Come By Here: A Novella and Stories
Autumn House Press
Tom Noyes
“Devil’s Night”

“Devil’s Night” is from Tom Noyes’s collection, COME BY HERE: A NOVELLA AND STORIES, (Autumn House Press, 2014).  Noyes is the author of two previous collections, Behold Faith and Other Stories (Dufour 2003) and Spooky Action at a Distance and Other Stories (Dufour 2008).  His stories have appeared in American Literary Review, Ascent, Colorado Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere.  He lives in Pennsylvania.


He said this about the origin of his story:  There are quite a few connections between this story and the life I’ve thus far lived. Maybe more connections than is usual for my stories.


First, I did some time in Southeastern Ohio where I noticed that people tended to lose their minds, in both harmless and harmful ways, over Halloween.   Halloween is a downright intense event there. People are rabid for it. They root for it and whip themselves into a frenzy like folks in other parts of the country do for football games and presidential elections.


Also, I have a precocious daughter who took ballet lessons for a while, and, for whatever reason, I was the only grown man who darkened the doorway of the dance studio.   As a parent I had access to important, hard to explain story elements – impressions, anxieties, realizations, and questions that, I’d suggest, inform not only my life, but the lives of most parents. The pride, fear, insecurity, joy, awe, embarrassment, self-loathing, wariness, and hope that Joseph experiences when observing, interacting with, or feeling the absence of his daughter comes from a place as least as real as Southeastern Ohio.


The dog?  I’ve always had one, and they’ve always treated me right.  Been lucky that way.

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