I SAW MOMMY KISSING THE BOOGEY
ON ALL HALLOWS EVE
Alan Dale Dalby
Shadows of a thousand years rise again
Voices whisper in the trees, "Tonight
Their tiny footsteps crunched lightly as they
marched along the sidewalk.The fallen leaves were dead beneath
them and the pack of children showed no mercy to these victims of
the season.Some toted their plastic buckets shaped like pumpkins
with mad and anguished faces adorning them.Others carried
pillowcases full of delicious treats as they moved from one house
to the next.The smallest of the group trailed behind the others,
dragging an overstuffed pillow sack of candy that was clutched
tightly in his greedy fist.He wore the bunny costume and though
he was playing the role of caboose, he was the conductor of this
One finger shot out from the pirate and
rang the bell hanging next to the front door of the Treit
family's house.Nancy had raised her son Cody there on her own for
many years since his father had suffered a rather sudden yet
extremely belated case of cold feet and ran off with his much
younger assistant.Nancy had since met Christopher Trich, a cold
menacing man in Cody's eyes but his mother did not seem to see
it, or perhaps she simply ignored it.Christopher had moved in
with the two of them and to Cody's had managed to uproot their
happy existence and send it spiraling into chaos and
The major joke of it to the other
children was of course the battle between stepfather and son.Who
would win in the strange case of Trich or Treit?
Even stranger still was that
Christopher Trich was adamantly apposed to celebrating Halloween
in any way.Thus he left the children to wait in the cold for a
Treit that would not come out to play for he was not allowed
"Dead-eyed little freaks."Christopher
grumbled as he watched the pack of children take off at last and
leave his doorstep to bother the next house."Can't they see the
obvious signs that they aren't welcome here tonight?Don't parents
teach their children the rules of Halloween anymore?"
"What rules might those be dear?"Nancy
sat at the dining room table waiting for Christopher to make his
next move in their not-so-festive game of Scrabble.
"You don't go up to a darkened house
that has no decorations out on this of all nights and beg for
candy."He stepped past a sad looking little boy named Cody
without acknowledging him.Cody lifted his head slightly as his
stepfather returned to the dining room in order to send him an
unseen glare."It's just common safety sense, like having adults
check your candy before you unwrap it and stuff it into your
already chocolate- coated face."This mental image made
"It would be easy to light up this
house a bit you know."Nancy raised a thin black eyebrow at
him.Cody's eyes glanced up at his mother with a very brief moment
"You know how I feel about this ghastly
holiday Nancy."Christopher lowered himself slowly before
finishing the last few inches of his descent into his chair with
a thud.He looked over his letter tiles and the board to cook up
his next move.He found it in the form of four letters and a
triple word score to boot."E-V-I-L."He said aloud as he placed
"What timing."Nancy rolled her eyes at
Cody who giggled.Christopher looked from one to the other with a
severe lack of patience.
"Did I miss out on the joke?"As he
asked this their smiles faded.The doorbell rang once more.Cody
walked forward to peek out and see what costumes adorned the
children in this bunch.He spotted only one child, a very small
child.It was the same one from the last group, the one in the
bunny costume.Christopher darted for the door as Nancy
"Oh for heaven's sake Chris, can't we
spare one Snickers or maybe a handful of Junior Mints?"
"No we can't."His words came slowly and
not in the manor he usually delivered them in.He was different
somehow and Nancy could sense the change immediately.She tried to
put her finger on it but it took a few moments.Then she found the
answer she sought; Christopher Trich was scared.Not just scared,
the man was petrified.It was as contagious as a laugh, sinking to
Nancy's bones and causing a chill to rush through her.
"What is it Chris?"
"It's nothing."He lied."Just ignore it
and it will go away."
"It?That isn't a nice way to
talk."Nancy marched over to the front door and looked through the
peephole at the little brown bunny waiting for his treat."It is
just a little boy Chris."
"I'm going to lay down for a
bit."Christopher said as all of the color left his face.
