I love decorating for the holidays. I always have. Every year, I put up several villages atop one of our bookcases. One of those villages is a “Halloween Town” that I started several years ago and add to every single year.
This year, while putting out the village, I thought “Why not tell the stories of the little figurines that live there.” So that’s what I am going to do this month as a writing exercise on top of my other writing adventures.
Here is the third installment – the first being Witch Hill and the second being Slime River and the Haunted Forest (*disclaimer – you need to hover over the place names to find the link and these links will open in a new tab*). Enjoy!
It was the third week in October and the skeletons in Skels Hamlet were doing their normal activities. Unlike the rest of Halloween Town, they did not get as excited about Halloween. They were more excited for the days following Halloween, when they were celebrated. But long ago, they were welcomed into Halloween Town and given the abandoned village, worn with age, as their home. Once upon a time, the village was named Atherton, but some of the trees in the Haunted Forest took to calling it Skels Hamlet and the name stuck.
In the first house in the hamlet lived Eleanor. Most of the skeletons were glad they had no sense of smell, for sometimes her house smelled…. well, it smelled like cats.
Eleanor Davies never liked cats when she was alive. She abhorred them with a fiery passion, for she never thought they were hygienic animals. But then, she never really got to know any felines in her “living” life.
But when she was about to perish, she was visited and comforted by a wonderful little stray, who cuddled with her as she took her last few breaths.
In her new life as a skeleton in Skels Hamlet, she welcomed all strays. Skeleton cats and living cats alike came to her house, where they were loved and fed. She often sat outside, letting them snuggle in her bony lap as she enjoyed their comfort and love.
Marcos was the newest inhabitant of Skels Hamlet, having arrived just that summer, following the bright orange and yellow flowers. He lived in the unoccupied church, for he did not fear the celestial spirits who still resided there. He often stood in the courtyard, waving to folks as they came by. He was an affable fellow and loved to chat with the other inhabitants. He loved to talk with the witches from up on the hill as well. He wandered into the Haunted Forest a few times a week to chat with the enchanted trees and went to Slime River to strike up conversations with Bartolo there.
Today he stood outside the church, waving to people. Eleanor called to him from her porch with a hello. Her favorite marmalade cat, Tony, had come over to get skritches from Marco, who enjoyed running his bony fingers through the softness of Tony’s fur.
Meanwhile, across the hamlet stood the big barn where Eustace lived. Eustace had met his demise by being beheaded, so he often held his skull instead of putting it back on his neck. He was proud of his demise, though he kept dropping his skull. A few of the teeth had been recently knocked out, but Pemberton up on Witch Hill was a noted warlock and had fixed it for him.
“Good day, Eustace!” Marcos called from the church. How are you today?”
“Just fine and dandy!” Eustace’s skull called out. The body dropped it again and it went rolling. “I wish I could keep from losing my head though!”
Eleanor shook her own skull.
“If you put it back on your neck the way Pemberton instructed you, it would be just fine!” she chided as she stroked Sugar Baby, the latest living stray to wander into Skels Hamlet.
Eustace’s skull laughed as it lay on the ground.
“Where’s the fun in that?” he asked.
Eleanor merely sighed.
In front of the ancient village inn, Catarina Melendez ran into Jack Perry. She was trying to avoid the encounter, for she loathed Jack, but she must be polite nevertheless. She was a grand lady in her living life. She had to remain the part in her afterlife as well.
Jack Perry was a roguish man. He never told the other inhabitants of the particulars of his demise, leaving many of them to speculate. He merely showed up in Halloween Town one spring and took to rooming in the inn after seeing Catarina there.
He tipped his hat to the grand lady.
“Good day, Señora Melendez,” he said with a bow. “How are you this fine day?”
Catarina flicked her skirts as she stared at him with an imperious glint in her eye sockets.
“I am just fine, Señor Perry. I am on my way to Witch Hill for a discussion with Senoras Beatrix and Lenora, so if you could kindly step out of my way so I can make the walk, I would be greatly appreciative.”
“I can escort you, if you’d like. There are rogues about.”
She shook her head. “That will not be necessary. The only rogue I see is you. Now please, leave me alone.”
She made her way up the hill, walking with a grace to her step that none of the other skeletons seemed to be able to achieve. She knew of the zombie infestation that threatened to take over the entire town, but she also knew that the skeleton army would protect them. Or at least, she hoped.
But that battle is a story for another day…. First, the Back Valley must be explored.
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