All Hallows Eve

All Hallows Eve

A Story by M. L. F.
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Short Story

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All Hallows Eve


     His death had been labeled 'accidental, but they all knew better.  The Porsche had skid off the sleet coated portion of the old paved highway 91.  Local police sent a forensic team, which diligently searched the scene of the accident, and deemed, by the angle of the tracks, that he had been traveling at normal speeds. It was stated, after hours of monotonous scrutiny, that he had merely lost control along the treacherous plummeting turn known by town folk as the “widow’s peak”.  It had claimed its share of daredevils over the years, devouring them into the darkness, along its dimly lit stretch.  It was a hungry, curvaceous arch that snapped sharply, whipping on a hairpin curve. Those new to the deadly arc that didn't comprehend its danger would succumb to the old slab of concrete.  Her father included in its fatal claim.

       But Lucas Gibson wasn't new to the little town of La Vista, nor that perilous bend in the highway.  He had thwarted it a thousand times before.  He had driven that curve in the old highway coated with thick panes of slick, black sleet.  He was no stranger to the treacherous arc.

       Whispers of an ambiguous secret; answers to questions yet asked, begun to swirl like smoke from a fire across the tiny town’s outskirts, from one person to the next, until Walking through town was torture.  Every eye was upon her, every mouth murmuring to the next about the man she called father.  Her new hobby was now learning how to hide her tears from the narrow eyes of the nosy town's locals.  The locals that never stopped watching.  

      Her father had been on her mind all morning.  She remained captive to those imprisoning thoughts.  Even as she and David rode down the solemn stretch of highway towards the cemetery, her hand caressed the creases of the faded photo of her father, hidden deep in her tawny coat’s pocket. 

      She gazed out the lightly tinted windows of David’s truck as it swerved onto Long Street's wet pavement.  The rain poured down on the darkened window panes as she watched in trance, each vehicle as it passed in whirling blurs of slow motion.  Paint slipped passed in streams of changing hues; their tones intense somehow. The colors seemed to bleed, melting into one another like crayons lying too long in the sun; well passed the point where she could tell where one ended and another began.

      They arrived just past four and pulled into one of the gravel slots in the empty parking lot.  She approached his grave with apprehension; a bouquet of flowers bound in a yellow satin noose clutched tightly in her nervous palms.

      He stood at the foot of the headstone with her, staring in silence for two seconds.  Then he turned and walked away.  She was glad he had left her alone to grieve, to speak her words into space alone to the father she could no longer see, no longer hear, no longer hug.  She needed this, she thought as she knelt and laid the lilies she'd carried gently against his grey headstone.  It was time to accept it..

        He was gone.

        The rain had stopped but she knew not for long, as the clouds overhead began to deepen and change, warning of what was to come.  She concentrated on what little time was left for her last goodbye before the sky wept with her again. 

       “Why did you leave me papa?” she stammered, warm tears skittering down her face and into her mouth. 

      “I know you were sad here, that you couldn't handle the pain any longer papa...but try to be happy where you are now.  Promise me you will.  Promise me.. Watch over me as I grow and turn into the woman you always wanted me to be, at least I hope I will anyway.”

      The tears continued skidding down a little while longer and so did the conversation with the lone headstone.  Then she turned towards David and nodded silently, signaling him back to her side. 

         The first chill of winter stirred the stark silence like an echo, and he watched as a shiver coursed through her shoulders as they stood.  He had rejoined her at the grave.  His arm slid instinctively around the slender point of her waist; his fingers curling tight around the kaki belt of her coat as he held her a moment, then led her away without a word towards his truck. 

       She stared up at his pale blue eyes, which looked almost silver in the darkening skylight as they made their way back to the gravel lot.  They were the very hue of her father’s, but twinkled in the places where her father’s had gone dim. 

          Mena smiled meekly, feeling herself fake the strength to leave her father as she answered his urging words.  She knew he was not really worried about being late, but concerned she would never want to leave, and he was right. 

