Here's how to enter: Write a Halloween themed story using 100 words or fewer.
Use these words in the story:
Bonus points if you also use the word: Insalubrious
Post the story in the comments section of this post! Contest opens on 10/21 at noon and closes 10/22 at noon. All times are Eastern Standard Shark time.
One entry per person.
If you need a mulligan, delete your entry and repost.
All decisions are entirely subjective.
ONE winner will receive a critique of the first thirty pages of your manuscript from Barbara Poelle
ONE random winner will receive copies of UNFORSAKEN by Sophie Littlefield
ONE random winner will receive a copy of DEADLY COOL by Gemma Halliday
ONE random winner will receive a copy of THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
ONE random winner will receive a copy of GHOST COUNTRY by Patrick Lee
Barbara Poelle and Holly Root will review the entries
Janet Reid will be the tie-breaking vote!
The decaying pile of rags in the corner shifted and spat an insalubrious green gobbet of phlegm on the floor. I recoiled, and the old witch emerged, racked with laughter that became a cough. She extended a finger towards me, gnarled as a tree root. “Fool!” she said, “don’t you know it’s deadly?”
I edged towards the door.
She made a sad, cooing sound and addressed herself, “He can’t slay a ghost, can he? No, no. One can’t slay them...”
“I’m not after a ghost,” I said.
She smiled pitifully. “And what do you think it is, the Unforsaken?”
She lies decayed in the ground, that old crone, that horrid enchantress, and the world is better for it. Decades had passed since I came to slay her, and now it is her ghost that called to me demanding my presence, summoning me to where she insalubriously festers. I, alone, buried her and knew where her bones rotted and how her blood pooled; and here, in this unforsaken hollow, it was also only I who would learn her most deadly secret: I had killed the wrong witch.
The snitching spirit demanded recompense--her sister's soul in place of her own.
Past coffin rows
The decay of witches
Rise so powerful, so deadly
Only a vaporous ghost could possibly
Go unforsaken through the march carrying on
Into the night when the winds howl unmerciful
Thoughts to who would slay those in their path
Be they guilty or innocent, vile or pure of heart
Mortal ones such as we can never truly know
How they decide who to pass by or
Who goes with them on their journey
Back into the bowels of hell
From whence they unwelcomely came
Filling surviving hearts with
Terror so evil
Drew hated his parents’ Halloween parties. He’d rather be skateboarding than manning the buffet table. Couldn’t they hide the decay of their marriage like everyone else, behind closed doors?
A witch busting the seams of her costume approached.
He gave the prepared greeting. “Welcome to the Unforsaken Feast! Ooooooooo!”
“Is that you, Andrew?”
He clinched his teeth. “Yes, Mrs. Baer.”
She grabbed two Deadly Chocolate Cakes. “So, whose ghost are you supposed to be?”
“The ghost of my childhood.”
“Haha! You slay me.”
He rolled his eyes. She continued to fill her plate.
Under his breath, “Who says that shit?”
“Daddy, Daddy, wake up!”
I groan and shield my eyes from the deadly light. A pack of blurry four year old witches coalesce into a single form, glaring at the mass of empty wrappers on the kitchen floor.
“You ate all my marshmallow ghosts!”
“I’m sorry, punkin,” I mutter as the gurgling in my belly betrays that the marshmallow was not the only insalubrious midnight treat I gorged on. Surely another unforsaken violation.
“It reeks of sweat and decay in here,” my wife snarls with a look that could slay.
Man, I’m getting too old to do this every Halloween.
“Trick or treat!”
“Ooooh, a ghost, a witch, and …what’s the bag, dear?”
“The deadly unforsaken,” said the smallest.
“Nice. We don’t get many out here on Shadesofdeath Road.”
“Yeah lady, we figured. We want treats. The green kind.”
“Green?” she asked. “Well this is a sod farm.”
“You slay me lady. Now get some money!” This was the witch in the middle, she looked the plumpest of them all.
“Of course children. The real money’s under the decay tarp, so if you’ll wait here…”
“No,” said the ghost, “We’re all going.”
“Follow me.” She turned her back and smiled.
The stench of the witch’s decay sullied the air. Her insalubrious energies filled the area with toxicity. Lucy’s goals were to kill the witch, then take her father’s ghost and place him on the path of the unforsaken. She had no intention of failing; the deadly consequences were unthinkable. She ignored her father’s pleas to walk away. The man hadn’t paid attention to the details when he made the bargain. His carelessness damned the entire family for eternity. To void the contract, Lucy had to slay the witch. Lucy cut her foe down with her thrice blest sword.
The witch loved him deadly, not dearly, when summer began to decay. With insalubrious heart and hand she slay and gutted him, carved a ghost into his flesh. Bewitched, he felt unforsaken and warmed to her when she set his heart alight that black velvet evening. His love grew stronger admiring all those drawn to her well appointed home and sweet generosity. When his flame died at midnight, his affection cooled as tittering demons seeped from the darkness and carried him away. Cackling, the witch approved their ghoulish intention and said, “Halloween’s over. Time to hit the pavement, Jack.”
When I stumbled upon Crybaby Bridge, its secrets were unknown.
The night was dark, I was stranded, and from a distance it resembled a safe haven. It wasn’t until I reached the covered bridge’s opening that I felt the first prickle of apprehension.
And smelled the rotting odor of decay.
But by then it was too late.
The structure was insalubrious, and once I stepped inside I entered the world of witches, ghosts, and ghouls. The Unforsaken. The deadly creatures who on Hallow’s Eve call the bridge home …the beasts that wasted no time in slaying me.
The witch is a snitch.
This phrase had been playing through the unforsaken's mind for the past three days. It pushed him toward his goal. To kill the witch, slay the snitch. Witches were deadly, but unforsaken didn't mind. Their brains and bodies were an insalubrious place, their only thought to please their masters.
This particular unforsaken was in the early stages of his decay, which is why he had been chosen to slay the witch. A few more days and he would be a ghost like the rest, but for now, he trudged forward.
The witch is a snitch.
The old schoolhouse stood alone yet unforsaken, the scent of decay a mere whisper in these cold, deadly woods. Only on Halloween did children ever venture there, searching for the ghost that guarded the threshold, her long, slender fingers poised to slay any intruder who disturbed her classroom.
On this particular Halloween, a small child knocked on the charred red door, and when it opened, a witch with a warped, spindly wand appeared. Enraged, she thrust it forward.
“Insalubrious!” she cried.
The little girl looked down. “My candy,” she whimpered.
She was the last to venture there on Halloween night.
“Mary, I’m greatly troubled that this witch play of yours remains unforsaken.”
“This is who I am; I can’t help it. I have these powers.”
“You know as well as I do that not only is this insalubrious, but also deadly to your eternal soul.”
“Then do what all good Christians have done throughout history and slay me, mother.”
“You know I would never do such a thing. Oh, if only your father was here.”
“His is here, mother.”
“That...that...can’t be. Henry, you’re...a ghost.”
“Like you always said, while the body may decay, the soul remains eternal.”
“Insalubrious,” Mick muttered, as he tried opening the crypt door.
“Do you mean inconceivable?”
“Get back, witch!” he shouted.
“Stop quoting from The Princess Bride. You’re a ghost. You can’t open doors, so give up,” I reminded, rolling my eyes.
“Well, you’re decaying,” he retorted childishly. “And it’s your fault we’re in this unforsaken place!”
“Don’t you mean godforsaken?” I quipped, giving him a deadly stare. “For the last time, it wasn’t my fault. We were slayed by the slayer.”
“That Buffy chick? She’s a myth.”
“Said the ghost!”
If our couples counselor were here, she’d have a field day.
Survivors said it had cloven hooves and horns like a goat, a wolf’s fangs, red eyes. Some said a witch, others insisted a ghost. Deadly, it would slay and eat chickens and little boys. Other kids at camp laughed when I warned. Unforsaken, but shaken, I sulked off into the pitch-dark pines to pee.
Wind shrieked, lightning flashed nearby, an owl called, “Whooo?”
The hurly-burly of the beast was close. The demon was coming . . . for meee.
Racing back to camp, underpants soaked, I gaped at scratches, blood, and decay—the mark of the Jersey Devil!
Lightning flashes. Lights go off. Bottle knocks glass and there’s an evil laugh…from a witch, ghost or deadly bartender.
Lights come on. And the table’s different…a body’s on it (with no decay), surrounded by bottles, glasses, candy wrappers.
H.R. points at B.P.
B.P. points at H.R.
Both point at J.R. on the unforsaken tablecloth (“unforsaken,” because B.P. retrieved the liquor-stained cloth from H.R.’s Goodwill donations bag).
H.R.: “But we cut her off.”
B.P., glassy-eyed: “We knew another shot would slay her.”
Terror transforms their (otherwise beautiful) faces. They scream, “Who (vodka) shot J.R.?!”
Lightning flashes. Lights flicker. An insalubrious shark laughs.
Insalubrious decay doth eat my body away. Though in death I in time be wrapped, unforsaken I am, for the handmaidens of the scythe – the very witch-ghosts of time do walk my path. Those deadly elements, seeking to slay, maim and thwart, do touch and tingle the very spine of the living - in all things present, in all things deadly, until the world is made new. Adam’s fault and Eve’s pride to blame for death comes to all who wait. And I do wait, for I am born today.
Her father’s hat bowed like a tree surrendering to decay. “Heed the insalubrious atmosphere tonight. Every ghost gains thrice its power—deadly for our species. Dead-ly!”
“I know, I know. We’re at war, they’ll slay us,” crowed the teen witch, scratching her iCat. “I won’t broomfly until after midnight.”
But her unforsaken beau visited just past ten, pressing his colorless face through her door. So dreamy. So damnable. “C’mon, Wendy. You’ll miss Halloween.”
“My curfew—I can’t. Besides, we’re from different worlds.”
“Please? Just once?” Casper smoothed her spidery bangs, and her stockings’ stripes nearly changed directions.
Wendy smiled. “Okay.”
The witch pondered how to slay a ghost she bound to her unforsaken lair. She meant to scare him, but sometimes an extra drip in the cauldron simmered a different potion. Now, if she came too close, one deadly touch would kill her. The ghosts’ remains would release an insalubrious steam, causing her to decay in the spot she stood. The white silhouette hovered at the end of the hall, mocking her with its swaying hips. The witch opened her steaming mouth releasing the unbinding spell. She didn’t have to touch it after all. The ghost vanished, for good.
Clouds slay any moonlight, but frolic continues. Bright faces of the unforsaken – made more vibrant by their pursuit of insalubrious treasures – continue by the decay of the stone bridge.
We meet under it.
“My name is Elizabeth and I’m a ghost.”
“Hello, Elizabeth.” The chorus of voices sounds.
“I’ve been a ghost for 322 years. This is my first meeting.”
There’s some cheering. It’s a lively – well, deadly – crowd.
“How did you die?” The calm wisdom in Phil’s gaze belies his childish face.
“Drowned as a witch.”
An old lady apparition snorts. “Like we really need another one of those.”
I squeeze her throat. She squeals and scrambles, clawing at my hand. I tighten until she stops struggling, then loosen.
