Happy Halloween!

It’s Trick or Treat Day!

I promise, no tricks, but I do have a treat for you, today! I wrote a saucy little ghost story for a contest, but missed the deadline, so thought I’d share it with you all, today. The contest rules stated that stories must be between 1,200 and 1,500 words and, to make it just a bit more challenging, it had to include the following 10 words:  Shadow, Children, Fog, Mirror, Revenge, Black, Hidden, Sleep, Eye, Never.

I think you’ll agree, I’ve met the challenge. 🙂

scary October1

Hungry Spirits 

The high-pitched squeal of the food trolley’s wheels ground on Nadine’s nerves.

            “Enough to wake the dead,” she thought. “Maybe it’ll wake George and he can figure out a way to make ends meet, so I don’t have to work here.”

            She smirked to herself, knowing that was just wishful thinking. The dead did not rise once laid to rest.

            After twenty-five years of marriage, Nadine was a widow, forced into a menial job to pay the bills. She reflected on the past year, spent rambling around an empty house in the heart of the city, alone and unhappy. Her three girls were all out on their own and her friends, in an effort to be helpful, kept dragging her out to bars and yoga class. Nadine shook her head to eliminate the depressing memories and returned her focus to her job.

            The hotel hallway was shadowed and deserted at that time of night.

            “Who eats ham and eggs at three in the morning?” she wondered.

            With a sigh, she shrugged. It wasn’t up to her to question the appetites of their guests.

            Nadine had heard stories about this place, long before she started work last week, but they didn’t scare her. In her opinion, they were just tales by people with overactive imaginations. The hotel was old, built over a hundred years ago. Of course there would have been guests who passed away in these rooms, but she did not believe their spirits still roamed the halls.

            In one story, two children had drowned when their mother left them alone in the tub. In another, a man caught his wife with another man and got his revenge by stabbing the adulteress seven times. A different tale was about a burglar, who was caught, red-handed, looking for hidden treasures and was shot for his effort.

            The most interesting deaths she’d heard about, though, was the report of the obese man who overindulged one night. After his fifth room service order, the server arrived at his door and found him on the bed, so round he was unable to move. He motioned her closer, clutching his chest. She hurried to the bed to call for assistance. She reached for the phone but, as the man took his last breath, he grabbed her arm. She screamed and tried to pull away but his death grip was too tight. She was so frightened by the experience that she, too, died of a heart attack.

            Nadine shivered. She never wanted to come upon a situation like that! Sometimes she wished people would just keep their horrible stories to themselves.

            She passed an ornate mirror with a gilded frame. Movement caught her eye – a shadow of . . . something black and shapeless. A moment later, the shadow was gone, making her wonder if she’d seen it at all. Maybe there was something to those stories, after all, she thought.

            When she reached room 536, she paused and listened for signs that the room’s occupant was still awake. She heard moaning, as though the occupant was in the thralls of ecstasy, but that was soon shattered by a blood-curdling scream.

            Nadine’s hand trembled as she raised a fist to knock at the door. All sounds from the room ceased.

            “H-h-hello?” she began. “This is room service.”

            When she received no response, she knocked louder.

            “Room service!” she repeated.

            She heard a deep voice grumbling from inside and caught a few expletives, as well, making her cringe. She hated the ‘F’ word. Heavy footsteps thumped their way to the door, which swung open with an audible swoosh. A man stood before her, wearing only boxers. His curly brown hair was mussed and his eyes were bleary as if he had just awakened from a deep sleep. Despite being in her mid-forties, Nadine’s heart skipped a beat as she drank in the definition on his well-muscled chest.

            “I didn’t order room service,” he said, drawing her attention to his face.

            The dark shadow of stubble lined his dimpled chin and upper lip. His eyes were azure, a color she’d always found very attractive. She took a deep breath, calming the heat that was rising to her cheeks. In an effort to mask her naughty thoughts, Nadine double-checked the food order receipt to make sure she had the correct room number. She glanced at the gold numbers on the door and nodded. Then, she held it up for him to see.

