On the border’s edge, along the river bank, there sits a town that no one ever visits and no one ever leaves. From the outside it may seem an abode of serenity, a place of peace. But truly, that could not be further from the truth.
The people of this town wander aimlessly, no purpose in mind, with their eyes blank as unused canvases. No one speaks a word as they roam to and fro, for they know something awful is going to invade their lives this fateful night.
The doors all shut before dark. As the full moon rises, silence settles through the streets. Not even the wind dares to blow for fear of what’s coming.
The old clock tower tolls twelve haunting times. Ears press to door frames as they all hold their breath. All is quiet for a moment. Far, far too quiet.
That’s the first sign.
The second sign comes as a whisper, softly sighing through the air.
To the women in the house on the corner, it’s the sweet notes of the lullaby her mother sang to her when she was a small girl.
To the young boy tightly clutching his stuffed bear, it's the song of wind chimes singing as the wind gently jostles them.
To the preacher holed up in the chapel, it's the bubbly laugh of a girl he discovered, loved, and lost within a single summer.
They all hear something different, something sweet, soft and calming. Something that throws their guard down. All except the man with the single glass eye.
All he hears is a blood-curtling scream.
Finally come the footfalls, thundering down like hail. They boom and bang in the most horrifying way, terror crawling beneath the skin like squirming worms, burrowing into one’s very blood stream.
However, only one soul, a soul that has seen far too much, hears it at all. The rest have lost themselves in fond memory. They sigh softly as they lose themselves even further. They slip away, like slowly dripping caramel, their very bones being settled into a slow, steady lull.
The final sign.
“It’s here! It’s here!” a voice gravelly from disuse calls in vain. No one can hear, for no one has enough of themselves left to listen.
The creature's ugly, grotesque claws dig into the shifting grains of dirt as it lurches forward. It sings its song, which grows to a crescendo as the distance vanishes. Each note burns like acid, but too lost in pleasure is its audience to care. So lost in fact, that they don’t even grasp the fact that their very beings are melting into a puddle of infectious sorrow in an alluring state of disguise.
It grins with cruel satisfaction, black tar oozing from fangs of shattered mirror shards.
The old man’s glass eye rolls back in its socket in agony as his very flesh drips from his bones, pooling onto the floor beneath. For the rest the pain is drawn out, delayed, and then completely numbed. But for him, it comes stabbing into him like a thousand red hot needles
Not this again, he thinks, Not another year.
Every time it’s the same. He alone has to feel the pain, because of what happened all those years ago. He alone will experience the burning as his blood wraps back around his abandoned skeleton and as his body is pulled back together with stitches of flames as the sun rises above the village once more.
But worse still, he’ll be the only one to remember. None of the townsfolk will believe his words about the horror he suffered, at least not for another year when fear is running high once again. At least not until the next All Hallow’s Eve.
The clock strikes once more, but only a single toll rings through the air this time. All is silent once again.
The creature whips forward, moving with the same sort of twisted grace as always, and leans over the open window sill. The old man still sits in that same rocking chair, his glass eye swinging from side to side in his now bare skull.
The creature can see just fine, despite being completely blind, for around its leathery neck is strung a blinking eye of green it stole as payment long ago.
The old man’s eye.
It tosses back it’s hideous maw and laughs, and oh the horror it would bring if there was anyone left to hear. The old man’s skeleton shivers. It whispers the only words it ever speaks.
“Till next year, old friend,” Then, it’s gone.
If only bones could scream.