She gasps. “Do you know who I am?”
“I care not.” I run my nails over her sagging cheek. The rasp shivers down both our spines. “I slay the forsaken, the unforsaken, the queens and the paupers.”
“I’m a witch!”
“I turn witches to ghosts,” I breathe and she trembles.
“Who are you?”
“The deadly tick-tock of the clock, the countdown to decay.” I lean in and whisper, “The unstoppable insalubriousness of age.”
I steal a kiss.
And a life.
There was an insalubrious manner to how she held the knife, the way it swayed its deadly intention to slay.
I wondered as she moved towards me if she knew what I was, if she knew the way a witch could work her magic against the unforsaken – if she had a clue how deadly we could be, even against the ghost she was.
I locked eyes with hers. She seemed confused by my calmness, baffled by the way I raised one finger to the blade, but when my blood released I saw her understanding.
She was mine now.
"When it becomes cold, that is when you die again," the witch rasped between teeth full of rot and decay.
"That may be," I agreed, eating some stolen Halloween candy. "Becoming unforsaken beats a forgotten ghost. I will slay them all, starting with you," I said, pulling the deadly colt revolver blessed by an internet priest from my jacket.
One pull of the trigger and it was over. The pentagram on my hand warmed again as the witch’s soul fed its appetite. My time had been extended another three days. Three days to find and kill the demon named Insalubrious.
“You’ve got it wrong,” the witch said. “No one believes in ghosts. But witches…” she licked her insalubrious teeth.
“Your spells aren’t real,” the ghost said.
The witch scratched her hooked nose. “But can you slay a human?”
There was a knock at the door. A girl in a red bonnet stood on the porch. “Trick or treat.”
“Oh, this unforsaken tradition,” the witch said. “Do you find us scary?”
She raised an eyebrow. “Uh. Not really.”
The ghost raised his decayed arms. “OOOOHHH,” he groaned. “Nothing?” he asked.
She shook her head and left. They stared after her, open-mouthed.
Mom thought the cemetery was an insalubrious place with all the decay. But Ellen was thrilled that we’re meeting there, “This Halloween, we’ll slay the unforsaken.”
I’m going as a witch – cliché but with a deadly effect on boys.
Someone knocks. It’s Ellen.
“You’re early.” I’m not ready yet.
My phone rings and I check caller ID; it’s Ellen.
I smile uncertainly. “Is this a trick?”
But it’s her mom calling. And she’s … crying?
“Julia? Ellen’s gone!”
“She crashed her car. My baby’s gone!”
“But …” I forget the words as I stare at the ghost.
The porch huddled in cobwebs, an insalubrious skeleton in the corner. Lina steeped tea and waited.
"Cool!" said a trick-or-treating witch of the shimmering ghost above the skeleton. "The ghost’s screaming!"
"What screaming?" Lina said. The girl hesitated, then laughed.
Lina sipped her tea. She grew the herbs above where Theo had lain the first years, alongside some inexplicable deadly nightshade. They throve on the decay below, undeterred by the specter above. Theo’s screams diminished daily, but not completely. "Slain! Forsaken!"
"Unforsaken,” she corrected. “You come out every year, don't you? You were a lousy man, but a great decoration.”
The night was warded by perimeter bonfires, yet the cemetery remained unsavory, insalbrious, and generally unsafe. The gravekeeper stopped beside a pit of shorn earth, blistered up and hollow. Here once rested Anna Praen. Maybe she’d risen a ghost--a decaying corpse lost in the trappings of a spent life. He doubted it. She was a deadly witch if ever there was one. “Damn,” he muttered. At dawn he and the other unforesaken would set out to track and slay her. During the War Between the States he’d hunted witches, and knew the risks--but he daren’t let a witch roam free.
Mother clutched my hand and climbed the steps. She couldn't see the lady on the porch.
Gray skin. Cloudy eyes. She smelled like dirt and decay. Mother smiled once. "It's okay." She tugged me along.
"She lies, child." The ghost whispered through rotting teeth in bloody gums. "She means to slay you."
The door opened. Mother shoved me inside. "She is unforsaken!" She ran, screaming, gripping her skirts. The ghost lady followed in deadly pursuit.
"Hush." A new voice whispered. "The living are insalubrious for witches but the dead are not. Welcome."
I am Wendell. I am the unforsaken. Not yet as lucky as the fat one beside me, who burst, and was left to decay, as garbage. He was spared my fate—-helpless before the deadly blade, the scraping evisceration—-to be left a hollow ghost of what I was. Disfigurement, as fleeting amusement. Dare I sport the repellent face of a witch, one you’d wish to slay, had you the nerve? Hardly. There are no artists here. I bear the off-kilter eyes and gap-toothed grin of an amateur, as I welcome the greedy horde, on this most insalubrious of holidays.
The stench of decay assailed me when I stepped into the unforsaken building. I knew by the strength of the smell that the necromancer I was after was a powerful one, made more powerful by the thin veil between the worlds on Halloween. As a witch, it is my insalubrious job to slay all necromancers, one of the most deadly creatures in the paranormal world. I threw a spell into the air, creating ghosts of the necromancer’s victims using them to distract her. I pulled my bow from my back and notched an arrow, aiming it straight for her heart.
Gemma gave her mother a deadly look.
"I'm not wearing that--the others'll slay me!"
"You're already dead," her mother grinned.
"I'm a vampire, mom, not a ghost. I can feel pain."
"Who's the young man?"
"Lloyd Finklebaum," Gemma smiled.
"Isn't his mother a witch? She's the chef at Insalubrious."
"Which witch?" Gemma said. Her mother frowned. That joke reeked of decay.
The doorbell rang. Gemma pulled the discarded garment over her head and ran for the door.
"Don't be late," her mother called after her. "You're not too old to be unforsaken, you know!"
Neil lights the cigarette for her. “Another insalubrious habit.”
Muriel stretches forward, a ghost of the girl she was, and inhales. “An unforsaken habit, anyway. Trying to slay zombies proved more deadly.”
“Have you lost any more?” he eyes her arm beneath the sheet, weighing which transgression would get him fired faster, her age or her condition.
“Two. The decay’s accelerating.” The bites on her wrist burn; she loses her pinkie. “Make that three.”
“Alma Potter in Comparative Religion, they say she’s a witch. Maybe,”
“You need your hearing checked, Professor. They say Dr. Potter’s a bitch.”
Ghost seeks love to slay his loneliness. You want to feel unforsaken, and are open to being watched while you sleep. He enjoys the scent of flowers in decay, and walks on insalubrious beaches. Deadly witch need not apply.
“Come on, sound it out. You can do it,” the young teacher said.
“In-sa-lube-re-us,” the nervous student said.
“Very, very good, Quenita” the teacher said.
And so it went each school day. The teacher attempted to slay deadly ignorance one child at a time.
A ghost of a smile appeared on her lips as she wished once again she could be a powerful witch that could end societal decay with a simple spell. The smile faded. There was no magic to be found. The truth was that she felt unforsaken. Her Governor, Chris Christie, thought she was a union thug.
Slay R. Grey’s insalubrious heart beat faster at the sight of the needle moving into the Deadly Zone. Had the Unforsaken 2000 detected the smoking cauldron of the witch in 2B or the ghost haunting 3C? Neither. The device detected the zombie who hired him.
“Zeke, I told you the meter senses decay. Please, stay outside.”
“I had to retrieve my right hand.”
Zeke retreated to a chaise lounge in the yard, Kindle and right hand in his left hand.
The search for the ghost of Zeke’s ex-wife whose cries of “Trick or Treat” continued from beyond the grave, resumed.
The house must be ready. We must be ready.
The unforsaken are coming. They want deadly candies. They want insalubrious treats.
Did we put out the witch? Yes, yes. Her, we did slay. Her ghost is long gone. She sways from the tree.
Did we put out the lantern? Yes, yes. It, we have done. We’ve carved out the eyes, prevented decay. We’ve hollowed the head, brushed its long hair.
Can you see your body swing, Mother? Hung from the tree? Does the light from your eyes allow you to see?
The house is now ready. We are now ready.
The insalubrious smell of decay hits my nose before I reach the circle of stones. Some deadly witch’s ritual had definitely occurred here. I close my eyes and can almost hear echoes of chanting as someone had prepared to slay their sacrifices in the once unforsaken forest. Kneeling next to a decomposing corpse, I scan its ghost pale face. Footsteps crunch on the dead leaves behind me, but before I can turn, icy fingers wrap around my throat. A knife slices my abdomen. Blood oozes onto the forest floor, and I realize these bodies weren’t the Halloween sacrifice. I am.
Buffy's Slaying Sonnet
On Halloween, I sallied forth to slay,
But couldn’t find a single deadly vamp;
Just zombies wallowing in rank decay,
Wounds fest’ring in the Sunnydale damp.
I stabbed those undead suckers through and through,
Though zombies can’t be killed with pointed sticks;
It might sound insalubrious to you,
But Mr. Pointy had to have his fix.
I ambushed howling ghosts and then a witch;
They laughed at me, which stirred my killing rage.
The Chosen One’s bestowed with that deep itch
That only dusting vampires can assuage.
I traveled home, unsatisfied and shaken,
The Hellmouth having left me unforsaken.
Sharp hats slayed the brisk night air with pointed pleasure, as the witches chanted in singsong. Their body’s moved to transparent beats. Deadly claws ripped decayed leaves from the ground.
A man, holding a single rose stood under a willow tree in the distance. He knew what he wanted, and he could care less how insalubrious his actions were.
Chanting rose. Leaves brushed the man’s polished shoes. A woman formed from the foliage. His heart pounded hard in his chest and he glowed with pleasure.
A ghost lifted from the ground. “Do you, Victor, take this woman?”
Love is unforsaken.
Witch I am not, nor fading ghost, yet I lurk beside this hidden tomb ready to cast a spell, haunt my prey and liberate the sweet young beggars. Could it be this crypt is theirs? Not isolated, desolate or empty of decay . . . it appears unforsaken. Candy wrappers, moldering crumbs, a cache of insalubrious waste attest to someone’s need to slay a less deadly appetite than mine. I’ll offer treats. I’ll lead them home – then return, costumed, armed. Ready.
The ghost wanted to live again and he went to the witch, who assured him he was unforsaken. They stood in the setting of the sun where the dying light spilled the red of its blood.
“How did you die?” the witch asked, “Did someone slay you?”
The ghost nodded and he cried without tears. He glanced toward the cemetery where his body was ripe with decay beneath the earth.
“Are you sure you want to live?” she asked, “The world is deadly and insalubrious.”
Her words echoed and he couldn’t answer.
The witch continued to chant, paying no mind to the fallen body beside her.
“Unforsaken, with insalubrious acts and deadly...”
Her words cut off, turned into a bloody gurgle as a blade pierced her back. She turned, eyes widening at the sight.
“But I killed you!”
Ned gave a slight smile, his eyes cold.
“You did, but I told you I was going to slay you if it was the last thing I did.”
He watched her body decay, skin turned to leather and fluids leaking from every orifice.
“Can't stop a ghost, you old hag.”
