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INTERSTATES OF FEAR

The ghoul had been satiated, having stopped off at a local graveyard for a bite.  The glossy black 1963 Ford Galaxie 500XL was gassed up.  The car was made for the open road.

Thornton Sharpe had snatched it up for a steal at an estate sale for a dearly departed human.  He had picked up the car and then later had dug up its owner for a reunion of sorts.  Actually, it was more like a snack for the road for Thornton. Both car and former driver were delicious.

Since then, the ghoul had covered thousands of miles.  Along the way, he had amassed quite a few stories, as well.  Thornton hadn’t planned on stopping along the way.  At least, not until he got hungry again.  Fate had other plans.

With thumb outstretched, a skeletal hitch-hiker stood beside the road.  Thornton had never seen a living skeleton before.  Maybe he could do with some company for a few hundred miles.  And this passenger wouldn’t tempt his appetite as there was no flesh on the bones.

Thornton pulled the midnight black convertible over.  Without exchanging a word, the skeleton opened the door and climbed in shotgun.  Thornton smiled his finely pointed teeth at the thing.

“Where you headed, mac?” Thornton asked.

“Where the road leads,” the skeleton replied.

Thornton shook his head and took his foot off the brake.  He punched the gas pedal and the car skidded slightly until the tires caught enough traction.  “My name is Thornton Sharpe.”

“Barker,” commented the skeleton, “Charlie Barker.”

“Ahh, Mr. Barker, I hope you aren’t averse to riding with a ghoul,” Thornton stated.

The skeleton replied, “Please.  Charlie will do fine.  No, Mr. Sharpe.  I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”

“Thornton, as long as we are on a first name basis.  That’s good to hear.  I may need to stop in a few miles for a snack.  I wouldn’t want to inadvertently offend you with my dietary needs.”

“Not at all, not at all, my good fellow,” Charlie noted.

“So, what does a skeleton do, exactly?”

“I collect things.”

Thornton said, “As do I.  Like what?”

“Tell me: do you like scary stories?” Charlie asked.

 

 

DRIVING THE HIGHWAY OF HORRORS

Across wide expanse of blacktop
Bridged by time, mechanics, and fuel
Thunderous tires rumble non stop
Car driven by hideous ghoul

The vehicle offers a ride
To a creepy wandering soul
The voyage resumes once inside
Without destination or goal

Far from a radio station
Time is passed with frightening tales
One for each state of the nation
As they speed through numerous trails

The convertible haunts the road
The horrific passengers ride
With tales that frighten and forebode
Sanity falls by the wayside

FRIDAY THE 13th of OCTOBER

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Circus of the Unknown is on the horizon. The billowing smoke from the engine can be seen from this distance. The flat ground before you will soon be broken by tents and carts and stakes and rope. The circus is on the horizon.

Though the circus has yet to open, the air is ripe with possibility. There is electric excitement, charging the atmosphere enough to stand hair on end. You can feel the change that’s coming.

There will be a time we may not remember the calm before the proverbial storm. Once the Ferris wheel is turning and the cotton candy is spinning, it may be difficult to believe that there was a time before the circus was here. This is the nature of the beast. To live in the moment and lose track of all else.

All too soon, the circus will pull up stakes and head off into the mountainous pass beyond. That is also not a thought that comes to mind when the fun is in full gear. To contemplate the end.

Friday the 13th is a good day. A lucky day. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

It is a day to look ahead to the things coming. A time to know that it is all still ahead of us. Hold your breath. It will be here soon now.

And the sideshow will be there, too.

CABIN IN THE WOODS

Charlie Barker was lost.  He supposed that all ghosts cursed to roam the earth were lost, but this was more of a literal sense than a metaphorical definition.  He wandered the forest in search of a way out.

He had only trekked to the remote woodland as part of his penance.  He had to amass more glimpses into the infinite beyond.  Doomed to forever relate terrors.  To never find a way back.

He wondered if other ghosts had so much internal turmoil and angst.  Best not to ponder such things, he thought.  Besides, he had all of eternity to mull over the consequences his mortal coil had bequeathed him.

The sun had set, or so he thought.  It was setting, but the premature darkness was due to the impending storm as announced by a peal of thunder.  No sooner had Char realized this than it began to rain.

Most ghosts were incorporeal, he knew.  But not Charlie.  Charlie was still held firmly within his reanimated skeleton.  Also, part of the curse.  To be an undead and not reap from the benefits of the disembodied was tortuous.

The rain turned to a deluge.  Char knew that his poor old bones couldn’t take the onslaught.  He had to find shelter.

Fate presented him with a viable option.  Through a microsecond flash of lightning, he saw it.  A modest little cabin in the woods.

Char made his way through the overgrown path to the shack.  The rickety old door opened outwards with a groan of splintery wood and rusted hinges.  He went in.

It was an old trapper’s cabin, as indicated by various pelts and traps hanging from the wall.  There was an old coffee pot and can with a single enamel cup on a mantle above the fireplace.  There was fresh wood in the fire, which Charlie put to good use.  He had to dry his bones.

How does one go about haunting a cabin? Charlie wondered to himself.  He supposed that merely being there as a skeleton would go far.  His stories from the mirror of infinity would help, too.

The storm had drawn others to the place.  The door creaked open.  “Welcome,” he said grimly.