October 21 , 2005

Dear Reader:

"Now its time for a ghost story.

"People, there are only two. Night, there are several nights, but yes, there is one special night. Unique circumstances are of course involved, as are myriad harbingers, folkloric precedents, supernatural biases and occult trappings aplenty. Blood, yes there is the wet spill of blood and Death is present in its grim habiliments, all wide-armed and welcoming.

"And a Ghost. There is always a Ghost.

"The time is a mere yesterday, or it could have happened today, and the memory is jagged and ugly with fiery, flaring open anguish, suppurating thickly where the eye would not see in the sweet sun of day, but gloats now, in the darkness of close familiarity. A gasp of time away from the event and a heave of soul toward surcease, is this not enough to keep the heart from sinking? No, no. It’s never enough. This tale will be told and hold the tears and terrors till its end. This tale needs its voice. . . "

And so begins another short story that would have fit perfectly into the Hallowe'en theme this year. But it wouldn't be written. The spark imperative to its evolution was always just out of reach. Tantalizing, teasing, but always beyond the fingertips.

This one, too, continues to elude;

"I tried to keep a straight face, not crack wise, not ruffle feathers or in any way behave unprofessionally. I leaned back in my chair and stretched my legs. I considered putting my feet up on the desk, but altered course mid extension and drew my right foot back to rest on my left knee. I felt another chuckle bubble up and tickle my teeth as I looked again at the odd creature sitting primly in the client’s chair across the cluttered desktop from me.

"To forestall the inevitable I quickly studied my shoe for signs of recent shine and spent a controlling breath concluding that a slap or two from the shoeshine kit wouldn’t be wasted. When I thought I had myself under full control and there was no chance of my embarrassing either a potential, paying client or the Lovecraft Detection agency, I looked once more into his array of eyes, the tentacles surrounding them quivering with his growing indignation.

"A huge roaring, rolling, eye watering, face stretching belly laugh exploded from my mouth and I gave into it. Not something I wanted to do; not something to cement a contract with an unsigned client, but infinitely necessary at the time. . ."

Sometimes the words just won't come. And when that happens it's best to divert one's frustrations with a side trip into something enjoyable. Hallowe'en, for instance, comes to mind as a fine diversion from the mundane.

In this, our traditional offering up of our best from past and present stories, poetry, graphics and articles, we ask you to hold open your treat bags and let pour in the goodies from 2005's Season of Samhain.

But not to worry, those stories needing to be told in the coming months will make their presence real, and they, too, will take their place in future Hallowe'en Issues of Writer's Cramp.

Happy Hallowe'en.