Thursday, October 29, 2015

All Hallows Eve

Hesitating at the corner, there was only one house remaining, Mr Wheelwright's. He had died during the summer leaving his widow alone in the rambling old mansion. They argued about whether to go there or not, then remembering the old man's kindness and handfuls of treats in the past they decided to go.

They pushed open the wrought iron gate and turned up the stone walk of the last house on the block; barely lit by the lantern porch light and the filtered moonlight. The rising wind scattered leaves about the unkempt yard and the scraggy branches of dying trees danced against the back lit clouds moving across the sky. Their hands clasped tighter together as they got nearer the old wooden porch with the broken steps. The windows of the old Victorian were dark save for one candle near the doorway illuminating the hallway beyond.

Reaching the steps they gingerly placed a foot on the first tread and rose toward the second. The old wood creaked and groaned almost as if it were in pain as they shifted their weight to the second and then the third. They held their breath for a few moments until finally reaching the porch. Suddenly the wind rose in strength extinguishing the lantern flame and sending the porch swing banging against the sagging porch handrail as the air filled with the clatter of leaves swirling around them. Hesitating they stood motionless as shadows from the hallway candle danced in front of them. Surrounded now by an ever darkening cold night, they slowly traversed the last few feet to stand at the battered screen door. Not wanting to lose touch they raised their clasped hands to the door frame together and gently knocked on the weathered wood; just once and then tensely waited for a response but none came. After a moment or two they knocked again, twice this time and with more force, again there was no response from within. Feeling a little frustrated and impatient they knocked again, louder and with more authority causing the screen door to rattle against the frame. Still there was no response from inside.

They turned toward each other and then to the steps leading off the porch when suddenly the door sprang open behind them with a shriek, an emaciated black cat bounded past them still caterwauling as it disappeared into the dark underbrush in the yard. Startled and screaming they rushed to the steps before a deep voice called from inside; “What is it you want of me?” Stopping abruptly, with a deep breath they turned back toward the doorway and stammered “Trick or treat?” their hands still tightly clasped.

“There’ll be no trickery done to me or my home, come closer to get your sweet rewards.” There was a dark cloaked figure at the door, pushing the screen barely open. A heavy aroma seemed to seep from inside filling the air around them as they cautiously retraced their steps. Holding out their sack near the opening a scrawny hand slipped from the folds of the black cloak dropping an unseen object into it. As the figure began a low cackling laugh, they turned and ran from the porch, taking the steps in a single jump. Reaching the gate they paused to look back as the cloaked figure burst into flame and then disappeared in the smoke. Out the gate and back down the street they ran, glad to be free and safe. Slowing to a walk in the darkened street they made their way homeward. Reaching into their sack hoping to find a loaf of sweet bread they found only the hard bony structure of a hand dripping slimy flesh and blood that wrapped itself tightly around theirs.

As the story is told by most there were torn pieces of their costumes found scattered along the roadway leading into the cemetery, spotted with blood and bits of flesh; unfortunate victims of wild dogs after their cache of sweets the police said. Still others claim it was the loss of souls to the dead journeying to the other world on all hallows eve…

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