Updated: May 17
Dominique Daye Hunter
A Headless Halloween
would be sure to make you scream.
But with metaphors all a-flurry
no need to hurry-scurry.
For lines of sport are blurry
until the Tales of Grim
are told, and the waxing moon
grows ever cold,
her yellow light piercing the sky
the giant orb as a feline eye
round and larger than the sun
was ever viewed upon the mud.
So, settle in to a story told
of three sisters weird and bold.
There once ran we
the sisters three
but to give you a fright
we’ll let our friend
tell the story tonight.
Heh heh heh!
Pumpkins laid askew
across the muddy, marshy dunes
of forest, dwelled all too soon
by autumn’s rain and swelled toad stools.
Faint footfalls could be heard asunder
as light flashed and in rolled thunder
followed by the threat of rain.
These were sisters born of earth, wind, flood, and flame.
And if you saw them
you’d never be seen again,
Raiden the thunder wielder.
Foudre the lightning striker.
Gale the sea storm.
First was Raiden
the eldest sister
and being so
the wisest of witches.
With one word from her lips
or from a few eye twitches
she’d turn evil to coal
and transmute iron to riches.
She steps forth protecting her sisters
with a mind full of secrets
and oft hushed manifest wishes.
Her spiky, black boots,
laced black dress,
and thunderous voice
reminds each creature she passes
of the wisdom of choice.
As loud as thunder
as soft as gentle rain,
her power resided
in her restraint.
Second was Foudre
fierce with flame
in eyes and hand,
no man could tame.
with lightening bolts
strapped to her back
in black leather holsters,
her manner of dress and appearance
was unusually striking
with only slight interference.
Giving the air of clairvoyance,
she seemed to often
cause her own disappearance.
Her twirling dress with clogged shoes
and bolts on her back
gave her the illusion of an butterfly bat
emerging from a black, spiny cocoon.
Last but never least, Gale,
the third and youngest sister.
If you were not looking
surely you’d miss her,
not for lack of beauty or style
but it was in this way she’s beguile
passerby’s who underestimated
the power she held.
Her thick siren song
like a tight braided rope
catching bloodthirsty sailors
and witch hunters alike
until, in wells or shallows,
bodies did float.
Her casual dress
of Chuckies and jeans,
of inked skinned
and bare ribbed bones tees
made people approach her with ease.
And never did she harm curious folk
who at her gun powder spots
did innocently poke.
Yet, for the cruel and wicked
she served vengeance cold
for just as the sea heals
it can also crush bones.
Therefore it was upon that day,
‘midst static and gusts and rumbles and rain,
that these three sisters did attempt to walk the marshes unseen to spend a Hallow’s Eve in solitude and peace amongst the mossy, swampy trees.
Yet, along the way, mayhem was a-stir. They felt it in the wind blowing through the firs, in each owl hoot which occurred, through passing twitching whiskers and cat yowls unsure.
Foudre approached a feline familiar and offered a hand to befriend her. The cat sniffed her hand and let her pet her.
“Darling,” she asked, continuing to stroke, “Have you seen this night any strange folk?"
“Strange as is normal” the cat softly purred, “on this night that the spirits roam across our world.”
The cat stood erect with ears at attention as if remembering an important memory to mention.
“There was a strange man, or creature, or ghoul who ran from the tavern while still spun his bar stool. They were difficult to place, though my eyesight is rarely fooled. Their form was short and wide with bright eyes glowing. At any rate, they took off in the direction of your black gate.”
The sisters exchanged glances and offered the informant a fish which she happily ate.
Raiden directed her sisters in their strategy. Foudre took to the sky and flashed her bolts to observe the tree line. Gale then slyly entered the bar, and made light conversation while interviewing all. In the meantime, Raiden entered the swamplands and lowered her ear to the water. She heard thumps.
Thump thump thump! She heard the cloak covered lump frump across the forest towards the sisters’ home. Foudre flew down and confirmed this while Gale relayed what she was told.
“Indeed they fled into the trees into the direction of our home. But what’s more, Old Marrone
said they also dropped these.”
She opened her hands to reveal a pile of larvae which writhed and squealed. The sisters let out chuckles, giggles, and cackles. They dried comic tears as they regained their composure.
“So you mean to say” Raiden began, “that the terror Cat spoke of was the Toad Man?”
After so much time was wasted investigating and scouting, the sisters boomed through the forest, each of them shouting, “Toad Man, Toad Man where do you roam? None braver than mice, not tall as a gnome. Toad Man, Toad Man where have you strolled? You’ve made a big mess trying to steal our home!
Minutes later the sisters arrived in front of their domicile which teamed with life. Ravens and spide webs and roses and trees swayed under the moonlight, swaying with ease.
The Toad Man stood, as they had guessed, in front of their gate, quite frankly, looking a mess. He held his last few grubs between his finger-like nubs and drunkenly staggered to put a jack-o-lantern back on his head that rolled off and away from him instead. Shaking off his embarrassment, he began proclaiming and nagging:
“You hags have been hacked! Have been got! Have been caught! By not returning to your property before sundown on Hallows eve, I become this homes owner by law and decree!”
“The only thing you are is a sneak and a thief, quoting dead man's laws of Manifest Destiny,” spat Foudre she raised her weapons to slay him.
