« Welcome to Night Vale

Excerpt - The Halloween Moon by Joseph Fink

2021-07-26 | 🔗

From New York Times bestselling author Joseph Fink (and creator of Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead) comes a wickedly fun middle grade novel about a Halloween-obsessed girl named Esther Gold, who goes out trick-or-treating for one last year, only to find her town under the thrall of a mysterious presence.

BOOK LAUNCH: July 27 @ 8pm ET with author Joseph Fink in conversation with Ransom Riggs. Pre-order the book here (https://www.welcometonightvale.com/books#halloweenmoon) to attend this event.

THE HALLOWEEN MOON by Joseph Fink is available now at welcometonightvale.com/books or wherever it is you get your books.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I just think here back in twenty sixteen, I started to write a novel. It was a novel for both children and adults, and it was about one of my favorite holidays Halloween. I wrote the novel that I desperately wanted to read back when I was ten eleven twelve thirteen years old and now that novel is here, my first middle great novel, the hollowing moon out tomorrow July. Twenty seventh, the novel is about Esther gold who loves Halloween more than anything, except this. Holloway night never ends, and the scary stories might be happening for real. Today I am presenting to you an excerpt from that now and this is also so exciting. The audio book is read by Kevin are free, who of course, Place Kevin unwelcome tonight. Veil Kevin is a long time friend and a wonderful performer, and there is no one. I would rather have read this book for you all. So please enjoy the first few chapters of the hollowing moon performed by Kevin our free and get the book
ever you get books starting tomorrow and don't miss the Halloween Moon launch Offend, its tomorrow July, twenty seventh at eight p m Eastern. the one and only ransom rigs, and I will talk about writing hollow in the end, the spooky side of storytelling access to the launch of is free with purchase from participating. Bookstores info about that is at welcomes. Night found, dot com, slash books, ok, here we go the Halloween, Mon, quill tree books and Harper Audio present. The Halloween Moon by.
think performed by Kevin are free. Before the Bennington Museum of the unusual and rare was not, traction that received many visitors most people, no idea it existed, which was exactly how the museum wanted it the the regular visitor, was James. bending who was also its owner and curator. He had put the greater part of a vast inheritance into it, and so he felt in I don't to his nightly private tours, given only to himself smirking proudly at his trophies
other than James. The most frequent visitors were those delivering new items to the collection as occurred, see he would usually show them around, although even then he would keep backs the more rare and famous pieces it was through that no one knew about those, and he also took care on such tours to emphasise and demonstrate the scale and severity of the security systems in the building. Given the occupation, of these visitors and the temptation that his collection represented It was wise to make clear up front that any attack to steal from him would end abruptly and poorly. Once in a great while he would have a friend in the museum, a fellow collector of the priceless these occasions were rare, because James had almost no friends. He liked to think that
Its collection was all the friend he needed, but if a color, sure of his caliber visited. He would go the tour on the understanding that this would be reciprocated later with a tour of the visitors collection, the These were the only people James allowed to see the rarest pieces, partly to show them that he had definitely outdone them with his collection and partly so that when he visited them they would not hold anything back from him. There was an understanding among collectors such as he they. not live ordinary lives, nor did they follow ordinary rules. They were better than that, and the scale of their collections was proof of their extraordinary natures. The Bennington Museum of the unusual and rare showed up in no guide books, had no reviews on the internet. It was not registered with any organization, in fact to the world. It was not amused.
But simply James is house. Tucked a flea away behind walls and gates and security cameras on a nondescript coldest can one of the many hillsides of southern California settled by the wealthy and famous James was not famous, had no end rest at all in fame. Many of his neighbors were celebrities, and this only annoyed him, since it meant that cars tour buses came by to look at the neighborhood where this actor or this sport star or whatever lived He didn't care about who his neighbors were. He only cared. But his collection and the absolute privacy of himself and his visitors The reason he detested publicity was simple: his collection was not legal. every item in it had been stolen. from museums mostly or have.
