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The Coming of the Autumn People

By: NLogan
"By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes." - William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act IV Scene I

The Coming of the Autumn People

“For some, autumn comes early, stays late....For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth....Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.” - Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

I am one of them. Autumn stirs my soul, Halloween fills my veins. Walk with me in the chill air with dead leaves swirling around your feet under the harvest moon."Where are we going?", you ask. You will find out soon enough. We are going to meet them.

“The stuff of nightmare is their plain bread. They butter it with pain. They set their clocks by deathwatch beetles, and thrive the centuries." - Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

The streets are deserted. The trick-or-treaters have disappeared from the streets, their echoes of laughter long dead, with their hauls of candy safely stashed away against parental thievery. Even the unruly teenagers have retired from their pranks with shattered pumpkins in the streets and toilet paper evidencing their passage. Many have fallen asleep to horror movies played deep into the small hours of the night and are still facing screens of static with sleeping unseeing eyes as they repose like the dead on couches in dark houses. We are not likely to encounter many, well living souls anyway, save perhaps a body-snatcher or grave robber. Ghosts and goblins there will be plenty.

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
... Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows' Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet." -
Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

Are you one of the Autumn People too? Do you participate in the Danse Macabre, the dance of the dead? Do you know that all who walk rich or poor, old or young will one day join in death? Do you dress like the dead or undead during nights like tonight when the spirits are roaming the earth? Why do you do it? Is it to scare them off? To confuse death, and have them pass by you for another year? Is it to laugh at death and celebrate life? Or is it to be accepted by them as one of their own?

Evidence of the celebration of the early evening is apparent, empty bowls on porches, carved Jack-O'-Lanterns with leering grins now dark as their flames have sputtered and died, decorated lawns with tombstones and skeletons, candy wrappers mingle with the blown leaves dropped by sticky fingered horrors, as they raced from house to house.

Blow mold pumpkins and ghosts still glowing feebly in windows, but the porch lights are out. Halloween cut outs in windows are nearly impossible to see by their faint light.

Do you dress your young as goblins or ghouls and send them out into the night? Are your costumes to scare the neighbors? Do you give tricks in exchange for treats? Do you play tricks when no treats are given? Do you offer up prayers for the dead in exchange for a soul cake? Do you guise through the dark streets begging for sweets?

Peering through the eye holes of your mask as you stalk your prey do you imagine you are the monster you are dressed up to be?

'Tis now the very witching time of night... - William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act III Scene II

There is an extra hour of Halloween this year, a thirteenth chime of the clock, a witching hour.

"Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble" -William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act IV Scene I

Do you stay home and pass out treats to the creatures of the night so that they will pass by and leave you in peace? Do you brew a cauldron of hot apple cider? Do you plan a party and dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? Do your friends and relative gather around for scary ghost stories? Or is your house completely shunned because of its dark and forbidding aspect or local folklore and rumors of being haunted?

Let us light a lantern or perhaps a Jack-O'-Lantern to light our way. We are reaching the edge of town and approaching the cemetery and woods beyond.

We must not linger here near the graveyard. The spirits of the restless dead may claim us. Quickly past to the forest. The only ones to see our passing are the owl and raven.

"Thus, under the dripping trees, and environed by huge and moving shadows, they reached the scene of their unhallowed labours." - Robert Louis Stevenson, The Body-Snatcher

It is nearly dawn. If you fear the night it is nearly over. But I suspect you love its cool embrace as do I or you would not have journeyed with me this night. They are here and have been watching. They know of your love of Halloween and your delight in the spooky and scary happenings on this night. They will accept you into their fold. But there is a price and no turning back. You have become one with the dark and are now one of the Autumn people. You may pass silently as the wind through the trees and hide in shadow. Your journey is complete. Now we must hurry back for your body where we left it. The only witnesses in town peering through curtain slits will say they saw you walking alone when they question your disappearance. They will not know it was only your ghost and that your body will never take another step.

“All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon now came crowding upon his recollection. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal. He was, moreover, approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid.” - Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

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NLogan Posted on Oct 08, 2015 at 09:10 PM

Thanks echidna64!

NLogan Posted on Oct 08, 2015 at 09:10 PM

Yeah, after three My Retro Halloween articles and a Monster Madness games article on Retrojunk, and one previous Halloween article here I am pretty spent on Halloween material. So I just went with an atmosphere piece or atmos-fear, a mood setting if you will. Trying to capture the essence of Halloween like lightning in a bottle.

echidna64 Posted on Oct 08, 2015 at 05:59 PM

What an incredible Halloween epic!

Vaporman87 Posted on Oct 08, 2015 at 04:18 PM

I'm not really sure what I just read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Something about this REALLY puts one in the Halloween mood. For you, I'm guessing that's "mission accomplished".

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