Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The Sinisisters, as the trio were known, waited a long time after death to let the town know how they felt. Conditions had to be right. They bided their time. It would be worth the wait.

The innocent act of scattering seeds ushered in the dark events. A wayward vine stretched beyond the garden’s bounds, where it ripened unnaturally. Guided by the eldest sister, who’d been laid to rest and forgotten in the woods beside the tended plot, the pumpkin became something with darker purpose. While it matured upon her grave, she gave it new purpose.

The middle sister found an apt pupil in the angry old man who lived in the odd little house on a quiet cul du sac. She tutored him while he slept, and when he awoke; he did as he learned…until he got it just right. On All Hallow’s Eve, he placed a bowl upon the porch, along with a sign. Then they waited for the reckless and the greedy to disobey a simple request.

The youngest sister, imprisoned in the place that watched her die, found release through a boy in the wrong place at the wrong time. With him for transport, she set out for the place that would see the first act in their tribute.

The final contributor in the devious plot were the people of Grimm’s Point themselves. They chose the young girl who would pay for the sins of the fathers. A cruel prank, meant only to tease, signed her fate. For the very first time, a harmless tradition lived up to its promise.


Jenna and Karl returned home as promised. An evening of horror movies, Halloween candy, and a good amount of fooling around on their horizon.

Karl chased Jenna up the porch, growling at her through the latex wolf’s muzzle. Jenna squealed a mixture of amusement and fear. The day hadn’t begun well, and she was still on edge. She dodged his reach and unlocked the front door.

“Stop it. Isn’t it enough you made that kid drop his candy?”

Karl slipped the mask up onto the top of his head.

“I tried to give it back, but he took off.”

“And then you left your brother behind at the haunted house.”

“I looked for him. He left with his buddies.”

“You better hope so. If not, your mom’s gonna be pissed.”

“Whatever. I said I’d take him with. I never said I’d bring him home.”

Karl followed Jenna into the house, dumping the giant bag of candy onto the table in front of the couch.

“What do you want to drink,” Jenna called from the kitchen.

“Got any milk?”


“Yeah, I like a big glass of milk with dessert.”

Jenna entered the room, two glasses in hand. Karl popped a DVD into the player.

“What’d you pick?”

“Final Destination 5.”

“Seriously, on the day I get 12 Coblins you want me to watch a movie about people stalked by death?”

“Lighten up. You’re fine and it’s just a movie.”

The two got cozy on the couch as the movie began to play. Karl began digging into the candy, tossing the things he didn’t like onto the table.

“Wants some?”

“No thanks. I’d feel guilty.”

“I didn’t mean to take the kid’s candy,” Karl mumbled around the fun-sized Butterfinger he’d stuff into his mouth whole.

“That’s beside the point. I’m not really hungry anyway.”

Karl finished his chocolate, prepared to wash it down with a big gulp of milk. As he brought the glass to his mouth he noticed something that made him pause.

Jenna saw his peculiar expression “What is it?”

“Something in my milk.”

“Like what?”

“I dunno, a black spot.”

“Let me see.” Jenna took the glass from him. “Hmm, maybe I should dump it out and get you another glass.”

“Why? Just take whatever it is out. The whole glass isn’t bad.”

“Seems like a bad sign. I’d feel better if I brought you a fresh one.”

“Give it here.”

Jenna handed it over reluctantly. Karl dipped a finger into the glass and pulled out the foreign object.

“Looks like a coffee ground. No big deal,” he said, flicking the speck onto the table with the “bad” candy. He took a large sip, and then set the glass down. The whole episode forgotten, he went back the treats, looking for his next selection.

Jenna watched him incredulous. Guys are unbelievable. Nothing ever gets to them. She wished she could be more like Karl.

“Oh, gummy worms! I haven’t had those since I was like ten.”

“The bag looks a little sketchy. I don’t think I’d eat those if I were you.”

“They look fine to me.” He pulled a long green one from the package, and made a production of dropping it into his mouth. In the low light, Jenna imagined she saw it wriggle as it disappeared between her boyfriend’s lips.

“I can’t watch.” She tried to watch the movie for distraction, but what she saw there was more disturbing.

