Ghosts Of Halloweens Past

 

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Calendars are of no use to me, haven’t been for a while now. Yet, something in the air tells me this is the tenth month of the year. The musty scent in the air, the crisp sound of footsteps crunching leaves in the park, thousands of friggin’ pumpkins and happy trick-or-treaters.

I hate it all.

October always makes me think of the past, which I’d rather forget. Already I’m walking down the lane, pushing aside thorny memories and changing my heading toward the place where I know I will find him.

All year I have fought to stay away, wandering aimlessly through the world of the living, trying to figure out how to escape. Sometimes I think I almost know how to leave, how to float away and abandon this quasi-death. Then this autumn month pulls me back with a sickening compulsion that forces me to relive everything and to find out if he still mourns me. Like a masochist, I comply, almost looking forward to the exquisite agony of seeing him alive while I slowly go insane in my own solitary hell.

So here I am again, staring at the same scarecrow and hay bales on his neighbor’s yard while, in sharp contrast, Vincent’s house stands stark and dilapidated. Begging for punishment, I float toward his front porch like a rogue balloon on its helpless trajectory to the heavens.  Through his parked car, closed doors and sheetrock walls, I make my way into his bedroom. It is early, and Vincent still sleeps under the heavy darkness of his thickly covered windows.

Like many other times, I drift to the farthest corner. As my ethereal body glides, an imperceptible rustle of air disturbs the dust layering his dresser. With satisfaction, I see my portrait is still there, speck free, like a jewel someone left behind atop the sandy surface of a derelict beach.

For a minute, I watch him, perched in the shadows. Dark lashes outline his eyelids, hiding the gaze that haunts my perpetual waking hours. His rhythmic breathing disturbs me. Such peace is only bestowed upon the living; the dead know only wakefulness, an interminable pilgrimage of revolting consciousness.

“Vincent,” I whisper.

He shifts and moans, my voice disturbing his subconscious.

“Vincent, wake up.”

His eyes spring open, and the calm that had permeated the room disappears, replaced by the aura of discontent he always wears.

“Welcome to my world,” I say uselessly, once awake he can’t hear me anymore.

He sits up and rubs his fists against paper-thin eyelids. He looks worse than last year, bony and pasty. Barefooted, he pads toward the dresser and picks up my portrait.

“You don’t like October either, do you?”

He shakes his head as if in response and sighs. Carefully, he sets the picture back down on its little bed of dust and guilt.

Is this always part of his routine? Or is he like me and the changing colors and falling leaves set off this lonely dance of remembrance and blame? . . .

This short story is available in Amazon. Or if you’d like a free digital copy just contact me :)  

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