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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Gay Authors 2017 Halloween Short Story Contest Entry

Dom Does Halloween - 1. Chapter 1

Dominic lowered the heavy pumpkin into his Red Flyer wagon, the one with the high wooden sides he’d borrowed from a neighbor. He had needed it, because he’d intended to pick the biggest pumpkin he could find. Halloween had been a favorite holiday before Jason, and he was determined to celebrate it again this year. Friends had invited him to a Halloween party the previous night. Dom had gone grudgingly but found he’d had a lot of fun; the spirit had returned! He decided this year he would at least decorate his apartment with a nice Jack-o’-Lantern, if nothing else. Next to and around the large gourd he piled his other groceries, checked out, and then started the long walk home.

He and Jason had always decorated and dressed in meticulous costumes to hand out Halloween treats, the efforts of which were lost on the little kids, and often on himself, if he were honest. Had always made it sound like he and Jason Brathwaite had been together for years.

“Two. A total of two, before Jason left,” Dominic thought glumly. He pulled his hoodie tighter around him and stopped at the crosswalk. This light he’d always felt took longer than any other to change. As he stood waiting and pressing the Cross button repeatedly, he glanced over at Notbury Town Square.

It was postcard-pretty, as his mother would say. Large oak and horse chestnut trees stood on either side of the avenues like old guards around the square; their branches overhung the roads and sidewalks. Restaurant patios spilled out onto the pavements during the summer, but in autumn, these were seen no more. Today, only citizens wandered the streets, as the weather grew too chill for all but except the hardiest of tourists.

Dominic swore under his breath at the traffic light that seemed to never change. He was just thinking it was quiet in town, when in the tree next to him there was the most god-awful screeching. Dom peered upward into the chestnut tree’s branches. Leaves fell and something soft bounced off his head.

He looked down. Plenty of horse chestnut pods lay there, both whole and split; the latter showing their shiny brown contents. “Hmmm, didn’t feel hard enough for one of them.” Dom looked up again.

“Sounds like two crows having a disagreement, maybe trying to get a nut,” he thought. Then several black feathers floating downward seemed to confirm the fact.

Dominic dismissed the incident while he crossed on the finally-green light.

As he pulled home the morning’s shopping, he noticed several more crows, but paid them little attention. The four-story walk-up where he lived was in front of him and the idea of now lugging the heavy pumpkin up all those stairs was making Dominic re-think the whole I need to celebrate thing.

Deciding he didn’t need the pumpkin that badly, he was just wrestling with the idea of leaving it downstairs when Gabe came along. Gabe was the building’s nosy-neighbour and resident weightlifter.

“Dom! Whoa, that’s quite a load! You want me to spirit it up to your place?”

Spirit it? “Um, you don’t mind?”

“For you little buddy, anything.” With that, Gabe picked up the wagon and trotted up the three flights without any heavy breathing. Trudging after Gabe left Dom breathless.

Gabe put the load down in front of Dominic’s door and looked at the smaller man expectantly.

“Thanks very much, Gabe.” Dominic fumbled with the keys in the lock. Gabe’s gaze unnerved him.

“Sure. Glad to help. You know what you can do to repay me?” Gabe licked his lips and leaned close to Dominic, a big hand slid onto the small of Dominic’s back. “Let’s go out, Dom. My treat.”

“And I’ll pay later,” Dominic thought. His voice was shaky when he said, “Yeah, sometime would be terrific, but I’m just busy. I really appreciate the help though, Gabe.”

“It’ll be a good time, I promise.”

Dom was beginning to feel uncomfortable, but also guilty. Gabe had asked him out several times, and he did help Dom with the heavy lifting. He slid the key in his lock, drew in a deep breath and turned to face the big man. “Listen, I have some stuff to do. But why don’t I cook? Pasta, meatballs and a salad? Maybe you could bring a bottle of red?”

Gabe smiled broadly. “I’d love that, Dom. Yes, I’ll bring wine and the bread. What time? About 7:00pm?”