All Hallow’s Eve was her night. Some called her ‘witch’, but Morgana was none of the sort. Ignorant Unforsaken mistakenly called her so.
She moved as a ghost through the insalubrious decay of garbage piled high from the strike.
Approached and rang the doorbell.
“Trick or treat!”
“Oh, my, what a scary little witch!” he said dropping candy.
It was too much. “I’m no witch!” she cried and leaped upon him.
Deadly fangs drank deeply to slay him. How else to prove to the Unforsaken she was deadly serious? That she was no witch. Not even close.
The air in the sunken submarine had grown insalubrious, deadly. The scent of decay filled his nostrils and the ghosts of dead crewmen haunted his dreams.
"Lord, why have you forsaken me?" he prayed aloud.
His wife, who'd turned into a complete witch (he was too nice to use the b-word) immediately after they ran out of food, said, "If you'd only listened to me and turned left at the sunken pirate ship, we'd be UNforsaken by now."
She cackled, then stabbed him with the knife she'd brandished at him for days.
He sighed. "Oh honey, you slay me."
A witch, a ghost, and the unforsaken walk into a school. Sounds like a bad joke, but no, it’s the Halloween Dance.
And what happens next is not my fault.
No one sees me tucked between decaying decorations and the insalubrious punch. I feel the silky feathers of the hooded falcon on my arm. His name is Slayer.
Here she comes. My ex-best friend wearing my costume idea, a victim from the movie Birds. Only, she didn’t know she was my ex-best friend when I suggested she rent real pigeons.
I grin as I pull off the falcon’s hood.
Ever have sex with a witch?
Not any ol’ bewitching woman, but the Elizabeth Montgomery-twitchy-nose variety—blond and fair, eternally free of decay.
I can tell you—the external element of beauty deceives, for it doesn’t seep into her deadly innards, turning sensual experience insalubrious. In and out, she hurts with delight—my gorgeous monster.
What is it she’s extracting—heartbeat, love, tears? Nothing is unforsaken, she takes it all till orgasm’s last gasp slays the remaining days of my youth.
Withered, I can still draw breath, reduced to a ghost reveling in that second before she swallowed my soul.
I accepted the foamy beer with a wave as I sneezed into my witch’s robes. Sick on Hallowe’en – my luck slays me. I pushed back into the party, my watering eyes travelling over the deadly and the unforsaken, the chaste and the lace-clad.
A cool hand slipped into mine. “Enjoying your insalubrious brew?”
I turned to a smiling, blood-splattered ghost. I leaned in, but froze as I caught a whiff of decay. Not makeup, then.
I swung my distinctly un-witchy axe and her zombie head rolled away. I blew my nose. Stuck working on Hallowe’en.
I needed another insalubrious brew.
AN UNFORSAKEN WIFE
The mage's spell was cast to slay
the deadly witch who killed his lover.
She lacked the strength to disobey
the magic might of his charmed order.
Alive he sent her to decay
beneath his pond of ghost filled water.
"Insalubrious," he heard her cry.
"No it's glorious," was his reply.
If he could divine her thoughts--witch them out--he might survive, but her itchy logic re-arranged every act. A thank you prompted a beating; questions might prove deadly. Her insecurities stayed unforsaken, as did he.
He watched the light ghost away, so slow it could be a decay of vision. When dark came, she'd feed him. Maybe talk. Threaten to slay.
In the faraway kitchen, the tinkle of a key into her pocket jerked his guts. He wrapped the chain around his neck. He'd soiled his pants in preparation.
Her panic would provide his sole chance to kill her.
The witch cackled as she stirred her deadly brew. A Ghost companion insalubriously hovered near the edge of the pot. From its vaporous fists, it dumped the remaining ingredients into the brew. Searing vapors spiraled upwards nearly sucking the helpful apparition into the vortex.
“Be careful my unforsaken friend,” she said.
“After our apples have been dipped and dried,” she said, clutching one in her wrinkled hand, “I will transform myself into a beautiful woman. Then, my friend, we will give them to the unsuspecting children.”
“Their bodies will decay from inside. A glorious Halloween it will be. We will slay them all.”
“I swear, if I wasn’t already a ghost you’d be slaying me with that smell.” My sister hovered an inch off the floor giving me a deadly glare. “Since when is eau de witch the stink of decay?”
“Shut it,” I muttered, twisting my hair into a bun. A fly buzzed. “I’m going for insalubrious, okay?”
“Nailed it,” she said. “The vamp won’t know what hit him.”
“Good. Unforsakens are hot this year and I’m not missing out.”
She pinched her nose. “Happy Halloween.”
It took them no time to slay Willikins with their razor claws, shearing the twitching flesh from his bones as we watched through the office door. Everyone else was dead; only the janitors unforsaken by the rescue crew.
"You witch! We don't have a ghost of a chance of surviving here," Jacob said. "Why would you create deadly robot weasels anyway?"
"Seemed like a good idea at the time."
"We have to get out!"
I looked down the hall, full of bright LED eyes and the scent of decay and shook my head.
"Forget it, Jake. It's weaseltown."
As I left, Dad mentioned my insalubrious diet and forthcoming tooth decay. Insalubrious. He does know the word-of-the-day tissue was a gag gift? He argued I’m too old for trick-or-treating. Heck, at twelve, I’m just hitting my Halloween prime. More endurance. More houses. More candy. Mom reminded me to watch for the Baldwin bullies, who surly thrived on this unforsaken night. Outside, a runt in a simple ghostly witch costume didn’t even flinch at my deadly clown-zombie disguise. I should’ve slayed the witch. Before I knew it, Mindy Baldwin ended my chocolate-bar roundup with an innocent nudge off our stoop.
CURSE OF THE IMMORTAL TEEN
They passed each other at the bathroom door.
“Your breath is deadly,” she said.
“So die already, Mom,” he said to her reflection. Hers, he could see.
“Hilarious, you slay me. What’s the problem, tooth decay?”
“Shut it, ya old witch.”
“Personal grooming should not go unforsaken; it’s insalubrious.”
“Can you go now, Webster?” He waved his toothbrush at her.
“It wouldn’t kill you to learn a new word. SATs? Saturday?”
“Not me. I’m going clubbing.”
“Someone already did. Eddie, Grow up.”
“Go to college. Get a job. Something.”
“I’m a teenager.”
She slides into the crawlspace beneath the school lunchroom. The building’s underbelly is grimy, insalubrious. From here she’ll see its approach. Her blade is ready, her left arm painstakingly trained to deliver deadly force. Her lifelong mission, unfulfilled but unforsaken, is to slay it. Something moves in the woods.
Cartoon ghosts and witches adorn the windows above. October cheerfulness masks the terror of That Thing’s palate for human young.
Now it slithers out from the decay of fallen leaves, more imposing than last time. She springs. Years of futility dissolve with a single thrust and dying squeal. Later, she exhales.
Old Mrs. McKinney gave out but bits of advice each hallows eve. Firstly, temp not to visit Mr. Terence the ghost anemone. His unforsaken breath will spoil the scotch you receive. Secondly, spurn witch manatee Mrs. Congreve. Her candied algae is better suited not for eating but slaying of zombie-fish. Lastly, and above all, cross your fins when you swim past the deadliest neighbor in the reef: the Shark. She rides a chariot pulled insalubrious Krokan. The Shark hunts for where a three-headed-turtle (a mischievous specimen of Cameronia Ferrellydas Sommeretta) hid her precious hoard of 40 year Laphroaig.
The unforsaken clawed at my door with deadly force. They were an insalubrious horde of the undead, with no thought in their heads except to devour the one whose scent they had caught. Right now, the scent driving them was mine, and as their decaying hands finally broke through the door, I knew I was dead. I was no witch that could slay them with magic, and no ghost that could mock them with intangibility. They came for me like a tidal wave crashing towards the shore, and as they tore me apart, all I could do was scream.
The Witch raises his ghost on this night. Tormented and twisted a corpse unforsaken, he is deadly but one night of the year, the rest he lays in decay. Bound by the witch all nights save this. He rebels from the ground insalubrious his haunted desires unrestrained. Roaming from wood to field he has only one way to tare his soul from the witches bind. The Devil’s trade, to slay a life, and take a soul, giving what he stole, to have his soul returned. But the Witch makes no deals, for his soul is her prize.
screams, our sustenance, pulsing hearts, our drumbeat
retreating footsteps, our invitation
go, go, go
we will follow
now, deadly thick darkness, an insalubrious witch's brew
now, a ghost-white light, dancing particles of glass and moonbeams
slay us with disbelief, laughter, sweets, no
endless seconds of midnight are our playthings
we, the hallows, have our time
pull up the tattered edges of possibility
let us slip underneath
drape us in whispers and trails of cold decay
we, the hallows, have our night
the eve of the unforsaken
we roam, moan, groan, know, show
go, go, go
As I step into Witch's Wood, named for the deadly nightshade that grows there, I feel the insalubrious air, heavy with decay, fill my lungs, and wonder if I've made a mistake.
They told me I hadn't a ghost of a chance, but I must slay my fears.
The moon casts slithery shadows as I tramp through crisp leaves. Up ahead, the old house. Forsaken or unforsaken, I do not know, but such is my mission.
Up the creaky steps to the front door. It opens before I knock. A monster. A demon. A man with candy.
"Trick-or-treat," I say.
The ghosts feast on the insalubrious smell of the witch's decay, yearning to taste the few drops of lifeblood I left in her flesh. She had thought she was unforsaken—those kinds of thoughts are deadly on All Hollows Eve when predators like me are lurking. Draining her was so… effortless. Now I live to slay another fool before sunrise while the witch becomes fodder for scavengers.
Carrie was the first to hear the call. Brushing the dust from her faded gown, she staggered through the insalubrious cemetery toward the deadly chanting. Decay, insects and mice had been busy, gnawing through the pig’s blood splattered gown.
Zombies, ghouls and one ghost converged upon the witch. They were the unforsaken ones. Forgotten, except this one day when they can arise and play.
Carrie straightened her PROM QUEEN sash. Time for her revenge had arrived. The witch glanced around and said, “You are not to slay a human. Dawn comes quickly. Have fun trick-or-treating.”
The Easter Bunny shoved his application for Team Insalubrious across the counter. The witch working back there didn’t even bother to look up.
“Hey,” he said, tapping his paw against the laminate. “Am I a ghost or something?”
“Nah,” she said. “They don’t smell like decay.”
He stomped the chair he stood on. “Leave that damn pointy hat of yours alone, and tell me what sect I’m in.”
She sighed. “Bunny-comma-Easter: Unforsaken.”
“I wanted Deadly.”
“Ohmigod, are you serious? You freakin’ slay me!”
He grabbed a carrot from his basket, hopped the counter, then stabbed her stupid green face.
The decorations were set, the spooky music on. As the doorbell rang, Jenny fixed her hat on her witch costume. Her friends came dressed in the most eerie ensembles. Her annual “Decay Foray” was always a hit.
Jenny gave a disapproving look and said “A ghost is the best you could come up with Jesse? Good thing you’re my unforsaken friend.” He just shrugged and went on. Jenny didn’t recognize the guy dressed as a deadly plumber. She thought he looked strangely like the slayer on the run. And the blood on his wrench looked very real, too real.
