Halloween Freaks – A Halloween Short Story

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Halloween Freaks

A Halloween Short Story

The houses on Packard Street no longer celebrate Halloween. When the 31st of October rolls around, we engage our deadbolts and close our blinds. The porch lights remain dark and we wait for the Halloween Freaks to arrive.

They first came the year after Jenny passed on. Jenny loved Halloween more than any other holiday. In the 53 years we’d been married, it was this autumn night that she looked forward to the most. She loved to see the kids in their costumes, their eyes bright. She’d welcome them with handfuls of candy, grinning in the way that made her so beautiful. I never cared much for the whole thing. I keep a smile and went along with it though. I would have followed Jenny to hell and back.

That Halloween that they arrived, I poured myself a drink and sat at my window. The street was teeming with excited children and parents doing their best to keep them near. I figured I could watch the festivities and think back on Halloweens past. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t done that. I could have flown to another place, spending the holiday on a beach somewhere. Then I maybe could have stayed there. Let the house rot. There is nothing left for me there anyway.

The kids couldn’t see them. Neither could their parents. But my neighbors could. I could. There is something about the people that live on Packard that makes us cursed. We see them on our porches. We see them in our gardens. Lurking near windows, poised just out of sight…

How would I describe them? Long. Withered. Skulls that glowed, amorphous eyes tethered wetly in cavernous sockets. They don’t have feet. Just legs that dangle and sway as they float above the ground. They don’t speak. They don’t call out to us. They float and they shine and they only come along when the sun sets on Halloween night.

When I saw them for that first time, I thought it was some kind of complex costume. I remember leaning forward, nearly pressing my brow to the blinds to get a better look. That’s when I saw them open their glowing lips and letting that foul orange light out that I realized exactly what I was seeing. Some kind of supernatural event, creatures birthed from some kind of darkness. The creatures’ heads twists and that light spin over everything, giving the shadows unholy life.

Someone called the police after. They came, lights flashing. I watched Mrs. Myers talking to them, her eyes bulging and her face flushed with fears. The officers left, shaking their heads. Of course they wouldn’t believe. Why would they?

No one talked about them after. We went about our lives. Pretended that we didn’t see what I called the Halloween Freaks. But I think that everyone dreaded the return of autumn.

They came again that next year. I drank nearly an entire bottle of whiskey as I waited. That year they floated from one end of the street to the other. There was less kids that Halloween. Even though no one else could see the Freaks, I think they could feel them. Perhaps it was the pull of their unholy light. I know I felt it. The nightmares I had that night were dark and foul. Jenny was in them all, her lips glowing. And, when she opened her mouth, the world twisted and squirmed, colors running together like blood down a shower drain.

Why do they come? What do they want? Are they spirits, tethered to this earth? Demons escaped from the deepest bowls of hell? I don’t know. I’m not sure if anyone does. They float from one end of the street to the other, lingering to gaze into windows, their inner light shining over everything.

The children have stopped coming. The street is nothing but dead leaves now. I’m 80 years old. I started coughing earlier this year, and bits of blood have started to appear on my handkerchief when the fits get particularly bad. It’s Halloween Day, about an hour before dark. They’ll be coming any minute now.

When they do, I’ll be waiting. I’ll put on my coat, pick up my cane, and I’ll walk right down my warped front porch stairs. I intend to greet these Freaks, perhaps touch their withered flesh.

Maybe they have some secrets to share. Anything is possible. After all, it is Halloween.

 

Happy Halloween! I hope it’s suitably spooky.

– Logan Noble

Tim Burton Spook Music: An Ode to Destiny 2’s Halloween Event

I have a soft spot for a good horror video game. Earlier this year, I jump-scared my way through Resident Evil 7. I played and was subsequently terrified of both Outlast games. Even games like Dead Space (a perfect blend of atmosphere and tense combat) and Bioshock (my favorite game of all time, don’t @ me) are perfect replays once September ends. This year, I intended to play through Bioshock again, which has served as my October tradition for quite some time.

