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Heartbreak, Texas: Fevered Dreams of Halloween

Heartbreak, Texas: Fevered Dreams of Halloween

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I'm Dave and I just snapped awake in the dark, on the front porch of The Waterin’ Hole Café. Best I can recall, I started this day in Heartbreak, Texas about 50 or 500 miles west of Houston's demented environs on this Night of Fright ... but what happened next leaves me just wobbly.

Heartbreak Texas: A case of monkey business

David Mosley

I Sit Reading

Once upon a haunted evening

I fell into silent reading,

Bag of sweets for those imploring,

Begging to do their haunting more

Trying now for a sugar fix,

Opening up their sack of tricks

Innocents of evil teeming,

Teeming through the cold evening air.

We are breathing, COVID walking,

Skeptics hawking, COVID stalking,

Set off our global trek a’whirl,

Off to the graveyards yet once more.

Woeful History

O’re the world far did I wander

Most my life a fruitless squander

Until Heartbreak I found yonder,

50 miles or 500 more,

Miles farther from Houston’s shores.

A refugee from life blown ‘sunder

Only my daughter for life’s plunder,

Fair Janey of the golden hair,

A maid so sweet, so fine, so rare

I counted myself a Baron

Yet still my life was left barren.

Until the day that I despaired,

Yet kindly Fate my life has repaired

Sweet Sally Rae I loved and married,

A respite from a life so harried

That from my death I happily tarried

And wished my life’s passage unvaried


Foul Memories Encroach

Darkness seeps in every shadow

Fusty lanes of light grow narrow

As the eventide foreshadows

All Hallows Eve approaching

The fear is now encroaching

On my heart, unworthy filter

In my heart, I feel a’kilter

I know I’ve sinned, now sinister

Shapes cavorting in the nightfall.

My sins pain me; God forsakes me

I fear the Darkness o’re takes me

To sinful spaces abandoned

In painful weary years of yore.

Can grace unbind my sin from me?

Or am I damned to eternal

Blindness for my acts infernal?

Moldering thoughts, regrets distract

My soul from forgiveness given

Faith excarnated as decay

Peroxide’s bite my only hope

In a life of lust, wicked dope

Why save this awful sinner, Lord?

Repeat offender, that is right

But then a final ray of light

Shines onto me before the night.

God cares! The message delivered

To my fevered brain tonight.

All Hallows Eve Arrives

In our wee town the little gnomes

Begin their naughty, creepy roam.

They seek out candy, search for fun.

Elves skip, trolls troll, the faery maids

Sweetly stride twixt unclean spirits ...

Sugared night outdoors is drawn nigh

Poured in baskets open to all.

Have we plucked the Devil’s fangs? Or

Dare we scoff at Hell’s ragged flames?

Innocents tread where saints have fled,

It is all harmless, no blood is shed

But what, pray tell, might be in store?

My Unclean Spirit

For I know a far grimmer truth

Of restless spirit on the loose.

Emma Bennett, cursed is her name

And this one night is hers to claim

She was the town’s own beauty queen

Then lost to all, her fate unknown

Was she hurt? Or, was she defamed?

The truth sought, the truth ungleaned still,

No one to hear her final groan.

Seventeen years and oh so fair!

Seventeen more, no whispers shared!

Drawn down into some deep, dark lair?

Unlucky soul, I’d met her ghost.

How best does one befriend the lost?

As some folks trembled at her sight,

I spoke with kindness to this sprite.

Each time we met, I left intact,

Each time I feared our deadly act.

To children in shadowed corners

Some gave candy, some gave quarters.

But I knew Emma Bennett’s coin:

Square nails, with human blood purloined.

She freely used them on people

Who’d dealt in ephemeral evil;

I ne’er apprehended the spectral sense

By which she sought her recompense,

Yet blood she’d drawn with square head nails,

Yet vengeance laid from hands decayed.

Emma’s wraith was but wrathful lore

A knowing lost since saints of yore.

Ten years I’ve know this teen-aged crone

Ten years I’ve feared this night alone.

