|This is Halloween
Author: panneler-san PM
As I heard the house bell ring and the obnoxious giggling of my mother-in-law, Ireland, and the world-weary grumbles of her husband, Scotland, I bid goodbye to March and closed the window. Someone else had died. -Short Story-Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Supernatural/Fantasy - Words: 860 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 09-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3059134
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This is Halloween
It only happened once a year, but I celebrated it twice in October.
Often I'd considered the possibility that twice was too much, that I should reduce it back to just once, but reason somehow always managed to escape me. If, of course, reason had been there at all. So far it seemed like reason was the furthest thing from my mind.
I jumped. Silence. What had happened? I waited for a noise to go on, to pull an analysis from nothing. Silence. I pushed my chair away from my desk. "Honey?"
The shuffling of the wind through the willow tree was the answer.
I frowned and went away from the desk completely, glancing furtively out of the glassless window, where I had a perfect view of the portal. No one had died in over six minutes. Strange, it was already March, but it felt so cold.
I turned back to the door and called out again. "My dear? Are you outside?"
Finally, it tickled my nostrils – the stench of dinner. It was rancid with smoke and over-cooked purity. I sighed, and from the kitchen, I hear my wife shriek.
"No, no! Out, out, out! Oh, this was supposed to be perfect! What'll London say when he sees this mess I've made?"
Paris had, once again, managed to burn supper. I'd had the feeling all day that it wasn't going to be a good one. I carefully considered pretending nothing had happened and returning to filing, but I knew I had to comfort her. Grudgingly, I wandered past the indoor garden and hopped half-heartedly over the stream that wound through it and arrived in the smoke-filled kitchen.
"Paris," I said.
She turned. "Oh, London! I didn't mean to burn the souls, I promise! Dear, don't be mad! You know, my birthday is in just a few days and I'll be very sad if you become mad at me now!"
I grimaced. "I'm not mad."
She blinked, her large, tear-filled eyes seeming greener than ever. "You are," she insisted, sounding outright terrified.
"I'm not!" I yelled, and regretted it. I sighed and drew her into my arms. "I'm very stressed right now. With work, I mean. I'm not mad. I'm not."
That was easy.
"When are your parents coming over?" I asked.
"When they can," she said evasively.
More than a little frustrated, I said sharply, "Sometime this year, then?"
She didn't pick up on my sarcasm. "Around October. Roughly."
"Roughly?" I snorted. "Yesterday was October."
"On the calendar it says that October will be soon again, though," said Paris. She began cleaning up the kitchen.
I frowned. "Really?"
She nodded. "Really."
I went to the garden. Sure enough, the engravings in the wall next to the stream were a crescent moon and a lotus. October would be soon. I returned to the kitchen. "Okay. What'll we do this October when your parents visit?"
Paris hummed and put her finger to her lips. "Well," she said, "They were in Sixty-two back in December, so they missed Christmas and Halloween. That was the year, you'll remember," she said with a nod, "that December and October got switched at noon."
I realized after a few seconds that she was waiting from me to respond. "I remember." It had only happened ninety years ago.
She smiled. "So maybe we could have a Halloween with them? You know that my dad's birthday is on Halloween, don't you? Let's knock them both out."
"We had Halloween last October," I pointed out.
Paris grabbed my hands. She smiled up at me and I could just tell she wasn't going to let this one go. "London," she said sweetly, "Please? For my parents?"
I said nothing.
"Then," she continued, "For me? It's my dad's birthday on Halloween, but mine is in April, and you know how few years that is away. Say yes,"
I gave up. "We'll have to have two Halloweens this Eon, then," I said. "One for your parents who can't seem to vacation any other time but December, and one for Delhi and Berlin. By the time your parents get here, it'll be their bed time."
She lit up. "Thank you, London!" she cried. "It should be October soon, so I'll go put the girls to bed!" She scurried off, leaving the kitchen and me behind.
I returned to my office, ignoring the calendar in the garden wall, and closed the door. I could tell already that this double celebration of Halloween would turn into a tradition. Paris was slyer than she looked.
I sank into my chair by my desk and glanced out of the window again. There, down the hill by the portal, was a soul. Someone had finally died. I looked at my watch. It had taken twelve minutes for someone on Earth to die. The calendar would change again, but it would still be October any moment.
As I heard the house bell ring and the obnoxious giggling of my mother-in-law, Ireland, and the world-weary grumbles of her husband, Scotland, I bid goodbye to March and closed the window.
Someone else had died.