The stench of decay hit my senses before I came upon the deadly witch. Or the ghost of her, keeping the body company. At least the body was unforsaken in its heap at the mouth of the cave. An insalubrious quiver of air surrounded me. “Did you slay me?” The voice grated upon my ears as she flew at me, ghostly claws extended. “No,” I managed to get out before the cold vise clamped down. “That one.” I breathed out and tipped my head as best I could. Only then did she seem to notice the roses that had fallen.
The Unforsaken, a local witch-hunting group, set out on Halloween to slay the insalubrious ghost, Maynard the Mad, known for his deadly powers. He struck terror in the hearts of the townspeople as decay and chaos followed in his wake. The town ghost expert dashed their hopes by claiming that Maynard’s ghostly status indicated that he was already dead.
“How shall we stop him if we cannot kill him?” they asked one another.
“I know!” exclaimed the expert. “We shall feed him chocolate!” They did and now he is known as Maynard the Glad. (Maynard may have been a girl.)
Her insalubrious confectionery concoctions so dazzled the palate, many thought her a culinary witch. The truth was stranger; her sweets were savvy subterfuge for godhood maintained through gulping ghosts. To avoid slaying her dwindling devotees, she used unforsaken invocations to hasten decay in those who devoured her shop's deadly delicacies. Crispy cookies carried off a month, tasty truffles took two, and a single slice of red velvet stole a year. Interviewed after the murderous masquerade was exposed, one long-time customer said they would still purchase the poisonous pastries. He opined that they were "good enough to die for".
Boston’s homoeopathic witch, Aubrudrey, stirred her simmering brew before adding the final ingredients—six decaying teeth of six, six-year-old children. For the past nine Hallows Eves, one-ninth of the city’s witch population had succumbed to a deadly strain of witrus. There was no known cure.
Aubrudrey had a new recipe, but a ghost must administer it. Beretel, the medical ghost, agreed to dispense the potion to the unforsaken covens. Together, they would slay this infectious beast.
But the insalubrious Aubrudrey had contracted the illness. If Beretel didn’t arrive soon, would the creation of the magic swill have been for naught?
“One more house, Jaelyn?” She's a witch and I'm a ghost this year.
“Oh, no! Bryce and Dane!” I point at the zombies.
“I’m not giving up my candy!”
“Me either! This way!”
The bullies chase us through backyards. Their years of torturing us kids end tonight.
I lead us to the playground and we hide.
“Come on out. We just want to play.” They laugh.
I blow my special whistle with no sound.
Unforsaken creatures appear and surround the fake zombies. Their deadly eyes hypnotize. The smell of decay overpowers. They slay the boys before they can scream.
I remember the words of the ghost, “Only at midnight can you slay the witch.” The air feels deadly, a decay infests my nostrils. I step, a snapping twig, an unforsaken scream slashes through the air. Her features sharp and twisted she swoops towards me shrieking on her broom her knife slicing for my throat. Diving I roll and see them, my daughters hidden behind the mausoleum bound to a tombstone. They sit hunched in a trance from the cauldrons acrid vapors. The church bell tolls, I hurtle towards them, the witch wielding in the air streaks after me.
She was a witch. I was a ghost. You'd think that combination would be deadly for a marriage, but our vows remained unforsaken. Our obsession with children was a bit insalubrious, but our baby was born immortal. We named her for optimism, a bastion against her parent's decay. Alone among the undead, we know for certain that nothing can slay Hope.
“Yippee” cried Dorothy, opening the door, “I’m pleased to say that deadly Witch is no more!”
“That’s great” said Lion, “ I knew she’d pay. In fact I came here purposely to slay.”
“Yeah right, as if, whatever you say. I’m surprised you’re back before the onset of decay.”
“No really it’s true, you were unforsaken. In fact I’ll guard the body in case her ghost should awaken,
Though actually, no, I’d better not. Nothing’s more insalubrious than dead bodies, coz they rot”.
“Wow kids” said Dad, “Your outfits look good. Oh God, why is Mummy all covered in blood?”
A ghost of the midnight bells fills the air. The witching hour is upon us like a severed hand that is hard to escape. The decaying moon hangs heavy in the sky. Her sickly unforsaken light touches my skin.Burning me. Branding me.
It's happening. That deadly curse I've been blessed with. Slaying my INSALUBRIOUS thoughts with it's bite. I scream at them, “Run.” But they never believe me. Always insisting I’m crying wolf.
I can feel it coming. My hands, my eyes, the back of my mouth. And once again, I cry, “Wolf”. Why don’t they believe me?
I ask you, how hard can it be to slay a ghost?
It’s basic Witch 101, should have been a no-brainer. Take an unforsaken tomb, a deadly spell with your standard cobwebs, newt’s eye and warty toad, and faster than you can say “insalubrious zombie” Bad Ghostie vanishes into the ether.
How was I to know a little wart decay would bung up the whole process? Now I’ve got slimy, leech-like thingies crawling out of the primordial slime and clogging my drains, and the ghost is laughing his ethereal ass off.
Where are the freaking Ghostbusters when you need them?
"Trick or treat?"
"What do we have here?" smiled a curtain wearing lady. Her costume was actually good. She might have failed passing for a ghost but curtain wearing ladies were much scarier.
"I'm a slayer," I explained. If Buffy can go around in jeans so can I. No one said Halloween should be embarrassing.
"I slay bad guys."
"Oh, returned to unforsaken grounds after slaying a deadly witch?" she smirked.
"Unforsaken grounds?" I asked as she gave me insalubrious chocolate bars, dotted with signs of decay and almonds alike. "Are we talking about the same New York here?"
Jesse is a ten year old witch with deadly powers and her favorite time of the year is Halloween. It is the one day she can pretend that her family of two is normal, because her mother, Tessa, is a ghost who was slain five year ago by a witch hunter called Matt Smith. The weird part of it all is that Tessa refuse to let Jesse go unforsaken and for that reason still owns her human body that, by now, smells and resembles a decaying corpse, turning her into the only zombie alive? A case of Insalubrious, you bet.
From under the ambiguous white sheet with a black cap came “Trick or Treat,” in a little girl’s voice.
“Are you a ghost or a witch?”
“I’m tooth decay. I’ll pillage your molars and slay your bicuspids! Your sweet tooth and insalubrious oral hygiene have summoned me!” She opened a huge bag.
All night he’d been stingy with greedy trick-or-treaters. The remainder was his. “Why you unforsaken little . . .”
“I’ll lead to infection that can spread to your brain; that could be . . . DEADLY!”
His bowl emptied into her bag. “Did you mean godforsaken?” she asked.
My editor, “The Witch,” screamed, “Write a ghost story by tomorrow’s deadline!”
I drove to Castle Perilous. Urban Legends touted I must slay something to get in. With my heart pounding, I inched forward with deadly, rabid bats swooping at my waist length black hair. The stench of decay from the insalubrious bat guana was nauseating.
A mosquito landed on my arm, and I smacked it. “A kill!” I whispered.
I reached the castle, and the door creaked open. I lit a nearby lantern. “Let this unforsaken writing begin. ‘It was a dark and stormy night . . .’ ”
I was a ghost, an insalubrious vapor in the darkness. I slid, deadly and undetected, past a tiny witch whose hands overflowed with candy and possibility. One day she would know decay. But not today. I passed a window, stopping to examine the horrifying scene it threw at me. A young boy, glassy-eyed and hollow, stared blankly, mesmerized by moving blue light. The box next to him read THE UNFORSAKEN.
"Stay and slay?" I wondered.
But he was dead already, and killing only counted if they were fresh.
By the time we reached the graveyard I was more than ready to slay my ex- boyfriend. His back faced me, skin white as a ghost, as he studied a wrought iron fence that seemed to pierce the sky with its deadly points. “The guy should know better than to turn his back on a scorned woman,” I thought, and pulled out the knife concealed in my witch costume. Then, in one fell swoop, I plunged it into his back, leaving his body to decay on an unforsaken grave stone.
That’ll teach the jerk to steal my Halloween candy.
Until the neighbors found old man Krembly wandering disheveled and bloodied through their backyard that night, no one believed that his house was haunted. People thought he was insane.
“But the floorboards creak and the windows rattle all night,” he insisted.
He claimed that some sort of witch or ghost—something grim and ghastly—had terrorized him more than once. Finally his unforsaken crusade to be free of it drove him to use deadly force, to slay it and leave it to decay.
A pot of dead rats simmering on the stove posed a most insalubrious discovery the next morning.
Frightful Night in Suburbia
On all hallows’ eve just before midnight. One year ago…this very night. I found myself among the unforsaken. Lost in an insalubrious fog roamed witches, ghost, long toothed creatures from outer space and beings well into the process of decay. I lay safe as the sun sank away and drifted into slumber. A soft knock came to my door. The ringing of the bell tolled as beasts so deadly gathered about my well lit porch. I opened to the crowd of horror movie monsters ready to slay any empty handed fool chanting there demand, “Trick or Treat!”
The UNFORSAKEN and doomed displayed.
In dark Salem’s streets the WITCH must pay.
Upon the midnight hour her GHOST will play.
From the GRAVE where the dead DECAY.
Come for blood and souls to SLAY.
With a finger lodged in her nose, Greta pondered aloud, “Who would win between a ghost and a witch?”
Garbit shrugged. “Aren’t you a witch?”
“Yes,” she inspected her freshly plucked goober, “and an insalubrious one at that.”
“What does your religion have to do with anything?” He snatched her morsel and plunged into his mouth.
“Remind me why I’m friends with you again?”
“My unforsaken charm no doubt.”
A ghost whisked into the corridor ready to slay anything that moved. It easily disposed of the distracted pair and left their corpses to decay and fill with insects.
Nine huge brick buildings,doors chained shut and windows boarded, State’s Mental Hospital is where I exist. The patients now gone are unforsaken, except for one.
I had to slay my dreams of freedom to live here, and watch them decay like my mind from the deadly cancer of insanity. This time of year I am called a witch, but more often I am a ghost, a blink of horror, a fleeting shadow caught by an intruder’s eye in the insalubrious environs of the blackened hallways. It’s Halloween; the kids sneak in to be scared; I wait, to be fed.
My backyard was an unforsaken forest littered with decaying plants and animals. A faint crying could be heard and I was soon standing before a young girl in a witch costume, shivering and as pale as a ghost. She wouldn’t move so I placed her on my back. Her thin costume was an insalubrious choice for late October.
“Momma, it’s me Janey.”
Her crying slowly seized and a deadly silence took over.
Finally home I carefully placed her down as to not wake her.
There was no child. Just a gravestone.
In honor of viciously slain Jane Smith.
The decay at the bottom of the glass smells horrendous. The insalubrious mixture taunts, drink me, but I will not succumb to the deadly witch potion. I turn away from the goblet, watching the willows sway in the breeze.
Ghost fingers tickle the back of my neck; I bristle and find the glass in my hand once more. I weigh it in my palms.
If I drink this, I’d be unforsaken. My parents would weep and stand over my grave, placing flowers and trinkets of affection I’d never warrant in this life. Down the hatch, I slay the poison.
