Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday, weekly Sunday hops where writers share 8–10 sentences from a book or WIP. This year, my Halloween-themed snippets come from Chapter 45, “October Oblectations,” of my WIP, A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University. Most of this chapter is set over Halloween 1949.
I’m skipping ahead to another section of the chapter this week, featuring former Marine Nestor arriving at his Halloween party. Nestor, who’s dressed as a pirate, lost most of his right leg at Iwo Jima, for which his family disowned him in shame and disgust. He’s lived in a veterans’ hospital until shortly before Easter, when he finally found employment again.
Nestor’s girlfriend Yustina has invited him to a party given by their newlywed friends Vasilisa (a morganatic princess through her father) and Dragomir (a prince by birth). Nestor is convinced his happiness with Yustina could never last long, and that very soon she’ll decide to pursue men with two legs.
Nestor hobbles into the living room and sinks onto the brown leather davenport. In addition to the pumpkin welcome mat outside the front door, his hosts have decorated their home with cobwebs; rubber spiders and rats; black and orange streamers and balloons; strings of orange lights; three-dimensional jack-o-lanterns, black cats, owls, and bats made of tissue; ghost garlands; red, orange, and yellow roses in ceramic jack-o-lanterns and cauldrons; cut-out spiders, bats, skeletons, witches, and ravens; and an entire wall of Halloween postcards. The floor and tables are littered with classic Halloween games, while Kuzma’s old bedroom has been turned into a miniature haunted house with eerie sound effects records playing.
The kitchen table boasts orange and black macarons with red filling; pumpkin poundcake, bread, cheesecake, and soup; candied apples; caramel-drizzled popcorn mixed with roasted peanuts and M&Ms; cookies shaped and decorated like autumn leaves, ghosts, witches, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, ghouls, bats, spiders, and tombstones; cupcakes with thick, high green and orange frosting; chocolate sandwich cookies with orange and yellow filling; roasted pumpkin seeds; red Jell-O with green gummi worms inside; a spider cake; hard-boiled eggs dyed green, orange, yellow, black, and red; large bowls of blood orange mocktail and hot apple cider; apple cider doughnuts; a cheeseball shaped into a pumpkin, with homemade bone-shaped crackers; stuffed orange and yellow peppers with jack-o-lantern faces; a chocolate cake with spiderweb icing; green macaroni and cheese; orange potatoes with olives for eyes; beet salad; and a fortune cake.
Most of the couples have matching costumes. Dragomir and Vasilisa are a Medieval prince and princess; Yulian and Marina are Frankenstein’s monster and his bride; Ilme and Taavi are a witch and warlock; and Mireena and Sulev are an Egyptian princess and pharaoh. Only Zhenya and Kuzma don’t match, as a mummy and Robin Hood. True to form, Zhenya wears a white lace dress that barely meets the fingertip rule, with barely anything covered by solid fabric; a see-through lace shawl; thigh-high white fishnets held up by white satin garters; white shoes that are barely more than a few thin leather straps; waist-length pearls; and a pearl and diamond headband tapering into the shape of a rose on each side of her head, with egret feathers attached. Nestor wonders where she got the glittery silver eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, eyebrow pencil, and lipstick.
The Halloween sections of this chapter will be featured in full on Halloween.