I was sitting at the station waiting for the late train when this guy in a Grim Reaper costume sat down beside me. I could smell cheap, pre-mix drink even through his mask. He hiccuped softly.
‘I’m waiting for Death,’ I said. ‘Who are you?’
He stared ahead. ‘I’m his brother.’
Then these kids, maybe late teens, came hurtling down the platform in corpse make-up and one of them was calling the others douchebags because they’d thrown his hat on the tracks.
‘BRI-AAAN!’ One of them moaned loudly, this tall kid with spider limbs.
‘I’m a dyslexic zombie,’ he explained and they all keeled over with this laughter that sounded like the infantile sounds my pop’s sheep make before he slaughters them.
I had been to a party at my friend Sara’s place, which turned out to be a costume party, and I was the only one, apart from some backpackers, in jeans.
‘Halloween isn’t a thing in Australia,’ I said.
‘It is now,’ Sara said and accepted the open bottle of clean skin I’d brought her.
I first met Sara through our mutual friend Warner. He’d told her he was broken and she’d said she didn’t care, and then they’d had a baby together and he’d left not long after. The kid was four and was wandering around the house serving dip and chips to people. I think he was dressed like one of the kids from Village of the Damned but I’m not sure because he just looked that way anyway.
The loudspeaker announced that the train was delayed ten minutes. Death’s brother groaned and stretched out on the bench making his plastic scythe clatter to the ground in front of us. One of the zombies picked it up and pretended to sodomise another one with it.
I’d sat with Sara’s kid, whose name sounds like Jesse but might actually be Jeffy, and we’d talked about TV. A ghost walked by in an Egyptian cotton sheet and I was hit by this olfactory resurgence of memories and knew it was Cynthia. The last time I’d seen Cynthia we’d both drunk too much and lay weeping on the kitchen floor until it was light enough for her to gather her things in a garbage bag and leave her house key on the kitchen table. We hadn’t talked since and from the way she kept hidden beneath her ghost sheet, I knew we probably wouldn’t again.
On the train I sat in the last carriage away from the zombie teens and Death’s brother. An elderly man got on at the next stop. As he settled in his seat he pulled a bottle of Windex out of his bag and sprayed the window beside him. He cleaned it off with his shirtsleeve and then peered out into the night as if he could see something.