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It’s a little later in the day for this posting but *shrugs* better late than never.

I hope you all have a happy, safe and fun Halloween!

One Last Time
(Unedited because no one can be perfect all the time.)
Janet Eckford

“I really don’t think we should be doing this.”

“Stop worrying and just keep an eye on them.”

A chorus of tiny giggles and mock screams of terror rang out in the crisp October night. Fall had decided to snatch the reins from her sister Summer and the night sparkled with the promise of cool days and even cooler nights.

“I think we lost one.”

“We haven’t. Stop panicking and just keep an eye on them.

The two figures dressed in heavy black robes stood on the peripheral of ghoulish merriment that only Halloween seemed to bring out in both children and adults alike. Aside from their hushed bickering, one wouldn’t have noticed them amongst the throngs of adults and older siblings, waiting patiently at the curb for little ones to come running back winded from the thrill of adding to their candy horde.

“They’re giving out entire candy bars!”

A small girl screeched with excitement, waving said candy bar at her mother.

Her mother smiled and added it to the bag she carried, the tiny skull bucket her daughter had insisted on having because it matched her costume had stopped fitting all of her treats a long time ago.

The two dark robed figures stood back, silently watching, keeping an eye on their equally excited charges.

“Tia! Tia!”

“I’m over here.”

A little boy dressed in a homemade superhero costume gave a grin of relief when he saw a woman waving at the edge of the lawn for him. He scrunched his cape in his hand and balanced his swelling bag of candy in another and sprinted toward her.

“The woman knew who I was,” he lisped in triumph as he jutted out his little boy chest with pride.

“I told you someone would,” his aunt replied with affection.

And the two dark robed figures still stood off to the side waiting patiently for the little ones they watched over to return.

“Papa scary!”

The wail of a toddler dressed in a bunny onesie cradled in the arms of a man in a matching costume broke the joyous revelry.

“I’m not scared Papa,” a little girl shouted, raising her toy sword and charging toward a house with spooky music and flashing lights.

“Don’t run, Clarissa!” The bedraggled father yelled, tucking the toddler with a wet face making hiccuped noises of displeasure to his chest.

And amongst the brightly costumed children, and adults chatting amongst themselves, the two dark robed figures stood, one still and resolute, the other slightly hunched and fidgety.

As a throng of children hustled from one house to another on the bustling block of houses lite with macabre decorations and dark good cheer, a child broke away from the pack and headed toward the direction of the two dark robed figures.

Painfully thin, dressed only in a thin hospital gown, it was hard to tell the gender of the gaunt faced child with closely cropped hair. It was an odd look amongst the princesses, witches, pirates, and shiny store bought costumes. Just the hospital gown and a paper crown colored carefully by hands that hadn’t quite mastered keeping within the lines, placed precariously on a head shorn of locks of some indiscriminate color. That was it. No shoes or socks, not even a light jacket against the chill, more than a few concerned adults noted with judgement.

But the child beamed and danced across the distance toward the two dark robed figures standing in the shadows and it was hard not to smile as the sweet little face, faded of color like a picture pressed between the pages of a photo album for far too many years, peered up at its guardians and giggled with delight.

“I didn’t think I’d get a chance this year.”

The soft words spoken with awe didn’t travel far. Night was jealous it seemed and gathered the sound so it could be put away as a keepsake of remembrance.

“There isn’t much time before we have to leave. Go on. Go have your fun with the others.”

It was the more anxious of the two that spoke, apprehension having been whisked away on the tide of the small child’s joy.

The other dark robed figure watched the exchange with approval, nodded as the child waved before skipping off to join the shifting crowd of little tricksters.

“We can’t break rules often, but at least for Halloween we can try,” the initiator of their scheme said with confidence, gazing out as their little ones frolicked with their peers one last time.

So you see, on this night when children make merry, gathering up handfuls of candy. Look for two dark robed figures, standing quietly aside, for they make sure everyone has fun, before their final ride.