And so the season begins to roll faster and faster, spooky, scary skeletons, goblins and wytches , scary movies and dark and stormy nights. I’ve had one Hel of a kick ass couple of months, with three major deaths, the final one my mother, and lest the spirits drag me down to the Pits and throw me into the Bog of Depression, I’m dragging out Georgie to share again this year. Enjoy!
I watched the shadows scroll by, each a grotesque representation of the demons that inhabited my mind. I cowered beneath the giant pine tree that grew from the side of the old stone wall, waiting for my older brother to rescue me, shivering in the cold of All Hallows Eve. He promised me he would come, and even though Georgie was a prankster, he had never failed me. I put Georgie’s face before me, willing him to appear, my hero with the deep black cape that he loved to swirl around him, his plastic pointed teeth hanging loosely in his mouth.
Watching him paint the shadows under his eyes earlier in the day, I giggled as he practiced his speech. “I vant to suck your blood!” he kept saying, rolling his tongue with each syllable. His amazing blue eyes slid sideways, looking at me in the mirror, and I laughed till tears rolled down my cheeks, their tracks leaving the black smudges of my own makeup on my rosy cheeks. I was his victim tonight, the night of the living dead, trick or treating with beastly delight. His cape billowed as he whirled toward me, a whole head taller and convincingly evil. Squealing in mock terror, I turned to run into my bedroom, “Count Georgula! Please spare me!” Dramatic to the end, I crossed my brow with my hand and fell onto my own small bed in the poorly lit room.
Georgie moved swiftly and silently to where I lay, and reached toward my throat with his funny white plastic teeth. His hand suddenly went to my sides, and he began tickling me intensely. I begged him to stop, threatening him with a call to mum and dad. No, he had whispered, no! I’ll stop! Dear old mummy and dad would surely put an end to our little excursion out this evening. It’ll only bring trouble, they had said, when asked if we could participate in the holiday. It’s a dangerous game, and you will both stay indoors tonight.
Georgie had jumped quietly back, grabbed my hand and pulled me up. Smiling secretly, loving my brother, we both snuck down the dark stairs, listening carefully for sounds from the back of the house where our parents were cooking something in the kitchen. I caught the scent of cooking meat, and knew that they would be occupied for quite some time, so we carefully tip toed out the front door, Georgie closing it quietly behind him. I smoothed my own dress, the piles of crinoline fluffing the dark skirt up into a billowing cloud around my legs. Gorgeous my big brother said through his teeth, and we went flying down the cobblestone sidewalk toward the street.
The cold autumn winds blew through the night, chilling the air. It was invigorating and as it whipped the dead leaves up in the air, I felt the thrill of the hunt. Our own trick or treat bags in hand, we set off toward the darker side of town, away from the lights and into the gloom. Seeing the children dressed in their costumes, running through the streets and howling with laughter gave me goose bumps. They were just lovely, and having such a time on this night of the living dead. Small, tender fairy girls, and plump cowboys covered in chocolate peered into their bags after each stop checking their bounty. Parents walked along behind them, chatting with each other about the Parade, or the latest news.
Soon the streets grew darker, and Georgie began pulling me along faster. The leagues of children had thinned, and the neglected pavement buckled with despair. We went further into the darkness and as the houses thinned, holding shabby empty lots between them, until I could see the old stone wall that rested at the end of the sidewalk. There are always some there, he whispered conspiratorially, pointing to the old iron gate with his pale finger. My heart fluttered with excitement, and just a hint of fear. What if there aren’t, Georgie? Wild and brave Georgie, taking his kid sister for her first trick or treat. Of course there are, he smiled, his mouth watering.
We slowed and stopped before the gate. Massive and rusted, the iron gate was hanging partially open, hinting at a previous entry. Georgie used both hands to push it open a little further, the noise of the ancient hinges screaming with pain. He stepped through the gate; I followed close behind, not wanting to get left alone in this spooky place.
