THE BARBER'S FACE
Another weary day ebbs away into the purple distance. The evening sun melts into a moldy sea of green on the horizon as I trudge back home, and the dank air is pungent with the smell of moss and acrid smoke. Another Halloween night spent in the sleepy little godforsaken village. Children dressed in shabby costumes, pass from house to house crying pathetically “trick or treat! Trick or treat!!!”. Bored adults generally ignore them. Here Halloween seems to be nothing but a sorry excuse for passing on ancient folklore. Rumor has it that the strange things happen in the village on Halloween night. Nothing but an old wives tale, nothing ever happens here, in this no mans land.
There are a few more hours to kill before supper. The bar will no doubt be crowded with the rowdy fisher-folk and spending another night among the curious stares of the patrons puts me off. I feel like an alien here. But these ignorant people are the characters in my forthcoming book and I have to put up with the dreary life till the thesis is complete.
A creepy fog permeates the air, adding to the sense of déjà vu. I try to think of someplace to spend my time to dispel this melancholy taking over my senses. Halloween must be playing a few more tricks than usual on my mind.
I pass the local bar, strains from the ancient piano stream past me, I peer in disinterestedly at a dragon dancing with what I surmise is trying to pass for snow white, no snow white was ever so old that I've read off.
In the distance I see Jack the Barbers shop, the small portico let by an enormous jack 'o' lantern. The only jolly soul I knew in the village, he'd probably treated all the scamps in the village twice already. Probably regaling his customers with his yarns handed down from generation to generation. Well I needed a trim anyway, as I was beginning to look a pretty sorry sight, so why not spend some time sprucing myself up. Jack greeted me with his usual enthusiasm brimming over with exuberance, a welcome diversion in an otherwise depressing day .
“Ha!!!” He boomed, “Mr. Scott fancy seeing you here on a night like this. How's the book coming along?” Could be better Jack, the holidays are just not the same when ones not with the wife and kids”. Would ye like a haircut and a massage to ease those blues away, nothing like a nice back rub to get the blood coursing through your veins”.
I sat down in the big leather chair, “you're my last head for the day Mr. Scott”, he smiled at me in the mirror and as the reflection of the candlestick caught his reflection in the mirror, I felt a chill run up my spine. Was it jolly old Scotty? I had to look at him again. The moment had passed. My imagination running wild again!!!. I settled down into the cracked leather. The gleam of the scissors flashed once. Snip, Snip, Snip!!! His blade chanted a rhythm lulling me into a sweet reverie of home. My head snapped back suddenly. “Falling asleep are we” there was laughter in his voice, this isn't the night to trust your head with anybody. I shook myself up. Thanks jack, how much do I owe you. Well tonight you're heads on me”. There was that laugh again, “My last head for the day.
I had to get out of here. What I needed was a good sleep. The full moon was yellow now as I headed towards my house on the beach. A biting wind was pulling on my collar, dogs in the distance let out their mournful groan, macabre images of vampires and ghouls danced in my mind and I hurried along the waters edge.
Even the seaweed seamed to take on an eerie glow. Against my will I turned to look at the moonlight glimmering on the moss green waters. Did I see something move? Against my will I felt my legs carrying me towards the waters. I was ankle deep in its murky depths.
My mind kept screaming at me to turn away, my legs kept pulling me towards the unknown. And then they froze, lying at my feet, bobbing about on the lolling waves, eyes glazed over with the look of death, was the severed head of the jolly barber.
Was it suicide or just a queer twist of fate????