The tall ghost ripped off his sheets. Whipped out a deadly knife. The insalubrious witch to his right shrieked. A zombie in full decay dropped his beer and ran for the door.
"Janet and Barbara are my babes, Clooney," the huge man said in a low voice.
George looked up from his copy of UNFORSAKEN and patted the knees of the hot literary agents on either side of him: Janet dressed as a slutty angel and Barbara as a succubus.
He smiled. "Reacher, let's make a deal. We don't slay each other and maybe we can do a double date."
"The near witch."
"No witches here, idiot. This is ghost country. They'd slay a witch who showed her insalubrious mug here."
"Insalubrious? You're never going to get laid if you use those godforsaken words."
"Proper English must remain unforsaken. Chicks find erudite fellows deadly cool."
"Yeah, good luck with that. I'm going after the leggy blonde with tooth decay and nasal wart. Long as we don't kiss, bedding her would be murder most persuasive."
"So? Did you score with the witch?"
"Nah, she wasn't a witch. Babe was an underage Irish zombie dolled up for Halloween."
The witch was being burned at the stake the night before Halloween. In the decay of life, the Ghost of Halloween Past showed her how insalubrious her life had been. Then the Ghost of Halloween Present showed her how deadly her actions were. Suddenly, the Ghost of Halloween Future appeared. In the future the band Forsaken was playing on the stage in front of a large group of people willing to slay their own lives by going to Hell. After giving through Hell herself the witch recanted her ways and started to follow The Way.
Some old Southern families have history. Mine had ghosts, deadly curses, and a legend of a witch looking for long overdue revenge.
In New Orleans, Halloween is a tawdry celebration and I frolicked as Creole music poured from bars. I encouraged imaginary knights to slay purple dragons; green fairies weren’t just in your drinks and storybook heroines showed their most insalubrious sides.
That’s when I saw her.
I ran like mad.
She found me there, cowering in an alley. Death and decay surrounded her as she cackled loudly.
One block away was safety. Laughter. Life.
But here I was unforsaken.
“I hate being human.”
“Your witch costume is fantastic,” Mother sang, attempting to slay any angst.
I left the unforsaken house, a place once smothered with decay. It would've been an insalubrious purchase to neighbors had Lucifer not rehabbed it. Down the driveway stood a boy, my closest acquaintance from school. My mouth salivated with deadly intent.
“Ready to rob this town?” Ben called.
“A ghost? Really?” I approached him, plastic bag in hand. A cheap, white blanket clung to his figure.
“Wanna eat candy or not, Glenda?”
I want to eat something, I thought.
The insalubrious substance oozed from the zombie’s eye cavity as she tried to lift her decaying arm to swat at the witch, who was prancing by just out of reach. The witch let out a deadly cackle and swung around to face the melancholy ghost who was trying to fade into the background. Before he could fully disappear a noise at the entrance caught his attention. He floated forward to get a better view of the warrior trying to slay vampire and decided to stay in the unforsaken garden after all. It looked to be the best Halloween party ever!
Oh insalubrious night! The wind snatches at witch sisters with ghost fingers as they gather beneath the moon.
“Stir the deadly pot.”
“Breathe the fetid air.”
“Who arrives, to speak to sisters three?”
“Tis that wandering spirit, Macbeth. Beneath the earth his body does decay yet here he walks.”
“My spirit wanders, weird sisters, ” he speaks, “due to your false prophecy.”
“All spoken, true.”
“All promised, received.”
“And you praying to be unforsaken, guilty from those you did slay.”
“My punishment is enough,” he replies.
“All such fleeting beasts as mortals be, shall wander for eternity.” And they disappear.
Heath shivers, even though the audition room is hotter than Satan’s undershorts. Something about the next contender rattles him. Is it his whiff of decay? The billowing cloak? Or the scar shaped like a witch’s pentacle, and gouged into the smooth, ghost-pale chin?
“The unforsaken never stare,” the man says. “At the cicatrice. The forsaken are another matter.”
“Excuse me? You do have a monologue prepared?”
“Certainly. An insalubrious one. Deadly, even.”
“I’m all ears.”
“So they say, before I slay them.”
The knife comes out of nowhere, or so Heath thinks. The last words he hears are “Director’s cut.”
Jimmy wakes with the kind of excitement little kids get on Christmas morning. It’s been some time since he was a kid though, at least a live kid. Jimmy was killed last year, slain in his sleep, though he’d been insalubrious for months, not that he remembers any of it. Human memories fade quickly when you become a ghost.
Outside Jimmy’s unforsaken house, the nighttime waits, deadly. Tara’s waiting too, Tara’s a witch, and Jimmy’s best friend. She helped him when he first died with the decaying process. But that’s over now, and today’s his first Halloween.
“Then she cooed my makeup was nothing more than insalubrious decay. Imagine!”
Harold waved a dismissive hand. “Sounds like that catty old witch. When was the last time she looked at that unforsaken face of hers? Only a ghost could love her.”
“Agreed,” said Audrey. “Sometimes I think that lump she lives with is a ghost. He looks dead half the time.”
“All the time. Sunlight on him is probably deadly.”
Audrey sighed. “She’s so cruel. I wish god would slay her with bolts of lightening. You know, something biblical.”
“Frogs on her house?”
“Worse. A plague on her face.”
Everything about the insalubrious neighbourhood suggested Tom and Nancy should make an immediate, if ignominious, retreat. A witch and a ghost should have nothing to fear from such an unforsaken street, even if several of the houses looked to be in a state of significant decay. Tom gripped his seven-year old sister's hand. “It's not like we're running away,” he said, more to bolster his own courage than hers. “It's more like we're regroupng before coming back to slay the dragon.”
“Dragon, schmagon.” Nancy marched forward and pulled out a deadly-looking butterfly knife. “I want candy.”
“Stand back, you insalubrious slut.”
“Careful, Thayer.” Selda straightened her pointed black hat. “I’m a witch, not a slut.”
“Fine.” Thayer raised his scythe. “Stand back, you unforsaken witch.”
Selda rolled her eyes. “It’s godforsaken, Thayer. Not unforsaken. For a supposedly deadly old ghost, you are shockingly stupid.”
Thayer blinked. “Supposedly? I’m hurt. I’m positively deadly. Or didn’t you notice the bodies?”
“Oh, I noticed.” Selda swept her arm through the bloodstained entryway. “The decay is impressive. I’m still not going anywhere.”
“Then you leave me no choice,” said Thayer, tightening his grip.
“Go ahead.” Selda smiled. “Slay me.”
"So, a witch, a werewolf, and a ghost walk into a bar. And the werewolf says, am I hairy, or is it hot in here?"
I had sworn off doing stand-up for the zombie crowd. But a few Benjamins waved under my nose, and they were unforsaken. The pay was good, though the audiences could be dead. And in varying states of decay. If they don't kill you, the deadly, insalubrious air of the club will.
"You guys slay me. Take my life, please..." As they began their trudge to the stage, I thought, Bad choice of words.
“Over here.” A voice gently calls out from nowhere.
“Do you think it’s a witch or a ghost or something?” I whisper to Mark quietly, stopping in the shadow of a huge oak tree.
“No dork I don’t."
“But what if they are some decaying, unforsaken … thing.”
Mark yawns, “What, like some deadly beast come to slay us?” He asks wide eyed, and mocking.
“Who said it then?” I ask looking around.
“That guy at the party. I think someone found his keys. Can we go in now? I want to dance with the blonde fairy.”
My hand grazed the ghost of white lace that fell over the window, parting it just far enough to peek out. The unforsaken yard appeared to be free of its usual deadly inhabitants: the large black raven and that witch if a squirrel.
I regretted leaving my shoes behind, but there was no turning back now. The cold, damp, insalubrious, decaying leaves stuck to my bare feet as I scurried across the yard.
When I reached the metal coffin, I pulled it open and peeked inside.
It was there, waiting like an assassin to slay my hope… Another form rejection.
You label me a witch as if it’s a bad thing. Yes, my skin is pea green but it’s not insalubrious; in fact it’s quite healthy, for I use the decay of the raven’s bloodied carcass as moisturizer. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to slay those black devils with wings? Fortunately, I’m deadly with a bow and arrow. In fact, I’ll make a ghost of you yet, you bully, you warlock, you crow. And you will be forgotten and I, the witch, the woman, the queen, will be forevermore, unforsaken.
“Give up the ghost!” Splinters clattered around the sizeable dent Marley’s fist left in the table.
“The moral decay of paranormal investigation, evidenced.” Her teeth flashed. “Hero of the unforsaken, deadly to furniture.”
Fangs bared, Marley snatched the huntress’s collar. “I haven’t forgotten what you did to my partner.”
“Me neither. Cried like a tiyanak. Damn good slay.”
“The ghost, witch!”
Cuffed hands ramming his chest, she craned to escape his insalubrious breath. “I nailed that squirming eel of ectoplasm and sent it down-river – a little Halloween message in a bottle.”
Marley wrenched her head back and set his teeth.
It was insalubrious, for Lily to suck the venom out of Jared arm—but he was her brother. A new breed of deadly misfits took respite in Olympic, Washington aka the unforsaken along with them, the decay coming from their stench. It was only a year ago Lily found the weird rune on her arm, she later learned she was a witch, part of an ancient linage, Slay her best friend was missing, she had to find him, even if he was dead, he would do the same for Lily if the situation was reversed, a loud blast then darkness.
His love: I crave it with passion so insalubrious, so deadly wicked, I've resorted to this.
This, this vial of decay and beauty, will slay him with a single sip before he sees November. And I? I will be unforsaken as this witch-black potion, silent as the ghost I've become, binds him to me. From tonight to forever, we'll watch moonfall and sunrise, we'll hide in plain sight as the world wakes. He'll be angry at first, but eventually, he'll accept it.
Eternity is a long time.
"Try this," said the zombie witch, green decay peeling from her overexposed cleavage and falling into the smoking caldron. "It's deadly."
The ghost realigned the eye-holes in his sheet. "Thank you, no. It looks somewhat insalubrious."
"Morton?" she said, trying to focus through three cups of punch. "Is that you?"
"Unfortunately. I informed Mr. Omega that the ledgers must balance by the solstice lest drastic cuts to personnel be necessary. But he insisted this annual revelry remain unforsaken by the entire Accounting Department, regardless of the consequences."
She giggled and hiccupped. "Oh, Morton, you slay me."
He sighed. "Not yet."
Ian ascended the stairs of the old mansion armed with his sisters hairspray and a Zippo. A ghost, brooding in his own decay, past him moaning at Ian's unforsaken presence.
At the second floor, Ian crept towards the deadly hag's insalubrious smell, his anger fueled by Jessie's murder. In the dim light from the soot covered window, the old door had an ornate brass knob. Ian opened it.
The witch whirled around and snarled, pointed cracked teeth potruded from her head. She charged to slay him.
Ian raised the can and spent the Zippo's barrel.
"Burn in hell!" he roared.
“Who did Dracula take to the prom?” The paisley print sheet with eye-holes stands at the door, treat bag open.