         “Yeah, I guess it would be rude for us to arrive late to the Halloween party we agreed to host,” she mused with a smile.

     “Just slightly,” David said with a coy smirk. 

        It had become impenetrably cold in a matter of minutes.  Even the dangling evergreen’s leaves seemed to be quivering along with them.  Her mind momentarily drown out the sound of David’s gentle protests to hurry and drifted away as she paused to touch the tree nearest her.  Her fingers pressed forgetfully into the rough bark, feeling every fold, every crease, her mind meticulously lost in trance like lucidity. 

       He watched her intently for a moment, wanting to give her the space she needed.  It broke him to see her this way, missing her father, the injustice of it all.  He felt truly helpless, with the knowledge that there would never really be a way to fix this for her.  At least not in bringing her father back, which was all she really wanted.  At least he could make her laugh, and with that he decided to joke his way out of the painful moment. 

      “You know I can always leave the two of you alone,” he teased, nodding towards the gargantuan tree she was tenderly grasping.

          “Ok, ok, you’re right,” she smiled.

         Her desire to disregard his request to leave was quickly dismissed and he led her away from the trees toward his truck. 

          “Will you look at that sky,” David stammered, his neck twisted unnaturally towards the clouds. 

          She stared upwards at the brewing storm above, contorting her muscles along with his.

         As she shifted her gaze she stole and irresistible glimpse of his jaw.  Admiring the way it set his profile, casting deep shadows along the length of his stubble covered neck.  She noticed the way the shallow light danced down his Adams apple, then continued flowing in one sinuous fluid sweep over his collar bone, ceasing at his shoulders, prominent and strong. 

          A rush of eager anticipation swelled beneath the surface of her skin, flushing her cheeks plum, and she wondered if he noticed.  Mena had been catching herself in this same scenario again and again lately.  She worried that it was becoming obvious to him, her new little habit of subconsciously slipping into idiotic trances at the sight of his tepid eyes during their conversations. 

          They were the best of friends, had been since grade school, and she’d never thought of him that way before.  But Mena could feel herself falling into an unfamiliar trap with David as her heart began to bend toward him in new directions.  Knowing he would never regard her as more than a younger sister, she forced herself to snap out of her own trance.  She moved her eyes sharply from his neck to the storm now consuming the skies atop the tree-line.

         Dark ebony clouds ballooned across the heavens like black oil spilling into ocean water, bruising the previously pale autumn sky. They walked faster and faster now to escape the eye of the storm.  Sheets of fine rain fell heavily down from the swollen clouds, once again weeping over the dehydrated bits of earth hidden far beneath the ridge of the mountain.  The very mountain whose hairpin turn had taken her father’s life.  They walked faster and faster now to escape the eye of the storm.  Through a slot in the sky, they saw and eagle descend, swooping overhead in wide gaping circles towards the tangle of trees.

          Beyond their towering tops lie the usually tranquil waters of the White River.  Its mirrored sheen, no longer still, trembled under each new drop of rain, dimpling its glossy surface.  Her father taught her to love these sort of storms, and so she did.  When she was small, he would take her outside and dance with her in the rain.  She remembered it all so vividly, the two of them, kicking and splashing beneath the rumbling sky.  While the rest of the town hid inside and trembled, they danced.  Though half the town thought them insane, it didn’t dissuade them.  A shame he had missed this one, she muttered beneath her breath.

     “What a shame.”…

          Mena and David continued gazing upwards as they sped towards his waiting truck, watching curiously as the eagle dipped behind the trees, then reappeared and circled once more before finally disappearing into the tufted gray sky. 

        He had always loved eagles, her father; even wore a golden necklace adorned with the bird’s beguiling image upon its charm. The sight of the eagle stunned Mena, for she knew it was a message, a sign in the sky that her father was there, meandering, watching over her wherever she may roam.     

