Many years have gone by since the passing of my beloved companion. The children moved to different states and I am now alone. Sitting in the darkness in my favorite chair has become one of my habits. Thinking of past days when happiness filled this large house and the sounds of a family that still echoes on the walls.
The family dog died just a few weeks ago. He was a good dog that never asked for anything but to be loved. Sometimes I feel Butch is still sitting on the floor beside me. Occasionally I get up to take him outside only to find he is no longer there. Then I realize I am alone and the only thing alive in the house. Even the house plants withered away from neglect.
I use to have several good friends but they left me, one by one, and I outlived them all. It is hard to think that I am the lucky one. Why was I chosen., being no better than the lot of them? Maybe not as honest as some, a little harder worker than others. It appears to be all for nothing. The planning and joy of raising a family, now just fading memories.
This evening was no different from any other night. I sat in my chair and thought of how things could have been different if only I knew. Then there was a sharp knock at the door. The knocking startled me out of my daze. Who could it be? No one has come here after dark for the longest time. As the knock is repeated I got up and heard giggling and shuffling at the door. I unlock the door and as I pull it open there are three children with their mother standing there.
“Trick or Treat” they yell almost simultaneously.
“Laura, I Didn’t expect…I forgot it was Halloween” I said in an apologetic tone.
“I hope it isn’t too late to bother you Dan, but I thought you might like to see how Tom’s children have grown” Laura said in her sweet voice.
“I haven’t seen you since… well you are always welcomed here, come in and lets find something for the children” I said looking around for to see if I had some chocolates left from my stash beside my chair.
“Yes, here you go” I told the children as I gently placed some Hersey Kisses in the first bag. “You must be Johnny, my you have grown” I said.
“I’m Jason, this is Tommy” Jason said as he pushed his brother.
“Well you must be little Susan, if I remember correctly” I said placing the remaining candy into her bag,
She smiled and said “I’m ten now and not that little”.
Laura grabbed the back of Susan’s neck and pulled her toward her. “We will be going now, it was great seeing you Dan, hope everything is going well for you.” Laura’s sweet voice sang into the cool night air.
I stood there waving, thinking how wonderful someone I knew a long time ago thought of me. They walked down the drive and got into a car and left. I was still standing in the doorway with my hand in the air. Just before I turned to close the door I saw something white and glowing in the clump of trees a few hundred yards from the house.
The light got brighter and I had to put my hands over my eyes to keep from being blinded. My throat was dry and I could barely speak.
“Who is there?” I yelled as my voice cracked. “What do you want?”
No one answered. I shut the door and sat down in my chair quickly putting my shoes on. I went to the closet and got my shotgun checking to make sure it was loaded. Going through the kitchen I stopped and got the flashlight out of the drawer. I opened the back door in the kitchen trying not to make any noise.
As I made my way around the house I could smell a sweet fragrance. It was a familiar smell. Then I remembered it was the smell of perfume my wife had on when I last saw her. All of a sudden I stopped for no apparent reason and in front of me was my wife Sandra.
“Sandy, is that you?” I gasped as I rubbed my eyes.
“Yes, Dan. It is really me, I have come to you to let you know everything is alright and I will be waiting for you when your time comes.” The image said as I tried to touch her.
My hand passed though her as she disappeared. For a moment I thought I must have lost my mind.
“Sandy, Sandy, come back, I need to talk to you, there are things I want to tell you”. I begged.
There was no sign of her as I stood there waiting for her to return. Suddenly I was startled out of my trance by a hoot owl in the distance. Coming back to reality I made my way back into the house. I put the gun and flashlight back where they belonged and sat back down in my chair.
After an hour or so I fell asleep, all the excitement must have exhausted me. Later I awoke and remembered what had happened. I laughed it off thinking it was all a dream. Then I looked over at the candy dish and noticed all my chocolates were missing.