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Are You Scared Of Halloween? Don’t Come Up The Stairs!

stairway_to_manhattan

I like Halloween, though I am more prone to appreciate its origins and the additions imposed by those wily Christians, than either on its own. This blend with the new, upstart religion actually keeps alive the foundation of the old. Druids became priests and all’s well with the world. Amen and pass the hollow turnip.

I once had an apartment at the top of a darkened, high-ceiling flight of stairs. Even people who knew me, and came to call, commented that the entrance could make them a tad nervous. It was perfect as an entrance for those trick-or-treaters who dared to try.

As the gates between death and life nudged open a bit, I replaced the usual light bulb with a black light. I spaced a few candles from midway up the steps. I had a prominent jack o’ lantern sitting on a chair at the top landing. I placed a speaker  in the vicinity of the grinning pumpkin and favoured loud Satie, Night On Bald Mountain, Gregorian Chants, and like-minded music. I also had a nice bowl of treats at the top of the stairs, and all who reached it were welcome to take what they wanted.

I had few takers.

One year, when the weather was warm enough to leave the top door open, I sat and listened to the passing traffic of costumed trick-or-treaters. At one point four or so teens clustered at the bottom door. They were in conversation.

“OK. That’s spooky.”

“What’s that music?”

“Are there any other lights in the window?” [Actually there were – candles.]

“You going up?”

You go up!”

“I don’t think so.”

“Hell, no.”

And they didn’t.

(image)schoolofthinking.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/stairway_to_manhattan.jpg

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When The Other Animals Help Humans To Stop Satan

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A prominent American politician (you know who you are) recently opined that a gang of murderous humans were a bunch of animals. We are all animals, and it should be of no surprise that the other animals never act with the hate and horror of humans. The true insult is to call someone “human”.
In my first Satan novel, There Has Been A Sighting, my human animal characters join with the other animals on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan in Botswana to confront a true Beast. This is the abridged encounter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Caleb and I agree.” The old nun glances at Dorkas, then looks back to the Kgosi. “You must have your people move with them.” She speaks loudly, so other ears will hear. “Whether they join us, or we join them – we are all in this together.”

“My people – ”

“Will follow the crook of your finger.” Caleb is now standing on the other side of the Kgosi. “That’s what Dorkas told me, and I see she is right.”

“Am I now to trust the wild animals?”

“They are here.” Caleb points. “One must assume they are trusting us.”

“It seems to me.” Dorkas speaks softly. “Their leap of faith is greater than ours.”

“I will do as the white witch tells me.”

“No.” Dorkas puts a hand on his arm. “You must overcome your human limitations. You must act with the conviction of these other animals. This is not an order for me to give.”

“Talks With Devils wants a lot from me.”

“And I plan to get it.” Her grip becomes so fierce she pulls the Kgosi toward her. “And I plan to get it here, from this second forward.”

Letsolathebe looks around the tight circle of faces. He does not see fear or hesitation, and he regains his confidence.

“You seem ready to walk into Hell.”

“It’s an easy walk.”  Mother Ursula smiles.

“Is it an easy walk back?”

“Jesus did it with alacrity.”

“I am not the God woman’s God.” Letsolathebe wonders at the comment. “To say that puts a great burden on me.”

“Our Lord was also a human being.” The old nun chuckles. “And looked a lot more like you than me. It is as a man we know Him, and through His trials as a man that we more fully understand God.”

“Didn’t He die first, before He entered Hell?”

“There are drawbacks,” admits Mother Ursula.

“I can not tell my people that death is merely a drawback.”

“Perhaps we tell them too much as it is.” Caleb raises his voice, and Shona does likewise. “Perhaps it is time we listen.” He turns a slow arc to address their silent followers. “Listen to the other animals.”

“Listen?” asks Letsolathebe.

“And smell, and use all our senses.” Mother Ursula answers. “To become like them, so we can more truly become ourselves.”

A sigh of intense interest spreads to the furthest reaches of the assembly, then quietly ceases without question or comment. They all stop to listen to the animals. The other animals.