     They got into the truck and slammed the doors behind them.  They were going to be late if they didn’t step on it.  David drove with the windows rolled down slightly for Mena.  The sound of thunder continued to rumble and lightning began to splinter across the night sky like deep veins of marble.  Frigid air blustered in, but he knew she loved the sights and sounds.    

     David exploded onto the highway like a firecracker, contorting the leather-clad steering wheel from lane to lane with indescribable expertise.  She could hear the thick tread of the oversize tires ripping loudly across the wet pavement.  They were not far from his house now, so she grabbed her purse and prepared to dash in and clean up.   

            They had arrived at David’s house in record time, making it there somehow long before the first guests arrived.  Racing in to lay out the food and dim the lights for the night’s Halloween gathering, they decided to split in two directions; one to handle the food, and one to handle the mood.  Then it would be off to don their costumes, with little over an hour left to do so.

         Mena’s father had passed a year ago just before Halloween, yet it had always been both of their favorite holiday.  There was a certain satisfaction in celebrating it now, tinged with a simultaneous sadness, distinguishing the two would turn out to be much harder than she had ever imagined.  She thought of him the entire time, as she laid out glittering dishes of candy and hung strands of twinkling lights adorned with skulls and pumpkin heads.

           It was unconventionally humid that evening.  Dewy precipitation wept down the window panes like tears, slick and insistent in the atmosphere.  The swamp-like air swirled, causing the fabric of Mena’s uncharacteristically tight costume to cling in close folds to her flesh.

         The doorbell chimed and Mena darted to the front door.  She swore for a split second as she passed David to let the very first guests in, that she caught David ogling her silhouette.

         She tugged nervously at the taut folds of fabric.  Mena was consistently hard on herself, one of her many fatal flaws.  This was no surprise, considering that her own mother had been quite critical of her as a young girl, and as time passed she quickly learned that nothing would ever be good enough.  Unfortunately this was a thought that had spread onto Mena like a virus, making her deeply insecure.      Guests gathered to dance beneath the blankets of faux webs strewn from wall to wall.  A great strobe light suspended from the ceiling in the living room, flickered over every dancing ghoul.  The celebratory sound of chatter and laughter resonated throughout the entire house, intertwining with the growing pound of the speakers.  Wolves thick with fur, wielding sharp claws, moved under the moonlight.  Vampires, flaunting fangs danced seamlessly with glowing ballerinas drenched in luminous glitter, beneath the sole beam of light spinning from above.  The party had a momentum all its own by midnight, but Mena couldn’t help but think of her father.  Her father who she wished was with her.

         How ever, she was happy that her mother never came to these parties.  Mena could be herself for a change without the presence of her mother.  She would be free for the evening, not worrying about whether or not she was perfect under the all- scrutinizing eye.  Mena’s mother was a judgmental and critical woman whose federal reserve of patience closely resembled a lit bottle rocket with a quarter inch fuse.  She could see her mother in the deep recesses of her mind, thought she worked monotonously to forget and enjoy herself.        

         She was a tall and gaunt woman, with discernible high cheekbones and prominent shrewd eyes that seemed to peer straight through you when you spoke to her.  Her black hair was thick and it spilled down her slim back like the two curly tendrils of a DNA strand, molecular and slick.  She remembered the way her mother would leer at her with disdain, each time she met with her venomous disapproval. 

         Mena loved her mother and longed desperately for her praise, though she knew it was in all likelihood, never going to happen. 

          Having had a tumultuous childhood and no real male role models, she had learned to stay on her own, to never trust.  The fortress of brick she’d constructed around the perimeter of her heart was unreasonable, and virtually unscalable, yet she couldn’t help but note the growing sensation that the bricks were beginning to loosen, one by one. 

         Mena wondered as she watched David entertaining guests, if he was playing the greatest role in the gradual crumbling of her protective construction.

        It had gotten very late, and though she didn’t want her favorite night of the year to ever end, she glanced at David, nodding towards the clock; a hint he understood instinctively. 

