Night, like no other. October's closing ceremony.
Drew McCormack stands gazing out from his front porch, joined only by the uncarved pumpkin propped on the gray wooden ledge. Curling his forearm to read his wristwatch, he sees that just two minutes have passed since last check. 9:48--which he once again translates to LATE.
"Dammit, Robbie," he grumbles, but really he's cursing himself. He should never have let the boy go out tonight.
These are the opening lines of my short story "The Day After Halloween," which appears in the just-released anthology Jack-o'-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy (Raven Electrick Ink). In the story, nothing is quite what it seems (apropos of October 31st), and traditional holiday rituals take on a sinister significance. It's a quiet piece, whose final sentence hopefully will reverberate in readers' minds.
If you are a fan of Halloween literature, be sure to check out the dark harvest of fiction and poetry filling the pages of Jack-O'-Spec (including works by Bruce Boston, James S. Dorr, Marge Simon, and Geoffrey A. Landis).