Get out your now empty plastic eggs and fill them with fingers and eyeballs. Behead the Daffodils. Leave bloody footprints as you tiptoe through the red tulips. Keep watch for killer bunnies.
As we’re halfway to Halloween, I began to ponder how, in scary books and movies, we are given only half of the story.
The demon has been defeated by rituals and symbols. The ghost vanquished. The insane killer with the chainsaw has been left to die in a rock quarry or lake. The vampire staked. The werewolf left breathless by the silver bullet. All the evil driven back to hell where it belongs…well, most of the time.
We say a sad farewell to the survivors as they limp away into the shadows. The blood-covered maiden escorted into the ambulance or police car. The weary faced man gazing upon the house as it implodes. The tear-streaked cheeks of the kid who just wanted to play.
We witnessed the big story, the fight, the fear. People died horrible deaths.
But what happens after the horror?
Sure watching a group battle a horde of zombies or run screaming from the guy in the mask is exciting…scary! Gets our blood pumping, our imaginations racing.
But what about our favorite characters’ lives after the blood has been wiped away. Living with a past haunted by ghosts, by pain, by loss, is just as horrifying.
Which brings me to my favorite horror sequel.
The other half of Danny Torrance’s story. The half where we learn what happened to the boy who faced the horrors of the Overlook Hotel, where we learn what emotional scars remain from having lost his father to that place. I love The Shining. Dude, that book is the reason why hedge animals make me cry. And the world waited a long time for the sequel. And, oh boy, did I love it too! The Shining gave me an end, the end of the Overlook. And Doctor Sleep gave me an end, the end of Danny’s suffering…the beginning of peace for him.
So for Halfoween, let’s think on all the characters we’ve watched survive the most horrific events and wonder what happened after the battles. Maybe surviving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe the horror sequel would be just as terrifying. Maybe the scars are just as scary.