Twisting the doorknob and carefully peeking behind a few doors in my mind (As a writer, I have learned the hard way by “things” jumping out at me in the past; so, yes, I am very cautious!), I remember my parents dragging me off to different haunted houses. Whether it was witches holding skillets filled with human eyeballs inches away from my nose, stepping into a room where a mad doctor is severing the leg away from a woman whose guttural screams scurried down my spine, or perhaps walking along a five-foot wide path, people dressed in rags behind prison bars on each side, moaning, begging for me to free them, making attempts to grab me, I was exposed to a wide variety of terror that has stayed tucked under my flesh for many years.
Not that I am complaining about it.
Being scared, I think, is a bonus in life; something to keep the senses of your imagination caffeinated.
Wouldn’t you agree?
At any rate, this brings me to why I’ve written this article. Why not have a front lawn littered with the best horror you can find? Why not have your very own creative terrors to expose to trick-or-treaters who may only be searching for candy, gaining a chilling bonus as they arrive at your house?
A very good friend of mine, Marty Lucero, has done this six years running. Marty builds his own props, adding mayhem to the animatronic figures he purchases off line or at a nearby Halloween outlet. The man’s imagination is as comparable to what my brain vomits for my tales of the bizarre. Similar to one who is crazy about hanging Christmas decorations, Marty has the insanity of decorating the horrors of Halloween.
Each year has a theme. You may show up at Marty’s house and witness a graveyard full of the dead rising out of the ground, along with Jason Voorhees as an additive standing off to the side and a six-foot werewolf not much farther away. You may show up the next year with a seven-foot Pinhead on the front porch speaking about the love of pain, columns of flesh and skull and blood placed on each side to back up his accusations, and a mad scientist giggling uncontrollably, pulling the lever to a poor soul who is being electrified repeatedly, twitching in the chair, shrieking, causing a shiver to slip down your spine.
This, my friends, is all a must for anyone to visit.
Below, I have included a link on You Tube where you can find last year’s stroll through Marty’s horrors.
Have a Happy Halloween, my friends!
Fed a daily diet of English grammar, BRICK MARLIN is chained to his desk while his six-foot clown-shaped alarm clock that carries a chainsaw pokes at his frontal lobe for fun. Please swing by his website and visit him on Goodreads.com to join his group SECTORS, ODDS, AND ENDS. Each month he hosts ebook and paperback giveaways of his work. You can also find him lurking around Facebook and on Twitter.
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Walking through the dark in the abandoned house, Gilbert shuddered. Thoughts twirling inside his head of being in this abandoned old house that had been condemned over fifty years ago were frightening enough for a young boy such as him. And being inside the walls of the house was, well, downright scary—but, at the same time, fun!
There was a large red sign out front that strictly stated: KEEP OUT! NO TRESPASSING! VIOLATERS WILL BE FINED A MINIMUM OF $500 OR PLACED IN JAIL! Gilbert felt adventurous, ignoring the warning sign, wondering: Could the cops possibly fine an eleven-year-old boy that much money, or place him in jail?
Gilbert didn’t think so—or at least he hoped not. Although his mind did give him a dreadful picture of being in jail with another guy who smelled like rotten eggs and had onion-breath whenever he spoke. Some guy who had been in jail for murder, robbery, and tearing off the heads of troll dolls just because of the multicolored hair.
That thought didn’t set well in his gut. But he figured with the help of his comrade in arms, he felt pretty doggone safe. He would not have to worry about sharing a cell with a smelly dude.
“ You know that over a hundred people died in this house back in the Civil War days?” a voice spoke behind Gilbert’s ear.
“ Bobby, I know that isn’t true because the place wasn’t even built back then.”
“ How do you know?” Bobby’s flashlight speared the dark, revealing the vulgar graffiti on the walls.
“ Because my mom told me so.”
“ What, does she know everything?” Bobby’s flashlight caught a huge gash in the wall, and he wondered if someone had taken a sledge hammer to it.
“ She knows you like her homemade Mexican pizzas on Fridays after school,” he told Bobby, “so you’d better can it!”
Not much of a response came from the peanut gallery, except: “Well, ya got me there, Gilbert.”
Gilbert and Bobby could not be separated if the ground split open between them. One boy would simply take the chance and leap to the other, while the other would reach out with both hands and catch him. That was true friendship. Best friends for life. End of story. They had only been good friends—I mean best friends—three years running. Ever since the day Gilbert saw Bobby and his parents move into the house two doors down.
And on that particular day, under a bright orange orb that hung in the sky, radiating enough heat and humidity for the residents of Deputy Point, causing them to turn down their thermostats to allow the cold air to drift through the vents like an apparition floating through a wall, Gilbert saw Bobby bring out his bike—a cool silver and black BMX with mag wheels and a plastic racing plate tied onto the handlebars that displayed the number one.
