I Miss Halloween by Barnabas Deimos

I miss Halloween, I think to myself as I stare blankly about the empty stone walls. Only the bare essential of a toilet and what passes as a bed occupy the room aside from myself. Not even a blanket or sheet is present to fight off the cold.  A deep chill that lays heavy in this cell making my bare feet and face feel almost numb. The only illumination comes from the flicker of lights from the other side of the tiny window. It hangs at eye height in a door that serves as the only entrance in and out of my cell. The scratches marking the previous tenant’s unstable or panicked mind line it’s perimeter and it makes me shudder. I do my best to stave off the unease with memories of happier times..

Halloween.

Most of my happier memories are of Halloween. Every year, I’d wait with bated breath for October to roll in and bring me the orange and blacks.  I’d do my absolute best as a kid to find as many opportunities to dress up or to do some sort of activity that held the Halloween spirit. It was such a fun and mysterious holiday in the eyes of an innocent child. And my mother did her best to make it even more special.

Though it was just me and her, my father having passed away when I was still an infant, my mother would do her absolute best to accommodate me when it came to Halloween.  Money was always tight but when I was little she still managed to piece together costumes for me from the most unconventional and cheap places. Eventually she even taught me how to make costumes myself and I did just that every year. She would get me the fabric or materials and then eventually, when I was old enough, I would buy them myself.

She was so proud when I had shown her my first really well done costume. So much so, she cried as much as she had done when I graduated high school.  All my first costumes were clearly amateur and ventured on silly as opposed to scary, but this year I had saved and managed to make a truly terrifying Zombie outfit. She was so proud of me over it, she grabbed the zombie outfit I had thrown together and danced with it. She jokingly said that when she passed away, she would want me to make her a costume to be put in the ground with. Just so she could be aptly dressed when she rose again during the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

I laughed. She laughed.

Later that year, we discovered she had cancer. And by the following Halloween, my mother passed away. I wrapped up the costume and put it her coffin. Kissed her forehead, and told her forever sleeping face that she can put it on at her leisure.  

I come back to the present and find my eyes filled with tears.  I do my best to wipe them off as I hear commotion behind the cell’s door. I hear the orderlies walking about outside speaking amongst themselves in their native German. I look out through the small view allotted to me and take in the surroundings I’ve grown accustomed to for almost a year.

A sprawling dank of greys and whites line the hallways and seemingly always wet concrete floor are what I can see. I can barely make out the form an orderly as well, a man dressed in white walking through the hallway .The hanging lights flickering away with inconsistent veils of darkness give him the illusion that he is teleporting forward with each flash.

I don’t need to see to know that there is at least one more orderly in the hallway. There is always a guard standing out of my line of sight and adjacent to my cell. I can hear him speaking with a raspy voice that spoke of two packs a day. In answer a younger albeit deep voice of one of the incoming orderlies speaks. Very few words I could understand let alone grasp, but it sounded what I had come to know as the changing of the guard shift.  

As I see the owner of the younger voice, I smile. He reminds me of someone I once knew….someone who I had met on a Halloween night.

As I had grown older, the love for Halloween didn’t stop. If anything I got more and more wrapped up in it. Parties with the big kids, turned into nonstop parties that would rage well into the morning hours. Street fairs with that sprawled across blocks with free flowing booze and debauchery.  And I myself, as self-absorbed as it sounds, had grown into quite the looker and it made those parties of debauchery ever so much more fun if you know what I mean.

All in the magical sense of Halloween and I swear, there was some real magic in the air every year.  Sure there are plenty of mythological ties to the holiday from its roots such as Samhain, but I don’t mean that kind of magic, just the magic of fun, socializing, being someone else for a bit or being everything you were just showing it on the outside. Hells even the magic of love.

I met my first boyfriend at one of those sprawling Halloween parties. I was introduced to a black haired blue eyed man named Patrick and he loved the holiday almost as much as I did. He was dressed as one of those massive locust guards from Gears of War and he had done an amazing job on his costume. I had gone as the angel of death complete with nearly working wings. It was an amazing night that became the start of a long relationship.

Every single year we dressed up together and made the Halloween season our month long macabre anniversary. A disgustingly happy duo enjoying the parties, events, haunted houses, and yes, even as adults, Trick or Treating. Granted we were taking Patrick’s niece out trick or treating when her mom couldn’t and we were just taking the opportunity to join in.

Then almost a year ago, Patrick and I decided to do something different. We wanted to take trip to Europe and visit creepy places all throughout the month of October that would eventually culminate in Paris on Halloween night.

It was the most amazing trip at its beginning, having started in Amsterdam and then continuing on moving from hostel to hostel. We lost track of time practically and lost track of ourselves in our fun and laughter. I don’t think I had ever been happier.  I was excited as it was as well to show off since I had painstakingly made us custom Hellraiser’s Cenobite costumes. So much work and as you can imagine love went into them.  

Then it all happened in a flash, I remember coming into Germany.  Discovering that in our trip that one of us had misplaced the costumes. I grew frantic in the hostel room that we shared with several other people. And then I foolishly flew into an argument of blame. So furious was I that my voice rose and rose as I lifted the suitcase that held only sewing implements that should have held our costumes and dumping its contents on the floor. Then our roommate began to argue with me in his language…Dutch I think. Amidst the lack of communication and the amassing anger, arguing soon rose to an altercation and then… all was red.

