It’s a surprisingly quiet evening for the little town of Despairton. Despite its negative name which has its origins back to the dark ages, it is today a happy place full of joy and life. Its habitants are no more than a few dozen and they all know each other as it usually happens in small towns.
You would expect it to be a strangely isolated site with weird people who look at strangers like they are aliens but no. They are nice and open people with no fear of others and willing to offer you the best hospitality you can imagine. That is why Despairton is becoming more and more famous and every year the local celebrations and events, attract more and more visitors.
This year’s Halloween is said to be fantastic!!! Tickets are long sold out and all motels and every available bed are already booked. Because of its name and the dark history behind it, Despairton has the ideal atmosphere, especially for spooky celebrations.
It all started many years ago when the light was gone from the world and darkness fell on Earth. People’s hearts were cold, and life was cruel. Three wealthy families with 6 children each, decided to move from their disgraceful villages in which terror and despair were never-ending. They wanted to create their own little village for a better future for their kids. And so, they did…
They found a distant and peaceful place and they built a new life there. They named their village Despairvil and made a promise to make it nothing as it sounds. But it would always be a reminder of what they went through, so they will always be grateful for what they had.
Years passed and the families grew in members. And indeed, there was so much happiness and love and freedom that the village’s name was nothing but letters. But one day, there was a mysterious disease that in the end killed all of them at very little time. No one ever found out what this disease was, and it took time for someone to discover the dead in the little village.
Nearby farmers took care of the bodies. They built a cemetery and performed proper burials. After that, no one showed interest to move in the village as the rumours spread and people feared the deadly disease. But the farmers did not get sick and eventually after years, people moved in again.
All was good. No problems, no crime, they had all they needed, and the area was blessed with rich grounds. More people moved to the village and the fear of the disease faded away. The village became a small town and up to today the name changed into Despairton.
Tradition is very important to the people of Despairton. They are seeking every opportunity to celebrate and every time they can’t wait for the next one. They also have great respect for the tragically lost families who used to live in this place.
It was a big Halloween celebration next and that would mark the anniversary of the establishment of the new village as well. One of the events is to pay their respects at the dead and honour the three families as we said before.
The hallows and the dead, are to be remembered and that is mostly a spiritual task for people, rather than a spooky celebration. For example, going to the cemetery in the evening to light candles on their loved one’s graves. Of course, they have all the decorations we know off, in a festive point of view, such as frightening carved pumpkins with their disturbing yellow lights in every house, at the streets and the staircases. Lanterns, for those who dare to leave the safety of their homes on such night…
So, the time came, and everything is ready for the exciting celebrations and a night to remember!
First, early in the evening kids are going from house to house for the classical trick or treats custom. There are fun and laughter and all the costumes you can imagine. Everyone loves to scare and to be scared so it is an informal competition of practical jokes as well. You can smell sweets and fresh-baked pies everywhere and decorations are so realistic…
‘Who wants some soul-cake’…a skeleton mum is shouting outside with a distorted voice and Ghouls are coming ‘off the ground’, to take a piece of that soul, cake. Ghouls and others…
In a dark misty alley, a witch is singing beautifully to the children and they follow her happily hypnotised by her spells. They are promised treats and goodies and a chocolate playground to stay as much as they want…
At the cemetery, people are lighting up candles at the graves of their dead. They greet each other and they stay next to their loved ones to bring back memories they had with them.
Wait a minute, there is noise and laughter and music coming from the streets. The Mayor is announcing the beginning of the parade!
The parade has started! All good folks are there…bloody nurses and doctors from the town hospital, headless convicts from the old days. That weird clown must be the mayor? He is such a nice person, always caring for others and so funny. I wonder if the vampire lady next to him is Mrs Mayor? She seems to enjoy the fake blood of her husband’s. Visitors are bringing new costume ideas from other areas of the country and a fresh feeling in the celebration.
Kids are dancing and running around with their costumes, ghouls, zombies, monsters, pirates, ghosts and more. There are live music and confetti in the air and lights and it is all so beautiful! There is so much fun and everyone seems to be enjoying it. Nothing can go wrong tonight and indeed, this year’s Halloween is the best ever!
