Pvt. James William Bell of the King's Own Rifles was killed on the morning of of July first, nineteen sixteen. His death was many in what would historians would call, The Battle of Somme. A few days after he was killed in action, a letter arrived in the mail to his family. The letter did not herald his death, news of his death would still be weeks in coming. No, this letter expressed the desires and hopes of a young man, who had followed the drum.
"Dear Loving Family,
Halloween, the spookiest holiday of the year. Halloween was a time for people to go out and for one night out of the three hundred and fifty-five of a year cut loose and show their hidden side. In Benton, has a few Halloween traditions, one yearly celebration at the local park. Another is groups of children going from house to house, demanding offerings of treats in return for the safety of your yard. Another is groups of teens, traveling in groups of twelve or more roaming around the countryside. These traveling parties often searched for scares and thrills by checking out haunted locations.
My Halloween was spent lounging around my room. And I mean the whole Halloween, having kept my nose firmly pressed to the textbook had paid off. I had been allowed to skip all my nine-week test for the day and as such, I had spent the whole day sitting in front of my computer, watching episodes of 'Ghost Searchers' and 'Supernatural Encounters' back-to-back. Between binge watching supernatural shows, I had also flipped through a dozen or so 'Fear Street' books.
Mom, dad, and Lily had of course gone to the Halloween celebration being held in the park. I had volunteered to stay home and hand out free candy and smile to everybody. I was still new to being Jamie twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Even though I had been going to school as Jamie as wearing the uniform and stuff. Even though I had something of a boyfriend, even though I had gone to prom wearing a fancy dress, the whole idea of wearing a skimpy Halloween costume in front of the town was more than I could stand.
But all of that aside, my Halloween had been an okay one. As I had turned the porch light off around seven O' clock. Once the porch light had been turned off. An official sign that Trick or Treating had ended at 134 Town Creek Road. I phoned up the newly opened Pizza Hut and placed an order for two personal pan pizzas and an order of cheese sticks. Once I finished my Halloween fest of pizza and pop, I jumped in the shower, washed my hair and rolled my hair. And was checking my emails once more when the door to my bedroom door was pushed open.
I turned around and was greeted by my mom, who had returned along with the rest of the family an hour or so ago. Mom stood in my doorway, she had changed out of her costume and was now wearing her housecoat And slippers. Mom was kind of old fashion like that.
"Jamie," I said peering at me. "There a woman called Heather Ford here, she wants to see you." She said with a small smile. "She in the living room. Lily fixing us some tea. Would you like something as well." She offered as she peered down at me.
I blinked and blinked again and smiled a little. Now, for those who don't know, Heather Ford is the hostess of 'Heather's House Party' the bread and butter of PBS, the program was the flagship program, often sandwiched between Ken Burn's programs. So to say I was stunned and shocked is an understatement. Standing up and pushing my rolling chair under my desk, I followed mom down the stairs till at last, we stood in the living room.
Our living room is small, heck our whole house is small when compared to the others on the block. So it was almost standing room. The sofa could sit three people and both mom and dad and their own chair so in theory around five could be comfortably seat. Dad, who was still dressed in his Halloween costume was sitting in his chair, looking amused as a woman with honey blonde hair sat in the middle of the old sofa that my late grandmother had left to mom.
As soon as I joined them, Lily walked into the room, carrying a tray, five mugs could be seen upon the tray. One mug had 'Mommy' written in sparkling baby blue letters. Another had 'Daddy' written in bold black letters, a third one had 'Lily' written in buttercup yellow letters, a fourth one, mine had 'Jamie' written in shimmering pink letters and the filth and final one had 'Guest' written upon it.
My eyes followed Lily as she entered the room. Her hips swinging back and forth with each step she took. She smiled and eased the tray down upon the coffee table and with a gentle hand, she started to pass out the mugs.
"Thank you, darling," Heather said as she took the mug from my sister. She wrapped her long fingers around the ceramic mug and raised it to her lips. She then blew some of the steam away. Lily only smiled and bobbed her head passed out the other mugs.
Finally, she reached me, smiling a little she eased the mug into my hands, she then whispered. "I know you're not too big on tea, so I fixed you some hot chocolate. I even added a little bit of extra cream." She winked and handed me the mug.
Blushing, I reached over and took the mug from her hands and in a whispery tone of voice, I said.
"Thank you, sis," I said smiling as she followed Heather's example and raised the mug to my lips and blew some of the steam away. There really nothing like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold October night.
"Your welcome brat." She said as she stuck out her tongue. She then took her seat. I was a seat on Heather's right side and Lily on her right.
"So. Darlings, I'm sure you're wondering why I'm here. Well, the producers of Heather's House Party heard about the little Halloween tradition you guys put on each year. The dunking stool thing. So I hoped on the Jackson-Yazoo City Express Train and swung on by. It was a pretty fete." She said sipping her tea like a true lady.
"Totally is," Lily said smiling. "Like every year, people volunteer to be dunked and that raises money for a local charity. it's a good community event too."
Heather nodded her head and smiled.
"Yes, I would love to learn about that later, but first, I need to know.. Which of you two lovely young ladies is Lily Elizabeth Potter and which is Jamie Sarah Potter?" She said her eyes flickering a little as she sat down her mug.
"That would be me," I said taking a deep breath as I raised my hand smiled
Heather, who was dressed in long, flowing purple gown complete with purple pumps smiled at me and nodded her head.
"Looks like your getting dressed for bed darling." She peered at me with her blue eyes, the eyes looked me up and down. Starting with my blonde hair that had been set in rollers, and traveling down to my pink nightgown. And finally coming to rest on slipper-clad feet. "Special date tomorrow, or do you normally put your hair in rollers before bed.?"
I blushed and looked up and peered up at the rollers.
"There having fall pictures made tomorrow," I said in a matter of fact tone of voice.
"Oh! Well, I hope you wash your hair really good then!" She said with a giggle as she eased the mug of tea down and settled into the sofa.
"Because, Jamie darling, your older sister wants to me to give you a good gunging." She stated in a matter of fact tone of voice as she reached down and pulled a letter out from her purse, she unfolded a white sheet of paper. She cleared her throat and held the paper in front of her.
"In fact, why don't I read it here and now." She said as she cleared her throat and peered toward us.
I shot Lily a look that would melt through a sheet of ice, Lily just stood there blushing. Mom just stood there sipping her tea like nothing was going on. And so unfolding the paper and smoothing it out in front of her she straightens her back and cleared her throat.
"Dear Heather Ford, I'm writing to you today, because my little sister Jamie Sarah Potters need a good gunging. First, let me tell you, I love the girl to death, but she been a real brat lately. A good example, she loves taking really long showers, that parts not so bad. But when she in the shower she always has to sing the newest Taylor Swift song at the top of her lungs and it's not like she can't sing, but my room is right by the bathroom and when I'm doing math homework, She also.. She also committed the most major sin and like one day inhaled a whole carton of Luvel ice cream
Lily busted out laughing at the last one. Mom just stood there blinking. Finally, mom spoke,
"So, that where the ice cream went too... At least none of it was wasted."
"That was a whole gallon though!" Lily said pouting as she folded her arms across her chest and sinking into the sofa. "And it was my favorite flavor though." She added.
Heather smirked and stood up.
"Jamie, if you'll be a dear and please follow me out. I have something to show you." She said brushing off the front of her gown.
"Thank you for the tea, Mrs. Potter, you have two wonderful daughters." She said smiling. "I quite like Benton, I think I might look into buying a house here and moving production here." She said smiling as she eased the now empty mug of tea down upon the coffee table. She then started to move toward the front door and I being the Jack-dawn fool I followed her out.