"Are you sick?"Nancy's concern
"Just tired."He faked a laugh and a
grin.He kissed Nancy on the cheek and quickly retired to the
"Mommy?"Cody said it all in that one
"Don't worry sweetie."She placed her
palm on Cody's head and messed up his soft hair lovingly.Cody
smiled once more."I think I know how to get our little rabbit
Nancy left Cody in the entry hall to
search the kitchen for suitable treats.She was fresh out of
carrots but thought she might have a bar or two of dark chocolate
left over in her secret stash.As her search granted her one bar
of chocolate and a packet of cookies a bizarre thing came into
the house.The door had been opened but there was no breeze coming
through the house, that same breeze that even then Nancy could
hear tossing the porch swing about outside.There was no cold or
warmth any longer and the sound had slipped from her reality and
left her to stand in the midst of a blank nothingness.
"Cody?"The cookies and candy bar hit
the floor as Nancy returned to the entry hall.The front door was
wide open and her son was gone.Nancy darted out into the odd
weatherless night and called out to him again and again but there
was not one noise to be heard.
No noise save for the faint sound of
mumbling that came from the railing of the neighbor's
porch.Thinking it to be her son in trouble Nancy rushed over to
the sound but found herself alone still.The mumbling
continued.Nancy knew she was losing her mind as she scooped up
the tiny baby pumpkin from the railing and looked into the
painted-on eyes.They were sad eyes, poorly drawn as if by a very
When the eyebrows began to move Nancy
was certain she was either dreaming or completely mad.The sad
painted eyes tilted down and told her something as the little
pumpkin continued to mumble.Nancy thought of several things.She
asked if it knew where Cody had gone but it simply mumbled
more.She asked it to nod, but it rolled its eyes at her since it
had no body.She shouted Oil can? in extreme frustration before
the light bulb finally popped up over her head.She grabbed up the
little pumpkin and rushed it into her own kitchen through the
still open front door.Nancy slammed the poor thing down.It
squeaked upon hitting the counter.She tore through the junk
drawers and tossed random objects onto the floor before producing
a large black marker.
"Okay little pumpkin…time to speak to
me."She drew a large smile underneath the pumpkin's sad eyes and
stepped back from the counter.
"Wow.That was like pulling teeth wasn't
it?!"The pumpkin spat and shouted at her.
"Have you seen my little boy?Where did
"Look lady, I just this moment got a
mouth."He noticed it in the reflection of the microwave."A
smile?Now there is an interesting choice."
"What's wrong with a smile?"
"Well it's a bit like wearing white
after Labor Day isn't it?"The pumpkin groaned as he looked into
Nancy's blank stare."I'm a jack-o-lantern lady.We're supposed to
be scary.I look like I should be the mascot for a breakfast
cereal with little pumpkin-shaped marshmallows and maybe a
plastic toy that has no business being at the bottom of the box
when you've got little kids cramming their gullets full of the
sugary tripe and are just bound to choke to death…"
"Where is my son?!"Nancy cut the
"How should I know?"
"Oh I don't know…because you're a
"So sorry.I know you have to maintain
your dignity, um…"
"Call me Gordy."Said the sad smiling
"Gordy, I just want to find my son
Cody.He left here or was taken, I don't know."
"Did He come to your door tonight by
any chance?"Gordy sounded apprehensive about this He.
"I don't know who you are talking
about."Said a very panicked and flustered Nancy.
"The boy in the bunny costume.Did He
come to your door tonight?"
"I figured that was the case."Gordy
stopped to think and wobbled a bit on the counter as if shaking
his head (though that was all he was)."I'm afraid your son has
been eaten then.Shall we watch some old movies?I love anything
with jack-o-lanterns in it."
"Or just pumpkins.As long as they
aren't being kicked or smashed.I abhor that sort of horrific and
"What do you mean Cody has been
"Oh that…yes I am afraid that is what
"I told you already.The boy in the
bunny costume."Gordy rolled his eyes.
"Well you are going to take me to this
boy so I can get my son back."
"After he has been eaten?"Gordy tried
to convey that he was shaking his head."I don't really see the
good that would do.I was serious about the movie though."
