Halloween in Hailsbury

Submitted into Contest #57 in response to: Write a story about someone breaking a long family tradition.... view prompt

4 comments

Drama Holiday Romance

Daisy Crawford had very long, black hair that she always tied into a loose bun. She had dark eyes and a crooked nose that was constantly runny. Her arms were too skinny, and her knees knocked together when she stood still. She was also dead.


She hadn’t meant to die. Daisy was only a child when it happened and she didn’t remember it much, to be honest. It happened three hundred years ago.


“It was dreadful,” sniffed Clara Crawford, Daisy’s mother, whenever she got to reminiscing. “Such a blue body… the river was particularly fast that day….”


Clara had died soon after, driven insane by grief. She had seen a large boulder in the river and, thinking it was Daisy, jumped in to save her daughter.


Clifford Crawford, Daisy’s father, lived to a ripe old age and never remarried.


The Crawfords lived in a small shack outside the town of Hailsbury. Daisy supposed the shack had been a lovely cottage some time ago, but it was full of broken floorboards and cobwebs now. Not much to be done when you couldn’t hold a broom, or light a candle, or breathe.


Nevertheless, the Crawfords enjoyed their quiet centuries. Daisy’s mother often sat at the river to watch the sun rays twinkle through the leaves. Daisy’s father spied on the townsfolk and ranted about Mr. Abbot’s overgrown hedges and Mrs. Holbrook’s yippy dogs. Daisy liked to dance.


And, on October 31st every year – the one day the Crawfords could touch and hold and eat and drink – the Crawfords did what they always did: they Scared.


It was the day before Halloween that Daisy found herself dancing in the yard. She twirled farther and farther away from the shack until she reached the road to town, and that’s when she saw him.


A boy across the road, wearing overalls and holding a baseball, looking straight at her.


No – he couldn’t possibly be looking at her, thought Daisy. He was clearly alive; he was warm and pink and holding something. And Daisy was very, very dead.


The boy started walking. Daisy’s eyes widened as he planted himself right in front of her. He had messy blond hair and gray eyes that reminded her of summer storms.


“Can – can you see me?” Daisy whispered.


The boy stared at her a while longer before saying, “You’re blue. I’ve never seen a blue one of you before.”


“You can see ghosts?”


“Yes.”


They stared at each other.


“You’re blue,” the boy said again.


“Well, yes, I suppose so,” said Daisy defensively. “I drowned.”


“Ah,” he said. “Never seen a drowning.”


“They’re not all that pretty, so I’m told,” said Daisy.


“Mm,” said the boy. He glanced away.


“What’s your name?” asked Daisy quickly.


“Sam Woodworth. Yours?”


“Daisy Crawford.”


They shook hands – or, they would have, if Daisy’s hand hadn’t passed through Sam’s.


“Sorry,” they said at the same time. Sam grinned at Daisy, and she felt warmer than she had in a long time.


“I’ve never seen you around Hailsbury,” said Daisy.


Sam shrugged. “We’re just visiting for Halloween. My dad’s a bit of a ghost fanatic, and you know – this town’s a legend.”


Daisy raised her eyebrows. Sam smacked his hand against his forehead. “Well, of course you know! You’re the reason why!”


Daisy laughed and curtsied. “Guilty.”


Sam smiled. There was something sad in his eyes.


“You don’t… approve?” questioned Daisy.


“No, no, it’s not you,” said Sam quickly. He tossed the baseball above his head and caught it. “It’s my dad. ‘The Spirit Hunter,’ as he calls himself.” Sam rolled his eyes.


“He doesn’t know you see us?”


“No. He’s already obsessed, and if he knew what I saw – well, I don’t think I’d ever get him back,” said Sam quietly.


Daisy looked at him. She felt a lot of things about the living – envy, curiosity, longing. Right now, she felt something new. Pity.


“We don’t do it on purpose,” said Daisy softly. “But you know – a year without touching… it’s just so nice to drink some hot chocolate from the café or ride a bike….”


Sam tossed the baseball up again. Daisy tried to grab it; her hand passed through.


“I know,” Sam said. “I know. It’s so innocent, really. But it encourages him… he’ll work all year, getting more and more defeated, and then Halloween will come, and he’ll get worked up all over again….”


