"Don't even think about it!" were the words that lingered as I stood in line with the rest of the patrons, waiting for who knows what, hopefully we will get our moneys worth. It was getting dark, early as it does this time of year, how I so wished that the summer would end and now that it has I wonder when the first snow will fall and how cold it will get, or maybe it will be like last year and it will be a mild winter. But for now I am content to think of what awaits me ahead at the end of this line and enjoy the crisp fall air and be happy that the hot, well not really so bad summer is over with. I had heard of this place, the place where only the brave dare to traverse in time of halloween, it is just for fun I tell myself but something inside me says otherwise. I tried to get my friend to go with me but of course he was busy, "maybe next year" he said, I seem to recall those same words last year but I too was amiss as I talked myself out of this exactly one year ago. But not this year, this year was different. You see this was not your usual Halloween, full of actors haunted house. Sure you paid your $5 and signed the waiver just like any haunted house but this one was different and everyone knew it. This was a house out of the way that not many knew of nor was it advertised as such, it was word of mouth only or maybe the kind of place whispered under breath whilst daring to speak of unusual or extraordinary places, the kind of place that you dare speak of after a few drinks amongst a receptive and captive audience, the kind of folks who nervously laugh at stories of nightmarish fantasies and such lore as to make common people shudder. I heard about this place years ago while visiting a friend in the country side during Halloween. He lives deep in the country where there are no paved roads and houses are few and far between, a place where city lights are but a distant glow and one can feel the night staring back at you when you are walking to or from your car. My friend has always been labeled "unusual" as he listens to heavy metal, wears black and prefers not to be around other people, I met him when I was in grade school and even back then he was considered strange. I never met his family he always claimed they were away somewhere and always embellished their disappearance with some excuse, after awhile I knew that this was not the norm and yet somehow I grew comfortable with his assertion that someday I would meet them, his family.
Wilbur Cranston was his name and he was well known in these parts, a hard working man with very little means of support but yet somehow always made ends meet, he claimed his family supported him but like I said, I did not know them nor did anyone else but we all just accepted it for what it was. After all he had a house, albeit a run down old farmhouse with a few overgrown acres but a house and home nonetheless and he did alright for himself. At a very young age he took to doing chores and running errands for nearby farmers and built a reputation for being very reliable if not a bit strange and aloof. Anyway, Wilbur was my friend and I never questioned the locked rooms in the house or the lack of television or other comforts I just enjoyed his company and his stories of nightmarish visions and eternal life bestowed upon the chosen few who swore an oath to the forest and the night, at first his stories scared me I will admit but I grew fond of them after time and even dreamt of floating in the forest at night amongst the spirits of the night.
The haunted house was at the end of a graveled road in what most people refer to as a hollow, a low area covered with trees. The other folks in line I did not know nor did I recognize but I knew that we were a select few who knew of this place. Wilbur was absent as I shuffled my way up the line, just a year ago I was ready to go by myself but something said no and Wilbur mumbled "don't even think about it" I asked him what he meant by that and he just became quiet and looked onward. That still haunted me, for him to be scared of something was unheard of and it was more unsettling the closer I got to the house.
The house was few miles from Wilbur's place and had been abandoned many years ago, somehow time passed it by and it stood still and people did not go by it or approach it except for this time of year. I could not dismiss the gripping fear and anxiety that engulfed me as I approached the front porch with the silent hooded figure taking the money and ushering people into the darkness, I chalked it up to too much coffee. Usually you hear people screaming in terror and see a lot of flashing lights at haunted houses but not here, there was nothing but darkness and the slow shuffling of the line, I tried to make conversation with the couple in front of me, nervously I quipped that I was glad to finally be here but they only looked ahead and I decided that it was just a strange bunch and they weren't much for chit chat. I thought about calling it off and heading home but no, I would stick it out and this would be something to talk about in years to come. I wondered what Wilbur was doing as he was always "busy" this time of year but I tried not to think about it, after all he was probably working a night job somewhere, Wilbur did not speak much about his work.
I wondered more and more what I was in for, it was very quiet and strange here and it would have been more comforting to hear screams and see lights but there was none of that only the sounds of the wind blowing gently through the trees and the occasional cricket chirping. Sometimes I could make out soft mumblings but it didn't seem to be coming from anyone in line, when I would hear it I would perk up and think finally I could engage in conversation but I could not find anyone speaking. Finally, I am at the end of the line and the hooded man or whatever it was put its hand out for the money, I only had a 10 and asked him if he had change but all I saw was a dark hood with a pale bony hand stretched out towards me and I finally gave up and just gave him the 10, what the hell. He/it also presented an open book, I could barely see it in the moonlight and then an old quill pen was handed to me with a gesture to sign. What an act this was, so very real and disturbing this is surely one of the greatest haunts to be experienced on Halloween. As I surged forth and opened the creaking door a dark figure swooshed past me into the house and I laughed, this was quite a show they were putting on and I was going to get my moneys worth. At last I spotted a light and went towards it, it was a dim purplish light not unlike a black light, perfect I thought just like I would expect. As I neared the light it grew brighter and more eerie, and it appeared to be more of a a flame not a light. I approached with caution and observed a person sitting in the dark, again with a dark hood on. Where the hell was everyone else and what was going on here? This was not your typical haunted house and all of a sudden I was engulfed in terror and my mouth was so dry I could hardly swallow. What I saw I will never forget and it is engraved in my memory like a name and date on a headstone, it was Wilbur only he was much younger and was surrounded by others even more pale than he and all were staining off in the dark and chanting in a low hum, I could now hear it and that explains the whispers I heard while in line. "Wilbur" I said frantically, what in earth is going on here and what has happened to you? The sight bestowed upon me then I will never forget although I wish I could, he smiled and the smile took up his entire face and wrapped around his head in a very abnormal ghoulish manner, huge teeth and a menacing smile, I tried to turn and run but I was frozen. Out of the shadows the figures writhed and shook and came forward into the strange purple light, skeleton figures with bony outreaching hands, chanting still. It was at this moment that Wilbur reached out to me somehow from a good six feet away without moving his body and touched my shoulder and said "Well its about time you met my family. You see we are from a time when some of us worshipped the night and red blood was fed to the trees and the earth. The time has come once again when we will rise and we have been waiting many years for this. You are chosen as you have listened to my tales of darkness you are now ready to accept the flame and shed your skin in our likeness, you who have waited so many years for this and yearned for release from this material world." I screamed because as he spoke his smile and teeth took over his entire face, I turned and ran out the door but got caught up in the vines that were not there before, the trees had reached out and tangled me, I screamed yet again and then everything went dark. I am writing this now from a dark place in the same farm house held hostage by this hellish family and dimly lit from a hellish purple glow yet I feel a part of them and somehow they are my family. They allow me to go out at night and feed and at times I admit I have tried to escape only to hear Wilbur chuckle and say "don't even think about it". By the way the haunted house will be open next year and I will take the money and usher the lost souls into the abyss I hope you will come.