Undead Reckoning

Beneath, an ancient terror sleeps

Within a crypt of endless night

Its casket dreadful secrets keeps

Its cape a shroud to life and light


No breath of air escapes its throat

No heartbeat drums inside its chest

Not dead enough for Charon’s boat

But of no mortal spark possessed


It stirs within its Stygian tomb

Mind reaching up to taste the sky

The sunlit world falls fast to gloom

The hour of dark ascension nigh


It rises from its coffin bed

Unfurls great bat wings, left and right

A feast of blood served warm and red

Will sate unholy appetite


With awful strength and not a sound

It rushes from the ghastly vault

Through passages far underground

Intent on murderous assault


Erupting from the darkened heath

It wheels and pauses in the air

Surprised to see arrayed beneath

Its human prey massed everywhere


In knots and crowds, all eyes upturned

They peer to heaven, motionless

Yet of the fiend they’re unconcerned

Transfixed by grandeur measureless


Too late, the creature turns to gape

With yellowed eyes upon its doom

In vain it races for escape

To Earth’s impenetrable womb


A sun-bright golden beam breaks free

A shriek of rage dies on its lips

It wasn’t night, but rather the

2017 eclipse

Phantom Firefighter Fouls Foyer

Faced with possibly spectral contamination, the property manager of a Conifer Road business complex asked JCSO to investigate the unearthly residue haunting her hallways. Sometime the night before, she said, entities unknown had discharged the full contents of a fire extinguisher inside the building’s dark and ghostfire2forbidding service passage, leaving the place thickly coated with fire suppressant chemicals. Eerily, the depleted extinguisher was found still attached to the wall in its accustomed position. It could have been someone who works in the building, she said, or any member of the public. She didn’t say it could also have been ghosts, but it could also have been ghosts.

Poe House Blues


     A frosty eve in late October, at home I idled, barely sober

Cheetos-dusted fingers tapping many a curt and snotty tweet

     As I wallowed, iPad beeping, all at once there came a peeping

     Like somebody slyly creeping, creeping from the darkened street.

“Just the neighbor’s cat,” I figured, “creeping from the darkened street,

     “to ‘pon my patio excrete.”


     Lurching up to give that frickin’ animal a vicious lickin’

 I heard outside the caustic croon of fairy voice in plaintive bleat

    If not the cat to take a poop, then who had overrun my stoop?

    What thoughtless Tartar lay in siege, my customary sloth to cheat?

Sweatpants striped with pizza sauce and mismatched socks upon my feet

    I staggered from my furrowed seat


    Tarrying at the door awhile, still hoping to avoid such trial,

“No solicitors!” I cried, “Begone with your petition sheet!”

     “More magazines I do not need, nor have I interest in your creed,”

     “I beg you come no more a-peeping. Creep you back to darkened street!”

In answer came a stern command with peeping, cheeping, cheerful heat.

    Peeped the creeper, “Trick or Treat!”


     Near lost in unswept Autumn litter, plastic scepter’d, gown a-glitter

A tiny princess brightly reigned o’er unread news and stained concrete.

    What was this creature fiercely beaming? Surely I was merely dreaming.

    Fearing awkward consequence I rasped in desolate entreat.

“What is it finds Your Majesty before my humble peasant suite?”

     Chirped the princess, “Trick or Treat!”


     Mind in shock and awe recoiling, Hot Pocket in my gut a-boiling

What awful tribute must be paid before I could regain my seat?

    Half a box of stale Froot Loops, a pantry full of Ramen soups

    What had I to pacify the sequined despot, so petite?

“Sorry kid,” I said, a-tremble, “but I got nothin’ good to eat.”

    Piped the princess, “Trick or Treat!”


    Back into my pig sty turning, nervous bowels within me churning,

Surely there was somewhere in that mess a single morsel sweet.

    Rooting through the Barcalounger, there was I, pathetic scrounger

    Desperate to find a scrap to buy relentless child’s retreat

Pray let me find a loose Tic Tac down here below the sofa seat!

    Smiled the princess, “Trick or Treat!”       


    Falling, sobbing, to the floor, my courage failing and ears a-roar

I caught a glimpse of my salvation wrapped in cellophane discreet

     Cracked and crushed and dirty, but, that ancient mint from Pizza Hut

     Might even yet snatch triumph from the bitter jaws of rank defeat

“Here you go,” I muttered, weakly rising on unsteady feet.

    “It ain’t pretty, but it’s a treat.”


    “Thank you!” sang the elfin queen. “And have a happy Halloween!”

Then off she danced down leaf-strewn path unto the darkened street.

    Many Octobers since have flown, and many Autumn winds have blown

    Many an Arby’s wrapper since has drifted ‘round my arch-less feet

But still my strength and wits must fail each time those cruel words repeat

     upon my doorstep – “Trick or Treat!”



Tricks, Treats and Terror

How every horror flick starts

jason-voorheesIn a neighborhood already infested by swarms of pint-sized phantoms and ghouls, the banshee’s shriek of a residential alarm on Gray Fox Drive drew sheriff’s deputies like zombies to fresh brains. They found the home’s back door unlocked, though still shut as tightly as a crypt. Summoned from an infernal gathering down the block, the lord of the manor quickly declared the premises intact and free of witchery. Just a harmless prank, he said, blithely. Nothing to worry about…


Dead letter offense

zombie4Someone – or something – might have been sending a message to some folks on Baca Road. During those hours of darkness when evil is exalted, their mailbox had been horribly savaged by agencies unknown, leaving it a ruined, dangling hulk with only a tenuous grip on the world of light. Corporeal agencies are looking into the matter.


Meanwhile, at the old Indian burial ground…

Recent events in south Evergreen were enough to make the blood run cold. Sometime during the night, said a shaken Blue Creek Road resident, a portable cooler she’d placed in the garage had mysteriously moved several feet. Worse, she discovered a normally-locked window unlatched. More frightening still, a stack of dog beds on the deck had inexplicably toppled over. Though she couldn’t quite bring herself to utter the “P” word (“Poltergeist”), she felt dreadfully “spooked” by the whole business and wanted it on record in case “things continue to happen.”



Harmless Fun


An orange moon like lantern hung

O’er autumn fields no longer young

Where parchment leaves despairing clung

And cornstalk voices softly sung

In dry and ancient Druid tongue

Demeter’s requiem


At stealthy pace the darkness grew

In hissing wrath the night-wind blew

Close to the kitchen fire he drew

A tiny, costumed bugaboo

In livery of chintz and glue

To merriment condemned


“I think I’d rather stay inside”

Said he, small eyes in panic wide

“In yonder parlor I’ll abide,

A bowl of candy by my side

For to appease the ghastly tide

That floods the town tonight.”


As sweetly as a chapel bell

With laughter bright as asphodel

His mother weaved a calming spell

The child’s anxiety to quell,

And youthful confidence compel,

Wee courage to ignite.


“My only son, my darling dear,

Those marrow-freezing shrieks you hear

Are but your playmates making cheer!

For ‘pon this eve, just once a year

Roam trick-or-treaters far and near

In happy, haunting horde.


“That grinning demon, eyes afire?

A sculpted pumpkin to admire!

That skeleton? Just wood and wire.

Nightmarish wraith? A fraud entire!

Go now, before the night expire

And claim your sweet reward!”


His terror being much allayed

No more in fear of witch or shade

He donned the cape his mother made

Raised up his broomstick pirate blade

Resolved to join the weird charade

And fill his candy pot.


“No Halloween deserter, me!

No more a baby will I be!”

Across the threshold, one, two, three

When from behind the shrubbery

Leapt up a monster suddenly

And ate him on the spot