Today is the next to last day of the Coffin Hop and the week has been full of surprises from all around the sites taking place this year. To catch up with the other authors and artists, take a ride on the Ghost Train to www.coffinhop.com where you can navigate your way through the mad and the macabre.
Halloween is tomorrow and all the ghosts and ghouls will be out in force in the streets and in our minds. Every bump in the dark will be examined more closely and all the lovers will hold each other a little bit tighter. But do the feelings brought on by Halloween leave us when the calendar changes to November or do they stay with us throughout the whole year?
They never go away…
What scares you? Right now, there are any number of things one could be afraid of. When I look at the world, the things we should be fearful of are staggering. War, disease, hunger, and terrorism are the things that haunt our newspapers and nightly news. What about the things that hit closer to home? Should we be afraid when we go to class, the mall, or walk down the block? All around us, the walls are closing in and I believe this is where the horror genre speaks to us.
When I read a horror novel or watch a scary movie, I do it to escape. I want to be transported to a world where the impossible becomes real and our darkest fears become flesh and blood. Sitting down to write a new story, I use it as cathartic experience, a way to purge my mind of the fears I feel. This is why after so many novels, movies, and comics the horror genre is still going strong in our society. Deep within us, we need the release it offers and we should drink it up any chance we get.
My biggest fear? Loss. Plain and simple, I fear losing those around me. A perfect example of how I allow life into my writing is a flash story I penned a couple of years ago called, “The Conversation”. It was a really early piece and one of the first things I had accepted (go easy on the comments…). So, for your enjoyment and for the Coffin Hop, the story is included below. There have been a few things tweaked, so it is a little different from the version that appeared in print. If you like it, drop me a comment or share what scares the hell out you in the night.
Goodnight and enjoy…
Brantley brushed the snow from the stone bench and sat down next to the old man.
“Hey papa, been a while,” he said as his breath bellowed out in a white cloud into the frigid January air.
“Hell, I know it has boy! Good to see ya’,” he answered, flashing Brantley his trademark quirky smile.
“You feeling better yet?”
“Yeah, yeah I guess so. The cancer seems worse on some days then on others,” he said, his voice more serious. “So, what brings you out here?” He took a long drag from his cigarette and blew it out into the falling snow.
“I came to tell you I’m sorry. I know I haven’t been around, but it killed me to see you suffer. Man, its cold out here papa.”
“You get used to it the longer you sit in it. The body can adapt to quite a lot of things, look at me,” he said and beat on his chest like an ape.
Brantley laughed and shivered, “I really miss you. I thought I made a mistake coming the last time I saw you, but I’m glad I came by the house now.”
“I know you came and watched over me in the hospital during my treatments and I thank you boy. It helped me get through.”
“Can I ask you something?”
“Did it hurt?”
“The cancer? Hell, yes it did! There were days I wanted to die, but sometimes I just wanted someone to stop by and check on me,” he said, a tear forming in his eye.
Brantley broke down and sobbed, “I’m sorry! I couldn’t take seeing you like that, it killed me to watch you waste away!”
“It killed me you didn’t visit, your mamma needed the help,” he answered as his voice choked up, “but, I forgive you.”
Grandfather and grandson stood up from the bench and embraced tightly. Each one whispered their love to the other.
“Well, time to go Brantley.”
Brantley looked down to the new fallen snow at his feet and whispered, “I know”.
Like a small child, Brantley reached out and grasped his papa. Hand in hand they walked down the tree-lined path, through the snow, and into the dusk.
Clyde Robbins pulled up along the path on his way out to lock the gate and call it a night. Getting out of his truck, he trudged up to the mound of snow forming around a bench and kicked it. Something underneath the drift stopped his boot. Leaning over, he brushed off the top of the snow mound and saw the shoe. Frantically, he swept away the rest of the piled flakes and found a blue face, frozen in death, staring back at him. The dead eyes caught him and before he could scream, he heard laughter.
Turning toward the sound, he saw two people walking together along the back edge of the cemetery. The figures embraced and looking back at Clyde, waved. He watched them carry on and slowly fade from sight as they reached the tree line at the end of the path.
Bending over, he brushed the snow from the bench.
Bruce Thomas Nally
May We Be Rejoined
Copyright Brent Abell 2013