As many of you know, my fiction is a regular feature on Six Sentences every Halloween (along with Joseph Grant and Rod Drake), and has been for about three years now. This year should have been no different, but for some unknown reason (I have heard nada from the 6S editor) my story did not appear. I don’t understand it, because I DID receive confirmation that my story would be featured. Anyway, many of my readers have sent me messages asking where the story is and if they can still read it. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but for you, my friends… anything.
So sit back, kiddies. Turn off the lights. Halloween’s going into overtime this year. This is a little tale I like to call…
The March of the Pumpkin King’s Court
The blood of the entire nation ran cold in its collective veins when all the clocks froze at one AM on November the first, or at least that’s what the calendar said it was – it was in fact the Thirteenth Hour, it was still Halloween; all at once the streets seemed to become deserted, emptied as if by some unheard universal signal – the only movement was the rustling of red and yellow leaves, the only sound the wind, and upon it a low, hoarse whisper, “The Pumpkin King approaches.” At five past the hour the shadow people came, they rose from Potter’s Fields, bubbled up from hazy bogs, and crawled on their bellies from the sewers; along they came, a procession of ghouls, critters, beasts, imps, devils, and circus freaks, gibbering and cackling as they swung from the lamp posts and climbed over parked cars. Street lamps and houses went dark as the ghoulish parade passed, the light of a blood red moon the only illumination, casting macabre shadows that clawed the ground, leaving deep furrows in their wake. Now as you lie cowering in the pitch-black corner, cursing the dead cordless telephone clutched in your icy fingers, the procession of the damned grows silent and a scream freezes in the depths of your throat as the doorbell echoes deafeningly through the house – BING BONG, BING BONG. Again the chime rings out persistently and you rise, unable to control your limbs as your fingers clutch the cold brass doorknob and the subdued snickering of mischievous, misshapen children fills the air; as the door creaks slowly open, you see an assembly of the most grotesque ghouls and goblins surrounding a single man, tall and spindly, wearing a crown of jaggedly-carven pumpkin, slimy orange guts and glistening white seeds clinging to his black haystack hair. The Pumpkin King smiles a mouth full of crooked teeth as he lifts his bag of roughly-sewn human skin and says, “Trick or treat!”
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