HALLOWEEN HAUNTS - Horror Writer's Association - Trick-or-Treating of the DEAD

I had just gotten out of a three week hospital stay during the harshest point of my radiation treatment on Halloween and decided that 18 was still not too old to go get candy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Dreaming of the Jersey Devil
Submitted by Zachary M.
New Jersey Pine Barrens - First Weekend of October 2012

Recently, I went down to Smithville, NJ, to camp out and help my friend run his archery range. I plugged Smithville into my GPS and started on the road early on Friday evening. As I got closer and closer to the end of my drive down, I began to see the road signs that indicated that Smitheville was near Leeds Point, birthplace of the infamous Jersey Devil.

I used to live in a farm house on the edges of the Pine Barrens. Walking in those woods at night, you learn to respect the stories whispered by the residents of the area. You see and experience things that can make the most hardened skeptic carry some charm, just in case they are wrong. But I really didn't take a good look at the map, and assumed the area I was camping in was close enough to the shore to be out of the territory of New Jersey's most famous resident. I left my charms at home, and just slept alone in the back of my car.

The first night went by without incident, and I spent the day having fun and teaching kids to shoot bows and arrows. On Saturday night, however, things got interesting.

The visitations came in my dreams. I am a semi-lucid dreamer, having taught myself a degree of control over my dreams as a child to fight off a problem I used to have with nightmares. As a result of that control, I have learned that there are some dreams that are just different than others. In these dreams, the feel and engagements is different, and there is a sense of alieness that comes when something gets introduced from outside of my own mind. The first dream to come had this sense of surreal weirdness. I will save you from the disturbing details, but let's just say it involved the level of gore you would typically see in a Quentin Tarrentino or Rob Zombie movie directed at an innocent child at the hands of a winged monster. Normally, that would be enough to set me off, but I was so distant in viewing the scene, that it appeared like a television show, and I reacted in disgust towards the producers rather than fear.

The next dream was more personal.

In the dream, I was me. I was in the back of my car, in my sleeping bag, pretty much the exact situation of my real world self. I then heard a sniffing and snorting coming from outside the car, and the car began to shake as if a large animal was knocking into it. I attempted to  get up to see what was outside, but as I began to reach towards my jeans to grab my keys, a hairy arm came through the window, across my body, and grabbed hand, keeping me in place. As it grabbed me, I could feel the pain of its nails digging into my hand. This was, by the way, the first time pain did not wake me from a dream. I looked at the arm, It was too thin to be a bear, and the claws were too small. The hair was long and thin, similar to an orangutan’s and it was colored a deep chocolate brown. Because I could not place what animal it was, my curiosity was stronger than my fear, and I new I had to get up and see what this creature was. The more I tried to rise, the more I was pinned, and eventually I just pushed with all my mental might to rise.

And I was alone in my car again, with the pain still stinging in my hand.

I took a few moments to shake off and process the experience. When I realized what had visited me, I began to search around my car for hoof prints, or any other sign of the visit. I actually felt denied the full experience when nothing was found. I shouted at the woods, complaining of the decline of the supernatural standards, as the visit seemed only half-finished and without climax, without that final touch. Maybe next time we meet, he'll be ready to put in that extra effort. But then again, next time I'll know to be ready as well...

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