Now and Forever

By Jack Wallen

It was to be the wedding of their dreams, one that was born of a playful kind of darkness. October 31. All Hallows Eve. Her favorite night of the year. His one day out of 365 to truly be himself. And this year, they would share it together, husband and wife to be, hidden under the guise of two of their most cherished characters.

The event took months to plan and cost more money than they’d ever confess to. The price tag was of no concern, not when their forever was to be realized in such perfect fashion. This would be the wedding to end all weddings.

Little did they know.

“Jen, you look…” Hannah paused, biting her lip.

“I look what? What is it? Oh my god, please don’t tell me I look hideous. Was this a mistake?”

“Are you kidding me?” Hannah turned Jen to face the full-length mirror. “You look like Tim Burton himself drew you.”

The reflection in the mirror did not lie. The makeup, the hair, the clothing…she looked as though she’d slipped from the celluloid stylings of Nightmare Before Christmas.

“Wow. I am Sally. This is…” Tears welled in her eyes.

“Oh, no. No, no, no, no, you can’t cry. I didn’t just spend two hours on your makeup to watch it run over your cheeks onto the floor. Get ahold of yourself, girl. You’re gonna walk down that aisle and blow everyone’s minds. And when Marsalis sees you coming, he’s going to melt in his Jack Skelington costume.”

“Hey now—”

“Sorry, sorry. We agreed to not call them costumes.”

“Let’s leave the suspension of disbelief to the audience. For us, it’s the real deal.”

Hannah grinned wide and squeezed Jen’s hand. “I have to get into my Bridesmaid of Frankenstein garb, otherwise this wedding is not going to go off on time. You okay?”

Jen took another elongated look in the mirror and smiled. “I am now. Thank you, sweetie.”

“I’ll be in the next room if you need. Just knock, scream, or sing and I’ll come running.”


Marsalis straightened his batwing tie and grinned back at the mirror. “Damn, I make a good Jack Skelington.”

“Well…” Rufus shrugged.

“Are you seriously doubting how well I pull this off minutes before I’m about to step in front of a crowd and say “I do” to the woman of my dreams? Really?”

Rufus nearly choked on a swallow of his Great Pumpkin Patch IPA. “Ah, come on, man. You took that all wrong. I mean, you don’t have Skelington’s legs, but then, if you did you wouldn’t be able to stand. Other than that, you seriously are the Pumpkin King.”

Marsalis took another gander at himself. “That’s right, I am…” He finished the statement with a grandiose laugh that rattled the walls.

“There he is.” Rufus pulled on his oversized Frankenstein boots and chuckled, “Fire bad.”

A brief moment of silence settled in over the dressing room. After a moment, Marsalis turned to Rufus, a look of dread painted across his face. “Please tell me I’m doing the right thing.”

“What? Are you kidding me? Dude, you know this is exactly what you’re meant to do. Everyone out there in the audience is going to lose their mind when this event kicks in. In that very second, you’ll know, without a doubt, you are the absolute master of her world.”

The two men stared at one another.

“That sounded much worse when it left my mouth.”

Marsalis nodded. “Yeah, let’s not ever say that again. It isn’t the nineteen fifties.”

Rufus smeared green greasepaint over his face. He’d been doing makeup on movie sets for nearly a decade, so a quick Frankenstein’s monster was old hat. He couldn’t stop himself from laughing. “Jesus, this is going to be epic. I cannot wait to see the looks on their faces.”


The time was nigh. Midnight was about to strike and the crowd was anxious for the festivity to begin. Marsalis tapped a code on his cell phone to launch the affair. “Let the shenanigans begin,” he whispered.

Being non-traditional, both the groom and the bride were given similar treatment. Marsalis slowly made his way down the aisle to “This Is Halloween.” As he marched toward the altar, fake autumn leaves dropped from baskets rigged above the audience. A few carefully placed fans made certain the drifting ornaments danced on a gentle wind to slow their fall. At the same time, a webbing of purple, green, and orange LED lights twinkled above the audience to create a haunting starlit sky. Puffs of white mist from perfectly routed fog machines covered the ground in a macabre blanket.

At the dais, headstones had been carved to read like a list of the trappings of single life the two would be leaving behind. Late night parties. Friends. Hookups. Fun. It was all in good humor. Skeletons and ghouls peeked out from carefully unlit shadows around the space. The ambiance was perfect.

The audience joined in on the fun—all of them dressed as either victims or monsters from horror films. Pinhead, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, even Pumpkinhead was represented in the crowd. It helped that Marsalis owned one of the most popular FX companies in Hollywood; he was an absolute master at his craft.

