Thursday, October 25, 2012


All the other vampires prepared for The Revels, assembling specially ordered clothing and costly accessories. Tomas had his bootkins. Sarah her cashmere what-nots and Conrad bought three new packages of all cotton, Hanes briefs. Leo picked up some edgy tight pants on South Street, because he did have a naughty side, after all.

But Annie could not be bothered. She had her corduroy jeans from KID'S GAP  (Edith bought them on Walnut Street) and some sweaters and 'tops' from the girls' department at Macy's. A few were black, so she could affect a classic vampirina look too. Besides, Bahlay promised to take her shopping in Europe at L'Grand Maison du Nuit, THEE  emporium extradordinaire for discerning night-folk everywhere. They say the shop girls are real witches. And the harpist in the tea room is the Emperor Nero, or Harpo Marx, or some talented, though expired soul like that.

Exciting as that exceptional trip was, Annie had other things on her mind. October is Ghost Season. And in a New World city old as Philadelphia, they're positively everywhere. It's not that the month is anything special to them. But humans just expect to see them now. The vibrations are right. Passageways are open and encounters occur at a fast and furious clip.

So far, on just this night alone, the little vampirina saw six. The fire-eyes lady on a subway platform was first. She just sat there, wrapped in a great-coat, staring straight ahead  and mumbling to herself. Few living souls could see her. A roly-poly fourteen year old girl with intricate braiding and a mouth filled with bubble gum thought she could. And she carefully reached out a finger to see if that 'orange shit' shining from her eyeball sockets was, in fact, fire, or just a really bad case of conjunctivitis...... Annie walked over and said - Yo, fat girl (ever the gracious diplomat) you gonna burn youself. The 'fat girl' called her a stringy-haired, little white bitch. She didn't say it, but she thought it. So Annie let her do it. And five seconds later, accompanied by a high-volume litany of 'shits, damns, plus a liberal sprinkling of what Annie called 'the king a the words,' the fourteen year old dashed off the platform and bounced up to the street.

Then the train screeched to a halt. Some late night pre-Halloween celebrants shuffled in, a few bedraggled Marilyn Monroes, two Spidermen, one puny, the other more or less OK, and a Mario Lanza who may or may not have been the real thing. 

Annie was alone, save for the mumbling spirit-woman. So she snuggled in next to her (not that ghostly, spirit-women were especially comforting that way) and hummed a little song. A cop came over to investigate. You don't see too many stringy haired seven year olds humming to themselves on subway platforms this late at night.  He was a nice cop too. But Annie hissed like a cat  and bared her teeth..... That he could have dealt with. Crack babies are everywhere. It was the levitation part that got him. Almost  fell on the tracks. Annie laughed and cackled till the nice cop ran away and twisted his ankle real bad. But he just kept on going.

The fire-eyed ghost laughed too. Annie looked up, whispered something in her ear and walked off toward the exit, leaving the dead soul alone.

Then she boosted two or three Archie comics from an all-night CVS (for the ghost boy who lived in their cellar) and slowly strolled back toward home.

On the way she saw a man hanging from a tree, his head grotesquely cracked to the side. He whispered - How you doin'? as she passed. The little vampirina said - OK, and you?..... The hanged man said - Eh..... But eight heartbeats later she turned around. Maybe she wanted to say something? I don't know. Only the hanged man wasn't there.....

Though a big, black crow sat in the branches...

And if you should wake from your rest this night, sit up, raise the shade just a little and peer out into the blackness..... Perhaps you'll see a dark-time vision too?....... They ARE out there...... They really are...

Don't be afraid.... just look.


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