The guarded storage facilities, or sometimes from the homes of other collectors. Although Rarely because, of course, stealing from a fellow collector was only invitation for them to steal from you. The illegal collecting unity was built on a mutual trust that was in turn, built on a mutual distrust, this particular night in early October and uncomfortable dry and warm fall evening with the wind, being hard and fast in from the desert, spreading a fire through the hills, so the air was smoky and palpable, even in this cloistered little neighbourhood, miles from danger, James was expecting no visitors at all. Even a man it outside in these conditions, left him choking and wiping out his eyes. So he had spent the day tat safely away in the filtered end conditioned air of his museum. All To say that he was confused and frightened
when there was a knock at the door. no one should have even been able to knock on his door since it was behind as secure fence and passed several sensors and cameras, but there was definitely a knock He pulled out his phone and texted. His chief of security, Donna He had an onsite security staff at all times and Donna herself practically lived at the us overseeing its protection, responded to any tax within seconds twenty four hours a day, but Donna did not reply to the text minutes past with no reply, the knocking continued. He went to the intercom inflicted on go away. He said the voice he incorrectly thought sounded brave. There is security on its way. If you leave now, we won't press charges, that's
very welcoming at all a voice from close behind him said. He screamed and whirled around There was a man wearing a uniform like an old fashioned, diner waiter, black pants and white shirt and a white paper hat every part of his outfit was perfectly pressed and neatly maintained Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, the man said he smiled. a warm and utterly false smile. Its no one was answering my knocking. The police are on their way. James said you need to leave. The police, the man said but You said it was armed security, which is it, Mr Bennington, games heard a scattering sound like a swarm of insects and
that a child who just ran on the whole way behind the man. It looked like a child, no chill had ever been allowed in the museum he shuddered to think what a child, might due to a collection. I kiss. no one is on their way. Mister Bennet ten! Are they? The man said he didn't come need, closer leaning on the mantel piece of one of the houses. Eight fireplaces. and you are fine. You are totally fine We merely need one item from your collection, my Election is not for sale, the man smiled got wider hungrier. We aren't by Yang this time through the children most definitely ran down the hall
they were wearing ragged and dirty hollowing costumes, although it wouldn't be Halloween for another three weeks. One dressed like a pirate turned to look at James as they ran by, but the light flickered oddly and he couldn't see the child's face. I have a security staff at all times. James said they have. The house surrounded O. The man said looking around with a gleeful performance of curiosity. He examined the complete lack of other people in the vicinity and then listen to the utter absence of approaching footsteps outside. he held up his hands oppose. That said, what are you? the do. Good help is hard to find I'm sure it's, as you say, Sir, the man said and while it's true.
I myself dont have a security staff to match the one that is undoubtedly on its way to arrest us. What I do have here he unfolded. One long pale finger to indicate behind James is her. The woman was in the doorway behind him. She hadn't been there before and he was sure he hadn't heard her approach. She was simply not there and then their pure power radiated from her. She was small, but her shadow. dredged strangely across the room, Are too long for her diminutive human form? Hey they're, sorry, the woman said quenching her face apologetically some won't take a sick and then we'll be totally out of your hair. promise,
I know I certainly hate unexpected visitors come on Dan. the peculiar man and the terrifying woman turned and walked down the hall toward the collection Jane. Despite his fear, hurried after them, no matter who these weirdos, where he would never let any one touch his collection, but to his horror they already were there were filthy costume, the children crawling. All over the place like an elementary school Halloween Party inside cases that he had been assured were completely theft, proof curiously picking up ancient earns and putting handprints on pieces of Renaissance art registered in international data bases as permanently lost. It was his worst nightmare,
the woman and her paper headed sidekick, ignored the children and walked through the collection, with a focused intent as we were told the woman said stopping at one particular case exactly what we needed James flapped his. arms frantically. Absolutely not that statue is priceless The artist died while carving it. You can see where he chipped the elbow as he collapsed. There I've been entire books written about that statue. There is no piece of art like it in the country in the world. The paper we're headed man casually lifted the theft proof plexiglas case, like it the cover on the scrambled eggs at a free hotel, breakfast gel wary sweetheart, said the woman with a strange shadow. I've no interest in this statue see
your cat. Knocking a glass off the table. She playfully scooted statue to the edge of the display, while James is guts twisted, Then the statue fell and shattered, Jane, couldn't breathe, He would. Rather, she had killed him. His collar She was more than him. It was. legacy to the world, although he would never let the world see it. The woman laughed He knew then, that she was not a woman. She was some seething deep power where bring the flimsy costume of a human as false as the costumes on these children that had somehow gotten into his museum. like the sun, had put on a plastic dollar store, mask and strolled about the earth, pretending to be a person. What I want the woman said is this:
She picked up what had been next to the statue and tossed it lightly from hand to hand that James said He found air again, but that's I mean in a collection like this, it has some interest, but it barely has value outside of the novelty perfect. The woman said then you won't even miss it. It'll be like, we weren't even here and just then they weren't. James was once again alone with his collection, no children, no paper headed man and no woman who was not a woman. He looked around and assessed the damage, the staff It was unrecoverable and that hit him in the guts all over again and of course, there was the theft of the trinket.
