Some may presume that Halloween is all about horror. I am here to tell you that it is not. It is a night of death. Of loss. Most people have forgotten the true meaning of Halloween, treating it as a night of fun and games. The spirit of Halloween was lost amid the costumes and candy. Until one night, a dark and cold Halloween night, when the darkness reminded them what it meant to be truly afraid.
I was a spectator on this particular night. I had always held Halloween with a type of reverance. My superstitious nature had always determined my willingness to participate in the holiday, and I had a very bad feeling about this particular day. As a result, I did not go to the store and buy candy en masse. I did not carve a pumpkin with a childike grin. I did not answer my door when the various ghosts and ghouls came to visit my home. On this particular night, I was watching television. Not a very entertaining pasttime, I know, but it held my interest quite well.
A knock on the door. I glanced towards the front window. A quick flash of a cape, and a momentary appearence of a face with mountains of makeup. The trick-or-treaters had arrived.
I ignored them and went back to my television. Another knock. Then a ring. Another ring. finally, I heard the resigned whispers of the children, as well as retreating footsteps. I smiled to myself. They had given up.
I had just started to settle into my comfy chair when the screaming started. Loud and insistent, the screamer was soon joined by others. Soon, the air was filled with screaming. Frightened, I made my way toward the front window. I saw hundreds of children on the street, each weary a gaudy costume, screaming at the sight of a broken boy on the sidewalk. I opened the front door and stepped out into the frozen night. I was in shock. What had happened to him? Was he hit by a car? My answer came seconds later.
A wave of darkness came rushing through the night. Shadows whirled around a dark shape that hurled itself at one of the helpless children. The young boy was swallowed up, his scream cut short by the blackness. The other children began to run, panic on their faces. I watched in horror as the body of the swallowed boy was thrown violently from the shadow. There was a sickening crunch as he hit a parked car and he lay still, blood oozing thick and red from his head. He was clearly dead. even so, I sprinted towards his body, desperately feeling for a pulse. As I turned his head towards me, I saw that it was young Tommy Chase. I was good friends with his parents. And now their son was dead.
I stood up and looked for the shadow. Amidst the screaming children, I saw it. It was not thirty feet away from me. As I stared at it, I felt its gaze fall upon me. I felt a wave of horror and hatred wash over me. I staggered back, and as I did, the shadow made a harsh grating noise that shook me to my core. I realized that it was laughing. The noise stopped and the shadow swung around, turning to meet a little girl dressed cheerfully as a fairy. He swallowed her up, and I saw her die.
I ran back into my house to grab my car keys, determined to leave this graveyard. A loud thump interrupted my search. There was silence, then another thump. And another. I searched harder. There! Under the papers, I grabbed my keys and rushed out the door. Another thump, and as I stepped out of the door, I saw the cause. The bodys of children had been thrown violently against my house, their blood painting an abstract shape upon the wall. I did not slow down as I raced to my car. Hopping in, I quickly turned the key and sped away from the massacre.
I nearly had a heart attack when I heard a small voice behind me. I spun to see three children that had taken refuge in my car. Fear was etched on their faces and none of them moved until one of them, a girl, spoke up.
"Mister? Can- can we stay with you?" she managed to say between sobs. I looked at her tear streaked cheeks and wide, fearful eyes.
"Of course. Now lets get as far away from here as we can." I told her.
Relief flooded each of their faces. The other two children were both boys, and they were dressed as a pirate and a zombie. The girl, whose name I learned was Rose, was dressed as a princess. They were all around the age of 13. I let Rose ride in the front seat. She seemed the most vulnerable, yet she had kept her head. I needed her help if we were to survive.
I began to calm down when a large dark shape slammed into my car, jerking the wheel from me. The rear end of the car spun violently and was slammed into a tree, killing the boys in the back. Blood splattered against the windows of the car, and I searched desperately to find Rose. In moments, I found her.
She lay ten feet from the car, battered, but still alive. I got out of the car and rushed to her side. Blood oozed from her nose and her leg was broken, but she would live. All of a sudden, I felt a familiar wave of hatred and evil settle upon my shoulders. I turned to see the shadow approaching me. It spoke, a grating sound that tore my head apart.
"The girl. Give her to me." It rasped.
I stood my ground. I was not going to surrender Rose. I was done running. The shadow laughed.
"This is not your place to die, boy. Give me the girl! She has made a mockery of the dead, and will now join them."
"No, she will not. I won't let you take her!" I shouted fearfully. I sounded a lot braver than I felt.
The shadow stopped its approach. It stared long and hard at me. I stood defiant. We stood for what felt like hours until the shadow turned away. Relief flooded through me, but as it retreated, it spoke once more.
"Take her. She will be spared. But if you anger the dead, your soul, and hers, will belong to me."
I fell to my knees as the shadow disappeared, sobbing hard. The last thing I remember was passing out next to Rose.
I learned later that over half the population of the US had been wiped out in what was commonly referred to as the Halloween Massacre. Rose's parents had been among the victims, so I raised her myself, as my own daughter. We grew to love each other, but every Halloween, we stay indoors, praying that the shadow will overlook us once again. We've been lucky. But luck can't last forever.