Alright, busted. No one in their right mind speaks that way unless they’re working at a Renaissance festival, right?
But Halloween seems the perfect time to break out all sorts of portents, omens, cryptic tones and pompous language.
I love this time of year. Even though the prospect of a Midwest snowmageddon looms in the future, I do enjoy the turn of seasons. If only for a few days, mind you.
Leaves fall into orange, crisp yellow and fiery red flakes. A fresh and oddly melancholic breeze carries the aroma of a cleansing and deadening at the same time. Rakes scrape. Backs hurt. Furnaces comfortably hum. Neighbors, who I don’t usually speak to nod their heads, an affirmation change is in the air.
Serial killers in masks stalk… Wait! Hold on a minute! How’d that get in there?
It’s that Autumnal time of year where everything cuts a scarier edge.
As a writer, I enjoy writing spooky things. Not gross gut-spewing stuff, not that awful torture porn junk. Just…spooky. I’ve published tales about ghosts, zombies, crazed killers, witches, pretty much the whole nine yards of horror. Does this stuff scare me? Nah! That’s why it’s fun to write!
What does scare, me I hear you asking? Well…things not so fun. Let’s see…off the top of my head: global warming, racism, all-too-real violence, the prospects of a “CHIPS” TV revival, Trump, terrorism, getting my driver’s license renewed, the devaluation of education, dreams where I’m naked in public… You get the idea.
Psst. Come in a little closer…that’s good…c’mon, so you can hear me ‘cause I’m gonna whisper…
Truth of the matter is ghosts scare me. I’m torn. I’d love to see proof of the nether-world, but I don’t know how I’d react. I’d probably pull an absolutely psychedelic (non-drug-induced) freak-out.
It’s safer to poo-poo it all. Usually I do. Yet… Yet, my in-laws’ best friends told me a tale, one hard to dismiss. The husband’s as hard-core, right-wing, “I’m from Missouri, show me,” “medicine and doctors are for the birds,” die-hard attitude you’ll ever witness. Hardly a candidate for a believer in the supernatural.
He and his wife witnessed—lived through—a bonafide haunting.
Long story short, I’ll hit the Cliff notes version: furniture on the second floor moved with no one there; bed sheets tore ragged as if by claws; a bucket of water dumped on the wife while she walked upstairs, no origin discernible; wall-hanging photographs moved to different rooms; whispers, voices, blurry images during the longest, darkest part of the night.
I believed their story. Or at least I believed they believed it. But it was hard to deny their conviction.
Which is one of the reasons I like to explore the edge of reality in my writing. The world—not quite seen, but often glanced—where things don’t quite add up. That itchy feeling someone’s watching you. Someone’s there with you. Maybe I’m living vicariously through my writing, ‘cause I really, REALLY don’t want to have an actual visitation…
So! Ghosts of Gannaway is my historical ghost novel loosely based on real events that happened in Picher, Oklahoma. (Or did it all happen?) I tossed many things in there that scares me, such as… Well, just read it and find out.
Then there’s Demon with a Comb-Over, my spooky yet comical tale of a lousy stand-up comic who ticks off a demon. (NOT Donald Trump, but close).
What I loosely call my “Farm Noir” trilogy (only because they’re dark tales that take place in Kansas) are kinda spooky, too. And whaddaya know about that, they just came out in paperback, too, for you old-timers. Zombie Rapture, Godland and Neighborhood Watch: perfect Halloween reading.
I’ll make it easy for you, one stop: Stuart R. West’s Horror Novels
So put out the kids, tuck in the cat, turn down the lights, pull that blanky up to your chin. And enjoy the fright.
Before something gets you. Happy Halloween! Boo!