     “Okay, everybody, gather round,” David said, his hands cupped around his full mouth like a megaphone.  “We’re going to wrap up tonight’s festivities with a little game of Simon says.” 

     As he spoke the party-goers gathered around and a hush fell over the raucous crowd.  His glimmering smirk spread as he quickly garnered their attention, explaining the rules of the game.  Guests scurried into position.  Mena joined them reluctantly.  David stood at the helm of the living room, perched behind a podium of sorts, constructed of a tall table drenched in dark purple cloth.  Atop it sat a faux cauldron filled with dry ice, swirling in slow moving smolder.  It billowed enchantingly just before his face as he spoke.  She caught herself staring again.  It was an action she could no longer resist, as though it had become involuntary.

       “Simon says… touch your toes,” he smirked as he sent out the first command.  Every guest obeyed.  “Simon says, stand up.”  He grinned as each guest rose in response.  The swish of satin and mesh material reverberated throughout the room as they moved, like a hush falling over the costumed crowd.  Mena wondered how many other people were as itchy in their ensembles as she was.   

         One by one every ghost and ghoul was eliminated, round after round until only the winner remained, Mena.  David smiled longingly at her, a crooked smirk that looked unusually flirty, especially for him.  It caused that same, bittersweet swell of anticipation to rise even deeper in her skin again, and this time, she was sure he noticed.  Tired guests dispersed to gather their things, leaving the two of them standing there, alone.  Time crept to a crawl, until it seemed to move no more.  He was watching her, watching him.  A coy grin broadened across his jaws as he gazed straight into her eyes from afar, until suddenly, his disposition shifted, and his face grew more serious than she had ever seen it before.  He studied her nervous gaze intently, holding it with his, far too long, from across the empty living room. 

      Even the leaving party goers seemed to take notice of the pulsing undercurrent suddenly emanating between the two of them.  Nobody was more blindsided by these brewing feelings than Mena herself.  An uncomfortable surge of yearning began coursing through her body as his eyes refused to drop from hers, then all of a sudden snapped away, looking towards the last guests leaving through the great oak door.        

        Mena’s heart fell from her chest into her toes as his eyes dropped from hers, and she scurried to gather herself.  She began picking up the trash and tossing it away as he walked to the door to usher the last of the lingering werewolves away. 

     “Goodbye guys,” Mena called over the music as the door came to a final close.

     She had gone to the shelf with the stereo, her back turned to him now, and for good reason.  She could hear the shuffle of his feet as he grew closer and closer to her.

It was only the two of them now, and Mena stood more still than stone.  The smell of his cologne, sweat, and temptation slipped somewhere cerebral.  A hidden place deep within her circuitry was drawn, propelled by the thought of him near.  It was now an obsessive need, a powerful emotion she had never felt before

          There was no one left in the room but she and he.  The last person had swept through the open threshold of the great oak doors, long ago, it seemed, and she felt the lump swell deep in her closing throat.  The thud of her heart began hammering loudly in her eardrum.  She found herself suddenly alone, with him.  He was her best friend, had been for years, why would she be nervous with David?  The very same David who used to throw snowballs at her in winter on their way home from school.  The David she had been alone with a thousand times before this.  Yet the fear and anticipation of what was to come continued to swell inside her like water soaking into sponge. 

           Mena was more than merely beautiful.  It seemed that she was the only person who didn’t see it that way.  The brazen curves of her body drifted from the bend of her hips to the innocent seduction that played along the arch of her pouty upper lip. 

          Within what felt like a fraction of a second, he was behind her; his left arm reaching around her waist to lower the sound on the stereo’s pulsing receiver.  His body only grazed hers, but she could still feel the heat of his torso on her bared skin, exposed by her backless costume.  “Damn costume”, she muttered in her mind.

          He finished adjusting the volume, but did not move away.  The silence was deafening.  Before she could convince her brain to fire the message to move, his hand was at the side of her neck, slipping her long hair slowly to one side.  She shut her eyes instinctively, feeling the warmth of his breath bearing down upon the vulnerable nape of her neck.