Like I didn’t remember the purple ghost from the last two times.
“You slay me.” I try not to sound like that which rhymes with witch.
I console myself, knowing the insalubrious treats will result in tooth decay.
I’ve had enough of precious, unforsaken tots. I am turning off the porch light when a werewolf wanna-be approaches. He’s too old for trick-or-treating. I pretend not to notice his leer as he follows me inside.
My deadly fangs unfurl.
The four unforsaken walk boisterously through the insalubrious crowd, taking no notice of the despair and decay surrounding them.
“A witch, a ghost, and an angel walk into a cemetery….”
Only three laugh at the punch line.
“Your jokes don’t slay me, Michael,” Gabriel says, rolling his eyes.
“I think they’re deadly,” Uriel counters, chuckling.
“Speaking of deadly…” Gabriel looks around. “Where’s Lucifer?”
“WAITING FOR MY NEXT BATCH OF DAMNED SOULS,” Lucifer’s voice booms. “NOW GO BACK UP AND GET TO WORK.”
The archangels fly off.
The forsaken wail and cry; for them, there is no reprieve from hell.
Goes Bump in the Night
A witch in decay as darkness would fall
and I, a scared child, gave a pitiful call.
‘Neath covers I’d stay as a ghost slithered near
and nightmarish screams I’d constantly hear.
Through cold deadly mists I’d shudder to see—
insalubrious vampires eager to slay only me.
Unforsaken have blessings; not me in my plight
of gathering things going bump in the night.
Exited childhood— though younger than most
selling drugs my career path; also my boast.
Fear only me, not those creatures of fright
I’m now the thing that goes bump in the night.
I hear them outside, trying to get in. Is it a ghost- no- deadly, but something more. They tap and knock. Tap, tap, tap. I can feel them, looking in at me. It’s dark in here now, darker out there. The lights. What did they do to them? And my wife, the witch that she was, they have taken her. I can smell the decay. Am I forsaken? Ah, to be unforsaken. No. They are here. For me. I must wait, helpless, as they enter now. I still don’t see but feel them, smell them, their hate, ready to slay.
If only I could slay him and be done with it. I looked into the cauldron and saw his face. Insalubrious liquid drooled with bits of animal decay. It should have made even the most stoic witch's stomach churn. I didn't flinch. I couldn't stand to see his ghost again. I cut a lock of hair and tossed it in the deadly potion. He said we would always be unforsaken. This was the only way to forget him forever. The liquid devoured my lock. His image disappeared. I blinked. A blank pool stared back. My mind reeled, as if I'd been clubbed. I couldn't remember why I'd come here.
Paul knelt by the gelatinous mess. “Male, unusual state of decay owing to—"
“You can tell it’s male?” Martinez looked back at the remains.
The M.E. pointed to a clump. “Guy’s family stones. Some places, that kind of thing’s considered good eats. Guess not in Austin, Texas.”
The cop looked a ghostly shade of pale. “What is with this unforsaken town? Every freakin’ year someone pulls a Hannibal.”
Paul nodded. “Who knew trick-or-treating was so deadly for the college set?” Or that this campus could continue to churn out such tasty witches, goblins and demon-slayers. Still, he’d never acquire a taste for albondigas.
*Disclaimer - I've lived in Austin and, from what I recall, man-eating is kept to a bare minimum. I can’t speak for other parts of Texas - they do tend to go wild up around Dallas.
The Herford Mansion sits beneath an insalubrious cloud of smog emitted by the unforsaken town nearby. The dilapidated walls, and decaying roof of the forlorn lair have sat vacant for years. Well, almost vacant. Those close enough can hear the blistering cries of the mansion’s current occupant. Alice Herford wonders the catacombs in solitude, endlessly searching for answers. Suspected of witchcraft in 1692, Alice’s husband set to slay her in her sleep by a deadly poison he placed in her drink to escape execution himself. She now remains of ghost of the past, wondering endlessly and aimlessly through the night.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer has nothing on me. I'm deadly hot with my witch costume, fishnets and bustier showing off an insalubrious amount of flesh. My mother would kill me. Like, decay in the ground kill me. My bestie is going as a ghost-whore. We’re gonna dominate the party and my unforsaken crush of the month, Jake, is going to die when he sees me. I’ve waited all year to dress like a slut without being called one and I’m seriously going to cast a spell on him. Who wouldn’t want a piece of candy from a witch hooker?
The old, forsaken hospital—which my suspicions told me may have been more UNforsaken than the skeptics believed—echoed my footsteps back to me as I walked slowly down the hallway. The deadly darkness of the rooms I passed sent shivers of horror down my spine—rooms where they would slay the innocent victims, for reasons yet to be discovered. Rumors were circulating of a ghost that lived within the hospital, the ghost of a girl believed to be a witch. I ran my hands along the walls riddled with decay and chipped paint.
Then I heard the voice.
“Insalubrious whore,” said Sharkey, whose face seemed to decay under the weight of the ten pounds of rotting horseflesh that he’d draped over his head.
“I didn’t screw no one,” said Griselde. The ghost of her former boyfriend, Slay Jones, hung between them. Slay had abandoned her for that witch, Beatrice. She wished she was unforsaken. Wanted. Loved again. Griselde was garbed in delicate gauze. She was a token against the dark. Sharkey was death; he was deadly.
Slay had never been cruel. But he had betrayed her. Griselde would find him this Hallowe’en night, and ruin him.
Happy Meal Horror
A ghost plunked gobs of worms into the All Soul's decay stew. The witch stirred her delicacy. It simmered, deadly toxins wafted through the dreary unforsaken mansion. The lid clanked. "I must slay a man tonight," she cackled. "Conjured from alleyways, an insalubrious alcoholic."
Daemons reassured her, "We'll add toadstools in one hour." She nodded, whisked her broom to the docks plucking a ripe sailor. She returned. Goblins contributed nightshade salad to the impending feast.
Brandishing razor sharp fingernails, the witch slashed her victim's neck. "Bloody rum toddies for all." Midnight chimed. Vampires raised goblets. "To death."
I miss the smell of rotting turnips.
These days the insalubrious fumes that hug the decay of carved faces are emitted by pumpkins. Useless offerings for purgatory’s unforsaken.
If only jack-o’-lanterns could release them.
I witch with the Divine Rod for her soul—that piece left over from her deadly transgression. In a wide arc. In endless arcs. For any soul.
Let there be souls.
Purgatory is a big place. And I’m tired. More tired than before I gave up the ghost.
It’s taking forever.
That thought will slay my fortitude if I let it. This is my purgatory, too.
This dare was a bad idea.
The sign proved that — SLAY was painted in something red, deadly, and long since dried.
Bringing Carter with me was a worse idea. He made the trek interminable, murmuring worst-case scenarios and words like ‘insalubrious’ under his breath. But if the little house ended being the home of a ghost or a witch, he would make a good offering.
Now we stood on the single unforsaken patch of ground left, staring into the dark tangle of shadows, decay, dust, and moonlight. One night, and I could leave this behind me. “Here we go.”
The plantation had withstood extensive decay. Ivy had broken through the roof. The staircase sagged. Even the well water was insalubrious. Still, realtor Louise Bell was confident. “Romantic, don’t you think?” she asked the prospective buyer, a pale, elegant woman. “Comes with ghost included,” Louise prattled in deadly earnest. “The owner’s lover was a witch. Locals accused her of blighting crops. She fled, abandoning him, and, as the tale goes: they did slay him instead.”
“She did not flee,” the buyer replied. “The ghost was her carpenter and in her heart remained unforsaken. The house—damnation—was hers. Hers.”
Diane’s mom watched her slay an apple with a Popsicle stick before handing her the phone. “It’s Jackie.”
“Ugh. I don’t want to talk to that b-witch.”
“Well the bwitch wants to remind you to bring something sweet to her ‘Unforsaken Halloween Bash’. I’ll be upstairs.”
Diane opened an unlabeled bottle. It smelled like decay and almonds.
“Jackie?” She said, “Of course I’m coming to your party.”
Tipping the bottle of cyanide into melted caramel, Diane stirred it twice, dunked the skewered fruit into the deadly mixture, and plopped it onto a platter shaped like a ghost.
“I’m bringing desert.”
The silverware gleams. Thirty sets of eyes are trained on me, waiting.
Madame taps her acrylic nails. The witch is frigid.
“Begin,” she says.
My voice comes from somewhere deep, a ghost rising. “The peace which others seek they find. Heaven grants...Heaven...” The words jumble. Stuck in my mouth. Slaying me.
Smiles around the table. They’re hungry now.
“You did not complete,” Madame says.
I bite my lip and taste blood.
Failing means I won’t become an Unforsaken. I stare at the decaying rat, its tail draped over the edge of my plate. It also means punishment.
Racing down the staircase, I tripped over the witch’s body.
“Help me, unforsaken!” she cried as I stumbled to the landing, and looked back at her.
“Why should I, most deadly of the night?” I stuttered.
“If you leave me, the Insalubrious ones will let me decay here alone.” She winced, as the holy water slide down her arm, burning where it touched her skin.
“They’ll slay you, you mean.”
“If you don’t help me, I’ll become a ghost and haunt you for life.” She glared.
“Fine then.” I grinned, my fangs just visible.
Our war was a duplicitous one.
I adjusted the curtains, making sure no ghost of blue light could escape. I had all I needed tonight: piles of candy that made my teeth tingle with decay, a witch’s brew of bourbon and schnapps, and a deadly longing for my beloved. To hear his key in the door, his footsteps on the stairs, his voice saying hush, I’m here, I will slay your dragons.
I nurtured an insalubrious dream.
They knocked, twittering like birds. So many children, innocent and unforsaken, wanting a piece of me. I muted the television and bit into another chocolate. Soul unmasked, I waited.
My neighbors avoid me like a deadly plague.
I get it. Most people think my kind is insalubrious. Yet I'm the most wholesome witch you'll ever meet. My house isn't haunted. I don't tolerate tooth decay or any other form of rot. And I couldn't slay a lowly flea even if I tried.
My ghost of a colleague, Dr. Bones, swears I would be unforsaken if I invited the entire block to a Monster Mash limbo party on Halloween night. But honestly? Humans terrify me. I'd rather curl up in front of the fireplace with a good spell book.
It was said that a witch lived in that house.
...it was an unforsaken building, smelling of death and decay.
I’m not sure why we went there.
I said it was empty, but Jimmy insisted there was a ghost.
“There’s no such thing.”
“There is,” he held, “and one lives there. She’ll slay you with her deadly
poisons; laugh as your eyes roll to the back of your head.” I rolled my eyes.
But I glanced back as we walked away…and I saw a rather insalubrious
looking woman pulling back the curtain, who smiled at me before I ran.
“Get me out of this unforsaken place!” The actress let out a timid cry.
“Cut. That’s God-forsaken and your screaming wasn’t deadly enough. Ok, quiet on the set. Roll-em.”
“Please don’t hurt me. Keep your ghostly hands off my decaying dress.”
“Cut. That’s DKNY dress. Go on.”
“I’m not the slayer you seek. I’m just a model from Green Witch Village.”
