Lost Souls

The Halloween Child

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The Halloween Child

by Ryder W. Miller

It was raining earlier in the morning on that Fall day, and now at noon the skies were still gray. The young teenager stood in the lobby watching the gray clouds float through the sky. The air was moist and chilly. His father would be joining him soon to take him for a walk and then lunch.

"And who might you be?" asked the doorman.

Victor did not know what to say.

"I am Victor," he muttered.

"Are you new to the building?"

"I will be living with my dad here. I moved in with my dad."

"And who might that be?"

"Vincent. My dad's name is Vincent."

"Oh Vincent Philoblude. Welcome to the building Victor."

Victor did not know what to say and then muttered "Thank you."

"And what about your mother? Will she be joining you?"

"No. She wanted to live in a town where it was easier to be a vampire. Dads tired of being a vampire. I will be living with my dad now. That’s one of the decisions I will be able to make."

The doorman smiled.

Victor took a few steps towards the door to see how cold it was outside. Not much later Vincent was stepping out of the elevator.

"Are you ready for lunch?" he said to Victor across the lobby.


"Welcome to the city Victor. We will do something special. If the rain lets up I can show you around."

Vincent nodded in acknowledgement to the doorman and they were on their way out the door and down the street. It was windy and chilly. Victor shivered despite his black coat and orange scarf.

"I will need to buy you a new coat. It is colder here than it is in Dankerville. Wait until the winter. It gets much colder then."

"Is mom going to move back here?"

"I don't know. She seems to be happy with that other guy and that other town."

"I wasn't smart with mom. I want to be smart."

"What does that have to do with me?"

"You have to raise me so I will be smart. I want to be smart."

"I will try."

"I need to be smart."

"Okay. What do you want for lunch?"

"I want hot dogs."

"…and French fries."


"We can do that."

But before them down the street was a small crowd. They were looking up at a man who was standing on the roof yelling. The building was only six floors high and even his facial features could be seen.

"What is going on there?" Victor asked.

Vincent smirked.

"Let's go an see."

The crowd was busy watching the spectacle. The man on the roof wore a flannel shirt, blue jeans and brown boots. He was white and had short brown hair. He was standing near the edge of the roof yelling.

"I cannot take it anymore. I didn't do it."

Some in the crowd were laughing.

"Stop laughing or I will fall on you," he yelled.

A man in the crowd yelled "Why don't you do us a favor and jump?"

"Jump you dumb bastard."

Vincent looked annoyed and said to Victor "Let's go now and get something to eat."

"I want to watch."

"You shouldn't be watching such things. You are a little young for this."

"I have never seen this happen before."

"If you want something to eat you have to come with me now."

"I want to hear what he sounds like when he hits the ground."

"Next time Victor. You are being dumb."

Victor was annoyed and reluctant, but Vincent took his hand and gave his a slight pull. Victor smiled and started walking again with his father.

"I want to end it all. I am sick and tired of it," the man on the roof was yelling, but soon they were out of earshot.

As promised, Vincent took Victor to a deli. There wasn't much of a crowd and they found a seat fast.

"Things are going to be different here in the city. Not everybody will be nice. We all have to compete much harder here because there are so many of us. This city does not understand our kind. Most former blood suckers now just go to the supermarket for food. We are all scrunched together here. You will have a room here until you are ready to go to college."

"You promised that I would be smart."

"I will try, but it will be up to your teachers also."

The meal went well, but Vincent gave Victor a tip on how to order food.

"You want to be smart?"


"Well when you order the food make sure you say ketchup in a strong way."


"So people will know that you are serious. So they will know not to mess around with you."

The waiter arrived with a smile.

"What can I do for you today?"

"Hot dogs, French fries and blood, no ketchup buddy," Victor said loudly highlighting the word ketchup and buddy.

"Do you want sauerkraut for your hot dog?"

"Of course I do. And mustard. Ketchup for the fries."


The waiter looked slightly perturbed.

"The same for me," Vincent said with a smile.

After the waiter had gone Vincent continued.

"You let that man know that you meant business. You need to let people know that you mean business when you talk with them here. You did it once. He is not likely to bother you again. Be polite next time with him."

Victor smiled and said thank you to the waiter when they were done.

"Thank you for the cool ketchup."

"He thinks he wants to be a vampire when he grows up," said Vincent smiling.

The waiter smiled and said come back again.

That day Vincent showed Victor the city. He rented a car and drove Victor around the city in the rain.

"This will be your new haunts Victor."

