.


13. The Crossing

Everyday they float by like bobbing red-faced apples and I hear the rude and crude remarks they don't attempt to hide. “The fat boy lives with his maw-ma!” they squeal and then give a murderous look. Did their mothers not teach them proper manners? I smile down upon them, one hand raised with the sign that says, STOP, the other hand gently directing them across the street, safely through the school zone.

This evening when they tricked my house and scared Mother into sheer madness, it was she who suggested I go and teach them proper manners. I waited in the shadows at the crosswalk, one hand raised with the hatchet gleaming, the other holding the sign that screamed STOP. But I didn't.