The autumn leaves had started to fall as the moving van arrived in front of the rustic colonial house which proudly displayed its solid front-porch pillars. Two weeks ago, the Mason family had been searching for their idyllic house and found it. Surrounded by three towering weeping willow trees, with a smooth rock-engraved twisting path leading to the front entrance steps, the house emanated a mysterious but charming ambiance as the afternoon sun rays swooned in and around the tree branches.
As the Masons began unloading the huge truck, curious neighbors were seen slightly parting their curtains. Jake Mason wiped the sweat off the brow of his eye with his shoulder as he carefully pulled the dining room antique table from the interior of the truck with his eldest adolescent son.
“Careful there boy, your mother wouldn’t want to see a scratch on this,” he mentioned. “I know Dad,” he replied whilst glancing around, noticing the next door neighbor walking towards them. From a distance the tall approaching man yelled out, “Hi there! Would you like some help with that?”
Jake winced a smile, “We’re fine with this piece but could probably use an extra pair of hands for the kitchen appliances.”
The neighbor introduced himself. “I’m Edgar. Glad to meet you. For a while the wife and I didn’t think this old house would finally fill up again.”
Jake smilingly eyed the neighbor responding, “With a bit of tree pruning and a good lawn cut, this house will nicely blend in with the rest of the neighborhood by next year.” He then reached out his hand to greet cordially his next door neighbor.
“Ever since the tragic news last October 31st, I didn’t think this house would ever find a new owner, but the old house does seem to have a luring appeal,” sounded Edgar. Jake’s face took a serious tone. “Oh? What news was this?” he replied.
Edgar, realizing he might have over-spoken, willingly shared, “A beautiful woman lived here prior, but the woman was found dead in her bedroom. Rumor has it she had died of loneliness waiting for her husband to return after he left one day, but the local media news revealed her corpse was found with her eyes gouged out and missing. It came as a shock to everyone around. No one in the neighborhood truly knows what really happened and it’s remained a mystery since.” Edgar continued, “When I looked out of my window I thought he’d finally arrived, because the both of you sure have an uncanny resemblance.”
Jake began to understand why his neighbor showed eagerness to see him. “Well, that’s the past, right? We intend to make this a nice warm house to live in. Listen, after we’ve settled in, maybe you and your family wouldn’t mind joining us for a holiday meal? Thanksgiving, perhaps?”
“We’d be honored,” replied Edgar, “but first, let me help you with your kitchen appliances.”
Several weeks passed and the Mason house began to take on a new atmosphere. The Masons had finished furnishing their new home with the finest details. Halloween was fast approaching, and it was just a question of time before the neighbor’s children would sound the echoing doorbell, accompanied with laughter and buoyant excitement announcing, “Trick or treat!”
One evening, Jake’s wife – being rather busy – looked at their eldest son requesting, “Dear, could you please get my purse upstairs? I need to see how much money I have to spend on food for tomorrow’s Halloween party. I may have to go to the bank early if I don’t have enough.”
The son hurried upstairs grasping the old banister railing. Within moments, his voice resonated through the house yelling a fearsome cry. Jake immediately dropped his newspaper, and flew off the comfortable armchair near the stoned fireplace. Running upstairs he found his son lying on the floor laughing, “Dad!” stifling tears, “you should have seen your face! You really thought the ghost lady had gotten me!” Jake bellowed anger, “That’s not funny son! You know very well there’s no such thing as ghosts! Now get off the floor and go give your mother her purse!”
Both of them returned downstairs. Jake’s wife asked, “What happened up there?” “Nothing important” replied Jake, “except our son being his usual self again.” He then returned to his armchair and newspaper. His wife, upon checking her wallet then announced, “Well dear, it looks like I’ll have to go to the bank after all. Tomorrow is going to be a long day with all the errands and then the Halloween party. I’m going to bed early.” “All right,” he answered. “Sweet dreams.”
Within the hour, Jake also decided to retire to bed. Not wanting to wake his wife, he slowly dragged his feet upstairs and, in darkness, then crept in bed with his back to her. Realizing his wife was not yet asleep, he gently took her arm and hand from behind and placed it over his chest. Speaking softly, “You poor dear, you’re freezing. Let me warm you.” As he began to position himself to face her, his wife emerged from the bedroom bathroom, “Jake? Are you talking to yourself?”
He froze as he set his eyes upon a woman’s face bearing two large dark cavities. With an eerie metallic voice she whispered, “Welcome home, dear. I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve forgiven you for what you’ve done to me.”