'Halloween is coming!
Guess what you may spy…
Witches in the sky!'
Oh, the wonders of Halloween! As a child I was blessed with imaginative and fun-loving older siblings who made Halloween a deliciously scary holiday for us kids. It would start at the beginning of October with us ransacking the back of closets and trunks in the basement for the perfect costumes. It had to be something different every year.
And trying out the make-up! A little girl’s dream. It was the one day out of the year we were allowed to wear it. I was very young, remember.
The excitement would build every day as we carved pumpkins and listened to the ‘Haunted Mansion’ record over and over. My sister would whisper ‘Little Orphan Annie’ stories in our ears. Shivers of delighted fear ran down our spines.
I dreamed of the candy we’d gather, spreading it out on the living room floor in a wave of color to make sure it was safe to eat. We’d then do the big trade for our favorite ones.
Finally, the big day would arrive with its long hours at school. The rushing home and trying to eat dinner, when all we wanted to do was put on our costumes and go!
Oh, we lived in the perfect neighborhood! Ours wasn’t the only front lawn converted into a graveyard and had haunting music playing at the door. Houses perched on little hills with long steep stairs to the doorway. The whispers of other children hidden by the bushes of neighboring houses added to the eerie silence. The cool night and the smell of pumpkins and caramel corn on the air were so chillingly delicious.
These delightful childhood memories are what brought me to write my little ghost story ‘Trials of a Lonely Specter’. I wanted to capture that delicious shiver of fear down the spine and the smile at the end of a successful haunt.
Trials of a Lonely Specter
‘How does one tell a ghost he’s not really dead?’
Quinn frowned at the crumbling gate house of the manor, unsure of why Liam had brought him there. Then again, he shouldn’t be surprised by anything his partner did.
“Let’s go in.”
Quinn hushed the voice in his head. “I’m thinking.”
He jumped slightly when Liam materialized at his side. He tried to hold onto his annoyance but couldn’t stay mad for long when the other grinned in that attractive way.
The man threw an arm across his shoulders, waving a languid hand at the decrepit building. “Can’t you make up your mind inside? It’s getting dark.”
Quinn glanced behind them at the lonely driveway. He shivered when he saw the shadows creeping from under the trees. Shrubs overran the flowerbeds and weeds grew between the closely fitted flagstones of the walkway. He couldn’t understand why Liam always had to choose the scariest places to haunt.
“It’ll be darker inside,” he hinted to the apparition.
Liam slid his arm from his shoulders and sauntered up to the wooden door sagging on its hinges. He wiggled his fingers and a bluish light filled the house, spilling out from between the slats of the broken shutters.
“Show-off,” Quinn muttered as he joined him at the front entrance. The door felt solid under his hands. He gave it a nudge, testing its stability.
Watching him, Liam put his chin on his shoulder. “Give it a shove.”
“Why don’t you?”
He regretted the words instantly when Liam’s eyes flashed.
“I’m sorry. Don’t be mad,” he said, but Liam had glanced aside, hiding his expression. Quinn felt like a brute, knowing his friend’s manifestation had no substance. He took out his frustration on the door, putting a shoulder to it. He pushed, and stumbled across the threshold when the ancient latch unexpectedly gave way. Dust filled the air and he sneezed several times.
Liam swept passed him, his skin luminescent in the pulsing blue light he’d created. Quinn watched enviously as he crossed the hallway and glided up the swaying staircase. His own efforts to get an aura only resulted in dim blobs that people dismissed as figments of their imagination.
His friend’s glowing figure disappeared through the door at the top of the landing, and he hurried after him. His foot caught on a loose board as he entered the room and his dignity was bruised as he sprawled on his face. Liam’s amused laughter did nothing to help.
He climbed to his feet and stalked towards a mirror, the only item of furniture in the room propped against the wall. . He scowled at the mottled surface. “May I go home now?”