“The October Game” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury
Thoughts Before Reading:
Long After Midnight is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. While most of his work is science fiction, every now and then he writes something we can post on this blog. Originally I was just going to post something tomorrow, but thought hey what the heck! Why not post on Halloween? Espechially as I have one creepy and spooky story for you all.
Mich wants his wife dead.
But he doesn’t want to shoot her, it is not the right way to do it. She must be in agony, it must take time.
It is Halloween night, Mich’s least favorite time of the year.
That night they are having a Halloween party and his wife, Louisa is getting everything ready from treats to games.
She flits around from room to room always leaving the room that Mich enters. Mich thinks of it as a game, following and asking for things but all the while thinking about killing her.
She finally locks herself in the bathroom and Mich cannot follow.
His daughter Marion approaches him, dressed as a skeleton. To further his anger, Louise had never wanted a child, but became pregnant with a girl. A girl that looked nothing like Mich and only like Louise, growning up following in her ways. And afterwards she could have no more. No child that looks like Mich. No son.
It’s not fair.
Divorce wouldn’t hurt her,she would be free to marry someone else. No the only thing to really hurt her would be to get rid of Marion!
That’s it Mich has decided to take her child away from her.
By 10 the party is winding down. Apples bobbed, the donkey’s tail pinned, the bottle spun, musical chairs completed, etc.
Mich is in the center of it all, playing along with the kids all the parents commenting on him.
It was then time to go down to the cellar for the Haunted House.
Mich has the room pitch black. The witch is dead he says. She has been killed and here is the knife that she was killed with. And passes it around.
He says the witch is dead and this is her head passing it on.
One of the kids calls out that they know what this is all about.
Chicken skin is used for skin, clay mold for the head, grapes for eyes, noodles for innards, etc. They tell him to shush and continue listening.
Mich then says, the witch came to harm and this is her arm, passing it around. The witch is cut apart this is her heart.
And on it goes with each item being passed from person to person.
Some of the kids freak out and call to their parents, with them calming him. Louise calls to Marion, don’t be afraid it is all okay. But Marion doesn’t say anything.
She’s calls out to her, but still no answer.
Mich tells her to calm down that all is fine. But Louise continues to call out for her and everyone looking.
One parent says to turn on the lights, and a boy goes upstairs to look. Louise cries out while the items stop being passed along the room.
And then someone turns on the light.
Thoughts After Reading:
So in case you didn’t get it, he killed her. He killed his daughter.
And passed around her body parts.
I know, what a psychopath.
It is a creepy story, well-written, and incredibly sad.
For more mystery reviews, check out The Murder at the Vicarage
Whatever you do, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.