“Can we put in something else?”

Karl didn’t answer, but he did make some strange noises. Jenna look at him tentatively. She just knew he was trying to gross her out.

He had a peculiar look on his face. It looked like he was trying to spit, or perhaps he was going to be sick.

“Are you okay?”

He nodded “no” in response.

“Are you’re choking.”

He brought his hands to his face and clawed at his lips. Green drool ran over his fingers, and dripped onto his jeans. He leaned forward. Jenna watched as he tried to stand. I think he’s going to puke. He was making a wheezy gurgling sound, and started stumbling around the room. Jenna wasn’t sure what to do.

“I’ll call 911.”

She began frantically looking for her cell phone. Ordinarily it was right next to her, but it was nowhere in sight. She lifted the sofa cushions, and looked under furniture.

“Oh my god, where is it?”

Karl dropped to one knee near the front window making guttural noises while he lurched back and forth. She gave up her search, and went to him.

She could see that the lower half of his face was so swollen he no longer appeared to have a neck. He was very pale and sweating profusely. The front of his shirt was covered with a mixture of saliva, and green sludge. All of this from a single gummy worm?

As she kneeled beside him, she noticed movement on the front lawn. Trick-or-Treaters? Maybe they had a parent with them who could help.

“I’ll be right back.”

He made no sign he heard or understood what she said.

Jenna ran to the foyer, and out the front door.

“Please, you’ve got to help. My boyfriend… I think he might die.”

The silhouettes of what looked like two women and a child began moving toward her in silence.

“He’s right this way.” Jenna took a few steps toward the house. The three followed, but without her sense of urgency. Something didn’t quite right with them. The hair on the back of Jenna’s neck prickled.

A low growling from behind caught her attention. She turned to look. She didn’t see any animal. The boy in the middle looked to be holding something. In the darkness, it didn’t look like an animal. Instinctively she backed away until her heels bumped the lowest step up to the house. The others continued moving forward. Finally she could see them clearly. The women were dressed very oddly. Their clothing old and very out of date.

The boy between them looked familiar. It took her only a second or two to realize it was Karl’s brother Kurt. He’d made it out of the haunted house. She was relieved and was going to say as much, but he didn’t appear to recognize her. He looked really angry.

“Kurt, your brother’s in serious trouble.”

Rather than answer, he held out the thing he’d been cradling to his chest. She couldn’t make sense of what she was seeing. She thought it was a pumpkin, but it looked wrong. It was grotesquely shaped, and very dark in color. It trailed long vines that wriggled and swayed in the breeze. But there isn’t any breeze. Something flicked from a hole in the side.

“Why aren’t you helping? What’s wrong with you people?”

Kurt smiled. Jenna thought his eyes and the tilt of his mouth weren’t right. It was like she was seeing someone else’s face projected onto Kurt’s. It was a slightly younger and feminine face. It flickered and then disappeared.

Jenna felt something touch her thigh. She couldn’t help but look down. One of the vines was trying to coil itself around her thigh. She retreated onto the bottom stair. Is this really happening? She felt like she was trapped in a nightmare.

The thing that looked like Kurt glanced at each woman. They smiled wickedly and nodded. Kurt pulled the pumpkin into his chest and in one swift move, hurled it at Jenna.

The shock, combined with the force of the blow, knocked her off her feet. She struggled to get up, but the vines quickly wrapped around her trashing arms and legs, subduing her. It’s alive! The pumpkin now sat on her chest, mere inches from her face. She could feel it throb. It moaned in what sounded like ecstasy.

Jenna felt something warm and wet flick her chin. She tried to see what it was, but the pumpkin was too close to see clearly. There were more tickles, like numerous tiny tentacles working at her face. She tried desperately to pulled way. The tendrils grasped her face, fluttering onto her lips and slipping into her nostrils. Her mind, unable to make sense of what she was experiencing, began to break down.

The living beard wormed into every orifice, chocking and smothering her. The pumpkin moved up onto her throat. She felt an opening in the shell latch onto her chin, and beginning gnawing at her face.

