The Halloween Spirit

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Every Halloween, the homes on Brick Lane are transformed into picturesque array of orange and black decoration. Families filled with Halloween spirit meticulously and strategically decorate their front yards for the pint-size ghosts, goblins, and witches who come looking for sweet treats. However, there is one house on the block that every boy and girl knows to stay far away from on All Hollow’s Eve.

Submitted: October 17, 2012

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Submitted: October 17, 2012

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Every Halloween, the homes on Brick Lane are transformed into picturesque array of orange and black decoration.  Families filled with Halloween spirit meticulously and strategically decorate their front yards for the pint-size ghosts, goblins, and witches who come looking for sweet treats.However, there is one house on the block that every boy and girl knows to stay far away from on All Hollow’s Eve. 

Situated between the brightly decorated homes is the residence of old man Wrigley.  There are no carved pumpkins on his doorstep, no creepy skeletons in the front yard; just dead leaves from the autumn trees scattered about.  Old man Wrigley’s home is grey and cold, a house void of spirit and life.The aura it emits is frighteningly dark compared with the lighthearted Halloween cheer radiating throughout the neighborhood, and no one dare rings the bell of this creepy house.

There are stories about the mysterious man that inhabits the large grey house.  Some of the children say old man Wrigley is a boogieman that feeds on the flesh of children.  Others recite the horrific tale of a lone trick-or-treater that knocked on his door one fateful Halloween never to be seen again.  They say the boy was chopped to pieces and is buried in Wrigley’s front lawn.  If you search hard enough, the children believe, you will discover the boy’s bloodied Nike’s at the foot of the rickety porch.

Of course nothing they say about old man Wrigley is true.  Walter Wrigley is not a monster; he’s a small, frail man haunted by his own demons.  A lonely soul, Walter does not like to socialize with others, at least not since the death of his wife Judith some 50 years ago.  Before the passing of his wife, Walter was a vibrant, happy man teeming with love in his heart.  Judith was the best thing to ever happen to him and he couldn’t wait to start a family with his one true soul mate.  Regrettably, this was to never be.  Judith was taken before Walter could know the joy of children.Since the fatal accident, Walter has become a cold, bitter shadow of his former self.

Halloween is always the most difficult night of the year for Walter because it is the anniversary of the tragic accident that tore the love of his life from his heart.  On a chilly, rainy Halloween night, the happy newlyweds were returning from a family visit.  Walter was driving along a slick stretch of road, anxious to get his wife into the warm confines of their new home.  Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a young trick-or-treater appeared in the headlights of the massive automobile.  “Look out!” Judith screamed. 

Walter swerved to avoid hitting the child and the Buick skidded along the pavement.  Unable to regain control of the car, it spun around and slammed into a tree.  Judith was thrown through the windshield and died instantly.  In someway, so did Walter.

To this day, Walter cannot get the horrific image of his beautiful wife covered in blood and shards of glass out of his head.  Even when he looks at photographs from their wedding album, he does not have the strength to appreciate her beautiful smile without recalling the way her body laid twisted and broken on top of his automobile. 

This is why Halloween is such a terrible night for Walter.  And on this particular Halloween, it is even harder for him to cope with his loss, as it is 50 years to the day that Judith was taken from him.  Each Halloween Walter dusts off the old record player and listens to Glen Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade.”  Over and over.  They shared their very first kiss to this song when they met in the war.  He was a tough nosed soldier and she was a timid young girl working as a military nurse.

Sitting in the living room listening to the record, Walter closes his eyes and tries to remember the way she looked that night.  If he thinks hard enough he can picture her blond curly hair flowing down her soft white skin, and her big, beautiful blue eyes.Outside, the laughter of children breaks his concentration and Walter shakes his head in disgust.  He plays the song once more but can’t get the image of her back in his head. 

Getting ready for sleep, Walter is startled by the sound of his doorbell ringing.  He ignores it at first, but it does not stop. 

“Go away,” he shouts through the door.

“Trick-or-treat,” a young soft voice calls back.

Walter is confused.  No one has approached his house on Halloween in years. 

“I said go away.”  He tries to sound angry but hears sadness in his own voice.

“I have a treat for you Walter Wrigley.”

At the sound of the voice, Walter’s body begins to tremble.  He reaches for the doorknob but can’t get up the nerve to open the door and come face to face with the person on the other side. 

“Who…who is it?”

“It’s your soul mate,” the voice whispers back.

Walter slowly opens the door and comes face to face with a young girl wearing a nurse uniform, the same uniform that his precious Judith had worn the very first night they met. 

“My dear, dear Walter,” the young girl says in an all too familiar voice.  She flashes him an innocent little smile.  Upon seeing and hearing the girl Walter drops to his knees.

“Judith?” He barely manages to get the name out of his hoarse voice.  He feels his heart beating fast and shakes his head in disbelief.

“It can’t be.”

“I’ve come for you Walter,” she says, gently extending her little arm.  “I’ve come to give you new life.”

“No, you’re just a little girl.  You are not my Judith!  You can’t be,” he says.

She lowers the plastic pumpkin that’s filled with chocolates and looks down at the floor in embarrassment.  “It is me, just not the way you remember.  But look into my eyes and your heart will give you the answer.”

Upon staring into the little girl’s big, blue eyes, Walter begins to cry.  Instantly he is taken back to the first time he laid eyes on her and he knows it is his Judith.

She touches Walter on his boney shoulder.  “Why have you shut your heart from the rest of the world Walter?”

“I, I don’t know,” he struggles to put words together.  “I missed you so much.  I didn’t want to go on without you by my side.”

“I was always with you Walter. I was alive in your heart.”  She puts her hand to his chest. 

“I’ve never forgiven myself for that night.”  Crying, he puts his head on her little shoulder and hugs her tightly.  “I’m so sorry Judith, I am so sorry.  Please forgive me!”

“I’m not mad at you.  I’ve never been mad at you.”  Judith helps Walter to his feet. “You can not be at peace until you truly believe you are not the reason for my death.”

Walter clears his throat and wipes his tears from his wrinkled face. “I know it wasn’t my fault, I’ve just been selfish.  I was just so mad that you were taken from me and I always wondered, why me?  What did I do to deserve this?”

Staring down at her bright eyed face and her chubby red cheeks, he smiles.  “You look so happy.”

“I am Walter,” she says.  “And now we can finally be happy together.”

Confused, Walter asks what she means. 

“I’ve come to bring you to the other side.  Are you ready to take this journey with me?”

“You mean you and I can…can be together again?”

“Together forever,” she says with a big smile.

Judith takes Walter’s hand.  “Don’t be nervous.”

“I love you Judith,” Walter says with the last breath of air in his lungs.

On this Halloween night, for the first time in a long long time, two young children walk out of old man Wrigley’s house hand in hand, laughing and smiling.


© Copyright 2019 MikeGoldberg. All rights reserved.

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