Daisy frowned. She didn’t like the way he hung his head low or wiped his nose.


“Anyways, I should probably get back. Don’t want the old man getting worried,” said Sam, nodding toward town.


Daisy felt a sharp pain in her chest. She blinked. It had been a long time since she felt pain.


“Oh. Ok.”


“But I’ll come visit you, if you’d like,” said Sam.


“Yes,” nodded Daisy. The pain eased a bit. “I’d like that very much.”


It was that evening, when Clara had returned from the river and Clifford from town, when the Crawfords sat around the dusty fireplace, that Daisy loudly cleared her throat and looked her parents square in the eyes.


“I don’t think we should Scare tomorrow.”


Daisy’s parents looked her at in bewilderment. 


“Why on earth should we not?” asked Clara.


Daisy cleared her throat again. “I think it’s time. For the Light.”


Clara and Clifford glanced at each other.


“That’s absurd.”


“Preposterous.”


“We’ve Scared for three hundred years!”


“We’re famous here!”


Daisy waited patiently for the sputtering to die down.


“It’s time,” she whispered.


The three Crawfords sat in silence. Daisy reached forward and grasped each of her parents’ hands in hers.


“It’s time,” she whispered again.


Clara sniffed. “I supposed… your father and I always said when you were ready… it’s just a lot to leave behind... three hundred years to leave behind….” She looked toward her husband, who looked up to the heavens.


“There are many more years to look forward to, in the Unknown,” said Daisy.


Clifford looked at his wife and then his daughter. He nodded slowly.


“If we don’t do it now, we’ll never do it. The Light,” he said.


“The Light,” Daisy and her mother echoed.


The next morning, the three Crawfords waited outside the shack, facing east. Daisy stood between her parents and held their hands. The sky was beginning to turn orange.


The Light appeared once every year, as the sun rose on October 31st. And as the Crawfords approached the shining doorway, Daisy squeezed her parents’ hands and suddenly let go to push them forward. She slammed the Door shut behind them.


Daisy stared at the spot her parents disappeared, and for the second time in 24 hours, felt a stab of pain in her chest. She would be joining them soon enough, though.


It was sundown when Sam came back. She was waiting for him.


“Daisy! No ghost adventures, today, huh?” Sam’s laugh was loud and wonderful.


“I guess we wanted to take a break this year.”


“'We?’” asked Sam.


Daisy waved away his curiosity. “It’s just me now.”


They waited, stealing short glances at each other. Sam rocked on the balls of his feet. Daisy leaned toward him.


“Thank you, Daisy,” said Sam fervently. “I’ve never been happier seeing the old man so disappointed.”


If only Daisy’s blue cheeks could blush.


“It’s still Halloween, you know,” he said. “What do you like to do on Halloween?”


Daisy smiled. “I like to dance.”


Sam held his hand out, and when Daisy reached for him, her hand did not pass through his. His hand felt warm and soft and there.


They danced until midnight, when the warmth vanished. Sam left with his father the next day.


The years passed and the shack crumbled. The town of Hailsbury followed suit with no more legends to keep it on the maps.


But every Halloween, Sam Woodworth arrived at the road, which became overgrown with weeds. Every Halloween, he danced with Daisy Crawford, who couldn't seem to leave Hailsbury behind. And one day, when his blond hair had turned into salt and pepper and his blue eyes were dull and lined with wrinkles, Sam danced with Daisy one last time. He smiled at her, and, hand-in-hand, they walked into the Light.

September 01, 2020 03:14

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4 comments

Lina Oz
04:46 Oct 23, 2020

Have you read the Golden Compass? This kind of reminds me of the last scene––where Lyla and Will sit on the park bench in different dimensions. So beautiful and touching. I love this ending so much! And I love how you turned a type of ghost story into a beautiful love story. Amazing job with this!

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Lani Lane
14:05 Oct 25, 2020

I have not read the Golden Compass but I've always wanted to!! I think I started it when I was younger?? Anyways, thank you so much!

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Lina Oz
00:54 Oct 26, 2020

I definitely recommend the series! :)

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03:00 Dec 21, 2021

I love the end of this one!

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