As the sounds of the people become just breath and heartbeat, the other animals keep their silence, and keep to their waiting, but their tension eases. Their erratic pawing of the ground, which had sounded so loud on the rough, hard earth, stops altogether. They no longer search for predators, or flex their legs for immediate flight.

After a long period of time, the other animals begin to move.

They move in unison, with tentative steps of invitation. Each and every person present is startled by the slow and careful approach of one of the other animals. They no longer mingle in a random way – they are choosing partners. The people stand silent and tense, and some shiver when an erratic flip of a tail catches them by surprise.

“Jesus,” whispers Shona.

The other animals sniff their way, hunting for scents which are compatible. They rarely hesitate, although the ones which have their young are more cautious, with many a backward glance. But the young follow their parents without deviation.

The presence of young animals makes the people less cautious. They feel no threat from these small animals – if anything, they have the desire to protect them, and save their future. The people began to regret they have not brought their own children, even though they realize their offspring are far more defenceless than any of these active cubs and kids. Their children can in no way fend for themselves.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Letsolathebe marches forward without another glance, barely noticing that the child’s hand has slipped into his own. They hold onto each other for dear life and expected death, as they race toward the flickering flame held high by Mother Ursula.

“Oh boy.” Caleb sighs.

“Do we follow?” asks Shona.

“Follow?” Dorkas shakes her head. “We join them. We match them. We become one with them.” She looks at Caleb.

“Mother Ursula may be right.” He smiles. “When is the last time we had Satan on the run?”

“Now or never,” says Dorkas. “It’s as easy as death.”

Caleb makes a slight bow to Dorkas, and to Shona, and then speaks loudly so she will translate with the same force.

“It seems to me this is the perfect time for Talks With Devils to have her say face-to-face.”

And as the three begin to race headlong into the darkest part of this darkest night, the thousands of their brethren and the thousands of the other animals are right at their heels.

And that beast.

That beast of time and terror.

That beast attached to life like a nodule of cancer.

That beast as strong as any lust.

That beast spread so deeply across the expanse of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan.

That beast, recognizing in its fetid mouth the taste of defeat, lingers on the periphery of one glowing candle.

“You will never win.” Mother Ursula speaks softly. “In spite of all your victories, we are still able to care for each other.”

And that beast, afrighted by the light, and sacrifice, and the raw power of life, moves elsewhere.

“God woman.” Sekgoma tears across the rough ground and throws his arms around her. “Mother is safe?”

“This is a madness you have brought us I don’t wish to see again,” chides Letsolathebe. But he too puts an arm around the old nun’s shoulders.

“None of us can promise that.” Dorkas is breathless.

“Talks With Devils is always so strict.”

Letsolathebe takes both her hands, and leans forward to kiss her on the forehead. And then he does the same with Caleb.

I am the Kgosi, and I tell you this. Tomorrow night we will dance, and drink, and feast.”

His gaze sweeps over his people and the thousands of the other animals.

“But no roasted flesh.”

(image)https://cdn.audleytravel.com/960/{height}/79/212189176054008187132011038171243114197246168206.jpg

Franz Kafka Prepares For The End Of Civilization

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(Image drawn by Franz Kafka)

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in his lost diaries.  Here, as the learned Doktor of Laws, he has been asked to speak to the citizens of the small village where he is living with his sister for a few months. He speaks the truth, and avoids the truth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

15 January 1918

This war. They wanted my opinions about this endless war. These earnest, honest men, awaiting the words from the Herr Doktor of Prague.

I agreed only to answer questions – that way I could not be accused of fermenting treason. Even in these troubled times, the law allows a man to answer questions. Assuming that the law prevails.

The law was present in the form of the policeman, attending this questionable gathering while still in uniform. He doffed his hat as he shook my hand. I would rather have him in our midst, than lurking in the hall. We have nothing to fear from him.

“Will the empire last?” This was first from their lips. And they must have needed to hear the words, for even the Emperor must know that all is lost. The Old Order, having fallen into the hands of dull and witless men, must succumb. The complacency of the age must be purged – but that has not yet happened. That awaits the next generation – and the destruction will be furious. But I do not tell them this.

