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Write a Halloween Story!

As you are probably aware, I have been posting Halloween-themed poems and prose throughout the month of October. Today, however, I hand you the power.

In the comment section, write a flash fiction or poem based on the prompt below. There is no prize, there is no incentive to participate. Just some old-fashioned storytelling in a new-fashioned medium.

The rules? No rape.

And GO

Tristan and the Wolves

Tristan was barely older than a pup when he stumbled across the glen. The wolves were startled from their meal, the boy being upwind and as quiet as he could manage. He had not seen the log that tripped him.

Tristan froze, the wolves eyeing him in that expressionless way wolves do. They hunched over their meal, a doe still mostly intact. Behind him was his father, before him was a hungry pack. Either way he turned, he was vulnerable. Maybe he should expose his belly now and resign to whatever fate the wolves decide for him.

One wolf, the strong female that led the pack, broke from the meal to sniff at Tristan. She walked on her hind legs, her front arms used mostly for running. He closed his eyes, unable to look at the muzzle so close to his face. The wolf smelled of blood and meat and sweat. She smelled wild, like Tristan’s dreams.

“Trixie!” came the booming voice of Tristan’s father. “Where did you stumble to?” There was a threat in his voice that made Tristan’s heart pound. The wolf growled and, to Tristan’s horror, wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“Trixie!” his father shouted, close enough that he saw his daughter—son—whatever—in the arms of the town monsters.

“What are you doing with my daughter, you bitch?” Tristan’s father shouted. He cocked his shot gun and aimed it at the wolf.

The she-wolf growled. It reminded Tristan of his mother’s lullabies when he was young. She barked twice, and the pack at the doe barked in response.

The pack surrounded Tristan’s father, growling their threats.

“If this is what you choose,” Tristan’s father said, “don’t bother coming home.”

Tristan heard his father’s footsteps retreat into the forest. It did not take long before he disappeared. Only then did he start sobbing. He hugged the she-wolf, and she howled with his sadness. The pack joined the cries, giving the she-wolf’s cry a hint of anticipation. The moon hid itself to give the pack privacy on the initiation of their newest member.

Trailblazin’

You want the best route to Baraboo, you talk to Amelia. She and her horse Lindbergh are the fastest postal carriers this side of the Wisconsin. It’s a river, runs in that direction.

Anyway, she’s the best we got. Got family that way or something but likes it down here. Or maybe she likes life on the road. I hear she was a flight attendant in the Before.

Flight attendant is an outdated job now. We used to have giant metal vehicles that flew in the sky. We would travel the world then. Fresh water was easy to come by. Food was everywhere. We didn’t have to ration or preserve like we do now.

I am getting ahead of myself, aren’t I?

Amelia is usually around these parts this time of the week. Check by the stables every day. She stays two nights to replenish supplies and catch up on news. I don’t know if she’s taking on apprentices. You have to be good to keep up with Amelia. I trust that you know what you’re doing, but Amelia will leave you behind if it means safely delivering her mail as sure as the sun rises. Got information to share, she says, families to keep together.

Her weapons? She likes the battle axe, and Lindbergh is good with a kick and a bite. Not sure how she stays sane with the Hoards along the highway, but I know she visits that weird doctor character somewhere around Sauk City. Or was it Prairie due Sac? Something about immunity. She’s an odd one, that Amelia. Effective and badass, but odd.

I suppose that’s life on the road for you. She could probably use a companion. Like I said, you gotta keep up. Ain’t no rest for the post carriers, not in this day of age. You see me if you ever come back. Survive your first run with Amelia and you can get a job anywhere.

Washington? Why would you go there? We got winters that can freeze the Hoards as sure as Mendota freezes over. It’s safer to get a job stuffing Hoards with rocks and throwing them at the bottom of the river than go as far as Washington.

Oh, I see. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.

Well, you do you. If you can, write me when you make it. Amelia is up for trailblazing. She’ll probably take you all the way there if you ask her. That is, if she doesn’t turn on you first. I’m sure you can figure it out. If you’re brave enough to ask for apprenticeship with Amelia, not much you wouldn’t do, right?

Translation Woes

Okay, let’s see what we have here.

Does anyone know what this stuff is? Right there on the wall. I am pointing directly at it. No? Anyone? Beuller? Never mind.

Just hang on a minute. This is not a widely used dialect.

I can sort of read it.

Do you want me to translate this or not? Thank you.

