Spook-tacular Shorts — The Game of Sinful Delights, featuring Dan Antion

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Spook-tober shorts logo image by Teagan
Image by Teagan

Hello everyone, and happy October.  I hope to use this series of short stories I’m writing to promote new books from indie authors, whenever synchronicity allows.  Today that happened with the second book in Dan Antion‘s trilogy, “The Evil You Choose.”  The title is what inspired my short story, although Dan has let me use several of his photos for illustrations (not necessarily related to his book). 

The Evil You Choose by Dan Antion
The Evil You Choose by Dan Antion

Today I’ve created some new character-friends, and we’re up to a bit of Twilight Zone-ish fun.

The Game of Sinful Delights

“Round and round and round, she goes.  Who knows what evil you will choose!” the barker cried.

Dan Antion 2020
Dan Antion 2020

The Pumpkin Hat Girls, that’s what we called ourselves.  Throughout each autumn season we went on adventures small or grand.  Aged 50 through 90, all of us wore pumpkin-orange hats in a roundish shape, which generally suggested a pumpkin — if you used a little imagination.  It didn’t matter whether it was a beret, a drape style like you might see on Downton Abbey, or a 1920s hat with big fluffy pompons over each ear.  Yes, I had one of those.

Penny started the group.  She said we would keep taking new members until we had ladies whose first initials spelled out the word pumpkin.  So far, we had Penny, Ursula, Maudie, and Pepper — that was me.

“Are we there yet?” Maudie asked in a pretend-kid whine.  “Seriously, this is a lot farther out than it sounded like it would be,” she added, straightening her drapey metropolitan style hat. “I still think it’s a little strange that the flyer advertising it was in your mailbox, but no one else got one.”

“I called the county office to ask about it,” I told them in a somewhat puzzled voice.  “They told me a traveling carnival with that name had been there about ten years ago, but they hadn’t been back since.  Maybe it’s just a mistake in the permit paperwork.”

“It’s a beautiful day,” Ursula chimed-in positively.  “If there is no carnival, then we will find something else to do.”

“Oh!  There’s the billboard up there.  It’s tilted to one side like it’s about to fall down,” Ursula said, eyes sharp for a 90-year-old, or for any age.

“October Spooktacular!” Penny read aloud from the driver’s seat.  “Yep!  That’s our turnoff.”

Dan Antion
Dan Antion

Inside the park there weren’t many attractions.  Neither were there many people.  Although as far off the beaten track as the carnival was, that wasn’t surprising.  What I found unusual was the sleek, shiny modern look of everything.  Contrary to the dilapidated old billboard, it all seemed brand new.

Beyond the gold and red trees, a voice caught my ear.  I followed it, and the other Pumpkin Hat Girls followed me.  In a moment we stood beside a brightly colored attraction.  That smooth, almost hypnotic voice belonged to a carnival barker.

“Come right in, ladies.  Choose your evil!” he bade us.

“Shouldn’t it be ‘choose your poison’?” Penny asked.  “You know, like the bartenders used to ask?”

“We did that before…  There was a problem,” the man replied.

He went on with his fast-talking pitch before any of us could ask him to elaborate.

“Choose your evil, or your evil chooses you.  Keep your eye on the ball in the Game of Sinful Goodness!” he cried.

We handed over the correct number of tickets and went inside.  As we walked up the ramp, I noticed wide tubes that extended from under the platform and down to a huge tank filled with the kind of plastic balls in which kids jump around.

Dan Antion 2022
Dan Antion 2022

A person in a seat careened down one of the tubes to land amid the balls.  The passenger screamed gleefully.  A voice came from the floor above.

“Sorry, you lose.  Come back and try again!”

Every few steps, we could smell a different delicious aroma.  We reached the top of the ramp.  On a high platform, seats were circled around a big roulette wheel.

“Behold the Wheel of Apocalypse,” the barker intoned.

Instead of numbers, the roulette wheel had images of foods that were packed with fat and calories.  We all moved to look at the wheel, mouths watering.

“Hold your horsemen ladies, that’s part two,” the barker told us.  “You choose your evil before you play the Apocalypse.”

“Find it if you can.  Keep your eye on the treat.  Don’t blink!  The evil can get you if you blink!” he chanted as he turned to the table.

The roulette wheel was pulled away from the seats that circled it, and tilted to a vertical position.  In place of the wheel a table arose.

Dan Antion
Dan Antion

We Pumpkin Hat Girls were seated along with several other carnival guests.

“All the sinful goodies are shown on the wheel.  I have miniature versions here on the table,” the barker said, pointing with his cane.  “I put this little ball under one of three.  You just have to keep your eye on it.  If you succeed you can claim your treat.  If you are wrong, you get one more chance, and that’s the Wheel of Apocalypse.”

“Oooo, look!” enthused Maudie.  “They’ve got death by chocolate.  That’s my all-time favorite.”

“Uh, Maudie…” Ursula began, the accent of her homeland still in her voice even after fifty years away from that country.  “I don’t think you should choose anything with ‘death’ in the name,” she advised, and I wasn’t sure whether or not she was joking.