but his museum was sprawling with countless. Rare one of a kind items, All in all, he had made it through this. Ok, terrified, but ok, He put one hand on his chest, felt the air going in and out of his body and let his racing heart settled back down to its usual pace, which was when he heard the sound that had haunted his dreams for years. the wail of police sirens in his front drive one. Esther gold loved Halloween. Maybe you love Halloween, Maybe you dress up every year and put a lot of time and care into your costume.
maybe you watch scary movies and then can't sleep, but also can't resist watching more, maybe Andy corn tastes better to you than other candy, not because it tastes better. It doesn't, but because it too like a moment in time like a season, but you don't love Halloween. The way Esther did. Esther refuse to watch anything that wasn't a scary movie, her dad like to watch sick Pumps her mom liked to watch important dramas, starring important people, her brother, watching movies, in which people kissed, although he pretended he didn't, but you're only liked movies, with darkness and dutch angles. And the part where the main character leans down to the sink to wash their face, and then, when they look up again, there is a pale menacing creature behind them in the mirror. Esther
Made three different costumes: every Halloween one was for school. One was for trick or treating, and one was in case the other two didn't turn out as well as she had hoped she more time into her backup costume than most people put into any costume. They would ever where Esther didn't even like candy, but she collected as much as she possibly could for the sheer act of collecting it she will need. Some of it sure it was fine, but most of the contents of her overflowing bag went to friends into her brother or so times to the trash. If her parents discovered how much candy she had managed to collect unhealthy, her father often said he was right: greed, her mother often said she was wrong. Esther wasn't greedy about the candy she didn't collected merely
have it. She collected it because part of the ritual of Halloween. and more than anything, she loved this annual night when every one gave up on being realistic and clear, headed Being too old for scary stories in just let themselves pretend a little. this is what hollowing was too Esther It was a night in which the whole neighborhood came together to tell a story and, above all, Esther loved stories. Yes, Esther Gold, loved Halloween but one here Halloween was not a holiday about getting together to pretend to scary story. One year the scary story became real too, Esther had always been the only jewish kid in her grade. This had usually not matter to her being,
Jewish. Wasn't that big of a deal anymore. She would tell herself, but all Oh, it mattered a lot. It was both important and unimportant at the same time,. if she had been asked to explain this she would have been able to, but she felt it when she was eight She and all the other kids she had grown up with, had moved to a new school They were leaving the school for the little kids and going to the school where they would be staying through junior high. Is a defining moment, as far as terms apply in towns, where not a lot ever happens first day of school had been on young, pour no one who set the calendar for the school district knew they had scheduled it. This way they didn't know what young to poor was, as the other kids got to know their new school Esther spent the day in her synagogue, which was a thirty minute drive from the town. She
then, when she arrived on the second day of school, everyone I knew where the bathrooms, where, where to go for recess and lunch and all of the new rules that had been explained to them, while she was at synagogue, it felt like Vertigo her hands shook and she couldn't make them stop. The teacher did their best to help her out. But none of we're very sympathetic, none. I can understand why she didn't just show up to the first day of school. Her. grandmother had been the one who taught Esther to love her jewish identity to be proud of it, even if perhaps p pull treated her worse because of it her grandmothers name was Debbie and esters parents, named her after Debbie, except that jewish people dont named children after people who are still alive So Esther had been named after her great grandmother. Instead, it was Debbie who had first in reduced Esther to a love of Halloween esters, pay
friends didn't get it, but Debbie would have Esther. Over when she was little take her for treating and show her spooky movies, probably attach too old for her at the time, oh Esther, was thirteen. Her bar mitzvah had been for months earlier it was. Hollowing themed, of course, even though it was in June, which the kids synagogue would have found incredibly dorky if she had invited even a single one of them. they were all from the same town which wasn't her town, and so it felt like all of them were already friends with each other there never been room for her to join their close knit clicks, and so while they invited each other to their bar and bought mits for parties. Shield invited her family and a few nights, on jewish friends from school. It was ok, the party ruled she had a magician perform she loved magicians. For the same reason she loved Halloween. They told
a story that promised a world more interesting than the well. She had to live in Grandma Debbie had loved it, The rest of the adults were less sure. You know her dad had said at the party. Looking over, the paper cut out bats and go so the wall. This means you're an adult now and adults dont go trick or treating. She had ignored that and it hadn't come up again sent. she knew that eventually they would come last year, she could go door to door walking past a few plastic, pumpkin, scattered half heartedly on alone or past elaborate front yard displays full of fake body parts and lighter Ghosts there would come last year. She would feel that moment of anticipation and apprehension ass. She knocked on a strangers door and waited to see who would answer.
