A visitor on All Hallows’ Eve

The couple lay still in their bed. In between heavy, wheezing snores, the man would shift ever so slightly, and with each shift, he would yank the sheets and comforter over to his side of the bed, wrenching it from his slumbering wife’s body, exposing her bare legs and arms to the cool fall air drifting in through the open windows. Although, in all the woman’s sixty years, she had never truly been a great sleeper, which is why she heard the flutter of wings and clatter from the first floor before she felt the shiver of the night air.

The house they lived in was an old house and the slightest creak or commotion could be instantly felt within the thin walls, echoing in the floorboards and reverberating through each room, a singular point of sound drifting out like the silky, silvery veins of a long spider web.

The house itself appeared to be sinking into the ground. From the road, the house looked positively ghoulish — the two top floor windows served as black, hollow sockets peering out into the night, while the peeling white paint and crooked exterior suggested the manifestation of a wrinkly old man hunched over. The overgrown garden was a generous description, as it wasn’t really a garden much at all; more weeds and scraggly plants occupied the bare landscape. Life could not be sustained in this barren excuse for a front yard.

The husband and wife weren’t very interested in the humdrum routines of daily house maintenance and so chose to live their lives as if the house were an entity of its own and preferred the privacy of remaining untouched. The wife always wondered what it would be like to feel a stranger’s hands touching you and painting you and repairing your walls.

Thus, it was only fitting that a nighttime creature would visit them on All Hallows Eve. Perhaps the creature thought the house to be abandoned and so, declared it his for the taking.

The woman’s eyes bolted open the instant she heard the flutter from the first floor. Her husband was a deep sleeper and so it took her saying his name loudly five times and roughly shaking his shoulder to stir. He had been in the middle of a pleasant dream about golfing before his wife woke him. At first, he thought she was just imagining noises from outside, as was often the case, and rolled away from her to resume his dreaming, until he too heard the commotion from downstairs. He groaned and reluctantly got out of bed and crept down the stairs.

That night, as was also fitting, a full moon illuminated the night sky. From the bay windows in the couple’s living room, the moon shone brightly and cast a long shadow of the creature across the wooden floors. The husband slowly walked across the room, making sure to avoid the extra creaky spots. A baseball bat had made its way into his hands, which he had swiped from his bedroom closet moments earlier. At this point, his wife had joined him.

When the couple approached, they found a small bat perched on the far wall, much smaller than the shadow implied and far less ominous than all the ruckus had suggested. A lamp and photograph of the couple from their wedding day had been knocked onto the ground and so they discovered the root of all the noise. In the light of the moon and the darkness, the bat’s eyes watched the couple. The couple watched back.

The husband put the baseball bat down and opened up a window for the bat to escape. He took his wife’s hand, and led her back up to their bedroom, where for the first night in quite some time, the woman slept straight through the rest of the night.

For, you see, this was the first visitor either wife or husband had received for over a decade. The couple happened to be dead and living in a house with a sagging exterior and they happened to love that anyone or anything would visit them if only to stave off their loneliness momentarily.

We all know strange things happen on All Hallows’ Eve.

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