Age Range: 12 and up
Approx. Length: 8,031 Words
The past returns to haunt and hunt him on one creepy All Hallows Eve.
Daren Karl has an aversion to Halloween. When his sister asks him to take his nephew Trick-Or-Treating, he must overcome deep-rooted fears to survive a stressful night that becomes eerily familiar. The secrets of a murky past return to the surface to the point of rocking his entire existence. What is he willing to give up?
From the author of The Dark Mister Snark, Leery Lane, 3-Z, Monstrosities, An Ill Wind Blows and more, Samhain is another treat in the bag of Halloween goodies by Lori R. Lopez. Look for her horror collection Unhallowed containing this tale!
Once upon a time there was a coward. And he lived unhappily ever after!
~ from Samhain
“Mom said you’re kind of a phobe.”
“She said that?”
“She told me you have . . . phobias.”
“That’s an exaggeration too. I don’t have phobias. I’m just nervous.”
“What’s the difference?” The kid eyed him skeptically.
~ from Samhain
It wasn’t always about the candy. Daren Karl feared October Thirty-First and couldn’t even be sure why, until his thirtieth All Hallows, which seemed closer to “All Hellows” in his opinion. Have you ever screamed so much you lost your tonsils? That was how it would feel before the night ended.
Darkness reached out and touched him.
Some people were afraid of clowns. It made more sense to be terrified of Halloween, didn’t it? He thought so, anyway, despite the reason being buried in the tomb of his past. But childhood had a way of rising up, emerging from a grainy muddled subconscious to stalk our nights and haunt our daydreams. He was having one of those spells, a vague twinge of foreboding as he rang the doorbell outside his sister’s house. No brats in costumes roamed the streets yet, thank heavens. A shiver coursed up his spine as if an evil musician raked a cold mallet along the vertebrae of a macabre xylophone. He could hear the clinky notes. Or was it breeze rattling a set of chimes suspended from the porch roof?
The door was yanked in, and he blinked at a pint-sized skeleton. His nephew’s voice greeted him: “Rarrr!”
Daren swallowed an enormous lump. “Hi, Dare.” That was what relatives called the kid, who was named after him. And it certainly fit. The boy was excessively daring, unlike his timid uncle.
“Mom said you’ll take me to get candy!” the runt blurted.
A quiverous reaction seized Daren. “Oh, uh, well . . .”
Honors & Praise
“Daren Karl is a thirty year old survivor of a traumatic event which had taken place 20 years prior. His anxiety and PTSD is off the charts; if only he could remember. When Daren’s nine year old nephew, Dare, comes Trick or Treating at Daren’s door, panic grips Daren like never before. Bravely deciding to confront his demons, Daren volunteers to take Dare door to door for candy treats. After noticing a real-life Witch in the midst, disappearing with various children, Daren becomes briefly distracted before realizing that his nephew has just become her latest victim. Now Daren must confront his buried past head-on, not only in the hopes of saving his nephew, but also the souls of his four best friends of long ago.
As a Pagan, I could not help but quickly grab this title off the shelf. Although the content is vastly different to what I had envisaged, the story itself is a horrifying chill with each turn of the page. Lori R. Lopez has a firm grasp on the realities of Anxiety and PTSD — something which often comes from surviving something so terrifying that the brain cannot grasp it properly in order to process it. Samhain is so well-written that the visual aspect of reading the book was descriptive, graphic and quite unique in that it was a horror story that I was actually able to read through to the end. Not only does Samhain present the reality of mental illness which arises due to severe trauma, but it also shows that repressed memories can be pulled back to the forefront when the stakes are high enough. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Samhain and wholeheartedly recommend it to readers over 15 years of age who are fans of horror with paranormal sidelines. I cannot wait to read more from Lori R. Lopez in the future.”
Rosie Malezer for Readers’ Favorite
“This was a fun story to read. Often, lesser known writers tend to sound juvenile with simple prose. Lopez, though, is surprisingly sophisticated and has a more original voice in her style than most writers of this genre. I would be very interested in a full length novel by this author as she does a good job developing interesting characters.”
Frederick T. Matson (Freddy J.)
“This is a nice, inventive use of witchy power; one of the rare instances that the witch does not feel like just another evil druid. This witch is witchy. Another thing that I just adore about Ms. Lopez’ writing is that she has a really fun working vocabulary. I don’t know how she manages it, but she occasionally throws in a word that nobody else could use in that context without showing the reader the proscenium. When she does it, it works. It’s a little alchemical.”
“First off I have to mention the amazing cover art – as LRL does all her own work I am always intrigued at how wonderfully fascinating they are, the more you look the more detail you see . . . I really enjoyed the goosebumps I was given and the thrilling explanation of Halloween, Samhain and various other historical spookies. LRL manages in her small novellas to inject such emotion, tension and sense of history to all her characters, I miss them when i finish the story.”
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS
“What are you afraid of? Is it clowns, werewolves, ghosts or vampires? Well all of those things are turned out on the street every Halloween night in the form of children dressed in their favorite costumes. With that being a fact then would it not make more since to be afraid of Halloween?
I will not go into [detail] about this story because I don’t want to give anything away but this is a great story of Halloween and I recommend it to all fans of horror and suspense.”