            “The order came from this room,” she said. “Are you sure your roommate didn’t order something?”

            “There’s no one else in here,” he replied, his brow furrowing.

            A slow flirty smile curled her lips at the thought that he was alone. Could he ever be interested in an older woman? She’d read stories in smutty magazines when she was younger about the passion that sometimes flared between guests and hotel staff. Were any of them based on true experiences?

            Suddenly she realized that an awkward pause had grown between them. He tilted his head, studying her, while her mind was running off on an adventure. Nadine cleared her throat in embarrassment.

            “Uh . . . could someone be playing a joke on you, sir?”

            “Highly unlikely. I don’t know anyone in the city. I’m here on vacation. Alone,” he stressed.

            “It will be charged to your room anyway,” Nadine said, wondering if she should offer herself as a tour guide. “You might as well eat it.”

            She made a move to push the trolley into his room, but he put his hands out to stop it from passing the threshold.

            “I was fast asleep,” the man said. “I’m not hungry.”

            “I-I heard noises,” Nadine said. “Coming from your room. If you were sleeping . . . what I heard, didn’t sound like you were sleeping. There . . . was a . . . scream. Was the TV on?”

            “No,” the man said, looking at her as if she’d lost her mind.

            Nadine felt rather foolish, standing there in the hall talking to an almost-naked man, arguing about sounds she was sure she’d heard coming from his room. She frowned, then put on a cheery face. Confident that she was still in the prime of her life and had maintained herself fairly well, Nadine opened her mouth to say something saucy, but shut it quickly.

            A chill ran down her spine as a thick fog rose up behind the man.

            It swirled out around them, surrounding the food cart, then coalesced into an indistinct form, bulbous at the top and rounder in the middle, like a huge translucent snowman. A slithering froth reached towards the tray, rattling the silver cover, which then jumped off the plate. Bit by bit, the food began to disappear, beginning with the bacon. They heard loud crunches as each piece was decimated, but saw no definite form of the being that was eating it. Each of the three over-easy eggs was slurped into a void in the mist – first the soft white, then the gooey yolk. Chunks disappeared from the buttered toast. The coffee carafe tilted, pouring hot java into a cup, which rose to the void and was sucked into nothingness. The process was repeated until the carafe was empty and plunked down on the trolley.

            Nadine huddled closer to the man who stood, frozen in place, slack-jawed.

            When every crumb and drop of coffee had been devoured, the cover slammed back onto the tray, the mist retreated back into the room and a loud sigh of contentment emanated from inside.

            After several minutes of dead silence, the man said, “I think I’m going to want another room.”

            Nadine was first to recover from the shock of seeing a spirit, her libido over-riding her fear. Fluttering her eyelashes and, in her most seductive voice, she said, “I have a spare room.”

 Have fun, this Halloween, and stay safe!

fence4

Scary October # 31 The Finale

Welcome to the final post for Scary October on this All Hallows Eve!

Unfortunately, my book trailer is not quite ready for sharing, yet, so I thought I’d share this video for those who enjoy celebrating Halloween. It’s kind of a ‘blast from the past’ set to more modern music. I wonder how many of you will remember it? 🙂

 

And for those who’d like a peek at what Grandson will be wearing tonight for trick-or-treating, here he is.

Our own little Masked Vigilante!

Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween! 🙂

Scary October – Day #20

October 20th was my mom’s birthday, so I thought I’d share some Halloween memories of her.

