Just Toys

There was a moment when he looked into the tiny Halloween town where he thought someone turned and looked at him.

It was early August and it was time to get back to school. Art school was something that required more then just notebooks and pencils for him. Michael, was in fact at Michaels. For the school year he needed to buy a few canvases for his paintings that he would be working on before the year entered into full swing, and few more for when it did. As he walked in he was surprised to see the front of the store stocked with plastic pumpkins, bats and ravens hanging from the ceiling, black glittering trees standing up against shelves and a full stock of Halloween props filling rows and rows of the store. August seemed to be just a bit early he thought. Fall didn’t start till the very end of September and here it was, all ready in his face. He ignored it at first, but in the middle of these rows of shelves was a stand with mini figures and buildings producing an energy of action and music. He looked towards the back of the store where his canvas lay waiting, then back at the display. A few minutes wouldn’t hurt.

The Hallow Village stood displayed on a few mounds of paper dirt and hay. In middle of the village sitting on a large hill overlooking everything a great windmill spun slowly. Among the blades were cob webs and spread around the tower hung a large spider that fixed it’s million eyes down at the front door. A few dust covered windows lit up with a flickering green from whatever was happening inside. Around the base, moss, yellow hay bricks and boxes pilled up. A small wooden fence stood with a small door a few feet from the house. From the small gate a path led down into the village. It moved past two buildings.

One a doctors office. If that’s what you might call it. Frankenstein Ortho. Large windows splattered with dull dried blood rose on each side of a double door. The building rose and spun into the air with black pointed fences sticking out from impossible windows. A man patched with different arms and legs sat on the stoop of the office outlooking the village square. He rested his large square jaw on his hands in a defeated manner.

On the other side of the street from Frankenstein Ortho was an apothecary.

The witches Brew. An apt name for it. The entrance was one step into a flung open door that seemed to lead into fully stock rows of old falling apart bookshelves. Eyes and crystal balls looked towards the door from the inside. A set of stairs across from the main desk squared up and led to the second story where a balcony looked over the square. On it a large cauldron with wings, eyes, toads, and green slime was being churned by a witch in flowing black robes. A broom stick sat in the corner waiting for their nightly ride. The building was built in dark stone and had accents of light bricks on the corners. It ended in a Victorian point at the top with sloping roofs.

Out in the square of darkened cobble stone was a large fountain that sprayed a sea green water a few centimeters in the air. The whole thing was black, round like a cauldron and was adjourned in bats and lizards all around it. A few decrypted benches were littered around the plaza.

Next on tour was the The Night Ball. It seemed to be a swinging joint. Skeletons, zombies and vampires dressed in 1950’s fancy dresses danced outside on the sidewalk and on the roof top, which was filled with lamps which emitted a bright fiery blue. A zombie with no jaw manned the bar. He was busy shaking a cocktail shaker and looking out to tables inside, which all pointed at a stage with a band of werewolves strumming along some instruments. The whole places looked like an undead New Year’s Eve party in New York.

The last building to wrap around the square was a bookstore. The Unholy Grimore Store. It looked like a large book that had seen and gone through everything one could imagine. The spine was falling apart, the binding pealed around the window on the side and the whole thing opened slightly to give the shop dimension revealing thick leathery pages filled with grime and dirt. The doors looked as if someone had torn the corner off of the middle pages of the book. Two massive wooden doors stood in the middle of ripped and raw pages. He couldn’t see inside, but it had an upstairs as well and a small balcony on the back.

He look off towards the east of town and saw a small building through a corn field. He moved to take a closer look. A small house with a towering chimney sat out among the corn. In front was a what looked like a ghost. A sheet hanging in mid air with two lumps of sheet arms. one was holding a paint brush. An easel sat in front with a painting on it. A small painter ghost and it’s haunted house. Michael smiled and leaned in to take a look at the painting that the ghost was producing.

There, on a canvas no bigger then his thumb, was the shelves that he was standing in front of. In tiny detail the store came alive in paint that he couldn’t believe. He did a double take. Staring at the shelves committing it to memory and then back at the tiny painting. He crouched to the packaging below the display.

The Ghostly Painter. The package showed the small shack and the ghost statue that came with it. Michael picked up the box and then looked back at the display. The ghost seemed to have turned slightly. It’s sheet whipped in the wind. Did it smile at him?

He looked again at the box in his hands. Nothing on it said that it was magical. Magical ?! What was he thinking, but then he glimpsed at the canvas one last time.

He brought the box with him and retrieved his canvas that were bored of waiting.

His dorm room would have a new addition this year.