The magnificent sight of his bicycle filled Gilbert’s eyes, making him a bit envious. He went into the garage and got his out. Unfortunately it wasn’t as neat as Bobby’s, being pieced together from other bike parts, but it did suffice. After a brief introduction between the two boys, finding out a few things they had in common, such as what kind of movies they liked and how much they hated—and I do mean hated—liver and onions, they took off together and rode down to the end of street and into the woods through the bike trails that delivered them above and beyond. And along the way they found they had even more things in common, too.
It sparked an instant friendship.
So, now, together with Bobby’s little brother Timmy tagging along because if he didn’t he would run and tell his mom they were going into the abandoned house down by the river, they slowly traipsed through the abandoned house.
“ Are you sure your mom isn’t going to be home until ten, Bobby?”
“ I told you already. She works until nine thirty. And, I just got a cell phone. So if she does happen to call, I’ll just say we’re outside in the tent.”
Gilbert had told his parents he was staying the night at Bobby’s. What his parents didn’t know was that he and Bobby were going into the old house, which they had strongly forbidden him to do for years. But he was a kid, full of energy, and very curious about the house. Every time he and his parents would drive by it, he would ask if the place had a history. And every time there was a long pause before his father would reply with, “Gilbert,” then a short pause while his father formed the right words in his brain to say, “Don’t let either your mother or me catch you in there. You understand, son?”
Gilbert would sigh, replying, “Yeah.”
Then they would say, “Good. Because young boys with curious minds, like you, do not need to be in that house.”
“ Promise me you won’t go in there,” Mom demanded.
Crossing his fingers and hiding his hand behind his back, Gilbert replied with a grin, “Sure, Mom.”
A cold breeze blew through the old house, and Gilbert could have sworn he heard something move behind them. He thought he heard a…was that a moan? Training his flashlight’s beam on the empty hallway they had just exited, he found nothing in sight.
“ Hear something, Gilbert?” Timmy asked.
“ I thought I did. Coulda sworn I did.”
“ Probably nothing,” Bobby informed him. “I’m not sure if I believe in ghosts or not.”
“ I do!” Timmy’s voice was loud.
“ Timmy, you’d believe in anything.”
“ Oh, I remember when you thought you saw Bigfoot out in our woods last summer. You ran and told Mom it was out there.”
“ I thought it was. Really!”
“ Remember that, Gilbert?”
“ Think so.” After a short pause, while allowing the memory to seep back into his brain: “Who was that out there, anyway?”
“ Skeleton man. Mr. Stiles. That weird old man who lives on the other side of the woods.”
Gilbert pondered on it for a bit, the picture of Mr. Stiles’ thin frame in his mind, the skin very taut around his bones. “That’s right! I had forgotten about that guy. Some say he lives in the woods.”
“ No telling,” Bobby replied as his beam splashed the stairs to go down to the second level. “All I know is that guy gives me the creeps!”
“ Me too!” Timmy added.
Bobby smiled. “Timmy, you are afraid of your own shadow.”
Timmy’s red Popsicle face scowled.
Gilbert brought up the rear and heard something behind him again. He looked over his shoulder, not training his light on it this time, and could have sworn he saw a shadow move in front of an open door where the moon shone through. He blinked and it was gone.
His stomach tightened, and he stopped.
Bobby had his foot on the first step to descend, glanced back, and asked, “You okay, Gilbert?”
For a moment Gilbert didn’t respond; then he said, “Yeah. I’m fine. Thought I saw something. Now it’s gone.”
Timmy stepped beside Gilbert. “See a ghost, Gilbert?”
“ I don’t know what it was.”
“ Well, I believe in ’em,” he boasted.
“ Like I said,” Bobby added, “you’ll believe in anything, Timmy.”
After the sound of Timmy’s huffing, the three descended the steps, one by one, until they stood in front of a window on the second floor. A river reflected back through the glass.
“ You all ready to go? Bobby asked. “We’ve already been through the entire place.”
Gilbert and Timmy agreed and followed Bobby down to the first floor and out the door. In their wake a white face appeared on the windowpane. Seconds later there was the sound of racing footsteps slipping outside, right before the front door latched shut.
* * * *
Bobby’s mom came home around ten ’o clock. Gilbert, Timmy, and Bobby were in the midst of a role-playing game under a tent set up in the backyard.
“ Hey! That ain’t right! How come I got shot?”
“ Timmy, you chose to step out into the hallway and try to see what was out there. Gilbert’s character tried to tell you not to. But you did anyway. And it didn’t help that you rolled a two on the dice, not giving you much of a chance.”
“ But I only have ten Life Points left!”
“ Well, since you were hit by a laser cannon called a Turmoil, I wouldn’t have to wonder why.”
Timmy huffed, crossed his arms. “Stupid gun! Still isn’t fair that I don’t have one!”
“ You didn’t have enough cash back at the scene in the alley where we bought our stuff from that dark man,” Gilbert said.
