Halloween Extravaganza: Andrew Freudenberg: Halloween

When I receive any guest post from an author, I always take a few minutes to skim through what they’ve written me. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see someone mention a record that I absolutely loved as a child, something my father used when he handed out candy for the trick or treaters, something that got an awful lot of play at my house. The memories 🙂

I grew up in the 1970’s on a fruit farm in the south-west of England. It wasn’t exactly the middle of nowhere, but it was pretty close. Halloween of the kind that Americans celebrate was certainly a long way away. Once my grandparents and the handful of the neighbours had been primed, there was the opportunity for very minimal ‘trick or treating’, but it wasn’t expected that random strangers would have a clue what you were knocking on their door for. It was still considered an American thing, along with hamburgers and saying that things ‘sucked’.

Of course, my experiences are my own. Perhaps a city kid would tell you a different story, but as I remember it, Halloween seemed more traditional, more a nod to the shadows. It certainly involved less sugar. We would ‘bob’ for Apples, attempting to extract them from a bowl of water with our teeth.

I used to have an album, on vinyl of course, that Disney had released. Readers may be aware of it. Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. On the first side a narrator set up various scary scenarios, and on the second side listeners were left to their own devices, with just the sound effects to guide their imagination. My brother and I would creep around our darkened living room, absorbing the thrills and chills evoked by Laura Olsher’s dulcet tones. We would evade wild dogs, become aliens, and marvel as ships were wrecked and bridges collapsed. I loved that album!

Now I have three boys of my own. They love to dress up and go trick or treating. These days you can get a pretty good haul of sweets, or candy, and there are pumpkins peering out from many a window. Perhaps this year we’ll find a street without street lights, awash with darkness and gloom, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll find a ghost of our own.

Andrew Freudenberg is an English author with a German name. He was born in France.

Despite always having a strong love for the written word, he spent a large part of his 20’s dabbling in the global techno scene. He loves heavy metal.

A number of his stories have appeared in anthologies. My Dead & Blackened Heart will be his first solo collection.

He currently lives in the South West of England with his Ninja wife and three sons.

My Dead & Blackened Heart

14 stories of terror, dread and fatherhood. 

From the isolation of space, to the ever-watchful eyes in a darkening wood, Andrew Freudenberg takes us on a journey exploring the themes of friendship, fatherhood and loss, as we pick through the remains of his dead and blackened heart. 

“Overhead the lighting operator switched everything to green, just as two enormous mortars fired shredded silver paper in a plume over the crowd. Sarge blinked, attempting to clear the salt lacing his eyes. 

For a moment he thought he saw paratroopers descending from above, but shook off the hallucination and turned his attention to the stalls. A group of youngsters were caught by Doc’s spotlight for a split second, their eyes wide with wonderment and a touch of fear. 

It was enough to send Sarge back to the jungle, back to the children in the village. Their eyes had been the same, gazing up at him intently, even after he had slaughtered them with his bayonet and laid them all out in a row. At the time it had seemed the kind thing to do, a mercy killing of sorts. After all they had executed everyone else, so who would have looked after them? 

There was something complete about leaving them lying peacefully amongst the burning buildings. 

It had been a Zen moment.” 

Featuring the stories: Something Akin To Despair, A Bitter Parliament, Charlie’s Turn, Pater in Tenebris, Milkshake, Nose to the Window, The Cardiac Ordeal, Meat Sweets, Scorch, The Teppenyaki of Truth, Before The Meat Time, Hope Eternal, The Last Patrol & Beyond The Book. 

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