Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
Trick or treating was something I always loved as a kid. It’s something that I was too old for, being twenty-five is something that easily puts a damper on childish festivities, and being pregnant makes it even more difficult to join in on the fun. There aren’t many happy families that take kindly to an adult wearing a vampire costume showing up on their doorstep to beg for candy, with an obvious baby-bump to boot. The next year would be different because I’d be taking my pride and joy around the block, but that year, I had to deal being too grown up for trick-or-treating, just as I had every year since I turned sixteen. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t dress up or that I wouldn’t be roaming the streets after dark. It just means that I wouldn’t be going from house to house in search of delicious treats.
That year, I dressed up like a vampire. I thought it would be a little funny because of my large stomach. I was six months along, but I was showing pretty a lot. I guess I ate a little too much for my own good or something, but that was okay. I was eating for two. I decided to wear a tighter black dress with spider fishnet leggings. I had on a Morticia-style wig and donned a pair of fangs behind blood-red lips with pride. I didn’t have money for a costume, so this was all stuff I found in my closet from years before. Maybe that’s a statement of how much I love Halloween.
Either way, I decided I would carry-out the age old tradition of passing out candy before my midnight stroll. Being outside in the open air of the witching hour was always something that I found enthralling about Halloween. It was as if the night held a hint of magic that I wasn’t allowed to forget and didn’t want to. It was intoxicating and I was intent on keeping both traditions, cultural and personal, alive. I had a big bowl of candy waiting for the kiddies and my costume on almost an hour before anyone even showed up.
I passed the time waiting on the little ones by watching old horror movies. I had a set of movies all picked out, from “The Blob” to “The Amityville Horror”. Every time I heard a knock at the door, I hit pause and jumped up as fast as any pregnant lady could. I was always happy to rush to the door, grab my bowl of treats, and greet the little guys and ghouls at my doorstep. The kids that came by were just so cute. I saw princesses, power rangers, witches, other vampire kin, and even a tiny baby in the most adorable pumpkin costume. It was marvelous to see all the other Halloween-lovers.
As the sky descended into darkness, I became more and more excited. It was getting so close to the time that I could take my walk. The pieces of candy left in my bowl had dwindled so much that the plastic bottom of the Tupperware was visible and the trick-or-treaters were starting to get become less and less frequent. At 11:30pm, I hadn’t heard the door in a while and my last movie was nearly over.
Easing myself up, I started to stretch. It wouldn’t be so bad if I went out a little early. With a sigh, I was ready to end the first tradition, one wordlessly passed down from adult to grown child over the years, and begin the one I always enjoyed the most. It was time to walk out into the night and soak in some of the magic in the air. As I went for my keys, I was startled by a knock at my door.
My hand went to my chest and I laughed softly at myself as I walked over and took up my bowl of candy. I really didn’t need the rest of it but I still grabbed a couple pieces and set them on my table before opening the door. Outside, there was an elderly woman and a very small, thin child. The woman had her white hair tucked back in a rigid bun. She had more wrinkles than a shar-pei puppy and brightest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. She was a big lady, but she wore an almost elegant, yet simple blue dress that hung all the way down to her sandaled feet. The child was a little unnerving to look at. Her hair was brown and matted in areas with something dark red, almost as if it was matted with blood. It had to be a wig. It was so thick and long. The matts in it seemed coarse and impossibly large. She had on an old-fashioned nightgown that was tattered around its seams and smudged with dirt. It was a great costume. In fact, it was the most elaborate costume I had seen all night.
I grinned at her, exposing my vampiric fangs, and said, “Well hello my pretties! You’re just in time for some treats on this night of trickery!”
My spiel made the old lady smile, but I didn’t hear a peep from the girl. I was about to lean down and allow her to take some candy from my bowl. I guessed she was just shy and I wasn’t about to make her stick around if she didn’t want to. However, before I could do so, the old lady said to the girl, “Say trick-or-treat to the nice lady.”
After a moment of silence, I shrugged more to myself than anyone else. In the kindest tone I had, I told the girl, “It’s okay. I know what it’s like to be shy. This can be pretty scary, huh? I’ll tell you what, I have about fifteen pieces or more of candy left in my bowl. If you open up your bag and tell me thank you before you go, you can have them all.”
I intended to give this little girl as much of the candy as she wanted that was left in my bowl to begin with, but it was obvious that her grandmother wanted her to talk. I want to give the little girl a nice Halloween but I didn’t want to step on her Grandmother’s toes either. Even though I couldn’t see her face under that mess of matted hair, I was certain there was a sweet child beneath it. If she was willing to put that much effort into her costume, she was almost like a kindred spirit. I knew in my heart that she deserved a wonderful Halloween. I really hoped I could help. Being shy and trick-or-treating can be very taxing.
She lifted her sack and held it open. It was small as if made of a large, folded blue plaid handkerchief. There were already a couple pieces of candy in it, but not many. It struck me as odd because a little girl like her had to have been trick-or-treating for a while. As I tilted the bowl toward the opening, I heard a tiny whisper say, “Thank you.”