"Come on."Nancy grabbed Gordy and
carted him back outside.She stopped at the porch and looked
around.There was nothing outside.It was like an empty street from
a Hollywood set."Where has everyone gone?"
"You sure do seem to lose a lot of
people.That's a nasty habit that I would try my best to break if
I were you."
"Shut up please."Nancy walked to the
sidewalk and stopped."Which way did they go?"
"How should I know?"Gordy
"Stop being so fussy and tell me which
way bunny boy took my Cody."
"I'm no good with directions.I have a
hard time seeing anything that isn't flat in front of my face you
"Then how do we find them?"Nancy was
"Oh stop the blubbering already and ask
one of the skeletons."
"Any skeletons!"Gordy grunted as if to
say that Nancy was an idiot."Skeletons are extremely good with
directions of course."
"Of course."Nancy shook her head.She
spotted a pair of hanging skeletons across the street and ran
over to them.
The vinyl bones were glowing in the
darkness.One of the skeletons seemed to be smiling a horridly
happy grin.The other was frowning somehow with its expressionless
teeth.Nancy felt foolish once more as she stood in front of the
"Are you going to ask them or are we
going to stand here all night long?"Gordy grumped.
"Who's standing little man?"The smiling
skeleton spoke."I don't see any legs on you but I know where you
can buy a pair real cheap."
"Don't start again."Said the frowning
"Oh leave me be you grouch.It's not
like you're using them at the moment now is it?"
"I still want to keep them."Said the
"What for?Do you have a marathon run
later on or something?"
"No but I'd look rather silly wouldn't
I?Up here with no legs to speak of…"
"I'm sorry to bother you but have you
seen two little boys leaving my house tonight?"Nancy chimed in at
last.She was staring at the pelvis of the smiling
"Hey lady, my eyes are up here."The
smiling skeleton quipped.
"What eyes are you talking about
now?"Said the frowning skeleton.
"Oh shut your jabber-jaw and let the
"Cody is my son and he has gone missing
you see."Nancy said.
"He was eaten."Gordy said."By Him."The
two skeletons gasped in unison.
"I am so sorry to hear that young
lady."Said the frowning skeleton.
"Maybe if you find Him you can get
yourself a pair of legs from the boy, eh pumpkin?"The smiling
skeleton rattled his teeth.
"Don't tease the poor flesh-pile."Said
the frowning skeleton.
"I think it's better that we be honest
don't you pumpkin?"Asked the smiling skeleton.
"I'm a jack-o-lantern."
"Of course you are pumpkin."
"Excuse me but can you just tell me
which way my son went?"Nancy interrupted.
"Probably south."Said the smiling
"South?"Nancy looked to the south and
spotted her own house.
"Yes.Down the gullet…"
"Knock that off I said!"The frowning
skeleton barked."They went down the street my dear."
"Which direction?"Nancy asked.
"Down."The frowning skeleton saw
Nancy's irritation and began to sway.It threw up its right arm
then let it swing back to its side."That way dear."
"Thank you!"Nancy headed off down the
street in the direction the frowning skeleton had pointed her
"Well that was very odd I must
say."Nancy whispered to Gordy.
"I know."Gordy said."You'd think a
skeleton of all things would recognize the difference between a
pumpkin and a jack-o-lantern."
"Yes Gordy, that is exactly what I
meant when I said that was very odd."Nancy's sarcasm was lost on
the little pumpkin.Still cradling him like a puppy, or a stack of
books…a very annoying and daft stack of books she thought…Nancy
headed to the end of Oakwood Drive and was now off of her
"Where to now?"Gordy asked.
"I have no idea."Nancy sniffled.She
called out Cody's name but he did not respond.Nobody responded to
her cries save for a rowdy trio of carved and rather large
pumpkins.They spotted her and Gordy from their place at the edge
of a nearby yard and were laughing up a storm at poor Gordy's
"What do we have here gents?It looks
like about enough of a squash to make a cup of soup out of."Said
the largest of the three jack-o-lanterns.
