She had only stepped off the bus, when Katy sent her a text. What was she wearing to the Halloween party? Was she still going as Beyoncé? Tara had a smile to herself as she replied to her friend – she wasn’t ready to let her know that she was going as Kim Kardashian, she wanted it all to be a surprise.
Tara decided to message Dave, her buddy, and while she did that she streamed some fresh beats through her phones. She walked up Drummer’s Alley, head down, messaging. She was happy.
The cyclist who rode up Drummer’s Alley from the other direction was pleased that he had a clear run through the street that night, it didn’t often happen that way. At least, that’s what he told the police afterwards. There had been no little girl walking away from the bus stop when he went through. He was sure. I mean he would have had to have cycled around her, wouldn’t he?
Tara had simply disappeared.
About an hour later, Ed was walking through the park. He had borrowed his grandson’s old mp3 player to see if it would spur him on to running (at least a fast walk) through the park. He wasn’t good with gadgets, but this had music and he could even watch the television as he moved. It was later that evening that Ed’s wife called the police. Her husband hadn’t come home.
Albert was sitting at the traffic lights, texting his wife telling her he would be home in ten, and to start running the bath. He kept texting as the lights turned to green. He stopped for a newspaper a little further down the street. That was all they found, the car, engine running, empty.
Kenny, who was ten years old, had gone out to ‘trick and treat’ on his own. His mother had dressed him up as someone called Elvis Presley. Kenny had no idea who he was, or even cared that much. He took a selfie and then sent it to his best pal, Steve, who didn’t know who Elvis was either. Kenny never got to Mrs Severn to show her the costume. They found the Elvis wig in an undergrowth – nothing else. In chalk, on the path next to the wig, was written, ‘The Halloween Man’.
There had been a legend about the Halloween Man in the area for years. Some said it had started with the old Professor who lived at the bottom of Sycamore. He was always constructing hot-air balloons and flying across town – with varying degrees of success. But back then, kids would sometimes look out their bedroom windows in the middle of the night to see the Prof floating by. Some said, he only did it to snatch kids or to look in their windows, watching them sleep.
He was long gone. Folks had their suspicions and had tried to get him thrown out-of-town, but he died before any of that could happen.
The day after this particular Halloween, the town was buzzing with the story that the professor had come back to take revenge and snatch people from the streets, especially those who weren’t paying any attention – which, to be truthful, was most folks nowadays.
The next night, people started getting rides home, using taxis, and some even took their earphones out and looked up to see where they were going. It didn’t stop who or whatever it was, as another three disappeared. Chalked on the wall in some dead-end street was the name ‘The Halloween Man’.
Kids told kids in school that the Halloween Man just snatched you from out of the sky and took you away and ate you. If anything good came from this, was that kids looked up – always watching the skies and trying to get home before it got dark.
The police couldn’t find a trace of any of the disappeared. They had the chalk-dust tested, but it told them nothing – it could have been one of thousand batches made in the big city.
The next night and the one after that, folks didn’t go out in the dark unless they had to. Still another two disappeared into thin air. On the front of the town hall painted in putrid green were the words ‘The Halloween Man’.
Cops were brought in from all surrounding forces but nothing else happened. No disappeared the next week, or the week after that.
Things settled down, lives kind of returned to normal, except, of course, the families who kept on looking for their loved one. No one else disappeared. But tomorrow is Halloween again, and folks aren’t going out this year, unless they have to. This is the time of the Halloween man who snatches you right out of the sky.
bobby stevenson 2016
photo: painting of a lonely man by http://twitchtic.deviantart.com