Blanketed by clouds, surrounded by a wall of whispering trees that hid creatures of the night, we sat by the crackling fire. Hastened by alcohol, the campfire songs had given way to fables of horror. It was Halloween.
At first it was less Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination and more Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror; but as we twisted those popular urban legends with our collective writers’ imaginations, each trying to better the last, the gentle sounds of the woodland became the harsh noise of impending madness.
And then, it became my turn to tell a tale; yet could I top The Madness of Miss Nelson? Could I match the simple terror of Nathan Bransford’s Brains? What could chill the spine more effectively than The Clue Claw of the Snark?
“I fear the well is dry,” I told the expectant circle of minions. “You have once again outdone me. I can think of no horror to better the tales already told.”
“What about Evil Editor?”
Indeed, a timely interjection. So engrossed in the others’ stories, I’d all but forgotten our nemesis: the evil that every query writer feared. I leaned forward and stared deep into the hypnotic flames. “You’re right,” I said, “he’s nearly done. Who wants a leg?”