Ole Hallows Eve

by L. Marie Wood © 2002

Do you know de real story of Halloween??? NO?? Ain't no s'prise ta me, no suh. I's sho' lots a folks don't know de truf 'bout Halloween. Ain't like I wants to know dis horrid tale. But I do. I knows it like it be de bac' a' my hand, yes I do. You wanna know what really be happenin' on Halloween night, do you? You really wants to know? Gader 'round, chil'ren, while I tell you dis story. You be frozen in fear when you hear's it , yeah. Just like I wuz when I saw it be true.

De night 'fore Halloween has a ancient history, dates back furda den I kin r'memba. De kids like to call it Gate Night nowadays. Dey ain't all that far from de truf, really. It used to be dat de town would gatha togetha on Ole Hallows Eve ta sit infront de cemetery all night. Dey wuz tryin' to keep de dead in. You heard me. Ev'ry Halloween de dead be walkin' dis eart' wit us. Even now, dis day. You don't be seein' dem 'cuz yo' momma and pappa be makin' sho' yous safe. But deys scared cause dey can hear dem a'comin'. Dey feet be draggin' on de de groun' cuz dey done been sleepin' dey death sleep and dey ain't got no kind a' coordination to speak of, you know. Sometimes, if dey fresh, dey guts be fallin' on de groun' and lettin' off de foulest stench you ever did smell. Don't boder dem none. Deys busy tryin' to get where dey be goin', and dey gotsta hurry, 'cuz dey ain't got but one night to do dey business in. We wuz tryin' to keep dat from happenin'.

Seem like a mist start to form 'round 10:00 p.m. ev'ry Ole Hallows Eve. It travel 'cross town to de cemetery an' hover over de tombstones. Dem thar poles started a shakin' and de leaves wuz whippin' up a storm. Folks say dey hear moanin' and rustlin' in de cemetery. I don't know 'bout dat m'self. Alls I heard when I wuz down dere wuz screamin'.

I went wit my daddy one year to ward off de dead. We wuz all dressed up in our scariest masks to disguise our faces sos our dead relatives wouldn't be knowin' who we wuz in case dey got out. My daddy tole' me dat as long as dey cain't recognize us and we looked dead an' evil enough, dey would tink we wuz one a dem. So, we and 'bout fiteen oders sat infront de gate of de bigges' cemetery in our town. Dere wuz 'posed to be people sitting at de lil' cemeteries too, but I don't belie dat happen like it wuz 'posed to.

It got to be 'round 12:00 'clock befo' we started to hear de noises. It sounded like dey wuz tryin' to come out de groun'! De fog wuz so thick I couldn' see my own han' in front of ma' face! It happened so quick! I called out fo' my daddy, but he didn't respon'. I saw figures moving t'ward where we wuz sittin'. Dey didn't look like my daddy an' de men I went out dere wit. Dey wuz tall and dey shadows wuz long. Dey looked ragged in de shadows, and dey wuzn't walkin'. Look more like dey wuz glidin' t'ward me. I got up and ran off to my right, scared out of my wits. Seem like dem ole stories I had heard wuz true! I figured I could out run dem cuz dey wuz movin' so slow. Just when I got past one of 'em it said ma' name, low and gurgly-like. It scared me so bad I wuz stopped in my tracks. Den it reached for me. A cold, lifeless hand tried to grip ma' arm, but I pulled away...and took off runnin'. I screamed bloody murder all de way home.

De next day when I woke up, momma asked me where daddy wuz. I tole' her I couldn't find him out dere and dat I think I lef' 'im. Her face clouded over in grief and she stifled a sob. I tole' momma I would go back an' look for 'im but she said he wuz gone. Ain't notin' we could do now.

I went anyhow. I had to find my daddy. But momma wuz right. Wuzn't nobody dere. De cemetery gates looked like dey had been taken out de groun' an' de plots wuz all torn up. Some of de caskets has risen to de top, and de doors wuz broken off. De gate wuz splattered wit blood. All over it looked like all de blood a body could hol' wuz dryed on it. Infront de gate wuz one thing that I will never forget. My daddy's wedding ring shinned brightly in de mornin' sun, while his finger decayed underneath it.

I wore a different mask that Halloween night. And I've worn a different one ever since. Me and mamma.

x x x

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