In my youth,
on a dare, I walked up the crumbling steps to a dilapidated house.
Why? Because I was bold, fearless, and a little
touched in the head.
I pushed at the door,
The hinges squealed like the tortuous squeals
of pain inflicted a hundredfold.
My two friends stood there in the front yard like tall petrified blades of grass,
looking on, probably wondering how far I would take their dare.
“Go inside,” they said “and say Trick-or-Treat.”
So I had went, to the dark threshold to the
mouth of a house, said to have seen murder and mayhem
many years hence.
Then I did cross to the inside.
All was quiet.
Darkness advanced through the windows as
the sun finally set behind the dead trees outside.
Tattered curtains fluttered as the wind flowed
through broken panes of glass.
I was sure time had slowed. I had entered another dimension,
stepped into the netherworld where only ghosts lived.
Yet I felt no fear…only a calm curiosity to see
what might happen next.
Footfalls fell upon the floorboards, almost
skipping as if in play.
A little girl’s laughter filled my ears
as my bag of candy was pulled from my grasp.
“Trick or Treat?” I asked, already knowing the
answer to my question was both.
She materialized before me, munching on
a piece candy she had found in my bag.
I watched, mesmerized as I saw the contents of
the candy go down her throat through the opaqueness
that encompassed her form.
“No taste” she said sadly to no one.
Her eyes turned dark, reflecting a lonliness
compiled in a century of misery in this dank
“Take this.” I said, handing her my sword and pirate hat.
“Happy Halloween, for tonight is your night…” I whispered.
She smiled a devlish grin and bowed, returning my
bag of candy back to me.
“A treat indeed.” she said, laughing
and swinging her pirate sword,
lost in her world of make believe
as she slowly dissolved away.
I smiled a secret smile as I walked
down the steps to my friends,
and began to tell them of
my encounter they would
never really believe.
by Philip Wardlow