Fires lit the roadside, goblins and ghouls stalked the night. Zombies guarded the gravesites. Small groups gathered in circles performing ritual sacrifices of random liquids. Two young girls braved the darkness, they stood alone watching, waiting.
“Hello, Marijke, Bailey,” a boy’s voice broke through the creaks and moans that echoed into the night.
”We were waiting for you, are you ready?” Marijke gave him a mischievous look. She was happy to see her new friends Bailey and Jackson, they would be safer together.
They retreated into the graveyard and backed away from the flames. Into the dark corner away from the scary creatures and ritual fires, the three teenage friends breathed into the night.
“Jackson, you and Marijke can come with me, I know the paths around here. We need to keep away from the zombies. And don’t forget to keep at least two metres back from any of the other creatures roaming the street tonight.” Bailey moved forward.
Marijke felt her stomach flutter inside as they left the relative safety of the headstones. She kept her hood up and followed her friend. With morbid curiosity, she glanced at the tomb of the unfortunate Al B Back, and next to him lay, Cliff Diver. Soon the fire loomed in front of them and she saw Bailey talking to the taller zombie that was standing close to the flames.
Should she help rescue her friend? The zombie seemed friendly enough. Jackson took the initiative and grabbed Bailey’s hand, pulling her away from the frightful creature. Pushing down the fluttering in her stomach, Marijke boldly walked forward and joined the other two teens as they stepped away and wandered deeper into the night. They remained wary of the spirits that haunted the sidewalks of Bailey’s street. The smaller girl with round glasses led them up the hill, .
“Be careful, guys we need to stay safe and watch where we walk. The littlest ones are the most dangerous.” Bailey pointed down behind Jackson. They both turned and looked, a witch was running and one of the zombies was chasing the little spell-caster. The girl, around three or four years old was dodging, she screamed in delight and went up to the fire where Bailey’s zombie stood.
“Trick or treat” lit up a small voice.
The zombie took out its tongs and reached in the cauldron behind the table. The undead creature smiled and placed its sacrifice into the outstretched orange bag the witch was holding.
The three teens turned away from the scene fascinated and horrified. More rituals were taking place up and down the roadway. The gang explored further from home.
Suddenly flames light the sky. In the distance came a bang and more explosive sounds. Blue, red and yellow streaks filled the darkness overhead. More flashes of light filled the air and explosive colours burst into the night. It was a magical display.
That’s when she saw it. Marijke looked up in awe; the moon was blue and filled the horizon. It felt like it exploded into the night and there it was illuminating the world.
She gasped and grabbed her friends by the arm. “He’s watching us.”
“Who’s watching us.” Jackson looked startled, his eyes searched the street.
“Ya, who is watching us?” echoed a girl’s timid voice.
“He is” Marijke pointed at the moon. “Don’t you see his face? His eyes are watching us.”
“He can’t hurt us!” Jackson looked skyward. ”He is watching everyone, everywhere. “
The friends laughed and continued to wander the street. They were too old to take part in the ritual for the young ghosts, witches, and a whole assortment of other creatures. The teens could no longer ask for a treat and they were too afraid to trick anyone but each other. Marijke, Bailey, and Jackson turned and went back to the safety of the graveyard.
Fires slowly blinked out, the creatures wandered away. Darkness returned to Bailey’s little piece of the world. The kids watched the zombie collect the cauldron and put it away.
Marijke remembered days past where she would perform part of the ritual with the other creatures of the night. She remembered being a cat and a peacock, Tigger, and a witch. This was the first year without her best friend, her first year not in some costume. Strange days have passed in her life, high school, and boys. Life has become so much more complicated than it used to be. Spending the night chasing zombies and getting sacrificial treats no longer held the same appeal. In the new coronaverse she was in, it was enough to stand back and watch.