Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Most Dangerous Game



Below is the Halloween-themed story, "The Most Dangerous Game," which was published in the blog of the Worcester Poet Laureate today as part of this year's Halloween celebrations.  As noted in a previous post, this is somewhat notable as it is a story that was originally written to a theme (something I never do) and specifically for performance at the Worcester 42 Spoken Word event (again something I only rarely do).  It went down well there so it's good to see it appear somewhere even though it my very first attempt at a more traditional Horror-type story (with demons and spirits etc).  I hope you enjoy this rather atypical output.....


The Most Dangerous Game


He stood, waiting in the darkness.
It was Halloween and the late October-chill had forced everyone, apart from some particularly determined Trick or Treaters, indoors early. This was the traditional time for ghost stories and tales about ghouls and demons and restless spirits. It was also at this time of year that many people, usually young and inexperienced in the ways of magick, would gather around candles in otherwise dark bedrooms and play paranormal games.

Another popular game was Red Book, where the children would grab hold of a large, red book, and then say, “Red Book, can I enter your game?” They then ask it a question about their crush, their future, whatever is their concern and then open the book to find the sentence that answers it, whether the response be one of hope or of doom.


“Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me,
To judge my life and extract a fee
If I am guilty, with you I will go,
But if I am innocent, good fortune you will bestow.
Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me.
To judge my life and extract a fee”


Bloody Mary continued to be popular, where frightened children would gather in front of a mirror and, trying to convince their friends that they were not scared, nudge each other in the ribs to intone the name “Bloody Mary” three times. It was then said that the gore-covered spirit would then appear and either drive the summoner mad or drag them into the mirror.
But surely there was no game as well-known but as little played as that of the Blank-Faced Man. To play the game one was supposed to, as with so many other games, light a candle and then stand in front of a mirror. Then, with eyes tightly closed, the player is supposed to chant:
The player then opens their eyes, and if they are innocent, being blessed by the Blank-Faced Man, they would have good luck for the rest of the year. However, if guilty, when they open their eyes they would instead see the Blank-Faced Man in the mirror, his visage devoid of features, his face pallid planes of flesh, before he quickly grabs them with bony fingers and pulls them into the darkness of the mirror, behind the pane of glass. But the reason the game was played so infrequently was that another aspect of the myth surrounding the game was that no-one, no-one ever, had been judged favourably by the Blank-Faced Man and there were even dozens of YouTube videos showing children being taken away, screaming, into the darkness, even if these had obviously been made by pranksters or wannabe horror film directors.
Still, he stood in the darkness on this Halloween night, this perfect night for playing such dangerous games, unmoving, impassive. Finally there came a chink, then a rectangle, of flickering light in the darkness, a child’s face seemingly hovering in the pitch black, as he nervously mumbled, ““Blank-Faced Man, O Come to me, To judge my life and extract a fee….”

And so he lifted his featureless face and, bony fingers outstretched, slowly made his way towards the light.


Other poetry and prose in the Halloween Special can be found at the blog of Nina Lewis, the Worcester Poet Laureate at:   https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/trick-or-treat-treat/

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