A cauldron of bats flew overhead, squeaking and fluttering as if they were the real thing. Half of the audience ducked while the other half applauded.

A wedding to end all.

The “Jack and Sally Montage” began, which was everyone’s cue to turn and show their love and respect for the bride.

A crypt façade creaked open to reveal Hannah. The audience gasped, immediately evolving into an ovation. Hannah slowly made her way down the aisle, taking in the adoring crowd, enjoying every single second. She’d never forget this, everything Marsalis had done to help make her dream come true.

Hannah reached the altar in perfect timing.

Their dear friend, Wendy, stood between them, dressed as the most gorgeous vampire anyone had ever laid fangs on.

“Dearly unloved and undead…” The audience chuckled as they took their seats. “We have gathered in this mausoleum to celebrate the coupling of two brilliant and ghoulish fiends that have, in their own special ways, stolen our hearts.”

Hannah and Marsalis glanced at one another, incapable of not smiling.

“Before I continue with the rites and rituals that have been bestowed upon me by Count Dracula himself, is there anyone among you who believes this marriage should not—”

Wendy was stopped short by the sound of a chainsaw. Every head turned to discern what was happening. Most assumed it was just part of the fun, some bit of madness Marsalis rigged up to send the theme into yet another gear.

The fake crypt door crashed open and a large man in a Leatherface mask, brandishing a vicious-looking chainsaw, stepped out from a wall of fog. He revved the saw menacingly, holding it above his head. The audience cheered.

Those cheers were cut short when Leatherface brought the business end of his saw down on one of the usher’s arms, sending a fountain of scarlet spraying across the audience. The usher screamed in agony, dropping to the ground, desperate to staunch the liquid life pumping from his bloody stump.

Leatherface attacked again, this time an older woman, dressed as Norma Bates, slashing at her back, eating away at her flesh. Splashes of crimson painted the floor.

The man with the chainsaw marched through the crowd, drawing blood with every advance. Participants howled in agony, falling to the floor, cradled in death’s embrace. When the menace reached the front row, he raised the weapon over his head and did a well practiced rendition of the dance Gunner Hanson made famous in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He revved the saw and prepped to bring it down on the head of Hannah’s father.

Just as the blade inched near, Hannah’s father grabbed at his chest and cried out.

“Dad!” Hannah screamed and raced to the man, who’d crumbled to the ground. Hannah’s mother wailed, begging someone to call 911.

Leatherface backed away, shutting off the chainsaw.

“No.” Marsalis came to Hannah’s side, his phone out, ready to dial the authorities. “It was just a joke. I hired these people to be part of the event. They’re actors. Leatherface is James Fischer, one of my assistants.” Leatherface nodded to the crowd as Marsalis dropped to his knees beside the man he’d hoped would very soon become his father-in-law, tears streaking his makeup. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for this to…” He dialed 911. “Hello? Yes, I think my father-in-law is having a heart—”

Hannah grabbed Marsalis’s phone and hung up.

What are you doing?” Marsalis screamed, his voice cracking with tension and fear. “We need to get your father to a hospital. He’ll die!.”

The father groaned once and his head fell to the side, cheek against the cold, hard floor.

Marsalis raised his hands toward the sky and shouted, “Why, God, why?”

The slightest titter floated from below, followed by a coughing chuckle. Hannah’s father opened his eyes and smiled. “Gotcha!”

Hannah’s mother joined in with a girlish laugh. “You should have seen the look on your face. We scared the master of fright himself.”

Marsalis scanned the crowd to see rows of smiling faces. “Wait, you were all in on this as well?”

Nods all around.

The groom’s heart slowly ceased its thrashing. “Wow. I’m impressed.”

Hannah stood and planted a kiss on her fiancé’s cheek. “I knew you had some big scare planned, so I figured I’d outdo you. And all it took was a faked heart attack. No special effects, no budget, no squibs…just some old-fashioned,” Hannah gestured to her parents, “and convincing acting.”

Hannah’s mother and father took a bow to a standing ovation. Audience members wiped fake blood from their faces as they laughed and cheered.

“Now,” Hannah called out. “Where were we?”

Marsalis took her hand. “Something about til death do we part.”

The bride and groom returned to the stage as the “End Title” song rang out. Vows were spoken, rings were exchanged, and a Halloween memory was etched into the hearts and minds of everyone in attendance.

About Jack

Jack is an author of 50 novels. Find out more about his work on his Amazon Author page.