Author’s Note: This story is my second attempt at the October Writing Prompt by the Coffeelicious. I’d written another story back then, but did not enjoy it. I was thinking about the prompt recently, and as stories do, this one, quite literally, erupted underneath my pen. I like this more and I hope you do too.
When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling Jack-o-Lantern in my front yard was crushed. I picked up the remains and walked through the door that opens every Halloween.
The boat-man was waiting on the shore of the river.
“Another one, eh?” he said, never losing his grip on the twig in his mouth. “I was about to push out. Toss him in with the rest.”
I hesitated, still holding the remains of my crushed Jack-o-Lantern. “He’s special. I carved him with my son.”
The boat-man threw his thumb over his shoulder pointing at the other crushed Jack-o-Lanterns. “They all special. Once the day is done, the door closes, they don’t be so special anymore.”
His cold hands brushed mine as he took the remains of my crushed Jack-o-Lantern and tossed it into his boat. He pushed hard with his long oar and was soon riding the river.
I lingered at the shore, refusing to leave until he was safe on the other side. I could still see my special Jack-O-Lantern. Every year when the door opens, my son visits me to carve a new Jack-o-Lantern.
The fog rolled in turning the boat and the Lanterns into faint silhouettes of themselves.
Another man stood next to me — he seemed a little older than I was. He wore the same coat and expression I did with a mustache on his face, the one I was thinking of growing.
“Every year he comes and every year is a new goodbye. Time keeps going, everywhere but here. This is the end, and in the end, we’re all the same.”
Hi, my name is Akshay G. and I’m a story-holic.