They would come last year for the satisfying weight of a full bag of candy after a round of trick or treating. But this was not that year next year, maybe or the year after or the year after that, three. On the day before Halloween esters, Where did her walk home from school by herself?. her parents, let her walk alone, because their house houses only ten minutes away from the school and the road. between were all quiet and suburban. Still many of her friends, parents got in horror as they watch go right past. The waiting line of suvs and minivans in the school parking lot shocked to see your step out onto a public sidewalk rather than into an air conditioned vehicle
Such a Means mother called. Do you want a ride, honey and I shall groaned from the back where she was sitting next to her brother Edward in his car seat. no ma am not her son. Shut, do not be a brat. Esther honey. It's dangerous to walk alone. Hop in that Kay MRS men, she said and such aside and loud relief. I don't know what her parents are thinking letting you walk all that way by yourself, MRS Mann said just loud enough that Esther could hear Edward through one of his toy trucks, from the back seat into the front seat and laughed Esther didn't get the big deal. It was a ten men walk. She didn't know what kind of great dangers. Mrs men fought might be lurking in the lazy sunlight of a southern California afternoon, but the most threatening jobs,
goes Estorade ever encountered during the day were those same parents too busy scolding, their children, while driving to notice Esther crossing the street, the way home wound by a series of quiet called sex before dipping through a bit of wild land that had been left by the real estate developer as a combination, vacant lot and low maintenance park. The truth, is that the developer hadn't wanted to share out the money for bulldozing the little canyon into submission, and so there was this pit of land full of narrow trails, some put their half heartedly by the developer and some touched by the eager feat of children, as they sought out every hidden cranny in secret clearing the stream ran through the center of the canyon was just gotta run off on its way to the city sewer. When the sun was out, the canyon a playground for the neighborhoods children and Esther loved it for the adventure it offered
only a short and steep dirt path down from a suburban street, but them when the sun went down the safety of the cap, anyone disappeared and it becomes. in the domain of all sorts of creatures from roving coyotes to most worried of all high schoolers who were no to use the secluded areas of the canyon for late night parties The canyon was where the older teenagers did, whatever they couldn't do in, streets and empty parking lots s there was wisely cautious of the Faro animals, but it was the your kids in their parties, parties that fell to her both grown up in wild. That put a pit in her stomach as big as the canyon itself. has. She walked home that afternoon The canyon was still in its daylight form. A pretty of nature between tracked homes. She took the path through this enter of the canyon
ass, the wooden bridge over the gray I gotta run off pretending to be a stream path. The low hanging branches of a white flowered plant she knew was called mule fat this plant and its name are real. Look it up Her father had taught her the name on one of their work when she was little and it had always stuck with her even issue forgotten every other plant. He had taught her past. The mule fat was a tonne well that, when, under the main road, the Wall of the tunnel were made of corrugated metal, so passing through. It made her feel like water running down the drain in the matter of the tunnel. The air got cold, no matter how warm the day it was. The only part of the walk home that Esther found unnerving. The shadows in the middle of the tongue were deep seeming to promise secret side passageways, leading even
are there away from the warmth of day passageways that a child would never find their way out of. she and her friend Augustine had grown up playing in the canyon. They had made up a game called the feats of strength, one of what announced that the game was starting and then they both had get through a series of feats before the other did. The first feet was climbing to the top of the tunnel entrance and sitting with your feet, dangling over then to crawl through a narrow pipe in the drainage. Ditch. Third, you made your way carefully and often painfully a steep slope, covered in cactus running along the secret path that the two of them had formed by passing over it so many times the path was directly against the back fences of nearby houses
and the dogs in those backyards would jump at bark as they ran to the site of the final, an as yet unattempted feet. this was leaping from allege into a pond full of run off water below now Three of them had ever completed that last feet, mainly because the height of the jump, scared them both, but also this was the reason they set out loud and chose to believe the PA and was absolutely disgusting, brackish algae covered and full of who knows what from the city gutters but Augustine wasn't with her on this work. She hurried through the tunnel to the other side with a trail grew broad and flat winding along the fake stream. Until it rose sharply back up to the gate that lead to her street, she came. out of the gate and turned the corner passing Mr Nathaniel's house, Stir Nathaniel was washing his car. He was.