“Yeah, 7:00pm is good. I’m looking forward to it. See you later on.”

“Thanks, Dom. Yeah, see you later.”

After he closed the door, Dom pulled his Red Flyer to the kitchen and put away the groceries. He then man-handled the big pumpkin onto the kitchen table. “I should have asked Gabe in to do this … for me! Okay, you stay there. I’m going to make tea and sit down for ten minutes.”

While he filled the kettle and prepped the tea pot, Dom was interrupted by tapping on the window. It was a crow. A big one. Dom walked to the window waving a brightly colored tea towel at the creature. It fluttered off but returned immediately and started tapping on the pane.

“Go away! Shooo!” Dom ran back to the window in time to hear the glass thud. “Shit.” Turning, he pulled an oven glove off its small golden hook, which hung near the stove, and shoved his hand in. Then he pushed up the window and flapped the gloved-hand at the bird. The crow squawked, flew off to avoid being hit, but then turned and sped mid-air straight toward Dom.

Dom dropped to the floor and watched as it flew straight over him. The jet-black bird settled itself on the pumpkin. It flapped once more before carefully folding large wings over its back.

Dom watched the bird hop on the pumpkin as it stopped to peck it now and again. For a while, he remained sitting on the floor, wondering how he’d catch the large crow. He slowly got to his feet, keeping a close eye on the bird, and slowly moved toward it. He kept his gloved hand outstretched. Once he was within two feet, the crow rose with a flurry of wings and landed on Dom’s gloved hand. After he got over the initial surprise, Dom turned slowly and moved back to the window.

“Don’t bother. He won’t leave.”

Dom stopped when he heard the voice. It was a small voice. He’d heard it, even over the sound of his heart thudding in his chest. The bird was getting heavy, and it flapped as his arm started to drop. Dominic again turned, this time back to where the pumpkin sat on his table.

On it stood a tiny man. He was dressed all in brown and wore a pointed hat.

In his surprise, Dom’s arm dropped, causing the crow to caw and flap madly. It flew up and landed on Dom’s shoulder. “Shit!”

“He won’t harm you. He’s a guardian.” The little man spoke in his tiny voice.

“Guardian? Ow!”

The crow had pecked Dom’s ear. He gave the bird a gentle shove, but the creature dug his talons into Dom’s shoulder.

“No push Jupiter! Caw.” The large bird flapped, whacking Dom in the back of the head.

Dom’s mouth fell open; he pulled in his chin, and turned his head to look at the bird. “Did … um … did you just say something?”

“Foolish man. Are you deaf? He said not to push him.” The tiny man huffed and settled his hands on his hips.

“Him?” Dom felt confused. “And what are you? This can’t be happening.”

The little man stared. “What do I look like, fool?”

“Like a fairy.” Dom flinched when Jupiter clacked his beak a bit too close to Dominic’s ear.

“Fairy! Fairy? Well, I never! You are a rude impudent cuss, and you show your typical human stupidity.” The miniscule man shook his fist. “Bring your nose down here, and say that again. I’m a brownie, you dummkopf! Do you see wings?”

“Hey now! There is no need to be aggressive, little brownie.” Dom chuckled and said, “By the way, I like to eat brownies.”

“Oh, mein Gawd in Himmel!” the brownie swore. “Like I’ve never heard that one before.”

The crow released his talons from Dom’s shoulder and flew off to land on the pumpkin behind the little man.

“Look, I really have to ... this is just nuts.” Dom scrubbed his face, as reality seeped in, and he peered at the table. “Oh, my God. You’re really here. I was hoping it was a dream, but there you both are.”

The brownie looked at Jupiter. “He’s an idiot. Are you sure he’s the one to help us?”

“The veil thinnest here caw.” The bird hopped and flapped his wings. “Not up or down, caw here. Confluence here. Caaaw.”

Dom listened. “Veil? Confluence? What are you talking about? Nothing is happening here except me starting to make dinner. I have a date tonight and …. ”

“We know.”