            She turned her body towards him, facing the silver eyes that she’d avoided so often lately.  They looked different tonight; somehow urgent and impatient.  Like he’d been bottling up something deep down for years and could no longer wait to express it, physically or emotionally.

            “Mena,” he whispered, his lips hovering over hers. 

            “Yes,” she said.

          “I have been avoiding my feelings for you for far too long.  I no longer care if you are interested in anything with anyone, because I am beyond interested in you,” David confessed, She couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but she didn’t want it to stop.  His blue eyes were unwavering as they bore into hers. 

          “David, don’t,” she protested.  But his impenetrable gaze never broke as he gripped her by the middle and pulled her body close, pressing her frame tightly against his.  He laced his arms around her waist, and moved his lips across hers until both eyes slipped shut.

       His kiss was potent, hooking her like addictive poison.  Her will was bending and she knew it.  Her solemn vow to keep their friendship intact was no longer available.  She could not bear to let go of the intensity of this new bond.  His mouth was more intense than his face had been, and she surprised herself, mindlessly lacing each finger around the back of his neck. 

       As they stood kissing slowly, Mena realized this was the moment she had always feared the most.  Her soul itself had been stirred, and for the first time in her life, she had felt real love.  And on that fateful All Hallows Eve, the one she would one day tell her grandchildren about, she allowed the brick dust to glitter down, red debris raining everywhere.  Her wall had finally crumbled.  But far more than this monumental submission, on this monumental night had occurred, for she had finally allowed the last of the bricks to clatter to the ground, agreeing to once again living, to letting go of her greatest fear.    


© 2017 M. L. F.



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Featured Review

Before I delve into the story itself, there are a few technical things I want to get into. I'll use examples from the first paragraph or two of this story.
1) When writing and throwing ideas onto paper, it's very easy to throw in an unneeded word. That isn't a huge deal, but the extra meaningless words weight down the story and distract from the progression. "Her father’s death had officially been labeled 'accidental', but they all knew better." Now written without the "fluff": "Her father's death was officially labeled 'accidental', but they all knew better". Not a big change by any means, but now the sentence is trimmer and has the same meaning. I was initially very adverse to cutting out the fluff (I thought it sounded better with those extra words), but I've learned the hard way what people like more.

2) When possible, avoid using passive voice. Passive voice would be, "The door was closed by him." Instead, try, "He closed the door." I won't spend much time droning on about that topic; I don't think you 'll have much trouble with that.
Aside from those two things, the story is fine, aside from the odd grammatical error. I assume they're typos.

Now onto the story... It's full of dark detail and theme. The father's death is a terrible thing that clearly becomes a defining moment in Mena's life. You have these themes that dance around each other throughout the progression of the story. You told this tale in a way that makes every detail relevant and very stark Every part of the story contributed something, either to the characters, the atmosphere, or the tone. I quite enjoyed the way you take the father's passing, incorporate elements in it to tie it in with her relationship with David, until it finally ends with her wall falling down. You showed great progress and evolution within this story.

Posted 1 Year Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

Clifford

1 Year Ago

This website really does have a great community. It's a great opportunity for growth and friendship.
M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

You'll get no argument there from me. :)
M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

Took your advice and corrected the first sentence. It's such a slight change, but it flows much bet.. read more



Reviews

There are some awesome themes here! Mena's father's death makes her closed of so she doesn't get too close and get hurt again, but David keeps showing how much he cares and chips away at the wall she's built around herself. And that ending is really powerful, with the wall finally falling down. Very powerful metaphors. Even though only part of the story is told here, I felt I understood Mena and David pretty well. Very, very good.

Posted 4 Weeks Ago


This story has a really great introduction. Showing the events of the car wreck right out of the gate really roped me in. Sure, there is a little bit of wordiness and grammatical errors that should probably be cleaned up, but it doesn't make the story any less intriguing. Good job!

Posted 3 Months Ago


Exciting. Grasped my mind immediately! A great night reading matter!