I know I haven’t posted a lot of terrifying stuff during this month, despite calling it ‘Scary October’ and I hope I haven’t disappointed all you true-blue horror fans out there. I’ve never really liked things like the ‘Alien’ movies. I haven’t read Stephen King because I don’t like being freaked out by the kind of stuff his bizarre imagination comes up with. I don’t like blood-and-guts, so axe-murderer movies don’t appeal to me, or zombie apocalypse-type stories. I have a hard time believing that dead people will rise up and try to eat people’s brains. Besides, those silly zombies are so slow, how do they manage to actually catch anyone? If anyone cares to argue why they like the whole zombie craze, please feel free to comment below. 🙂

I have always loved Halloween, something instilled in me by my mother. (See pic above) She often held costume parties and, being a bit of a precocious child, I liked to dress up and ‘perform’. We had a box of dress-up clothes and bits of costumes for Trick-Or-Treating and just after my first Halloween, so the story goes, I disappeared into the other room while Mom and our next-door neighbour were having coffee. When I came out, I was dressed like ‘Fidel Castro’, as Mom described me. I apparently sat on the footstool, straight-faced and silent, simply staring at Mom & Mrs. G as they howled with laughter! Mom had to grab the camera and snap this photo, so thought I would share with you.

A few years later, I wore this witch costume for Halloween. My Dad, being the creative fellow he was, made the hat out of black felt and cardboard. Mom, being the more practical seamstress, sewed the dress and made the wig.

My parents created a lot of our costumes over the years, like this robot out of boxes and this headless man costume. Dad used cardboard that he attached to the shoulders inside the jacket, with a hole that was just big enough to rest on the top of my head. He stuffed the gloves with cotton batting and the head was a stuffed paper bag with a face mask attached to it. Dad also created a puppet stage and performed puppet plays for my early birthday parties. (So now you know where I got MY creative side!)

With today’s technology and ability to mass produce much more authentic and realistic-looking costumes, these might seem rather antiquated and ‘lame’ to the current generation of Trick-Or-Treaters. Mind you, I have answered the door on Halloween and seen older teens, with no costumes what-so-ever, standing on the doorstep waiting for their candy hand-outs. At least we had the imagination and the crafty know-how to come up with our own costumes.

Here are a couple of other Halloween memories of my mom that I’d like to share:

Not only did Mom love dressing up for costume parties, she was also a bit of a prankster. She caused our neighbours’ hearts to stop on more than one occasion. She also raised their dander. I remember watching Mom get dressed up and head next-door, sneaking up behind another group of Trick-Or-Treaters, crouching down to their level with her candy bag. She thrust it at Mrs. G and, after our neighbour dropped in the sucker or candy, Mom looked in the bag and with a high-pitched whiny voice said, “Is this all I get? Boy, lady, are you ever cheap!” She went on and on until Mrs. G’s face went bright red and you could tell she was getting pretty close to blowing her top. That’s when Mom stood up and gave her a big grin. Mrs. G admitted she was ready to clap Mom on the ear for giving her such a hard time!

Guests at one of Mom’s Halloween parties

Another Halloween night, Mom went across the street, got her candy from Mrs. V and then, after the other kids left, followed the poor woman into the house. When Mrs. V noticed that this large masked ‘kid’ was in the house with her, she was so horrified she backed away, calling for her husband with a very shaky voice. When she realized it was really my Mom, she was very much relieved and more than a little annoyed with her!

This is the kind of ‘horror’ I like – the mild-mannered, harmless type, not gruesome monster movies or vampire stories, or aliens popping out of stomachs.

I do, however, like a good mystery. Forensic science is fascinating to me and I wish there was a course at one of the local universities that I could take to learn more about the real-life processing of a crime scene. I’m sure it is probably more mundane than TV makes it seem in shows like CSI, but it might help me write a better mystery! Mind you, I could probably not do anywhere near as well as Kathy Reichs and her ‘Bones’ series, both the books and TV shows. Another thing I wish they had here was a ‘Writers Police Academy‘. I read Michelle Johnson‘s guest blog a few weeks ago about her experience at one and it sounded like a lot of fun and the perfect thing for a mystery writer to try. 🙂

Sometimes, though, the story lines and villains in shows like Criminal Minds can be rather disturbing to me, thinking that there are such dangerously creepy people in the world. That’s about the limit to the types of horror that I can personally deal with.

What about you? How much do YOU like the creepy, freaky and horrifying?