Tonight, while sitting around doing what I do best (...nothing...nada), I imagined a story idea. I sat down and allowed myself an hour to write and edit and...whatever.
This is the - highly unplanned, grossly un-thought-through -result.
Enjoy! Or not.
What happens when you wait...This year is going to be different, she said to herself as she opened the large box of candy the UPS driver had just delivered.
Even her therapist was confident in her progress, telling her, "I really believe you'll be able to open door this year."
Such a long 10 years it has been, but the phone therapy was working. Granted, it was unconventional since most patients actually met with their therapist face to face. The thought used to frighten her, literally paralyzing her; preventing her from turning the door knob to leave her own house - her haven, so safe and non-threatening.
Halloween has always been a terrifying holiday. She hated the thought of it. The electrician thought her nuts for having the doorbell disconnected and the specially insulated, knock-deadening front door had cost her a fortune. But it was all worth it to not hear the creatures that prowled the night and sniffed around her safe place for 'treats'.
But 10 years. Ten years to get her to this one moment in time. This was the beginning of her new life as a participant in the ways of the world. She was not only going to open the door tonight...not only going to give the creatures candy, but she was going to step O.U.T.S.I.D.E. All of her, both feet, onto the front stoop.
The last few days had been a flurry of activity for her: listening to her meditation tapes, the soft calming music, avoiding the radio and television for fear of scary images. No newspapers or magazines, she had the mail carrier stop all mail delivery for the week.
She was not going to jinx her awakening.
She really just wished one small teensy weensy thing...that people would pick up their damn phones. Or at least return her calls. The whole reason she moved to this po-dunk small town was because it was so hospitable, so friendly - EVERYTHING could be delivered (she never had to leave the house).
And in the last 10 years, never a day had gone by where a merchant didn't answer their phone or a delivery person didn't show up to collect the money from the envelope on the door and leave her delivery in the special basket that she could pull inside - much like those food tray delivery systems in high security isolation cells in prisons.
Except for the last two days. The drug store never called back, the market - open 24 hours - just rang and rang.
Oh sure, she had her moment of panic when she thought something disastrous had happened to the entire human race, leaving her completely alone. She even had a moment where she thought that wouldn't be so bad. But then she remembered that there would be no one left to make the deliveries and the Internet would probably fail and then the power. After taking yet another anxiety pill she was able to reel herself back to reality. Besides, she had seen her neighbors scurrying about, bringing home bags and bags of groceries - probably candy - to celebrate Halloween night. Although, she doesn't remember them ever boarding up their windows. Probably a preventative measure for all those prankster teenagers. She never notice, because she'd always spent Halloween locked in her room, headphones on high to drown out the muted knocking.
Nothing to worry about, she told herself. She wasn't going to let her wild imagination cripple her tonight!
As the sun started to set she grabbed her coat and brand new folding chair. She'd bought the chair hoping that tonight would be a success and that she'd be able to slowly familiarize herself with the community beyond her door, meet the neighbors, enjoy a good book while sitting in the sun - her skin hasn't felt the touch of that ultra violet goodness in...well...10 years.
The first thing she notice when she stepped outside was the smell of burning wood. It was a cool night, but didn't seem cold enough for her neighbors to start stoking up their fireplaces. Oh, but it was Halloween and how cozy that must be. Was someone burning plastic too? And having a BBQ? She was a vegetarian, so the smell of burning meat was almost nauseating.
Not going to detour her, nope it wasn't.
The normally busy street was completely devoid of cars. Perhaps the street was closed off to traffic since there would be tons of children running around, back and forth across the street, hitting every house with candy gathering potential.
Minutes, many of them, ticked by and not one single child. Well, it wasn't completely dark yet. Maybe they changed the times - WAS there a time? Didn't they just crawl out of the woodwork when the sun started its descent into slumber?
They must have, because none of her neighbors had set out their Jack O' Lanterns yet. The houses were dark and gloomy, adding to the eerie effect of Halloween night. Oh, maybe that was the plan! She spent many days watching her neighbors coordinate their holiday decorations and plan their block parties. This must be another coordinated effort to put on a show for other less friendly neighborhoods.
She couldn't believe she'd missed out all these years. This was all so new to her, so much had changed since she was a child.
Then she heard it, the noise - low and moany, barely audible, almost like a whisper. It billowed down the street like a breeze.
She thought she saw movement, a large group of people slowly moving in a giant cluster.
This is it, her big moment and she was damned if she was going to miss it. She moved her chair right to the edge of her lawn. Her heart raced, this is the farthest she's ever been - so caught up in the excitement.
A solitary scream erupted from the end of the block, followed by another. It was an anguished, tortured, animalistic scream - just like she remembered from the old movies. Why didn't she think of getting one of those scary soundtracks to play for the Trick O' Treaters?
Next year...baby steps.
Then came the tinkling of broken class, then a bright light as flames erupted from the front lawn about 5 houses away. "Oh", she said out loud to herself, "a bonfire! I'm not ready for that kind of social interaction yet." She snorted, no...not yet, but some day...next year.
The hoard of people were getting closer, moving much slower than she would have expected candy hungry kids to move.
What a raggedy mess they were - each and every one of them in some sort of Zombie costume. "A flash mob!" she screamed! She'd read about them. They must be doing Thriller! She grabbed the bowl of candy, ready to test the effectiveness of her therapy and the strength of her anxiety medication.
When the group saw her, they started shuffling faster - so eager they were to perform. She didn't even panic when they surrounded her, nor when a hush went through the crowd.
They all stood there, staring at her. The smell was horrific, these actors played their part to the hilt. Authenticity is great and all, but a little deodorant wouldn't hurt.
Then, as if on a cue, they all moved in on her. Her mind was still trying to figure out how they all knew to move at the same time - never hearing anyone give the signal, when they started pulling on her.
She was a good sport, especially considering she was stoned on anxiety meds, but this was going too far. And then someone bit her, hard. And pulled her hair out in chunks. They ripped at her clothing and gnawed at her finger tips and then...when confusion had given way to understanding and when her endorphins took over, dulling the pain - she realized that today was NOT going to work out as she had hoped.
Had she listened to the news, or read the paper or engaged in conversation with the delivery kids during the week, she would have known of the intensely virulent, highly communicable virus that was turning people into monsters - the living dead, who - rather unfortunately for her - had a taste for human flesh.
If I were to venture a guess as to what a moral for this story would be, of which I'm not saying there IS a moral - but, sometimes people like to create one - then I would have to say that it is to not let your fears be the reins that guide your existence. If they do, you could end up in a pickle - or worse - with regrets.
This concludes day 3 of NaBloPoMo and a personal tour of Melissa's brain.
Ya'll come back now, ya'here.