Night Of The Jack-O-Lantern

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Bendy walked back and forth… and up and down… he walked every street in town… from dusk until midnight.
No one noticed him… just a slender, solitary figure… dressed all in black… no one ever did.
He had always felt like maybe he was invisible… blending in with the darkness… just another shadow.
His steps were slow and purposeful… and his keen eyes missed nothing.

Now he looked up at the sky… filled with dark foreboding clouds… just like he had hoped for.
He let the object in his hand rest against one leg… and then he rubbed his hands together…gleefully… and his lips curled in a tight, slightly wicked grin of anticipation.
This was the night… HIS night… he could feel it… they would never know what hit them… until it was too late.
A chuckle bubbled up in his throat but he silenced it… he must make no sound to draw attention to himself.
One never knew when the spies were around… or where they might be hiding.

It was Halloween and nearly every house and front lawn was decorated in some way.
Scarecrows were sitting on hay bales… straw sticking out everywhere… looking just as dumb and lazy as they always did.
Witches in their tall, pointed black hats… broomsticks tucked underneath their arms… crystal goblets in hand… were standing around huge bubbling black cauldrons.
Ghosts of all sizes hung from the trees… twisting and twirling in the wind… foolishly trying to keep up with the leaves.
Zombies were everywhere… fake ones that looked like they were coming up out of the ground… and a few almost real ones… staggering around like they were punch-drunk already.
One place had a cool vampire… popping up out of his coffin… flapping his black cape… and calling out “Good evening” in a fake Transylvanian accent.
Another place had Frankenstein… lumbering back and forth across the front porch… arms straight out in front of him… with an antenna on his head that threw off a few sparks every now and then.

And then there were pumpkins… everywhere there were pumpkins… some alone… some in groups… some with black cats propped up beside them… or fake tombstones.
Others were lit from inside to highlight their carved features… some with elaborate works of art… but dozens… perhaps even hundreds… wore the evil grin of the Jack-O-Lantern.
Bendy shivered as he took careful note of the location of every one of them.
He hated the Jack-O-Lantern with a passion… had done so since he was a child.

But the time was coming… very soon now… for this was HIS night… it had to be… he had waited patiently for so long.
He almost giggled as he imagined the pleasure his actions would bring.
He looked to the sky for confirmation… and couldn’t believe his eyes.
The clouds were dissipating… and the moon was slowly making its appearance… shining golden yellow in the night sky… the Harvest Moon!
No! He screamed silently in his head… over and over… it couldn’t be… it wasn’t fair… not again.
He closed his eyes to shut out the sight.

Slowly he opened his eyes and looked at the sky again… it was no use.
The Jack-O-Lantern was in the moon… just as he always was… looking down at him… mocking him with that sickening sanctimonious grin.
A numbing chill of pure fear ran down his spine… and he trembled like a leaf in the wind.
How many more years would he have to wait for his night to come.
Bendy turned and shuffled off towards home… moving slowly… swinging the heavy wooden mallet in his hand… shoulders slightly bent under the burden of a still unfulfilled mission.

Home… where the dark, heavy curtains would block out the sight of the evil golden face… the face that had mocked and terrified him for so long.
Home was where he belonged… the only place where he felt relatively safe.
There would be no smashing tonight… the pumpkins were safe for another year… protected by the power of their legendary namesake.
This was not HIS night after all… it belonged to the grinning demon of his nightmares.
It was… as it was every Halloween… the night of the Jack-O-Lantern.

 

Silhouette of hunched man with mallet under harvest moon, walking away from jack-o-lantarns

author
Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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