“ Yeah,” Bobby explained, “you could have bought a gun instead of a sword.”
“ But I wanted to be able to creep up on the guards and slice ’em up like a samurai warrior!”
“ Not when they have a Turmoil,” Bobby defended. “That is the beast of all the weapons.” He glanced at Gilbert. “Right, man?”
“ Yep. That’s why I’ve got one.” Gilbert beamed, piecing together a picture of a rifle in his mind with a thick barrel that swiveled like a Gatlin gun, shooting both ice and fire bullets. “My turn, isn’t it?”
“ Yeah,” Bobby said. “What do you want to do?”
“ I’ll roll the dice and see if I can counterattack whoever’s in the hall.”
Gilbert rolled the twelve-sided die, and it gave him a ten. He smiled. “I’ll take out my Turmoil and peek around the corner.”
“ You’re safe. The guy doesn’t see you,” Bobby said. “Roll again if you want to try and shoot the guy. See if you hit him.”
Timmy scowled and mumbled something under his breath while Gilbert rolled a twelve.
“ Dang! You killed the dude!” Bobby said. “Splattered his brains all over the walls and floor!”
“ Cool!” Gilbert replied as he and Bobby high-fived each other. He looked at Timmy, who sat there pouting. “Saved your life, man. Now you can use one of your Med Patches and cover that wound.”
“ It’ll add thirty Life Points to your character,” Bobby said.
“ So? This game is stupid!”
“ Well, don’t play it,” Bobby said defensively.
“ I won’t! I wanted to kill that guy and get a bunch of points. It ain’t fair!” Timmy stood up and ran out of the tent.
Bobby and Gilbert watched him go and glanced at each other.
“ Kids,” Bobby said, shaking his head.
“ Kids,” Gilbert agreed.
Then they both chuckled.
“ Sorry, bro,” Bobby said.
“ No problem,” Gilbert replied.
“ You know how Timmy is.” Bobby shook his head again, grinning.
Still chuckling, Gilbert said, “I know, man. No sweat. Hey, I gotta go pee. Drank way too much Coke.”
“ Go over there by the woods if you wanna, instead of going into the house.”
Gilbert pondered it. “Might just do that. Timmy might be in there or something.”
“ If he is, he’s crying his eyes out.” Bobby snickered.
As Gilbert stood up, the back screen door to the house flew open, and the voice of Bobby’s mom shouted, “Bobby! Why is Timmy crying? What did you two do to him?”
Bobby poked his head out of the tent. “We were playing a game, and he thought we were unfair with him.”
“ Were you?”
Gilbert poked his out, too. “No. We were playing fair. Timmy got mad because he got shot.”
“ Got shot? With what?” Her voice tensed.
“ A Turmoil, Mom.”
“ A Turwhat?”
“ It’s a made-up gun for the game, Mom. Make believe. You know Timmy gets upset easily.”
“ I know he does.” Her voice softened. “Just let him win sometimes, okay?”
“ We do! He thinks he has to win all the time!”
“ Well, try and be easy on him, okay?”
Bobby let out a long sigh. “Sure, Mom.”
“ Hey, I got you boys some pizza if you want.”
Gilbert and Bobby’s eyes lit up. Even though they had already eaten leftover Manwich from lunch, two whole bags of barbeque potato chips, and a king-size chocolate bar apiece, their stomachs grumbled.
“ Sure, Mom! Be right there.”
“ Okay. I’ll leave it on the counter. I’m going up to take a bath.”
“ All right.”
The screen door shut.
“ Well, guess you’d better go pee outside after all, Gilbert.”
“ That’s fine.” Gilbert stood up and stepped out of the tent. The darkness hummed with crickets and other nightly sounds. A light in the bathroom upstairs flicked on. Below, the kitchen light blazed from behind a window with yellow drapes.
Gilbert began relieving himself and heard a twig snap. He whipped his eyes back and forth, trying to look into the darkness. But his vision brought him nothing.
Something rustled only a few steps from him. Hurriedly, he finished and zipped up. For a moment, Gilbert shuddered. His mind was creative, and with that said, it brought him an image of a wild animal crawling out of the woods after him.
It wasn’t that Gilbert was a scaredy-cat, it was just the fact that there really wasn’t much light in Bobby’s backyard at night. And it was a bit eerie. The porch light only pushed away the darkness so far while the continuing sounds of what lurked in the dark of the woods stayed hidden from the naked eye.
Five minutes later Gilbert and his best friend entered the house and found three quarters of a pizza pie left. Timmy sat at the kitchen table devouring his second piece. He didn’t speak a word to them for the rest of the night.
Later that night, while watching an old horror flick on TV in the basement, both boys fell asleep while huge cockroaches swarmed an entire town, attacking everyone. Each boy was unaware of the grinning face peering at them through the window, leaving not a mark of breath on the glass.