That awful clock in grandma's bedroom struck 12. It woke me. Grandma had passed on and papa had sold the clock. Or had he? The clock sounded on and on, louder and louder in grandma's bedroom. I got out of bed, shivering as the cold air brushed my skin. Papa was gone too. He had passed on and now it was just me and the house and the clocks. I walked towards my locked bedroom door, bent a little for I had carried the weight of life on my back for many years.
I felt in the deep pocket of my robe, and pulled out a big brass key. I couldn't see the key in the black midnight darkness, for if I had I probably would have stayed in bed till Halloween had passed. The key was glowing a devilish red. I unlocked the door and stepped into the hall. Grandma's room was across the long drafty hallway. The hallway was silent. Deathly silent. All the clocks lining the hallway had stopped. Suddenly I heard a faint scuttling sound and I had a sudden and immediate urge to head back to bed. Grandma's room was coming to life. I could feel it in the marrow of my old bones.
I had not been in Grandma's room since I was a young boy. I slid the key into Grandma's lock. The key was pulsating a blood red. I could see it now but all sense of reason had left. The key scraped against the lock like the rustling of skeleton bones, and the wind howled. Oh how it howled.The door flung open with tremendous force splintering its wooden frame. I hit my head against the wall and blacked out. I was forced awake by a bony finger poking at my cheek. I opened my eyes, the bone white skull of a pirate floated just above my head and its hand ,which hovered by its side, clutched the lapel of my robe. The other hand held a glinting sword.
"Come in!" It said. "We have been waiting for you for years and years"
It beckoned to me and as its hand swept through the air dust floated to the ground. My mouth became dry. My heart raced and my legs grew limp.
"Hurry! We want to show you Grandma's collection before its too late"
I placed my hand on the disintegrating wallpaper and I willed my legs into a standing position.
I felt the bony finger poke at my spine. I shivered and entered the smothering darkness of a room unseen in decades. The clock chimed once. A deafening roar. Suddenly a fire flared in the fireplace and a skull roared to life. It tipped its hat and gnashed its teeth. The room became unbearably hot and I feared for my life.
A voice thundered at my back "Leave my place" and the fire vanished leaving a faint green light. A skull in a red Gangster hat floated within view and placed its ringed gnarled fingers around my neck. The skull floated directly in front of my head so that my old pitted nose was nearly touching its nasal cavity. Two cold red fires blazed in each eye socket. I trembled with fear.
"Get out of Grandma's room. Get out. The collection is mine all mine!"
Grandma's clock chimed. It chimed like Grandma's laugh.
Black dots began to mingle with the green choking mist. The deadly hands were squeezing my neck. I spotted something huge and orange swerve in front of me. The bony hands fell away. My neck was free. I bent down wheezing and coughing, swallowing bitter air. I heard a clatter and I looked up. The skull was laying on the floor, its red gangster hat under a dusty stool. Something told me to look up and I did. A huge pumpkin floated above my head. Carved in its thick skin were the numbers 3,6,9,12.
The giant pumpkin descended and gently rolled along the floor, stopping at my bare feet.
" Grandma wishes you Happy Halloween!" it said.
The clock chimed and ....
The sun caressed my face and I woke up. I opened my eyes and stared at Grandma's ceiling. Dust covered cobwebs lazily hung about. I sat up and looked at Grandma's empty dusty room. The frame of a four poster bed leaned against the wall. The only other piece of furniture was an old rickety stool beside the fireplace. Papa was right, he had sold Grandma's stuff.
"There is nothing here!" I said aloud. "It was a silly dream" Except something glinted in the dust. It was a watch with a skull and a red pirates kerchief. I stood up and spotted another watch among the ashes of Grandma's fire place. It was a Corum Bubble XL Corum Samedi. Another watch lay under the stool: A Corum Bubble XL Gangster and beside it sparkling in the mid morning sun was the bright orange Corum Bubble XL. Grandma had left me her collection.
I looked around for Grandma's awful clock but it was no where to be found. I turned to leave Grandma's empty room. The door was still open, leaning oddly against its shattered frame. The key was in the lock. I took the key and then it hit me. My key was an exact image of the Corum key. I shuddered and left the room.
Happy Halloween and Grandma says enjoy the Collection!
Story taken from the depths of my unconscious.
A R.Van Halem original.