The Curse of the Halloween Moon

“Well kiss her, son!” Wade’s father, Munroe Porter, slapped him on the back and shook Preacher Coomer’s hand. Family and friends at the Dunnigan-Porter wedding shouted their agreement and laughter rained down as the bride, Ida, and her husband, Wade, kissed briefly and joined hands to walk back down the aisle. 

“Dear!” Lula hissed with exasperation as she pulled her husband away to follow their son, Wade, his bride, and the others to the Brewer family barn nearby for the celebratory dinner. The revelry went long into the cloudy night and great fun was had by all. Especially the bride’s four brothers--Red, Udell, Clay, and Oakley. The boys were strapping lads to whom the occasional nip of whiskey was not uncommon, although Mother Dunnigan had warned them of overindulging on such an important night. 

Most of the Dunnigan boys were behaving themselves, but the oldest, Red, had shepherded Oakley out into the night, admonishing him, “Isie Porter is not going to pay you the least mind, especially not when you’re smelling of spirits! Get yourself home the long way. The walk will do you good!” 

Oakley cursed his brother as a trickle of snowflakes fell from the cold October sky, but set off through the Riverview Graveyard toward Proctor bottom. It was only a couple of miles as the crow flies, but it was powerful chilly. As he was weaving his way through the tombstones a beam of moonlight fell on him from a waxing, gibbous moon fighting through the clouds. He glanced up in surprise just as he came upon a freshly dug grave meant for Old “Lighthorse” Harry Lee, named for one of the county’s alleged forefathers. Oakley was even more surprised when he fell into the open grave. Once he had righted himself, and taken a fortifying nip from his flask, he quickly determined that he could not get out and, instead, hunkered down to wait for the next passersby. 

Meanwhile, back at the wedding, Ida and Wade were thanking Ida’s parents for letting them get married so quickly and on such a night as Halloween. 

“I know it's known as a night for mischief, but now we’ll have something good to celebrate!,” Ida said as she squeezed her mother’s hand. 

Millie Dunnigan, gave her baby girl a small hug. “Your father and I are just so pleased Wade got the job in Hazard. Now do you have everything that you need for your trip?” “Yes, m’am,” Wade responded. “My sisters helped pack the trunks into the Hoover wagon and we’ll ride down to Grandma Vicie’s house tonight and board the train for Hazard in the morning.” 

Udell Dunnigan and Orville Porter came up laughing, arm in arm to the small group. “We’ve got the Hoover all set up for you!” Udell winked at Ida. 

“They’ll hear you coming from a mile away!” Orville snickered as he pushed open the tack room door. 

Ida peered apprehensively outside as Wade grinned sheepishly at his new brother-in-law, “Thanks Orville.” 

The family gathered outside to send the happy couple off with warm wishes in the frosty evening.


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