Word count 789
A very pale couple of corpses Patrick and Roisin stumbled into the Adair graveyard during the night of 31 October. Liam and Ciara intercepted them and said “We are your greeters here to tell you about your future. That was an odd entrance”.
Patrick said “No time, unfinished business. You can talk to us later.”
Ciara noted Patrick’s bulging trousers and said “we understand.”
Before finished talking, Patrick was taking his trousers off and Roisin was tearing at his shirt. They went behind some shrubbery and went about their business loudly.
Fifteen minutes later they returned to Liam and Ciara sweaty and disheveled. Roisin said “I hope that you will pardon our rudeness, but we had planned our first for this night and Patrick was in such a hurry that the loveable rogue drove off the road before we could get to our usual trysting spot, killing us both. We had finally decided to get past heavy petting and do the deed. The ambulance found us, but the attendants couldn’t save us. Knowing what night it was, the attendants were kind enough to drop us off here. Naturally, we learned a little about Samhain in school, but like most students we immediately forgot about most of it. How does this work?”
“Thanks for explaining. Most arrive in a box. Ciara, why don’t you give them the background?”
“The usual explanation is that Samhain is an Irish legend of the living and dead mixing one day a year, which led to what is known in most of the world in its Christian version as Halloween. What everyone outside of Adair doesn’t know is that it is no legend here.”
Patrick wondered “How does Adair keep its secret?”
“It hasn’t exactly. We have been written up in the tabloids a few times as the real deal, but they are usually ignored. In fact we’ve been debunked by a few paranormal investigators we let sneak in who concluded that we were a fraud. We helped them to that conclusion by making Samhain look like a costume party. People believe what they want. Flat earth, sure. Real Samhain, no. We keep out most of the outsiders by closing the one road in and out of town during the celebration.”
As an older man walked by Liam greeted him “Hi Conor, looking forward to you moving in.” Conor smiled and waved.
Roisin asked “Conor’s alive isn’t he? I just saw him at the grocery a few days ago.”
Ciara explained. “Most explanations of Samhain / Halloween emphasize the emergence of spirits and miss the point about the mixing. Conor is suffering from cancer and expects to join us by our next Samhain, so he is visiting his soon to be neighbors. Do you see that middle aged man ten meters to your left? That’s Oisin and his daughter Corra. She drowned five years ago. Oisin comes once a year to fill her in on current events.”
Patrick was pulling at Roisin’s arm, ready for another go, but she held her ground for more questions. “Is this related in any way to haunting?”
Liam took over. “Not really. Some here can haunt year around, as can ghosts in other places. We don’t know why some can be ghosts and others can’t. I can haunt, but Ciara can’t. I’ve been irritating Darragh for years. I knock things over, play with his electricity and put ice in his bed. He cheated me on real estate deals when we were both alive. He knows it’s me. He’ll yell ‘piss off Liam you fecking gobshite’ and I just laugh at him.”
A bored Patrick picked up a bottle of whisky off a headstone, took a long drink and asked “How did this get here?”
Liam grabbed the bottle, took his swig and answered “The live members of Adair like to pay it forward knowing that they will be the recipient in the future.”
Roisin told Patrick “Just one more question and then back to the shrubs. Is there any communication outside of Samhain?”
Back to Ciara. “Some of the old timers going back to the flu pandemic and before say that they can mentally communicate between graves, but we have no experience.”
“OK, Patrick let’s get it on.” They headed back to the shrubs.
Before they got there the graveyard crier announced “Everyone back to your graves, dawn in fifteen minutes. Anyone above ground then loses all Samhain privileges”.
The unhappy couple noticed the graves prepared for them and the men ready to throw dirt on the coffins. Roisin’s last words for the year were “Bloody hell, I wanted to be screwed again, but not like this.”
Appears in Terror House and World Of Myth (October 24 2020)