Midnight Decision

Submitted into Contest #65 in response to: Write about someone’s first Halloween as a ghost.... view prompt


Fantasy Holiday Fiction

“Are you Adelaine?”

           My eyelids quiver as I attempt to open them. One eye opens, but there’s nothing to see other than a heavy mist.

           The voice speaks again. “You must be Adelaine. I was told you were on your way.”

           With both eyes open I stare into the fog. I twist right and left, but see no one.

 “Look up.”

Above the mist is a translucent figure with long, flowing white hair, and she’s wearing a black t-shirt and fashionable jeans.

“I am Adelaine. Who are you and where am I?”

The being floated down to my eye level.

 “Just call me Guide. From now until midnight I’m here to help you. You’re in the ghost realm called In-Between because you entered the spirit world on All Hallows’ Eve. You’ll be a ghost for only one day if you’re able to make peace with an earthbound enemy by midnight. If you succeed, you’ll move on to the High territory. I, along with the others here, wasn’t able to reconcile with my adversary.”

“Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’ve been planning my party for weeks. The back yard is decorated with pumpkins and witch lights are stretched over the trees. The CD is set up with sound effects of screeching cats, howling goblins, and moaning zombies. I’ve always wanted the real experience of being a ghost, but I would have to be dead.”

Guide was silent.

“Oh… I’m dead? How did that happen? I remember mixing up orange icing for cupcakes when Riamon brought homemade fudge. The last thing I remember is eating a small piece of it.”

“I can confirm you died. There is someone you must apologize to before moving on. We have a lot of work to do by midnight.”

As I was thinking about all Guide had told me, my hand automatically reached up to twist a strand of hair. However, I couldn’t feel my hair. I pinched my arm and again felt nothing, not even the cloth of my blouse. Guess I really must be a spirit.

“So, how are you going to guide me?”

“First, you need to identify the person you wronged.”

My husband, Jay, and I were happier than ever. I had no trouble with my group of friends. The only person that came to mind was Riamon. She and I had a rocky start…

“Bingo, it didn’t take you long to identify the person.”

“You read my mind about Riamon. She was so jealous of me when Jay and I got together. As the recently widowed wife of his best friend, it seemed she had her eyes on Jay becoming her next husband. After he and I were married, Riamon often called or stopped by unannounced for financial advice, and Jay spent many weekends doing maintenance on her home instead of ours.”

“Sounds like he enjoyed helping out.”

“He did, but missed the motive behind all her helplessness. Would you believe, in our wedding picture she placed herself right in the middle of the group holding Jay’s hand. She looked like the bride. I hated her visits and phone calls. She was nasty to me, and I’m afraid I wasn’t very nice to her, either.”

“Why did she bring you fudge?”

“Riamon and I’ve been getting along better, almost like friends. Over time, I got used to sharing him. After the party tonight, I was going to formally apologize and ask her forgiveness. Too bad I had a heart attack after I ate the peanut butter fudge.”

“Yes, she’s the one you need to reconcile with.”

“How will I contact her to apologize?”

“As an In-Between ghost guide, I can train you to transform into a visible physical shape. The shape should remind Riamon of you, maybe a favorite animal or bird. Once transformed, you’ll communicate mentally to her.”

I better think fast. Only seven hours left til midnight. What would remind Riamon of me? She knew I loved bird watching, especially hummingbirds. Wonder if she would think of me if I hovered around her tonight. The party’s outside and flowers are still in bloom.

“Do you know where my body is at the moment? Am I at the hospital or have they already moved me to the funeral home? Will they have the Halloween party?”

“Give me a moment to check… Your body is with the medical examiner, because they’re not sure you had a heart attack. Riamon is insisting the party be held in your memory. She’s saying you loved the holiday so much you would want them to celebrate Halloween.”

“Can you teach me to be seen as a hummingbird? Another question, if I’m able to communicate with her will I know if she’s accepting my apology?”

“You’ll know. As for learning how to do this, we have time to practice before the party. Also, your planned communication should be brief.”

Guide instructs me about moving around with my translucent shape.

“Start by looking at the place you want to be. Picture yourself going to that spot, and you’ll be there in a flash. If you want to float, go to the desired location and imagine yourself as a floating bubble.”

I caught on quickly, moving wherever and however I wanted. Now I wanted to learn how to manifest my spirit-body as a hummingbird.

“Create a picture of a hummingbird in your mind. Concentrate on each aspect of the tiny bird – the tiny wings and feet, stiletto beak, long tongue. Put yourself mentally in a flower garden and imagine lighting on a flower and drinking the sweet nectar. Taste the nectar, feel the draft of your beating wings. Good job, now I see you as a hummingbird.”

I practice for another hour, shifting back and forth from my spirit appearance to the small bird. While I was in the hummingbird shape, I concentrated on my thought-words of love and apology.

“Okay, I’m ready. The party starts at eight. I’ll try communicating with her while she’s outside finishing the last-minute party preparations. Will you be around when I do this?”

“You won’t see me and I won’t be able to help, but I’ll be watching to make sure you succeed.”

I float around looking at the decorations while I wait for Riamon. At last, she comes out of the house dressed as a witch, black dress and a tall pointed hat on her blonde hair. It was a cinch for me to hover close to her and make myself visible as a hummingbird on a nearby flower. I sent my message to her.

“Riamon, I love you. Please accept my apology for being so mean and not understanding how much help you needed after your husband was gone. I hope you’ll forgive me.”

No response from her. I tried again and this time she acknowledged receiving my thoughts.

“Oh my, that hummer reminds me of dear, departed Adelaine. Why has it crossed my mind that she’s apologizing to me? I hated her from the first day we met. Jay was to be my second husband. If anyone needs to apologize, it should be me. I’m sorry, Adelaine. Please forgive me. You had to go, because I need Jay more than you did.”

Guide spoke to me through the mist, “There, she apologized to you and asked your forgiveness. Do you forgive her?”

“What does she mean, I had to go? What a two-faced witch…only pretending to be nice to me. What if I don’t forgive her?”

“You will be destined to stay at the In-Between realm as a guide and experience an infinite number of ghostly Halloweens. Loved ones will pass through, but so quickly you’ll have no conversations with them. If you forgive Riamon, you’ll move on to High, where your friends and family will be.”

I don’t know what to do. How can I forgive Riamon for ending my life? Plus, my love of Halloween and being a ghost can last forever. It would be a shame to have been a ghost for less than twelve hours.

 “I have until midnight to decide, right?”

October 31, 2020 02:12

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.