Bonita loved Halloween. She had longed to get married and have a family. Unfortunately, that was not her path in life. At least that is what she told her friends. So, when any holiday involving children rolled around Bonita found a way to reach out and love as many children as she could. Christmas and Thanksgiving were fun times with her nieces and nephews. Halloween was for all the other children that came to her doorstep.
Bonita would put decorations in her yard. Fake tombstones lined the yard, and skeletons hung from trees. Strands of cotton stretched across her front porch and on her forgotten rocking chairs once the chill of Fall appeared. She even put small Bluetooth speakers out front that would play sounds of distant storms with the occasional scream. Children loved coming to her door. This Halloween was no different. They arrived in droves just shortly before sundown. Princes and princesses. Demons and ghouls. Witches and scarecrows. One parent with an undeniable sense of humor had dressed brother and sister and Hillary and Donald.
Bonita was having a grand time. By 9 pm she was exhausted from answering the door and giving her best-surprised responses. No children had rung her doorbell for the last fifteen minutes. She decided to close her eyes for a moment and rest. Bonita jumped when the doorbell rang. She looked over at the clock; it was 9:30 pm, a late straggler indeed. Bonita answered the door, a child that appeared to be five years old dressed in a very unusual costume stood before her. The girl’s outfit looked like clothes from the 1700’s, but they seemed ragged with a grayish tinge. Her pale skin and dark eyes gave her a sickly appearance.
“My goodness dear, who are you suppose to be?”
Bonita looked around her yard but did not see a parent.
“Where are your mother or father?”
“Gone! My heavens. Did they leave you here alone?”
“Yes. Can you help me?”
“Yes, I can. Come inside dear. You don’t want to catch your death of cold.”
They both headed inside, and Bonita closed the door to the cold outside.
“Would you like some tea to warm up?”
“Your costume is very unusual. Do you have someone I can call?”
“I don’t know anyone you can call.”
“Well, your parents must be worried. I can call the police and ask them to come. Maybe we can figure out where you belong.”
“Oh, I know how to get home. I came here to visit you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“When we lived here you were always so nice to me. We rocked on your porch one day, and you told me how much you loved children. You said God must not have given you a child so you could love all of us. ”
“I remember that conversation, but that was with, Annie.” Bonita’s room started the spin. The surreal moment began to take hold of her. She fell back into her rocking chair. “That Annie was killed in a car accident.”
“Yes. Mom and Dad were bringing me home from a school play about colonial America. I knew you would be lonely this Halloween, after the kids all left. I wanted to come back and say thank you. There are others you know.”
“Other, um, ghosts?”
Annie giggled. Bonita knew it was an honest laugh, but her blood still ran cold. “Yes, there are more ghosts, but I mean children, well some are adults. We all talk about how kind you were. You were right about God’s plan too. He is very proud of you.”
Bonita did not know what to say. She wasn’t sure she should.
“Are you okay? I didn’t want to scare you.”
“This is all very surreal, but I will be okay.”
“I suppose I didn’t think about that when I asked to come back to visit.”
“That’s okay, dear. I guess you don’t need that tea.”
“No. I probably need to get home.”
“Will you be coming back?”
“I don’t know, maybe. Would you like me to?”
“To be honest dear, I’m not sure. You should be with your parents and God, not down here with me. You have encouraged me. I suppose one day I’ll see you all again. At least I hope so.”
“I know you will.”
Bonita felt fear shoot through her at the thought of what Annie just said. Then she had a strange peace settle over her. After all, everyone ends up where Annie is one day.
“May I go now, Miss Bonita?”
“Of course dear. Thank you for coming.”
Annie disappeared from view. Bonita sat there for a while trying to take it all in. Was it a trick or a treat? Bonita prayed it was the treat it appeared.
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