If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
AND THE AUTUMN PEOPLE WEPT…
It’s Long After Midnight and the shadows creep. The once brightly lit grin of the Jack O’ Lantern is dimmer now, and the flame is dancing wildly as it slowly dwindles away. Suddenly the candy-corn glow of the flickering flame goes out and leaves a wispy trail of sweet smelling smoke which pours out of the eyes and mouth.
Ray Bradbury has died.
The light in his Jack O Lantern at the top of the Halloween Tree has been flickering for quite a while. It was his time. Two of the most fortunate cats in the universe, Win-Win and Ditzy, sensed it was nearing, even though we humans may have missed it. All his feline followers tiptoe with heavier leaden feet now that the end has come. It will be some time before they float on soft pad-paws again. Those magnificent cats yowl mournfully into the night, while at the same time many miles away, a massive beast from about 20,000 fathoms roars as the brightness in a lighthouse flickers and goes out.
The Beast weeps.
Who could ever imagine a world without him? Look up into the sky. The planet Mars doesn’t seem to shine as brightly in the night sky and the smell of burning leaves has been dulled somewhat. The cellar produces no more Dandelion Wine and the long carefree summer is truly over. It’s time to grow up.
Paper still burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit and the memories endure.
My Jack O Lanterns will burn in mournful observance this year. The wind that whips the trees in the weeks before year’s end will no longer have the chilling, thrilling sting that it used to. There’s something gone. Smell the air. It’s different.
It’s time to grow up.
Time passes and the moon rises and sets. Vile, twisted mechanical coffins long have suddenly silenced and work no more.
Ray Bradbury lived in the October country and when faced with death, he retreated to the carnival and a meeting with the famed Mr. Electrico. Rumor has it, with electricity dancing from a sword tip, he was knighted by the man in the electric chair, who said to him, “LIVE FOREVER!” and he set out to do just that.
He gleefully pranked and grinned with his two boyhood partners in crime, Forry Ackerman and Ray Bradbury. They ran the streets of their boyhood like wild dogs, and dove and leaped, and rolled and shrieked through the ravines, til their tennis shoes rotted off their feet.
Ray found his heartbeat at a young age and remained a strange child of space, owing to his meetings with the characters created by the Man of a Thousand Faces, Lon Chaney. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Erik, the Phantom of the Opera raised him and taught him that even with monstrous twisted terror there is humanity lurking underneath. Books by Edgar Rice Burroughs cast his eyes eternally cast skyward towards the bright, shiny red planet. He stood; arms outstretched begging for John Carter of Mars to take him home.
He never drove anywhere by the way. The master of science fiction, the dreamer of other worlds, never learned to drive a car. He refused to even try, owing to a horrible car accident he witnessed as a boy.
Thinking quickly, his home world provided him with grand gifts, in an effort to keep him on the planet. The greatest of which was Marguerite McClure, who first met this strange trench coat-clad youth in a bookstore and became his devoted life-love, Maggie Bradbury. At their wedding, the best man was his childhood best friend Ray Harryhausen, who brought sword-fighting skeletons, Cyclops, and dragons to life. It seemed only fitting. “LOVE Forever!”
More gifts and blessings came in their four beautiful daughters, Susan, Ramona, Bittina and Alexandra who also carried his pumpkin flame in their eyes, souls and faces, and passed that on to his eight grandchildren.
His home was filled with Peter Pan laughter, wine, books and cats.
And through the years he filled OUR homes with his work.
He shared his candy corn soul in all his work. No matter what the tale was about, you could taste the wax lips, feel and smell the cold breath tinged with sweetness, and see the glowing grins. You could smell licorice and cotton candy in everything he wrote. You knew that the twinkle in his eye was the twinkle of a fire inside a pumpkin…a glimmer of orange warm light in the dark dark night.
I Sing the Body Electric and by God, I’LL LIVE FOREVER!
Can you hear now? One last burst of memory from the Dark Carnival…the calliope music is starting. Cougar and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show is springing to life, unfurling and setting itself up in the moonlight. Cotton candy is being sold while a twisted dwarf gazes with love and longing at his new self in a distorted funhouse mirror. A woman heavy with child glides by, with a worried expression, what is this thing inside her? There are crowds of people gathering, strangers of course, who seem to appear at the scene of every accident…. every death…the same people, all the time…
On the platform to our right, people gather to stare at the skin of a massive bald man. Posing and parading to the gawks of the Autumn people, The Illustrated Man shows us moving figures on his very skin that tell even more tales…
We journey to the basement of a residential home, on Halloween night (naturally), a macabre game is being played in the dark…”this is the witches heart”…. just make sure some idiot doesn’t turn on the light!
Drew Erickson just inherited a farm from a total stranger!!! Now, if he could only let go of that Scythe…
Good men and women, talking excitedly, all gathered around to see the thing in The Jar…to try and determine what exactly it is…it looks vaguely familiar.
High above it all, Uncle Einar soars freely, his great bat-like wings filled with glorious air from the end of the year. He pauses to wave at a massive Pterodactyl kite, festooned with images of wild carnival animals, and trailing a tail made of Halloween boys…
The moon rises and falls..and suddenly…too suddenly…all is quiet.
The electric chair has been turned off! LIVE FOEREVER was the command by Mr. Electrico, but sadly ‘To the Dust Returns’ our King of October.
The merry go round and the music is slowing now and the light is fading. Slowly….slowly….
His beloved Maggie left some years before him…vanishing like a long summer, leaving wispy memories like the smoke from her cigarettes and the long legs of a glass of wine.
On the planet of his birth, he lays still, no more magnificent flights of fancy escaping from his mind to his fingers to the page for us…no longer a glorious glowing ember of All Hallow’s past….no longer a breath of autumn air. He lies still, with a purring cat curled in the crook of his arm for a comforter. While outside Moundshround’s mansion, at the very top of his Halloween Tree, a pumpkin lit with the fresh cut, pixie-like face of Ray Bradbury…. flickers one last time, and extinguishes itself, billowing smoke gushing from eyes and nose, and mouth…
“The Smile of the Witch
The smile of the Cat
The smile of the Beast
The smile of the bat
The smile of the Reaper taking his fee,
All cut and glimmer on the Halloween Tree.”
The lights are shutting off, and the cotton candy is gone…
My heart and my soul have been made greater through his presence on the earth. I weep unashamedly at his passing, but know that magic greater than the amazing power he had on earth, are now his! Worlds that only he could imagine are now before his eyes…and the wildest dreams that perhaps he gave birth to in his amazing brain but that not even HE could put on paper…have all now come true for him and are his reality.
And he’s with Maggie again, and his Peter Pan glee is once again all consuming… full of laughing and love.
God blessed us all when he gave Ray Bradbury his gift. We will always treasure his work, and honor the memory of what he gave to us all so freely.
The calliope music finally grinds to a halt and the Carnival Merry-Go-Round has skidded to a stop. The Dark Carnival is over.
In a leaf-filled gust of autumn wind, a lone wanderer appears, dressed in black, with rolls of attraction posters under his arm.
He wanders now from pole to pole, corner to corner, pasting up his posters all over Green Town, Illinois. As he does so, he whistles a familiar tune...
Now peal the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to man!
And at 3am, the wind comes back to the ravine, for more leaves.
Rest in Eternal peace and Love…
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment