Real life is scarier than my imagination could ever be!
Real life is scarier than my imagination could ever be!
All Hallow’s Eve
Is a cold night to ponder.
To think of the dead,
Of how they might wander.
The kids dress as ghosts
And dragons and such.
Adults hand out candy
With a delicate touch.
But if you believe,
There is more to this night.
Ghosts in the shadows,
Just out of sight.
The Dead walk the street
With nary a care.
Because you are too busy
And so unaware!
Don’t look behind!
A hand is outstretched!
You think I am kidding?
That this is farfetched?
A flicker of movement!
Just out of sight!
The locals are stirring, so
Beware of this night!
They can’t really see me
They don’t know that I’m here.
Then why all the fuss
The hysterical fear?
This Halloween craze
Is really bizarre.
To be what we are.
They wear their costumes
And go out for a lark.
Then I and my kind
Can wander the park.
I know you’re pretending
But I’m certainly not.
And once in a while
It ok to get caught.
I hide from your view
The rest of the year.
But today I’m quite close
Inhaling your fear.
Over your shoulder
Just by your side,
Are others like me
The dead walk with pride.
The day before
At my door
The candy crush
In all a rush
That crazy day
The scary night
Has gone away
Until next year
When once again
I’m filled with fear
I ask what for
Those silly kids
Are at my door
I have a place
A state of grace
They are gnashing their teeth
And moaning so low
I fear for my life
With the world all aglow.
The demons and vixens
Are closer I fear
Evil odd creatures
That suddenly appear.
I’ve tried to use reason
Even going with the flow
Nothing will stop them
It’s on with the show.
I just heard a knock
It was solid and sharp
Maybe what’s next
Is a heavenly harp.
I must not show fear
To the goblins and such
I’ll toss them the candy
And run from their touch.
Why every year
Do we suffer this vile?
Cuz along with the scary
The cute makes us smile!
Juan’s hand gently caressed her cheek until his hand cupped her chin.
“I love you my darling Persephone.”
She closed her eyes, her lips pursed in anticipation.
Juan’s mouth hovered over Persephone’s, his breath warm on her cheeks.
“My darling,” he whispered as he placed his full, quivering lips against hers. In that moment the world ceased to exist. Her breath caught in her throat, her arms encircled his neck and she . . . “
“Penny, sorry to disturb you but I have got to have that report on the boss’s desk by noon and I still don’t have your numbers. Wake up girl friend; you can’t daydream all day, work to do, work to do!”
Penny blinked rapidly. She couldn’t quite grasp that what she had just experienced was a dream. The reality was that she was sitting in an office in a cramped cubicle with a four inch pile of work in front of her that needed to be completed by the end of the day.
“I’ll, I’ll get right at it. I’m almost finished, I promise.” She stammered her words as she tried to make sense of things.
Penny Elizabeth Foster was an ordinary woman, in an ordinary job, in an ordinary world. What was extraordinary was her imagination. As she went about the rest of her day Penny smiled at a secret memory. Her Don Juan had taken her in his arms and made mad passionate love to her. The fact that that memory was actually only a dream was immaterial. To Penny her fantasy life was just as vibrant and vital as the real world.
So the rest of the day Ms. Foster did as was expected of her. She collated, she typed, she filed. She filled the endless minutes with minutia and with deadlines. Eventually the magical hour approached: the end of her day.
“Happy Halloween Penny! Are you getting dressed up to give out candies tonight?”
“Yes Eddy and no you can’t come over. Besides you would scare the neighbourhood children. Say hi to your wife, Eddy.”
The last thing Penny wanted was to get involved with the office romancer. Or at least that’s how he saw himself. She packed up her purse and coat and made her way to her car. It wasn’t a long drive home but it’s one she enjoyed because she didn’t have to listen to anybody else talk. She could continue her fantasies as she wished.
“Ladies and gentlemen we have a special treat today: Ms. Persephone Foster is in the front line up for today’s race. She is a world renowned stock car driver. She has won both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Her mentor was the legendary Don Juan of car racing. The let’s sit back and enjoy today’s race. Gentleman and lady, start your engines!”
“Hey lady, the light’s green, move!”
With a grin Penny realized that she was still sitting at a green light. She chuckled and continued on her way home.
She had always enjoyed Halloween. It was a time when every one could indulge in their secret fantasies without being seen to be odd. Yes there were the ghosts and goblins and the scary monsters but there were also characters from history and whimsical creatures. That was the part Penny enjoyed most. Besides who couldn’t resist a child dressed up like a bunny? Yes she loved this day in the year.
