A HALLOWEEN STORY
So although this didn’t happen ON Halloween… it is a fitting Halloween Story. And if you lived through it, you’d think so too.
It was a cold wintry night. Fierce winds were blowing, heavy snow was falling, visibility was near zero and the sky was fitfully black. All of my family filled with fright, were tucked in our warm beds trying to sleep. Every sound, every shaking window, settling of the house made us jump. There was an escaped murderer on the loose from jail and he was roaming our neighborhood. My father and mother slept with a baseball bat, their only weapon near the side of their bed.
Around midnight, while the wild winds were blowing snow in drifts against cars, covering roads, creating snow blindness our doorbell rang. With a collective gasp we sat up in our beds, frozen with fear. The doorbell rang again. There were no cell phones then, no way of rushing into a kitchen with the only phone in the house to call for help.
We could hear my father’s bed creak and his footsteps as he walked from his bedroom. Peeking from behind our bedroom doors we watched him move to the front door, bat in hand in the silence of the wintry night. What would this man do to us? Tie us up? Rape us? Beat us? Kill us? Unspoken violent thoughts rushed through our young minds as my mother stood shaking in the bedroom doorway.
We watched my father put one hand on the doorknob, the other wrapped around the baseball bat. Slowly with bat raised, he opened the door to the cold ready to attack if attacked. Silently we held our breath.
There on the snowy step stood a young boy, hardly dressed for winter. He was no one we recognized from the neighborhood or our school or anywhere. He looked up at my father and innocently asked him if he would like to buy some candy. At midnight? In the snow? With no car or car tracks up our street? My father checked out the area around him to see if someone else – an escaped murderer might lurking in the dark. No one was there.
My father asked him what was he doing out so late? Selling candy, he said. None of this made any sense. My father told him it was dangerous to be outside in the snow and right now, he added trying not to totally alarm the young boy still holding his box of candy. He told him to go home.
The young boy turned and left before my father could invite him inside, or call his parents. He simply disappeared in the blinding snow. With bat in hand, my father searched for him for a short while until he was too cold to stay outside any longer. There was no trace of footsteps or the boy.
He finally closed the door behind him and entered the warm house again. He could not answer any of our questions about the boy- or where he went or about his safety. Maybe his parents parked down the street and couldn’t drive up the hill near our house because of the snow. Maybe the whistling wind quickly blew snow to cover his footsteps. My father realized when he opened the front door to the boy, it wasn’t truly locked at all. He quickly locked it, checked the lock and returned to his bedroom with bat beside him.
Was the boy real … Or maybe just a visible reminder to us to lock our door against danger. The murderer was apprehended the next morning.