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July 07 , 2008

Samhain Enchanted Evening


Just what is real enchantment? It definitely doesn’t turn up where you expect….

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Samhain Enchanted Evening was previously published by loveyoudivine Alterotica.


Matt Collier disliked autumn. If it wasn’t the discomfort of rain and wind, or the beginnings of wintry chill that accompanied the early dark, it was the sense of haste that always seemed to come with the season. Everyone so busily clung to the last dregs of summer that the turning leaves and deepening puddles almost felt ignored to begin with, as if there had been a consensus to pretend the next few months weren’t happening. Then, before he knew it, there would be a flurry of activity, with Halloween and Bonfire Night crammed into the space of one weekend, parallel to the frenetic run-up to Christmas.

Hell, it’s almost that time of year again, isn’t it?

Matt shuffled grimly off the rush-hour District Line train. He’d enjoy the holiday once it got here—dinner at his brother’s house, the traditional Christmas Day phone call to his elderly aunt in Fife, and a general surfeit of turkey and brandy—but he hated the run-up.

It was the desperation he disliked. The way decorations were thrown up at the earliest possible moment and pre-season offers thrust down shoppers’ throats from every inch of the High Street. It took all the pleasure of anticipation from the thing, and made it just another part of the grim, endless treadmill of life.

Matt turned the corner and trudged gloomily up the road towards the boring mundanity of his flat. The whole estate was a network of purpose-built apartment blocks; great faceless bulks of buildings shingled in sludgy tones of beige and brown over dull taupe or red brick walls. Even the bricks were singularly devoid of feature or charm—those cookie-cutter modern things, all precisely the same shape, size, and colour, a very numb shade of peachy scarlet. A sorry little triangle of green in the middle of the complex was supposed to give local kids somewhere to play, though Matt had never seen any there. One single, solitary tree—a stripling of mountain ash—stood within a metal guard that encircled its young trunk, as if Nature had been judged too untidy to be allowed to roam free.

A pack of children aged between seven and nine, and in various stages of costume, ran past him, brightly-colored plastic masks flapping askew over their faces. In addition to the various bits of white cotton sheet and polyester witches’ and devils’ cloaks, the kids were bundled up in gloves and winter coats. Their thick-soled boots and trainers drummed on the pavement as they streamed by, and loud, echoing shrieks lingered long after they’d gone.

Matt curled his lip. Oh, good...he’d almost managed to forget today was Halloween.

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