Ten year old twins Orson and Jules are ready for Halloween.
They are fully costumed ( Vampire and Mummy respectively ) they have decorated two white pillow cases with bones made from felt and they have written their names in drippy red lettering near the openings of their bags.
Grandma has insisted on making their costumes every year since they were old enough to reach a door bell and they didn’t argue because she is handy with a needle and thread and lucky them, their Mom is a whiz at makeup.
” All those years of sitting through my Mom’s Avon demos really paid off, didn’t it boys? ” Mom would say as she stepped back to admire her handiwork.
Orson and Jules had no idea what ” Avon ” was, but nobody could turn you into a corpse or the shade of a dead man better then Mom and the big picture here was getting out the door and into the night for candy, all the candy they could get into their bags so Mom throwing around words with no meaning wasn’t really important.
Not tonight because it’s Halloween
Grandma roared up their driveway just before dusk, like she did every year, in her Jeep. She’d hit the garbage cans like she did every year and Dad would say that joke played itself out a long time ago and he was ready to hide those damn things in the attic at this point.
” Go ahead Malcolm” she’d say, ” I’m up for the challenge.”
” Hey you two!” she called out her window to her Grandsons who were waiting for her on the porch.” Happy Halloween. Are we ready to go out and raise Caine and get some candy?”
” We are!” they cheer back in stereo.
” Hop in and let’s get to it then.”
Neither boy called shotgun- they loved their Nan, but not enough to sit in the Death Seat. Nan seemed to feel that things like speed limits and traffic laws in general were more suggestion then rules.
So they flew down the street, and as they did the Sun set lower in the sky and the street lights started to pop on.
” Nan, ” Orson asked ” do you think we can start at Hidden Hills first? Then to Harvest Ridge?”
” I don’t see why not. But first things first. I have to swing by the Stop- N- Go ”
” Couldn’t you have stopped there first Nan? Look! The Sun is down!” said Jules who was probably the only person in the world who could scold Nan and get away with it.
” Nope. ” Nan swooped into the Stop -N-Go and she nearly missed the gas pumps ( as usual). The few people in the lot looked surprised and even a little scared but not Jules and Orson. They were more concerned with their empty treat bags then they were with their brush with death.
” You can do this fast, right Nan?” Orson reminded her in the form of an ask.
” Sure. Back in a jiff.”
Orson and Jules were pretty sure that a Jiff equaled 15 minutes in real time but they didn’t say anything. They were counting on the fact that Nan would make up for their lost time with her driving.
Nan tore out of the driveway and after a few minutes of roaring through the dark she remembered to turn her lights on, but did that matter to anyone in the Jeep? No it did not because they were on their way.
Between Hidden Hills and Harvest Ridge- two of Orson and Jules favorite trick or treating spots where the houses were decked out in their finest Halloween regalia and the yards were stuffed with graveyards and inflatable monsters and even crime scenes complete with giant plastic rats and corpses under sheets- is Sparrows Ease.
Sparrows Ease in a small cemetery that outdates the towns that sprung up to the north and south of it by almost 100 years. Unlike the new cemeteries, Sparrows Ease has a tall wrought iron fence, and a locked gate- the lock is new and you need a key card and a passcode to open it.
Nan zips up to the gate, kills the engine and grabs the bag on the seat next to her.
A candle rolls out and she shoves it back in and reaches for the glove compartment. She pulls out the Keycard, a scalpel and a roll of bandages. ” Ok. I’m going to raise your Cousin Caine and then we’re off! ”
Jules reaches into his bag and pulls out a treat bag with their cousin’s name written on it and Orson pulls an eye patch and a pirate’s hat out of his and both boys sit back as Nan pops out of the car and they watch, with as much patience as they can muster, the cemetery gates swing open after she taps her card to the key pad and punches in her code.
” Why does she use a key?” Jules asks.
Orson doesn’t answer because tonight it’s Halloween and the boring details of day to day life don’t matter right now.
Darkness has fallen over Sparrows Ease and the stars are out.
It’s Halloween and tonight is full of magic.