Yes! Halloween is here, our most celebrated of non-holidays. This means a full week of costume-prepping, pumpkin-carving, sugar-affected attention deficit among all your children and, best of all, scaaaarrrrryyyyyy stooooorrrriiiiieeeees .
Since Pique staff toils daily in the terrifying realm of cougar sightings and, um, non-conforming space updates, we've decided to once again include a collection of horror stories that were conceived and written at this labyrinth of horror, Pique head office.
Keep in mind that these are works of fiction , so please refrain from calling the authorities if these stories concern you. We had a few issues with this last year. Seriously. We had to issue a clarification.
As a service to the community, we're issuing this alert: None of this is real. We repeat - none of this is real .
So cozy up with a box of bite-sized Caramilk bars and delve into the twisted, maladjusted minds of your beloved Pique writers.
Shadow on the bridge
By Stephen Smysnuik
A young American man was cycling down Prinsengracht on an unusually quiet night in Amsterdam's city centre. The moon had disappeared, shut out by a raid of murky cloud cover, threatening rain and killing the light. He navigated his way down the narrow, bricked street by disparate streetlamps, ensuring the spectral formation of every object he passed.
As he approached Reguliersgracht he saw the silhouette of a man leaning on the bridge's guardrail, facing the canal. The way he - assuming it was a he - was bent over, it looked as though he was missing a head.
As the American approached the bridge, the figure turned abruptly around to face him. There were two streetlamps across the street from each mouth of the bridge, casting a low, eerie light across the bridge. It was hard to see but it seemed the figure was indeed missing a head.
Confused, the American slowed to a stop, squinting in the darkness, sizing up this troubling shadow on the bridge. He'd seen strange things in the year since he arrived in Amsterdam and knew as well to err on the side of caution when riding through the 3 a.m. streets.
The figure was standing still, slouching forward with his arms swaying lightly by his side, like a pair of willow branches in a breeze. The American realized this man must be some hooligan in a headless horseman costume or someone pulling a prank on late-night commuters. He was probably doped up or drunk. The way he was standing though - it seemed peculiar.