After a few hours of parading and dancing and customs and enjoyment, it is time for the most spectacular event of the night. Fireworks!!!
Loud bangs are heard, and the sky is suddenly full of colours and breath-taking sparkling lights. Everyone is staring up to the lights and you can see the happiness on their faces. Despairton has proven the best place to be in Halloween for one more year.
The next morning, no one is up early. The night before was long and exhausting. Streets are empty and deadly quiet. The weather has a turn for the worst, and it got cloudy, cold and misty. Ideal for staying indoors and enjoy the cosiness of your home. There are plenty of leftovers and lots of candy too! But, it’s almost midday, and no one is up. Where is everybody?
There is a car entering the town. They seem lost, they are not locals for sure.
Woman (driver): what happened here, where are we?
Man: seems like they had a big celebration last night, wish we were lost here yesterday.
Woman: I don’t know, it feels wrong, where is everybody?
Man: What do you mean, they are all wasted, sleeping.
Woman: let’s drive around see if we can find anyone to help us with instructions.
As they drove, they came across the cemetery. You could tell there were many people around not too long ago, from all the stuff they left behind. Some candles are still led, and the mist is creating a really spooky atmosphere.
The couple decided to stop and pay their respects to the dead. As they walked in, they noticed that some graves were dug open and you could see some coffins and bodies exposed. Ok, that can’t be good. Something weird happened, here, they thought. So, they left. They left the town immediately.
Just outside the town sign, they saw an odd couple riding a horse wagon and they were dressed funny. With old-style clothes. They said hello and asked them for directions, but the strange couple left in a hurry with no response. One more reason for them to run away, they said.
Back in the town, there are finally some people up and you can see some lights turned on. Smoke from fireplaces and some talking. The couple with the horse stopped outside their house, took care of the animal and went inside. After a while, they came out carrying together something covered with a blanket. They put it on the wagon and continued with three more.
In the house next door, the same thing is happening and in other houses too. What is going on here?
Last night, one of the customs they celebrated was to dress like the initial families and have a little play, showing to younger generations how was life back then. But what happened after the play, was beyond imagination.
The lost souls of the first three families were still wandering around in the village, haunting it. But no one ever knew or noticed. So, last night, after all these years, those souls found a way to intrude and take control of real people’s bodies. Like a possession but with no weird head-turning…
The dead saw themselves in the actors who were wearing old-style clothes and in a moment of perfect timing of two realities, they took over. They really took over everything and they wanted their village back. When all the dead had a new body, they did not need the rest of the people. So that explains why they are still ‘asleep’.
The cemetery is now so full that it can hardly take any more. The three families with their children and every offspring that came from them are now enjoying their second chance. The village is theirs again and no one remembers the disease anymore.
A year later, there is no Halloween celebration in Despairvil as they are afraid of what might happen. They only celebrate coming back to life, in a short plain ceremony. Their cursed time as trapped spirits is over and they seem to return to the kind and cheerful people they once were.
Suddenly, everybody dropped dead in the middle of the ceremony. Not one survived. Their souls returned into the void, filled with fear and despair. That can’t be happening. What have they done wrong? It must be the disease again.
They can still see blurry glimpses of their village, but it seems to fade away. While they are sacked into darkness, they meet with the people they killed. They will be their neighbours from now on and that is their punishment. But they didn’t see everyone there.
An equal number of bodies that were possessed, came back to life with their rightful souls. Tragic souls to discover but not to understand how their families and friends are gone. A few grownups and few children, gather and hold each other tight, in a moment of desperation. But they too have a second chance to live. A chance that should be taken away from that place.
The next morning, they took their things, said goodbye to their dead and left Despairton forever.
The little town disappeared after many long years. Buildings collapsed, roads turned green and the only thing left was the sign. If it wasn’t for the sign, no one would ever know something existed there.
As if Despairvil wanted to return, the circumstances came, and a big corporate bought the area to construct brand new villas for wealthy citizens of the city. A huge residential project, including shops, cinemas and everything a modern small-town need.
They started by installing a huge and bright sign with the new name of the town. Hopetown.
After being abandoned for so long and between plants and trees, all the candles in the cemetery just lit up…
The above story is completely fictional 🙂