All Hallow's Eve

October 23, 2016
By Changeling PLATINUM, Cupertino, California
Changeling PLATINUM, Cupertino, California
43 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Go ahead, make yourself sick on mountains of sugar and chemicals, neon colors, artificial forms. Wear an absolutely darling costume: a vampire, a bee, a sexy nurse, a superhero, any of the other products of a strained imagination. Get your hair and makeup exactly right to parade through school. Stay out late, terrify yourself by watching blood splatter on your flickering TV screen, shadowy forms that will haunt your dreams tonight, leap out at your friends from behind dark bushes to turn the forms against them. Take photos, recordings, videos, smother your feed with them: you and your friends, you on your own, you with your pet in matching stifling costumes, you with a jack o’lantern. Maybe if you're brave you'll sit in front of a mirror with a candle, when everyone's gone home, and whisper false words at your soulless reflection in hope of – what?
    Just don't stay out past midnight.
    Past midnight, one or two or three in the morning, only it's not morning yet, it’s the deepest night. Avoid those hours. Be safe in your bed in those hours. If you wake up, breathing hard, uncontrollable flashes of images behind your eyes from a nightmare where a crow ties a hangman's knot for your neck (and what does that have to do with those films you watched? - exactly nothing, my friend), don't move a muscle. You know what happens if you move, when the night presses close to you, smothers you, murmurs against your ears in cotton silence. Your blinds must be shut tight against the light of the harvest-moon, witching-moon. Your mirror must be covered by a dark cloth.
    Just don't stay out past midnight.
    You and your people may have forgotten, may have allowed the wisdom of ignorance to fall from you, shed as a snakeskin is shed when the sinuous form outgrows it. Still your bones are your ancestor's, and they know better than you. This is a time when the world hangs in balance, it is neither the longest sleep in the cloak of winter nor the restless, halcyon midsummer day. The world falters, it holds its breath. Decay is just now starting to send its crumbling roots through the trees, the creatures, the fields and air and even your cities. Hollow life still reaches up, gasping, wakeful, lost.
    Just don't stay out past midnight.
    All the webs of electricity you spin, webs of words, webs of lies, constrict and shatter at this hour. You can run but you can't hide. As long as you are animate and blood courses through your veins, the crimson shall turn to syrup, chilled by the intimations of death. You may sense the slide before you, the inevitable plunge back into darkness, because there's only one way for this eternal struggle to end. Though you have gathered all you can, stored up wheat, golden-swelled corn, sweet fruit against the coming storm (and now, too, you construct glass houses to keep the plants sustained through the angled, frozen sunlight) the leaves separate from the trees. The deer you saw splayed on the road, skull shattered, glassy-eyed, brains fanned across four lanes of asphalt, is a portent.
    Just don't stay out past midnight.
    And don't wake up past midnight. For now you can no longer control the frenzied beats of your heart, the alternating sweat and chills that envelope you, and you can hear it, the night. Nothing exists except the night, for all the world is falling into darkness. Your parents may be asleep in the next room over, your brother in his room down the hall, only you know really they are dead at this hour, dead to the world in their hibernation. Now you know what is outside and you cannot help rising from your bed, damp sheets rustling, drifting down the stairs and out the back door. The familiar walls are illusory, the blinking green-red-blue lights are dim, meaningless.
    Just don't stay out past midnight.
    For midnight is when we come out to play. In the light of the moon – how can you ever think it friendly, comforting, romantic, it is only as old as the dark itself, old and cynical – we cavort, frolic, gambol. We rear up, tonight in this night of balance we can rise up from the caves, the dark tunnels of the sewage pipes, all the hidden blood-drenched places. Tonight is our night, the night to turn your modern days a hundred years back, a thousand, ten thousand centuries to the primeval time, before fire even, when night was dark and terrible. There is nothing you can do now, your ancestral bones draw us to you, our mirror-eyes find yours, our paleness transparent to the cutting gaze of the moon. Every person has their double; we are that double. We are neither decay nor creation. We are the corruption that warps all movement, we turn to death what was alive and to life what was dead. You used to know us, when you were but animals, shivering and exposed to our predation. You used to know us when we lived in you, when guns flashed in light and fires raged over the earth. You used to know us, and you made a mistake when you thought we'd forgotten you. Now you cannot deny us.
    You shouldn't have stayed out past midnight.

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