On some whim Emma did spare me

Some half-remembered airing

Of a Sunday school preparing,

Preparing her for life unlived,

Teaching faith and love unsparing;

Then no kindness of hers prepared

For an end untimely met, No!

A nameless grave, unknown but yet

Her yearly visit to Heartbreak

Her vengeful soul a trip to make.

Her square-headed nails did she stake

Though Sinner’s feet and so their hands

Some blood is shed, for blood demands

She wreaks havoc on souls unclean.

Each year she adds more cruel means

Why me to see her each Fright Night?

A stranger to her, full of dread

That each year my survival dreams.

Of power potion or Jim Beam!

I Flee from Family

I saw myself, callous fellow,

Awaiting a restless spirit

To set my shattered soul a’shudder

Where am I now but by my home

My dearest ones, inside, all alone

Expecting me to bar entry

To make safe their daily being.

I know now I must not invite

Into my home this deadly sprite.

Toward the water I did saunter,

Praying, hoping, wanting another

Time free from peril for those adored

On to Heartbreak Lake I strolled

Beseeching God too oft’ ignored

I smelled musk of Texas water,

Not clean, but full of lively matter.

Calliope of frogs mating

Their sole life’s purpose not waiting

For the presence of mere mortals.

Then they stopped at once together

Scared to silence, souls untethered

Presence felt. Scared silent, I knelt.

My bravery did not exceed

That of frogs passing on their seed.

A chill not of October night

Consumed my lungs; I felt affright.

Then Emma Bennett did appear:

Not near, then here, a fleet phantom,

Not from God, nor His Opponent,

A Presence lodged between the two,

A martyr of some Deistic feud.

The Deamon Appears

Her Presence long did linger on,

At length I exclaimed in panic mode

“Why me, why me each Samhain tide?”

She cried, “All the rest is Christ’s time.

A sprite like me no power can hold

While the Lamb’s sweet warden of all;

Yet me, sweet life unfairly filched.

The wretched thief unnamed to men

An unjust grave of hidden shame.”

“How can I give you peace again,

To end at last this life’s charade

And lie at peace in Heaven’s glades?”

“Trail me into my dark abode

Learn secrets like no man has known.

I bid knowledge against virtue

You now hold so dear. Knowledge,

For you, power, domination!”

“Unnatural abomination,

I fear your solicitation,

Rather I will choose the wisdom

Even in my Christian “prison!”

God’s boundaries I gladly honor

For all else is a hopeless horror.”

“Weak man, coward, great dishonor

To a man offered such spoils.

Are your pants, weakling, yet soiled?!

Deny me, and your daughter’s soul

I’ll steal this night forevermore!”

For family love I’d freely die,

But Hell’s fiends know it is a Lie

That God is feeble over His Own.

I fell to my knees, “Oh Gowd, please

Grant safety from unclean beings!

I heard a mighty, deaf’ning crash

From consciousness I shortly passed.


I awoke much later that night.

Freedom from demon’s unclean fright.

I walked toward home, seventy years

Burdens rest on my back alone.

But free at last of evil fears

I’m guarded from demonic foes.

Can Godly virtue long endure?

Not in this life, held far too dear.

I sin in deed, though virtue’s birthed

Why’s sin so sweet upon this earth?

Caught in self-flagellation’s grip

Forgotten is the artless prayer

To God alone who forgives sin

Our worst deeds are seen yet again

Through decades and millennia.

At last I walk inside my home.

I sneak upstairs to family’s realm.

I look in at dear Janey’s bed,

All’s quiet. Vanilla breath pervades

Her space, this earth, is firmly safe.

I lay by my sweet Sally Rae.

My tired prayer holds me tight,

But sincerely and deeply sighed,

Goodnight … 

David Mosley spent 50 years on his family ranch on the Brazos River. In 2014 he sold it after developing several physical problems, including age. In 2012 he married his editor-in-chief, Terri Jo Mosley. They have lived many ranch stories, some related in the Heartbreak series. Like the Bible, some parts are true; some are parables to express the truth. Some parts of Heartbreak, though, are just dang ol’ lies.

His email is

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