By Aribella Lafleur
Octoberville: Things That Go Bump in the Night…
Landing at an eerie crossroads in the autumn twilight, we stopped to decipher the aged and dilapidated sign posts. The wide, dusty streets were reminiscent of a Western spoof, and I half expected John Wayne to jump out with his six-guns blazing. As I glanced at my mismatched and inept team, I suddenly realised a resurrected Mr. Wayne would not look at all out of place lumbering about in a body which had been mouldering for the previous 30 years.
Bleached, ghoulish skins and weirdly altered attire adorned my comrades, and, upon closer inspection, myself also. I later discovered this disturbing metamorphosis had occurred to others entering the land, as we encountered many gruesome, cadaverous souls. These strangers happily conversed with us while the spoiled flesh tore from their bodies and pustules ruptured in leprous profusion.
Our eyes alighted on a cluster of bright, shiny pumpkins- the perfect spot to pause and examine our altered state while planning our exploration strategies. My band of miscreants quickly deserted me for mouth-watering apples bobbing within a half-barrel in a nearby rotunda.
Whilst they crunched audibly on fresh fruit, my attention was drawn to a mystical fountain, spraying stars into the heavens. My eyes shining with the mysterious swirling lights, I stepped gracefully into the glittering array and…
…I awoke on an examination bed in the physician’s rooms, beneath an imposing, antiquated hulk of machinery. Clearly medical in nature, I could not fathom its exact function, but was convinced the apparatus was intended for a diabolical purpose… Dazed and disoriented, fearing myself in certain danger of being subsumed into Frankenstein’s monstrous creation, I leapt off the table and fled the room.
Outside the gruesome surgery, my rogue comrades were chortling at my horrified expression. With the intent to strike dread into their spirits, I marched them all into a nearby schoolroom, where they were duly castigated and saw the error of their wicked ways…. for a split second. I feared I had yoked myself to a troop of buffoons with the attention span of amoebae.
Stoically labouring on, I dragged my chastened crew along, stopping to survey a decrepit single-roomed house. One by one we succumbed to the lure of the powerfully and seductively hypnotic television flickering in the corner, as it rolled though countless hours of bad black-and-white monster flicks. Somehow regaining my faculties before being permanently ensnared, I wandered back out onto the roadway in a glazed trance.
In this stunned stupor, I stumbled upon a playground and collapsed onto a swing where I oscillated to dizzying heights, until queasiness forced me to disembark on shaky legs. Coerced by my ever-rowdy associates into a game of basketball while still disoriented, I discovered the horror of team sports. I retired, battered and bruised, from my glorious ten-minute sporting career to engage in gentler and more ladylike pursuits.
As day turned to dusk, and the shadows deepened to form spectral shapes around each corner, we entered a darkened, seedy tavern: the Crow Bar. My companions redeemed themselves for their earlier behaviour by buying my drinks for the night.
After downing a few beverages, the screaming of my bladder outweighed my trepidation of filthy public restrooms (especially after an earlier brush with a begrimed double-decker outhouse). The amenities were a dimly lit cesspool, but in my alcohol-befuddled state I barely noticed the germ-infested surroundings.
Fuelled by hard liquor I braved the dance floor; a giant rotating vinyl record. With wanton abandon, I was heaved up to whirl alarmingly around on the bar with my inebriated accomplices until I fell and passed out on the sticky floor.
The rattle, clank, and hiss of a steam engine alerted me to a rather dire change in my circumstances as I regained consciousness. Slumped on the tracks with one of my allies, the train steamed rapidly closer. Behind the wheel the hideously evil (although still heart-meltingly cute) Frankenbear mutant gloated. The lack of assistance from my companions, coupled with the appearance of a shifty looking (yet strangely familiar) character, screamed “Conspiracy!” within my struggling mind as it attempted to rouse my body into a response to the imminent threat….
Copy and images (c) 2007, Aribella Lafleur. All Rights Reserved.
Produced with the editorial assistance of Must Packbiers.
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