The Faint Glow Behind the Door, a Halloween Tale
"You got everything," asked Bobby.
"Yeah," replied Adam.
"That's your costume?"
"Yeah, what's wrong with it?"
"A top hat, that's it? Nothing more, no makeup, no mask, just a top hat."
"It was my granddad's."
"Is that how he dressed? C'mon let's go."
"Wait is that your costume?"
"What's wrong with my costume?"
"An arrow through your neck, really Bobby?"
"Okay, that's it. You're wearing a top hat and I have an arrow through my neck. They're great. Can we go now?"
"Sure, where are we going?"
"You know where we're going."
"Uh-uh, not that house."
"It's Halloween and I've been waiting for this all year. We go up there, ring the bell, and I have trick I want play. Then we run like hell."
"What are you talking about?"
"Look what I've got," said Bobby reaching into his pocket.
"Yep, a cherry bomb."
"What do you plan to do with it?"
"What do we plan to do with it?"
"I ring the bell; I'll be holding this in my hand. You light it and I toss it in when they open the door."
"Bobby, are you crazy? There are no 'they' in that house, there's an it or a thing, but there ain't no they."
"That's nothing but rumors it's an old person living up there."
"Ever see this OLD PERSON?"
"But nothing, no one has ever seen this old person, no one lives there. It's empty."
"Adam, it's empty except on Halloween and no one has the guts to go there."
"I'll wait here and wish you the best. Does your mom have any candy."
"Look, it's all a joke. It's some college guys who hide inside. This will scare them."
"They'll chase us and beat us up."
"No they won't cause I've already been up there and set a booby trap when they come out."
"Two days ago. C'mon let's do this."
"Bobby, one more question."
"What is it?"
"Do you have matches?"
"Wait here, I'll be right back."
Adam and Bobby walked through the neighborhood which was busy with children in all sorts of costumes running from house to house. At the end of the third block they turned right.
It was as though they entered another dimension. The two lone street lights, one on each side of the street, flickered sporadically and the night air grew colder. Adam glanced over his shoulder, the area was deserted.
"Bobby, I'm not getting a good feeling."
"This is what Halloween is all about. We're supposed to be scared. Tomorrow we'll laugh about this once we go up there and you'll see it's nothing. Two more blocks, that's all. I also have a surprise for you."
"What is it and it better not be a trick."
"Look at this, you call this a trick," said Bobby pulling out two small pieces of paper.
"Tickets to the 8:30 show at the Cinema. We do this and run all the way to see Stephen King's 'IT'. On me."
"Still want to turn around, because if you do no movie."
"Damn you Bobby."
The boys stood by the rusted gate of the old house sitting up on a small bluff. Thirty stairs separated them from the front door. It was an old house, it's wooden siding skin had all been plucked away. Most of the windows with either cracked or broken except for the large one over the door. Nine small panes of glass all clean, not a scratch on any, and the wood, barely weathered.
"What's that inside," asked Adam, grabbing his friend's arm."
They saw a faint glow float across the window and vanish.
"It's just those college guys that's all. They're trying to scare us."
"They've succeeded. Let's leave, I'll pay for the movie."
"No way, I've been planning this for two months and I'm not turning around."
Each wooden step groaned under the weight of boys. The nails embedded in the old wooden planks popped like buttons on a shirt three sizes too small. As a covert operatives Bobby and Adam failed miserably.
"Shhh," I don't want them to hear us coming.
"Maybe you should have oiled each step when you were here two days ago."
The boys were extra careful on the last two steps doing everything they could not to make any more noise. When they were at the front door Bobby whispered his plan to his friend.
"Here are the matches. I'm going to hold the cherry bomb in my left hand. When I knock, light it."
"They'll open the door, I toss it, we run."
"What's your booby trap?"
"The last four steps jump, because I cut them just enough that when they come down they'll snap under their weight. First college guy goes down, the other's will trip."
If Bobby could see Adam's face, "That's your idea of a booby trap. Cutting four stairs at the bottom."
"You have a better idea?"
"Not being here for one."
"Shhh, I hear something."
There were heavy footsteps coming towards the door.
"Adam light the cherry bomb."
"Light the bomb," Bobby said loudly.
Adam, hand shaking, opened the pack of matches and pulled out a match. He struck the match, but it flew out of his hand. The footsteps were coming closer.
"Adam, light it!"
The second match lit the explosive just as the door flew open, a large hand grabbed Adam and Bobby, and closed with a crash. The cherry bomb exploded on the front porch.
"Did you hear that," said one of the four kids walking by the old house.
"Yeah, I wonder what it was," replied another.
"Let's go see," said the third, "Jimmy, you got your flashlight?"
"Yeah, but I'm not going."
"Let me have it, I'll be right back. I just want to shine a light on the door."
The boy stepped on the first stair snapping it in half under the weight of his footfall.
"Come on John, that's enough. This place is creepy and that's a sign to stay out."
As the four kids walked away they were too far to see the faint glow inside the old house. There was no light source to explain its origin, as it moved slowly up the staircase to an open door where it drifted into a blackened room. The owners of the fake arrow and top hat, which were lying on the floor had vanished.
Remnants of the cherry bomb sprinkled the porch along with two unused tickets to the movies that Halloween night.