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Tuesday, October 11
Today, I drove my seven-year old son, James, and I into town to go Halloween shopping. I didn't have to buy any candy this year because we live in a cul-de-sac out in the middle of a farming community on the outskirts of the city. I moved there last year because I had divorced my wife and lost my old house along with most custody of James.
It's okay, though. James and I love Halloween. It's one of the few times a year that Tracy finds it acceptable for my only son to come visit me. James stays with her on every other holiday through the year: his birthday and everything else in between. I get to see him only on my birthday and the week before Halloween, unless the court finds it suitable for him to come spend the night every once in a while. Frankly, I'm surprised Tracy let him come shopping with me.
He showed an extremely strong attraction to a flamboyant green and purple Buzz Lightyear costume. It's really typical for a kid to have an eye for the most expensive thing on the rack, but I didn't have the heart to say no to those profound blue eyes. He also picked out the house decorations. I know we won't be getting any trick-or-treaters out where I live, but embellishing the exterior of our home was always one of our favorite things to do together.
Friday, October 21
It looks like James and I will be having some competition for the "best Halloween decorations in the neighborhood" award, which sadly, in this community, is only fictitious. When I lived with James and my wife, we won the trophy every year since he was three. Now, my next-door neighbor is really giving us a run for our money. It looks like he did quite the splurge on decorations, just as we did.
He must have ordered everything online, though, because aside from the cliche "Happy Halloween" banners and the like, some of the festive treasures found on his house and lawn were nowhere to be seen in the store that James and I went to - which sold primarily Halloween-related contraband.
The thing that stuck out most to me was the kite string strung from both ends of his garage door that suspended dozens of expensive-looking bones and skulls several feet off the ground. He had also placed several other bones sticking upwards, perpendicular with the edge of his lawn. It almost looked rather sinister. There was no color or detail, just random bones placed here and there, strewn about his overgrown and unwatered lawn. I think James and I have beat him, though.
Saturday, October 22
While walking through my house at dusk, I noticed a quick flicker of movement dash in and out of my peripherals outside my dining room window as I was preparing for James' arrival the next day. I can't recall why I chose to inspect was it was, seeing as how I immediately dismissed this movement as a cat or other small animal. I don't even know if I should be glad that I did.
I walked back in front of the window about a minute later and saw the same animation, but this time in the center of my vision. I walked back away from the window and slowly peeked out from the corner of the glass. I made out the shape of the very top of a person's head peering over the top of my fence and seemed to be watching me.
Whoever it was ducked down again right after they realized that we had made eye contact. I backed away from the window. I don't know why. I crawled over to the family room window, which was about fifteen to twenty feet to the left of where I was and facing the same direction as the dining room window.
I stayed, kneeling timidly but curiously grasping the curtain; I ever so slowly pulled back the cloth, only to reveal the masked fellow who was snooping around behind my property. This time, I saw the entire head. The mask had a gaping, dangling mouth, similar to the mask used in the "Scream" series. The only difference was that the jaw of the mask was swaying about in the wind and that it also had teeth.
A lot of teeth of all different shapes and sizes, surrounding the entire perimeter of the mouth. The expression on the mask was plain, and the tone of color was rather pale, with a sight gray discoloration. It didn't have a goofy smile or an intimidating stare, just a mouth hanging wide open and a couple of perfectly round, beady little chameleon eyes.
After about ten seconds of observation, one of the eyes appeared as if it was steadily drifting off - away from where it was fixated and, very slowly, began to scan to the right - and as soon as the eye seemed to lock onto where I was, he/she quickly disappeared. What a mask.
Tuesday, October 25
I don't really know my neighbor, much less where he gets all of his decorations. I noticed a new ornament of sorts in front of his door today. It was a ceramic bowl full of guts, strategically placed where one would put a bowl of candy if they were too lazy to answer the door for trick-or-treaters. Behind it was one large white piece of paper bound to the wall of his house with masking tape.
On it was written, in nearly illegible chicken scratch, "TAKE ONE." The whole sign had bloody fingerprints smeared all over it. Even more convincing was the bloody tape...and the bloody wall. Nearly the entire wall was smeared in brownish red. Spooky. The blood streams all over the place were even dried. I didn't know they made novelty blood that looked dried like that.
