You didn't think Halloween was the end did you? It's All Hallow's DAY now!
And in the spirit of of the season we are pleased to present the leftover oddities, last minute submissions, and other various and sundry previously unseen goodies from this year's countdown!
Thanks to several artists and writers you have an assortment to enjoy, but before you dig in I want to thank each and every one of you who contributed to this event in whatever way - with story, art, advice, enthusiasm, likes, shares, views, or magic potions -- especially the crew at 13 Stories Til Halloween without which none of this would have been possible.
Come back each month to Eldritch Almanac where the tales of creepy and strange holidays that aren't Halloween continue all year long. 13 Months Til Halloween? Hmm, that one might need some work...
It's been my pleasure and privilege to be your host this year. Until next time, I'm Preternatch!
Dig deep into your trick-or-treat bag, munch down on some sweet goodness and watch out for raisins!
First a video from Dudgrick Bevins:
Next, a poem from CG Tenpenny / Obol, of Molten Poetry
Ancient oaks lined the path. Spanish moss, grey, a subtle splash in the dusk, barely lit, torchlight, fireflies flit on their way to, turn and twist, gather the sun’s last rays and replenish their light. I pressed on, horrors surely near, certain the elder ghosts hunted. They, hidden inside the oaks, like twisted dryads, hungry for, feasting on, thin scraps of wanderers’ prayers, and this traveler’s shaking bones, oh, the jostle and clatter, amidst the icy-blood running. Young and brave, I stayed the road and reached the end. Your father’s mansion, dreadful, expansive. Pillared gates, cathedral spires, all built with blood and ire. This night, I wore my best shirt, the grey one, a button held by wire. Trousers, threadbare, so unworthy it hurt. I, the disgrace, dared ask for your hand? But we were young, foolish, and bold. Moonlight brushed my skin, a stark light in the darkness, my skin matched the pallid glint, moonlit, glimmer sharply. The iron knocker lay cold in my hand, a merest rap, cacophony, resounded in the manse. Echoing on-and-on, it birthed a heartbeat for the beast your father built. In time, the doors swung wide and I was enthralled by what dwelled within. Before me, the most beautiful sight, my soon-to-be bride, radiant, floating in a cloud of gossamer white. Your father fell ignored, there by the door. I was transfixed by your descent down the staircase, spiralling, and your bare feet peeked from the hem to the floor. Pale skin… no, fair. Your jet black mane gleamed, yet reflected no light. You looked icy and cold, like the chill of the night, but I knew better, because I felt your flames. You are molten inside, magnetic, pulling in the light, so you can use it more wisely. My heat rose at the collar. Peasant shirt, sweating through, I could have no other. I would never understand why you chose me, but the gifts you gave, you gave freely. Now I, the grey-clad peasant, like a moth, am forever drawn to your light. But, now I understand why your father wished me ill. When our fingers touched, the fires raged, caught the curtains and reached for the gate. Burn, burn we must, this is our fate. We will burn away your father’s mansion of hate, and dance into the ancient oaks to feed the fireflies for the coming day.
©️ Obol, 2018-2019.
Then some artwork by Leah Hale
Looks like you should have let sleeping three-headed dogs lie!
And finally, a story by Ernest Law (of Oddities by Ernie fame)
If I Should Die Before I Wake
It’s past her bed time. She comes downstairs again. This isn't unusual or anything. She has nightmares. This is typical for kids of her age. It happens all the time.
"Daddy, there is a monster in my room," she says with tear-glassed eyes. I mute the TV. I comfort her, as I always do. She gets a big hug. I pet her hair. She holds me close for a few precious moments.
"It's ok, Little Bit, there is nothing scarier than your Daddy in this house," I say with confidence in my voice. I look her in her eager eyes. We walk back upstairs, hand in hand. I'm tired, but my little one needs reassurance. I flip the light switch on. I help her into bed. "See, no monsters, if they were here, I scared them all away," I say with a tone of authority. I kiss her forehead. She smiles at me. I pet her head once more. She shivers a little. I pull the blankets up around her for warmth. "Good night, Little Bit. I love you, have sweet dreams," A consoling smile on my lips.
I’m about to turn off the light, but as I look back, she points down under her bed, so I go back to take a look. Something is there. I get down on my knees to look, and I see her. The same little girl I just tucked in, down to the pajama set, but under her bed. She’s shaking so hard she can barely even whisper.
"Daddy, there’s a monster in my bed."
Her eyes are like dinner plates...I don't know what to do. Lips trembling, she pleads with me with her silent gaze. In a snap, I reach out and grab her. She fits right into my arms. I run with her and don't look back.
"Its ok, baby, Daddy is here, I wont let anything happen to you," I whisper, trying to keep the terror away from my voice. My feet pound down the stairs like hammers on nails. She shivers against me, a silent sob. My hand wrenches the door knob, and I throw the front door open wide. It’s barely a pause before I bolt across the porch, but I think I can feel the thing in the bed breathing down my neck. I slam the door behind me and hope that it’s still inside.
"Where are we going?" she asks, as we get in my truck. I don't answer her. My finger stabs the start button. The engine comes to life. No time for seat belts, just my foot and the accelerator. She is thrown sideways as I slam the truck into reverse and spin the steering wheel.
"Hold on little bit!" I yell as I swing the truck out of the driveway and into the road. My fingers throw the truck into drive, but I look back. I cant help it. There she is, coming out the front door. She wears a terrible face, hands reaching out towards us. I floor it. My truck tires screech into the night as they lose some tread. The truck moves so slowly up the hill. Smoke and burnt rubber billow into the night. I glance in the rear view. She, no it is chasing us. I try to will us away from here, I cant let it get her.
“Go!, Damn you!, Go!” my mind screams at the truck. After what seems like an eternity the tires catch traction. I look back again. It's still there but it cant keep up with us. We skid around a corner, onto the highway. Dust and smoke billow behind us. "I think we lost it," I manage to say.
"Are you okay, sweetheart?" I ask, unable to keep the panic out of my voice. She doesn't answer. I look over in the passenger seat of the truck. She just smiles at me with far too many teeth in that innocent-looking face. I chose the wrong one. It lunges at me. My throat croaks out a dry denial, as the thing clambers across the cab. I feel its claws rake my arm. Its mouth clamps down on the side of my face. I am blood and pain. The truck flies into the ditch as I let go of the wheel and try to fend it off. We flip, and roll, and somehow we stop, but it doesn't.
The thing that looks like my daughter speaks with the glee of a child but the malice of something else just before it sinks its jagged teeth into my neck.
"She told you there was a monster in her room."
AND THAT'S A WRAP, KIDDIES!
Thank you so much for your kind attention, don't give yourself a tummyache on candy!