Dom gazed at the brownie. “How do you know?”

“Because I jumped into your wagon, fool! How do you think I got here? Magic?” The brownie was shaking his fist again. “And even for a human you are hella rude! Don’t you offer guests a drink of water at least?”

Dominic spluttered and wondered what he could serve the tiny man water in. Then he had an idea. He left the kitchen and ran down the hall to his bedroom. He settled on the side of the bed and rooted through the bedside-table drawer. “Here it is!” He opened the sewing kit and picked up the pink plastic thimble. “This should work.”

Returning to the kitchen, Dom washed the thimble, rinsed it well and poured a small drop of cold water from his filtered water in the fridge. He set it down gingerly on the pumpkin top.

“Thank you, human. How about a seat?” the brownie asked.

“Really?” Dom pulled open his junk drawer and found a box of matches, which he put near the thimble.

The brownie sat, picked up the thimble and sipped. He made a face and looked up to Dominic.

“Is this organic plastic? Do you even know?”

“Um, yes.”

“I’m very conscious of polystyrenes and PVC, and all the other bad plastics these days…say, do have anything a wee bit stronger for a little thirsty fella?”

“Um, not open. Sorry,” Dom said distractedly while pulling a large pot from a low cupboard and placing it on the stove. He then lifted down various cans of tomato products. “I have a date tonight. You both need to go.”

The brownie said, “You know Dominic, that guy Gabe, you must know he’s got a past, right? He’s not worth your time. Why bother, and he’s getting fat.”

As he hunted for spices, Dom thought about his neighbor. He’d always been helpful and polite, and he certainly wasn’t fat. Maybe tonight would be the start of a good thing.

Dominic’s thoughts were interrupted when the crow flew over and landed on the lip of the pot. Empty, it nearly tipped under the added weight. It clanked back into place as the bird flapped and landed on Dom’s shoulder once more. “No leave. Confluence caw here.”

Dom put down the can opener and turned to face the small brownie. “Look, get out. I have a date tonight, and it’s been a long time I’ve kept myself shut away.”

“You aren’t getting it, human … Dominic! The fate of the world rests on our shoulders! We need to carve the pumpkin and get ready for tomorrow when the veil will be at its thinnest point. We must be ready to drive them back.”

Dominic was losing his temper now. “Drive who back to where?”

“Why, the devil and his minions, of course. Why do you think people carve pumpkins in the first place?”

It took a moment for Dominic to hear what the brownie had said. When the thought crawled through the fog in his brain he promptly dropped the can of tomatoes he’d been opening. Ignoring the tomato juice everywhere, he turned from the counter to look wide-eyed at the tiny man. “Devil. You said, the Devil.”

“Yes. The Devil; believe me, there is only one!” The little man waived a hand impatiently.

Jupiter clacked his beak. “Caaaw. Losing time, we are! Must carve the pumpkin!” Black wings flapped in frustration.

“Yes, I know Jupiter! I’m waiting for this lump of humanity to get the picture.”

“Do you think I’m stupid? There is no such thing as The Devil. And what good would carving a pumpkin do if there were?” Dom began to clean up the huge red mess he’d made.

The brownie squealed in frustration. “What good? Humans deserve their fate! Mein Gott!” The little man bowed his head and sighed. “Okay, on October 31, Halloween or Samhain, the veil between this world and the Otherworld is lifted. That’s why people wear costumes, to fool the spirits. Before pumpkins, turnips were carved to ward off the spirits and keep them back while the spirits on our side of the veil moved over.”

“Turnips?”

“Yes, turnips. They didn’t have pumpkins then in Europe.”

Dom had finished cleaning and was mixing the meat while he listened.

Jupiter hopped up and down, squawking! “Need start caw. Need start caw. Need caaaaw start!”

The wee brownie regarded his guardian friend. “I know.” And then to Dominic he said, “You need to cut the top off this pumpkin for us so we can begin. We need to save the seeds though.”

