Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Contest Winning Entry

                                          by Lauren White

Humans have forgotten the old ways of my kind. They've forgotten the strength in iron and salt and silver, running water and sacred bells. Samhain, our most hallowed night, has become a mockery of children running gleefully as glorified versions of the monsters they once feared, and still should. I myself have become nothing more than a bygone story in a book long lost, passed down through whispers tossed around between bored students at the local cafe or campfire; a legacy, but one without vitality. Still...they come to me. At least one group of children, reckless and curious, thinking I am the stuff of fancy. Every year they enter into my decaying world on dares and courage built of beer. My domain seems just any other abandoned house, looks and feels like it. I have arranged it so, so carefully to be unimpressive, to draw them in further. And they enter, breath quick and soft as sparrow wings, feet crunching on old, small skeletons, glass, weathered paper, and dying things. They see the strange objects I've left hanging, seemingly ordinary but disturbing now in the low light and unfamiliar territory. I sit, so patient, an ancient spider in the oldest, easiest of webs. Every time they glance at me: my porcelain skin, cracked and fractured, the glass eyes that look too alive but are considered a trick of the light, my broken legs, tossed off to the side. I am an old thing; I make them uneasy and they walk away. They always move past me, through the doorway, where I leave a mirror perfectly polished and shining. My doorway, the one I crawled through before I hid inside this body to wait. This one thing is left flawless, and becomes the object of their focus. And so they always see me coming, and have a last rush of fear as this heavy head turns to them, my body moving forward on spindly arms, quicker than they are, coming to devour. I always keep a trinket of theirs and hang it like the ornaments of some twisted tree: a button, a knife, a young girl's hair ribbon, a lover's ring. Memory haunts this place as much as I do, and so each victim brings the next closer. And it is happening again. Beyond these walls night is falling and I can smell wood smoke and Samhain on their skin as they approach. Voices growing quiet as they enter and begin to point out the strangeness of my museum, sweep a light across my face and to the mirror. Their costumed bodies move forward, shaking. Humans have forgotten me. But I am patient and soon to be remembered. I twitch to life, this doll body clinking as the porcelain moves, and in my gilded mirror they see me coming.

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