April 10: “…write a horror poem. Make it scary. Make it cheesy. Make it funny. Whatever you do, link it somehow to horror. Who knows? Maybe someone will write the next great raven poem.”
This prompt may be tough, as I’m not a great fan of horror.
Don’t Touch That Dial—It’s Halloween!
By Bill Kirk
‘Tis a dark and stormy night."
Indeed, the moon is shrouded by low-hanging clouds,
Rolling past, pushed by a howling wind.
Branches dance erratically, all but disconnected
From massive, creaking trunks. Snap! Something breaks.
Momentary flashes of moon and stars
Yield brief hints of what awaits those
Who choose to travel on such a turbulent night.
Will we make it to our destination?
Or only wish we had?
This is not a night for the engine to fail.
Is that why we stopped?
A lone car approaches in the distance.
In a flash, virtually on top of us,
High beams shock shut our wide-open eyes.
Then nothing as tail lights disappear in the distance.
The first drops of an impending storm
Dot the dusty windshield, leaving spider-like reflections
Of the dimming interior lights.
Better turn the engine off to save the battery.
How long can a battery last anyway?
Without it and the lights, the night is impenetrable.
Yet squandering it by leaving the lights on,
Gives the visual advantage to anyone outside looking in.
That's right. They can see us—each one of us.
Turn the car off then. But can we at least listen to the radio?
Anything for a little distraction—even for a few minutes.
Hey, does anyone have a cell phone? No matter. No reception.
Better save their batteries, too. Wait.
Go back to that last radio station. What did that guy just say?
“Mass escape from Ravenscroft…. Two guards killed…
Throats slit; hoisted feet first on the flagpole.
Three others left surgically blind, deaf or dumb.
No sign of where the monsters went
And no way to track them.
“To all who hear this broadcast, stay in your homes
And let no one in, not even if you think you know their voice.
If you are out, keep driving, as far and as fast as you can.
And hope you can find shelter quickly in the company
Of those you can trust for help and safekeeping.
“For there is evil prowling the night,
Looking for a hiding place away from the storm,
No matter what they must do to find it.
And just for entertainment, they will spare no suffering.
Relishing the screams and pleadings of their victims.
“If you are in your car, do not get out. Lock every door.
Turn out every light. Stay out of sight.
If you hear any scratching on your car, stay quiet and do not move.
Dial 911 if you can and give your location to the authorities.
Only turn the radio on for hourly updates from this station.”
”THIS MORNING AUTHORITIES FOUND
SIX COLLEGE STUDENTS
ASPHYXIATED AND HUDDLED
IN THE FLOOR OF THEIR CAR.
A PLASTIC BAG, TRAPPED
BY A BROKEN BRANCH BLOWN DOWN
IN THE WIND, HAD COVERED THE EXHAUST PIPE.
ALL DOORS WERE LOCKED.
THE GAS TANK WAS FULL.
ALL CELL PHONES WERE TURNED OFF BUT WORKING.
A BRANCH HAD LEFT HEAVY SCRATCH MARKS ON THE TRUNK.
CAR RADIO WAS SET TO A LOCAL STATION
PLAYING A HALLOWEEN PRISON ESCAPE PRANK.