So with her usual efficiency Penny set about getting the candy ready to be handed out to the children, or more specifically the ‘trick or treaters’. After all, the indulgence in fantasies or whimsy is not just for the children.
She had spent a great deal of time preparing her own costume. It wouldn’t do to answer the door in jeans. No, Penny was going to be prepared in a costume that was appropriate to her frame of mind at just this time. She had always liked the concept of a damsel in distress so she dressed herself in flowing garments reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty. If only her Prince Charming could come by tonight.
“Trick or treat! Trick-or-treat!”
The first of the ghosts and goblins had made their appearance and Penny was ready.
“Oh my goodness what very scary ghosts and goblins you are!”
As she handed out the candy to the multitude of children at her door Penny was reminded of her own costumes as a child. There was the cat with the long tail that kept dragging in puddles, or the space alien with the javex bottle for a helmet that was spray-painted gold. There was even a gypsy one year with all of her mother’s costume jewellery draped around her neck and her arms. Her mother had become quite adept at making costumes. It was something new every year.
Each year saw its share of ghosts and goblins, bunnies, squirrels and cats. It was exciting to see the wonder in the eyes of the children and the quiet fatigue in the eyes of their parents as they shepherded their children from door to door. But this year everything changed.
No one had rung her doorbell or cried “trick-or-treat” for about twenty minutes so Penny was starting to clean everything up. Another Halloween was over. There was something very sad about that. But then it just meant that one looked forward to next year.
“Trick or Treat.”
The doorbell immediately got Penny’s attention but the quiet little voice that was saying ‘trick-or-treat’ was far more compelling. When she opened the door Penny saw an adorable little brown bunny or more specifically a very small child in an oversized bunny costume. As she leaned down she could see incredibly huge pleading eyes that were almost in tears.
“Well hello little bunny, here is some candy, but are you okay?”
Sniff, “I think I lost my dad. He doesn’t like to be lost in the dark. Can you help me find him?”
Penny immediately looked up to see if she could find this errant father. How dare he allow this small child to wander the streets without him! She was not going to allow this youngster to stay out here alone any longer.
“You come inside little bunny. My name is Penny what’s yours?”
Do you want me to call your mother?
“It’s only my dad and me.” As she spoke Miranda put her tiny little hand in Penny’s. This small child needed comfort and she was going to take it from whatever adult was handy. Penny was touched. She knelt down on one knee and embraced her.
“We’ll find your dad don’t you worry.”
Penny was trying to be comforting but inside she was angry. What could possibly cause a father to lose sight of this precious child! When she found this man she was going to give him a piece of her mind! But first Miranda had to be reassured.
Within a few moments Penny was sure that her new charge was okay. She was sitting at the kitchen table with glass of milk and a cookie. Penny was preparing to call the police but she was hesitant. She had heard stories about children going into foster care and essentially disappearing into a system that was not conducive to proper child care. So she hesitated.
As she looked across the room to this lonely child she felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. In this day and age we are all responsible for our actions and we should never shirk that responsibility. Sitting across the kitchen table was someone who was asking for her help. She just could not drop that responsibility on someone else.
Penny was about to take the child out again into the dark. She would find this man, the father of this child.
Once again the door unexpectedly demanded attention. When it wasn’t immediately opened, insistent knocking followed. Penny approached the door hesitantly, someone was anxious to get in. A moment ago she had been anxious to track down an errant father on a dark Halloween night. But now? Who knows what Spirits are walking in the dusky light? Now she was afraid to open the door. The knocking continued louder, and louder. They say that on one night of the year ghosts are capable of taking form and interacting with the living. They say that on one night of the year evil lurks within reach of the innocent.
The knocking continued, louder. A voice was added to the banging; “Miranda, I know you’re in there, Miranda!”
With a relieved sigh Penny realized who was at the door: Miranda’s father.
With no further hesitation she threw open the door and then stopped. In front of her was the man that she had been dreaming about earlier this day, a man of strength, of character and a father. Upon hearing her father’s voice Miranda ran to him.
“I’m sorry daddy, I’m sorry I ran away! I’m sorry, I’m sorry! But this nice lady took care of me and she doesn’t have a husband.”
For just a moment no one said a word. And then the man spoke,
“I’m terribly sorry for what my daughter has done. She has caused both of us undo concern. I would like to make it up to you, my name is Don.”
