A soft thud rings in my ears, but I toss it aside to enjoy this moment. A slight breeze, the sweet fragrance, and the tall flowers tickling my toes as I ride my horse Clyde along a small path through the most beautiful sunflower fields I have ever seen. I pat my pocket and wish I hadn’t lost my phone. Thump, thud, creak. More noises so out of place, but I ride on. Puzzled, I look around for what could be making such strange noises in a field of sunflowers and slowly realize I am not riding Clyde and I am not in the middle of flowers. Darkness swells around me, and my eyes focus on absolutely nothing but black. The creaking footsteps slowly make sense because the floors in our new house creak. I lay still under only a sheet, and listen carefully, hoping I can tell where or what direction the noises came from. The sounds bellowing from the hollow floor beneath the new carpet are a dead give-away for movement inside the room…but I am home alone.
Last week I spent more time than I should have decorating for Halloween. It’s been probably fifteen years since I decorated a house or even a room for Halloween. We lived on a farm where there weren’t any Trick or Treaters, and with the boys grown, there wasn’t anyone around to enjoy the little haunts. Since I moved near my oldest son, and he and his wife spend every free evening at Universal Studio’s for Halloween Horror Nights, Halloween is once again a holiday to decorate. Even though we are still figuring out where to hang artwork and what furniture fits best in what room, Cody has convinced me to let him host a Halloween party here. It’s the perfect house for a Halloween party, and his idea for a living Clue game using real people and real rooms will be amazing! This house was built in the early 70s and has history, including a history of its very own Halloween frights. So, I agreed!
Even though Cody and his wife told me they were bringing decorations and food and drinks, I started decorating some. I have lived in the south too long to not chip in and be a good hostess! A black lace table cover with my silver horse trophy platters (The Last Crabtree Girl) garnished with three black candles and a black rose centerpiece with spiders climbing about, inviting brave guest to the dining room table for a bite to eat. In the library, black candles glow on bookshelves reaching eighteen feet to the rafters above. Outside there are flying witches, hats, and broom sticks floating on black shepherd’s hooks. Skeletons half buried in the half-cleared landscaping beds and jack-o’-lanterns glowing outside the ten-foot mahogany front doors. If the character Cody, from my Cody the Cockatrice series, was in the form of the apparent or thought form of a Cockatrice, that would take this Halloween decorating to a whole new level. Halloween is in the air, and now it seems I can’t wait for Cody, my son, to decorate for the party, but with the unexplained creaking of the floor…are the decorations and haunts creeping into my thoughts and dreams?
My fingers slid around the sheet that covered my body. I tug slowly at them, eager to hide more of my exposed limbs from the chill I have within me. My ears pulse with my own heartbeat, and I find myself holding my breath, but the new goosebumps appearing over my clammy skin tell me I shouldn’t catch my breath though I feel as if I am suffocating. Allowing my eyes to open slightly, I gaze around the room focusing on anything that takes a shape or form. Nothing. I slowly let my breath out muted underneath the covers and my bones sink back into the bed. Maybe, just maybe, Halloween is getting to me.
I giggle out loud, then hear a man’s voice say, “What’s so funny?”
Scrambling from the sheets I had mummied myself in, I fall to the floor. My brain takes a moment to process the familiar voice coming from the other side of the bed—my husband. He caught an earlier flight home from work, and needless to say, I am now on the floor laughing hysterically!
Don’t let the goblins invade all your thoughts and dreams this Halloween!
Featured image created by Cody Anderson