I've only ever talked to this neighbor once, and it was around the time that I moved in. He seemed rather distraught. Wen I approached him, I asked him if everything was all right. He said that he was late for work, which was odd because it was around 8:30 PM. I asked him where he worked and he revealed to me that he was a biologist and worked for the military, but said nothing more.
It was strange...every time I saw him after that, his pants had always ridden up his ankles a little bit more. He was always stumbling around awkwardly and constantly tripping over his own feet. My other neighbors and I liked to joke about him from time to time. I remember one specific instance when he was watering his shrubbery and one of his knees gave out. Backwards, like the way a bird's leg works.
It looked excruciating to me, but he just walked it off. I've only ever seen him outside again a couple of times after I saw this happen. We stopped making fun of him after that.
Last month, as I walked to the mailbox one afternoon, I had heard his kids crying really loudly and frantically. There wasn't any screaming to be heard, just horrible crying. The crying stopped later, which I was thankful for. I was having trouble sleeping through that horrifying racket. It's been several months since I've seen him last.
Wednesday, October 26
Ever since James arrived earlier this week, he has simply abhorred the idea of removing his costume. Little Buzz has been running ramped throughout the house quoting "Toy Story" and "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command." He hasn't changed once since he put it on, except for the time I demanded that he allow me to wash i because he was rolling around outside in the dirt, so to speak.
I haven't sen any more of this weirdo in the mask lately. It's probably some mischievous kid from the neighborhood behind mine. It's a cul-de-sac too, just a bigger one. There is a dirt road that accompanies an irrigation canal separating the two cul-de-sacs. My house is the farthest house from the main road, and the canal runs parallel to my fence. There's no bridge that I know of that one could use to cross the water, though. Maybe the guy just runs track in school.
My neighbor bought a new decoration. Why he's procrastinating so badly, I don't know. It's about 200 feet of lights to accompany the 200 feet of intestines he had previously thrown all over the tree in his front yard. The lights don't coexist with the prior decor, though. All I could smell when I went outside was the burning odor of his literally sizzling ensemble of mix-matched decorations hanging from the tree. When I went outside at night earlier on to go ask him to kindly turn off the lights, most of them appeared to be burnt out, so I went back inside.
Come to think of it, the smell wasn't so bad. I'd smelt it plenty of times before, I just don't know where.
Friday, October 28
I'm going insane. No simple words can properly describe what I believe I have witnessed. Today, I got another glimpse of 'the masked person.' What I saw this time was not at all what I would describe as a mask. I was sitting in my living room reading. The bay window in my living room overlooks the entire street I live on, and I had my blinds open.
I had lifted up my head and looked up and out the window at the nearly dissipated sun because I had heard what sounded to me like an asthmatic individual audibly struggling to inhale accompanied by a restless house cat. After a bit of listening to this unnerving sound, I stood up from my couch and walked casually toward the window. I cupped my hands above my eyes to deter the sunlight and pressed my face against the window...and I saw it.
It was pursuing a small cat. It ran like an ostrich. Its entire figure was covered in thin hair and big blue veins; its long, matted, nauseating black hair closely following its flaky, decomposing head. Its flapping, jawless chin bobbing happily to and fro, occasionally slapping the sides of its scrawny, pale, indisposed neck. Narrow shoulders rhythmically bounding up and down in harmony with its tree branch-like arms, easily giving it at least a five foot reach.
Mammoth hands were dragging its chopstick fingers, tickling the ground as it ran. Its emaciated, stilt-like legs completed its horrific image. Altogether, I observed an eight-and-a-half foot question mark with greasy hair practically leaping from yard to yard chasing this poor creature for a reason obviously beyond simple sustenance. One could be no less than appreciative that they weren't in the shoes of this poor feline.
The cat approached a fence on the left side of the street, followed by its lanky predator. It began to scale the fence. The beast then proceeded to effortlessly jump from the sidewalk, clear the 20-foot lawn, and snatch the animal from the top of the fence with its talon-like claws, as a falcon might. The cat didn't stand a chance, nor did it even manage a voice to squeal.
I saw it for a whole three seconds before it disappeared into the shadows with its prize. That amount of time was more than enough to tattoo my retinas with its grotesque image.