"Just ignore these guys."Gordy said
"And then what?"Nancy said."No, we are
going to ask them which way Cody and that little bunny brat
"Yeah but these guys aren't going to
know anything.Their heads are full of mush."
"What was that little pumpkin?"Asked
the largest of the three jack-o-lanterns."How is it that my head
is full of mush?Me and my lads here have been scooped-out as you
can see.We're the genuine article, unlike some poor art projects
that are currently in our presence."
"Yeah and I hope whoever scooped you
out is baking up your seeds as we speak!"Gordy snapped.
"How dare you!"The second largest
jack-o-lantern spoke in a deep gravelly voice."Those are my
unborn children you are wishing such a horrid fate upon."
"Okay, sorry.I admit that I was out of
line now can we just move on with this?"
"Apology accepted little pumpkin."Said
the second largest."After all, it is a comfort to know that they
won't uproot and get plucked early like you!"All three of the
jack-o-lanterns laughed at Gordy.Nancy could feel him shaking in
"Okay Nancy set me down.I want a piece
of these punks."
"You already are just a piece of me you
little squash!"Said the largest jack-o-lantern as the trio
continued to laugh.Nancy noticed that the third was smallest but
it might only have been due to the fact that he was soggy and
"Don't stare at poor Gary love."Said
the second largest."He's old and not quite right in the stem if
you catch my meaning."
Gary howled and spat and laughed some more.
"What's wrong with him?"Nancy afforded
one non-Cody-finding question to send some politeness out into
"I'd say he got carved too early."Said
"And I'd say shut your mouth but I
think it was drawn in permanent ink."The second largest
"Just put me back in the patch so I can
see the trains again."Gary spoke in a dull voice that was hard to
"The poor fellow is a complete mess as
you can plainly see."Said the second largest.
"Not even burning the candle at one end
these days."Said the largest.
"I'm sorry to hear that."Nancy
"So you've lost your lad have you
miss?"Asked the largest.
"He was eaten."Gordy said.
"If you say that one more time Gordy I
swear I will leave you here with your friends!"Nancy looked up at
the larger pumpkins and smiled."No offense intended."
"None taken dear."Said the second
"I did see a young lad heading off down
the street earlier.I thought it odd since he was dressed in, I
can't even describe the clothing…very unusual though."Said the
"Was it a blue shirt and brown
"The colors match."Said the largest
jack-o-lantern."Ah but he was off with that little troublemaker
"The boy in the bunny costume?"Nancy
was actually hopeful to hear a yes.
"That's the one."Said the largest.Gordy
wanted to say something that he had said before but Nancy held
him at arm's length and glared.He managed to keep his drawn-on
mouth shut."They headed down towards the old cornfield if I'm not
"Oh thank you so much!"Nancy said
before rushing away from the trio of jack-o-lanterns and off
toward the field at the edge of the neighborhood.
The cornfield was lit by the moon,
unnaturally bright and overly eerie.Nancy could feel something as
she slowly took her first step into the withering expanse.It
wasn't the crunching of the decaying stalks underneath her feet
or the lingering scent of dead roughage surrounding her; it was
"Are you shivering?"She asked
"I most certainly am not."He said in a
voice that was slightly shaken.
"We probably should go back to those
other jack-o-lanterns though."Gordy said."You wouldn't want them
to think me a coward would you?"
"Not at all Gordy."Nancy said as she
caught sight of a tall figure near the center of the field."So
you are going to prove that you are no such thing by staying with
displeased.Nancy made her way over to the tall figure, hearing a
voice coming from it before she realized what it was.
The scarecrow was old and savagely
weather-warn, not to mention extremely creepy.One button eye had
been plucked out of its grinning face, and the stitches that gave
it a mouth had been worked on by the same bandits.The hat it wore
looked like a Fedora straight out of a classic gangster
film.Nancy imagined it being captured on screen in brilliant
silver tones, not the dull absent colors of the fall as it
appeared to her now.
"We welcome you Nancy.What a Treit it
is to have you here this evening."There was an overly pleased
smile in the high voice that spilled across the deserted
field.Nancy took a deep breath and exhaled, speaking as she did
directly into the scarred face of the scarecrow.
