Long shadows waved slowly back and forth across the dark grounds. Woodruff and Bob lay on their backs in the damp grass and peered up into the starry sky. A howling breeze whistled through the creaky trees.
“Woodruff, this isn’t a good idea.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t like this.”
“The part where we lay in a spooky cemetery all night.”
“Stop being a baby.”
“I’m not being a baby!” Bob whisper-yelled. “A baby doesn’t know enough to be scared of ghouls, ghosts, and zombies! A baby would just lay here in the dark merrily sucking on its toes and laughing at the moon.”
“Have you ever even met a baby?”
“I was born a baby!”
“Calm down, it’s going to be fine.”
“That’s what people say right before the black guy gets murdered by a crazed elephant trainer or the ditzy blonde gets sucked into a vortex to a demonic department store.”
“What kind of movies have you been watching?”
“I only get the Hallmark channel after eleven o’clock, but that’s not the point. This is spooky and I don’t like it.”
Woodruff sat up and looked at the pale face of his friend. Bob pulled the flannel fleece blanket up to his chin and peered out warily at the shadows all around them.
“What happened to wanting to experience everything?”
“Everything except being dragged into the underworld by an undead creature of the night, or being dismembered by a possessed narcoleptic gargoyle.”
“They’ve got to have a weakness, otherwise we don’t stand a chance.”
“Don’t stand a chance against a figment of your imagination?”
“Don’t get me started on the dangers of figments.”
“Bob, there are no such things as ghosts, ghouls, zombies, gargoyles or vengeful headless horsemen.”
“Who said anything about headless horsemen?”
“And what are they vengeful about?”
“It’s the raccoons isn’t it?” Bob asked. “They’re in league with horsemen in an unholy alliance.”
“There are no raccoons, Bob” Woodruff began.
“No raccoons!” Bob shouted. “Now I know you’re lying. You know, good and well, we fought our way clear of a raccoon ambush in Ottawa just last week.”
“I think those were badgers.”
“Badger is just Canadian for raccoon.”
Woodruff shook his head and rose to his feet.
“I’ll make you a deal,” Woodruff said. “If you can stick it out until midnight we’ll pack it up and head out.”
“If we live that long,” Bob replied as he sat up and cast furtive looks to all sides.
Soft gray clouds passed in front of the moon and the graveyard was cast in a thick blackness.
“At least we’re safe from werewolves now,” Woodruff quipped.
“Don’t even joke about that,” Bob pleaded.
“Hey, if we’re not going to sleep out here tonight, let’s at least have a look around.”
“You want to walk around a graveyard, at night, on Halloween? Do you have a cross? Or a wooden stake or holy water? Do you even have a banana?”
“Bananas are terrifying,” Bob said. “Those potassium packed kamikazes, why do they spoil so quickly? Reminds you of your own mortality. Plus they like microwaves putty and taste like the bottom of your foot. If I were gonna haunt you I wouldn’t go near a banana.”
“Why would you haunt me?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe because you drug me to a cemetery on Halloween and I died!”
Woodruff turned and started up a sleepy path while Bob quickly gathered up his blanket and followed close behind him. They passed beneath a tunnel of overlaid oak tree canopies. Bob hurried to align himself lockstep with Woodruff and flung his flannel blanket over his head to ward off the invisible fiery demons that most certainly made their homes in the old oak trees. A dark figure emerged from behind a large trunk and shined a light on them.
“Witch!” Bob yelped.
“I ain’t no witch,” a gravelly voice replied.
“Zeke, you scared the dickens out of us,” Woodruff said.
“He scared the Edgar Allen Poe out of me,” Bob said.
“Actually, it’s a common misconception that the expression refers to Charles Dickens,” Zeke stated. “Dickens is a euphemism for the devil.”
“That’s supposed to make me feel better?” Bob asked.
“Ya’ll shouldn’t be wandering around here on all hallows eve,” Zeke said. He held up the light so they could see his pot-marked cheeks and scraggily gray beard.
“Thank you, Zeke,” Bob said. “I’ve been trying to tell him.”
“You’re not spooked by all this Halloween stuff, are you Zeke?” Woodruff asked. “You’re out here every day.”
“So I knows best what ya’ll should be a fear’n,” Zeke replied.
“And what’s that?” Bob asked with wide eyes.
“They say, hundreds of years ago, this area was overrun by wild boar, thick as the trees,” Zeke began. “One particularly cold Halloween the settlers of a nearby town raided this here pasture and slaughtered the whole passel.”
“That’s awful,” Woodruff said.
“Awful ain’t the half of it,” Zeke said. “They rounded up the pigs and skinned them alive to save their blades.”
“Barbaric Bacon, Batman” Bob gasped.
“Indeed,” Zeke replied. “The dirt is still stained red with their blood, and on dark and lonesome nights you can hear their squeals on the wind.”
“Good Hog,” Woodruff exclaimed.
“You boys keep a sharp eye out tonight,” Zeke warned. “On the anniversary of their slaughter, the pigs of purgatory are look’n to take revenge on mankind.”
Zeke switch off his flashlight, turned around, and walked into the night. Woodruff and Bob huddled together trembling beneath the ominous oak trees.
“Woodruff, can w-w-we g-g-g-g-go now,” Bob asked.
“L-l-let’s g-g-get out of here,” Woodruff replied.
They started for the creaky iron gate in front of the cemetery. There was a rush of wind and a low growl that stopped them dead in their tracks.
“Did you hear that?” Bob asked.
“Hear what?” Woodruff said as he gripped Bob’s arm tightly. “A terrifying growl on the wind? No, no I did not.”
“Me neither,” Bob said. “Let’s run for it anyway.”
They ran full-tilt toward the front gate and just before they reached the stone archway above it, a phantom shadow of a beast appeared by the wall and snorted.
“Ghost pig!” Woodruff and Bob shouted together as Bob leapt into Woodruff’s arms. Woodruff ran blindly through the gate with Bob flailing about his shoulders as they passed the porky apparition. Each of them shouted and squealed like frightened infants in the hysteria and flight.
“Let’s never speak of this,” Bob cried.
“Never,” Woodruff agreed.
“I’m hungry,” Bob said, still cradled in Woodruff’s arms.
“Me too,” Woodruff said, trying to see around Bob as he ran away from the graveyard. “Are you craving what I’m craving?”
They hurried off into the night fleeing the perilous peccary in search of precious pork.