Standing on the porch, puffing as he held the lit match to the tobacco packed into his pipe, Samuel got the pipe going, and upon extinguishing the match with the shake of his wrist, tossed it and examined his pocket watch. Sixteen minutes to midnight.
Tommy awoke slowly, his eyes heavy, but the boy was able to open them, his first sight the wall opposite the window with the shadows of all his toys casted upon it. Yawning, rolling over, Tommy smiled as he looked to the window. Moonlight spilling through open shades, the boys eyes closed as sleep attempted to overtake him again, but the boy had a spurt of curiosity.
Looking to the windowsill, there was something sitting there. Sitting up slowly, letting out another yawn, Tommy made his tired way to the window, to a piece of candy sitting there, one that he didn’t remember placing on the wooden windowsill, assuming that his Grandpa Sammy had done the deed for him.
Picking up the piece of chocolate, examining it, Tommy almost unwrapped it and ate it, but then he remembered rule number three. Holding it, looking around the room, in the shadowed corner, a faint glimmer caught his curious eye. Squinting, looking closer, Tommy smiled, unafraid and held his hand out with the piece of candy in his palm as an offering. Just as it was meant to be.
“Here you go Mr. Twix,” Tommy said, pronouncing the Others name incorrectly, but the child was unafraid. He adhered to the rules of All Hallows Night, he had nothing to be afraid of. “Well, it’s your piece of candy. Take it.”
Reaching out from the shadow, a black sleeved arm, to which a faded yellow hand attached with black razor nails pinched the candy between forefinger and thumb, taking it from the boy’s hand. Pulling back into the shadow, the face of the Other peeked from the dark into the moonlight, just enough for Mr. Twisp to give the boy a head nod.
“Your welcome. And happy Halloween.” Waving, the boy climbed back into bed, shutting his eyes for just a second, his eyelids growing heavy again with sleep. Upon opening them for the last time for the night, the glimmer was gone from the shadowy corner, “Mr. Twix” having made his exit of the boy’s room. “Nighty night Mr. Twix.” And with that, Tommy was back to sleep to dream what little boys dream about.
Checking his pocket watch again, puffing on his pipe, there was only eleven minutes left till the end of another Halloween. Looking up and down the street, some houses still lit up with decorations, some with television set lights spilling from their insides, Samuel’s sight was drawn to the silver corvette that was pulling up in front of the house.
Watching as the devilishly handsome man got out of the car, Samuel taking note of the man’s top unbuttoned oxford with the sleeves rolled up, he watched as the man took Ellen, Samuel’s daughter from the passenger seat of the car, asleep, and carried her up the steps to the porch swing, setting the woman down without saying a word to the waiting, older gentleman.
“Evening Dante,” Samuel said after his daughter was laying on the swing and the man was walking back past him to the still running car.
“It’s Richard now Sam,” Richard said, stopping in his tracks to pull out a cigarette, light it and talk to the old man over his shoulder. “Has been for a long time.”
“Don’t you think it’s time you, well. Don’t you think it’s time you pass the mantle on to someone else?” Samuel asked taking a long puff of the pipe, letting the smoke roll out past his lips.
“I’ll make that decision when I’m ready. You have a goodnight Sam. Tell Ellen I had a good time. And…”
“You have a good night now Dante,” Samuel said, eyes glaring as the man cut off the vampire standing below him. “And Happy Halloween.” Richard, flicking his half smoked cigarette, hurriedly, angrily got into his car, slamming the door, peeling off down the street to quickly be gone from sight.
Samuel, looking to daughter, saw she was waking up, slowly, most likely due to her date’s hurried, noisy leave.
Waking to an annoying tapping, Samantha pulled the blanket up over her head, pretending that she couldn’t hear it, but the sound was persistent, refusing to stop just because she merely wanted it too.
“Stop it Tommy,” she said, half asleep, the girl assuming her pestilent little brother had made his way into her room, only to sit there and tap, tap, tap to bug her. And while the tapping didn’t stop with her first demand, she said it again, angrier, this time sitting up to catch her little brother in the act. “Stop it Tom…!” Frozen in her speech, jaw wide; it wasn’t Tommy at all in her room. Not Tommy at all.
Tapping his blackened nails on the window sill, sitting in her desk chair, legs crossed, Mr. Twisp’s head was lowered, his face that wasn’t a face hidden under the brim of his moonless, midnight fedora.
“You…You…You…” Samantha stammered, in shock that the monster from the picture from her grandfather’s journal was sitting in her room, still tapping his nails on her window sill. “You…” Annoyed with the girl’s stammering, lifting his head so his face was visible, Mr. Twisp lifted his other non-tapping hand to his non-lips, pressing a long finger to where his mouth should have been, telling the girl without words to be silent, to which she adhered, shushing up quickly.
Pinching the piece of candy sitting on the windowsill between the now stopped tapping fingers, he lifted it, replacing its spot with a black, leather medical bag, the bag itself dusty and covered in cobwebs. Undoing the clasp keeping the bag closed, Mr. Twisp stood, opening the bag, dropping the piece of candy in, then reaching in, pulled out something in a closed fist.