She whimpered as she reluctantly surrendered to the attack. There was no use fighting, and no one was coming to her rescue. As her mind fractured further, she surrendered to the madness, she had one lucid thought: Coblins.

This is all because of those damn dolls.

Well that's it folks. Thank you for your enthusiasm, comments and support of my Blogtoberfest challenge. It was a lot of fun to do. I may make this an annual thing. Don't know what will happen to this story. For now, I will file it away and perhaps pull it up again later for further development.

Tomorrow is day one of National Novel Writing Month 2012. I'll be up at 4 a.m. to get a good start on my 1667 word a day goal. I'll keep you posted on my progress and what I discover about my novel as I write.   

Monday, October 29, 2012


It was pitch black and he was alone. Only moments ago, he’d been trailing his brother, his brother’s girl friend and some of their friends. Now here he was, feeling his way along an empty corridor.

Kurt called out, “Karl, where are you?” but got no reply.

He stopped moving. He suspected the others were playing a prank on him. “This isn’t funny.” There were no whispers or snickers.

How had he gotten separated? He’d been following Karl as closely as he dared. There couldn’t have been more than a foot of space separating them. Maybe the passageway split, or an unseen door opened. In the dark, he’d gone one way while the others went in a different direction.

He took a few deep breaths and began feeling his way along the smooth walls, shuffling his feet as he went. He searched for an opening or doorway. After going a few feet without finding one, he sidestepped to the other wall. He misjudged the distance, and jammed a finger on a solid barrier.

“Damn it!” He listened for barely suppressed laughter. Still nothing.

He continued on, alternating left to right. He squinted at the darkness, hoping to detect light or sound that would guide him in the right direction. The absence of everything was disorienting.

I wonder if I end up in an unused part of this house? Maybe he was in an “Authorized Personnel Only” area. He called out to see if he could get somebody’s attention.

“Hello? I think I’m lost. Is anybody there?” Again he was answered by silence.

He continued on, finding nothing. How long is this hallway?

Finally, he thought he heard something. It was like a low humming sound and it was coming from ahead of him. He quickened his pace as much as he dared, and moved toward it. The sound became louder. It sounded less like humming to him now. It seemed more like moaning. Or maybe it was singing. He wasn’t sure.

He noticed something near the floor. It was bright, and angular. He squinted, hoping to see it more clearly. It was blueish white, and flickered in and out, but without disappearing completely.

When he was nearly upon it, he realized he was seeing light shinning under a partially closed door. Finally. He groped around with both hands. When he discovered wood molding, he exhaled in relief.

Not thinking about what he could be walking into, he pushed a door aside and entered what seemed to be the only room in that part of the house.

After fumbling in the dark for so long, even the small amount of light in the room was blinding. It took Kurt a few seconds to focus and take in the details of the room. It was much smaller than he’d expected, not much bigger than a large closet. The peculiar light was coming from an abundance of candles scattered about. He wondered what kind of candles produced blue flames.

In a corner opposite the door, there was a round table, covered by a cloth. A figure was seated at it, head down. It looked, to Kurt, as if the person was reading. He couldn’t imagine trying to read in such meager light. Maybe they were napping.

Encouraged by the sight of another person, Kurt forgot to be scared. He stepped toward the table. Clearing his throat to alert the figure of his presence. They raised their head, and looked in his direction.

“Hi, sorry to...” Kurt remembered where he was, and braced himself for something to happen. He could see that the person at the table was a girl. She smiled at him but did not immediately speak. Fairly confident that he was not in a room that was part if the attraction, he continue with what he had started to say.

“I’ve gotten separated from the others. Could you help me get back to them?”

“These others want you to rejoin them?”

Kurt was surprised by her question. He knew that Karl would rather not have his younger brother tagging along, but he didn’t think he wanted him gone.

“I accidentally got separated from my group. They’ll be looking for me.”

“Will they now? Why don’t you have a seat, and I’ll help you find your brother shortly. They’re no doubt still in the house somewhere. We should wait until they’re outside again.”

Kurt understood her reasoning. Most of the interior of the house was dark and chaotic. He’d have better luck finding the when they exited.