"I'm here to find my son.Kindly tell me
where he is and I will be on my way."
"What are you talking to him for?"The
high voice squawked at her.A large black bird with patches of
white turned its body around to face Nancy.It was perched on the
narrow left shoulder of the scarecrow, moving its head from side
to side to get a good look at her.Its eyes were glossy black
pearls that reflected glints of moonlight."I'm the one you should
be speaking to."
"My apologies."Nancy turned her focus
to the bird.
"Scarecrows ain't got no brains to
speak of Nancy."Said the bird."That should be obvious enough to
"No brain is better than a birdbrain
Magpie."Gordy spoke up.
"How dare you speak to me that way!"The
bird scolded."Such a nasty little tongue you've got on you
"I am a jack-o-lantern."Gordy slowly
spoke as if reading the words to a small child.
"Then you should be able to plainly see
that I am a crow.I have dominated my tormentor at long last and
you will not come to steal my victory away from me."The magpie
pecked at the face of the scarecrow, ripping more of the
stitching that was its mouth.
"I've always hated scarecrows."Nancy
blurted out this truth before she realized what she was
"Good for you young Nancy."The magpie
said."My enemy's friend is not my enemy you know."The bird
twitched and cawed.
"I think you need to rethink those
words Magpie."Gordy said.
"And I think you need a good scooping
to get all of the mush out of your mind friend."
"I'm not your friend Magpie."
"And I'm not your magpie
"Please stop it!"Nancy broke up the
squabble."Mister, um, Crow is it?"
"Yes it is indeed; The Fearless Crow,
conqueror of his tormentor and friend of his enemy's friends."The
bird started to trail off and lost track of his thoughts as he
went back to pecking at the face of the scarecrow.
"I admire your courage Crow, and I ask
for your help in finding my son now."
"He's bonkers Nancy.Let's go talk to
one of the cornstalks instead."Before Gordy could finish
speaking, the bird was upon him.It slammed its angry beak into
his crisp orange flesh over and over.Nancy panicked and dropped
Gordy to the ground, falling backwards as he flew from her
arms.The magpie who called himself Crow flew back up to his perch
on the shoulder of the scarecrow.
"I have bested the pumpkin.Three cheers
for The Fearless Crow!"
"Nancy!"Gordy sounded panicked as he
cried out to her.His voice was slightly muffled as he had rolled
to a halt face-down."Nancy I need you!"
"I am sorry Nancy.That was rather rude
of me but your little friend has no manners to speak of as you
can plainly see."
"So I have noticed."Nancy said as she
stood and brushed herself off."Listen, my son's name is Cody and
I am very desperate to find him right now.Can you please help me
brave and fearless one?"
"Is he the little green apple-headed
fellow that floats?"Asked the magpie who called himself
Crow.Nancy had no idea what he was speaking of but then, nothing
that this bird said was ever quite on track it seemed.
"No.He is a little boy, like a shorter
version of me that is wearing a blue shirt and brown
"That's an awfully odd way to dress now
"Nancy!"Gordy shouted once more.
"I suppose it is Crow."Nancy said as
she crossed her arms and bit her lower lip."He was seen by some,
um, other pumpkins just up the road walking with a little boy in
a bunny costume.
"You mean He?"Asked the magpie who
called himself Crow.
"Him!"Shouted Gordy in his muffled
"Oh my dear Nancy I am afraid that your
little apple-headed fellow has been eaten."
"That's what I keep telling her!"Gordy
"He does keep on saying that, but I
think you are speaking of someone else Crow.Have you seen the
"Of course I have, what a silly
"Was he alone or did he have a friend
"I can't assume that he was a friend
but yes, there was a fellow with him."
"Wonderful Crow.Which way did they
"Oh that is quite simple Nancy.I would
simply show you the way but I cannot leave my bested tormentor
you see…lest he return to life and get the better of me."
"I understand Crow.Can you just tell me
where they went?"
"Certainly.Just have a look."Said the
magpie who called himself Crow.
