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=  The Hair Ribbon: A Halloween Incident  =

We’re at that time of year again. Often, the spookiest and most chilling moments arise in tiny things, the unexpected, even that which is associated with childhood and memories and, yes, spirits and the passing of souls into the next world.

As the world turns into autumn, with winter not far away, a powerful transformation takes hold of us. It’s at once terrifying, delightful, and thrilling. As our ancestors did thousands of years ago, we celebrate the end of a year, the completion of a harvest, the coming of long nights and slumber. Mystery is in the air, and spirits roam the roads at night.

The festival of All Souls dates back to pre-Christian times, but it is even more ancient than Beltane or the Fates. The Jack-o-Lantern dates back to primordial times. The festival of All Souls is visceral, powerful, and we feel it in our bones. It stirs our souls.

That’s why we tell stories behind locked doors, with the wind rattling the shutters and a fire crackling in the chimney. We sit close together, and huddle as we hear the stories that make us glad we are safe and sound while the trees out in the forest bend and groan, and tree trunks make strangely distorted faces.

Here is a small but powerful fantasy story from John Argo, author of Ghosts and the City, and the dark holiday classic The Christmas Clock, which earned the author a personal fan mail of praise from none other than the great Ray Bradbury in January 2008. John Argo learned from the master (Ray Bradbury), and when the holiday season comes each fall, he starts thinking along the lines of Mr. Bradbury’s October Country and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

The Hair Ribbon, a Hallow E’en incident, is a little story about a big thing. Let’s start reading. A hint: the ribbon is still warm. That’s all you need to know. If your door is locked, and the light by your bed is turned on, you may begin reading. Ignore all creaking sounds and faint sighs or moaning noises—it’s probably just the wind outside. Probably. Or Maybe…

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