Moonlit Dinner by Will Martin

‘Twas the cusp of night when the trees blocked the light, And the branches of black stretched out to great heights. It was then that I walked where the sun had retired, And the shadows of trees flickered like fire.

My goal was unclear, my mind was ablaze. I could feel the night’s life creeping into a craze. Over my shoulders and under my feet, The spirits slithered like wind through the wheat.

They called out in tongues. What were they saying? Something, I thought, about how they were praying: “Odd,” I marked. That didn’t make sense, What could these phantoms have to repent?

And then I noticed, from behind a tree, A glimpse of a ghost that was staring at me. Its eyes glowed yellow and pierced through the night, And up my spine it sent shivers of fright.

So I picked up my pace as I trod through the woods, In hope that these spirits would leave me for good. Yet the deeper I walked, the fiercer they turned, Their whispers now shouts and their voices now burned.

And within their hearts I could sense a great thirst: A hunger for something they’d lost on this earth. They gathered in swarms and swirled in array, “Come here,” they said, “come here and play.”

It was then that I noticed the leaves underfoot, Were not the same as the trail that I took. The ghouls of the night began moving closer, Drifting near with malicious composure.

I ran towards a clearing not far ahead, Only to stop at the mark of the dead. An army, it seemed, of ravenous wraiths, Had come to enjoy the taste of my faith.

It was then that it hit me: the thought made me lurch. The praying they spoke of was not for the church. ‘Twas an omen of death to the poorly misguided, Who thought they could walk where the demons resided.

The moon shone bright in long splintered rays, That revealed their grimacing, ghastly gaze. And ‘twas silent and still across the great night, ‘Xcept a crow with its crow, my fate it did write.

And with timing and terror unknown to my days The monsters spoke out in a unison way They prepared themselves, the great demons fleet. “Now,” they said. “Now let us eat.”

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