"I don't, um…look where?!"
"Calm down Nancy.Just blink, place your
backside in the spot where your frontside is now and open your
Nancy did as she was instructed to
do.When she opened her eyes once more she saw something that had
not been in the cornfield before.She turned back to face the
magpie who called himself Crow and thanked him.She was tempted to
leave Gordy behind but felt badly at this prospect.She grabbed
him and carted him off with her toward the rather large stone
structure now standing in the distance.
"Oh I don't think this is where we want
to go Nancy."
"Hush Gordy or so help me I will toss
you back into the cornfield."
"Please don't!"Gordy trembled more
obviously this time."All of those dead stalks…I can't stand
Nancy reached the back of the structure
and moved around it until she found the front.The faded lettering
adorning the mausoleum read Here Lies Him.Nancy took a deep
breath and stepped up to the rusty locked gate.She placed a hand
on it while shifting Gordy completely to one arm.She shook the
gate, feeling the resistance as it slammed against the
padlock.Nancy screamed as she dropped Gordy once more.He too
screamed as he rolled along the crisp corpses of the dead
cornstalks.Nancy grabbed the gate with both hands, the feel of
grime in her hands as her palms slipped against the metal
"This can't be happening!"Nancy
shouted."Let me in!"
"Nancy help me!"Gordy yelled.Nancy
dropped her head and saw a pool of tears spill to the stained
stone step at her knees.She looked back up as she heard the
jingling of keys and spotted a large loop of them floating freely
behind the gate.Nancy reached out and tried to take the keys but
they darted out of reach as if someone had pulled them away from
"It's not polite to be so grabby with
other peoples' things you know."Came a deep and utterly
unidentifiable voice.Nancy watched the keys move on their own,
one slid into the padlock and popped it open.The lock lifted and
dropped.Nancy felt herself tumble back as the gate gave and swung
open.She released her grip and reached out her hand.She felt
something very cold wrap around her fingers.The phantom hand
pulled her to her feet.
"Thank you."Nancy sniffled.
"Don't thank me just yet."Said the
voice."I think you will want to come inside now, if you are still
determined to find your son."
"Yes."Nancy did not hesitate to follow
the voice after her hand was set free of the icy grip.Gordy was
still screaming and begging for her to come pick him up.Nancy
felt for his predicament but had her own problem to solve.The
gate to the mausoleum closed behind her.She felt the light take
its leave with the moon as the world begin to flip over onto its
"I hope you have a strong stomach."Said
the voice.Nancy simply nodded and waited for the ride to come to
a complete stop.
"Are you Him?"She asked softly.
"No I am not."The voice took offense to
her question."I am simply your literal spirit guide.Not a guide
for your spirit see, but a spirit who is here to guide
"I see."Nancy said."Thank you."
"Just doing my job."
The world became level once more and
Nancy could see the light from the moon returning to her through
the opening to the mausoleum.The gate opened once more and the
voice guided her out into the cornfield.It was still the same as
before but quite different somehow.The night was not as bright as
it had been as she walked out into the field.It was now lit only
by the moon.There were no houses in her sight but one.None of the
other houses seemed to be there anymore.Her neighborhood was
blank but for her own house.It was so obvious from the orange
glow of the lights and decorations that adorned it.Very beautiful
Nancy thought to herself.
She spotted the scarecrow and the
magpie who called himself Crow.She saw Gordy laying on the ground
and picked him up.He felt solid and cold.He did not speak to
her.His face was frozen, stuck in the pose that had been drawn on
by the neighbors and herself.She carried him with her anyway.It
was comforting to have him back in her arms.The magpie squawked
angrily at her as she passed by the scarecrow.There was no
bravery or kindness in his voice.He pecked at the scarecrow from
his perch, which was now on the right shoulder.
The three jack-o-lanterns sat where
they had been, only in reverse order and without a yard or house
to decorate.The entire lay of the land was soft soil outside of
the cornfield.Nancy made her way to her house and placed Gordy
down on the porch underneath two decorative skeletons.One smiled
and the other frowned as she passed them and stepped onto the
porch.The lights encasing her front door were brilliant.She had
not felt so truly at home in many years.She tried to open the
door but it was locked.She extended a thin finger and pressed it
to the button that rang the bell.
