One of my earliest memories is of my grandparents putting on a haunted house for trick or treaters. It was decorated with fake cobwebs and sheets covering the furniture, with dry ice for a smoky, misty effect. I remember my grandmother dressed as a witch, and one of my uncles dressed like Dracula, hiding in the closet, ready to jump out. I think as a family we just liked to have fun.
Trick or treating was definitely something I looked forward to, but it wasn’t just the candy. Dressing up in a costume was what I enjoyed most of all. As a kid, my mother and aunt used to coordinate costumes with me and my cousins. Most of the time we made them rather than buying pre-designed costumes. There was just something satisfying about creating a character from scratch. One of my most memorable costumes was a zombie cheerleader when I was in middle school. I had the outfit and pom-poms, and wore my hair in pigtails in the team colors. Then of course there was the zombie makeup.
These are traditions that I’ve continued with my own children. I think the most important thing is that it’s something fun we could do together. We’ve created some lasting memories in the process. For years we did an elaborate setup on the front porch with cobwebs, spiders, hanging bats and a skeleton man. And we’ve always had fun designing new costumes. Now that they’re both teenagers, we’ll even sneak in a few horror movies.
As someone who has always liked paranormal and spooky things, I looked forward to this time every year, and still do. Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!
Confessions of a Punk Rocker
Living Dead World
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: Sept 25 2015
Number of pages: 268
Word Count: 55305
The dead should stay dead...
Jack Norris has just lost his best friend—who also happened to be his band's drummer—to a drunk driving accident. As he struggles to deal with the band's uncertain future and his own personal demons, those issues soon become unimportant. His dead friend has come back. And he's not showing any signs of going away. Questioning his own sanity, Jack finds his life spiraling out of control. But when a new acquaintance not only hooks him up with a drummer, but promises to help get rid of his ghostly stalker, Jack's life does a one-eighty.
Drew MacLellan, the new drummer, is more than just a new set of sticks—he's the brother of the insanely hot Jen MacLellan, who's definitely not Jack's biggest fan. Jen is nothing like the women Jack's dated in the past, but the more he gets to know her, the deeper he falls. The only problem is she's got a boyfriend. Caught between his growing attraction and the desire to do the right thing, Jack does everything he can to keep his distance. But the more he sees of her, the more he realizes he can't. He's determined to win Jen's heart, if only he can figure out how to help his dead friend rest in peace...permanently.
It’s almost a week after we get back from New York when I wake sometime in the middle of the night with this awful, skin-crawling feeling that someone is watching me. Did I have a dream? If it was a dream, I don’t remember what happened, only that I can’t shake the bad vibe it left behind.
I sit and rub my hands over my face. I’m about to get up and go to the bathroom when a chill brushes over my skin.
“Whoa, stop right there, bro. You’re naked, right? I ain’t gotta see that shit.”
I nearly fall out of bed at the sound of his voice. “Jesus…fuck!”
Eben is sitting on my bureau, watching me. One of his eye sockets is crushed in, and the side of his face looks like bloody hamburger. Bits of skull stick up through his hair. I guess I haven’t woken up yet after all. He leans forward and his scalp flops over.
“What, you’re not happy to see me?”
“I need to wake up.” I rub at my eyes.
“Who says you’re dreamin’?” Eben drops to his feet. Sort of. He’s actually hovering a few inches over the floor.
“Who says I’m not?”
He laughs. “Right? Now for the love of all fuck, please tell me that clown who was pawin’ all over my drums today ain’t in the band.”
“Not if I can help it.” I say it more to myself than to him. “So, uh…what are you doing here?”
He sinks onto the end of my bed with a sigh. The temperature drops in steady increments. “I don’t know, man. I don’t remember much from that night. This dude, he found me standin’ at the side of the road, and he was like Eben Francis? And I was like ‘Yeah. That’s me…except, how come I’m over there…and over here at the same time?’ And he was like, buddy, you’re dead.” Eben shakes his head in slow motion. Blood rolls down his face and hangs from his chin before it drops onto my blanket. “Bro, that’s some fucked up shit.”
“Yeah.” Not nearly as fucked up as having a dead dude sitting on your bed. I force a laugh, because it’s Eben. The live version would’ve wanted me to mean it, but Dead-Dream-Eben doesn’t seem to notice.
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it's reading or writing one. The first two novels in her Living Dead World series--Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness--were published in 2014.