see lots more at: http://coffinhop.com/coffin-hop-2013/ Oct 24 to 31st, 2013
Check out COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRIVE-IN, profits will be donated to LitWorld.org to help encourage children’s literacy throughout the world.
Hey Coffin Hoppers:
I’ve picked a number between 1 and 1,000.
Whoever guesses correctly or gets closest gets their name used as one of my characters in my next book. Only one guess per commenter, to be fair. Hop hearty. Visit all the sites. Aspen
Air it out. That’s the advice I got from the grannies. Sun bleaches the age from it. Moon beams soften the stains. Rainwater rinses the memories.
So I tried.. Every remedy every granny remembered. Cause the new products certainly hadn’t worked.
Four weeks I left it, pinned to the hedgerow for the full sun and moonbeams to work their magic—full moon to full moon.
Rains softened the fabric. Winds blew it dry. So many times.
But the stubborn shadow of Billie Bean remained. A portrait unpainted, ingrained in this fabric, as if hanging on to the life he lost when the noose that drew the life out of him dropped down onto my skirt.
I brought it in, wrestling it over my threshold. “My skirt,” I wrung the material angrily.
I dropped the skirt by my stool, turned my back for only a moment when I heard a rustling. Turning, I glimpsed the skirt fleeing my dwelling, swirling as if an angry body wore it.
How can the wool I sheared, the threads I spun, the weave I shuttled not be mine anymore? Why did Billie Bean choose my skirt?
How did he escape Death’s grip to stay on our plane?
Once the skirt passed my threshold, it crumpled, falling in a heap on the dusty path.
It still held a warm body’s heat when I picked it up. I carried it at arms length to the village square.
“Tell me what to do,” I demanded an answer from all the elders sitting soaking sunshine into their swollen joints. “Elements did not cleanse it. It fled my home.
None of the wise answered. They averted their eyes, clutching talismans, muttering spells, hands signing sigils of protection.
Momentarily I considered cursing Billie Bean’s spirit. But he was already damned, what might that do? As our village hung him for his horrific sins, we didn’t need more dark attention, more hell-spawn eyes tracking our innocence ways.
My gaze swung to the henge. I studied the circle’s shadows. If I read it correctly, tonight, when the shaman visited, he’d celebrate Samhain Rising. He’d ward the village from the specters as the veil between worlds thinned. Yearly he set wards. His fires burned white hot. Hotter than the blacksmith’s forge.
Would that I could rend the fabric, pull those threads that held his essence and drop them into the hottest part of the fire. I liked that skirt!
I petitioned him at sunset, asked advice, listened to arcane mutterings before offering him the garment. A smile bloomed over his craggy face, grateful, condescending, and evil, all at the same time.
Shuddering, I handed him the skirt I’d held all afternoon. I hadn’t wanted to sully our village any further by putting it down.
At full dark rise, as our people watched, the shaman chanted, walked the warding circle, lit the fires. He stood at the main village gates, before the fire. He held up his arms, screaming an invocation, pleading for another year’s defense against the enemies of light.
The flames leaped skyward on his final words. At that moment he threw my skirt at the blaze.
What a howl, an ear-piercing shriek, an unholy screech! Anger and denial in that cry.
The fire crackled, Sparks rose, shaping a sword in the air.
Pale shadows eddied on the far side of the wards. As if waiting for something.
Another wail, closer, from the flames. This time like a plea.
The flames swooshed higher, forcing a figure formed from my skirt, high above.
We watched it struggle to return, moaning, pleading, entreating us to offer a compassion not shown to its victims.
Cackling laughter swelled past the village walls. Not ours, oh no. The presences held at bay by the wards made that sound.
The pale shadows converged around Billie Bean’s final life-force, surrounding it, greedily sucking it into their maelstrom.