Ladies and Gentlemen, what if the best Halloween music playlists could combine with the best Halloween atmosphere …
Tonight I’m going to present to you a spooky little place that does not exist.
And as we all know, there is only one way to get to a place that does not exist – you must first close your eyes and imagine it:
It’s a dark and stormy night.
You were supposed to have met your friends for a few drinks at a bar they last informed you was “just up the street,” perhaps another four blocks or so. It’s late, and as the wind begins to whip chilly sheets of rain furiously down this unfamiliar street, you begin to second-guess your decision to walk the rest of the way. A cab would be convenient right about now but the roads are void of any traff...
A sudden, brilliant flash of lightning strikes way too close for comfort. It is immediately followed by the sharp crack of thunder. The lightning, has deviously tricked the streetlamps into thinking it was daylight, shutting all of them off and plunging the world into an ominous pre-industrial darkness. On some distant side street, a car alarm faintly begins to wail.
Up ahead in the darkness, you spot the orange glow of candlelight shining warmly through the windows of what appears to be a little tavern. As you approach, another flash of lightning provides a brief glimpse of the old wooden sign above the entryway; a rotting wooden tombstone swinging wildly from a pair of rusty chains. There are no other markings on the sign.
You make another quick evaluation of the stormy darkness around you. The rain is beginning to fall even harder now and flashes of electricity rake violently across the sky in every direction. This storm is not going anywhere anytime soon. Out of the corner of your eyes, nearby shadows seem to move a little too deliberately; giving you the uncomfortable sensation that you may not be as alone as you once thought. Perhaps a drink or two in this place, you think; just enough time to let the weather settle down. Then you can join up with your friends. After all, what other alternatives do you have? As you approach the tavern doorway you notice a mat of wet hay spread thinly across the muddy sidewalk. The straw is mixed with seedy pumpkin guts. A heavy wooden door is all that stands that between you and shelter from the raging storm – As you pull the door open, it swings backward with unusual ease.
Before your eyes even get the opportunity to register what they see, your brain is already processing the smell. There is an antiquity in the air; the musty combination of ancient wood, dust, leather and paper. These combine with a hint of clove and tobacco. A faint trace of roses sweetens the air just enough.
Your eyes begin to process the scene. On a bar-stool directly in front of you, a menacing jack o’ lantern flashes a toothy grin in your direction, indifferent to the large knife lodged firmly in the side of its head. The tavern is slightly larger than it appeared from outside. Along the outer walls of the establishment are shadowy booths. A single candle sits in a red glass holder on the center of each table. The light from the candles is not strong enough to illuminate the faces of the people sitting at these tables. From where you stand, they all look like ghosts. Centered against the back wall is a small stage. The wooden floors here have been covered by several faded Afghan rugs. Candelabras provide a decent glow, but again the shadows fall in all the wrong places. On stage a man whose face is obscured by darkness quietly tunes his guitar.
You've managed to find an empty table toward the back near a window. The steady beating of rain against the pain reminds you of the storm continuing outside and you find yourself immediately grateful for the dry comfort of the pub . As you take your seat, a dusky, raven-haired young woman approaches your table. Her nose is pierced and tattoos run boldly across her upper body; a look that is not uncommon for this city, but it works for her masterfully.
“Something to drink?” she asks you.
You tell her your request and off she disappears into more shadows.
Back on stage, a few more band members have joined the first man and are quietly getting ready to play. In a moment, the waitress returns with your drink.
“Is the band pretty good?” you ask.
“Darling, do you have any idea where you are?” she replies.
“To be perfectly honest …” you start to explain your situation but she interrupts you.
“This is the Unmarked Grave, where the world’s finest musicians come to pay their respects.”
“Pay their respects? To whom?” you ask.
The waitress brings a solitary finger up to her lips in a seductive request for you to stop talking. The band begins to play the first chords of a haunting song. She leans in close to you; the mysterious sent of roses fills the air around you.
“To Halloween.” She whispers before vanishing into the shadows once again.