He noticed a wooden stool partially concealed beneath the tablecloth. He pulled it out and sat opposite the girl. Her smile was warm and friendly. He felt himself relaxing. He was glad he’d stumbled across this room.

“May I offer you some tea while you wait?”

Not being a tea drinker, but not wanting to be impolite, Kurt said yes. She stood, and crossed to cabinet where she busied herself preparing his cup. He could hear the clink and tinkle of china and utensils as she poured and stirred. She returned to where he was seated, a steaming cup in hand.

She handed it to Kurt and then stood there as if waiting for him to take a sip. It appeared to be very hot. He noticed the aroma as he brought it to his face. It was spicy and exotic smelling. It seemed like something his mother might drink.

“What kind is it?”

“It’s my own special blend. I make it out of plants I grow in my garden. I sweetened it with a little honey. Try it. It’s just what you need.”

Kurt did as he was instructed. He was cautious about taking any of it in, not wanting to burn himself. As the liquid hit his tongue he was surprised to find that it was the perfect temperature. He allowed a little more to flow from the cup.

It had a peculiar but pleasant taste, with just the right amount of sweetness. He thought he could detect flavors of cinnamon and licorice. He swallowed before taking another drink. If all tea tasted like this, I’d drink it more often. He peered at the girl over the rim of his cup. She continued to smile at him, though he thought it held a different quality now.

He set the now half empty cup on the table.

“Thank you. It’s very good.”

Instead of returning to her seat, she stepped closer until she was standing behind him. He felt her hands rest on his shoulders. The contact surprised him, but he didn’t attempt to move away. He felt very calm, almost sleepy, and very safe with the girl. He closed his eyes for a moment, and enjoyed the sensation of the warm tea in his belly and the comforting.

“I bet you’re angry with your brother and your friends for letting you get lost.”

“I don’t think they did it on purpose.”

“Mmm.” The girl’s response puzzled Kurt.

“They’re probably about done with the tour now. Maybe we should go see if we can find them.”

Kurt felt the hands slide down onto his chest. He was starting to feel uncomfortable. He attempted to move away, but she held him tight.

“Relax. I’ll help you find your friends, but I need something from you first.”

Before he could ask her what she wanted from him, he felt the nails of both hands dig into his flesh through his sweatshirt. He wanted to scream out, but found that the sensation stole his voice.

Kurt thought he heard fabric tearing, followed by a wet sound, like stirring cooked noodles. He expected pain, but instead felt an intense coldness bloom in his chest. The chill spread outward from where the girl’s hands worked at fabric and the flesh underneath.

The light in the room began to fade and as it did, so too did the cold. Soon there was no room. Then there was no girl and eventually, no Kurt.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


He’d begged them to let him go out on his own this year. He wasn’t a baby any more. He didn’t need
them standing near the curb while he went to each door. He definitely didn’t need their escort through the streets. Eventually they relented.

“No candy until we’ve had a chance to look it all over,” his mother reminded as he set off down the street. “You’ll probably just want the good stuff for yourself,” he mumbled. Did people really do bad things to their treats? His parents were just being paranoid.
He made a beeline for the first house, treat bag in hand. He’d decided against carrying his usual pumpkin bucket. He’d pulled the pillowcase off of his bed instead. He was determined to fill it, even if he could hardly carry it home. He fantasized about all the candy he’d get.

Then he lost it all. Actually, he’d dropped it when a big guy in the werewolf mask came after him. He’d been running toward his next stop, a block beyond the boundary he’d agreed to. Before he reached the walkway, there was a snarl from the bushes and out jumped Teen Wolf.

He might have screamed. All that he knew for certain was that he ran, as fast as he could; feet pounding and arms pumping. When he could run no further, he stopped and looked around. Thankfully his attacker hadn’t come after him, but now he was even further from home. He started heading back, keeping an eye out for the other guy.

He mourned the loss of his loot bag. There’d been some good stuff in it. He’d been keeping track. Whenever there was enough light to see, he’d sneak a peek. He’d been trying to decide what he would eat first. Now it was all gone.

He considered heading home empty handed. But wanted his candy. He wondered whether the bag might still be where he’d dropped it. Maybe the guy only wanted to scare him. Nah, who’s gonna leave a perfectly good bag of candy behind?

