Happy Annivers-oween

by Mickey Minner
Read my stories at the Academy of Bards.
Read my Duck Butt Tales at Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/qco9tu2
Copyrighted 2017


 A large oak tree dominated a vacant lot on one side of a sparsely housed street. An immense crown of branches, covered in giant red and gold leaves, blocked the bright beams of the night’s full orange moon. In the deep shadows, radiating out from the oak’s massive trunk, an oddly swirling mist curled and danced around the lower part of the trunk while fingers of vapor spread out to conceal all they touched in wispy orange tinted tendrils. Standing under the tree’s thick and gnarled branches; two figures held hands while showing no concern for the mist obscuring their feet.

Across the street from the oak, a two story wooden structure stood fully trimmed out with Halloween decorations. Carved pumpkins, every one displaying a unique face, had been placed at each end of the half dozen steps leading up to the porch. Every window displayed a ghoul or ghost peeking out from behind a flickering candle. Menacing cats glared down from the roof while curious bats hung from the rafters.

“I think she outdid herself this year,” one of the figures commented.

“I’m glad she’s keeping the custom alive,” the second woman agreed. “Though I’m not sure why you continue to insist on us wearing costumes at our age.”

“Because it’s more fun to blend in,” the first woman responded grinning. Dressed in a white Victorian-style lace-trimmed dress, her perfectly coifed auburn hair cascaded down her back. “I can’t believe she found so many strings of pumpkin lights,” she told her companion.

The second woman, wearing a mourning coat covering a cream colored ruffled shirt tucked into a pair of dark slacks with thin grey pin-stripes, chuckled, “It wasn’t easy. She had to go all over the state to find them,” she explained adjusting the felt top hat resting on her shortly cropped, curly red hair. “Those creepy skull candles are great,” she added of the objects occupying prominent spots in every window.

“Agreed… they really set the mood.” Smiling, the feminine dressed figure turned toward the other then lifted their joined hands and gently pressed them against her heart. “Another wonderful year, Roxanne… time to make our wish, my love.”

Removing her top hat, Roxanne leaned closer. “My wish will never change, Clara,” she said moments later after their lips parted.

“Oh, I definitely hope not.”

“Are you going to let me say it?” Roxanne asked teasingly.

“Go ahead,” Clara replied making the motion for zipping her lips.

“May our love… and marriage,” Roxanne added with a smile, “last for many, many more years.”

“My sentiments exactly,” Clara sighed placing her head to rest on her wife’s shoulder as she was embraced lovingly.

Roxanne watched a sedan pull to the curb in front of the decorated house. “Looks like her guests are arriving, sweetheart,” she stated as a smartly attired vampire exited the car. “Is that Kathleen?” she asked in disbelief. “I didn’t expect her to show up this year.”

“I’m surprised she did, Roxie. You really did scare the bee-jeezbies out of her last year.”

“Oh, come on… all I said was Boo!”

“When she was in the sitting room taking off her jacket… alone. But I think it was when you did that creepy laugh that really scared her.”

Roxanne grinned. “I couldn’t resist.”

“You do know she spent the rest of the night looking for hidden doors… she was convinced someone must have been hiding behind one.”

Roxanne laughed; a deep, hearty sound that floated on the air. “That’s one door she’ll never find,” she assured her wife as two costumed women stepped out from the house to greet their arriving guests. “Ah… Kris gets more beautiful every year,” she stated adoringly.

“She’s a zombie,” Clara exclaimed.

“Yes, but she’s a very beautiful zombie,” Roxanne countered. “Just like her beautiful mother,” she declared before pressing her lips against Clara’s cheek.

“You’re still a mush-ball, aren’t you,” Clara teased then smiled when her wife nodded enthusiastically.

“That must be the new girl friend. She looks nice.”

“How can you tell under all that makeup she’s wearing?” Clara asked studying the woman who currently resembled a well-known aging TV star.

“If she’s dating our daughter, she should be nice”

“Try not to scare her.”

