Here’s a very short story (nearly flash fiction!) piece that I originally wrote for a contest my wife suggested I enter. I enjoyed the story so much, I thought I’d share it with you all.
As the Autumn twilight faded slowly through orange, the alter was set and the Trio were prepared to do what they must. It wouldn’t have to be perfect, but the forms must be observed or the little ones would not come. Or worse, they would come and be displeased.
In the distance, a streetlight flickered on, beaming light down unsteadily for a few moments before it suddenly darkened again.
One of the three made soft “tsk tsk” noises at this, hiding a smile.
As she worked to arrange everything according to careful records from long years past she remembered other times, with other lights fading. She had been performing this ritual, or one like it, since before she could read the words written in her mother’s book. The items were always arranged just so, and the little ones always came.
With a soft wind tickling the brittle leaves above, another of the Trio worked to light the candles. He too knew this of old, and smiled his secret smile as the candles added their glow to the deepening dark. They were set well back, lest they become a hazard, and some were propped inside highly stylized, sometimes menacing containers.
The three ravens fell to the youngest of the Trio. She had dusted the metallic birds earlier that day after taking them from their place of storage below ground. They smelled of past fall nights and made her smile on this, her first celebration where she was entrusted with the care of the little ones.
As the Trio arranged the cards to show their faces to any who would pass by and hefted the spirit board on to their strange new alter, they heard a faint giggle. Like the rustling of the wind through the leaves, the little ones were heard approaching!
Quickly the youngest ran inside to gather the offerings together. Arriving with a huff and the flutter of her velvet cape, she placed the offerings near the spirit board and quickly donned her pointed cap.
Smiling tenderly, the eldest female approached her and calmly added a dab of spirit glue to the large, rubber wart on her eldest daughter’s nose.
“Are you sure you don’t want to trick or treat out there with your sister honey?” the man dressed as a wizard asked, as he put the finishing touches on the candelabra. “I think I can hear the first group of children coming and it’s not too late to head out.”
“No Dad,” said the young woman, “I’d like to hang out here with you and Mom this year and hand out the candy.”
The three shared a smile as the darkness fell and the candles did their best to light up their front yard.
Note: If you’re on Facebook and would like to vote for this story, feel free to (link goes to FB). I believe voting ends today (10/31). I made it available here though so those who don’t want to bother with Facebook, voting and whatnot need not go through it just to read the story.