He’d decided to continue on without his sack. My jacket pockets were pretty big. And there were two even deeper ones in his baggy trousers. He’d just stash everything in them. He wouldn’t be returning home with the large haul he’d hoped for, but it would be something.

Eventually he returned to his street, and his home. The porch light was on, and all three jack o’ lanterns still burned on the railing. He thought he could even make out the blue glow of the television in the front room.

With pockets bulging and no idea what to tell his parents about what had happened, he decided he needed time to think. So he headed to the place behind the garage where his dad stacked the firewood. He’d have a few treats three and work on an excuse.

The back of the house was dark except for the light over the kitchen sink. He would have no problem hiding away for a while. He sat down on the cut logs, and began digging into his small stash. In the blackness, he could go only by feel, and perhaps smell, to make his choice. The first piece was easy. It had to be a Reese’s cup.

He tore into the wrapper, and was rewarded with a mouthful of chocolate and peanut butter. Next to Snickers, Reese’s were his favorites. When he’d finished it, he stuffed the wrapper into a space between logs. He’d back another time to dispose of them.

He wanted more. A small box yielded crunchy coated licorice candies which he spit back into the container. Yuck, Good ‘n‘ Plenty! He added them to the log pile, and dug into a coat pocket for something to get rid of the licorice taste. He found a full size Tootsie Roll. That’s better.

One more piece and then I’ll head inside.

He found an odd feeling packet. He knew immediately that it was from the weird squatty house in the cul de sac. He’d debated stopping there at all, but the light was on, and he wanted as much candy as he could get. The bowl on the chair on the porch said, “Take Only One.” He taken at least two.

His fingers felt something like a waxed paper packet. The top flap had been folded over and stapled shut. Inside it there seemed to be a selection of gummy candies. Packaged as it was, he knew it was suspect, and destined for the garbage once he got inside. No way Mom would let him eat something not store bought.

He was about to return it to his pocket but changed his mind. He loved gummys, especially ones that looked like worms, roaches and other creepy crawlies. These felt promising.

Just one. If he opened the packet carefully, he thought he could slip one out. He found a long thin tidbit, and pulled it from the package. He held it to his nose. No detectable aroma. Maybe they were really old. It felt fresh though. It was soft and spongy, like good jelly candies. He popped it into his mouth.

At first there was nothing to it. Then his taste buds were hit with intense flavor. It was like no gummy candy he’d ever had. He sucked on it, savoring the peculiar but pleasant sweet and sour quality.

It slid around his mouth and across his tongue, getting more and more slippery. A few times he thought he might accidentally swallow it whole, or spit it out.

With the first bite, his teeth clamped together, but the worm remained intact. He bit down again, and could have sworn the worm moved, like it was trying to avoid being eaten. He was finally able to take off a piece of the tail.

Finally he bit the worm in two. The sour sensation increased. His mouth felt especially juicy, and he had to swallow repeatedly as the candy filling mixed with his own saliva.

It felt like he’d taken too large a drink of something. He wasn’t sure he could hold it all in his mouth. A little dribbled down his chin. He tilted his head back and increased his effort to get it all down. When his lips parted slightly, he felt a piece of the worm try to escape. It flicked his upper lip before slipping back into his open mouth.

He continued chewing, breaking the candy into smaller pieces so it would be easier to get down. This is the weirdest candy I’ve ever eaten. His tongue was feeling a little bit numb. Must be from the sour filling. He squinted at the intensity of the tang. His eyes watering a bit.

Finally he cleared his mouth. Licking his lips, he noticed a tingling sensation in them. The roof of his mouth, and the insides of his cheeks felt like they were coated in something oily and thick. He thought he detected a few bumps or small sores forming there as well. He needed a drink of water.

All thoughts of making excuses to his parents were forgotten. He rushed to the back door. His stomach began to cramp and clench. Something must have been wrong with the gummys. He was glad that he’d eaten only one.

Unsteady on his feet, he tripped going up the steps. He clung to the railing to stay upright. Almost there. As he reached for the door knob, his gut made an unsettling gurgling noise. He wondered if he was going to throw up. He stood at the door, and waited When it seemed he was going to keep everything down, he let himself inside.

