October 31

Fictober, Prompt 31 – “Take me with you.”

Original fiction, dark fantasy.

Warnings: none.


Night had fallen, though the last lingering echoes of sunset still lightened the western horizon, a break in the trees showing thin clouds streaked bloody red along their undersides. The road led that way, shadowed by mostly bare branches. Wind whispered through the boughs, rustling the remaining leaves as October came to a quiet close.

There was a figure on the road ahead.

I hesitated, unsure both of my own decision and of what he might say, but in the end it didn’t matter.

I hurried forward, and gradually allowed my steps to become more audible on the packed earth of the road. Startling him would not make him more likely to agree.

“Wait,” I called, when I was close enough, keeping my voice low but not trying to make it sound human, as I had before. There was nothing to hide any more. “Wait, please!”

He paused at this, as he had not paused at my footsteps. I wondered if his hand was on his dagger under his cloak. I would not fault him if it was.

He turned only slightly, just enough to look at me over his shoulder, whatever he could see in the deepening dark.

We stared silently at each other for a long moment, my words suddenly sticking in my throat. This was the- the most astoundingly forward thing I had ever done, which seemed strange, given what I was, but was nevertheless true.

“Well?” he asked, patience running out, his tone wary but not angry.

My courage (a strange thing to suddenly need) rose slightly. The past weeks had been a mess, but he had not left until it was settled, and if he was not truly angry now…

“Please,” I said, finding my voice, “take me with you.”

He jerked in startlement, eyes going wide. “What?

“Please,” I repeated, finding that all my former arrogance had flowed away, sometime in the preceding days. I hadn’t realized it then, but could tell the difference now. “Please, take me with you.”

As he continued to gape at me speechlessly, I realized that I could not have astonished him more if I had tried. He had expected any request other than this one. I felt myself curl in a little, suddenly sure this had been a mistake. If it was so unexpected—

Just as I was about to step back, he turned fully, the astonishment on his face shifting into something else, something lighter, something like

“You—” he hesitated himself, just briefly, then continued, “You would want that?”

I nodded, not daring to move otherwise.

“But isn’t this your- your territory, or something? Don’t you have to be here?”

“It is,” I confirmed, “or it was. We— It is better, usually, to be settled somewhere, to have an anchor, but…”

But this was no longer a place I wished to be settled, I did not say. He seemed to understand anyway.

“But it is not a necessity, and sometimes it is good not to be so tethered to a place,” I continued, voice low again. “Sometimes our anchor can be— Can be a person, if they so agree.”

Confusion and the last of his hesitation fell away from his face, leaving him open and smiling as he had been for most of his time here.

“I didn’t think you would want to leave,” he confessed, and then nodded firmly. “Yes. If you’re wanting to come, then please, come with me.”

Relief, another sensation I had learned only recently, flooded me.

“I will,” I told him, and reached out.

He reached back, linking his hand with me, and then we continued west along the road together. The night deepened around us, no more lingering light of sunset. The hymns of the October wind took on a darker, eerier tone, and the forest on either side was neither empty nor silent.

But together, we would fear no road, and no future.


Happy Halloween! The “hymns of the October wind” line is lovingly borrowed from the song All Hallows by Aviators, which is a great Halloween song.

That’s it for Fictober for this year, and many thanks to @fictober-event for running it!

And I am closing out October properly by finishing up a daily re-read of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October, which I highly, highly recommend. It’s a fun story, with references to so many other stories and movies and characters that it takes more than one read to really appreciate it all. Zelazny’s prose is sparse and wonderful, and there’s a lot of humor in it. I’m glad to have finally read it again.

October 31

Fictober, Prompt 31 – “Scared, me?”

Warnings: monsters, implied hunting. Some Halloween spookiness to finish things off.

Acknowledgment: This whole piece was inspired by a creepy Halloween night description that LiveJournal user eryne-chan wrote many years ago in an LJ RPG. I really liked the description and saved it, and wanted to do something in tribute (though this story is entirely unrelated to the original RPG post). The last half of the last line is borrowed directly from her description, because I could not get it to sound quite right with any other wording. The rest is merely “inspired by.” Happy Halloween!


I always patrol the streets on Halloween. I start early, before the sun is fully down, as the little children and their parents make their trick-or-treating rounds. I’m well known by now, and many of the children wave excitedly when they see me, exclaiming over whichever guise I have picked to wear this year. Their parents nod to me in thanks for the extra pair of watchful eyes.

There are some monsters that would snatch children away.

I nod back, but do not speak to them.

Dark comes early here, at this point in the dying year. Soon enough the streetlights are flickering on, pools of warmer golden light, a safer companion to the cold light of the moon, rising above.

Some of the streetlights continue to flicker, never quite coming on.

