A Sweet Act

Submitted by Sarah Montgomery to Contest #13 in response to: Write a story about an eventful evening of trick-or-treating.... view prompt

When you walk down the street on Halloween. What is it that you see? I look around at all of the children going from door to door and see them all excited with glee. They are dressed up all spiffy and neat. Some of their costumes are homemade and special, some are store bought and the manufacturing shows.

 I look out my window and let out a big sigh. I’d love to join them. If only for this night. I turn away from the window and continue down the stairs. My house, it isn’t much and we never have visitors here. I go from room to room just looking about. I’m just killing time, trying to distract myself. I look at the clock on the wall and it reads 8 o’clock. There is only an hour left and then they will leave. I walk to the front door and open it up and there stands a little girl, maybe around 8 or 9.

Her hand is raised as if she was going to knock. She quickly puts it down and smiles very wide. “Trick or Treat!” she says with more excitement than I’ve felt in years, holding up a little pink bucket with a jack-o-lantern face painted on the side. She is dressed head to toe in sparkles and ruffles. She looks like a princess from a fairy tale book. I didn’t reply as I stared down at her in shock. What was she doing here, talking to me? My look of surprise must have confused her as she tilted her head to the side and said, “What’s wrong, sir? Do you not have any candy?” My look of surprised faded to a small frown and I shook my head from side to side. “No little girl, I am afraid not. I haven’t had any visitors in quite a long time.” I slid past her and sat on the top step of my porch. I heard her shuffle in her little princess dress. The fabrics rubbing up against each other as she moved to stand beside me. “No visitors?” her voice was quiet and shy.

 I chanced a glance at her and could see her staring at my old decrepit house. She then looks back at me. Her face was moved into an expression I couldn’t quite place. Maybe it was pity, maybe it was sadness. I couldn’t say. I look backed onto the street where all the other children were still running about with their parents and friends. I expected her to leave since there was no bounty to be had. Instead I hear her fabric shuffle one more time and snap my head towards her in surprise as she sits next to me on the step. “I’ll keep you company then if only for a little bit. My older brother ran off with some friends so I’m alone too. It’s okay though, we can be alone together.” She smiled up at me that innocent youthful smile we see on those that haven’t been tarnished by the cruel world they live in.

Now it was my turn to tilt my head to the side. “Child, what made you come to this house?” I wanted to ask her. No, I HAD to ask her. “Oh, well I usually walk past this house with my brother a lot and he had told me it was abandoned. I believed him until tonight as I walked by, I saw you standing up at that window.” She pointed upwards at the window I had been looking out just moments before. “You were just staring out of it like you were waiting for someone to come by. I know your porch light wasn’t on, but I decided to come and see. Then I saw you didn’t even have a porch light, so I was going to knock but then you opened the door.” She looked at me after her explanation like that was that. She just happened to look up and see me looking out the window and decided to come up here and just see if I was passing out candy.

I looked at her to reply but noticed she was staring at the street with a look of confusion and maybe a touch of frustration. “What is it? What’s wrong?” I asked her. She snapped out of her train of thought and glanced up at me, “Why is no one else coming up here? I mean I know you don’t have candy but still maybe someone could say Hi or maybe see if you wanted some candy yourself. Oh, here!” she reached into her little pink bucket and pulled out a tootsie pop. She handed it up to me. “Here you go! Have some candy with me!” she pushed the candy into my hand that had been resting on my knee, she brushed my hand a bit. “Jeez sir. You should go get on some gloves or maybe a jacket, you’re cold.” She had a look of concern towards me. The first look of concern I’d seen on anyone’s face towards me in years. I sat there staring at the candy. I then looked at her. “Why do you care?” I couldn’t stop the question from coming out. Why was this little girl sitting with me instead of going to get more candy? Didn’t she know what stranger danger was? Why did she care if I got sick or not? “Well, isn’t that what you are supposed to do? Be nice to people. You don’t seem like a bad person. I don’t know why people aren’t coming up here to see you. I think everyone should be kind to everyone. Don’t you? Why should people have to be lonely?” she stared at me with those big brown eyes of hers and stated all of that as if it was the easiest thing in the world to say.

I clenched my hand around the tootsie pop and smiled my first genuine smile in a very long time. “Thank you, little girl.” I said to her with as much admiration I could muster. “My name is Jennifer, but you can call me Jenny.” She smiled her big toothy smile at me. “Thank you, Jenny. My name is Samuel.” “Well it was nice to meet you Samuel. Maybe…”. “Hey Jenny. What the hell are you doing sitting on that old house’s porch? Get over here before mom kills me!” I looked over to see someone who must have been her older brother at the end of my walkway. “I’m talking to my new friend!” She yelled back at him. “New friend? What the hell are you going on about? There’s no one there! Now come on!” “My new friend Samuel, he’s right…here.”

She looked at where I had been not even a second ago. I was now back inside my house hidden from the rest of the world. She jumped up and looked around trying to find me and caught a glance of me in my window next to my front door. She looked at me confused and then her expression turned quickly into realization. I was no longer on this plane of existence. I was no longer with the living. I gave her a sad smile and nodded my head to confirm her theory. Her expression changed to one of sadness and she went to head down my stairs. She stopped short and spun around and ran back up to my doorstep. I panicked, what was she about to do? I looked to see her reach into her bucket and pull out two more pieces of candy and set it on the porch. She smiled softly to herself. She turned and started back down the steps. She turned midway and waved at me smiling. I smiled softly back at her and waved. Her brother was looking at her as if she’d gone crazy. Telling her to hurry up and come on. I smiled and went out to collect my candy.

 I walked back inside my abandoned home. I’d been dead for over a decade. Heart attack in my sleep. I had no family. No one to mourn my death. I guess my loneliness is what kept me here. I set the candy on an old dusty table and went back upstairs to my room where I died. I laid down on the bed and smiled to myself feeling a sense of warmth come over me. Who knew that a small child’s kindness on Halloween night would bring the peace I needed to rest? I closed my eyes and let out a happy content sigh, feeling myself float away into peaceful bliss. 

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3 likes 2 comments

11:53 Nov 05, 2019

Halloween isn't for everyone and you have written a deep feeling of this day.

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16:37 Nov 07, 2019

Nicely done. I felt a little lonely after reading this

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