But this year was different. I was swarmed with great games! Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey had my attention for awhile. Red Dead Redemption 2 is literally two days away. Those, coupled with the fact that I’m working a book AND trying to absorb all other kinds of spooky media, my old favorites didn’t have time to sneak in. All seemed to be lost…

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Then I heard about Destiny 2’s Halloween event. It’s called Festival of Souls, and it’s everything I could want from a game. My love/hate relationship with Destiny 2 is particularly strong. I love the game’s world and over-all flavor. The shooting feels good, and the music is some of the best music in gaming (once again, don’t @ me). But the game is also obtuse and disrespectful to your time in ways that few other games are. It’s community can be toxic and elitist in the worst possible way. While playing through a Raid earlier this year, I met some of the worst people I’ve ever had the displeasure of gaming with. It soured my experience with this beautiful mess of a game. I deleted it off my PS4 and moved on to other games, with no intention of playing D2 again.

And yet, here I am.

I couldn’t help but see details about the event on social media. A month long event where you don masks of famous Destiny NPCs and dive into a creepy simulation called The Haunted Forest. The rewards range from the interesting to the irresistibly spooky. As you battle randomized enemies, you’re hunted by Destiny 2’s version of a slasher villain. This axe wielding creature lurks in the darkness of the level (you can only see via your Ghost’s light) and can one-shot you with ease once he spots you. It’s Halloween done Destiny style, complete with unique Tim Burton spook music in the Tower and a seemingly endless grind for stylized loot.

From Bungie/Activison

Delving into this level with two other random players and battling the darkness together is totally wonderful. It doesn’t have the frustrations or challenge of something like a Raid. But in this busy and spooky month, I’m okay with that. I just want to don a mask and shoot some aliens. I hope Bungie makes the Festival of Souls an annual event.

I’ll be there next year for sure, my Horror Story Auto Rifle in hand.

The Noble Horror Film Festival (2018)

A new Twitter challenge cropped up recently. Even though these are dime a dozen (favorite horror novels! Favorite horror movies! Video games! Music!) one popped out that I’ve never seen before! Here’s a link to the offending Tweet here.

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It’s a unique challenge: If you could craft an all-night horror film festival, what would it look like? It got me thinking. I recently saw John Carpenter’s ‘Halloween’ on the big screen for the first time, and was so happy I could barely stand it. Seeing a classic that like on the screen not only reinforced the power of a classic like this, it always made me want to see more of my favorites up on the cinema screen. You’ve got your soda and the candy you snuck in is snug in your pocket. The lights dim. The first movie is starting…

7 P.M: The Nun (2018)

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“Why are we starting with ‘The Nun’!?”, you shout at the screen in rage. Why would Logan do this to us!? Okay. I want to kick off with something new, and something fun, and most importantly, something really stupid. Listen. ‘The Nun’ is not a great movie. But it had some big scares in it and I love the creepy-monastery-in-Romania vibe. It’s the perfect movie to kick off this festival with.

9 P.M: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

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One movie down. You’re still primed. It’s almost Halloween everybody! And what better way to celebrate than with a little bit of Freddy in your life. ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ is as good as Freddy ever got. Sure, I love the original maybe more, but this is a long night of spooky movies. Let’s keep the energy high. That’s why this one gets a prime time slot.

11 P.M: Scream (1996)

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A real and true crowd-pleaser to take us through the Witching Hour. ‘Scream’ is a favorite of mine for many reasons. It still feels fresh, the kills still feel brutal, and the script positively screams. ‘Scream’ is a classic through and through.

1 A.M: Ghostbusters (1984)

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Cats and dogs, living together… You know the rest. This is your wake up movie! Let Ray Parker Jr. fill you with wonderful Halloween energy. Slimer. Stay-Puff! ‘Ghostbusters’ is a stinkin’ classic man.

3 A.M: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

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Drew Godard and Joss Whedon do an old cliché so much good. ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is fun and meta. It’s a horror movie made for horror fans. From bargain bin versions of our favorite monsters (and one or two surprises) this one is a breath of fresh slasher air. We’re in the home stretch. Two to go. And they are some of the biggest of the night…

5 A.M: Suspiria (1977)

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A stone cold weird classic. Giallo can be powerful, and this witchy, Alice in Wonderful marvel is everything you could want for a long October night. ‘Suspiria’ would look absolutely break-taking on the big screen.

7 A.M: Halloween (1978)

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THE October movie. As vital to the season as apple cider and pumpkins. It’s the perfect ending to a night of new and old horror classics. You can see influences from this movie in every single one on this list (save for ‘Suspiria’). Let Carpenter’s perfect score end this night of frights.

The film festival is over. Stumble out to your car in the new daylight, tired but smiling. You’ve won. And now for the sequel…

Maybe next year?