In the early morning hours of Halloween, there was a happening at Rivercrest
Cemetery. The only living person to see this was Mortimer Howz, a man who passed by
the cemetery on his way to work. Mortimer was no coward, but he always felt a shiver up
his spine when he approached it. Usually, he hurried past it, glad to be on his way.
One night, as he approached the cemetery, he saw a light that seemed to come
from one of the graves in the middle of the plots. Mortimer was fearful but intrigued. He
wondered why there should be a light in the middle of nowhere although he supposed
there was an electric outlet somewhere close by for use by the caretaker who used an
electric mower and other items for cemetery care.
Mortimer decided to investigate, especially when he heard sounds coming from
the direction of the light. Slowly, he crept forward. He could hear noises coming from the
ground. There was a structure in the middle of the cemetery that resembled an old
fashioned storm cellar such as those dug into the earth.
There was a big chink in the middle of the wooden door. Mortimer, in a crouch,
silently peered through it. A row of zombies sat beneath hair dryers against one wall. Hot
air was flowing into their scalps from the dryers, making an awful stink.
Several zombies clutched old magazines. Their burial clothes suggested that in
life they had been female.
Mortimer looked a little farther and saw another female putting hair curlers into a
“Now, you wait and see,” said the hairdresser. “You are going to be the prettiest
zombie at the dance Friday night” Her client replied that she did not want to go to the
dance. Too many of her enemies were in the cemetery.
“Don’t worry,” soothed the hairdresser. “Someone will be there to keep down
fights and arguments”
“Will there be booze?” asked the zombie hopefully.
“Oh, yes,” answered the hairdresser. “There will be booze for everyone. Don’t
forget that the dance starts at 7:00 p.m. and ends at midnight. It’s time for everyone to
come out and shake a leg, get rid of the kinks.” The hair-dresser slung a clump of the
zombie's hair to the floor.
“I swear,” she remarked, “ if your hair keeps falling out, you will be dancing bald-
“Please, not that,” replied the zombie whose name was Mary. “When I was alive,
I had a boyfriend, and he loved my hair. He is buried in this cemetery. Do you think he
will be at the dance?”
“He probably will,” answered the hairdresser. “The males of this cemetery are
getting haircuts and being shaved elsewhere. I’m sure your boyfriend will be just the
same as he always was.”
Mary looked at the females beneath the dryers. She vaguely remembered most of
them, but they looked nothing like they had in life. Mary had seen herself in a mirror
earlier. She knew she looked dead and a long time in the grave.
The hair quivering on the back of his neck, Mortimer slowly backed away from
the chink. He bolted from the cemetery and never slowed down until he reached his
home in town. A couple of days later at the tavern he tried to tell his cohorts what he had
seen. His words were met with derision and loud guffaws. Mortimer was a known liar,
which didn’t help matters any. He finished his brew and went home sulking.
After the females had their beauty treatment, they were told by the hair-dresser to
hide in the woods until Friday’s dance.
“And don’t mess your hair up!” she instructed. If anyone visited the cemetery and
noticed a hole at the end of each grave, it was not reported. Visitors might have thought it
was scavenging animals. By now there were over two hundred zombies hiding in the
woods. The males stayed in a part of the woods where they would not see the females.
There were several sergeant-at-arms in the woods who would keep the genders apart until
the big event.
None of zombies knew who had organized this dance, but some thought it was
Lucifer himself who had disturbed the graves and called the dead into the world once
more. Henrietta, the hairdresser, didn’t know either. Someone or something had snatched
her from her grave by her hair. A disembodied voice told her what she must do. She did
not question it but began work at once.
So far, she had shampooed and set the hair of one-hundred-thirty-six zombies.Not
all of them were happy about it. Some complained that they did not want to go to an old
dance. There were about as many males as there were females. Almost everyone would
have a partner if he or she so desired.
Finally, Friday evening arrived. Skeletons in black top-hats and red bow-ties sat
on grave-stones tuning their fiddles. The skeleton musicians had been invited from
another cemetery by an unknown entity. At exactly 7:00 P.M. the first waltz began.
Sergeant-at-arms had herded the un-dead from the forest.
When they approached the cemetery, most of the males plucked flowers from
funeral sprays for corsages. There was a lot of tittering and giggling as the flowers were
pinned to the rotting clothing of the dead females.
As dancers shuffled, clacking bones could be heard over the music. Bits and
pieces of dead flesh littered the ground. A few fights broke out on the north side of the
cemetery as liquor was imbibed. A full moon gazed at the ungodly sight then hid behind
A high wind arose and blew against the couples as they tried to remember the
dance steps. Then it began to rain. There were cries of “my hair, my hair!” as rain poured
from the grumbling sky. Bottles of liquor consumed caused a great deal of hysterical
As night wore on, too many tramping feet muddied the ground. Tombstones
glowed with phosphorus lighting the eerie scene. The dead tried new dance steps. Several
formed a conga line, yelling “cha CHA” with every kick of their legs. They marched into
an open grave. No one fished them out.
A geezer zombie, who had been dead for forty years, tried to do the Jitterbug. He
ended with his legs twisted in an unnatural position. He fell into the mud. Others
trampled him in their quest for fun and entertainment.
Ms. Gussie tore off all her clothes and danced naked in the rain. When she was
spotted, there were cheers and much laughter. The fiddlers played on, taking requests. A
howl arose from the dancers, carried away by the exciting night. Mr. Geeter’s head fell
off and rolled away. He crawled on his hands and knees, searching for it. An outraged
scream came from Mrs. Diggles.
“Stop looking up my dress, you old fool!” His head answered,
“How can I look up your dress?” “My head is over here!”
“Well, you were thinking about it,” she replied.
“Lady, I wouldn’t have wanted to do that when I was alive!” he retorted. Finally,
he found his head and reattached it.
The skeleton fiddlers ended a tune and took a break. They drank fruity wine from
old cups they had found in the cemetery Afterwards, door prizes were given in spite of
there being no doors. Mr. Chane was presented with a white burial pillow. His had
grown soggy and moldy. Mrs. Marks received a can of deodorant spray for being the
stinkiest zombie at the dance. Someone found a muumuu and gave it to Ms. Gussie. She
immediately put it on. Many baubles that had been taken from graves were given.
The dance continued until midnight when suddenly the music stopped. The
fiddlers disappeared, and the dancers fell to the ground, unmoving. The glow left the
tombstones. The rain stopped, and the moon looked down on a grotesque sight of
The next day a visitor arrived at the cemetery and was shocked by what he found.
He called the authorities that suspected the cemetery had been vandalized.
It was impossible to identify most of the dead. Relatives were able to recognize a
few loved ones by remembering the clothes they had been buried in, but most of the
corpses were put into a grave with someone else’s name on the stone.
Thus, the dead lay sleeping until the next dance that would rouse them to a high
state of revelry, perhaps in another hundred years.
Published on October 1st, 2022
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