Round pumpkin grinning
Sitting on the front porch steps
Glowing in the night
Acorns shift and move
Growing legs, arms, and faces
Time to devour
Night alive with fright
Ghosts and goblins haunt the dark
Filling it with fear
And if you need a little Halloween read this year. Here is my short story A Haunted House Tale.
Available to purchase at his link: apoetryjourney.wordpress.com.
If you prefer to hear me read some stories you can check out the Nightlight Tales Podcast: anchor.fm/nightlighttalespodcast
A HAUNTED HOUSE TALE
It was one of those old houses, the ones you see in all the scary films or the ones that are among the scary stories told to you when you were just a kid, a ramshackle Victorian home a century old, vacant, empty, haunted.
A car pulled up in front of this house and stopped. Its lights spread across the weedy overgrown lawn, and the dead landscaping. This light also highlighted a large front porch. This empty porch was now sagging in all the wrong spots.
Inside the car were five people, aged 18–25. Kevin, Scott, Robert, Suzy and her girlfriend Nancy. They all attended the local college together, and they studied very similar subjects. It made them instant friends.
They were out on this night, and at this house for one reason, Halloween. They wanted a good scare, and a cheap thrill to make this holiday perfect. Little did they know, they were about to get everything they desired, and so much more.
“So, who brought the beer?” Kevin asked, as a breeze filtered in through the car window and blew back his sandy brown hair. The hoop earring in his left ear twinkled as the moon moved into and out of a dark cloud. He wore what everyone else was wearing, jeans, shirts, jackets, and tennis shoes – casual clothes for casual kids.
“I got, I got it,” Robert replied, as he opened a cooler and handed one to Kevin. DragonForce’s “Disciples of Babylon” started to play through the car speakers. He leaned over, cranked it up, and banged his long black hair as the music blasted.
“Can you turn that down a bit?” Suzy asked, covering her ears.
“Why? This really shreds,” Robert replied, as he air guitared along to the song.
“It’s annoying is what it is,” Nancy replied, taking her partner’s side. They had been together for four years now, and were still as thick as thieves.
“Fine,” Robert replied, not only turning down the music, but turning it off.
“I honestly don’t see what you see in them. They aren’t classic Thrash Metal like Testament or Overkill even though they wanna be,” Scott replied, sitting there with his red spiky hair, and skin so white it almost glowed in the full moonlight.
“Those guys are aging dinosaurs. They had their time. It’s time for something new,” Robert replied.
“Understand, just don’t want it to be that,” Scott replied.
Robert flipped him the bird, and their musical discussion fell silent.
“Do you think we should go up there? I mean, it looks unsafe and super spooky. What if the stories about this place are true?” Suzy asked, taking comfort in Nancy’s arms, her sparkly brown eyes staring at the house.
Nancy followed Suzy’s gaze, as she stroked her partner’s short black hair. She too thought it looked super spooky.
“All it is, is tales, passed down by the same adults who turn their noses up at you two guys, and what you two are doing,” Robert replied, as he pulled a beer out of the cooler and popped it open. He chugged it hard, burped, and then laughed just to show how manly he was supposed to be.
“Real mature,” Nancy replied, looking at Robert, pushing her raven black hair out of her eyes.
“Thank you,” Robert replied, burping again.
Nancy ignored him and turned to Suzy. “If you don’t want to go, we don’t have to.”
“Hell no we don’t! We didn’t come all this way to chicken out now!” Scott chimed in, smoking on a joint. He was planning to get good and buzzed before going into the towns most haunted of houses.
“Don’t bogart that thing man. Hand it over,” Kevin replied, looking at Scott.
“I hear . . .” Scott replied, as he inhaled and exhaled then passed it on. “. . . there’s a creature that lives in there. People have claimed to have seen it. They say it is an imp of some sort.”
“An imp. Really? Give me a break Scott,” Robert replied.
“Where did you hear this?” Nancy asked.
“Previous owners, kids who’ve come out here for a party . . .”
“. . . and bums, right Scott? Bums who have no idea what day of the week or month it is. They’re probably so hopped up and high that they see about anything when the shadows grow thick in that place,” Robert replied.
“I’ve heard a lot of things about this place ever since I was a child. I’ve always wanted to come, just didn’t have a sucker to go with me. Now I have four,” Scott replied smiling, as someone tossed something at him.
“How about we just go back? We’ve seen it, we can party here in the car, tell people we went in. No one will ever know,” Suzy replied, cutting into their conversation, hoping against hope that being here was enough for all of them; but, of course, it wasn’t.
The passenger door opened.
Robert stumbled out of the car and into the busted, broken asphalt driveway. Weeds swished against his pants as he walked over to a nearby fountain and looked at it. In the center of this fountain was a moss-covered concrete statue of a kid on his knees about to roll a ball.