So thirty minutes later, and some nearly burned meatballs, the kitchen table was covered in newspaper and pumpkin pulp. The now-sticky crow carefully dug out and piled up the seeds. Meanwhile, the brownie and the human were having words.

“Listen you pipsqueak putz, I want to carve it the old-fashioned way! Eyes and a mouth.” Dominic leaned on the table over the irate brownie.

“And I’m telling you, you can’t! It needs the spell and runes to keep them back. I do not understand what you are failing to see, you stupid monkey-man!”

“Fine. Carve it your way. I need to clean up and get ready for my date with Gabe.” Dominic turned away and walked down the hall to his room.

“Clean sheets, put on!” squawked the crow after him. “Caw.”

“Dirty mind!” Dom thought. Then, after a moment’s consideration, he decided it was a good idea.

He cleaned the bathroom, his room, and had just finished dusting and vacuuming the living room when he heard the brownie call to him.

Dom leaned on the doorframe of the kitchen. “So?” His sentence was cut short when he noticed the pumpkin on the table. It was beautiful. “Oh … how did you do that? Wow, that is amazing!”

It was amazing. Runes and vines were intricately carved all over the pumpkin. Some were cut deep through the skin and flesh, while there were others where only the skin was removed. Dominic walked around it. “You did a wonderful job with this.”

“Thank you, human. It’s not my first Halloween rodeo. We need a wee sacrifice now. You and I have to put in three drops of blood,” the brownie explained. He handed Dom the small carving tool.

Dom looked at the stern-faced brownie, and then at the knife. “Okay. Three drops.” He held the sharp implement against his finger, but then pulled it back. “Maybe I should wash this.”

The brownie screeched and jumped up and down. “What is wrong with you? If that devil and his pals make it through the veil, a little case of septicemia isn’t going to matter.”

“I don’t know. I think I’ll wash it nonetheless.” Just as Dom turned on the tap, there was a knock at the door.

“No! Do not open that door! The ceremony needs to be done now … before it’s too late. No, no, no!”

Dom glared back at the tiny brownie as he proceeded to the door. He looked through the peep-hole and pulled the door open. “Gabe! You … you’re early. Can you come back in about … say, thirty minutes?”

“I’ll help if you’re not quite ready, Dom.” Gabe pushed the wine and bread into Dom’s hands and moved his host gently to one side.

Dom clutched the bottle and bag, kicked the door closed, and ran after Gabe. “No … no. Gabe, please don’t go in there!”

Gabe stopped and turned around. “Not into the kitchen? Why?”

Dom stopped. Gabe looked like himself, but there was something …. “Yes … please don’t go in there.”

Smiling, Gabe replied, “Then since you don’t want me there, all the better reason for a look-see.” Gabe continued into the kitchen with Dom not far behind.

“Jupiter, and you … you horrible little pixie! I should have known it would be you two,” Gabe said as he stepped into the kitchen.

Dominic stopped in the doorway, eyes wide, and mouth open. “You know them? How … ?”

“Oh, yes. I know Fric and Frak here.” Gabe picked up the pumpkin and gazed at it like he was reading.

“Pixie!” screeched the brownie. “Bring your nose down here. I’ll give you pixie, you giant ape!”

Jupiter took to his wings and dove straight for Gabe, who reached up with his free hand and plucked the crow from the air. He held the squawking bird upside down by the feet. “Shut-up, you black chicken.”

Gabe turned to Dominic. “Have you donated blood to this project yet, Dom?”

Dom had moved into the kitchen and placed the wine and the bread on the counter. “No, but how do you know—“

“Dom, I know lots of things about heaven and earth and what’s in-between.” Gabe looked back at the bright-red brownie. “Who are you calling ape? I think it’s time for you and your familiar here to move on. This party is over. This well-carved invitation is not required.”

The brownie was beside himself. “Familiar? I’m not a witch! No … no, don’t you dare … do not, Gabriel. I’m warning you!”