His was mouth feeling all wrong. The sores were larger, and had developed hard sharp centers that caught on his tongue. He tried to call out to his parent, but all he could do was make a few pathetic clicking sounds.

His stomach clenched so strongly he was forced to his knees. Down on all fours, he started to crawling toward the front room where he could hear parents.

He managed a few lurches in that direction when a slithering sensation in his belly stopped him cold.

His discomfort was more than just an upset stomach. What he was experiencing wasn’t just a reaction to some bad candy.

There was something moving around inside of him.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Jenna found her first on the doormat.

The second was waiting when she took her seat on the bus. No one claimed responsibility, but that was the tradition. It was anonymous.
It was no surprise to find another in her locker. It was startling to find three.
In previous years, she might have gotten three in total. She’d accumulated so many so early in the day.
She made it to study hall, her last period of the day, before she found two more in her book bag. "Who did this?" Everyone looked at her like she was crazy. The teacher in charge told her to sit down and be quiet.
There are many stories about how and when the tradition of gifting Coblins began. They’re meant to ensure a scary Halloween to the person who receives them.
Coblins are small ears of dried, colored corn fashioned to look like people. They appeared at stands and markets in the middle of September. Children and adults enjoy the tradition.
When she got home, she found another in the mailbox. She began to worry. If one guaranteed a scary Halloween, what did more than a half dozen mean? She was afraid to go into the house.
"You're being stupid. It’s just a prank."

Getting ready for a night out kept her mind occupied. By the time she was ready to get dressed, she'd nearly forgotten about the “Invasion of the Coblins.”
Then she found four additional Coblins under the costume lying on her bed. That brought the total to twelve. Her heart raced.
"This isn't funny," she yelled to no one in particular. Where had these come from? She was the only one at home.
Jenna tossed the latest on her desk with the others, when the phone rang.
"Hey Baby. You 'bout ready?"
"I just have to finish getting dressed."
"You okay? You sound weird."

"Did you get any Coblins today?"

 "Yeah, the usual one from my parents. And the one from you of course. Why?"
"I got twelve Karl!" Jenna could feel her face redden.

"Twelve? Holy crap! I don't think I've heard of anyone getting more than like six."
"I know."

"Why’d you get so many?"
"I have no idea but it's pissing me off."

"Relax, it's harmless."
"Huh," Jenna pouted.

"I’ll be there in ten. We’ll get rid of them, and then we’ll go have fun."

Before leaving the room, Jenna brushed the dolls into the wastebasket, and carried it downstairs. She glanced at them, jumbled on a bed of crumpled paper. A shiver ran through her. She felt ridiculous.
“You don’t scare me,” she lied.
She didn’t want to be in the house with them, so she set the basket on the back porch. As she closed the door, putting a barrier between them, she felt some relief. She’d feel even better when Karl disposed of them.

The headlights from Karl’s truck flashed at the end of the driveway. Jenna, went to the door to meet him. He was out of the driver’s door almost before the truck had come to a complete stop. Jenna smiled guiltily.
“So where are the nasty little guys that have been giving you such a hard time?”

“I put them out back.”
As she followed him around the side of the house, she noticed a figure in the cab of the truck. 

“My Mom made me bring Kurt. He’s been begging to go to the haunted house all week. Sorry, I thought we’d be alone.”

 “It’s okay.” She couldn’t deny feeling a little disappointed. “The two of us can go back there for a movie later. Mom and Dad are going out, so we’ll have the house to ourselves.”
“That’d be awesome. We’ll ditch the kid as soon as we can.”

As the porch came into view, Jenna again felt herself tense.
“So what should we do with these little nasties?” Jenna thought she detected a hint of humor in Karl’s voice.

“I’d like to burn the bastards.”
“Let’s do it then.”

“But where?”
Karl cocked his head toward the gas grill nearby. Why hadn’t she thought of that?

Karl fired up the elements, and cranked the dials to high. When it had heated up, he started tossing the Coblins onto the grate. Immediately they began to darken, smoke and then alight. Before her eyes all tweleve became harmless bits charred pieces of nothing. Now she could enjoy the rest of the evening.

