The night was pitch dark and the heavy downpour mixed with claps of thunder and flashes of lightening made the only dilapidated home on Elbert Street seem more ominous than usual. Thickly overgrown shrubbery shrouded the eerie place. A vague hint of light in an upstairs window implied there might be life inside the tomb-like place. If so, the resident was unknown to all. No mail was delivered, no garbage collected. A bark was occasionally heard but no animal ever seen. Tonight, as the lightening illuminated the interior, a very thin and bent person could be seen walking across the window. There was no doubt – the reedy hermit had to be a witch for no normal person could live in this ramshackle squalid abode.
The bushes seemed to be alive – like they would reach out and grab you if you dare approach. The concrete path was broken and disappeared in places. Parts of the front railing were gone and the wood on the porch looked rotten, as though anyone approaching the door would be swallowed up and fall into the abyss below the house.
No, this would not be a house trick or treaters would go to tomorrow night. Every kid in the block had been warned by their parents – stay away from the creepy old house. And everyone agreed they would. But not everyone meant it.
Yesterdays storms on Halloween Eve had ceased but tonight the night was cold and damp. Across the neighborhood kids in costumes were ringing doorbells and calling out “trick or treat” as folks opened their doors and dispensed candy and cookies and other fun goodies.
As they passed the house on Elbert Street they looked from afar. No one would even imagine walking up the jagged path to ask for a treat. The night grew dark and the dressed up tricksters went home – or at least it seemed all had gone home. But two had not. Two superheros had decided that tonight they would find out exactly what was going on inside the old dump. And with cover from the darkness of the night they began to do just that.
They crept stealthily toward the front door, moving slowly, silently, steadily. With their hearts pounding and the taste of death in their mouths they entered the danger zone – the front porch. They could feel the wood giving under their feet and a creeky board seemed to give away their position. The door began to slowly open and a hand reached out and grabbed the shirt of one of the daredevils and pulled him inside. The door closed with a skretch leaving one hero inside and the other outside. A hero had been captured and would need to be rescued!
No sounds were heard. It was a though he had been swallowed up by the house itself and digested. No movement could be sensed. The witch had nabbed the hero. He would most likely be cooked in her cauldron with newts and spiders for her dinner. This would be a delicious feast for the skinny witch. Hero #2 had to save the day without becoming dessert. And he had to do it before the sun came up or his sidekick would be lost forever.
He needed a plan. It was scary but he crept around to the back of the house. He tried to peek into a window but they were so dirty he could see nothing. He pushed on the back door and it opened. Shaking and sweaty he stepped inside. It was dark and quiet and still. No sign of his compatriot anywhere. He decided that the witch had taken him to the basement where he would cook him till the flesh fell off his bones. Sure enough, from the top of the steps he could see light in the basement. That had to be the scene of the crime. And then a noise, like someone walking around. No voices, just one set of steps, no indication that any superhero was below. His heart was pounding so hard and so fast he was sure it could be heard by the witch downstairs. He would have to move quickly or be discovered.
He feared the sound of his foot on the step would reveal him. He took off his shoes and anxiously stepped onto the first rung. He continued down and the steps maintained their silence. And then he saw it – there in the middle of the room. A huge cast iron pot over a fire pit right there in the basement. Panic struck – this house really belonged to a witch. It wasn’t just a neighborhood tale. Where was his friend – they had to get out.
And then there she stood – right in front of him, the witch of Elbert Street in all of her glory. She was dressed in black from head to toe and had an ugly wart on her lip. Her nails were long and pointed, just like her nose. The cauldron was boiling and he could see his friend stripped to the waist awaiting his fate shackled to the wall. She grabbed for him and he dodged he grasp. She chased him around the room but he was too quick and eluded her. He saw the keys to the shackles on the table, reached them and unlocked his buddy. They pushed her over as they ran up the steps and out of the house.
They ran home faster than they had ever run before and told their parents of their frightening exploit. But no one believed them. It was just another scary Halloween story.
But to this day every time our superheros pass the house on Elbert Street they can see the old crone in the upstairs window beckoning them to return. And they run past very very fast.