Creeping over to the bed, standing over the girl, Samantha having pulled the cover up to the brim of her nose, her wide eyes following the suited man’s every move. Leaning down close, his eyes reflecting her, Samantha looked closely, and like her grandfather had said, there was something off, and upon looking closer, she was screaming in his eyes, screaming madly.
Running a single finger down the blanket starting at the girl’s covered shoulder, Mr. Twisp grabbed the blanket, pulling it down to expose the sitting girl. Poking her closed hand, she understood, opening it, afraid to not do as the monster wanted.
Setting something in her hand, Samantha couldn’t look down at what it was, her eyes entranced by his black orbs, with her screaming reflection. Mr. Twisp, lifting a hand in view of her, in between their stares, pointed down at her palm, she holding what he had left in her hand.
Looking down, it was hard to see, but lifting it to some moonlight that was spilling into her room, it was a button, just like the one her grandfather had given her. Wondering if it was the same one, remembering going to bed with the one her Grandpa Sammy had given her, Samantha looked around, seeing the one given to her by Samuel on the bedside stand. But the one in her palm had the initials S.S. as well.
Tears forming in her eyes, fear finally boiled over in her, not sure what was happening, or whom the new button had belonged to, Samantha looked up at the Other who stood by his bag, closing it up. Turning towards the girl, taking off his hat, revealing his bald, vein laden head, setting the hat down upon the seat he been sitting in, the monster stretched out its fingers, the nails at the end of each elongating.
Scratching the window with elongated nails, the screeching hurting the girl’s ears, Samantha’s breath quickened, but not as quick as her hammering heart beat. Gripping the button in her hand with a white knuckle grip, taking a deep, deep breath, Samantha slammed her eyes shut, and prepared to let out the greatest scream of her life…
“Ugh,” Ellen said, sitting up, feeling like she hadn’t slept in weeks, her body weak and frail, stiff and sore. “How’d I get home?” She asked, realizing she was waking up on her porch swing, her father standing in front of her emptying out his pipe, having smoked the tobacco up that had been packed into it.
“That gentleman of a date of yours brought you home,” Samuel said, trying to cover up his obvious distaste for the vampire. “Quite the catch he was.”
“The kid’s in bed?” Ellen asked, rubbing her throbbing head, ignoring her father’s comments about Richard.
“Have been for a while. Almost midnight kid.” Samuel, impatiently checking his pocket watch, only had six minutes left till midnight. Seeing a Delta 88, a cigar boat of a car, with the bottom rusting out, the paint fading roll up in front of the house, Samuel smiled as his granddaughter Carrie-Anne, also smiling, exited the car.
The girl, leaning in over the passenger seat after she’d gotten out, gave the driver a kiss, and made her exit, closing the door, allowing the car to drive off into the night. Walking up to the porch, her closes stained a dark red, a black rose in her hands, she stopped next to grandfather to look confused at her exhausted mother.
“You okay mom?” Carrie-Anne asked her mother, her grandfather looking her up and down with a humorous, puzzled look upon his face.
“Yeah babe,” Ellen said, really wishing that she didn’t have to talk, each word a challenge to get out, but she didn’t want to be rude to her daughter. “How the show go?”
“Fantastic. Unforgettable. Yeah, unforgettable.” Looking down at her rose with admiration, a single tear left her eye, just one, lonesome tear.
“And who was that that dropped you off kiddo?” Samuel asked, his smile widening.
“Goodnight Grandpa,” was all the girl said as she entered the house, whistling the Angel’s song that was stuck in her head.
“Why don’t you head in Ellen?” Samuel said to his daughter, looking to his pocket watch. Two minutes. Walking over to her, helping her up, Ellen had to take a moment, her head spinning, grasping her father’s arm trying not to fall down.
“I think I’m going to do….” And while she was going to say “just that”, she was cut off by the blood curdling scream made by her youngest daughter from the girl’s room. Eyes widening, looking from her father to the front door, Ellen made her way as quickly as she could to Samantha’s room, never before hearing such a horrific, terrified scream come from one of her children, the sound making her forget about her exhaustion in an instance.
Looking past the porch swing to the driveway, a figure stepped out around Ellen’s parked minivan. Watching the suited man walk down the driveway, leather doctor’s bag in hand, Samuel whistled to the Other, Mr. Twisp not stopping, just giving a wave and a tip of the hat.
“Happy Halloween to you too Slender man.” Checking his pocket watch for the final time, looking up to see the Other vanished, Samuel clicked the pocket watch closed, returned it to his pocket, and walked to the front door, grasping the handle of the door left open by his daughter that had been in a hurry to get inside. With only seconds left, the man watched as the candle in the Jack O’ Lantern on their porch was blown out by a sudden gust of wind, and Samuel Shelley entered the house, closing the door behind him.
“Halloween, All Hallows Day, The Day of Samhein. It’s more than a day. It’s a doorway, a second chance, a romance, a terror, a dream, a nightmare, a dance, a blood curdling scream, all in the October Night. Until the midnight hour comes to be, keep your Jack O’ Lanterns lit. Set a piece of candy on the windowsill, and tell the passing dead Happy Halloween. And remember kids, there is always next year.”
Ha, ha, ha….
****Halloween Writing Contest Entry****