Earlier this month I opened a call for submissions. I need to add a timed deadline, I am guilty myself of making last minute submissions, however this project inspired me to make a surprise poetry film which was a wrap by teatime.
The original deadline was extended to get work in – and then, well it flew down the chimney like a scene from Harry Potter!
With this in mind and the fact that I did something crazy, as a poet laureate (enthused by a brilliant lively and brimming with story, 42) – I invited Flash Fiction to join the ranks. So those of you who love a spooky tale will love this.
It was never my intention to produce a film with the Flashes, so they are published here along with accepted poetry that I pipped to the post in cutting room!
Huge thanks, as always for your support.
Now sit back, enjoy and prepared to be spooked. What do you mean you have to answer the door? It will only be Trick or Treaters…
The film includes my first ever crowd sourced poem! I am proud to have included every word from every contributor, despite knowing that some only responded in jest. I take that jibe and I poet it!
If you prefer to watch full screen (you brave soul) then you need to use YouTube, link below.
And if that has whet your appetite then here’s more:
Trick or Treat
By Roz Levens
“Trick or Treat”
The door creaked open and the little old lady smiled at the pumpkin child with his endearing orange and black costume.
Her hand shot out, and grabbing his wrist, she dragged him inside.
“Gimme all yer stash!” she snarled, pulling off of her latex face to reveal the hag beneath. Trembling, he proffered the basket.
“And yer pockets!”
The child fled, howling.
Putting her feet up in front of the TV, she opened the first bag of sweets, awaiting the dual sugar hit of ‘Bake Off’ and ‘Fang-Tastics.’
Hallowe’en got better every year.
The Most Dangerous Game
by James Burr
He stood, waiting in the darkness.
It was Halloween and the late October-chill had forced everyone, apart from some particularly determined Trick or Treaters, indoors early. This was the traditional time for ghost stories and tales about ghouls and demons and restless spirits. It was also at this time of year that many people, usually young and inexperienced in the ways of magick, would gather around candles in otherwise dark bedrooms and play paranormal games.
Bloody Mary continued to be popular, where frightened children would gather in front of a mirror and, trying to convince their friends that they were not scared, nudge each other in the ribs to intone the name “Bloody Mary” three times. It was then said that the gore-covered spirit would then appear and either drive the summoner mad or drag them into the mirror.
Another popular game was Red Book, where the children would grab hold of a large, red book, and then say, “Red Book, can I enter your game?” They then ask it a question about their crush, their future, whatever is their concern and then open the book to find the sentence that answers it, whether the response be one of hope or of doom.
But surely there was no game as well-known but as little played as that of the Blank-Faced Man. To play the game one was supposed to, as with so many other games, light a candle and then stand in front of a mirror. Then, with eyes tightly closed, the player is supposed to chant:
“Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me,
To judge my life and extract a fee
If I am guilty, with you I will go,
But if I am innocent, good fortune you will bestow.
Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me.
To judge my life and extract a fee”
The player then opens their eyes, and if they are innocent, being blessed by the Blank-Faced Man, they would have good luck for the rest of the year. However, if guilty, when they open their eyes they would instead see the Blank-Faced Man in the mirror, his visage devoid of features, his face pallid planes of flesh, before he quickly grabs them with bony fingers and pulls them into the darkness of the mirror, behind the pane of glass. But the reason the game was played so infrequently was that another aspect of the myth surrounding the game was that no-one, no-one ever, had been judged favourably by the Blank-Faced Man and there were even dozens of YouTube videos showing children being taken away, screaming, into the darkness, even if these had obviously been made by pranksters or wannabe horror film directors.
Still, he stood in the darkness on this Halloween night, this perfect night for playing such dangerous games, unmoving, impassive. Finally there came a chink, then a rectangle, of flickering light in the darkness, a child’s face seemingly hovering in the pitch black, as he nervously mumbled, ““Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me, To judge my life and extract a fee….”
And so he lifted his featureless face and, bony fingers outstretched, slowly made his way towards the light.
Back to Poetry and a perfect break from darkness. A Children’s Halloween poem.
Bat in the Box
There’s a bat in the box
In the back of my car
He was found on the clock
just above the sweetie jar
The task was mine, to get him down, a job none too appealing
So there I was, upside down, hanging from the ceiling
Rubber gloves, protective mask, I grabbed him by the wings
My Uncle Fred, it’s what he said, he knows about these things
There’s a bat in the box
And I’m trying not to scream
It wouldn’t be as scary
If it wasn’t Halloween
We park the car, remove the lid, then stand some ten feet back
But nothing moves, the bat’s asleep, we haven’t got the knack
Flashing lights, blues and twos, the police are on their way
‘There’s been complaints’, the first one states, I don’t know what to say
There’s a bat in the box
And a copper on the phone
He’s getting really angry
How I wish that bat had flown
I turn around, my Uncle Fred, is shaking our friend free
A scraping noise, a burst of life, the bat’s soon in the tree
‘The nick of time,’ the policeman chimes, ‘I’m glad he’s got away.
But next time use your brain and call the RSPCA!’
WHITBY GHOST WALK
They gathered by the whalebone arch
And waited for their guide
A ghostly trip down darkened streets
Would keep the myths alive
A witches curse, a ghostly scream
A headless horseman too
And Dracula again would rise
The tales would all come true
A woman shrieked, an owl cried
A horses hooves were heard
Shivers ran down trembling spines
Were legends so absurd?
The guide moved on, more tales to tell
His group now filled with fear
He raised his arms as bat wings formed
And then ……… he disappeared!