Through the mist and fog that had gathered within the old stone fence I saw ghostly pale markers lined up like soldiers on either side of the path that lay before us. Momma moon was partially obscured by clouds that flew swiftly by her, her eerie light casting deep shadows behind them. Georgie took my hand and led me forward.
Ahead I began to hear low voices, the sound of laughter, someone else shushing them. The scents of the night, cold and dark, changed and I caught a whiff of something sweet drifting through the air around us. Georgie stopped suddenly, lifting his nose like a dog catching the smell of something delicious. I saw him smiling a little and he turned to me. I told you, he said quietly.
I shivered and held tighter to his hand, feeling his excitement grow. Now, he said. Be very quiet and follow me. We walked silently toward the voices and the source of the odor that was quickly becoming more pungent. Ahead on the right, I saw the light of a candle hidden behind a large stone pillar that had names and dates inscribed on it. Around the candle four teenagers were seated closely together for warmth. Inhaling smoke from a small white stick, they passed it back and forth between them, choking and laughing when they were done.
I felt a strange sensation in my mouth. It began to water, and my teeth started to ache. I pulled on Georgie’s hand. He turned to look at me questioningly, and when he saw the look on my face, he nodded wisely. It’s ok, he seemed to say with his expression. He reached to my face, feeling my eye teeth through my skin. I sent my tongue searching, and found that they had suddenly grown longer, with sharp points on the ends. I felt a low growl in my throat, and Georgie held his forefinger to his lips, telling me to be quiet! I continue to feel my new teeth in my mouth as we moved on toward the children.
We were almost to the light of the candle, when one of the boys heard a twig snap beneath my feet. He jumped up, a look of belligerent surprise on his face. The other teens sat very still, looking at me and Georgie. Suddenly Georgie dropped my hand and leaned forward, his arms seeming to lengthen and grow thinner. His face was much paler, and his diamond blue eyes squinted at the boy, watching to see what his next move would be. I was beside Georgie, and I could see that his own teeth had grown, and he was shimmering in the moonlight. When the boy saw Georgie, with his little sister beside him in the foggy moonlight, he looked back over his shoulder at his companions, they all began to laugh uproariously.
Georgie jumped at the boy, aiming for his neck. It was only a spit second, but the boy had bounded away from him and landed behind the other three children, by now standing. The four of them started shaking with laughter, their bodies dancing a contorted jig, legs bending backward, hands gnarling into club like feet. I watched in horror as I heard the cracking and popping of bones and saw tufts of hair sprouting from their hands and faces. One by one, each of the teens dropped onto all fours, their clothes lay in tatters around them and before us stood four mammoth wolves, still laughing; now I could see the jagged teeth, long tongues handing out. Georgie turned to me, fear turning his eyes white. Run, Evie! he cried. Hide!
I felt my body automatically crouching, as I had seen my brother do, and following instinct, leapt high in the air, landing on the bony branch of a nearby tree. The wolves, and Georgie, looked at me in surprise, taken off guard by my actions. Not completely understanding myself, I listened to the wind, and the wind told me what to do. Like a bird I once again took a leap, and glided through the air, swooping toward the menace that threatened my Georgie. One of the females howled in frustration and tried to reach up to snap at my legs. Georgie took off running, the wolves following him, his flying sister forgotten in the excitement of running prey.
I landed on the ground, feet first, and went to hide behind the great pine tree by the fence.
That was the last time I saw Georgie. Before dawn, I crept home, watching nervously for any sign of the wolves. Knowing that I would have to confront my parents about what had happened, I finally reached our black granite home, three stories high and tucked away behind the mandrake willows and the creeping thistle. Mummy and Daddy were waiting for me behind the old black doors, standing in the shadows, their eyes piercing and angry.
Most people avoided BlackRaven Manor. They would unconsciously cross to the other side rather than walk by it. That morning, the mailman was whistling to stave off the creeps and heard a yowling coming from behind the front door. He looked quickly, and took off running towards town.