Gabe, holding the giant pumpkin shell pinched only between three fingers, walked to the still-open window. He glanced down and then dropped the pumpkin out. It hit the ground with a wet splat. “Now, what to do with you two.” He held up the crowing bird.

During all this, Dominic had stood rooted to the spot. “Who … what … them?”

There was a knock on the door. Gabe said, “Let Uriel in please, Dom.”

“Who?” Dominic was asking, but he walked to his door and opened it. An angel stood in the doorway … with wings. He must have been seven feet tall.

“Hi, Dominic. I brought these.” Uriel held up two golden cages. The angel stepped in and headed to the kitchen.

Dom shut the door. He didn’t move for a moment; he was having difficulty processing everything and everybody. There had been a very tall man at his door with wings. Not in a Halloween costume either. The brownie’s blue streak and Jupiter’s angry cawing drew him back to the kitchen.

Uriel held the cage as Jupiter was shoved in with the flapping of wings and loss of several feathers. Gabe locked the door. He turned his attention to the brownie, whose eyes seemed as big as his face.

“No, no, no … no need for violence, gentlemen.” The little man backed away.

Gabe moved closer, while Uriel flanked him. “Get in the cage, brownie, or I’ll put you in there.”

The brownie stood up straight, shoulders back and glared first at Gabe, then at Uriel. “Fine. I’ll go quietly, you overgrown pigeon! But I’ll be back!” The tiny angry man marched into the cage and Uriel closed and locked the door.

“I’ll take them back, Gabriel. Good to see you. Don’t be a stranger!” Uriel walked to the apartment door. “Goodbye, Dom. Take care.”

After the door closed, Gabe turned to Dom, who hadn’t moved from his spot against the counter. “Are you okay?”

Dom’s mouth opened and closed several times before he spoke. “Who … who are you?”

“Gabriel, exalted or archangel. Depends which religion you’re referring to.” He moved close to Dom and pulled him into his warm embrace. He held on while Dominic struggled a little bit. “There, there. Not to worry. You won’t remember soon enough.”

“Why won’t I?”

“Because humans don’t remember interactions with celestial beings, not really.” Gabe guided Dominic to the sofa. “You’re tired. Why don’t you rest?”

“Yes … yes, I will.”

*****

Dominic wondered if he’d been stood up. Dinner was almost ready, and it was nearly 7:30pm. He was ready to heat the water to make the pasta for himself, when there was a knock at the door.

“So sorry I’m late.”

Dom had to grin at Gabe, who stood there with a sheepish look on his face. In his arms were wine, bread and a rather large pumpkin. “Let’s carve a Jack-o’-Lantern tonight. What’d ya say?”

Copyright © 2017 Headless Horseman; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Gay Authors 2017 Halloween Short Story Contest Entry

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Chapter Comments

I love the scrappy little pixie...ummm, I mean, brownie. He's willing to fight ya old school, if you dare to come down to his level. But then he tells the angel squad: "No need for violence, gentlemen." That part had me in stitches.

 

I also loved how the crow suggested changing the bed sheets. Let's hope the efforts were worth it. 

 

 

Edited by AC Benus
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I know it's only Labor Day, but I really enjoyed reading this story. You had me wondering what was going on, and kept me guessing, even as the vivid characters you created entertained me.

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43 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

I know it's only Labor Day, but I really enjoyed reading this story. You had me wondering what was going on, and kept me guessing, even as the vivid characters you created entertained me.

You are a sweet man...thanks for reading this...im glad you enjoyed it. xo

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I found my way here because of Myr Halloween Flashback.

What a sweet little tale. Dom certainly had an eventful Halloween. Gabe sounds a cute neighbour.

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3 hours ago, chris191070 said:

I found my way here because of Myr Halloween Flashback.

What a sweet little tale. Dom certainly had an eventful Halloween. Gabe sounds a cute neighbour.

Thanks chris...this was fun to write..i think we all want Gabe for our neighbor..lol

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4 hours ago, Libby Drew said:

"It's not my first Halloween rodeo."

New favorite quote. 

haha.. thanks!!  :D

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