It’s publication day for Kevin Lucia as Crystal Lake Publishing releases October Nights, his collection of Halloween-themed short stories. To celebrate, Cemetery Dance is proud to share “Ballad of the Broken Hearts at the Danse Macabre,” a Halloween-themed short story that is NOT included in October Nights. Think of it as a bonus story, a companion to Lucia’s collection (which he discussed with us in a Q&A right here.)
Cemetery Dance reviews editor/columnist Kevin Lucia is writing a Halloween serial novel one day at a time on his blog. We thought it might be something our readers would enjoy as we count down to our favorite holiday! Check out Kevin’s essay on the origins of The Mask, and follow the links at the end to read along.
Two weeks ago, I found the weirdest mask in our school’s dirt cellar.
The dirt cellar—which began life as a fallout shelters in the fifties—is where all sorts of things get stored. Things like old desks, cabinets, bookshelves, toilets, tables…you name it. Boxes of old textbooks, old televisions, all the things a school might store over the years instead of throwing out, just because they “might” be needed sometime in the future.
I’m down there all the time. I’m a scrounger by nature, (I learned it from my Dad, who learned it from his father, who was a teen during the Depression), and I’m always looking for something to add to my classroom. In this case, I was looking for Halloween decorations, because seasonal decorations are also stored in the dirt cellar.
And I found this weird rubber mask. With bulging eyes, stringy black hair, and a gaping black mouth. Inspiration struck, and I decided to take the mask (its rubber felt weird between my fingers) and hang it on my classroom door in the center of Halloween wreath as my own “Marley Knocker.”
In May of this year, the book won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Instead of an interview, this time we asked the author to provide a story that’s not in the book, as a kind of bonus/addendum, but also to give a sample of the kind of eclectic fiction you’ll find in the full collection. Without further ado, please enjoy the melancholy, romantic apocalypse of “Carmine Lips and a Fade into Oblivion.”Continue Reading
By the time she got home, Beth was exhausted. The new chair was robust enough, but she had become used to her previous one, and this replacement didn’t feel as smooth to maneuver. Consequently her arms ached on her trial run around the hospital corridors. An orderly helped her put it into the car, and waved her off cheerily as she drove out of the car park.Continue Reading
The Latham’s house, Peck’s Cottage, was a picturesque building set in its own grounds, and standing about a quarter of a mile from the road. With walls studded with knapped flint, and a newly thatched roof, the cottage might have been lifted from any illustrated Suffolk guidebook.
It would have been quicker to have walked through the woods, around the lake, but for Beth that wasn’t an option. She began the arduous procedure of extracting herself from her specially adapted Ford Focus, and got settled into her wheelchair.Continue Reading
The large, yellow, JCB digger raised its claw-like arm, and brought it crashing down through the roof of the house, sending tiles flying into the air. It looked as if birds were taking flight. The operator adjusted some levers in his cab, and the claw rose and fell again, into the hole that had been made, but this time hooking over the front wall of the house, and pulling it outwards. The wall collapsed in an explosion of crumbling brickwork.
The noise was extraordinary, as bricks fell, and windows shattered. It was like a primeval beast exacting revenge on an ancient enemy: loud, remorseless and final.Continue Reading