This post was written for the Fiction 500 website. You can check it out at fiction500.blogspot.com
As I sat there with the candy bowl clutched in my lap, watching Halloween re-runs, I let my mind wander.
Princess. Cat. Pirate, ninja, scarecrow. I was all of them and more. This year, a witch. My hat wobbled on my head as I wished a happy Halloween to a cherubic fairy as she came to my door. I chuckled as she raced back to her dad (who, admittedly, looked bored by the whole affair), a full size candy-bar clutched in her hand.
I watched as more came up the path. Older kids now, as it was starting to get late outside. I looked down at my grandchildren’s jack-o-lanterns with pride – they were my only decoration this year. My arthritis had been flaring up, so I hadn’t been able to spread the gossamer-thin webbing on my porch as I had in years past.
A part of me mourned its absence.
I missed Earl, my husband. He was always by my side, and we so loved this time of year. We’d watch the leaves turn, and we’d sit in as the nights turned cold, leaning against each other for warmth.
He passed away last December.
A teenager came to my door. Black ski mask, black clothing. I puzzled as to what he had dressed up as – perhaps a video game character?
It was then that I noticed the gun clutched in his adolescent hands.
Black creeped in around the edges of my vision as he shouted and waved the black monstrosity at me. And then…and then I don’t remember.
I woke to sirens. The police were investigating – my home was a mess. My television was flipped over, its face shattered into a million shreds. My couch had been flipped as well – why had he done that? I wondered.
My purse was gone. My money, my credit cards. My jewelry. Material things.
My neighbors huddled outside in the cold. I could only imagine what they were saying. I wanted to invite them into my house, into the warmth, and then I remembered – I had just been robbed.
My house was not fit for company.
And then, just as suddenly as it had happened, it was over. Everyone was gone. A police officer – I think his name was Brad – left me with a card, and his assurance that the force was on it. They’d call if they had any details.
And so, as I looked around my house, destroyed though it was, I couldn’t help but wonder to myself…
What had he dressed up as?
A teenager? A robber? What was the costume – his robber façade, or the face he wore when he saw his parents every night?
Was I his cry for help?