Ahh, here we are – Halloween!  I’m looking forward to a fun evening with something from my horror DVD library tonight.  Last year it was Carpenter’s “The Thing,” and the year before that a double feature of the two “Dawn of the Dead” films, both of which really hold up, I think.  I haven’t decided on this year’s entry yet, although I am greatly enjoying “American Horror Story” on FX, so maybe I’ll check out the latest episode and follow it up with a film.  My Brooklyn neighborhood does a big thing for this holiday – they decorate a bunch of buildings, and one house puts on an elaborate pageant with singing, dancing, the whole bit.  I’ll make a point of checking that out as well.

But hearing about my Halloween plans is not why you’re here, I’ll wager – and if you are, come on.  There are better ways to get in touch with me.  No, you’re here to check out the second Halloween short story.  I hope you read “Windows” in yesterday’s post – and if not, scroll down.  That’s the appetizer, and today’s story, “The Water Children,” is the main course.

I wrote this story back in 2006, again for a horror anthology that never quite seemed to appear.  So, that makes this the first time this story has ever been “published” in any real way.  The art this time is from Allen Gladfelter, who draws my Strongman series.  He did it during a break from drawing the first volume of Strongman.

The story is about a tradition in Japan that revolves around “water babies” – spirits of children who were aborted or otherwise did not make it to full term.  Mothers of these children sometimes create little shrines to their unborn children, and visit them on what would have been their birthdays, leaving them little gifts of candy or small toys.  This is done in part because the spirits of these children are believed to inhabit a sort of grey purgatory, neither here nor there, and the gifts and so on are left to comfort them.

In “The Water Children,” you have a woman in this situation, who is desperate to find a way to bring her child back from this place to live with her.  She tracks down a witch who says she can make it happen, and… you’ll see.  I’m very happy with this story.  The art is wonderfully clean and detailed, and I think it manages to be spooky as a comic, which is sometimes hard to pull off.

Anyway, enjoy, and let me know what you think!  Click on the first page, below, to get the whole story:

Click to read all of "The Water Children" by Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter!

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