“Not even a little—”

“Roxie!” Clara cut off her wife with a firm shake of her head.

“Kathleen deserved it,” Roxanne pouted. “Especially, after the way she dumped our daughter. For the life of me, I don’t know why Kris invited her this year.”

“Because she doesn’t hold grudges… like someone I know,” Clara said tapping Roxanne lightly on the nose. “Now, promise me you won’t spoil the party… please.”

“I promise,” Roxanne pledged, crossing her heart with a quick gesture. “Come on, let’s go join them,” she said when more cars arrived to dispatch their dressed-up passengers.

Clara smiled and nodded.

The swirling mist followed as Clara and Roxanne stepped out from the oak tree’s shadows and walked across the street.

“Oh, look,” Clara exclaimed pointing toward the yard at the side of the house. “She’s added some things.”

Surrounded by a freshly painted wrought iron fence, a patch of neatly maintained lawn was separated from the rest of the yard. Inside the fence, two identical polished marble headstones were illuminated by the moon’s bright beams. A bouquet of freshly picked red roses sat in special holders at the base of each monument and a border of petite white flowers marked the outline of a shared grave.

Roxanne changed her steps to approach the gate that allowed access to the small enclosure. She passed through the gate then waited for Clara to join her. The mist swirled around the fence as the women stood beside the headstones.

“Gosh, these markers are beautiful,” Clara murmured placing her hand against the gleaming marble.

“She didn’t need to change them… the old ones served just as well,” Roxanne noted.

“She told us she was wanted to go first class.” Clara poked her wife playfully. “She gets that from you.”

“And that’s why you always kept the check book hidden,” Roxanne said wryly. Watching some party guests walk directly to the house while carefully avoiding the diminutive cemetery, she commented, “I wonder why no one ever comes near here. She’s done such a great job decorating the grave.”

“Might have something to do with our names being on the stones,” Clara offered. “As Kris would say, it freaks them out.”

“It’s Halloween,” Roxanne reminded. “They’re supposed to get freaked out.”

“Sounds like the party is getting off to a good start,” Clara noted the laughter coming from inside the house. “Won’t be long before she starts the dance music.” The words had barely left her lips when the distinct lyrics of the Monster Mash broke the night’s peace.

“Now, that is what I call dancing music.”

Clara laughed. “She gets that from you, too.”

Ignoring the gate, the women turned toward the house. Anticipating their intentions, the mist swirled into the shape of a step… then another… and another… until a vaporous stairway stood before them.

“Shall we?” Roxanne asked offering a supportive arm.

Clara smiled. “Of course.”

The women climbed the steps, each disappearing as soon as they placed their feet on a higher one. Roxanne and Clara reached the top step and, without hesitation, easily moved through the solid house wall to join the party.

Filling a mug with a bubbling green concoction, vampire Kathleen sniffed suspiciously at the contents of a punch bowl. “I wonder if this stuff is safe.”

“Remember, no tricks,” Clara repeated when her wife grinned wickedly at the muttering vampire.

Roxanne sighed deeply before replying. “You do know how to ruin a girl’s fun,” she whined.

“Did you say something?” the vampire asked the zombie standing nearby.

With a shake of her awkwardly bent head, the zombie responded, “No.”

“I thought I heard voices coming from right behind me. This isn’t going to be a repeat of last year, is it?” Kathleen asked warily, her head rotating as her eyes panned around the room.

“Sorry, I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about,” Kris smiled then turned to walk out of the room carrying a brimming mug of green, smoky punch. At the end of a long hallway, she paused to ensure she was unobserved before slipping into a small, unoccupied room. “I’m glad you made it, Moms,” she whispered into the emptiness. “Wouldn’t be the same without you.” She felt disembodied arms embrace her and a soft kiss on each cheek. “Happy anniversary,” she said raising her mug into the air before taking a healthy swallow.

“Now, let’s get to this party,” Roxanne announced excitedly before tugging Clara in the direction of the music.