Penny opened her mouth to respond but found that she was tongue-tied. In the doorway of her home was the man she had been dreaming about. She would have to say something witty and intelligent, but for the moment her mind was a blank.
“Oh geez did I disturb you? The boss won’t like ya sleeping on the job! Look a bunch of us are going over to the pub after work, it’s been a rough day. Why don’t you join us? Nobody hands out candy anymore, the kids all go to each other’s homes for parties; parents are too afraid of serial rapists and poisoned candy. Penny are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost! If you want to come to the pub we’re leaving in twenty minutes.
Penny blinked her eyes repeatedly. She was still at her desk, she was still filing and she was still single. Trick-or-treat?
It’s a dark quiet night
The mist seems so slow
The sounds that you hear
They are deep and they’re low
Like the hairs on your neck
So very determined
They creep slowly erect
A touch on your shoulder
A hand out of sight
You skin starts to quiver
You’ve taken a fright
Look not behind you
Breathe deeply and pray
They’re moving so closely
You hope they don’t stay
There are goblins and witches
A vampire or three
They’re starting their haunt night
So dangerously free
Evil surrounds you
It must be remembered
Nothing is sacred
You could be dismembered
Of spectres and ghouls
It’s one day a year
Zombies and trolls
There is so much to fear
Take care you don’t anger
Those near in your sight
Membership is optional
Except for tonight
There are goblins and dragons
and werewolves galore
they are walking the streets
and nearing my door
the witches are pounding
they want to get in
the dragons are puffing
and huffing to win
the sound is a terror
the zombies are moaning
so scary to see
the Devils are groaning
there’s evil afoot
every year it’s the same
the crazies come out
for one night of fame
I huddle and cower
my heart in my mouth
they’ll bite me I fear
unless I go south
Perhaps there’s a way
to get what I want
I’ll scare them myself
I’ll do the haunt
So scary I’ll be
just watch me evoke
I’ll teach them a lesson
the bitch, don’t provoke
Eddy stepped back from the sign that she had just hung outside the open door and thought about what had brought her to this point. Edwina Roxanne Dupuis was a woman of exquisite taste. Even if she was the only one who thought so. She had conjured up the idea of a neighbourhood coffee and tea house almost 3 years ago and it was only now getting its finishing touches. It seemed appropriate that opening day was actually Halloween. It was Edwina’s favourite holiday. She also felt that the name Edwina didn’t fit her character on any day so she always went by Eddy.
“Eddy do you want to use orange tablecloths or burnt umber. And what in heaven’s name is the difference? They both look the same to me.”
The voice that had just interrupted her reverie belonged to her not so silent partner Joshua. They had met and become friends while both were attending university. Years went by while they pursued their individual careers. Unfortunately neither was satisfied and when they met up again in a coffee shop they were each looking for something new. From that coincidental meeting came the idea for The Witch’s Brew.
“Burnt umber Joshua. If you can’t see the difference then you are colour blind.”
Joshua stood for a moment looking at the two table cloths, one in each hand. His head went back and forth trying to discern a difference. Instead he just shook his head. Fortunately each had a label so he was actually able to tell which was which.
“There is no difference,” he whispered quietly to himself. They might be partners but she was still the boss.
A little louder he said, “The place looks fabulous! You’ve done a great job Eddy.”
The woman in question came in to the coffee shop proper and she was smiling. “We did a great job Joshua. I may have been the driving force but you provided the money and the moral support. I’ll never forget that.
Joshua smiled. Maybe she’d start to look at him a little differently. There was more to him than friendly support and a buck or two. He had been nursing a crush on Eddy since the day they met more than 10 years ago. Unfortunately circumstances did not allow them to explore a relationship. Maybe now it would. She just had to see him as more than a business partner.
“I’m curious, why did you choose Halloween as the opening day?”
“It’s my favourite holiday. It’s nice when people are able to let go of convention, and be something they are not. Or perhaps it’s when their real characters are allowed to shine. We have no idea who and what people really are unless they tell us.”
As she spoke Eddy moved behind the coffee bar and started to polish an already gleaming counter. She didn’t look at Joshua as she talked and he wondered if the words she used were meant for him specifically.
“Okay boss lady, what do we still need to do before tomorrow’s grand opening? Geez, do I have to wear a costume?”
Eddy stopped fussing and looked at Joshua. “Of course you have to wear a costume! It’s Halloween! And all that’s left to do is put out some flowers and put on a couple of pots of coffee.”
