It was a perfect Halloween night with the moonlight illuminating magical shadows, colorful leaves crunching under foot. It was cool but not cold and the streets of their neighborhood were swarming with every assortment of character you ever saw. Even some of the parents escorting their children were dressed up and many of their costumes reflected a lifetime of Halloweens. Christine was a princess escorting her little sister who was a pint-sized princess but even though she was a teenager she still went door to door with her. For her, the best part of Halloween was the chance to meet neighbors she hadn’t seen in a year. It was while talking to one such neighbor that she turned to see her little sister standing on a curb. Her sister waved enthusiastically and smiled broadly at her and then turned and walked directly into the path of a car. She died on the spot.
Christine was beside herself with grief and blame for the better part of a year, but the worst was yet to come. She was supposed to be watching, protecting her sister and she failed and no one could tell her it was not her fault. The one thing that constantly nagged at her is that her sister’s action seemed so deliberate, but she could not come up with any explanation for such behavior so she insisted on believing that she never saw the car coming. Still unanswered was why she felt a need to cross the street in the first place.
The following year, on Halloween night, she was at the high school when it caught fire. She escaped with a severe case of smoke inhalation but no one died. The following year, on Halloween night while she was driving her mother’s car the front left tire blew out and the car veered left into traffic. She grabbed the steering wheel with all her might and barely managed to avoid a head on collision with another car. Later, the mechanic said that the tire had been slit in such a way that it would go flat soon after the vehicle was driven.
Christine was finally figuring out that she was cursed but she didn’t know why or by whom. The police were involved and at one point her parents insisted she see a psychiatrist to help her deal with this, but nothing helped her cope.
Now this had been going on for 10 years and she had accepted it as a part of her life.
The wind crept into her bed and gave her chills even through the security of two blankets and a comforter that wasn’t. It was a reminder that tomorrow was Halloween, a day that always generated an irrational fear in her heart. She was not a fearful girl; she did not harbor superstitions and did not tremble in fear from anybody. But the wind made her curl up in her bed and pray for sleep.
Morning came and she sprang up out of bed. She wasn’t about to spend the whole day in bed to avoid the inevitable even though her parents would probably allow it. She had to face her punishment, what ever it might be, and hope that this will be the year she discovers a solution. Perhaps this will be the year that the demon that is stalking her reveals himself, for it had become the consensus of everyone who knew about her case that evil spirits must be involved and she was beginning to accept this explanation.
The day was uneventful and now it was Halloween for everyone else, but for Christine it was Friday evening and she headed to school for her weekly music session. It was getting dark and every costumed kid she saw looked menacing. In fact for years she had noticed that about one fourth of the kids seemed to have a demonic presence and so did many of the parents who accompanied them. She used to joke that this would be a tremendous advantage if she chose to become a prosecutor, she would know on one day of the year who was capable of evil. Now the wind was making a symphony as it weaved among the leaves and trees and it seemed to be trying to speak to her, perhaps trying to tell her what she so needed to know. Even the shadows seemed sinister and she couldn’t wait for the welcome distraction of her music group. As she crossed the street in from of the school, a scooter failed to yield to her and in a fit of rage she pushed the kid off his bike. “What is wrong with you? I just didn’t see you,” he protested but she was still mad and didn’t answer or apologize.
Many of the group were dressed in costumes, including a few demons, which did not please Christine, and she was further displeased by the selection of music that reflected the holiday. She expected to be stressed out on Halloween night but this was too much. Perhaps next year she will try going out of town.
She took the same route home as she always did, but on this evening a young boy dropped a large rock off of a pedestrian bridge and the rock struck Christine on the head, dazing her but it did not knock her out. As she laid on the ground in a semi-conscious state, an apparition appeared before her, a creature of pure evil with no light in his eyes and she knew instantly that this was the demon that had been molesting her soul.
“Why have you been torturing me for all these years? I know you are a demon but I never did anything to you.”
“I understand that you don’t know who I am, but you banished my son to hell 10 years ago.”
“I don’t understand.”
“My son was inhabiting the body of a little boy who came to your door with a group of other little boys. You looked at the boy and instantly recognized that he was possessed and what you said to him caused the demon, my son, to leave the boy’s body and be banished. I will never forgive you for what you did.”
She remembered the boy now, and remembered how the boy suddenly changed before her eyes. Now she was desperately trying to remember exactly what she had said to the kid.
“That was just a twist of fate, the boy was dressed as the devil and I was just trying to be funny. Besides, isn’t there some rule that demons are only supposed to harass the evil? I am hardly evil.”
“That is true but nobody knows of my vengeance toward you and there is no one you can appeal your case to, so I am going to make the rest of your life a living hell.”
“Not unless you are in hell yourself. She finally remembered the words and spoke them to him.”
“Ha! Didn’t you think I would expect you to use the same chant against me? As you can see I have made myself immune to it.”
She understood that this demon was more powerful that the one in the child, but she remembered a chant her parish priest used on her once. “It is much more effective when the demon is free standing.” He had said. Christine had to act quickly for the demon could disappear any second and may not ever make itself visible to her again. She spoke the words firmly and deliberately, trying to recall the Latin with as much accuracy as she could. She apparently was accurate enough.
The mocking smile quickly fled from the demon’s face. He was a pure spirit in that he didn’t seem to be inhabiting the body of a human and the image of him slowly turned to smoke and he was gone.
She felt an incredible lightness and she felt darkness lifted from her soul. She felt joy for the first time in a decade and many of her darkest thoughts were gone. She felt her true personality beginning to emerge. With a shock she realized that this demon had been inhabiting a body, namely hers. He must have taken her after the banishment of his son. He must have temporarily left her body in order to have this conversation with her and must have been confident about his ability to return. But now he was gone.
She felt wonderful, she felt free. Her life was her own again and she could live a normal life. Best of all, Halloween would just be Halloween. She was able to stand up and a little blood on she side of her head informed her that she had just been grazed by the rock, she would probably be ok. She headed for home and she was actually skipping along the way she was so happy. That is when she heard a screeching of brakes and she could see that a man had not realized a traffic light had changed to red. He plowed into the drivers side of a yellow car and the car crashed into a tree. Suddenly, for the first time in her life, this strong little girl began to cry. You see, she had just watched her mother die.