“Wait, sister. Let’s have us some fun first, I’d advise.” began Gale “If Toad Man think he’s so wise, he who eats crawling things, maggots, and flies, let him attempt to outsmart us sisters, and, with a wager, we can come up as winners!” Raiden nodded and Foudre's frown cracked into a smirk.
Toad Man’s Riddle
After the sisters challenged the toad, he threw back his head and did laugh and did goad, “I accept your challenge. For you’re no match for this old, wise toad!”
“Issue your riddle then!” Raiden crowed. Foudre stepped forward forcefully while Gale leaned and cat stood nearby with eyes a-glow.
“First is for you Eldest Sister. Guess this clue and you'll retrieve a word to be combined with the other girls’.“
“Toad,” Raiden spat. We are centuries older than thee. Just spit out your riddle. For wasting away is our Hallow's eve.”
“Fine,” said Toad Man, sitting up straight, “They come out at night without being called, and are lost in the day without being stolen. What are they?”
The sisters huddled together.
“Good times!” giggled Foudre.
“Bats!” hushed Gale.
“They come out at night…” Raiden looked around then skyward. “Ha! Of course,” she realized. Her sisters followed her gaze. “Stars,” she stated flatly to the Toad Man.
“Yes! You must’ve had to really put your heads together for that one.”
The two sisters rolled their eyes. Raiden sucked her teeth.
“Well then little sister explain this to me. I am the first on earth...The second in heaven. I appear twice in a week, though you only see me once in a year...What am I?”
Foudre bit her lip. Gale passed her a notebook behind her back and signaled her to use it.
“Hey! No writing allowed!” whined the Toad Man.
“You didn’t mention that in the beginning!” chimed Raiden.
Foudre scribbling down the riddle and studying it with her face screwed up. Then, she said “Ah!” as if a light bulb came on in her psyche. “The letter E,” she declared.
"Lucky guess," said the Toad Man sourly, then immediately shook off his disgruntled disposition. He seemed perturbed at being outsmarted, but also eager to continue.
“What is so delicate that saying its name breaks it?” he asked in a hush.
“Seriously?” asked Gale and the sisters laughed.
The Toad Man fumed, “Well, then say it already if it’s such an easy riddle!”
“Ah-ha! And putting those together?”
“Star…e…silence?” all three sisters murmured in awkward semi-unison.
“Ah-ha! Starry silence! Now you've said it. Now you've done it! And now I have yours. Now I've won it! For with this spell on Hallow’s Eve, I take from thee the power to cast incantations on this starry night and be silenced for the next 13 years in fright!!!”
The Three Sisters gasped and looked horrified as the Toad Man threw what looked like magic dust all over them. One by one they dropped to the forest floor grasping for one another and then going limp.
The Toad Man frantically looked from one sister to the next, an uncertain chuckle turning to a maniacal, unhinged cackle. He jumped off his stool, running about with his eyes closed and skipping for joy. “I did it!” he cried “I did it!”
“Did wha?" a voice called out. "Since when have you done anything of substance besides annoy?”
Toad Man opened his eyes mid-cackle and looked about only to see his ex-husband staring crossly at him with folded arms.
The Toad Man cleared his throat, “Well, not that it is any of your business, Gerald,” he stated condescendingly, “But I, the ever powerful Toad Man, have done what no creature has ever been able to! I’ve outsmarted the Sister Witches Three! Not so powerful seems to me!” he laughed.
“First of all, Robert,” said Gerald emphasizing the name, “are you still on this Toad Man crap after all these years? Hasn’t someone arrested you yet for squatting, loitering, assault with a non-deadly potion or all three? Secondly, you act like you’re the ONLY magical toad in this forest. Ego much? Thirdly, do you mean those witches?” he asked pointing behind The Toad Man .
Robert spun around to see the sisters leaning casually on one another’s shoulders smirking and trying to hold back laughter.
“But how?” Robert gaped.
“Oh no! I wonder how the Great Toad Man was outsmarted by three of the most powerful witches of this age,” Gerald said sarcastically, clicking his tongue and walking off, “Some people never change. Oh yeah, and I came to tell you I’m keeping your mixing bowls! Tootle-loo!”
“Oh, Great Powers of Love and Justice that be, remove this sneaky, silly thing called Robert Toad from our property, from our sweet abode!”
The Toad Man flew off in an arch of green, sparkling powder beyond the next mountain forest range.
“Shall we?” posed Raiden holding out her elbow.
“I thought you'd never ask!” squealed Foudre interlocking her arms with her sisters and creating sparks from her butterfly wings.
Gale teased them both as the returned to their rightful thrones, amongst pumpkin pie, raven's laughter, and their moonlit home.
Story by Dominique Daye Hunter
Photos and models: D. Daye Hunter, Soklar Starr, IMCASTERR
Dominique Daye Hunter is an Afro-Indigenous storyteller, artist, and advocate of West African, Yésah (Saponi), Nansemond, Irish, and Polish descent.
The CEO of D. Daye Hunter Designs, LLC she has a B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies. Hunter's work explores the complex connections between historical trauma and healing in BIPOC communities. She creates safe spaces for BIWOC, children, neurodivergent individuals, and chronic illness warriors. She lives between Arizona and North Carolina.
📕 Get your copy of her debut book 𝑺𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔: 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑨𝒇𝒓𝒐 𝑰𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 at ddayehunter.com/books .