Joshua looked slightly alarmed. “I can handle the coffee, but a costume?”
“Oh and everything is going to be free tomorrow morning, just up until 12 o’clock. I can’t think of a better way to get people to come into our shop. It’ll cost a few dollars but I think it will be worth it in the end when people realize what a great place it is. Are you okay with that money man?”
“Sure Eddy what ever you want.” He seemed somewhat distracted, “I could go as a pirate. They’re macho. What are you going as?”
“Well as a witch of course.” Eddy’s laughter brightened the room immensely. “Don’t worry Joshua I promise not to turn you into a toad, unless of course you use orange tablecloths instead of the burnt umber!”
The two friends shared a good natured chuckle. There was only one problem: the two people in the room were not exactly what they appeared to be. Each one had a secret they were hiding from the other.
The day was finally over and with a satisfying click the front door was closed and locked. One individual was already sprawled over a couch, his shoulders sagging with relief. The other was slowly patrolling the room picking up the odd cup and saucer.
“We did it Joshua. And I think it was a huge success. Now I am so tired I could cheerfully sell this place for a dollar.” With that Eddy sat down in the nearest chair, her chin slowly sliding towards her chest.
The figure on the couch stirred for a moment, his hand raised and a very small voice uttered only one word: “Sold!”
After a moment the two laughed quietly. Several more minutes went by before Eddy forced her head to rise up and survey the newest hip spot on the street. The Witch’s Brew was a success!
“Wake-up Joshua, there is still a ton of work to do. We have to tidy this place up and get it ready for tomorrow morning. And we have got to hire some staff. . . .” Eddy’s voice continued on. She was outlining the necessary steps for the successful run of their joint venture. While she straightened up she continued to talk. She assumed that Joshua was listening. But he was not.
Some movement had caught his eye. From his comfortable perch on the couch he could just make out a piece of black wool that seemed to be undulating from behind a coffee bag. He was mesmerized. For the life of him he could not understand why someone would have draped a piece of wool on the shelf. Maybe he was still sleeping. But that piece of wool seemed to be beckoning him.
With a quick glance to be sure that Eddy was otherwise occupied, Joshua slowly approached the wayward wool. He was pretty sure he was over tired and hallucinating which is why he didn’t want to let Eddy know what he was doing. After only half a dozen steps he could actually reach out towards his vision. A fraction of an inch away from the piece of wool he stopped, inhaled deeply and thrust his hand forward.
“Ahhhhhhh! Oh my….!!!! Call 911! It has eyes!” In his hurry to get away from the apparition, Joshua backed into a chair and sat down hard. The chair tilted back and he was on the floor with his legs in the air. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly as he tried to speak. All that came out was a guttural “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”
Eddy raced to his side and knelt down, concerned. Her eyes followed the direction of his finger that was pointing in desperation at the path from which he had just fled. A small black figure raised its head and stared pointedly at the two people in the middle of the floor. The demon in question then opened its mouth and uttered one syllable “Meow!”
With no regard for her fallen partner’s about to be bruised ego, Eddy burst out laughing hysterically. She patted Joshua on the shoulder and then move towards the shelf.
“So that’s where you’ve been hiding Sebastian. I wondered where you’d been.”
The aptly named Sebastian was cleaning his whiskers when he was unceremoniously picked up. Eddy cuddled the tiny black kitten with the big-name and turned to face poor Joshua.
“Did I forget to tell you that The Witch’s Brew has a mascot? Sebastian this is Joshua. Joshua meet Sebastian.”
Joshua could do nothing more than stare at what he thought was a demon. It is doubtful that the small kitten weighed more than a pound or two. He was completely black except for those mesmerizing green eyes and a very tiny pink tongue.
Eddy was nuzzling the furball and her voice was muffled. “I know you love me Joshua, and I love you too but you have to love my cat as well.”
Stunned, Joshua stood up. “I do, you know, love you. I always have. I didn’t know you knew.” He approached Eddy and put his arm around her and the small kitten. “Yes your little demon is lovely and what a wonderful idea for the shop. I guess every Witch needs her familiar.” The two chuckled, comfortable with themselves and with each other.
“Well I guess we have a lot of work to do and we had better get at it.” Joshua left the two after a few moments and continued on with tidying the café while Eddy continued to cuddle Sebastian. It was almost as if the two were in deep conversation.
“I think it’s going to work. But no magic Sebastian, and you have to remain a cat. And I have to make sure he never finds out that I am a real witch.”
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