Did anyone else feel that? It was like a wind but on the neck. Specifically, on the neck.

Fine.

Where was this found?

I meant originally.

Look, see this word? This word right here plays a central role in everything. It appears here and here and here. If this text was found in the south, it’s a euphemism for sex. If it’s from the East, it means poop, and frankly that’s what I’m—

What? Oh. Oh, that’s West. Hrm. That word could mean death.

What is this bound in? You don’t know?

Well, it feels kind of like human skin. This is a guess because the walls are bleeding and I’m still feeling something literally breathing on my neck.

Now I feel teeth.

Let’s go.

The Boon (prose)

Odessa wanted him the moment she saw him. He was beautiful with long locks that would fan out beneath the surface and lanky limbs that could easily tangle in the weeds. He had his back turned to the water, so Odessa felt brave to lift her head from under the surface. Just to hear his voice, she told herself.

She was under the dock, her tailfin wrapped around a thin but sturdy pole. One the shore, the boy listened to a distant voice that grated against her ears. The boy shouted something in reply and turned to face the water.

His face was as beautiful as Odessa imagined. Rounded but with strong cheekbones and high ears and a thick neck. Odessa wanted to inch closer but it was dangerous to do so at this time of day. She shouldn’t be near the surface at all. But she had a bet with her sisters. All she needed was a name.

“Heyerik.”

That was the sound he turned around to. The distant voice said something else. Heyerik said something back then turned back to the lake. Odessa smiled, wiggling what she could of her tailfin. The dock rocked in the water, and that caught the attention of Heyerik. She submerged. Carefully, she unwrapped her tailfin from the dock pole and swam away from her charge.

*

Heyerik

Heyerik Heyerik

Heyerik Heyerik Heyerik

Heyerik Heyerik Heyerik Heyerik

Heyerik was not so different from the rest of them. It was easy to call him over. He stumbled onto the dock like they all do when the sun sets. Odessa felt her heart flutter with glee—her sisters owe her a boon! There were other humans by a bonfire off the shoreline. One of them tried to take away Heyerik. He was about to until Odessa broke the surface.

It was just her head and shoulders that he could see. She felt her sisters swim around her, supporting her position which was not easy to maintain but necessary to hide the truth from the humans.

Heyerik pointed a hand in Odessa’s direction and said something she did not understand. The other human could not understand either because she asked him to repeat his words. Odessa let her arm float to the surface of the water, mimicking Heyerik’s gesture.

“Heyerik,” Odessa said in her imitation of the human voice. She wanted to flinch every time she used it, but only allowed herself a blink. “Heyerik,” she said again. Then, in her own language, “Come to me.” He lumbered onto the dock and paused at the end to admire the girl in the water calling for him. Then the spell overtook him and he tipped over the edge, landing on the surface with a belly flop.

His friend, a female, screamed as she rushed to the end of the dock. The other humans by the bonfire did not heed her call, or at least Odessa paid no mind to their sounds. One of her sisters already pulled Heyerik below the surface.

One catch was successful, but Odessa found her boon for winning her bet.

She raised her arm above the surface to beckon the female, but the spell broke at the sight of Odessa’s hand with elongated and webbed digits. Odessa felt the spell’s break, but she had her last-ditch plan. She twirled herself so she floated on her back, exposing her breasts which were somehow enchanting to humans, mostly male and some female.

“Come to me,” Odessa said, a melodic rhythm behind the words.

The human female, entranced by Odessa’s spell, tipped forward like Heyerik. She landed on Odessa, who was prepared for the catch.

Under the surface, Odessa righted the female so they were face to face with her tailfin wrapped around the female’s legs. She took the female’s hand and directed it to her breast, mostly for curiosity’s sake. The female gripped Odessa, but not uncomfortably so, and her lips parted slightly. Odessa pressed her own mouth to the female’s, sharing some surface wind, then moved her lips to the female’s throat.

The female made the magic noise. Above the surface, Odessa heard humans make a similar noise as they awkwardly thrust at each other along the shoreline. It made the humans taste better, though Odessa did not understand why.

Along the bottom of the lake, Odessa saw Heyerik with her sisters, his body already bloody and mangled like a shark’s chum. His hair fanned out from his head exactly like Odessa imagined that morning.

Odessa bit the female in the neck, chewing as the female convulsed in her grip, suddenly powerful and frightening. They sank to the bottom, siren and victim. Odessa did not look at the female’s hair as it fanned out beneath the surface. Her feast had begun.

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