I Wish in October (2)


We used to go to a Halloween show at the park, when I was young; it was the same park that I sat in a long time after, pitying the ducks in their wasteland pond. It was the closest I came to the longing crux of the Eve and my expectations of it: we stood in the dark in staged areas of the park, which was very big, and wooded, as the keepers enacted their sketches. There was a vampire, there was a werewolf. Whoever played the part of the ghost in the lake risked their lives in the black water for the sake of our enjoyment. All was watched with hushed mumble and the scream and laugh of the parents and the it’s okay darling it’s just a man in a mask of the parents, lit in perfect cold ways by harsh white torch beam and flaming braziers on the stages. We would have to wear our boots. We would be muddied. We would be home between nine and ten, and I would be suffused in my room with the knowing: that I had been out in the dark in the park with the acted hauntings, and that once we had all left, the keepers would be alone, and they would pack up and clean up and go home themselves, and, then what would come out into the night? I would look out of my window at the far lights in far houses that blinked as the leaves waxed across them, and I would think about all that, and everything.

The shows were performed less frequently and then not at all. My father took my younger brother to the last of them, though I stayed home. I had tried to bake a Malteser cake earlier in the day. It had come out with the consistency of a boulder. I spent the evening in front of a Treehouse of Horror, jabbing into my fossilised cake with a spoon held like a sacrificial knife. My brother and father came home around eight. They said the show had all been indoors.

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