Legends of Enchanted October – The Creeper

 

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Yep, it’s Autumn again, the most enchanted, endearing, and creepy time of the year. Frosty nights. Early darkness. Things that go bump in the night. Scary stuff.  Faces at the window. Disembodied spirits. Walking dead. You get the idea.The stuff of nightmares.

As we go through this most wonderful time of the year, I think we are going to need a scary story or two, or a dozen or so, to set the mood for approaching Halloween. So what do you say? Anyone up for whistling past the graveyard?

Let’s rattle dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones .  .  .

Tonight .  .  . THE CREEPER.

The late great Hollywood horror-movie actor Rondo Hatton, as The Hoxton Creeper, in Sherlock Holmes' Pearl of Death.
The late great Hollywood horror-movie actor Rondo Hatton, as The Hoxton Creeper, in Sherlock Holmes’ Pearl of Death.

A tale from my youth, now apparently lost in time. I can’t find it anywhere anymore. But it went something like this .  .  .

There was a horribly deformed man called The Creeper. A hunchback. He had a hook for a hand–a hook he had sharpened to a razor’s edge. He stalked teenagers, and killed them when he found them. And then he drank their blood, and ate their flesh.

Bob and Sally were out on a date. Before Bob takes Sally home, he invites her to spend a little quality time out on lover’s lane. It is on a road set well back in the deep woods. Sally says no. She’s heard the legend of the creeper, and wants no part of these dark late October woods.

Bob tells her that the creeper doesn’t really exist. He was made up by parents that wanted to frighten their children and make them come straight home. He finally convinces her, and off to the lane they go.

They park. It is a frosty night so Bob leaves the car running so there will be heat. He’s intending a little heat of his own. Sally is frightened all over again. In the black woods, she can hear the hoots of the owl and the chill wind blowing through the bare branches of the trees. Wild clouds race overhead. A full moon.

She is all gooseflesh, which only encourages Bob further. Just as he is starting to get to the good part, Sally glances at her outside rear-view mirror and sees movement. Movement that is rapidly approaching the passenger side door.

Of course, the doors are not locked!!!

She screams at Bob, and Bob turns, and for just an instant he too can seem the form of a hunchbacked man lunging for the passenger side door handle. In a split-second, Bob throws the car into gear, mashes the gas pedal and peels out of the woods and back down the road as though Satan himself is chasing him, spraying gravel as he goes.

In a few minutes they are back at Sally’s house. But now they have convinced themselves that what they saw was simply a trick of the light. A cloud crossing over the moon, throwing shadows. Perhaps a deer. They have a good laugh at their silliness, and make plans for another date later in the week. It is time for Sally to go inside.

Of course Bob, being the gentleman that he is, walks around the car to open the door for her.

That’s when he see it. That’s when his heart stops beating for several seconds. That’s when his breath comes only in terrified gasps. In short, that’s when he wets his pants.

For there, in the moonlight, Bob sees, hanging from the passenger side door handle .  .  . the severed arm and hook .  .  . of THE CREEPER.

 

Next time .  .  . THE WOLFMAN.

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“Even a man who is pure of heart, and says his prayers at night, may turn to a wolf when the wolf-bane blooms, and the moon is full and bright.”

Good night to you all .  .  . and HAPPY NIGHTMARES.