Rayburn rose from the dead and donned his mask. Halloween night! Time to party with his deceased neighbors. Long time no see. He shuffles to the Chambers mausoleum, thinking how ornate it looks compared to the Drakes’ crypt from last year’s bash. The sound of bones clacking discordantly reached his ears as he entered the marble structure. Rayburn immediately recognizes Theodora, even with her mask on, who welcomes him with a request to dance.
The evening wore on with much animation as everyone had been still for so long. Suddenly, someone screeches with alarm. Quiet befalls the group as all eyes turn to Jack O’Lantern, whose mask has somehow slipped off and is dangling from one ear. In all the years they’ve held their annual gathering, they’ve never had such carelessness happen. It was one rule they’ve all agreed to – “Wear a mask and hide the decay; for today is when we can forget we’ve not passed away.” But seeing the slitted nostrils and jagged mouth jolted them to realize such visages of horror also lurk under their own masks.
Naked and trembling, Trevor stops to catch his breath. Already he feels the curse cast upon him. The tattoos on his stiffening torso become more pronounced, resembling wall-sized etchings.
His arms shoot upward, branching outward, simultaneously dividing into limbs of various density. Immobile, his legs fuse together, while his feet extend out all around him. His toes multiply, scattering and digging deep below the earth at the same time.
Moisture penetrates throughout his whole being, or whatever self-awareness is left. The last thought as he can describe it as such is that he wishes, out of all the tattoos he has, he had avoided the heart with Her name carved on it. He didn’t know she would take it to heart and act as if she owned him.
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Will rises early, eager to please his mother, whose birthday is today of all days. He shuffles to the kitchen to make her a special breakfast. He looks in the refrigerator but finds it bare. He checks the pantry and sees cobwebs in it. Remembering another refrigerator in the house, he goes downstairs to the basement.
What a senile moment, he chuckles to himself. Of course, he stocks the downstairs fridge so no one can see the exotic food he keeps. He takes out a plastic container and brings it upstairs.
After fussing around the kitchen and making all the fixings, Will carries a tray of food down a short hallway. He stops in front of a closed door and knocks.
“Mama?” He calls out softly and gently opens the door. He sets down the tray on a dusty dresser and walks to the bed where a desiccated looking body is laying under a blanket.
“Rise and shine, birthday gal.” Will sits the figure up. “I made your favorite, scrambled brain, Mama.” He gets the tray and places it on the bed between the remains and himself. Sitting across from her, he talks about the things they’ll do to celebrate her birthday. Every year he finds it easier to face his mother because his vision is growing weaker. He doesn’t like seeing how his mother ages.
They say the alley buzzes with flesh-eating flies. What nonsense, Hugo thinks, as he jogs by the narrow passage that stinks like someone used it as a public privy. He looks around to see if there are homeless people or a passed out drunk lurking about, but the area seems deserted. Although the sky was clear when he started out his early morning jog, a cloud appears to hover above. He shrugs and sprints. A few blocks down, his curiosity gets the better of him, so he retraces his steps. Still jogging in place, he peers through the alley and sees nothing unusual. Just an alley, for heavens’ sake. What the hell . . . Continue reading