At the behest of her employer, (following 3 days of uncharacteristic absence), officers were dispatched to 311 Greenwood Lane. At the residence they found neither signs of forced entry, indications of robbery, nor evidence of foul play. The homeowner’s registered vehicle in the drive and the house empty. With no living relatives or close friends (aside from a few mildly concerned co-workers) to pursue the matter, the incident would be filed away as a “Missing Persons” report and soon forgotten. End of pro-epilogue.

Seven hallowed nights had passed, since the supernatural had beaten a path to her door and into her heart. Now this year, much like those preceding it, Deloris Fisher planned, prepared and waited, with no diminish in her hopes and expectations.

Overcast and rainy all week, finally relinquishing this afternoon and that was a good sign. There was a chill in the air and the early evening was illuminated by a brilliant Hunter’s Moon. Positively perfect, she thought, shaking moisture from faux spider webs as her mind…drifted… back to that night. Excitement, mingled with inexplicable fear and the resolve which followed. Tonight, she thought, it will be tonight!

Happy cries and the pitter patter of little feet on the sidewalk brought her out of her daze. Her little visitors had begun to arrive. And though she only had eyes for one, she adored all.

The vintage Polaroid she used to classically capture costumed kiddies flashed time and time again, evening fell to night and the night wore on. As the 22nd hour (10 p.m.) drew nigh, she was long the last house standing on Greenwood Lane. Almost out of candy and exhausted, she reluctantly decided to call it a night.

It was, as before, setting to extinguish the last jack-o-lantern when she was startled by one last, lone, trick-or-treater standing at the porch’s foot. The child’s wide brown eyes bore up at her from beneath a tuft of genuine rabbit fur. As he began to rummage in his pumpkin with one white gloved hand, Deloris returned his surprise vocally, “Salutations young Peter,” She said, “welcome to my home. It is so very nice to see you this fine evening. But where are my manners, the hour grows late. Please cross over my threshold and make yourself at home for the night. You are my welcome guest sincerely… Deloris Elaine Fisher!”

HalloweenThe child tilted his head, which looked rather comical in the rabbit mask. Deloris took his hand and escorted him inside to the kitchen were a sweet feast waited. Carmel apples, popcorn balls, pumpkin pie and so forth. She wasn’t sure what the boy would like, so she had made everything she thought he might.

She seated him at the table, and when he removed his mask she barely contained a gasp at a deep bloody gash across the child’s face. “My father,” he said ashamedly, “says Halloween’s the devil.” Stifling back tears, Deloris smiled, “Well we know better don’t we?” She said with a wink, “It’s all good scary fun!” At this the boy smiled and dug in.

As he ate, she fawned over his costume (which she learned his aunt had made). Afterwards they sang, danced, played and made merry throughout the night. However, as the first light of dawn encroached upon the horizon, the boy’s joy faltered.

“I must go.” he said rising to leave. Deloris’s heart sank, “No!” she insisted, grabbing his hand, “you can stay … with me…” Suddenly the door blew inward and the room filled with the stench of damp, rotting, burning leaves. A darkened form rode in on this foul wind and stood before them, glaring through slit jack-o-lantern eyes. “NO!” proclaimed the Pumpkin King, “he belongs to this night and to it shall return!” With this a blackened withered hand wrenched forth and grabbed the boy as to drag him away, except… despite her terror in the Lord of all Hallows presence, Deloris wouldn’t let go. “Wait please….” She pleaded, “If he cannot stay, must he go alone?”

The Pumpkin King considered this. Whether his dark heart found pity or malice will never be known. He simply nodded.

Deloris Elaine Fisher of 311 Greenwood Lane was never seen nor heard from again. Her fate is left to mystery and sealed in a missing person’s cold case file.

However, if you’ve a mind to, keep the porch light on just a little longer on Halloween night. Especially following a rainy spell and lit by a full moon. You might catch a glimpse of a little boy dressed as Peter Rabbit trick-or-treating hand in hand with his adopted mother.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya.