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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Ghost of Kilarney Park:Conclusion...

     Haunted houses and Halloween go together like dots on dice, but the haunted house on our street never did anything to attract trick-or-treaters. So why was there a light burning on Verna’s porch?
     My feet began pulling me to the light. My head swirled with thoughts of murder: rat poison, asphyxiation, throat slashing, but I was more interested in candy than my safety. 
     I inched up the front steps to her porch and peered into Verna’s kitchen window. She was seated at her kitchen table, her head resting in her hands. Her back was to me and I couldn’t see her face, but I could hear her crying, a raspy soul rending sound, not the depraved rant of the undead or the wailing tirade of a guilt-riddled wife who’d murdered her husband.  
     Instead of ringing her doorbell, I turned to go. As I did so I saw something on her table that made me squeak like a mouse finding a wheel of cheese—treasure. Edible treasure.
     On Verna’s kitchen table was a large pirate chest made of cardboard. Among the pirate images painted on it was one of the most cherished names in a chubby kid’s lexicon—Hershey. Inside the chest were countless bars of chocolate. Not the penny-size ones—these big boys fetched upwards of a quarter each. I felt like Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo as I eyed such treasure.
     Verna must have heard my squeak. She turned around and looked at me standing there on the other side of her kitchen window.  I’d never seen her up close and I noticed she was totally opaque without a ghost’s translucence. Her eyes, while red, didn’t look otherworldly. She swiped away tears with the back of her hand and waved me in, saying, “The door isn’t locked.”
     The door opened with a moan, as if it wasn’t accustomed to swinging open. My costume didn’t make entering any easier. Verna’s house had the same floor plan as ours which meant I was practically inside her kitchen when I stepped through the threshold. She stood up and gave me a watery smile. She looked…rather pleasant, even with puffy eyes. But then Hansel and Gretel would never have entered the witch’s house had she not also appeared pleasant.
     “That is a very nice costume. Did it take you long to make?”
     I nodded.
     She turned to the chocolate chest. “I ordered this from a catalog a few months ago.”
     “It’s a lot of candy.”
     “I was planning on handing it out to trick or treaters this evening.”
     “But you never give out candy on Halloween,” I said.
     “True. True. But this year I decided to make up for all the years I sat in this dark house without handing out treats. Unfortunately, I had to work late tonight and by the time I got home all of the children had already passed through the neighborhood. All the children, except you. You’re Stephen, from across the street, aren’t you?”
     The costume didn’t disguise me as much as I’d thought. I nodded.
     “Would you like some candy?”
     Another nod.
     She reached into the chest for a foil-wrapped chocolate bar, dropped it into my pillowcase. 
     I thanked her and headed for the door, but her sniffling stopped me. “You should come to neighborhood barbeques and block parties next summer. And my birthday party is in two weeks. Why doncha come?”
     “After all this time, I don’t think people would want me to come,” she answered.
     “I want you to come.”
     She looked kinda pretty as she smiled at me and closed her door. I headed home, where my mother waited with her sweet tooth.
     The next day I awoke to find a Hershey’s treasure chest on our front porch. An attached note said:

     For Stephen, my only Kilarney Park friend. Don’t get a stomach ache.
     
     That afternoon something sprouted on our street that we hadn’t seen before. The bright red paint seemed out of place in front of the gray house that had once haunted my feverish imagination. Hammered into Verna’s front yard—a FOR SALE sign.
     A few weeks later, the Ghost of Kilarney Park moved away. 
 

13 comments:

  1. Fantastic story, Stephen. Thanks for sharing it.

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  2. Fabulous story. I would have loved her. Just saying.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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  3. What a great story - I wish she'd stayed around.

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  4. Ever since we moved, I've been so lonely I could use that ghost from Kilarney Park - with, or without, chocolate.

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  5. Fabulous story. wish
    she'd stayed around. wuld b gr8
    come thru me blog sometime
    http://chuchu-chulala.blogspot.com

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  6. Fantastic story Stephen! Aren't Halloween memories always really vivid?

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  7. Great story. Mmmmm....a treasure chest of chocolate.

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  8. Happy Halloween Hop, Stephen - I'll be right back! (And I mean that in the I-need-to-come-back-later-when-I-have-time-to-fully-read-your-piece way, not the I'm-about-to-go-get-slaughtered horror-movie way; don't worry ;)

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  9. Well, damn, that wasn't the HEA ending I swear I felt coming! But I still loved the story and how it unraveled; your young-man rationality, in particular: "My head swirled with thoughts of murder: rat poison, asphyxiation, throat slashing, but I was more interested in candy than my safety" is exactly the kind of FoodFic I pick out of my books as I read ;)

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  10. Hello fellow hopper!

    So glad I was able to visit your site! :) I am visiting from the Coffin Hop--I am # 63-- and happy to take part in this hop also. This Halloween I will be dressing as a swashbuckling pirate. Two of my favorite scary books are The Witching Hour and Let the Right One In. A fave movie is Bram Stoker's Dracula. I love this time of year--we get to indulge in a bit of darkness. Please hop over and visit me if you like at www.penelopecrowe.blogspot.com where I am giving coupons to your choice of my books and you can enter and win a NOOK! Thanks and hope to see you there!

    Penelope

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  11. we also had a haunted house on our street - where two brothers, known to all the local kids as Wetfeet (i don't know why, they just were) lived - it was very run down, never painted and always overgrown.

    They used to call the local school about once a year and claim their window had been broken by a ball - but they never replaced the window

    They either moved away or died and the house got sold - it's totally changed now, so i don't know if the legend of Wetfeet lives on or not. That's actually the first time i've even thought about it in years

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  12. Gripping tale, a big merci beaucoup from France.

    SP

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