Episode 5 by Kris Calvert
“You mean, Halloween?” Sarah asked. She’d already planned on turning off her porch light to deter the candy grabbers. In her experience, no matter how hard she tried to please the painted-faced ninjas and glitter-covered princesses tripping over their tulle, her choice of chocolates and bubble-gum enclosed suckers never seemed to be enough. “I don’t do Halloween.”
In her old neighbourhood, candy giving was a competitive sport—one she gave up when a sparkly Tinker Bell mocked her bowl of fun-sized Snickers, letting her know the other neighbours were giving away full-sized chocolate.
Eric stood, walking away from his medical handiwork. “Days, like people, come and go whether you’re truly aware of them or not.”
“I’m aware,” Sarah replied, wondering why she was no longer unnerved. A strange man was standing in her kitchen, explaining her own house to her. He had played the hero to her damsel-in-distress moment. Maybe that was it. She’d not been taken care of in a long time. Or maybe it was the way his dark eyes sparkled in the light. Maybe it was because she’d not had sex in a really long time. She pulled herself together and adjusted the front of her shirt, reminding herself she was in control. She was always in control.
“Why don’t you tell me what you know about this place? I mean, if there’s a poltergeist in my house, maybe I need to be more careful about leaving the television on. I would hate to end up on another earthly plane with that little blonde girl—whatshername,” she said, snapping her fingers and searching the eighties movie references swirling in her head. “Carol Anne.”
“You’re funny,” he said with a smile. “Your sense of humour is going to serve you well.”
Sarah’s humour only masked the hole in her heart—the one left behind when Brant took his last breath. “Well, thank you… I guess.”
She suddenly needed the wine more than ever and took two more glasses down from the cupboard. “Care to join me?”
“Sure. I’d love to get to know my beautiful neighbour. I’ve already rescued her from herself,” he said, nodding to Sarah’s hand. “Now maybe you’ll repay me by joining me for dinner in the future.”
“I just thought I’d ask.”
“I’m…” she began and recoiled, searching for what needed to be said. “I’m not ready to have…you know…dinner.”
“Why not? I just want to get to know you better.”
“It’s a long story.” Sarah waited for the words to escape her lips before letting out the sigh she’d been holding in.
He nodded his head and narrowed his gaze. She knew the look. It was the one her mother gave her when she offered up half-truths instead of the full-blown story. Sarah was selling, but Eric wasn’t buying it.
“You know, you’re not hiding anything. Not here,” he said.
“What?” Turning on her heels, she stayed calm on the outside while her stomach did cartwheels. “What makes you think I’m hiding anything?”
Eric took the wine glass from her hand, staring into her eyes. “No one moves to this Godforsaken cow town. You might be born here, attached to the quiet desperation because you know nothing else, but no one intentionally moves to Samhain—at least not when the leaves start to fall.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she joked. “And I’ve never heard anyone pronounce it that way—Saa-ween.”
“Then you’ve only heard it pronounced the wrong way,” he said, holding his glass in the air, silently asking for wine.
Nodding to her when she’d poured enough into his glass, she watched him turn and walk away, using the time take a huge gulp of wine from her own glass to calm her nerves. “You seem to know a lot, Eric Singleton.”
Turning, he sipped his wine and smiled at her over the rim of the glass. She knew the look. Sarah was master of the coy, I-know-something-you-don’t-know eye sparkle and smirk. She invented it.
Taking another healthy gulp of wine, she played along. “Fine. Let’s play a little game, my newly found, overly knowledgeable neighbour. You tell me something I don’t know about this house, and I’ll tell you something about me.”
Sarah motioned for him to sit at the kitchen table and joined him, gulping her wine and pouring a little more. Staring into his face, she waited for him to begin as the wind howled, causing the ancient windowpanes to rattle. A chill ran down her spine and she involuntarily knitted her shoulders, shaking off the feeling both physically and mentally. Silence.
“Well?” Sarah asked.
“Why don’t you start us off?”
“Fine. I’m a teacher, but I don’t teach anymore.”
“I’m an EMT. But I don’t save lives anymore.”
“I beg to differ,” she said, holding up her bandaged hand. “No matter what you think about this old house, I don’t believe in ghosts,” she said, shaking off her true feelings, allowing the wine to fill her with courage.
“No matter what you think, things exist whether you’re aware of them or not.”
“Are you saying something’s in this house?” she asked. “Really? The Prescott Ghost?”
Sarah scoffed and took another drink. She was starting to feel a little woozy but brave, nonetheless. “Whatcha got to say to me, Prescott Ghost?” she asked, looking at the ceiling of the kitchen.
“I admire your courage, however misguided it may be,” he said.
Shuddering from a cold draft that wafted past them, she searched his face for clues to what he knew but wasn’t saying. “What’s so special about tonight, anyway?” she asked. “All Hallows’ Eve?”
“On whether a spirit from the other side needs to contact you one more time.”