Prompt: Orange, light, a turnip
“Go on now,” Dave gave his son a gentle push toward the door. “Just like the others.” At four his son, Able had suddenly gone from happy go lucky to shy. Dave tried to expose him to new people and new experiences, but the kid just withdrew further and further into himself.
It was Halloween, and Abel had balked at even the idea of trick or treating. At first the thought of the candy had enticed him, but once he figured out he had to talk to strangers, his attitude changed to pure mulish refusal. They had spent the first hour of the night getting him just to put on the dinosaur costume Dave had bought hum. It was green and purple and had glitters scales and enormous stuffed feet. Abel wore it around the house nonstop for days. But tonight he was not having it until Dave promised him he would only have to go to 6 houses. The three to their west and the three directly across from those.
The house at the end of the cul-du-sac was not even mentioned. No one ever mentioned it, not even the adults. No one really knew who lived in there. No cars were ever seen in the drive and the wild yard was unkempt but not to the point where the HOA could do anything. The lights in the windows were always dim, almost no more than a candle glow. Dave wished whoever lived there would just die already and let someone move in who would fit in already.
But here they were, all six houses were done and Abel ready to go home and eat his tiny, but high calorie haul when something caught the boy’s attention. Without warning he started off at a fast trot toward the creepy house, his odd colored eyes alight with excitement, until he got within a few feet of the front door. The porch light had been changed to an orange bulb, and the windows held what looked like real candles and small carved faces. They were not pumpkins; they looked for all the world like turnips. Little wizened and shriveled faces. It made his blood run cold as he came up behind Abel.
“Here?” the boy asked, pointing at the door. A faint glimmer of something glittery sifted slowly down to the cement walk.
“I think you can skip this one,” Dave started.
“No,” Abel said. “This one.” His voice was resolute, but his face showed apprehension.
“You don’t have to,” Dave said, but Able nodded firmly.
“Go on, now,” Dave said then, resigned. If someone jumped out and scared Abel, he would beat them to within an inch of their life. “Just like the others.” He encouraged the boy as he walked up to the unwelcoming door. The candles fluttered and guttered as in a wind inside the window and the shadows danced around the little turnip jack or lanterns, makes them grimace and frown. Dave did not like this at all.
Abel reached up to press the button for the doorbell, but the door opened before he could. The boy jumped slightly but quickly mumbled out “trick or treat” while thrusting the mostly empty plastic pumpkin forward.
Dave could not see who opened the door, it was as if the orange light from the bulb above the door did not penetrate into the house, but he heard the soft voice. Cooing and babbling at Abel. A pale thin arm reached out and dropped a handful of foil wrapped sweets into the offered bucket, a small fall of glitter, fine as the dust on butterfly wings came with the candies. They caught some unfelt current in the air and swirled toward Abel. The child giggled and ran his hand through it, almost forgetting the pumpkin.
“Say thank you,” he prompted automatically, but Able turned his strange knowing gaze on him and smiled. “You never thank the fairies.” He waved to the figure inside and ran back to Dave, his sneakers crunching in the dry grass.
“Come back and see me soon, Abel,” a soft voice floated out to them, but the door was already shut. Dave stood there, staring at it for a moment, until Abel tugged his hand and asked. “Can we go to the next street? I want to find more fairies.” Dave shivered inside his warm coat.