His car constantly even though there was usually a drought declared in southern California and he never seem to drive it anywhere. So the car never got dirty. It was a Ford pickup stationed always in the driveway, not only did Mr Nathaniel hose it down a couple times a week, but he also like to spray down his driveway in the sidewalk in front of it. It drove esters, father, crazy, we're a water shortage and he's watering, the sidewalk, her father would say, king through the blinds of their front window at Mister Nathaniel, who was stubborn. They sprang the concrete like it might sprout and grow once Mr Nathaniel had even gone out in the middle of a rainstorm standing outside without an umbrella or jacket his shirt. clinging and turning see through spring water onto a driveway that had already become a waterfall after two days of rain. That time
Esters Father had been too angry even to speak. I. He had said to Esther waving his hand. Well, he had said Anne. and he had gone to take a nap Sometimes when esters Father got two frustrated, he would just take a nap Esther didn't like Mr Nathaniel, not for the same reason, ass, her father She also thought that his constant car in sidewalk watching were wasteful. But the real reason she didn't like Mr Nathaniel was because there was an aspect about him that unsettled her nothing specific, but on a gut, He didn't feel right. She hey, walking by his house when he was outside, which he often was. here must ring old face sullen and blank chequered shirt Pooh said the collar with a white tuft coming out of it at his throat
as long as she could remember, he had seemed the same age and that age was very old. She walked quickly. him, he ignored her and kept spraying his car although she swore that he aimed the hose intentionally so the water bounced off its side and sprayed her now her sir And shoes were all wet. She hated, Mr Nathaniel. Two doors down from Mr Nathaniel was the gay house. The gay were perfectly nice people, except one great crime that outweighed every pleasant. Oh hi, there, Esther and friendly wave the crime was this. Mr Gabbler was a dentist and so on Holloway night they put out a bowl full of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Tubes. Esther didn't require that everyone love Halloween as much as she did. She require that everyone participate. Some
people turned off their lights and pretended they weren't home. When Halloween came around and now fine, with her as law- Long as they were always some houses with lights on and Jack lanterns lit, then the knife participate. Errors were merely background noise to her Halloween experience, but to actively spit in the face of all that. Halloween stands for by getting every passing trick or treating hopes up only to have those hopes dashed by a plastic bottle full of what could only be described as the moral opposite of candy v. two. Esther was a crime without pardon Her only solace was that the tooth brush is usually ended, up scattered all over their lawn and the toothpaste tubes were often put on the gamblers front, walk
And stopped until the exploded a little mint rainbow on the concrete left to dry to a chalky lump by the next morning, sun, once a year on November, first, Mr Gabbler looked like Mr Nathaniel carefully going over his driveway with a hose. oh hi, there Esther called MR gambler. He often came home for lunch since his office was only a ten minute drive away right now, the plague he was on his way back to his car for an afternoon of rooting around in people's mouths high. Mr Gabbler, he said trying to sound his pleasant ass, she possibly could she knew his heresy against Halloween wasn't really his fault, he just didn't get it. She could and did and always would for ever and ever hold it against him, but she still try,
to be polite about it. In any case, the truth was that the toothpaste wasn't what bothered her most about. Mr Gayle, The main issue was his absolute mundane there was no adventure that she could see to his life and it see such a waste of the freedom adulthood gives you to spend it daring in strangers, mouths and watching tv news every night. It was the odd Sid of everything hollowing stood for two Esther, the tooth Haste was only a symptom of the utter boredom of Mr Gabbler life. Say hello to your dad. For me, Mister Gabbler said ass. He got back into his car. I sure, will she said. to the slamming of his car door, she sure wouldn't toothpaste. As she reached her corner she strange music in the air. she never heard music like it before it was the war
link chime of an ice cream truck, but the men, He wasn't any of the happy and annoying melodies those trucks usually blared said. The music sounded sad or even angry this, was complex and long and a little off key It was the music and ice cream truck would play at a funeral If anyone was ever eccentric enough to have an ice cream truck at their funeral, the song of the music came trundling out of the cul de sac, with worn tyres and a hood belching puffs of black smoke, the ice cream truck. If that's what it was, filthy and along the side of the truck there was the faded image of a jack o Lantern drawn so crudely that it barely resembled any jack o lantern she had ever seen and chipped and badly applied,
type around the Jack O Lantern were the words queen of Halloween pumpkins get yours while they last an ice cream truck, that's old pumpkins. What an odd idea but she also found it cool more every day. Institutions should be changed in October to celebrate Halloween schools. The teacher go stories every house should be haunted. Every dream should be a nightmare. The driver gave her a long look as he drove by his head. It was greasy and combed down over his face. What she could see of his expression. Looked sullen like he. Hated, not only his job but the whole world too. Suddenly, the idea of the truck seemed less school. She cited. It was best to get through her front door and quick.
by the time she got inside and up to a room. She was already forgetting about the creepy man driving the ice cream truck that wasn't an ice cream truck It was only one more night until Halloween there was so much left to do.
Transcript generated on 2021-07-28.