THE HALLOWEEN HAUNT ( A Halloween Story by Jessi Lohman)
They were too old to Trick or Treat.
"What will we do for Halloween this year?" Max asked. He drummed his fingers on Cliff's desk and looked back and forth between his two friends.
"We could trick or treat," Trudy suggested. A mischievous smile crept into the corners of her mouth.
"Nope - not happening," Cliff said. "We are far too old. I mean, we are twenty for heaven sakes. Most people our age either go to parties, throw a party or hand out candy."
"Let's pick one," Max said. "I like all those ideas."
Trudy, Cliff and Max had been childhood friends. They had been a trio of misfits who grew up in the same neighborhood, attended the same schools and had shared similar interests.
Truth be told, they were so tight as friends, they hadn't reached out to anyone else. There were no parties to attend, as none had been invited. There were no friends to invite if they to host a Halloween Party either.
This left them one option.
"I am not going to sit here and pass out candy like I'm retired already," Trudy said.
"There are other options," Cliff said.
"Like what?" Max asked.
"We could watch scary movies and hand out candy," Cliff said. He smiled, proud of his idea.
Trudy took one look at that smile and grunted before making an agonizing sound as though she were in pain.
Cliff's smile faded as did Max's enthusiasm.
Silence came over the group. They sat, staring at one another. Minutes ticked by.
"Okay, I've got it," Trudy said, sitting up with a start.
Max sat up too with wide eyes.
"Let's dress up - in character - and act as if those characters are our real lives for the night."
"Okay," Cliff said. "But who will we be?"
"I have an idea," Max said. "We should be ghosts."
"You want to be the ghosts of our past relatives?" Cliff said. "Those would be the only stories we know. I don't know about you, but that seems kind of disrespectful to me."
"I still like the ghost idea," Max said.
"We could be ghosts and not be those of our past relatives if it bothers you, Cliff," Trudy said. It was a rare moment of sensitivity on her part.
"Really?" Cliff asked.
"Sure," Trudy said. "Let's go to the graveyard and find people to be. On Halloween night, we can gather as though those characters and interact as though we are ghosts in the graveyard."
"Oh this is going to be so awesome," Max said, rubbing his hands together.
* * *
A half hour later they stood in their neighborhood historic graveyard combing grave sites, looking for interesting ghosts to represent.
"John Star," Max said, being the first to find who he would be. "He was a doctor and died at age forty-six."
"Sounds like a good fit," Cliff said, rubbing his hand through his hair with nervousness. He looked and looked and none of the gravestones seemed to be people he would want to be.
"Here's mine," Trudy shouted. Both came over to see. "Mary Hudson. Beloved wife, mother and school teacher."
"That seems rather boring for you," Max said.
"Well of course it's boring," Trudy said. "It has to be the opposite of me."
Max laughed and looked at Cliff, who hadn't responded to the joke.
"Did you hear her?" Max said. "That was funny."
"Yeah, I heard," Cliff said. "I just don't know why I can't figure out who I want to be."
Max looked over to the larger, more established grave monuments. They had small fences around them and appeared very prominent in comparison to most of the sites.
"Let's go look over there," Max said.
The three went over and by the fourth monument, Cliff had decided.
"Here we go," he said. "William Brown, trusted banker and friend." Trudy high-fived Cliff and they ran off, excited about Halloween night.
* * *
Halloween night came and the three friends revealed their handiwork and evaluated the costumes.
Trudy, the shortest by far, had long stringy hair.
"You look more like a witch than a school teacher," Cliff said. Max slapped him on the back, letting out a long laugh.
"This was the side of Mary Hudson she never let out," Trudy said, unmoved by the commentary. "That is what I am representing tonight."
Cliff was tall and wore an elegant set of clothing, his face painted gray and sullen.
Max was on the husky side, and carried with him a large medical bag and a hat, both of which looked like a historical doctor.
Everyone was impressed and before long, they were ready to head out.
"Oh, I have one more thing," Trudy said. "I have glow in the dark spray."
The spray showered down onto the three of them.
* * *
Pulling up to the graveyard, all was still. The moon was out and full, allowing bits of light to shine through the trees surrounding the graveyard.
First they walked by Mary's grave. Trudy laid on the ground beside the grave and pretended to be sleeping. She rolled over and stretched her arms, as though waking up. She sat up, looking around and stood up, as though checking things out after a long nap.
"Oh can I go next," Cliff said.
They went to the banker's grave and Cliff hopped the fence.
"I'm not going to step on anything," he told them out of caution.
Trudy shrugged her shoulders.
"I'm not going to judge you," she said.
"I might," Max said, laughing under his breath.
Cliff hid behind the large monument and then jumped around the corner.
Trudy and Max jumped with comic relief and they all giggled quietly.
"It's funny we are being so quiet," Max said. "It's not like anyone is here."
"That's true but it's more fun this way," Trudy said.
"You mean more creepy and eerie," Cliff said, shaking his head and looking around.
"One more friend to rise," Trudy said, leading the way to get Dr. Star.
Coming over a small hill, the three stopped up short. In the distance, there was a small lantern of light near Dr. Star's grave. They hid behind a large headstone that represented many family members.
There was a hole and a head popped out. A shovel and a masked man.
"Hey, that guy is robbing my grave," Max whispered.
"Maybe we should get out of here," Cliff said.
Max and Trudy looked at him.
"No way," Trudy said. "I've got a better idea."
* * *
The man was in the hole. Sweat poured down his brow. Although it was cool outside, this ground was hard and had been undisturbed for so long. As a doctor, this grave would probably have many valuables in it.
He couldn't want to get his hands on those goodies.
The crunching of twigs was heard off to the man's right. His head jerked up. He saw nothing but lamp light.
"Hello?" He called.
There was no answer.
He went back to digging. Must be the wind, he thought.
Crunching of twigs to his left.
Again, head jerking up.
"Hello?" He called, this time crawling out of the hole he was digging.
A rush of wind ran up from behind him and he turned just in time to see the Doctor, John Star, rushing at him. His glowing ghostly shape was headed toward him, medical bag in hand.
"What are you doing in my grave?" Dr. Star snapped and the man screamed, leaving his lamp and his shovel. He ran and ran as he heard, "Come friends, let's get him!"
Daring a look over his shoulder, he saw a female ghost and a tall one come from the brush and give chase as well. He ran and ran. Jumping into his car, the man fumbled for his keys. The ghosts surrounded the car as he started it. They banged on the sides and the car squealed off.
The trio dodged off, back into the grave yard. If he looked behind them, the ghosts would be gone.
Returning to the grave site of Dr. John Star, they put out the lamp and used the moonlight to guide them.
They began filling the hole back in.
"Since it's so close to the actual coffin," Trudy began. "We should open it and see what's inside."
Max looked at her with a start.
"You are crazy," Cliff said with disgust.
"Just kidding," she cackled and they continued filling the hole.
It would be a calm night after that. As everything else went as planned.