“Cut. That’s Greenwich Village. The movie’s called Halloween in Manhattan - never mind. Now, this next line’s tough.”
“You’re going to eat me? You can’t, I’m insalubrious.”
“Cut. Perfect. How did you….?”
“All models know that word.” She smiled.
Mrs. Nieman was a witch, I was sure of it. Still, I followed the scent of fresh gingerbread into the black forest. The underlying, insalubrious stench of decay did not dissuade me, nor did the legends of ghosts of lost children I heard from the townsfolk. The old lady was deadly as a poisoned apple, they said, and she baked with them too. I said I would find her unforsaken cottage, with its frosting trim and candied glass, and I would slay her. I lied. The gingerbread melted on my tongue like spun sugar, and death was almost as sweet.
The moon was full, an unforsaken stamp of white that followed the soldier through clouds in the sky. Bleeding and spent, he spied something move in the black hills ahead. Prepared to slay, he leveled his gun, but the image withered from sight. Was it a witch or a ghost or a new deadly trap in the blistering wilderness? He shook his head. If friend or foe, once the freezing began, insalubrious though it may be, no flesh would decay in the ice that remained when the sun chased the darkness away.
Young children all have insalubrious curiosity. Yet watching your child is unfashionable nowadays. Two parentless waifs snuck into my bookstore. The younger one stomped up to me.
“Are you a witch?!” She demanded.
“Why would a witch work at this unforsaken location? The Sunnydale mall?” I asked.
“To lure children in so you can slay and eat them.”
“Shut up!” hissed the elder, embarrassed.
I pointedly looked at my Subway wrapper.
“I suppose you don’t have a deadly ghost in back either.”
“No. I have cookies though. In back.”
I shouldn’t have eaten them. Children always give me tooth decay.
Parthea Carnarvon wiped sweat from her hands and pushed the entry stone. Adjusting her lantern, she re-read the ghostly hieroglyphs in this unforsaken tomb; “Never Tutankhama – never sister – never witch, NEVER will Tutankhama become Pharaoh!”
Thea smiled, her thesis about an evil rivalry between royal Tutankham siblings was about to be proven. Even the insalubrious decay of the slain female mummy indicated deadly jealousy. She leaned against the stone in relief, vindication at last.
Sands began slipping beneath her feet, “…never…”, it hissed.
Her lantern sputtered out.
The entry stone dropped.
They never heard her scream.
I’d never seen so many car accidents in this unforsaken neighborhood. Oddly, I hadn’t heard sirens.
I arrive at Dr. Vlad’s office. The witch behind the desk gives me a ghost of a smile. “You’re late The doctor's ready to slay you.”
Today is different; the smell of decay worse than any cavity permeates the office.
The first patient’s insalubrious mouth makes me retch. I press against a tooth and it comes loose in my fingers.
As I stare at the patient's vacant eyes, Dr. Vlad enters, snapping his gloves.
"I'm ready for breakfast," he says with a deadly smile.
Jake Little glided deadly through when the door creaked open — spine cocked tight like a skeet shooter, ice pick clamped ready to slay.
This could be my day, that witch is here I can smell her maw decay.
His nose tingled in the attic’s insalubrious heat. He could feel her presence like a hair on a sponge.
This unforsaken job has to be mine, why me?
Something warm oozed between his toes. If he moved he was dead meat, so he let the goo squeeze through and listened for movement. A floorboard groaned. He pounced, stabbed, centered. She screamed.
The insalubrious stench of decay snaked through the room, coiling the dancing flames like talons, binding the final touches. Layla watched the swaying mist rise with a deadly green tinge, choking the scent of sandalwood and hemlock.
“Watch the pretty ghosts!” They clawed at the walls, prisoners scrambling for freedom from the eternal captivity she promised with every twist of the blade into the soft flesh of her forearm. But there was no freedom. Not for any of them. Unending. Unforsaken.
It was the witch’s creed. No survivors. All would be slayed before the moon slept on All Hallows Eve.
“A souling, a souling,
A song for a cake,
A prayer I shall make”
Fog blanketed the lifeless cottage, but candles burned inside. Keep singing and I shall eat.
The door groaned open.
“You offer prayer for the deadly?”
“For the dead, madam, that they might be unforsaken.”
“Come in, dear.”
The unsalubrious air stank with decay. My stomach, so hungry moments ago, turned at the stench.
“You slayed him…”
“You are a witch… a ghost… You will slay me, too.”
“Nay, I can eat for a fortnight on him.”
She handed me a lump, “Cake?”
“Witch!” The unforsaken are closer now. Their cries a deadly call to slash, to burn, to slay.
There is so much blood. The dogs must smell it now.
Beside me lies my child. A ghost of a life, she drew no breath. I marvel at her fingers: so small, so perfect, so cold.
“Witch!” Her father runs in the mob: his grief turned to anger, mine to fear.
There is so much blood. It stains the frozen dirt.
“Witch!” They are upon me now but there is too much blood; I am so cold and all that’s left is decay.
In the unforsaken pit, where bulldozers sleep, he left me to die.
Taken on my way home from school, I woke at twilight, the ceremony underway. It was hard to breath, the air so heavy with smoke and earthly decay. I felt the scream leave my lungs, but only heard the drums grow louder. Ghastly faces littered the walls, all watching as the witchdoctor drew his machete. He approached, and I closed my eyes. With nerves on fire, with my bladder releasing, I waited for the deadly blow: I wait to be slain.
I wondered what I had done wrong.
. . . . . . . . . . .
They camp in the park, amidst the decay of junk food wrappers and the great unwashed. Insalubrious conditions, even for a ghost.
“The latest poll numbers are deadly. The witches get 99% of the press. Salem is like the Disneyland of the unforsaken. They’ve got the Crucible on Broadway, their plight under the lights of the Great White Way. Even Shakespeare with his double, double, toil and trouble. Meanwhile, our poster boy is Caspar; it’s downright embarrassing. They’re going to slay us on CNN.”
She waves a poster high: WE ARE THE 1%.
“What does that even mean?” he sighs.
Posted for Nancy Carroll
The dentist laughed as she finished checking my teeth.
"You slay me, you know?" She wiped something salivary and insalubrious off the corner of my mouth. "I haven't heard a 'which witch' joke in years. Not a funny one, anyway."
"Not a ghost of it. No 'Unforsaken Mouth' demerits for you."
"I imagine you see some scary stuff," I said.
She unclipped my paper bib. "I've got one patient with rectractable
"What, like a vampire?"
"Exactly." She smiled.
"My husband." Her smile widened.
He wasn't the only vampire in the family.
“What are you going to be for Halloween?” John lay on the couch, watching his girlfriend slay Zombies in a video game.
“Unforsaken.” She mocked him.
“Is that a word?” John wondered. A bowl of chips from several nights ago lay in stages of decay between them. John took a bite; then spat it out. “Deadly.” He muttered.
"Insalubrious" Mariah giggled. “I could kill you; then you could go as a ghost.” She put the controller down, creeping ominously across the room.
“Stop it.” John laughed, “Witch.” His final vision was the screwdriver wrapped tightly in her hand.
Trix and Treat go Trick or Treating:
“Dang, this witch costume is chafing my unforsaken parts!” Trixie said.
“Quit your bitchin’, Witch’n,” Treat told her. “Try having a sheet over your head like me, I can’t see a thing.”
“Yeah, well these heels are deadly, too, my feet are killing me.”
“At least you didn’t step in the goddam compost heap at that last insalubrious house like I did, all the decay, so gross, talk about your Rotten Tomatoes, I’d give that house a 20% rating.”
“Haha, oh Treat, or rather, Mr. Ghost Face, you slay me.”
Xavier drew in a sharp breath, his heart beating at a deadly pace. He stared down at the body, mangled and tattered. The scent of decay wafted over him, making him gag and giving the entire room an insalubrious stench. With tears in his eyes he turned away, retching.
Who could do such a thing? Who would slay such a kind man? Nine years he’d been Xavier’s mentor, teaching him about witches, ghosts, and all manner of occult. Fingering the serrated blade in his hand, Xavier wiped away the tears.
“You are unforsaken,” Xavier muttered. “I will avenge your death.”
The witch would take my soul by touching my nose with her black fingernail. It approached…. But an unseen barrier blocked her crooked, warty finger.
“You must be an author,” she shrieked. “I hate Writer’s Block!”
“Give up, Insalubrious. You can’t take Unforsaken.”
“You must stay until you answer three riddles. Take DEADLY, drop two letters, insert one, form a spooky word.”
3,900 possibilities…. “DECAY.”
“Hell! Again: Drop three, add two.”
4,680 possibilities…. “SLAY.”
“Hell! Spooky word with alphabetical letters?”
My nightmare ended.
The moral of the story: a sleep-deprived writer shouldn’t drink and overdose on Halloween candy!
“Is that a bell between your legs?”
The witch blushed. “Deadly monsters are overdone. Besides, blood and decay freak me out. I’m a belfry.” A door hung below her breasts and miniature pews lined her back. “Just sign off already, ok? I’m late.”
“You’re a god-forsaken church! A belfry doesn’t have pews.” Kiera’s ghost circled her, smirking. “Guys who slay dragons aren’t usually into churches, you know. Guess he’ll be ringing your bells…”
Cheeks like apples, now. “Churches aren’t forsaken. Please?”
“An unforsaken, ugly church, then. Hypocrite.”
They both smiled.
“Shut it and go.”
Five senses and the first one awake is smell? A bleach and decay mixture was assaulting my sinuses. Where’s Danny in his lame-ass ghost costume? I told him to keep his sheet out of my face. Was he trying to cause us to crash?
A smiley face nametag? Dr. Dremel you slay me. Run that scalpel under warm water, steel’s cold against my sternum. Father O’Malley’s deadly serious sermons never mentioned excruciating pain; bullshit I’m unforsaken. Could you take off my witch hat before ushering my mom in to see me?
The morgue’s an insalubrious environment to spend your afterlife.
I knew it’s deadly, but I did it anyway. My skin prickles, and despite myself, I want to run. I came here to slay her, I remind myself. She’s not real.
"Witch," she whispers. Her breath is hot on my neck. Her fingers tangle in my hair. The smell of decay invades my nostrils. I don't know whether it's her or me. “You can’t do it, can you?” Her laughter trickles into the inky sky.
She’s right. I can’t. Without her, I’m insalubrious. My eyes snap open. I shiver. The ghost of my past fades away. Mocking laughter echoes in my ears. Unforsaken.
The stench of decay filled her nostrils she ran. An echoing howl made her flesh crawl but it was not some fictional ghost from which she ran. She could feel them following her, masses of bodies with an unforsaken hold on life and an insalubrious bite. Had a witch brought them forth to slay the living in some twisted scheme of revenge? Before the streets of New York had turned deadly she would have never believed it but as Caroline ran she heard the moans of the zombies pursuing her.
Their marriage had decayed with Jack's foray into video games. The insalubrious miasma of his glowing laptop lingered in the room, oozing through the darkness onto her side of the bed. His body tensed as he clicked the mouse to slay the next enemy. She curled up with herself: Jack's sword was deadlier than he thought, and it left the ghost of their passion wedged between them. "I'm almost to the caves!" he said, "to slay the Witch of Elzebar!" His voice jarred her, and she pulled the covers tighter against the Halloween chill, wishing she were so unforsaken.
