Something Flickered

“Stop running ahead, Jimmy!” His father panted as he finally caught up to the excited child. Then he glanced up at the next house. “The lights are all off in this one, Jimmy,” he eyed the wood boarded across the door. “Let’s go to the next one.”

But the young child saw a light flicker in the window and shook his head. “No, I want to try this one.”

“Alright,” shrugged the father. He stopped at the edge of the property, and let his son run up the path. He glanced down at his phone as it buzzed. His wife wanted to know how the trick-or-treating was going.

The boy eagerly climbed the stairs. His heavy bag of candy weighed him down, but he was sure he had seen a light inside. And he really, really wanted more candy. Last year Ben, his classmate, had gotten two full bags, and hadn’t stopped bragging about it. This year, Jimmy had decided, he would have the most loot out of everyone. He couldn’t wait to see Ben’s jealous face.

He raised his hand to knock, and then hesitated as the door slowly swung open before he could even touch it. He bit his lip and shifted uncertainly, then poked his head under the board in to peer inside.

It was dark. He couldn’t see the light that had been shining before. But the moon was bright this night, and it shone a clear path down the hallway. And as his gaze traveled further, he spotted a plastic pumpkin lying on the floor. It was tilted slightly, and several candies had fallen out.

He grinned and hefted his own bag up and over the doorstep as he stepped inside. The floor creaked as he walked, the red shoes his parents had bought to match his spiderman costume seemed strangely heavy. But he was almost at the pumpkin. If no one had noticed him yet, he was pretty sure they wouldn’t even be aware that he had been there at all.

Outside his father pressed ‘send’ and looked up from his phone. A frown appeared as his son was nowhere to be seen.

“Jimmy?” He called out, looking around. The door was still closed and the lights off. He sighed loudly. “Running ahead again,” he muttered, taking off towards the next house. “I told him to wait for me.”

The moon’s glow began to dim, and soon it was too dark for Jimmy to see properly. He glanced back, but the clouds now obscured the moon. He licked his lips and clenched his candy closer to his body. It was heavy, and his arms were getting tired. He edged his foot forward. He knew he was close now. It was just a little bit further. One step, one more…

Then something flickered in front of him, pale and glowing.

His eyes widened, and a sob escaped his mouth. “Dad…”

His sack of candy dropped from his loosened grip, spilling over the side as it hit the ground.

Happy Halloween!

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