Luckily, the ghosts and goblins stayed away this year and I was left with a peaceful and fun evening with a friend, a good hearty bowl of chili, and lemon bars to sweeten the deal. Besides a few stray supermen, ladybugs, and baseball players that made their way to my neck of the woods, the evening was fairly uneventful.
Oh, and did I mention the three amigos made an appearance?
OK, so it's just one amigo and his compadres. I'm fairly certain that it was the imminent danger that these three presented that put an inexplicable fear into the eyes of any ghosts and goblins that had their sight set on our home for the evening.
You can see it, can't you? Almost feel the way it penetrates deep into your soul. Just eerie. Downright fearful, I tell you.
Now that I have you headed toward the frightened side of life a little, let me tell you a little story. A story, true in nature and that to this day gives me more heebee-jeebee's than any Halloween trick or treat I could imainge. Well, almost.
Once upon a time, many, many, many, many years ago when I was young and full of life I lived through a horrific nightmare of my own. The day before was a comfortable, sunny, summer day and as any 16 year old was happy to do, I headed out to mow the grass. The obligatory duty of any allowance receiving teenage daughter who needed to use the family mini-van for a night out with friends and a little extra for gas money.
I was strutting my stuff around the yard in my perfectly permed, teased and hair-sprayed hair, electric blue eye-lined eyes, sporty Bodyglove bathing suit top, and Dirty Dancing cutoff shorts atop the riding lawn mower lifting my wayfarer sunglasses emphatically in search of any head that I might turn. Who could drive by without acknowledging such brazen beauty on such a glorious day?
When suddenly, my sweet, darling sister came barreling out of the front door with telephone to let me know I had a call. The details of the call, I do not recall, but I specifically remember handing her the phone back and scooting her on her way back into the house, so as not to distort the grandiose view of any interested party who might be swept away by my loveliness that day.
Later that night, I slept soundly in my twin, trundle bed. When in an instant, my eyes opened widely and I was paralyzed by a fear like I had never known. At the foot of my bed, stood a man holding a flashlight which seemed to dimly light the outer features of his face. In that moment, every ounce of me wanted to let out a blood curdling scream, but all I could do was stare. My mouth would not open, my arms would not move and I could not find my voice.
All that I could do was close my eyes.
And so I did.
What felt like an eternity, was probably only mere seconds. My thoughts were something like this..."please be a dream, please be a dream. I'm going to open my eyes again in a second and realize that all of this is a very bad dream."
But, as these thoughts raced through my mind I felt a deepening sense of fear creep over me. Chills shivered down my neck and I bravely opened my eyes again and was blinded by the immediate light that was inches from my nose. He was there. Next to me at the side of my bed. I gasped and tried to muster up a scream for my father but again, my vocal cords were frozen. Paralyzed and still, I lay there and felt helpless. All I could do was close my eyes.
As I did, I heard the shuffle of footsteps on the parquet floor away from bed and down the hall. They moved right out the front door and crossed the yard. The sound of leaves crunched just outside my bedroom window and I lay still until I could hear the footsteps no more. Hoping still that all of this was a dream, I squeezed my eyes shut for what felt like an eternity.
After sometime, I finally regained some control of my limp and exhausted body, opened my eyes and dragged myself out of the bed. It took all I had to re-trace the footsteps of this night-time visitor down the hall and around the corner to see the front door standing wide open. And then I screamed and simultaneously realized my sister did not lock the door after she brought the phone in earlier in the day.
Somewhat of a delayed reaction, I know. But, I found my voice and ran to my father's bed as fast as I could.
To everyone's surprise, we found the next day that several other young ladies in our community experienced similar situations the same night. All encounters of a man with a flashlight. No harm done or words spoken. Just intense moments of fear.
Stories have been told about similar events in prior years but I know of none since that time. The Bevil Oaks Bandit is still at large and I have since inherited a compulsive habit of checking for locked doors each night.
Now, go check your doors. Crawl in bed and have a peaceful night's sleep. I dare you too!