I snap back to reality as a flash of light shines on my eyes. The Orderly is flashing his phone through the tiny window. I can see the tiny and even familiar icons for his applications and most importantly, I could see the date. It was October 30th at 11pm.

I smile as best as I can muster at him as he removes the phone and grins back at me. A handsome face with blue eyes and slightly messy black hair that had caught me off guard the first time I’d seen him scans the room.  The face that seemed so much like Patrick’s turns in profile as he checks to ensure the other orderlies were gone. He says something I don’t understand but I can tell its intent. I step away from the door and sit on my bed.

Every night, that handsome face hated to be bothered with work. So he’d do his best to make certain that he wasn’t going to be bothered. Every patient that I shared this hallway with knew full well what it meant to bother him: A vicious beating with a baton and a shot of sedative if they weren’t knocked unconscious. I had been lucky on my first night here…

I had been inducted into this ward the same night as another man.  I was still reeling and still attempting to piece together everything that had put me here in stunned silence but the other man had no intention of being stoic. Instead he raged and rattled in his cell. Yelling and thrashing causing every bit of ruckus he could. But it was quickly silenced by the opening of his cell, and the yelling and thrashing turned to the sounds of flesh being beaten and screams of anguished pain. Then the cell door closed followed by that handsome and lightly sweating face coming to my window. He pressed his fingers to his lips and let out a silent Shh at me. Every time a new patient would arrive and He would have to teach them. And each time, I remained silent as could be. Fearful silence…

The same fearful silence had gripped me what I had realized what had happened that night. When the red haze of anger had finally subsided I was being lifted off the ground.  Several of the hostel occupants were dragging me out of the room and I was covered head to toe, in blood. I was terrified, I was confused, I had no clue what was going on other than the terrified and angry faces looking back at me. I screamed Patricks name over and over again even as I was dragged outside the building and greeted with flashing blue lights. And soon thrust into a police car. I screamed his name from beyond the windows until I saw the gurneys leaving the entrance. There I could see Patrick’s limp body with a disgusting protrusion in his neck. His once handsome face now terror stricken and staring vacantly and lifelessly upwards. Tears flowed freely from my eyes commingling with the blood that covered my face. My Halloween mask was that of a broken man held in terrible frozen silence…

Fearful terrible silence…for almost a year since then…

Fearful silence haunted by a face that so resembled Patrick’s…

Sitting here day in and day out, night in and night out as I listened to others be beaten by that very face …

Sitting here alone and bereft of anyone else in this world save the mad men that are locked up and mad men who guard us…

And I realize, on top of it all, I am going to miss Halloween this year…for the first time in my life, I would not be celebrating October 31st

And for the first time since arriving here, I find no way to keep it in.

I attempt to stifle a sudden sorrowful gasp but tears are begging to pour..

My body is shaking… the weight of everything is finally pushing down on me so hard I can’t breathe…

I don’t want to be here…I want to be home… I want to be free…

I realize I am sobbing loudly but am unable to control it. I need so desperately to be away from here…I want mom…I want to show her every costume I’ve made since she’s been gone…

I hear shouting but pay it no head as I let the pour of emotion

I… I want Patrick…I want to go out with him dressed up in the streets…I want to be happy again..

I hear the door open and the handsome orderly with His face walks in shouting angrily holding his baton.

A flash of memory strikes me of the man who spoke dutch yelling at me and Patrick…

I want my Halloween back..

I leap at the orderly….

I remember the Dutchman had thrown he first punch..

I surprise the orderly as I make contact..

I had ducked and the Dutchman had missed me and hit Patrick..

Grabbing the orderlys’ head, I slam with full force towards the ground.

I remember Patrick had fallen and hit his head with a sickening crunch against the bed post and suddenly going limp…

The orderly’s skull makes a loud sickening slap of flesh and bone meeting the concrete…

I remember leaping at the Dutchman and grabbing slamming him to the ground…

I grab the orderlies baton and with a howl lift it into the air…

I remember grabbing the scissors and bringing them down…

I slam the baton into the orderlys face…

I slam the scissors into the dutchman’s chest

Again I bash the orderl’ys skull

Again I stab the dutchman’s chest

Bloody bits of bone and brain matter that once belonged to the orderly begin to spread across the floor with each wet strike of the baton…

Blood, skin, and pulpy meat fly up in sloppy chunks as I drive the sharp instrument into the Dutchman’s chest…

Again the orderly …again the Dutchman. Again..and again.. the Dutchman..the orderly…simultaneously I see them both in my vision The Dutchman’s bloody chest the orderly’s bloody skull the Dutchman the orderly….

Then only a bloody mess of teeth and hair fill my sight as I am brought fully into the present…

I heave in gasps of ragged breath as I find that I am slamming the baton on concrete….

I find that I had been weeping while destroying this man…

And as I wipe the tears from my eyes…I realize that my cheeks and corners of my mouth hurt…I had been smiling as well…

I pick myself up and look down at the Orderly’s carcass on the ground….and a thought comes to mind..

I tear off the clothes and replace mine with them…

Grabbing the keys he had and the baton, I leave the cell and walk down the hallway.

I smile and wipe the last remaining tears off my face as I walk past each silent cell and unlock them.

Once each one was done…and each lunatic began to emerge from their dark isolation….I turned my attention to the exit…

I walk purposefully to it in my hastily put together costume…

I can’t help but smile and think….Happy Halloween to me…

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