By the time he went to school the following week Victor had a new black coat. He kept his orange scarf which he wore frequently. The school session had already begun and Victor would be behind on his studies for most of the term. He sat in class angry, not always understanding what was being taught. When the classes were over for the day he would meet with tutors who would help him catch up on his studies. Victor was angry that he wasn't doing well on his tests and decided to talk with his teacher about it.

"I wasn't here the whole term," he said angrily.

"You have to compete like everybody else Victor."

"It isn't fair. I better not be stupid."


"You better not call me stupid."

"Okay. I will give you time to catch up."

"I have to work harder."

"Yes, you have to work harder."

"This is so stupid."

"We won't be calling you stupid."

Victor decided not to talk with his father about this. He would leave school at school when he could. Vincent and Victor instead joked about how Victor was a sponge, sponging off him. Vincent was okay with it because he was a parent and Victor was so smart about it. Vincent met most of Victor's demands. Victor would get his vampire suits on Halloween, and when he was ready to graduate he would probably get his own car.

Most of the kids at school and the neighbors grew wary of Victor because he was so forthright. Even though he was much smaller there was such passion in what he had to say. He didn't always ask for things. Most of the women thought he was scary enough. He was known at school for drinking fruit punch which he would often call blood. They laughed at his last name Philoblude. He would also haunt the city staying out to almost eleven and sometimes he would wake up early and go for walks before the sunrise. He was a loner, but most were extra polite with him around Halloween.

Victor liked this time. Victor liked The October Country, but things had gotten so much darker since Ray Bradbury wrote his classic. In some places it was cool to be gothic or a psycho killer. It was stylish. But not everybody was into that scene, and not everybody belonged. Since Victor was a loner he did not have any role models to emulate. He would have to go dark all alone. He decided to create a dark personage which was only interested in death, pain, shit, and blood. Occasionally he would talk about urine because some of his classmates were already drinking. Since he was a vampire, and not a killer, he would eat his hamburgers extra rare. Sometimes he would buy hamburger meat at the restaurant and just eat it rare. Victor skipped beer and went strait to red wine. He would also go out of his way to get extra attention in October. In November the cool winds would sanitize the city, but he would revel in the darkness before the cold month began. In October he would gear up for the dark night. His father Vincent was even wary and would lock the door to his room before he would go to sleep. Everybody knew that it was a joke-that he was joking-but Victor was enthusiastic and he had the energy of youth. He was dark enough, but many of the girls found him too scary. If there was such a thing as vampires, he and his father, who also had a taste for extra rare hamburgers and steaks were probably the real thing.

Victor tried to think of a nickname for himself, but most people just called him the Halloween Child. The teachers would allow him to do a skit in front of the class about Halloween because he was so inspired. The first year he explained why he liked the taste of blood. The second year he explained how he would like to kill people. As a senior he was going to get a car and drive to hell with it. A bicycle would not go fast enough to take the inter-dimensional leap. There were a hell of a lot of jobs in hell Victor would say.

Everybody knew that his birthday was around Halloween, but it was not their natural inclination to say happy birthday to him. He was extra wild and crazy around this time. When he was doing his work at school they would call him terrific, sometimes terrible.

Victor devised a plot to become a local legend and gain the affection of a girl he had met at school. Her name was Lucy Phantom and she dressed in black. She had bright blond hair, but her fresh lips were always painted red. Her eyelashes were long and she had blue eyes. She was slender now, but he saw her big mother pick her up from school one day in a Hearse. In class one day she explained to the class how her father was a mortician. She had a part time job at the graveyard working for her folks.

During the Halloween season Victor would eye her more closely, and he had watched her figure blossom over the last few years. Victor figured if he could nab her, then maybe he could be working at the graveyard as well. If he could get a job at the graveyard maybe he wouldn't have to go to college. He would have to be special in order to really nab her. She was into the darkness, but she would not let another make the first move. She was also a femme fatale so she could kill someone if they needed to kill someone. Victor would be the one saying that the person was stupid. Lucy didn't have a boyfriend at school yet, and every body knew that she was saving her virginity. A lot of girls did that at school. But Victor knew her well because they often sat next to each other because of the spelling of their names. They were in the same Pre-Med Program at school and they had sat near each other for a number of years now. Lucy didn't usually find him scary.

"You are terrific my boy," she often said to him.

She would pepper him like that, but she did not think she needed to around Halloween. Lucy also did not go out with other boys. One asked once and she convinced him if he bothered her again that she might kill him and bury him. She never showed that kind of attitude to Victor who she treated like a friend. Some day they would throw a party at the graveyard that all sorts of things would attend. If things worked out they would not need to rent out hotel rooms during the warm half of the year.

