To celebrate Halloween, I wrote a Flash Fiction, intending it to be a slightly different type of “Ghost Story.”
Initially, I was asked if I had anything suitable for a Halloween cabaret that my good friends at Circle of Spears Productions were performing in Boscastle.
This was the result, it was well received on the night and I hope you like it.
To the children, he was just the old man who lived on his own; he had become an object of fun. They would laugh at his shuffling gait and threadbare clothes; taunt him as he walked to the shops. For days he was invisible; the windows of the house remained heavily curtained, black eyes staring out on an empty world.
For a dare the children would run up the path and ring the bell; or rattle the letterbox, sometimes the braver ones would sneak down the side of his house and tip his bins over. The children, being young, had no interest in anyone old, and they had no respect for his struggles, no understanding of the things that he believed.
He would shout and wave his stick at them, driven to despair. Alone behind the door, he spoke to his wife, “What can I do, they won’t leave me alone.” He was sure that she would hear and help him, for all those years they had helped each other, now he needed her. And they had made a pact; the first to pass through the veil would come back if they could. He believed in the veil, and in the realm beyond, but she had never returned.
On the other side of the veil, his wife heard the words but could do nothing. She was no further from him in death than in life, she saw his suffering but the veil was too thick, she had no power to help. She could send him little signs; move things a few inches, break light bulbs, hide his socks. Yet despite her promise, he never realised it was her, he thought it was just his age, his mind playing tricks, thought that he was going crazy in his grief.
Both he and the children understood Halloween in different ways, they viewed it in the earthly, materialistic way, and they saw it as a chance to make his life even more of a misery. They planned all sorts of things, under the guise of “Trick or treat.” There would be no treat, of that they were sure, and the trick would be theirs to play on him.
Meanwhile, he viewed it in the old way; he knew that she would be closer to him on that night, and he was sure that she was trying to keep her promise; if there was only some way to reach out.
For as he knew, the veil thins on All Hallows Eve; his wife knew that too. She could see everything from her side and could feel his pain and anger. Daily her strength grew, fed by her love, she was determined that his time apart from her would not be spent in misery.
She decided that, on that night, she would act. She would make him notice; she would go back and do what she had promised. Then when he believed, he would be reassured. She was not alone. On her side of the veil, many were preparing to visit, to spend a little time where they once had been, where they would be again. They had spoken to each other and she had finally learned how.
As darkness fell, he sat in his chair, half asleep. Using all the power she had, she finally pierced the veil and came to be with him. Outside the children prepared for the trick.
“Is that you my love,” he thought, as at last, he could feel her with him.
Without speaking she softly replied, “yes, I’m here with you, I’m always with you.” Her words and voice were clear in his head.
“Help me,” he pleaded. There was a crash from outside as the first bin was toppled. He cowered. She became angry, she saw a handsome youth in the broken old man, could see what they were doing to him, what right did they have to scare her soul-mate? In her rage her power grew, she had pierced the veil; the wall would not be a barrier to her.
Sniggering, the children turned to run down the alleyway, they stopped still as she appeared in front of them, bright as day, a blazing, righteous angel. As one they screamed, fighting each other to be the furthest away from her. But there was nowhere to hide.
Inside the man was confused, half-asleep, there was a lot of shouting, he had felt her with him, heard her speak, was this all a dream, what was happening?
The sound stopped, all was quiet. He relaxed in the chair and she was beside him once more.
“They won’t bother you again,”
Her warmth comforted him, he could feel her love, she was young again beside his aged shell. “Stay with me,” he thought.
“Come with me,” she replied.
© Richard Dee 2016
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