The latch popped and the door slowly
The little boy in the bunny costume
stood there and stared at her.He was waiting for her to speak.She
forgot her lines and let her mouth speak independently of
"Trick or Treat."She said.The boy
smiled and giggled.He ran into the house letting the door swing
open in his wake.Nancy followed the boy inside and closed the
door behind her.She admired the walls, and the handmade crafts
that hung from them now.Repeat cuttings of little ghosts and
black cats separated only by the folds in the construction paper
between them caused Nancy to smile.She felt the warmth of the
candles and of the fireplace as she came back into her home.The
flames cleansed her of the chill in her bones.She had not noticed
the return of the weather to the night until that moment.
In the kitchen where the Scrabble game
had been on the tabletop sat two large pumpkins that had already
been hollowed out.Nancy spotted the boy in the bunny costume
taking his seat across from another boy wearing a shiny clown
suit and a mask.It was Cody; she would recognize her son in any
disguise.She rushed over to him and grabbed his shoulders.She
placed her chin on his soft head and looked down at the pumpkin
he was working on.Cody carefully drew the face on, a scary
grinning face that seemed to be a proper face for a
jack-o-lantern to have.
"I've been looking all over for you
young man."She finally said.
"We were just in here working on our
"I can see that."She noticed the little
boy in the bunny costume.He smiled at her and giggled.She smiled
"What is your friend's name?"
"That's Christopher."Cody said as if
she should have known this fact well.Nancy looked again at Him
and saw what she had been missing about the boy's face, the
familiarity that had been there all along.It was indeed
Christopher, Her Christopher, but he was a little boy and not the
grown man who shared her bed.
"Hello."Nancy said to Him.
"Hi."Christopher said without taking
his eyes off of his own pumpkin.Now there was a feeling once more
of things being off, not quite right.Nancy no longer felt that
she was truly at home.The usual feeling returned to her of the
lonely house and the stranger that lived there with her and
"I think it's time to go home now
Cody."Nancy said.She tugged at her son's arm but he fought
"We are home mommy!"
"No Cody.Something is not right here.We
need to leave now."She lifted him out of his chair.He squealed
and flailed his arms and kicked with full force, landing several
harsh blows into her ribs."Stop it Cody!"
"I'm not done with my pumpkin mommy!"He
"Let him go Nancy."Christopher stood
and glared at her.Nancy saw more of her own Christopher in the
child's eyes now.They were not as bright or innocent anymore.They
were dark and hollow, and bitter.
"What happened to you?"She asked
Him.Christopher stomped his little bunny foot and caused the
entire house to shake.The floorboards cracked and split, jutting
upwards as the house enveloped itself and spat the three of them
into the empty world outside.
There in the cold darkness, a single
light appeared.It bobbed up and down as the image of two young
boys appeared.One of them was Christopher, still in his bunny
costume.She looked for the other Him and found that he was still
at her side near Cody.The three of them watched as the image of
Christopher and another little boy approached an old stone well
that had sprouted up from the soft ground.The other Christopher
took the large metal flashlight from the other boy, the boy who
was dressed in felt as a little green dragon.The other boy
climbed up onto the rim of the well.The other Christopher held
the flashlight to his face, lending to it terrifying shadows as
he grinned and wiggled his little bunny nose.
The other boy froze and began to
cry.Christopher, the other Christopher, dropped the sack of candy
he had collected and rushed the boy in the dragon costume,
roaring as he did.The boy lost his grip and fell down into the
depths of the well.
Nancy covered Cody's eyes as the grisly
memory finished playing out.
The screams of the little boy in the
dragon costume faded into nothing.The other Christopher dropped
the flashlight and backed away with fear in his eyes.He took off
in a mad run leaving his pillow sack behind at first, then
grabbing it to make sure that he kept the evidence with him.Dark
plotting for such a young boy thought Nancy.He took the
flashlight and tossed it down the well.The light vanished as the
image of the other Christopher ran off into the darkness.
