'Twas the night before the All Hallows', when all through the dwelling
The dead were arising, the witches a-spelling.
Revenants were spreading disease without care
Whilst vampires thralled mortals into their lair.
The bats and the crows flew to the sky.
The ghosts took turns pondering how it was they did die.
And though in general I am not one to grouse
I did curse that which led me to this haunted house.
The sounds from the graveyard, a terrible clatter,
First clued me in, this was no laughing matter.
My gut started screaming, "Run away like a flash!"
But my feet wouldn't move, my legs wouldn't dash.
Clouds surrounded the moon, giving an eerie glow.
Light streaming through made shadows darker below.
When, what through the mist did catch my eye
But a man dressed in rags, my throat went bone dry.
His expression was bleary, quite haggard and worn
And I knew without words, his tale was forlorn.
Before he spoke, a howl and screech clamored afar
No doubt a werewolf run afoul of a car.
Oh demons! Oh harpies! Oh sneaky shapeshifters!
And vampires! Wendigos! And hitch hiking drifters!
They float up above and rise from below.
Why I left my safe home, I'll never know.
The dry leaves did crackle as the fellow drew nearer
The pit in my stomach grew deeper and queerer.
His eyes spoke of madness, feral and grim
And still I could not move, damn traitorous limb.
O'er the pounding of blood, I heard finally his voice.
It was rusty, enthralling and left me no choice.
I would listen to the man's story of woe,
Then, heavens be willing, unfreeze my legs and go.
"I tricked the devil and called myself clever
No matter my sin, he would take my soul never.
So, I lived on happily in transgression and vice
Never understanding what would be the true price.
My hands - how they stole! My mouth - how it lied!
My knack for the cheating was a point of great pride!
In the towns where I traveled, I paid for nary a drink
And those I befriended? Their coins in my pocket did clink!
But one day I did die, as we are all wont to do
The devil, as promised, my soul did eschew.
But here lay a problem on which I didn't count
My veniality prevented my soul from its mount.
Safe from below, not wanted on high
My spirit was shackled, no where it could fly.
I was bound to this earth for a life never ending
So I traveled in darkness on roads that were bending.
Time seemed to cease, the night never quit
The laughing devil threw up an ember from his pit.
In a hollowed-out turnip my hellfire does burn.
And I answer to the name, Jack of the Lantern."
A banshee cried out behind me, breaking the spell
And I ran home faster than you can say "death knell."
But I heard a voice whisper as I shivered in fright,