shadows circling the parking lot, every neon light spread jam-on-toast, chlorine-in-pool wide, brutal tire marks bruising the concrete, goodbye kisses from careless teenagers driving off in search of bigger skies, pocket lint & gummy bears, the flicker-flare of a truck U-turning off the middle of the grimacing country road before shrugging back into the balmy dark.
cookies baking in the oven, the latest news story reports a mysterious death and four missing bodies, the tea kettle hisses like a hungry backalley animal, the chandelier swings on its own, the lights stutter & die out, your mother emerges from the kitchen with a knife and a cherry-fleshed smile, except she is not your mother.
some nights are the beginnings of a horror movie, all the stereotypes that never go out of style, the wispy wings of cigarette smoke butterflies fluttering out of lipstick bright mouths, cold eyes in the limelight, a face in the mirror that is not your own, lovers interrupted by screams ricocheting off the walls like flower vases smashed, blood splatters in strange places.
gutter-hearts in the grocery store, shopping for ice cream in the middle of the night, a song with a tune that is familiar to you but one that you’re sure you’ve never heard before plays soft as soda pop in the background, the gaunt clerk’s eyes seem to glow red whenever you look at him from the corner of your eye, you try not to look at him again.
a bouquet of alienated balloons in the sky, circling the moon like something out of the most dreadful fairytale you know, the forest gnarled as a dead body against the bony moon and the monster movie sky, all shredded clouds and playground empties.
your heart a slug crawling out of your mouth as a ghost hand reaches for you from somewhere behind you.
the shriveled gaze of black-eyed children pressing their lifeless hands against your car windows begging for you to let them come home, a gun in the car compartment, jesus on the dashboard, mascara massacred cheeks, coming off your mountaintop highs and plummeting endlessly through stars that only pretend to catch your fall.
Happy Halloween! Send my muse a reaction to seeing them in a costume, whether positive or not so positive.
“Wait. We were supposed to dress up?” “You look…adorable!” “Ah! J-jeez, I didn’t even recognize you!” “Ugh, you know I hate that mask!” “Are you really going to go out like that?” “I don’t know. I think we’re a bit too old to dress up.” “You don’t think it’s a little too revealing?” “I don’t have to match, do I?” “I’m not so sure about our theme this year.” “Oh shit, I didn’t get a costume for myself!” “How do you still look beautiful in zombie makeup?” “Okay, I admit, I like it.” “You know what would look good with that costume? Fire. Burn it.” “I think you might offend someone with this.” “What are you even supposed to be?”
“Wow. Maybe we should stay home and have our own party.”
“You know, it’s not really a costume if you just dress like yourself.” “Ooh, I love your costume!” “Wow, how creative, you look like a normal person for once!” “Well, it’s certainly original.” “How much fake blood did you use?!” “Whoa. You really went all out this year.” “This isn’t a costume. You’re just wearing a pair of cat ears.” “I feel like there’s an inside joke here but I don’t get it.” “Honestly, you’re terrifying.” “You look way too incredible to wear this for only one day.” “You look like something that crawled out of hell and I love it.” “I’m going to be seeing you in my nightmares. Thanks for that.” “Are you serious? I was going to be the same thing!” “Please don’t make me dress up.” “I’ll go with you, but I don’t do couple costumes.” “I think you spent more on the dog/cat’s costume than your own.” “Wow, did you make this yourself?” “I think this costume really reflects who you are as a person.” “Your costume is ten times better looking than mine.” “This is the most elaborate costume I have ever seen.” “Why are you wearing a trash bag as a costume?” “Did you just steal my clothes to dress up as me for Halloween?”