Kicking off the Halloween-a-thon is this piece from kurasazetu, whose writings you can read at This Black Rock. For those who fancy themselves connoisseurs of diversity, I would invite you to consider America the Great.
Her Tangled Web
Thomas Brinkley sat at the edge of his driveway and tried to keep his chin up like his mom and gran had told him. He would not let the tears in his eyes fall.
He heard Jim and Amy coming up the driveway laughing and teasing each other.
They stopped when they saw him. Amy sat next to him first and then Jim sat too. She was a zombie and he was a mummy, they looked really good.
“She was going to sew it but there was no time, she works really hard. And gran has the arthritis. You guys can go,” Tommy said.
“We’re not going trick-or-treating without you,” Amy said.
“No, you have to go. I promise it’s ok.”
Amy and Jim looked at Tommy covered in a plain white sheet with holes cut out and then at each other. They needed to get out soon before all the good streets were covered. Amy shook her head at Jim but he shrugged.
“We’ll go but we’ll bring the haul to your place. Then we can share it,” Jim said.
Without looking up Tommy nodded and his two best friends got up and headed towards the lit up houses and the other children in their store-bought costumes.
The tears could not be stopped this time and he was glad to be alone.
But Tommy was not alone. In the shadow of his gran’s run down house, by the broken porch swing, an ancient being released by the power of Hallow’s eve and a child’s despair stood watching and listening. When his whimpers became wracking sobs, she drifted out of the shadows.
“Hello little Thomas.” She said as softly as she could, “I can spin a web into almost anything on earth and beyond. Perhaps I can be of assistance.”
He peered up at her. Aagila looked like a teenage girl, decades of isolation made her skin pale and she had large sad eyes. He looked her up and down rubbing the tears from his face.
“Can you do spiderman?” Thomas asked.
“Do you have a picture of this man?”
“Yes,” Thomas said, and ran into the empty house for his comic books.
Aagila scrutinized the photo of the man as her pores started to churn with blue and red silk. The boy was shuffling from foot to foot looking up at her hopefully. In his excitement to join his friends and be like the cool kids just this once he did not care who or what she was as long as she was willing to help.
“Please stand back, arms out,” Aagila said.
She started with his chest as the insignia in the middle was difficult. Then she wove her web through his legs and arms silk entwining and fitting itself onto his clothes. He stopped her as she started on his neck.
“Could you make it so the mask can be removed? I want my friends to know that it is me.”
He ran back to the house and she could hear his loud exclamation from the sidewalk. He rushed out clutching a bag. He was buzzing with joy and excitement as he hugged Aagila.
“This is awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“Wait until Joe and Amy see.”
He started for the sidewalk in a hurry to get to his friends.
“Perhaps you would allow me to escort you to the end of the wooded grove, Thomas,” she said.
“Sure, come on,” he said.
He took her hand and they walked down the street. Aagila had a small smile on her face as her little companion dragged her forward. She stopped at the end of the tree lined street and said goodbye to Tommy.
“Don’t be sad, we could go together,” he said.
The girl was sad. His gran would say right down to her bones. He knew that she was alone and had been alone for a long time.
“No, your friends had no escorts and neither will you,” Aagila said.
And with that she turned back and melted into shadow. Tommy went on to find
Amy and Joe. That was the best Halloween ever even though no one believed his story but his gran.
On October 31st, a young man with wide shoulders and boyish good looks stood on his porch with his gran.
“You make a dashing undead groom, kid.”
“Do you think she’ll come?”
“Every ten years on Halloween. Stop pacing, you’re giving me a headache.”
Tommy could not help but pace. He was eight when he stepped out onto the streets as spiderman on Halloween. That night changed everything for him. He owed her and this night would make them even.
She appeared out of the shadows so quietly gran jumped when she spoke.
“Little Ella, little Tommy,” Aagila said.
“There’s a Halloween party by the lake, they will think you have an awesome makeup on, please come with me,” Tommy blurted out.
“Smooth,” Gran said.
Aagila smiled at him. As he watched, the rags of thick webbing that covered her became a gown and her eyelids and lips darkened. She transformed into an undead bride.
“Shall we?” Tommy said.
“Let’s,” she said.