“Well, he’s out, better go after him,” Scott replied, pushing back the passenger seat so he could join his friend.
Kevin pulled the keys out of the ignition, and climbed out as well. Once outside the car, he leaned back in and looked at the girls. “We’ve come this far. Might as well see what all the fuss is about.”
The girls looked at each other as Kevin went around to the trunk and opened it up.
“What do you say, Suzy?”
“As long as you stay with me.”
“I’ll be right by your side, promise.”
“Let’s go then.”
The two girls climbed out of the car, and walked over to where Scott and Robert were standing in front of the fountain.
“Would you look at this place?” Kevin replied when he joined his friends.
“It is crazy scary,” Scott replied.
“Just the pot man. Come on. Let’s get the gear and get inside,” Kevin replied, walking back to the car.
His friends joined him a second later, and the gear was quickly swept up by all five of them. With gear in hand and five flashlights beaming, they walked over to the gate and stopped. This gate was attached to a silver rusty fence, which was broken in many spots as it made its way around the forgotten yard. Kevin pulled the gate open, and it let out a screech that sounded like a scream, as the rusty hinges were forced back into service. He stepped onto the broken sidewalk, which was mostly tall grass and weeds now, and led the way to the busted porch.
The others, of course, followed him.
When they reached the porch, they stopped. The six wooden steps that led onto it were mostly broken, and the rotten rails were detached and laying in the overgrown shrubbery, so they all took their time getting onto this porch with the gear in hand.
Once on the porch, which was creaking and moaning and generally pissed off that someone was standing on it, they could see that the front door with the busted lock had a “No Trespassing!” sign slanted sideways across it.
Kevin grabbed the door handle, turned it, and pushed the door open. It screamed like the gate, as the rusty hinges were forced back into service. He shined the light forward. “Wow,” he replied, stepping into the small foyer area.
On either side of him, were benches where people could sit and take off their shoes. These benches were filled with holes, rotting away from termite damage. He could also see a couple of coat trees still in pretty good shape, and two double doors that led into the main house that use to be filled with stained glass. What was left of this glass was on either side of the double doors, and in jagged pieces at the top and bottom of their frames.
Kevin pushed the two double doors open (as his friends remained quiet behind him), and the house presented itself to them with a mingling odor of must, decay, pee, and feces. It was one big unpleasant smell.
“So bums spend time in here?” Suzy asked, looking around the place, not sure why anyone would ever come into this dilapidated home.
“I don’t know how,” Nancy chimed in beside her, holding her hand tight.
“Try a cold Raleigh January night sometime. Any place would be better than being outside,” Scott replied.
The dining room seemed like the best place for them to set up, so Kevin led his friends into that room. “This is near the door, close to an exit.”
“What? Are you scared now too?” Scott asked, trying to man up even though he was ready to bolt at the first sign of boo.
“What about that picture? I swear it is looking at me,” Suzy replied, light upon a painted portrait of a man in an army suit standing in front of a large Oak tree.
They all looked up at it, and even though the eyes were staring at them, they were blank, dark, and motionless.
“Just your imagination,” Nancy replied, trying to comfort her. “Besides, those eyes are painted on. Wouldn’t there be holes there instead for someone to look through?”
Suzy nodded, her nerves started to calm.
When no one was looking at the painting, the painted eyes flashed out, and two real eyes appeared in their place. These green evil eyes watched the kids as they set up for the night.
“Help me move this,” Scott replied, as he motioned to the dining room table and chairs.
The other two guys jumped in and helped him get it all out of the way. When they were finished, they now had a big open spot in the middle of the room to set up their gear.
“I’ll get a fire started. You guys set up,” Kevin replied, as he walked over to the fireplace with the gigantic brown wooden mantel piece and red brick hearth.
“Yes, sir!” Scott and Robert replied, saluting Kevin with their middle fingers.
“Jerks,” he replied, as he reached up and grabbed the lever to the damper, which would allow the smoke from the fire to leave the room. A dead bird, down to mostly a skeleton now, fell into the fireplace causing him to jump. He heard his friends laugh behind him. He flipped them a bird, and they laughed again.
They all got back to serious, and set up camp for the night.
Twenty minutes later they were done.
They now had a large fire in the fireplace (burning items of wood found in the lower regions of the house), Metallica blasting on the stereo, beer and pot flowing freely, lawn chairs, open cooler, and munchies – a perfect party.
While they partied, all the doors that would allow escape, gently closed. Their busted locks turned into brand new locks that locked from the inside and not the out. A key appeared in the key slot of each and every one of them. A second later all these keys started to turn until their door was sealed. The keys evaporated, and now the five people inside were trapped, sitting ducks, victims waiting for the slaughter.
Also, while they partied, all the windows, most of them busted, re-formed and their once broken locks were replaced with new ones. These locks clicked into a locking position, a magical locking position that no human could undo. Did I also mention that the windows were shatter proof?