I am skilful in what I do not tell them, for the truth is beyond their power to persuade or control. (Their next questions would have been more difficult had I not curbed the truth further still.) “What will happen to Zurau? What will happen to us?” And they have every right to worry. To suspect. When a society crumbles, it is those at the bottom who get crushed. But I told them that Amerika seemed a just power – not bent on retribution.

I did not tell them that a victor can do as he wants.

And I told them that we live in a secondary part of a secondary empire – the powers of destruction will be concentrated on Vienna and Berlin. I did not tell them that during the death of a snake, the spasms of the tail can be lethal.

And I told them something which could really be of help. I told them, in this coming year, to grow more food: fatten more beasts: prepare, preserve and put away. Fill their cellars and barns to bursting with food and fuel. Buy some things now, which they can use for barter later if the currency becomes worthless. Look after their families and lands. Look after each other.

 

16 January 1918

I did not tell them that war is the end result of injustice and arrogance, and that it is oftentimes necessary. I did not tell them that when the natural balance is upset by human action, the cost of righting it must be made in human payment. I did not tell them that a country where neighbour is cruel to neighbour is a country mean for war.

 

17 January 1918

I did not tell them how the Jews will always suffer in time of war. How we will be searched out, then driven as far as the east is from the west, and then be persecuted. How there will never be safety for us. Yea, even unto the land of Israel.

Horror Movie In Berlin – Ravens Against Tourists

5-01(image)http://theberlinexpert.com/images/rotatingimage/5-01.jpg                                                                                                                                                            8.

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Young Man turns toward the bus. He starts filming.

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Tour Guide attempts to get up. The Raven has its beak in his

mouth.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens fly along the aisle, amid screaming passengers.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With The Eye Patch grabs the two children. He shoves them

onto the floor between the seats.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Stay down!

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Tour Guide has managed to stand. The Raven is fluttering in

front of his face. It has the Tour Guide’s tongue in its beak.

 

EXT. BARREN FIELD – DAY

 

The Young Man continues taking pictures.

 

EXT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

Panicked, screaming faces are in the windows. Many passengers are

beating their hands against the glass.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens keep a steady course, but get side -by- side.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch is taking off his suit coat.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Not fucking again.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Ravens skim the roof of the bus. They both look down.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch glances at the Two Children.

9.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Children huddle on the floor. The Boy lies on the Girl.

stretching over her. He turns his head toward the Man With the Eye Patch.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch yells at the Boy.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Hide your face!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Ravens dive simultaneously.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch holds up his suit coat in front of him.

The two Ravens fly right into the suit coat, pulling it from the Man’s hands. The Birds, entangled in the suit coat, hurtle against the window. One Bird gets free, while the other, still encased in the suit coat, falls on the Children.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy shoves the Girl under the seat in front of them.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The freed Raven flies up toward the Man With the Eye Patch.The Man

crouches into the stance of a boxer, and punches the bird directly

on the side of its head. The stunned Raven tumbles over the

seat back.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy scurries under the seat where he had been sitting.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch grabs his suit coat with the trapped

Raven, and throws it to the far side of the bus.

 

MAN WITH THE EYE PATCH

(yelling)

All of you – get down!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Raven is half out of the suit coat when it hits the window.

DE

“Burning In Berlin” Horror Movie With Ravens

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9.

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Children huddle on the floor. The Boy lies on the Girl.

stretching over her. He turns his head toward the Man With the Eye Patch.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch yells at the Boy.

 

MAN WITH EYE PATCH

Hide your face!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Two Ravens dive simultaneously.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch holds up his suit coat in front of him.

The two Ravens fly right into the suit coat, pulling it from the Man’s hands. The Birds, entangled in the suit coat, hurtle against the window. One Bird gets free, while the other, still encased in the suit coat, falls on the Children.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy shoves the Girl under the seat in front of them.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The freed Raven flies up toward the Man With the Eye Patch. The Man crouches into the stance of a boxer, and punches the bird directly on the side of its head. The stunned Raven tumbles over the seat back.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Boy scurries under the seat where he had been sitting.

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Man With the Eye Patch grabs his suit coat with the trapped

Raven, and throws it to the far side of the bus.

 

MAN WITH THE EYE PATCH

(yelling)

All of you – get down!