For Victor, High School passed quickly sitting next to her.

The senior prom was not far away, but he had to somehow raise his status so she would be impressed with him. She might say no if he was just Victor, but what if he was the Halloween Child because he was born on Halloween? He would say that his mother said he had a different birthday so he wouldn't be so strange or scary. He would tell his mother that he was doing this. Once he announced it at school everybody would remember him. He decided he would talk it over with his father first.

When they needed to have a man to man talk they would often go up to the roof.

"Dad, I am going to tell everyone that my birthday was on Halloween."

"You can't do that."

"Why can't I say I was born on Halloween?"

"Do you really want to?"

"Yes. Nobody would know I was lying."

"We would."

"I am taking artistic license. People lie all the time."

"You do seem to fit the role. Mom would be extra proud of you."

"That is also why people leave me alone. It also works if you want something. Being forthright. My birthday is close enough."

"You want me to think of you as a Halloween Child."

"It has a nice ring to it. Victor, the Halloween Child."

Victor wasn't sure at first how to let his classmates know. He decided to write a paper about it which he would read in class. The paper detailed how his mother changed his birthday to keep him out of trouble, but he embraced the dark side and how he read in All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren that goodness sometimes comes out of badness.

"Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption…"

The English class was shocked.

"If I know bad, I can probably be good. I am this way because of my stars. I was destined to lord over this time."

Lucy was goggling.

"Terrific Victor, terrific, The Halloween Child," the English teacher said.

The class applauded.

The next day Lucy brought some cookies from home that her mother had cooked and passed them around. The word had gone all around the school that Victor was born on Halloween. Most people had a smirk for him when they saw him in the hallway, but some were scared, and few petrified.

"These are good cookies," Victor said to Lucy.

"You terrific bastard. What are you doing on Prom Night?"

"Will you go with me to the prom?"

"Yes Victor I will go with you to the prom."

Victor was beaming. Lucy had a smile like a siren, but he would look through it knowing that she would be tender to him at times. They would also be able to exchange blood. He now knew her well enough. She would probably be true and her mother could someday teach her how to cook.

But Victor had to have a talk with his father before Prom Night. Things were uneasy on the roof that afternoon. Often they would just talk there, but today they were closer to the ledge and there was a crowd below them.

One guy yelled, "When are you two lovebirds going to jump?"

"I am going to kill you someday," Victor yelled down at him.

They both decided to step away from the ledge and the usual crowd dispersed.

"What about all the things I did not have?"

"What do you want Victor?"

"I could have been smarter."

"Well I did not like all these talks on the roof."

"I want enough money to buy a second hand hearse. I want to bring a girl to the prom in it."

"Well I don't want to give it to you for free."

"Well I am sorry for being scary. I was that way so people wouldn't treat me like I was dumb. You also were scary."

"You need me son and you will continue to need me."

"Won't that change when I am with Lucy?"

"You will learn from her, but you will need me around."

"So that I can be smarter?"

"Yes, you would be dumb to get rid of me. You will be entering a scary time."

"Do I get the hearse like promised?"

"Second hand."


"Yes, but I will need you to."


"In case I am being dumb, and when I get older."

"I will be in town dad. Lucy's family has this dream house which borders the cemetery. It is only seven miles out of town."

"You are a handsome boy."

"A deal dad. Do we have a deal?"

"Yes. Remember we will need each other. It will be how we can take on the rest. How we can be smart."

"Like you said, we will need to fight for what we want."

"Especially if others are fighting as well."

"Yes dad we have a deal. Would you like to go to the deli. It is my treat. I convinced them to serve fruit punch and wine."

The two men walked down the stairs to have dinner. There was no crowd when they walked out into the street towards the deli. Vincent was sad that Victor would be leaving, but he would be sleeping easier now that he had the whole apartment to himself. He would now be free to find another, but he would not want to have another child.

Victor would be remembered as The Halloween Child by his whole graduating class. He would be remembered as a handsome lad by the teachers. He had shown a capacity for flexibility and perseverance. He understood a range of ideological perspectives and could send a warning when the leaves began to change. Lucy had found and cultivated her dream man who would help her family at the graveyard. Men like this were hard to find. He even supplied them with a hearse for deliveries. They would aim for another Halloween Child by having their Dark Honeymoon in February.

They all lived terrifically ever after.

Copyright Ryder W. Miller 2006


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