Walt yelled ahead to his little brother over the menacing sounds of the big kids who had taken chase, “I told you I didn’t want to go!”
Feeling like he was now too big for trick or treating and not wanting to deal with it, Walt had tried to hide from Henry earlier that night but his kid brother finally found him underneath the porch. After an eternity of begging, Walt had finally relented. “Fine. But I’m not gonna wear that sheet again like last year.”
For some reason, he kept having visions of himself tripping on the sheet and falling headlong into the path of an approaching car. Now that they were being chased, he thanked himself for going costumeless.
“You don’t have to,” Henry had said. “You’ll make the best ghost ever just like that.”
Ha ha, Walt had thought. He didn’t get the kid’s sense of humor.
Walt now wished neither of them had gone out tonight. He was starting to panic. The teenagers weren’t letting up, their taunts got nastier and the sounds of their footsteps sounded like a herd of buffalos against the damp suburban street.
At least they were getting close to home now, close to safety.
His brother stumbled. Walt had to do something. He turned, ready to face down the menacing teens to give Henry a chance. He raised his hands, knowing he was going to get pummeled as he watched the group stampede forward.
“Come on!” he yelled. None of the five bigger kids seemed to hear him. One of them was about to trample him. His body froze and he closed his eyes, ready to be slammed to the concrete. But the sounds passed him by. He looked back. Huh? It was like they went right through him.
Walt watched from behind as the kids scattered as soon as their mom opened the door. A surprised wail came from her as she took Henry into her arms. “How dare you go out by yourself!” she yelled between sobs. “How could you do that to me after what happened to your brother!”
Walt suddenly felt ten times heavier. Now he remembered. Those visions — he hadn’t even been running from menacing teens when he had tripped on the sheet last year, hit his head on the asphalt, and gotten plowed over by that car.
“Bye Walt,” his kid brother Henry called. “I hope you’re still allowed to come back next year. If you can, I’ll go with you every year, even after if I’m too big.”
Their mom’s grief-filled croons rose as Henry spoke and she pulled him inside. Walt raised his hand and waved as he felt his mind starting to drift back into whatever void he now called home.
© Bill DuBay Jr. 2020