Keeping The Tradition Alive
The front door opens slowly. Mr. Niggles and Maxton enter quietly.
“Shhhhh, son. Your mom dozed off in the recliner. Let her sleep.”
“Sure, Dad. Wow! She sure did a great job getting things ready forntonight’s ceremony!”
“She sure did, son. Your mom is a hard worker and likes everything just so. That’s probably why she fell asleep. She doesn’t quit until she gets it right. Hey, Maxton, why don’t we go upstairs and get changed.”
Maxton went on ahead, while Mr. Niggles tucks a blanket around his wife, then he follows his son up the stairs
Persephone slowly opens her eyes, forgetting where she was. Finding her bearings, she scolds herself for allowing sleep to overtake her. For the longest time she just lies there not really wanting to move. The inky blackness, making it nearly impossible to distinguish much, causes her to freeze with uncertainty. At this point, she can only make out ghostly figures swaying and dancing on the walls around her.
But something strange begins to happen. While keeping her gaze on the activity before her eyes, it was plain to see they began to take on an intelligence and purpose, as if alive. She had never seen anything like this. She couldn’t be sure, though. After all, she doesn’t spends much time studying such things. With all that she does everyday? Unable to look away, several scenes were playing out before her eyes, leaving her spellbound.
As she continues to watch, she notices the shapes keep morphing in and out until they settle on the appearance of Mr. Niggles and Maxton. Her eyes widen and her blood runs cold. There was a distinct icy chill in the air, forcing her to pull the blanket tightly around her shaking form.
What could this possibly mean?
She hears the subdued voices of both her boys upstairs. She feels a scream gaining momentum in her throat, but doesn’t have the strength to release it. All she’s able to muster is a gasp. In desperation she pulls the blanket over her head.
After what seems like an eternity, ever so slowly she peeks her head out from under the blanket, and in the waning darkness she sees the head she had carved was gone. That’s when she realizes for the first time what the ritual is.
Every year she had failed to carve an acceptable head, therefore every year it was considered useless. This year the head was deemed befitting an offering. The ritual was only meant for her. Nobody else. Now she finally understood why her mom always insisted on being alone during certain hours of Halloween night.
A grateful sigh of relief escapes her lips as she sinks back into the soft folds of the recliner. She thinks about her mom and how proud she’d be of her right now. Her eyes well up. A tear slides down her cheek. All the stress and anxiety leaves her at that moment.
Just then she hears her boys coming down the stairs, Maxton’s voice gaining momentum. They both enter the living room.
“Hey, are you okay, mom?
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“You’re sitting here in the dark. Let me turn on the light.”
“No, don’t bother, Mr. Niggles. It’s getting light anyway.”
She desperately wanted to tell them what had happened, but something told her not to. Just as her mom never told anyone, maybe she needs to do the same thing.
“Mom, what happened to the head?”
“I don’t know son, but wherever it is, something tells me it’s being put to good use. Come here, you two. I need a hug.”
~ The End ~
©Kelly Jeanne 2021