Saturday, October 29
I now thoroughly believe that the aforementioned beast does, in fact, exist. I've never thought about calling the police, but we all know how they would never find a "monster." That is, if they would even respond to such a ridiculous call. I definitely couldn't call in and report a burglar or anything human for that matter, mainly because they wouldn't be looking for what needed to be caught.
Earlier tonight, my neighbors threw a street-wide costume party at their place down at the end of the cul-de-sac. I didn't go because I had to work late, and after I picked up James from his friend's house, we anticipated having a game night with the two of us. My reclusive neighbor stayed at bay as well.
Sometime during the night, James decided to take a bathroom break. He was gone for over fifteen minutes. When he returned, he seemed excited to inform me that he looked out the family room window and saw what he described as a "really tall weird-looking person with a bag" running patiently to the house where the party was being held, empty bag in hand.
They would disappear into the backyard of the house and, seconds later, bolt out of the lawn with a full bag and tear off towards my neighbor's house, wearing a costume. They repeated this process several times, each time wearing a different costume than before.
He said that on "her" last round, "she" stopped in the middle of the street, cocked "her" head to the right slightly, and "her" right eye slid to the side of "her" head and stared right at him as if there weren't a window between them. he said that "she" then turned "her" head 180 degrees and locked eye contact with him, and then "her" colossal mouth sluggishly transformed from a probing expression to the widest smile he thought he'd ever seen.
He said that its smile had then hastily collapsed, dropping the chin into a visible free fall which ended with a slinging slap on its chest. It then darted off into a neighbor's yard and that was when he decided to come alert me of his findings.
I looked outside the window, but I could see multiple figures...standing around inside the house of the party. I thought of that horrid monster smiling at my beautiful boy. I despised the idea. Next, I tried to envision what that particular smile might look like, though I really couldn't. I didn't think a jawless maw that gargantuan had any muscle at all to maneuver that flailing chin in the first place.
Lincoln skeleton, so-on; so-forth. Every one of them was strung up by the back of its neck, feet swinging, head looking down. I really wanted to ask this guy how he comes up with all this and where he gets it all. If he knows that last night's rain washed the color off of most of his little knick-knacks. I have to hand it to him, though. The slew of morbid decor in combination with his dirty, run-down, cobweb covered home gives it a true horror movie feel to it.
Later that night, I had nearly passed out while finishing up some of my work when my doorbell rang again and again until I reluctantly rose up and walked toward my front door. It was past midnight.
I opened the door. It was my neighbor. No, not whatever lived next door, but the fellow who lived behind me on the other side of the canal. He was disgruntled. He was upset and threatening me about something but none of it sank in because one of the skeletons hanging from my neighbor's tree was staring right at me, jaw wide open.
It was smaller than the other skeletons around it. A gleam of moonlight revealed that a small string tied through a hole bored in the top of its skull was its support. I got goosebumps when I noticed that its eyes were still intact.
I then tuned in to the man yelling at me.
"You listenin' over there," He asked.
"The hell you tryin' to pull? You almost gave my wife a heart attack with that mask."
So, apparently, my son and I aren't the only ones who have spotted the neighborhood missing link. How could he possibly confuse that thing with me?
"And don't try to smooth-talk yer way outta this one, pal. I saw you jump clear over that fence of yours - the hell you managed to do that, I'm still wonderin' - and crawl right back into yer basement."
"...I'm terribly sorry..." I improvised. "I don't know what's come over me... If there's anything I can do-"
My heart sank. I thought about what he said.
I don't have a basement.
"Wait here," I nearly screamed.
I sped off into my house. I bolted down the hall. I began to spasm as I neared the guest room door. My trembling hands applied their convulsing energy to the doorknob, then turned and flung the door wide open to reveal my son, sleeping, facing the wall, just as I had left him. He normally doesn't sleep with his head all the way under the blankets, but I was too flustered to notice. I jogged, reassured, back out to my bewildered guest. I didn't know what to think anymore.
"Aww, save it. I, for one, do NOT care at all about your problems. You just stay the hell away from me and my family. Ya hear?"
A calming chuckle dug its way into his angry tone right after I noticed the freshly familiar bottomless blue eyes stuffed inside the head of that skeleton.