Situated between the brothers Jenna felt cozy, but the silence became awkward. Jenna decided to say something to break the tension. "I'm gonna put my purse in your glove compartment. I don't want to carry it through the haunted house."
She leaned over, and popped the door in the dash near Kurt's knees. She had trouble stashing the small bag. Putting the purse in her lap she explored the compartment to move what was in the way.
She pricked her finger, she shrieked and jumped back. Karl quickly curbed the truck. Assuming his brother has done something to Jenna, he was prepared to make him regret it.
"What happened?"
"I jabbed myself on something. She held her hand up to her face and thought she could see blood.

"Let me see." Karl turned on the dome light.
Jenna could see she was indeed bleeding, but not much. A small bead bloomed where she'd been wounded.
"What have you got in there?"
Kurt leaned forward and carefully removed the culprit.
Jenna felt her whole body go numb. It couldn't be. Another Coblin. Her thirteenth. It was most definitely for her. Even without confirmation, she knew it.
"I thought I left that at home." She turned to Karl in disbelief.
"That's from you?"

 "I wasn't going to give it to you. When I heard how upset you were, I changed my mind."
Karl looked at his brother suspiciously. Kurt held up his hands as if in surrender.

"I swear, it wasn't me."
"I don’t care who it was. It’s too late to for that. It’s the thirteenth.

"What’s that got to do with anything? It’s just a number. Thirteen isn’t good or bad.”
"I just have a feeling. I think you should take me home.”
"Jenna, come on. You’re being silly.”
"Am I? Can you guarantee that nothing bad is going to happen tonight?”

 "The tradition says you’ll have a scary Halloween, not a deadly one.” "Yeah, well the tradition refers to a single Coblin. I’ve gotten way more than that.” "Sweetie...”
"Don’t Sweetie me. I’m scared.”

"Nothing’s going to happen. I’ll be with you the whole time. I promise to keep you safe.”
"You can’t promise that. It’s like I’ve been cursed.”

"What can I do to make you feel better?”

"Since you can’t make me “un-get” a basket full of Coblins, you can get me through this night in one piece.” "Done. You’ll see. Nothing’s going to happen. We’ll have fun, eat pizza and way too much candy. Before you know it, Halloween will be over.” Jenna glanced at the clock on the dash. 6:00. It was going to be a long night.

... To be continued.

There you go folks. It's a few days late, but here is post two of my Halloween challenge. Please let me know your thoughts. I'll be back next week with my third offering.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


In the dark place, beyond the garden fence, it was perfectly concealed. It hid among tall grasses and low hanging branches, and rested against the cold, flat stone. It suffered little in its exile.

As summer days ticked by, on the good side of the pickets, the others grew and matured. It lagged slightly behind its kin, but when the others reached their apex, it continued to even greater proportions.

Lack of sunlight deprived it of the opportunity to change hue as it should. Instead of the expected orange, it remained an immature green. That is, until “something” beneath the soil gave it a push in the other direction. Shades of green took on a deeper tone, until finally it resembled onyx. Blackness suited the wayward gourd.

Unlike the others, leisuring beneath flouncy foliage, it rebelled against an unblemished countenance. At first it favored random bumps and dimples. Unable to stop there, it grew larger protrusion until there was no hint of the earlier smooth complexion. It was a warty one.

Before it depleted all the sustenance the withering vine could provide, it stole from the others. They unwillingly gave up their fair share of nourishment that was left. When that was no longer enough, it was given its first taste of something even more satisfying.

The small gray mouse rejoiced in it’s good fortune. It eagerly gnawed at the blistered flesh, ignoring the peculiar taste. Promise of tender seeds inside seduced it to press on. When it breached the pulpy barrier, it wriggled inside to what was sure to be a sumptuous feast.

The bright eyed rodent found the going harder than anticipated. The mass of stringy sinew supporting those scrumptious seeds, stuck to its small feet and fur until it became so mired it could go no further and could not retreat. The little heart beat in triple time. Panic set in.