A couple of hours passed, the party started to dwindle.
“I think it is time for me and Suzy to get to bed,” Nancy replied, trying to stand up on two very wobbly legs.
Suzy reached up to her, and Nancy pulled her to her feet. The two girls embraced for a moment as Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” played in the background.
“Just keep it down girls,” Scott replied, smiling, really wanting to see what would happen inside their tent when no one was watching.
“I’m too stoned,” Nancy replied to Scott, and then went over and climb into the tent.
“Nothing but sleep for us, perv,” Suzy replied, looking at Scott. She then looked at her friends. “See you guys in the morning,” she replied, and walked over to join Nancy in the tent, a tent that was closest to the hallway, a tent closest to danger.
In the shadows of the hallway, two evil green eyes watched the two girls go to bed. It moved its’ eyes from the tent to the men, and watched them for a while, watched them fall into a stoned, drunk state of unawareness. When the imp was sure it wouldn’t be detected, it made its way over to the girl’s tent and peered inside. Sure enough, both girls were asleep in the same sleeping bag. The imp looked back over its shoulder. The guys were none the wiser, as it slipped inside.
Once inside, it pulled out a foot long knife, ruby red blade, emerald green handle, and slipped over to the girls. It dispatched them quickly with two quick slashes. They bled out into eternal slumber without ever waking up.
3 more to go.
The men continued to jam, as the furry little imp, wearing only green tattered shorts, slithered out from inside the tent and scurried off into the darkness, his hoofed feet clacking softly on the floor as he ran.
“Did you hear that?” Scott asked, as the pot quickly turned from happy friend to paranoid enemy.
The MP3 player moved onto Metallica’s “Jump in the Fire.”
“It’s just the pot man. Relax. You know how you get,” Robert replied, annoyed his buzz had been disturbed. He closed his eyes, and tried to get back into the groove of things.
“Robert’s right. Just enjoy the buzz,” Kevin replied, eyes blank and staring ahead.
Scott didn’t feel right, and something in him knew it wasn’t just the pot. The shadows dancing on the wall, cast by the burning fire, took on ghostly images with sinister looks and devious intentions. He closed his eyes and tried to zone back into the music, tried to zone back into the good buzz he had going, but it was hard to do with his instincts on high alert.
“Holy shit!” Kevin screamed, suddenly and without warning, eyes wide, and scared.
Robert and Scott looked at him and then to the spot where he was staring.
In the darkness of the hall, a ghost hovered there wearing a long white robe, conjured up from the very depths of hell. This ghost had a blank white face, dark black eyes bleeding red tears. A black portal for a mouth, no nose and no ears. It had scaly white hands, dangling white feet, and a bald shiny white head.
Robert, Scott, and Kevin, of course stood up, chairs flipping end over end behind them as they did.
The fire popped and cracked as the ghost evaporated.
The MP3 player suddenly took on a life of its own, as it flipped through the songs with lightning speed until it reached Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” The song blared to life, and it seemed to not only pour out of the stereo the MP3 player was attached to, but the music was coming from everywhere in the house from the basement to the attic it pounded from invisible speakers.
“Time to go!” Kevin screamed, as he made his way towards the girl’s tent. He opened it up, ready to say something to Nancy and Suzy, but the words fell out of his mouth in cold silence. He backed up from the bloody scene, to the wall, trying to keep it all together even though he felt like he might throw up at any moment.
Scott and Robert watched as the wall behind Kevin turned into a giant mouth with sharp crooked wooden gnashing teeth covered in dried stained blood. Two plaster arms blew out of the wall with hands on the ends of these arms. These wooden hands with rusty nails for fingernails grabbed Kevin as he tried to run away. The rusty nails implanted themselves into his body squirting blood out of him like someone squeezing a tomato too tight. He was stuck, couldn’t move, as he struggled to get free. Scott and Robert watched as the plaster arms picked Kevin up and tossed him into the mouth. He was chewed up, and quickly consumed, lost somewhere inside the fabric of the wall.
The wall returned to normal, and the imp appeared before the men. It smiled its evil little smile, which lit up its jack-o-lantern like face. Its eyes were irregular shaped triangles, mouth almost stretched from ear to ear, nose a misshapen oval. It stood three feet tall with two large pointy horns on top of its bald head.
Scott and Robert took off for the hallway, as the imp danced his happy death dance. He was having so much fun that he almost couldn’t contain his glee. He loved Halloween. This night always gave him so much energy.
Scott went left and ran towards the front door. He grabbed the handle and a bolt of electricity shot out of it. He could see it traveling, as the blue static raced across his left hand and up his arm. When it reached his shoulder it moved over it, across his shoulder blade, up his neck, up the side of his face, ending at the top of his skull. When the bolt stopped moving it blew off a large chunk of his hair, and put him hard onto his back. He lay there a moment, dazed and confused, head slightly smoking.