I love going into Michaels around Halloween. They have their Halloween town thing that they do. I always pick up a figure here and here. This year I bought a pumpkin snowman. A couple years ago I bought a pumpkin water tower. They are fun to put up around the year in small spaces. I would love to one day buy one of the big displays. They are so detailed and have really cool architecture to them. The whole vibe is something close to my heart. Do we think Michael might be pulled into the mini Halloween town ? Maybe it can be a source of inspiration for him as he goes through the blitz of art school.

Nothing to crazy with this story, I would like to explore mini towns like this in the future. I remember the Goosebumps episode where the kids get sucked into the miniature town. A pretty scary episode, especially when the girl gets turned into a human pig thing.

Till next time


The sun blazed in a cloudless sky. June. It was the hottest it had ever been in Knullville and it was predicted to only get hotter. The ice cream shops and trucks were running day and night. Lines around the block and children chasing trucks became the normal. All beverage sales were flying off the charts and water, which was in no short of supply, seemed to be turning into a holy substance that people carried around no matter where they went. At the corner of Sydney and Clark was a couple of teenagers taking shade under a tree.

“Bro, it is so hot. What is this?” The boy who spoke was dressed in a white t-shirt and khaki shorts. Next to him was two other boys. One dressed in a sleeveless muscle shirt and dark blue pants while the other one wore a kilt and gray band shirt.

“Beets me” the boy in the kilt said raising an arm to shield himself from the sun even more. “All I know, if this sun doesn’t beat it, I’m going to beat it”

The boy in the blue pants rested his chin on his knee looking towards the old cemetery across the street. They were on the out skirts of town. On the border of friendly neighbor hood streets and tall forests that surrounded Knullville. Contained just before these trees was Knullville cemetery. Haunted many claimed, but urban legends never kept anyone out. At least no one alive. The plots were all filled and there was not a space left for any new residence. It was quiet in there, shaded and peaceful. Still much of the town avoided it.

“Tommy” the boy with the kilt smacked his shoulder. He pulled his eyes away form the cemetery “We are going to get some ice cream, what do you want?”

“Something orange. Thanks” he gave a small smile and the other boys left him. Tommy had a thing about crowds. Ever since he was a kid,being around tons of people made him feint and woozy. He could handle it most of the time, but this heat made everyone one woozy. He stood up and walk across the street to the cemetery.

Large gates made out of black metal twisted into the welcome sign. A stone wall wrapped around whole place and a small path of concrete snaked into the middle of the cemetery. It was as if the forest left a square space for the dead. A cut out. The trees pressured the edged just past the stone walls, but inside trees were spread out. They had said it was like that when they arrived in the old days. Tommy entered and walked deep inside. Sound dampened and the the outside world faded away. It was still inside. Cool and perfect to the skin. Even with the sun trying it’s best, it could not heat this place. He reached the back of the cemetery. Along the stone wall Jack O’ Lanterns sat starring out at the graves. Shaded by the dense trees he could see their light flicker against the shadows. He looked around. No one had been in front of him when he entered and he not seen anyone since he had arrived. The trees rustled and the leaves brought a symphony of noise as the wind rushed from the forest beyond at him. He shielded his face. The Jack O’ Lanterns looked at him in a more sinister way. Their teeth had become a little sharper and their eyes glared at him with killing intent. A sharp maniacal laugh came from the shadows of the trees. Tommy jumped back and peered deeper. He could see nothing, but the laugh came again. He was sweating now and his own body heated the air. A pair of glowing orange eyes lit up at him. Just below them, barely visible, sheened against the small amount of light, teeth sharp as blades smiled at him. His breath left him and he kicked back and ran as fast as he could. The ground beat behind him and the laughter grew louder and louder. His lungs took in and expelled us much as they could. His body flung all its energy into propelling him forward in a mad dash to the entrance. He could see it. The black twisted gates coming into view. The ground vibrated behind him. The laughter grasped his ears and the teeth pricked at his shirt. He pushed past the gates and across the street where he had been before. His foot struck the curb and he tumbled under the tree and screamed as he struck the ground and kicked him self back against the tree to face the cemetery. There was nothing. The gates stood across the road, staring at him. He gasped and shook as his eyes darted around. His friends came back and the boy with the kilt thrust an orange Popsicle at him.

“Whoa, Tommy, you alright?” he said as Tommy looked up at him wide eyes still panting.

Tommy grabbed the Popsicle “I-I, I uh” he looked back at the cemetery “I don’t know”

His friends sat down and resumed melting in the heat. Halloween had come early to Knullville.

Inspired by buying Jack O Lantern reeses at Kroger at the end of July.