Ron was a superstitious man. He wouldn’t walk under ladders and he avoided black cats. He was delicate with mirrors and never stepped on a sidewalk crack. He always picked up pennies off the street and made wishes in wishing wells. He steered clear of Gypsies and did his best to protect himself from the evil eye. Ron hated Halloween. It was the worst time of year for him.
He was scared of dark Autumn corners and the long black shadows that occupied them. He didn’t like the scouring, scalding eyes of Jack O’Lanterns glaring at him from the neighborhood porches. They made him feel like the Devil was afoot and he would be weak against Satan’s evil onslaught. He felt like they stared right into his innocent soul, burning him with the fires of hell.
He didn’t even like the cardboard skeletons pasted to the front doors of the houses on his block. They reminded him of his childhood nightmares and their rattling bones chasing him through abandoned houses. He imagined the skeleton’s chattering teeth clacking in their jaws as they raced after him through dusty, rickety corridors. He would scream and yell for help but no one would ever come to his rescue. The cardboard skeletons made him shudder.
Ron didn’t like the costumes that the children wore. He felt they were embracing some evil force abhorrent to all that was good and pure. He would cross the street if he saw costumed children walking his way. He wanted nothing to do with them and wouldn’t even answer his own front door on Halloween when they came begging for the sugary snacks that he felt would probably give them all diabetes for their unholy sins of greed.
He was also unnerved by the whore-ish outfits all the young women wore. He felt himself committing the sin of lust as his eyes coveted their smooth skin and long legs. He would sit in his darkened house and watch through the windows as the young roamed about the neighborhood, some high on candy, others drunk on the devil’s booze. He would sweat and fear that they would egg his house or spray shaving cream all over his driveway. He would cower inside and pray for Halloween to end.
Now Halloween seemed to last weeks instead of just a few days and it would make Ron ever more scared to do anything to upset the cautious superstitious beliefs he’d so carefully crafted. There were too many black cats, there were too many broken mirrors, there were too many mother’s with broken backs. He rarely left his house at all during the Halloween season. There was too much horror outside, too much evil.
Ron’s doorbell rang and he steeled himself in his lounge chair. He would not be swayed by any trick or treater to rise and answer. The doorbell rang again. Ron crossed his arms across his chest and said a small prayer asking whomever was at the door to just go away. The doorbell rang again followed by some furious knocking. The bell rang again and again and Ron jumped up. He’d had it with all the evil and the devil works carousing through the streets. He felt it was time to take a stand for the superstitious.
The knocking at the door persisted. It was rapid and heavy against the old oak door of Ron’s house. Ron stepped into the foyer and tightened his old robe around his waist.
“Who’s there,” asked Ron.
There was no response to his question. The knocking however stopped suddenly.
“Hello,” asked Ron again as he inched closer to his front door.
He leaned up against the front door and pressed his ear to the wood. He wished he had a peephole in the door, but the house was old and the door was an antique. Ron held his breath, aching for some sound, perhaps some footsteps on the old wooden porch. But there was nothing. He could only hear the distant revelry of the other Trick or Treater’s flooding the street. Ron relaxed and turned from his door. He thought his prayer might have been answered.
His doorbell rang again and Ron jumped and spun around to face the door.
“Who’s there,” demanded Ron.
The knocking started again. Faster and harder. Hard enough to shake the door on its hinges. He thought he could hear talon-like scratching along the door. Ron stepped forward and braced the door with his hands. He felt the doors vibrations through his arms. He yelled for it to stop but the door kept thudding and pounding. The doorbell starting ringing over and over and the lights in the foyer started to flicker. Ron cried out again, begging that it stop, pleading forgiveness for his lusty thoughts about all those young women in their skimpy Halloween costumes.
Ron’s arms started to feel weak against the knocking at the door. He decided he had to put a stop to this. He was an innocent after all, what harm could come to him. He reached down to the chain and unhooked it. He flipped the deadbolt and felt the door shove inward. He grabbed the doorknob and turned it open. He flung the door open and leapt backwards. His panicked eyes wildly scanned the doorway.
A few fall leaves fluttered past the doorway swept up in a chilled Autumn night wind. The porch was bare. There were no Trick or Treaters, there were no demons, there were no black cats clawing at the door. Ron fell to his knees and swept his sweaty hair off his forehead.
“Damn you Halloween,” sighed Ron.