Before I tried out poetry, I read and scribbled a lot of fiction. As a journalist (although focusing on nonfiction) I think this story is well-written and deserves a read by every lover of suspense!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M. L. F.

5 Months Ago

Thank you.. I have a short story to get back to and finish.. been lost in my photography work.. It i.. read more
LostBoy

5 Months Ago

I'm Excited! Hoping to get to read it on here!

My pleasure, Miss.....your talent glo.. read more
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BBP
This story gripped me. Your descriptions really paint a world that you can fall right in to. I didn't want it to end! If you ever decide to make it into a book, you have an amazing start, but either way it was a great story and again, your descriptions are on point! :)

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

BBP

11 Months Ago

Yes, a fiction book is like a child. It keeps crying and constantly needs its diaper changed but th.. read more
M. L. F.

11 Months Ago

Awww!! Thank you so much Bev.. You are right about the baby process and how we love it every step,.. read more
BBP

11 Months Ago

Can't wait! :)
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...
This is off the chain! Skills...for real.
Beautifully dark, tactile really grips you! Your descriptors are just so rich creating a real movie-esque feel and atmosphere here. Only adding to the characters, I loved learning Mena and David and the way you push the story forward poetic pace and timing!

You've got a ton of flow and so much style, you're special! I feel almost embarrassed to leave such an average review. Too fly Misty you gorgeous thing. Starz x

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M. L. F.

11 Months Ago

Bows at the feet of Starz, and appreciates her lovely review of my most precious writing... My ficti.. read more
...

11 Months Ago

Lol...geez you make me feel like I actually make sense (jk) You're passion filled! It pours from you.. read more
M. L. F.

11 Months Ago

An honor to hear. I am INFJ, I sorta understand everyone, by default... lol... INTUITION rules.. ;.. read more
very good writing my dear

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

Thank you very much. Glad you liked the writing..
..Misty
Your metaphors & similes crumble my insides like said wall. You know how I know you're good? What I see? I see a whole lot of talent. A whole lot of great constructions. An outstanding vocabulary. I see skill along with so much more between the lines. Your writing offers something complete. You give us creative, masterful lines as well as so many grand undertones between said lines. Like finding something lost, I say "Fantastic!"

These words breathe & have a pulse. & you have made that so. I hope you continue wielding your gift. & I look forward to mine come December. Jk.

Well done!

Posted 1 Year Ago


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I loved this story, Misty. You evoked the pain she felt at losing her father...and there was so much imagery, as well. A sense of nervousness as they were in the graveyard, hurrying to beat the storm. It built a sense of anticipation too...of not only what the night would bring, but of something between them...tentative yet building. It's a story of letting go of fear and accepting love...and that is something we can all use at one time or another in our lives. You told it beautifully.

Posted 1 Year Ago


M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

;) Thank you. The pain evoking part was easy. If writing is about emotions.. voice.. when it come.. read more
A lovely story, told with flair and a wonderful eye for the setting and the people. The inevitable climax was satisfying and convincing.

Posted 1 Year Ago


M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

Thank you Jibey. I love writing. Atmosphere is so so big to me. I hope I learn to immerse the rea.. read more
Jibey

1 Year Ago

You have certainly succeeded in this story.
M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

.... Thank you.
I enjoyed reading the story.Absolutely amazing :)!

I am so glad I read it!!Thank You for sharing:)!

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M. L. F.

1 Year Ago

Thank you very much. I'm glad to hear you liked it. Hopefully the new story posting soon about the.. read more
zaisham9393

1 Year Ago

You are welcome. I will, It was a pleasure to read your story :)! So, thank you!

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Added on February 12, 2016
Last Updated on May 21, 2017

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M. L. F.
M. L. F.

American writer in the Netherlands....



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"True suspense, true... terror, doesn't jump in your face with a hockey mask. No, no...It starts very, very slowly, creeping up your spine and into the space where your hair trickles onto your neck.".. more..

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