A Halloween Tale
‘Tis the Season…to be Scared
The low creaking moan of the chamber door startled me from a deep sleep.
Raising my head off the pillow, I gazed about in the dark of the room until my sleepy eyes spied a dark figure standing, or rather appearing, silhouetted in the doorway.
Gripped by fear, I couldn’t think.
Slowly and silently, the figure glided toward my bed. It drew nearer without any sound of footsteps, as if it were floating across the room.
Horrified, I wanted to run, but my limbs were frozen. My voice was mute. I could not call out.
Its ghastly form drew nearer.
Soon, a putrid stench filled the room as a cold chill possessed me.
For what seemed an eternity, the dark shadow arched above my bed, its hideous presence hovering over me like a giant dead tree about to fall and crush the breath from my body.
I was helpless.
Nature is a haunted house,
but art a house that tries to be haunted.
~ Emily Dickinson
The phantom bent over the bed. Its blackness enveloped me, as what I took for its head moved ever closer to my face.
Paralyzed with terror, I lay motionless.
Now, with the hideous darkness only inches away, I awaited the inevitable.
With this monster so close, my attention was caught by something mysterious. My eyes were suddenly drawn to the one thing that stood out from the rest of its hollow ghastliness.
In the dusty gloom, a dull shimmer of gold and hints of blood red.
“Really?” I yelled as my voice miraculously returned. “Yellow satin boxers with red bats?”
Shrieking, the ghoul recoiled at the sound of my voice, as surprised as I was.
“Damn!” came a squeaky voice. “I’ve forgotten my trousers again.”
“What do you mean, again?” I demanded as my courage surged.
“Please don’t tell anyone about this. I implore you. Please,” it said in a high-pitched voice that grated on my ears.
“You mean this has happened before?”
“Sadly, yes.” The dark figure slumped in dejection. “I’ve become a laughing stock among my kind.”
“Your kind? What is your kind?”“Repo men.”
“You mean, as in collectors?”
“Yes. The very same. The children of the night. Despised by all.”
“But what are you doing here? I don’t owe anyone.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Oh, those fools at the agency! They must have given me the wrong address. I bet they did it on purpose to mock an immigrant such as myself. Oh, the shame of it. I must leave you now. And remember, not a word of this to anyone.”
“Uh, no. Not a word,” I said, feeling rather sorry for the now-diminished creature. “No one would believe me anyway.”
As the figure slowly receded into the darkness, I could hear the barely audible sound of the creature mumbling to itself. “Alas, poor Dracula, you were once the dreaded beast. Now you will be forever mocked as Vracula, ‘He of the underwear.’”*
We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.
~ Stephen King
*In the Balkans “draco” refers to a dragon or beast–thus “dracula” means “he who is like a dragon or beast.” And in those same regions, “vraka” means breeches or undergarments. Hence, “vrakula”: “the underpants guy.”