The parents with children avoid those streets. The older children, the ones allowed to walk together without adult supervision, make an appearance in greater numbers now.

They do go down the streets with flickering lights, encouraging each other toward the lighted doorways and spookily welcoming decorations.

“Scared, me?” they ask each other brashly, and do not listen to the instincts that tell them to stay away from darker paths.

I do not stop them. That is not my purpose, and in any case, it is mostly safe.

The moon is thin this year, its light weak.

Darkness steals into the spaces between houses, thickening between the pools of lamplight, creeping up to fill the treetops. With true darkness, the children are not the only ones on the streets anymore. More figures, costumed and masked as is appropriate, join the children, following in their footsteps, accepting candy at doorsteps but never taking their eyes from those they follow.

I follow them, and they are forced to nod in acknowledgement. They follow the children, as is their nature, but they do nothing else.

Adults begin to return to the streets, costumed themselves now, heading for restaurants and parties and bars. Other figures join them and are complimented for their costumes. They smile realistic sharp smiles, and nod in thanks, and wait.

They too are forced to nod in acknowledgment as I pass by. They follow the adults, as is their nature, but they do nothing else.

For now.

If the adults notice anything amiss, they brush it off as a product of the atmosphere.

“Scared, me?” they ask each other jokingly, and do not ask why the atmosphere feels the way it does.

Hours pass, and still I patrol the streets. Parties wind down, and people make their way home. Those that know, or sense, that they are not alone hurry. Many hurry. Some move more slowly, unaware, or too inebriated, to realize they should be watching the time.

The seconds tick by. I can hear them in head, though the large clock on the main street counts only minutes and hours, silently.

Almost.

I hold my breath, and many others hold theirs (or not) with me.

The clock strikes midnight.

There is no chime, as there might have been in older times, but all know that it has come. Even the drunkest people feel a sudden chill, and the darkness deepens as the moon slips behind the trees, acknowledging that the time of its pale light is done.

There is a moment of stillness.

I smile.

Masks begin to slip, and other smiles grow sharper.

Those humans who have not made it safely home must now make their way through streets that are less friendly. Some will not make it unscathed. Some will not make it at all.

The darkest hours of All Hallows Eve are our time…and dawn is a long way away.

October 28

Fictober, Prompt 28 – “Enough! I heard enough.”

Warnings: bad language, implied past harassing behavior, implied violent death, monster, slightly ambiguous ending? Horror.


“You stupid bitch! You can’t tell me where to walk on a public—”

“I can when you’ve repeatedly been asked to stop harassing my friend and persist in doing it anyway.”

This is harassment, you can’t just—”

I raised one extremely unimpressed eyebrow at him. “You’re the one spending your Friday nights walking around in a serial killer mask, getting your kicks by scaring random strangers. If one of us is in danger of harassing somebody, it’s not me.”

This launched him into another diatribe, with more insults liberally peppered throughout. I was tempted to cast my own aspersions on his character (well, more than I already had), parentage, and intellectual abilities, but restrained myself with effort.

A quick glance showed me that Sasha had snuck by while I was physically blocking him from following her, and she was now out of sight.

“Enough!” I cut him off. “I’ve heard enough. I can’t stop you from walking up and down a public street.  I get that it’s almost Halloween, and you’re not the only one in costume. Plenty of the bar goers even seem to appreciate the scare. But I can and will prevent you from scaring my friend, who has to walk by here for her job every night. She has repeatedly asked that you leave her, specifically, alone, and you have refused, which definitely moves you out of ‘sort of acceptable Halloween creepy’ and solidly into ‘actually creepy asshole.’ So, I will be here every night to walk with her and prevent you from being that creepy asshole as far as she is concerned. Capiche?”

He swore at me again, voice low enough to be muffled by the mask, and turned away.

I wished desperately that I could give him the ass-kicking he richly deserved. Halloween was big in our town, had been for almost a century, and he’d become an (unfortunate) fixture in the past couple years. If he kept his scares to the drunk bar patrons who were looking for that sort of thing, or for ‘fun’ selfies with a famous fictional serial killer, that would be fine.

But that wasn’t enough for our masked friend. I didn’t think he was a real danger to anyone, fake knife notwithstanding, but he was definitely the kind of asshole who enjoyed actually scaring people unwillingly, and that wasn’t cool.

He headed back into the dark alley that he enjoyed lurking in, with one more obvious glance and a raised middle finger at me.

Man, he really deserved that ass-kicking, but I kept my feet firmly planted on the sidewalk outside the alley. He’d not raised a hand or made any attempt to grab or harm me, even now when he’d been really angry, and I wasn’t going to be the one to escalate things.

Something else moved farther back in the alley.

Something big.

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