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Knight of Dreams

Under the Moon, Under the Earth

Work in Progress

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Until 1997, when Shelley became pregnant with our first child, Drake, Shelley and I would get together every Halloween for a party with our friends. These were not your typical Halloween Parties. The guests wore tuxedoes and gowns, and ate a gourmet dinner at a remote (preferably haunted) Bed & Breakfast; the price of admission was a short story. Every year, our friends would submit their stories two weeks in advance of the party, and Shelley and I would send them off, after removing the author's name, to be judged by several friends who would not be able to attend. The night of the party, after the gourmet dinner, we would all sit together around a fire and take turns reading our stories. At the end of the evening, we would open sealed envelopes to find out who had won the prize - a gargoyle - for the best story. Shelley won the contest twice over the six years. The stories found here were all read at the Halloween parties. Two, "Under the Moon, Under the Earth" and "Knight of Dreams," won her the gargoyle. "Knight of Dreams" was, no doubt, inspired by the impending birth of our son, Drake.

The contest and these stories are the inspiration behind the creative writing awards the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation has endowed at George Mason University (her alma mater) and Hampden-Sydney College (my alma mater), at our respective high schools: Oakton High School and Morgantown High School, University High School (Morgantown, WV), Lackey High School (Charles County, MD), and The Douglass School (Leesburg, VA). The Foundation's goal is to stimulate students to be creative, especially those who would not ordinarily compete in a short story contest. It was our experience that our Halloween stories enriched our lives and made us aware of the heights of our creative potential.

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