Robert, of course, saw none of this. He was heading for the back door, which was in the kitchen. When he reached this door, he stopped. There was a brand new lock in place that could only be unlocked from the outside. Without a key, he was stuck. He made his way over to the nearest window and tried to bust it out. Each chair he tried shattered on impact, but the window never broke. He gave up and headed for the stairs, stopping in the hall when he saw Scott still lying on the floor.
The imp appeared on top of Scott, knife out, ruby red blade and emerald handle splashed with light from the fire in the fireplace. “Two more to go, actually one more to go,” the imp replied, laughing an ugly evil laugh. Without hesitation, the imp drove the blade into Scott’s chest over and over again, spraying blood all over everything. The imp laughed again, as he showered himself in the rich iron liquid flowing free from Scott’s body. He licked his lips, and just enjoyed the moment.
“No!” Robert screamed, but there was nothing he could do.
The imp hopped off of Scott, dripping drops of blood onto the floor as he stood there waving the blade towards Robert in a threatening way. The imp evaporated a second later.
Robert ran for the stairs, falling through about four steps before finally making it to the second floor. He raced frantically through each room. Past the old beds and furniture, ignoring the pee and bum smells covering the air, and in each room he found the exact same thing, brand new locked windows, all of them shatter proof.
The imp taunted him each step of the way. Appearing here and there, waving his blade, smiling and laughing at the fear eating Robert alive. “Don’t Fear the Reaper” ended several times and then came blaring back to life again. It was like a sound track of fear specifically designed for this chase.
When Robert reached the end of the hall, he stopped. He could go no further.
The imp appeared in front of him. “Well, well, it seems we’ve reached the end of our little journey. Have you had fun? I know I have. My heart is almost bursting with glee.”
“Just do with me what you will,” Robert replied, defiant. “I’ve had enough of your little games.”
“Have you now? And here I thought we were having so much fun. I’m disappointed to hear that. I really am.”
Robert had no reply, as the imp paced back and forth, smiling his evil jester smile, enjoying every moment of this terror, twirling the blade around to help him think.
Then it happened.
The grandfather clock (somehow not stolen, somehow still working) down the hall struck midnight, “Don’t Fear the Reaper” stopped instantly, and the house fell back to its former state of disrepair.
Robert felt a breeze cool his hot sweaty skin, as it filtered in through the broken stained glass window in front of him.
“Well, well, will you look at that? It seems that in having fun I completely lost track of the time. Its 3 A.M. already, and you have survived. Riches now lay at your feet,” the imp replied, bowing.
“What are you talking about?” Robert asked, as the floor below him started to change.
Another world sprang up around him.
The house fell away, and sunlight greeted his eyes. He squinted, as he looked down at his feet. A silver path of bricks formed and ran off into the distance. On either side of this path flowers rose up out of the ground, popped open, and bloomed. These weren’t ordinary flowers. The stems and leaves were emeralds, green and shiny, and the flowers were made up of all kinds of jewels. There were sunflowers made of gold, roses made of rubies, the tulips were made up of white pearls, and on and on it went even to the trees, which were covered in amber bark and green emerald leaves. The world glittered and shined everywhere Robert looked, and as he stood there small clouds began to rain down diamonds. Then he felt something soft and furry grab his hand. He looked down and the imp was holding up a brown rubbery sack.
“I don’t offer this very often. Have at it, time is a wasting,” the imp replied, as Robert took the sack from his furry brown hand. “When the magic wears off you will be back in your car, so you better hurry.”
“Can I pick the flowers?”
“You can, yes, just grab until your sack is full or time runs out. Anything you see in this field is yours.”
“How much time do I have?”
“Not long, so go. Thanks for playing,” the imp replied, vanishing.
Robert was now standing in the field alone, and it looked like he was right in the center of it. He found his feet and started stuffing the bag, anything and everything he could grab went into it. He worked until time ran out, and he found himself sitting in the driver’s seat of the car.
The keys were in the ignition.
He turned on the motor and sat there a moment, the bag beside him pregnant and full. He looked from the bag to the house, and did he see something in the attic looking back at him? He wasn’t sure, but he was sure that he was ready to leave. He put the car into gear, cranked up the tunes, and drove off into the night, sad for the loss of his friends, but happy because now he was one of the richest people on this Earth.
2 thoughts on “Haiku – 10/31/2020”
Fun story! These are my favorite lines: “These wooden hands with rusty nails for fingernails grabbed Kevin as he tried to run away. The rusty nails implanted themselves into his body squirting blood out of him like someone squeezing a tomato too tight.” The image is just so horrific and well-done.
Thank you. Always try to follow King’s two rules. If I can’t scare you then I gross you out. Sounds like it worked.
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