Nancy turned her head to see that the Christopher
standing near to her and Cody was no longer the little boy in the
bunny costume, but now the grown man that shared her bed each
night.The restlessness and thrashing, the night terrors, it all
made sense to her now.
As did his opposition to any
celebration of Halloween.
"Let's go home now Cody."Nancy picked
her son up once more and cradled his weight close to
her.Christopher stood and watched them leave, somehow managing to
convey sadness and remorse with his dark empty eyes.Nancy found
her way back to the mausoleum and rattled the old rusty gate.As
the floating keys appeared once more she looked back into the
distance where her house had once stood.There was now only a
well, and a little boy in a bunny costume left standing near it,
looking down into it for the lost friend that had vanished so
many years before.
"A return trip is a rare thing you
know."The ghostly voice from the mausoleum said."I suggest that
you don't dottle."
Nancy took Cody into the mausoleum and
waited as the ride began again.The world spun around onto its
head and they landed in one piece back where they had
started.Nancy stepped out of the tomb and thanked her spirit
guide for his help.He in turn thanked her though she was not sure
why.She watched as the old discolored structure sank back into
the cornfield.As it left her world Nancy spotted the gothic
lettering on the top.It had changed.
It now simply read Fare Well, a rather
dark pun to say the least thought Nancy.
Cody yawned and rubbed his eyes as
Nancy lowered him down to his feet.She smiled at his shiny clown
costume, the mask now hanging over his back like a tiny plastic
"Can we go home now mommy?"He asked
Nancy just smiled and ruffled his hair.She took his hand
an led him across the cornfield.She looked at the old scarecrow
and noticed the magpie who called himself Crow was back on the
left shoulder, but he did not speak to her.He went about his
business, thwarting his defeated tormentor forevermore.Nancy
chuckled at the thought.
They passed a trio of jack-o-lanterns
near the edge of a neighbor's lawn.Only one candle was still
lit.It was Gary's candle.His soggy sagging smile caught her
eye.She smiled back and continued walking with Cody in tow.They
returned to Oakwood Drive.
The two skeletons across the street
danced in the autumn breeze.The one that frowned found its legs
to be dancing magnificently as she and Cody walked up onto their
own yard.Nancy made sure her son was not looking and waved at
On the front porch Cody spotted a tiny
pumpkin with a painted-on face watching them as they returned
home.He had sad eyes and an awkward smile.Cody took the one and
only decoration and cradled it in his arms.He looked up at his
mother as he petted the baby pumpkin's smooth skin.
"Can I carve this one mommy?"Cody
"You know I think that would be a great
idea Cody.That little pumpkin deserves to be a proper
Once Cody had finished transforming
Gordy into a proper jack-o-lantern, with a scary face and sharp
grin, Nancy put the boy to bed and tucked him in as tightly as
she could.In the now empty house she found no trace of
Christopher.Nancy felt at home once again, truly at home.She
found a candle of the size that would make a mighty large
jack-o-lantern shine its brightest and placed it inside of
Gordy.She took him outside and grabbed a long-stemmed fireplace
lighter on her way.She stopped by the trio of jack-o-lanterns and
placed Gordy by Gary's side.She lit the little jack-o-lantern up
and watched the flames dance as they brought his powerful grin
and wicked eyes to full life.
"Thanks Gordy."Nancy said before
walking back home.
The foursome waited until they heard
her lock the front door.
"Oh don't look so smug little
pumpkin!"Said the largest of the jack-o-lanterns in a friendly
"Sticks and stones old man."Gordy said
proudly as he felt the mighty candle burning within his hollowed
The four jack-o-lanterns continued to
banter on into the night, annoying the dancing skeletons and
distracting the fearless magpies that called themselves
Crow.Gentle silence rocked young Cody Treit to sleep, his mind
full of wonder and his dreams flooded with plans for what he
would be on Halloween the next year, and the year after
HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO
AND TO ALL A CREEPY