The more it struggled for freedom, the more entangled it became. Eventually, the thready flesh took it over, wrapping up the twitching body, like a spider bundling its prey. The hapless mouse was completely cocooned, crushed and then devoured. The outcast savored the essence it absorbed. It throbbed with stolen life. And it wanted more.

It had an idea, if that was possible for a squash. Choosing a most tempting seed, it wriggled the connecting strands until it was able to push it out into the open. There it might entice another scavenging creature. It didn’t have to wait long.

A sparrow, hunting for ripened berries in the surrounding bramble, took the bait. A peck to test whether the item was edible. Then it snatched up the seed and prepared to fly away with it. Ordinarily it would have split it open, savored the tender center on the spot. Something about the place made its tiny brain tingle with warning.

Before it could take to the air, it felt a tug on the seed. Reluctant to let a meal go, the bird held tight. A stronger yank and the sparrow slammed up against the hole in the pumpkin shell. Mustard colored tentacles fluttered out and enveloped the feathered body. There was a single peep, a series of snaps. The tangled corpse was then reeled inside and eagerly consumed.

That was how things went in the final weeks leading up to Halloween. The pumpkin ate, and grew, and waited. The thing beneath the soil, the one long buried and forgotten, whispered and promised. “The day is coming.”

The pumpkin moaned with anticipation. Or was it hunger?

I hope you enjoyed the first entry in my month long series of short fiction celebrating autumn and Halloween. Please leave you comments to let me know your thoughts. See you in a week, with entry number two!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Happy Fall y'all! 

After a long, hot summer, we've finally set foot into my favorite time of year. I'm not sure what I like most about the months of September, October and November. There's so much to choose from amongst the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and outdoor activities.

For as long as I can remember, I've had a thing about fall, especially October, and the weeks leading up to my favorite holiday, Halloween. Besides spending at least a week designing the face for my jack o' lantern, and deciding what my costume would be, I loved drawing spooky pictures, creating window decorations from construction paper and coming up with stories to celebrate the holiday.

I feel a tremendous pull from those things again this year, and Monkey Pants will play a major role. I have decided that each week in the month of October, I will post a short piece of original horror fiction here. If time allows, I'll also put up a drawing that may or may not accompany that week's story.

I'm really excited (and a little nervous) about the possibilities. I've already got a few story ideas floating around in my noggin, and I'll be starting on the first one in the next day or so.

Check back here after the first, and let me know your thoughts about what you see and read. In the mean time, as the chilling wind blows the fall leaves against the windows and down the street outside you home, snuggle in with a steaming cup of cider, and handful of fun-size Snickers and a good scary book or movie. That's what I plan to do.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The horror

I've been thinking a lot about horror.

It's probably the best category for what I write, but when I compare my work to titles at the book store, or reviewed in articles on horror fiction, I wonder. My books and stories don't have vampires, werewolves, zombies or psychopathic killers in them. Does that mean they're not horror (or horrific)?

I remember when my fascination with horror stories began. I was in 7th grade, and my school bus drive leant me her copy of Stephen King's Salem's Lot. It was dogeared and missing the cover, and I didn't care. I devoured it. I still remember how chilling some of the scenes were and how brilliant I thought the writing was.

From there, I moved on to the other Stephen King books. Then I discovered Dean Koontz, Robert R. McCammon, John Skipp & Craig Spector, Peter Straub, John Saul, and Lisa Cantrell. I was a slow reader, but I couldn't get enough.

I liked my horror creepy, supernatural, and just slightly on the messy side. I still do. The spooky stuff that inhabits the dark (and sometimes brilliantly lit) parts of our lives, captured my heart, and my imagination. I began to formulate stories of my own. For years, none of then ever made it onto a page. I was either intimidated or unmotivated to write, so I let the ideas come and then go.

Now, here I am, actively writing, with the hope of being published. I've returned to the stories inspired by the authors I read and loved all those years ago, but I worry about whether there's a place for them in today's world of over-the-top, gross out terror?

I've gotten used to marching to my own beat, but wonder if there's an audience with the same taste and aesthetic? I guess only time will tell. In the mean time, I will continue to write what I "see", and hope I have my chance to entertain and inspire someone like the authors who did it for me.