When Maudie hesitated, a man across the table spoke up and claimed the dessert for himself.  The barker said both people could play.  Then he shifted the covered ball every which way.  When he stopped, the man pointed to one cover and Maudie chose another.

“Lovely lady in the orange hat, I’m sorry, but you missed,” he said, lifting Maudie’s cover to show it was empty.  “But you can go on to the wheel.”

“You sir are a winner,” he intoned, lifting the cover to reveal the little ball.  “You shall receive death by chocolate.”

The man grinned.  He gave Maudie the pompous sneer of a bully who had taken something someone else wanted.

Suddenly the floor beneath the stranger’s chair dropped, and his chair whooshed down the tube.  The man shrieked.  We heard a liquid splash.  I craned my neck to look at the tank of balls, but I didn’t see him emerge.

Four orange-hatted heads turned to one another uneasily.

“Why was there a splash?  Balls don’t splash,” I whispered.

“I told you not to choose death,” Ursula stated.

“Who’ll be next?” the barker asked.  “What’ll it be?  A pizza pie?  Bubbly champagne?  Pineapple upside-down cake?  Macaroons with grated coconut?”

Maudie was white as a sheet after her near miss and speechless.  The rest of us conferred.

Dan Antion 2021
Dan Antion 2021

“Pizza might be safe,” I suggested.  “No sharp edges, and it’s soft and gooey.”

“And it is also baked in a hot oven,” Ursula replied.

“I don’t fancy the possibility of being hung upside-down or grated,” Penny remarked.

“Champagne.  I can swim,” Ursula said, but changed her mind.  “No, we would be strapped in these seats and drown.”

“Everybody stand up at the same time,” I hissed to my Pumpkin Hat friends.  “Now.”

We all got to our feet at once.

“Ladies, wait.  You haven’t played yet.  No refunds!” he cried, rapping his hooked cane against the wall.

“I’ve just reminded these naughty girls that we are fasting for a religious holiday.  No matter how tasty the treat, we must abstain,” 90-year-old Ursula fibbed.

He held that cane to bar our way.  Leaning close, he spoke to Maudie.

“My dear, you still have one more try.  You can find death by chocolate on the wheel.  It’s easier than the shell game,” he implored with a gleam in his eyes.

To my surprise, Maudie batted her eyes flirtatiously.  She removed her bright orange drape style hat and looked from the hat to the barker.

“Maybe…  But first,” Maudie paused.  “I think you’d look just darling in my hat.  Would you try it on for just a minute?”

Surprised, the barker was silent.  Maddie reached to put the hat on his head.  Then I quickly pulled it down over his eyes.

Penny and I each took one of Ursula’s arms, and we all ran like the Four Horsemen were on our heels.  We didn’t stop until we got to the car.

Gravel sprayed as Penny hit the gas with a heavy foot, backing out of the parking space.  She didn’t even take time to change gears from reverse and into drive.  We sped backward all the way out of the parking area, down the drive, and half a mile down the main road.  With a lurch of gears, Penny finally shifted and put the var into drive.

“Next time, let’s stick with something ordinary like a pumpkin carving contest,” Maudie remarked.

“Carving?  Knives!” the rest of us yelled.  “No way!”

Pumpkin Hat Girls by Teagan R Geneviene
Pumpkin Hat Girls by Teagan R Geneviene

The end.

♣ ♣ ♣

It will soon be Halloween.  You might think about a Victorian or steampunk themed party or costume.  It won’t be complete without the right lingo.  Just be cautious about discussing amorous congress, because you might get kicked in the tallywags

  Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras, by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Universal Purchase Links

Kindle:  relinks.me/B0B9W38LDJ

Paperback:  relinks.me/B0B9T8MP1K

♣ ♣ ♣

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  I love to hear from you, so friendly comments are encouraged. Hugs on the wing!

♣ ♣ ♣

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2022 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or used with permission, or from free sources.

72 thoughts on “Spook-tacular Shorts — The Game of Sinful Delights, featuring Dan Antion

    1. LOL, thanks for the great video, Robbie. I haven’t thought of that movie in ages. I’m happy you enjoyed this story. I have an excursion in mind for the Pumpkin Hat Girls to promote your Haunted Halloween Holiday book. If you already have any additional fondant vampires they would be welcome. If not, I dug up a couple on Facebook that aren’t really vampires, but will do. Hugs on the wing.


  1. Oh, wow! I think they had a luck escape. I hope we get to hear more about their adventures. Thanks, Teagan and Dan, for a great story and wonderful images. And good luck to Dan with his new novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A brilliant twist on the evil you choose, Teagan! Thanks for the shout out. I’m glad the bully won the dessert, and the girls got Maudie out of there. Penny drives like my mom, but it came in handy this day. I laughed at your advice regarding discussing amorous congress – would not want to get kicked there.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you liked this, Dan. I wanted to begin it with something related to your book, but the Pumpkin Hat Girls appeared, and they took over the story. LOL, naturally I had to work in some Victorian slang. It’s so much more fun than the words we use today. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the intro, dear Ape. Huge thanks for reblogging from your treehouse. “Deliciously…” I had an idea to promote Robbie’s Haunted Halloween book, which relates. I must go for that next. Maybe the Pumpkin Hat Girls will get in on that one too. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 2 people

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