EXCERPT: The Midnight Pumpkin F&cker by Dani Brown

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: “This is a relatively clean section from last year’s Halloween story. Despite the title, it is rather juvenile and has the teenage boy appeal. If I had print copies, I wouldn’t sell to anyone below 15, possibly 13 with parent permission. The full version is available here. It is somewhat based on Cinderella. In this case, Cinderella is a lad named Trevor and the two step sisters are ugly and mean stepbrothers. And the prince is the don’s daughter. The Ball is a 1980s themed Halloween Ball.”

By Dani “The Queen of Filth” Brown

He counted the stairs on the way down. There was a light but he didn’t trust it not to shine out of the square in the floor and alert his stepbrothers if they came stumbling home early. Another door waited at the bottom of the stairs. Once inside he pushed dirty linen against the crack at the bottom and pulled down an old blanket he kept hanging over the entire doorframe before he switched on the lights.

He was lucky. The root cellar was equipped with a dimmer switch as if someone foresaw that Trevor would only find peace down here when the house was hooked up to the mains.

He learned to move silently through the secret passageways and servant quarters over the years. His hearing was sharp to pick up any changes within the house. If he stood in the passage running along side his stepmother’s bedroom he’d be able to tell when she entered a deep sleep from the drunken stupor by the rhythm of her snores.

The distant relations that set up this root cellar thought of a lot of things beyond a dimmer switch. It was like they could see into the future and knew.

The familiar ritual tools were set up just how he left them (and how the generations before him left them, Trevor always made sure he put them back in the same place). His ancestors must have used a crystal ball but he found no evidence of one in the passages. The pentagram carved into the floor more indicated a direct line to Satan himself, but Trevor never considered this.

He placed the jar of Marmite on the black alter. The same skull that was always there grinned beneath the thin layer of dust. He used to clean down here but no longer had the energy, as his stepfamily became more demanding. Either Satan himself would come and claim it or Trevor could scoop it out with his fingers later and enjoy pure Marmite without his stepbrother’s spunk for once. After his expired chocolate feast, Trevor wasn’t hungry.

Tickle Me Elmo stared from the corner. His mother gave it to him. No matter how much he meditated on what his father told him of the moment, he didn’t remember. Trevor memories of Tickle Me Elmo stretch to the doll always being by his side, until Frances moved in with her rotten sons.

His stepbrothers found it amusing to take it from him one day for circuit bending. Frances slapped Trevor in front of his father for telling her that they took away his Tickle Me Elmo. She was his mother now and he needed to share. Poor Nigel and Tom never had nice things.

Social media loved Tickle Me Elmo’s surgery. Nigel sat on his lap while Tom held his eyes open to make him watch the video. Trevor was forced to read them the comments.

After a few days, the batteries died and they grew bored. Trevor rescued Tickle Me Elmo and brought the toy into his refuge. He didn’t dare try to fix the wiring and restore it to its former glory.

The damn thing sounded possessed now. If his stepbrothers were smarter they would have taken off the head, sealed up the stitching and forced it to rotate on a metal rod.
Trevor lit the black candles on each point of the pentagram. As he bent down the ad for the Fairytale Halloween Ball poked him in the balls. He took it out of his underwear and looked at it.

The ad said everyone within a fifty-mile radius must attend. He re-read the same line dozens of times. There was no way he couldn’t attend. The mafia knew of Trevor’s existence. His father had dealings with them. Pleasant dealings as far as Trevor remembers.

Everyone knew the mafia owned the nightclub and every other nightclub and bar. They owned over half the restaurants too.

You don’t disobey the mafia. Not even Frances was dumb enough to disobey direct orders from the mob. She knew better. Even her sons knew better. They skated the boundaries and struggled to understand where those boundaries lie but once the goons took notice of their bum pinching, they knew to back off and go home. It was one of the few times the police didn’t bring them home.

He had better find something suitable to wear. Showing up in rags would be just as disrespectful as not attending.

He left the ad on the alter, propped up against the smiling skull. He had a feeling that face belonged to a real human once. It wasn’t his parents. They were both still alive when he first found the root cellar.

He saved some of his father’s old things, but they were in a different secret passage. His father was a much smaller man than he was. Frances still put up a front of appearing normal with a normal diet before his father disappeared. She cooked three meals per day and all of them were healthy. Pudding only happened on a Sunday.

Besides, the Halloween Ball had an 80s fancy dress theme. His father may have lived through the 80s but his fashion sense was much better than that. Trevor recalled a time before Frances weaselled her way into their lives watching TV with his father and his father wanted nothing more than to cut off all the mullets.

A tunnel connected the old root cellar to the rest of the passages and hidden rooms. The candles blew out when he left. Tickle Me Elmo’s eyes started to glow. His stepbrothers never did fit the toy with a rod to turn its head, but Elmo’s head turned to watch Trevor.

He looked back over his shoulder. In all his years of devil worship, that never happened. The candles stayed lit and Elmo never moved. He more lit them out of habit than worship.

He didn’t have the faintest clue of what he was doing. He never found any books on Witchcraft, Satanic or otherwise, in the passageways to explain things. A lot of the estate remained unexplored. Trevor was aware of loose floorboards, both down here and throughout the lived-in part of the house. Sometimes he found strange items underneath them. Like that time he found a doll covered in dusty leather. Her eyes had been stuffed with straw and a linen gagged rotted over her mouth. He left her where he found her.

The passages were long and winding, circling around every room in the giant house. Cold and warm drafts met around sharp corners. Lights flickered but the only switch he ever used was the dimmer in the root cellar. He was surprised his stepmother never noticed the missing two feet between each wall or how hollow they were when she stumbled against them in a drunken stupor.

When he reached his stepmother’s suite he heard the computer blaring. Some televangelist-cum-internet conspiracy theorist was bellowing on about something. He sucked in his gut and pushed his ear against the wall to her bedroom. He had no reason to pull in his stomach but did so as a matter of habit.

From the sounds of the frantic screaming coming from the computer speakers she dived deep looking for hidden meanings in music videos. She just needed someone with a loud and brass accent to point out all the Illuminati symbolism. Of course her and her fellow Tin Foil Hat Society posted everything they found on each other’s social media accounts.

Suitably labelled “The Queen of Filth”, extremist author Dani Brown’s style of dark and twisted writing and deeply disturbing stories has amassed a worrying sized cult following featuring horrifying tales such as Ghetto Super Skank, Becoming, 56 Seconds, Sparky the Spunky Robot, and the hugely popular Ketamine Addicted Pandas. Merging eroticism with horror, torture and other areas that most authors wouldn’t dare, each of Dani’s titles will crawl under your skin, burrow inside you, and make you question why you are coming back for more.

Jo-Jo needs attention from online lovers. Her baby cries from the box room. Her baby is sick. The online lovers shower her with sympathy and their bank account details. Old Woman Mabel downstairs doesn’t like the sound of the baby crying. She bangs on her ceiling with her broom handle. Comforting the baby takes Jo-Jo away from her computer screen.

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