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Bitter Sweet

October 29, 2017

 

Halloween is getting closer and we're celebrating with another tricky tale from Rinoa Cameron.

 

Bitter Sweet 

By Rinoa Cameron

 

Eight years wasn’t long. Not in the grand scheme of things. It was a rubbish age to get beheaded by a broken-hearted nutcase on the rampage.

 

Eternity as a ghost dressed in a glow in the dark skeleton costume, and a head that wouldn’t stay on his shoulders, sucked too.

 

Tommy really hated Halloween, but he wasn’t bitter.

 

Sure he’d missed out on life. He’d never tasted love, or done so many things, but every Halloween like some Samhain miracle he became physical for just one night. One night to live. One night a year.

 

It was the worst night in Tommy’s opinion.

 

This year he was much taller than before. He must be going through a growth spurt. It was weird, even in death you eventually grow up.

 

His costume didn’t fit so good now. It hung off him in rags, didn’t glow much anymore. He was barely even a skeleton, and too big to hide in a tree stump, or go unnoticed at a Halloween party.

 

It had been years, but flashes of the axe-man still haunted him. When you’re eight, a full grown man is a giant. It’s even worse when you’re on your knees, begging for your life, and they bring the axe down on you anyway, sentencing you to oblivion, all because they loved a stupid angel, and threw a tantrum about it.

 

Still, Tommy wasn’t bitter.

 

The streets were dark as he wandered them. Cutting the bills by killing lamp posts was a stupid idea. Plenty of people were around, though. Youths mainly, some younger kids with parents.

None of them paid him much attention. Sure, he was a half clad skeleton with bad makeup, carrying an axe, but among the ghosts, ghouls and zombies, running around, he fitted right in.

 

An old fella, stood at the end of his driveway, offered Tommy a toffee apple. Ghosts don’t eat, though, so Tommy shook his head.

 

It fell off, as it had a tendency of doing, and bumped to the ground. He casually reached to retrieve it, and put it back on his shoulders. At the same time, the old man grabbed at his heart, made a gasping sound, and collapsed.

 

Tommy nudged him with the axe. Lucky old so and so.

 

Tommy wished could have died of a heart attack. It was much better than getting your head chopped off by a loon in love with an angel.

 

Still, Tommy wasn’t bitter.

 

He wished he’d never gone to that stupid Halloween party. He’d told his mum he didn’t want to. Told her he didn’t want to be a stupid skeleton. Told her, but nooo, here he was, an undead skeleton, cursed forever more.

 

“Mummy!” a small girl dressed as a fairy screamed out. “That boy’s head just fell off!”

 

She pointed and jumped about on the spot, her eyes wide like saucers.

 

“Don’t be silly,” her mother said. “Now come along.” They walked by.

 

“Pray you don’t die tonight,” Tommy muttered.

 

He hoisted his axe and walked on. He was bored of Halloween. Costumes were dull. Candy bland. Pumpkins predictable.

 

Still, Tommy wasn’t bitter.

 

He came to the driveway he’d been looking for, waited as two children dressed as goblins ran past with buckets of candy. Tommy gave them a skeleton grin, then went up the driveway where he knocked at the door.

 

It opened, and a young woman dressed as an angel stepped out. She wore a pretty dress, and golden hair hugged her shoulders. She held out a green bowl of boiled sweets.

 

Tommy smiled, then took off his head, and placed it on the ground for safe keeping.

 

The Barbie doll smile dropped from the woman’s face. Her mouth fell in a silent scream. She half turned to run, when Tommy drove the axe at her. It chopped into her belly and caused her to double over, her hand pressed to the wound, growing crimson.

 

Her scream was shrill, and when her head was low enough, Tommy sliced it off with one clean swing of the axe. It bounced to the ground, rolled twice, and settled next to Tommy’s.

 

He found it amusing how nobody turned to look, but murder on Halloween was like the soundtrack to a horror movie playing in the background. Even the bloody body slumping to the ground didn’t get much of a look in.

 

One kid said, “Cool!”

 

Another yelled, “Awesome.”

 

“Yeah, awesome,” Tommy agreed, picked up his head and put it back on his shoulders.

 

He stared down at the angel’s dead body. What business did anyone have dressing up as an angel on Halloween, anyway? Even a glow in the dark skeleton with bad makeup was better.

 

Job done, he collected the severed head by a handful of her blood sticky hair, and put it in his candy bucket.

 

“Stupid angel,” he said, and walked on, admitting to himself, maybe, just maybe he was a little bit bitter.

 

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