A ghostly draft of frigid air accompanies the surgeon’s entrance. His patient lies awake and paralyzed. Her costume offers a titillating glimpse of creamy breast. Slut. Out celebrating Halloween. Easy catch.
Her open skull and exposed brain arouse him. Blue eyes unforsaken by youth stare up at him, brimming with deadly wrath.
Complacent little bitch. No terror brewing there. Insalubrious fury gnaws again at him, decaying his concentration. He tamps it down. “Siri, play ‘witchcraft’.”
No fear? No matter. Soon her blue eyes will house a new soul. She’s a throwaway. A nobody. Prime candidate for his brain transplant research.
Pumpkin stared at the ghastly witch and ghost, their cloaks tattered and torn, as they lifted Pumpkin up toward the midnight sky. He desperately tried to slay their deadly plot but was thwarted by a lack of limbs. Pumpkin glimpsed the pavement rushing towards him as he soared through the biting October air.
In one crushing moment, Pumpkin lay smashed against the insalubrious path populated by diminutive villains. As his pointed teeth began to wither and curl in decay, Pumpkin realized their small stature masked an unforsaken evil that boils to the surface only one night a year.
“Another God-forsaken crack den,” Detective Neville said. “Abandoned even by that insalubrious crew.”
Detective Anselm eyed the crumpled body. “The Halloween killer strikes again.”
“More evasive than a ghost.” The stench of decay clogged Neville’s nostrils as he approached. “But soon I'll catch her.”
“So you know it's a she?” Anselm had materialized at his side.
Before he could answer, pain seared through Neville’s ribcage.
“You witch!” He gasped his last breath: “It’s you.”
Anselm chuckled, her grin as deadly as the twist of her knife. “Now I get to slay again, but at least you’re unforsaken — by me.”
I couldn’t bring myself to slay her. Somewhere unforsaken, perhaps. But not here. The ghost of my humanity couldn’t bring another dumpster body into the world.
Clearly she had no qualms creating that of me.
Hours later I woke; climbed from my insalubrious bed.
“You reek of decay.” She leant against the alley wall, browsing a newspaper plucked from my coffin. Pizza stains smeared the lonely hearts section. Bitch.
“And I thought witch hunters were supposed to be deadly.” She smirked.
“I never wanted this.”
“Smile. I brought you back. You’re my slave now.”
“They said that at our wedding.”
“Professor, can you rid this unforsaken place of that-there deadly ghost witch?” Bubba chugged down his beer and belched.
“You mean, Godforsaken, and the proper designation is flesh banshee.” Professor held up two vials of clear liquid. “One douse from each—holy water and alcohol—will slay the insalubrious creature.”
With a shriek and a stench of decay, something dropped from an overhead oak limb. Professor splashed it with holy water, but it slapped the alcohol vial from his hand.
“No!” he cried. “It must be doused with alcohol too!”
“Git-R-Done!” Bubba said, popping open a fresh can of beer.
Jenny hid in the shadows, breathing in the decay of the woods. She let the smell comfort her as she watched the men tie her sister to a cross. Being this close was potentially deadly, but Jenny had to find a way to save her sister from the burning death the ghosts surrounding her had suffered.
A hooded man in crimson robes stopped in front of the cross. Jenny realized who he was as he raised his hands. “I call the unforsaken. We cast out the insalubrious decay of the witch before you. We slay her in your honor.”
“You ever notice how all the Peanuts kids dress up as either ghosts or witches for Halloween?”
“In fact, if you think about it, there’s a deadly lack of originality about the whole thing. Even the supposed eccentric of the bunch, Linus, just sits there, worshipping and waiting out his god idol, while his materialist brethren are off getting their sugar fixes.”
“I like Linus. That Christmas speech? Slays me every time.”
“Yes. We’ve established you have an insalubrious fondness for decaying religious paradigms. You and an unforsaken cartoon Jesus clone.”
“I’d put rocks in your bag.”
Marrying the witch was my first deadly mistake.
Slaying her was my second.
“You never supported my hobbies!” the unforsaken corpse snapped.
I strained against my bindings. “You were torturing the townsfolk, Miriam.”
The woman threw her decaying hands into the air. “See? These communication issues have been insalubrious to our relationship. Thank goodness I returned.”
Then she leaned forward and kissed me.
Everything went black.
When I woke, the world was gray and my body was beneath me.
My ghostly wife smiled. “We vowed to be together,” she whispered. “And now we have an eternity to work things out.”
It was a mystery why, each Halloween, late flowers bloomed on that one grave, weirdly unforsaken despite its insalubrious occupant – that crazy local gardener who used deadly sharp garden shears to slay ungrateful ex-clients.
Well, this Halloween night he would discover the secret. But why this sudden menacing chill, this pervasive smell of decay?
Good grief, the grave was opening up! Was it a ghost or a witch? But he didn't believe in either...
"Them flowers need some fresh fertilizer. I reckon you'll be joining me below."
He sensed the spurt of blood as the blades sliced through his jugular.
Great contest! Thanks for the Halloween fun. :)
Brakes screamed outside SigRho house shredding Halloween night’s deadly silence.
Jess wanted to slay his late brother. “Ten minutes, Charley!”
“I’m here, aren’t I?” Charley said, smiling behind the decay of his smudged zombie makeup. “Ran into those Theta twins. I couldn’t resist a Playboy witch and ghost.”
Max adjusted his nerd glasses. “You insalubrious demon! We’re Unforsaken, minutes from our annual meal, and you’re having sex? Geez!”
Jess laughed around his fake fangs. “Same Charley after a thousand years.”
Their boss straightened as someone pounded on the door. “Just let them in. Quietly. I like my massacres discreet.”
The insalubrious hell-broth looked all wrong. I expected a gangrene-colored brew, not this sickening ghost-gray slop. Squinting at the formula, I realized I’d forgotten the tongue of dog.
I knew of only one way to fix my mistake. I’d have to grave rob, my least favorite part of being a witch’s apprentice. Every time I saw or smelled a decayed corpse I fainted, and it was beginning to give me an inferior reputation among the unforsaken. I was supposed to be a deadly sorcerer.
Vowing this time I wouldn’t faint I grabbed a shovel and went to slay my fears.
Melissa passed out the last Snickers to the witch and ghost, and turned off the porch light. Now it was warm-bath-and-hot-cocoa time. No more fake blood and pumpkin guts.
As the water cooled, the bathroom began smelling of death, decay and -- Melissa sniffed the insalubrious air – what that cologne?
He’d never left her. She was unforsaken by him, even after she’d slain him in that very tub. He didn’t want to be deadly, but he was so lonely. He reached up, took hold of Melissa’s hair and pulled.
Diamond in the rough, the editor said; more like glass shards with razor sharp edges ready to rip me to shreds from the looks of him. Close on the heals of the neighborhood pariah, I am deep in the bowels of the earth, the fetid odor of decay and ooze of slime threatening to swallow me up as we stumble through the insalubrious labyrinth of tunnels lit only by the flickering lantern grasped in his claw-like hands; yet I am willingly going alone with this hulking creature on the thin promise of a clue to the oldest mystery of the cosmos.
The crumbling mansion loomed at the forest’s edge, its windows sagging and wood rotting. Decades of vegetation crunched under the realtor’s feet. The whole place smelled of DECAY. A WITCH had lived here once. She had brewed INSALUBRIOUS and DEADLY potions in the cellar. The realtor’s gaze lingered on the hanging tree. This house was UNFORSAKEN. The witch’s vengeful GHOST remained. She vowed to SLAY any who entered her home. The last five tenants had died inexplicably. Charming historic fixer-upper with shade tree and lots of character the advertisement in the newspaper read the next day.
None of the locals in Farmington will answer your questions about the door at the foot of the mountain. Except Riley.
"Behind that door," he'll mutter tenderly to his mug when you ask, "is an unforsaken graveyard, inhabited by a deadly, insalubrious creature." Sliding deeper into the permanent imprint his buttocks have made in the seat of his barstool, Riley will fix his bloodshot eyes on you. "That door conceals the ghost of a witch so evil she can slay you with one whiff of her foul, decay-ridden breath."
You'll want to laugh, but, curiously, you won't be able to.
Devouring her latest guilty pleasure with the same fervor and delight she had when watching her husband’s body decay, Gigi turned the pages, eyes wide, her heart hammering in anticipation, when his voice thundered, “Why do you insist on reading such insalubrious nonsense?”
Dropping her book, Gigi lost her page. Eyes narrowed with loathing, she glared at the ghost of her husband and hurled the nearby lamp at his head with deadly accuracy. It shattered against the bookcase.
Laughing,he taunted, “You can slay me only once, my lovely witch.”
She cried in frustration, “Why do you leave me unforsaken?”
Three witches drank a loathsome brew-
One muttered ultimatums, too:
“Tis nearly now All Hallow’s Eve
and Reid’s got something up her sleeve-
Photos from a dank hotel
of Holly Root and Babs Poelle,
casting spells and drinking shots,
while dishabille, and sans culottes.”
“A contest’s what I’d fancy most
to honor Late October’s ghost,
A deadly process, undertaken,
that my blog be unforsaken.
And YOU, my entrapped sentries
will be challenging all entries...”
“Eye of newt and murray decay
in a wan, hoarse, open slay...”
“Oh don’t look so lugubrious, gals-
It’s really insalubrious, pals!”
Her gasps echoed through the still night air. Rygen, the most powerful witch in the Endless Mountains barely survived the deadly fight. Only the decay that riddled the insalubrious earth gave her the power to slay Mendolvean’s ghost.
Leaning heavily on the depleted staff of her mentor, now simply a piece of wood, she made her way back to her Chevy. Thank the Gods she didn’t live in colonial times, her Chevy wouldn’t balk at an ectoplasm explosion.
Her son’s small face peered from under the woolen blanket in the backseat. Now he could grow up unforsaken and loved.
She would’ve liked to seen as deadly--heck, she would’ve settled for mildly dangerous--but she’d never been someone who could slay with looks and there were a dozen other witches at the party showing more cleavage, and that seemed directly proportional to the attention they were garnering. And she’d thought the zombie-witch combo would set her apart. She sighed and grabbed an hors d’oeuvre from a server-ghost. He shot her a look as a clump of her faux-decaying flesh dropped onto the tray.
“What? You’re wearing a sheet,” she said munching the unforsaken, insalubrious snack.
“Slay the witch,” rails the wretched old reverend from his lofty perch. I fly through the wood, possessor of Mother’s precious, unforsaken secrets. Fearless, there is only the deadly exhilaration of the chase.
I slither free of my heavy gown and petticoats, better to blithely glide like a ghost betwixt the trees. Unseen now, I dart over the fragrant decay of the fallen forest canopy. The fools decry the ancient rites as insalubrious, but my love of them is all-consuming.
Bearing apple and nut, I rejoice upon reaching the gift-laden altar. There, bare as a babe, I will celebrate Samhain.
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