Sharon’s Halloween was as perfect as a Halloween night could be.
She and her husband Tod, alongside their Husky, Luna, walked through the neighborhood dawning Toy Story costumes she worked hard to put together for months. Luna’s Buzz Lightyear costume was a hit and got so many compliments, and she felt clever as a gender-swapping Woody. Tod was a little hesitant to walk around as Little Bo-Peep, but when their neighbor, Jake, choked on a Jolly Rancher from laughing so hard, Tod gained some confidence.
It was everything she’d hoped for, and after sending Luna off with the pupsitter, she was ready to celebrate at Emily’s 8th Annual Halloween Bash. Every year, Emily dropped a major surprise on the party guests, and each year topped the previous. Last year, she staged a blackout and hired some actors to dress up as zombies and scrape and claw at the windows. For just a brief moment, Sharon’s mind ran through her zombie apocalypse checklist.
The party went as Sharon had anticipated -
insane decorations that looked straight out of a Pinterest board; themed snacks and drinks flawlessly executed as if they were made by a winning contestant on a Food Network show; and, of course, plenty of cute pranks and scares leading up to the big surprise. When Emily asked her guests to sit down for a séance, Sharon was a little disappointed. She thought, “a séance… that’s a little obvious…”
Emily had more up her sleeve and out from the back room came an old, frail woman dressed in all black. Her energy soaked up all the sound in the room, sobering even the most intoxicated party guests. She sat down and without introduction began the séance: “Close your eyes. Think of nothing. There is someone else here with us; the dead walk amongst the living. Come forward!” And as the old woman screamed those last words, a picture fell off the wall and shattered. “Nice special effects,” Sharon thought.
But then the room grew cold and the air grew stale.
An indescribable feeling, Sharon felt as though time had stopped. Opening her eyes just a bit and peeking through, Sharon saw a dark figure standing in front of the old woman. Even though the room was dark, the figure appeared even darker somehow, yet she could still make out some of its features. “CLOSE YOUR EYES!” the old woman screamed, and the figure’s head spun around, stopping to look directly in Sharon’s eyes.
The séance continued and to everyone else at the party, seemed uneventful. When it ended, everyone expressed their disappointment in Emily’s surprise. Everyone except Sharon, who was left feeling cold and numb. As everyone gathered their coats and said their goodbyes, Sharon felt a hard, cold hand on her shoulder and turned to see the old woman. “I told you to close your eyes foolish girl,” the old woman said.
Picking up Luna from the pupsitter, Luna growled and snarled at Sharon.
“Must be the costume, babe,” Tod said, attempting to comfort her. When they got home, Sharon immediately took her costume and makeup off and got ready for bed. Normally, Luna would grab her favorite toy, jump up into the bed with Sharon and Tod, and then spin around in a million circles before settling in right next to Sharon. But on this night, Luna stood at the end of the bed staring to the right of Sharon, growling and showing her teeth.
“Maybe she ate something weird on our walk. We’ll keep an eye out and take her to the vet tomorrow morning.” Tod said. Sharon wanted to believe Tod, but she wasn’t convinced the problem was Luna. Trying to end the night on a normal note, Sharon turned off the light and closed her eyes. Visions of the dark figure played out in her mind over and over again as she faded off to sleep.
Eventually, Luna hopped into the bed and cuddled up to Sharon. It was comforting, and Sharon hoped it meant everything was back to normal. Until 3am when Sharon was startled awake. She jolted up, out of breath and sweating. Opening her eyes, she saw the dark figure standing in the doorway to her bedroom. Luna leapt out of bed and stood directly in front of the doorway, drooling and ferociously barking. From the hallway, Luna heard a voice scream, “I told you to close your eyes!”
Luna, in a confidence Sharon had never seen before, jumped at the figure.Appearing to tackle the figure, she growled and whimpered. Sharon sat in the bed, frozen while Tod remained peacefully asleep. In a matter of minutes, the figure appeared to be gone. Luna returned to the bed with something in her mouth. She dropped it onto Sharon’s lap. It was a dirty sock, a weird, but comforting little gift from a pup to her parent to let her know that everything was alright.