Halloween Haunts: Halloween, A Becoming by Lou Rera
Halloween is a becoming. In the parlance of pop culture, it’s an outing. You can become a Halloween extrovert and strut it, or you can be discovered in the shadows of someone’s doorway. I’ve always gone for the idea that once a year, I can morph into something that obfuscates my appearance. I can skulk around anonymously. I can feign that I am viewing the world through the eyes of a psychopath or a disgruntled loner. But there’s an extra dollop of obsession with my take on becoming. Inclusive within those exterior changes, Halloween’s nerve roots burrow into my flesh and brain and I take on the psyche of the thing I have worked to become. It’s not just the skin of the costume or foam latex appliances, but a true adaptation of the essence of what you’ve become.
Do you believe monsters are in pain? Do you think The Joker was happy? We know that Shelly’s monster hated his creator. Poe trapped one of his ideas in the claustrophobia of an oblong box. Devil cult leader Julian Karswell, summoned demons with runic symbols. The It clown feeds off of young children and Richard Matheson gave us the unseen fear of Hell House. Terror and horror are synonymous with Halloween. The history of Halloween is in part, linked to a harvest and the dark half of the year. Whatever historical version of Halloween you believe, the modern version has been blown away by the commercialism of the holiday, much the same way Sinterklaas, a Dutch sailor with a pipe and green coat became the Santa Claus we know as the jovial cherub spewing presents. Christmas comes to us earlier and earlier when marketers are wetting their pants for the opportunity to sell us goods not long after Labor Day. The power and lure of Halloween is unique. You can expect a Spirit Superstore to pop up in your area. People clamor like zombies to ravage the racks for the best costumes, effects and decorations. The spirit is in the air.
Halloween is for the imagination, the foundation the celebration was built upon is buried in the eons of stories that can not fit into 140 characters, or be captured in a selfie, nor compressed into an album on Facebook. Halloween is a sense of unity, of belonging to a day of alter egos, a common cause that binds us together in a way that is more distinctive than any other time of the year. We can be more than ourselves. We can step out into the crowd without fear because we represent the unknown to the rest of the world, and if we are fully committed, bring a bit of the unknown to ourselves.
This brings me to my point and the HWA. I write, produce, read, listen to, and watch horror because it thrills me. Halloween is the unifier for all of us who love the genre. Immediately after the publication of my first supernatural thriller, SIGN, I joined the Horror Writers Association. I contacted members of the Ontario Chapter of HWA just prior to their biggest event of that year, FanExpo Toronto. I was welcomed into the chapter and I volunteered to work the event and help out with the HWA booth. The Ontario Chapter members showed me the “ropes.” They taught me how to promote the organization, reach out to the community, and spread the mission of HWA. In turn, they opened doors for me as I worked to promote my first book. That was over two years ago, and since then I have continued to work with HWA and promote its membership. The HWA is the perfect conduit for like souls on Halloween and the rest of the year to promote dark literature.
TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Lou Rera is giving away two copies of his novel SIGN. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title HH Contest Entry for a chance to win.
Lou Rera is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), Just Buffalo Literary Center, and the Short Fiction Writers Guild. His work includes award winning flash fiction and short stories. His first novel, SIGN, was published by Netherworld Books in June 2014, and his collection of flash fiction, There are no doors on a cocoon, was self-published in 2008 by Create Space. He has edited academic work and writes reviews for Horror novels. Lou is working on his second novel, The Tin Mask. http://lourera.com, https://www.facebook.com/lourera/, https://twitter.com/lou_rera.
SIGN: Supernatural thriller of deception and murder. A man’s adulterous night one year earlier, leads to a weekend trip he and his wife will never forget. Available at Amazon http://tinyurl.com/jmeo4ox, B&N http://tinyurl.com/hqd3vsl and other booksellers. Published by Netherworld Books http://netherworldbooks.com
Read an Excerpt from SIGN by Lou Rera
Nothing came shrieking out of the tomb, nothing to physically hurt them except for the horrific vision inside. But there was something to be afraid of—a scene so horrible that they could be sure this was not the work of a sane man.
The tomb was empty, no burial vaults or even a place for one. But the floor was covered in black oily mud with thousands of worms glistening—writhing on the surface, like sea serpents leaping out of the sludge, diving back again. Worms did not dive in the gardens of rural America. There were dozens of crows with their wings ripped off, stumps flapping in spastic motion. They stretched their necks and plucked worms from the oily slime, jerking their heads back and sliding the noodles of flesh down their hungry gullets. Some of the birds were helpless, buried up to their necks in mud, as the worms circled, doing the impossible, coiling and squeezing like snakes; choking the life out of them. The lucky ones that escaped that fate smashed their beaks into a bloody pulp against the granite walls as though they were lunatics in an asylum. The horrific scene was the animal kingdom version of Dante’s Inferno. In the moment Jim and Deirdre looked through the glass, a rancid smell seeped through the walls. The nose-pinching odor of rotting flesh.
The mausoleum was an empty shell. The bizarre zoo-like exhibit, other than the horror of it, made no sense. But sealed inside the interior of this place was the same message from the Texaco station. Blood-red lettering, still dripping its wet message on the back wall, underneath the stained-glass window of a horned Jesus—SIGN. The beam of the flashlight lit up the wall like a jack-o-lantern. The light brightened, as bulbs do before they burn out. Jim could understand how someone could spray the cinderblocks of a gas station wall, but how did they pull this off?