 

INT. TOURIST BUS – DAY

 

The Raven is half out of the suit coat when it hits the window.

DE

(image) https://a.travel-assets.com/mediavault.le/media/b45cf39976f82453d505684f9ab18f82fbd7f9ce.jpeg

A Door To Open / A Guest To Greet

blue-door-keyhole-27445

 

The first claw was so faint upon the door he barely raised an eye from the page. It could have been the wind – it sounded almost like the wind. Wind at other time,s and in other places, might blow such a sound – but not this night. As his thoughts returned to what lay before him, the tiny scrabble, hesitant at floor level, moved slightly to the right, aligning itself more closely to the doorknob.

 ****

The noise skittered up the wood, almost a metallic sound. His head swivelled toward the door.  The first thought he had was for the paint. Then he could sense, by the sound alone, the movement was groping in the dark, that it was unsure of where it was. He closed the book on his lap, still keeping his place with a finger. His eyes remained fixed on the door. He thought he saw the light of his lamp glint off something through the keyhole.

  ****

The doorknob twitched, a slight movement counterclockwise.  Then a brief turn clockwise. He let the book slide down the side of his chair as he put his hand into a pocket. He felt the key between his fingers. He held it tightly. There was more fumbling with the knob, muffled sounds as if a grip was hard to get. The knob turned once more, and then the pressure on the outside was released. He could hear shuffling against the wood. Then he saw, through the keyhole, light reflecting off a muddy iris.

  ****

He stared back through the keyhole, only to see the eye blink and move slowly away. He started to rise from his chair, but was stopped by a thump near the floor, as if a clumsy foot had bumped the wood by mistake. He realised that all the sounds he heard seemed fuddled and uncoordinated. The doorknob was once again twisted, but the motion seemed to lack an ability to grasp. He was wondering whether to turn out the lamp, when a hesitant, hollow knock came upon the door.

(image) http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/blue-door-keyhole-27445.jpg

DE

The Druids Prepare As The Dead Approach For All Hallows / Halloween

 

(image) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/Alla_helgons_dag_vid_R%C3%B6ke_kyrka-1.jpg

The Celts  have learned every celebration has its risks.

The Druids taught them this, and the Druids are correct. Samhain is a festival of the harvest; the end of summer; the preparation for the winter to come. Samhain is a juncture. 

As they all know, junctures lead to sundry places. There is both the leaving and the coming. A time of disquiet. A time of danger for those unprepared.

It holds the magic and the power of midnight. Midnight is a powerful time because it is the juncture of two days. Midnight of Samhain thus holds double the power. It can not be avoided. It must be met with all the power mortal man can muster. It must not be met alone.

On the Eve of Samhain, the border between Life and the OtherWorld is breached. A door swings invitingly open, but it is not inviting those who live. It is inviting  those who have died. The Dead who still miss their lives. The long Dead who still are curious.The distant Dead who get a whiff of fresh air, and have their memories stirred.

So the Dead approach.

The Dead approach. The living must prepare to meet them, just as they prepare for the vicissitudes of winter. The same threatened cold holds sway over both. The living assemble the treats and threats that will assuage the longings of the Dead.

Because the living have a healthy fear of death, they equally wish to avoid the Dead. The Dead can prove to be envious, and attempt to relieve the living of their lives. Lanterns from the earth are hollowed out of turnips. Their light will guide the dead to safer places (safer for the living). Candles will shine through carved faces. Some faces are friendly and welcoming. Some are ugly and fierce, to give aggressive Dead a pause.

There will also be treats to entice the Dead – apples and pastries and savouries and some roasted game fresh from the bonfires. There will be ale and other spirits to keep the Spirits at bay. The living will wear costumes and masks to disguise themselves from those Dead who might wish their company to be more permanent.

They will remove the masks if the Spirits are friendly.

They will dance and sing and raise a right ruckus to entertain the Dead.

The boneyard is on the outskirts of town. Revellers approach with noise and caution. A bonfire is set. The moon hangs from the trees. The gated fence stands closed and latched. The living pause and watch. And listen.

Is it the wind, or do the hinges scrape the stone?

DE

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