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for your Halloween - Laura Wise

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October 31st, 2009


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06:45 am - for your Halloween
It's Halloween in the subtropics. It's the turn of the year for many of my friends, it's a night out for others, it's an excuse for candy for still more.

For me, Halloween isn't much -- and this year I'm not feeling particularly well. But in any event, because I have a dog who doesn't like the noise and hubbub of trick-or-treaters, I'll be spending my evening in my back room, sorting through books.

The thought of that led me to thoughts of another woman sorting books on Halloween, and so... a small 600-word fic-bit for your 31 October...



"Trick or treat!"

The childish voices were close enough that Harker began to growl in warning.

Mina looked up from her sorting of books. "Harker," she said, "we're hiding in the back room because of your bad attitude when kids are at the door. It's a bit much that you're being Mr Aggressive when the trick-or-treaters are across the stupid street."

Harker -- who ordinarily was a most mild-mannered, big-eyed terrier, a watcher more than a fighter -- flattened himself against the old wooden planks in his best apology.

Mina smiled, and crouched down to kiss his head. The closer she got, however, the more she heard the rumble in his throat. Still on the alert, then.

"You behave," she said sternly, and went back to the books.

She had a deal of unpacking to do. She and Harker had only moved into this small town and this Victorian house a week ago -- a brand-new era, a leaving behind of old loves and jobs and fears. With her faithful canine companion at her side, she'd managed to get most of the downstairs sorted. She'd left her study for this Halloween night, however.

The wine in her glass was a heavy Pinot Noir, the candles burning on the one table she'd cleared now sent curls of smoke through the piles and boxes, and she could start the best bookcase in style.

The book on top of the nearest pile was her mother's copy of Dracula. Mum had been reading Stoker the night before Mina was born -- hence the truly embarrassing name, which Mina had grown to enjoy -- and on Halloween Mum had always told her stories by candlelight. Dark stories. The kind of stories that had swallowed Mum up in the end.

Mina pressed her fingertip into the binding of the book. The leather took the imprint, sent the pain down, let it go into the old red.

As she lifted the book to put it on the shelf, Harker began to growl. This time it was serious.

She listened. No trick-or-treaters this time. The night was quiet --

But at the curtained window came a tap. Another tap. Another tap.

Harker barked, deep and angry.

Tap. Tap. Tap. The noises came faster now, harder, and the glass rattled under the impact of whatever it was.

"Just the old oak, a little too close," she said to Harker and herself. "I'll need the branch cut down, pronto."

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Mina slid the book into place, and then hesitated. These small real-world noises could be spun into dark story so easily, and she was still off-balance after Jeremy's betrayal. Maybe she should cut off whatever was touching the house now, so that she didn't have uneasy dreams.

The glass rattled again. Sounded like it might break.

She picked up the box-cutter lying next to the candles. With her first step toward the window, however, Harker threw himself in her path, trying to keep her where she was.

"No," she said firmly.

Harker barked again, and again, a doggy Morse-code of alarm.

"Don't be silly," she said over a sudden wave of fear and grief, and she pushed past two of the biggest boxes and put her hand to the curtain.

Odd. There wasn't any wind fluttering the heavy fabrics, it was a still night. So why did she suddenly feel the cold?

Harker whined, then began to tug at the hem of her jeans with his teeth.

"Cut it out," she said, laughing, and then threw back the curtain.

The shadow tapped, and the glass broke, and Mina stopped laughing.
.........................


May your Halloween be full of the best kind of laughter and chills! :-)

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:October 31st, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
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Good stuff:)

((Hugs))
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From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, L!

And even though you don't celebrate Halloween across the pond, I send hugs and virtual chocolate anyway. :-)
[User Picture]
From:freixenet
Date:October 31st, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC)
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Aiee!!! OK, this was my required scary-thrill for the day, thx.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, F. :-)

Happy Halloween, happy turn of the year!
[User Picture]
From:pinkdormouse
Date:October 31st, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
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Oooh!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! :-)

And a happy Saturday to you, too.
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From:anne_d
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
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Ooooh! Nicely done!
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From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, A! Happy Halloween. :-)
[User Picture]
From:kathyh
Date:October 31st, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Oh, scary. The ending was frightening but the idea of Mina's mother being swallowed up by dark stories alarmed me almost more.

Many hugs.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
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Thank you so much, K, for wonderful comments and for reading! (I did want that undercurrent of dark story, and I'm glad you saw it. :-))

Hugs and thanks and a good All Hallow's Eve!
[User Picture]
From:headrush100
Date:October 31st, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
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:S!!!!!! Scary!

Happy Halloween! *hugs*
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, A!

Happy Halloween (or the end of it, anyway) to you and Miss B. :-) [hugs]
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From:mobile_alh
Date:October 31st, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Eep!

me, I prefer your Halloween plans, and I know you would be clever enough to listen when the SBD warned you off.....

Feel better soon!
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From:laurawise
Date:October 31st, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
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My particular Dog barks at the phone, so I'm not sure how much credence I'd give her. ;-)

But anyway, thanks, ALH! Thanks and hugs and a happy Halloween.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:November 1st, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
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Thank you thank you, C -- and hugs, and a happy start of November. :-)
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From:heron_pose
Date:November 1st, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
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The idea that such a gracious and generous person might also create such scary is, well, scary.

Hope SBD survived The Night.

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:November 1st, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
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H_P! Hi hi!

The Dog of the House did in fact survive the night -- it was very quiet here, without even the noise of passing trick-or-treaters.

Hope your 31st of October was a good one, hope your November brings you ease, and hope you accept my apology for my dark little ficlet!
[User Picture]
From:heron_pose
Date:November 2nd, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
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Oh, pal, no apologies necessary! It was a cleansing sort of fright, I think.

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:November 1st, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
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I thought Mina would be the type to name her dog that for a lark. :-) (But now I'm thinking Harker's a pretty cool name for a dog!)

Hugs and thanks and thanks again!

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