After dumping the contents of my bowl into her bag, I smiled at her. I got my thank you, no matter how quietly. The woman smiled back at me and put a hand on the little girl’s shoulder. She guided her away toward the street so that they could disappear into the night. I stepped back inside with the bowl and set it on my table. I had a warm feeling inside my heart, because I knew I had to have done something good for her.
I took my time gathering my keys and my cell phone. I was giving those two time to get some distance. I liked them but I wanted to walk alone and uninterrupted by others. It was just going to be me and my unborn baby, enjoying the night of Halloween in its last few moments of the year. I was excited when I left my home and locked the door behind me. As I wandered down the street, in the opposite direction than what I saw the lady go with the child, I took in a big breath of cool night air. I meandered down the twisting streets with my hand idly resting on the curve of my belly. I found myself doing that more and more as the pregnancy progressed. The more aware I was of my baby growing inside me, the more and more anxious I was to meet him or her. I could hardly wait to share this walk with my child the next year. For that year, he or she, I chose to wait to learn the gender, would just have to be cradled in my stomach.
Eventually, I came across a road with one lonely street lamp. The yellow glow shining through the darkness was actually a little creepy, but in the spirit of the holiday, I had to check it out. I slowly made my way towards it, enjoying the ambience of the cool night air and the silence of the nearing midnight hour, until I saw a figure standing in the light. It took a moment, but I suddenly realized it was that girl from before. That hair was matted in her face and her dress looked dirty and tattered. There was no way it could be anyone but her. The sight of her stopped me in my tracks.
Should I go talk to her? Where was her grandmother? What was she doing all the way over here? I decided I had to help her. Anything less would be wrong and I knew it, but there was something about this situation that sent a chill up my spine. Despite my discomfort, I approached her. I didn’t say a word until I reached the edge of the light. For a moment, she just stood there, facing me in silence. I had my hand pressed against my stomach and she had her fingers wrapped tightly around the top of her small, blue bag.
I cleared my throat and asked, “What are you doing out here all by yourself? Do you need some help?”
My heart raced as I waited for a response. Without a sound, she took a step forward. When I didn’t move she took another step. I was about to repeat my question when she took a flurry of little steps in my direction. The movements never revealed her face. It merely made her hair and dress sway as if pressed upon by a gentle breeze. The more I looked at her hair, the more the matts looked real. The areas with the bloody substance looked gooey and dark. They glistened like a fresh wound. It was strange. Her costume was so elaborate but she still wouldn’t talk. I heard her bare feet on the sidewalk before I even looked down to see that she wasn’t wearing any shoes. This girl was so odd, but I was intent on helping her. Why was she out there all alone?
“Little girl?” I asked, hearing a slight quiver in my own voice as I spoke. “Do you need help?”
Her hand shot out and landed on my stomach. It was unusually cold, as if she were pressing an ice cube to my body. I gasped and nearly took a step back but I was frozen in place, as if I couldn’t move even if I wanted to. Finally, she lifted her head. That hair plastered against the contours of her face so that I could make out the indentions of eyes and the small slope of a nose. Her bag dropped to the ground and I heard the candy spill out along the cement as I stared down at her. It was hard to breath. I started to feel dizzy. My knees began to sink towards the ground.
She lifted her hand and abruptly pulled her hair to the side. All I could see was her dark brown eyes in that moment. Those eyes were so intense that I couldn’t look away. She seemed to be pleading with me. There was so much sadness in that gaze that I felt tears streaming out of the corner of my eyes before I even knew I was crying. The world around them began to fade away to darkness until there was absolutely nothing. It was like I closed my eyes and it all went away.
I don’t know how long I was out, but when I awoke, I looked around. I was laying on the ground with candy strewn out all around me. My head was sore but my biggest worry was the dull pain I felt in my stomach. I had fallen and a pain like that couldn’t be ignored. I fumbled around for my phone without getting up. I didn’t want to do anything that might harm my baby. I had to be cautious. As I dialed for an ambulance, I looked around for the little girl and couldn’t find her anywhere.
A few hours later, I was in a hospital bed in the emergency room. I had been rushed there to get checked out. So far, all I knew was that I had a knot on the back of my head and a bruise on my rump. I had a blood test, a scan or two, and an ultrasound done, none of which I had heard any news on yet. I was getting frustrated and even more worried as time passed. It seemed to take ages, but a doctor eventually found their way to the foot of the bed.
He smiled at me and said, “Ms. Anderson, I’m happy to tell you that everything is fine. Your bruises should heal up nicely, you don’t have a concussion, and there’s nothing wrong with your baby. I do have news though. The reason we’ve been doing so many tests is because the ultrasound technician thought she heard two heartbeats. We didn’t want to alarm you further until we knew, but ma’am, you’re having twins. Congrats!”
With that big goofy smile, he didn’t even wait for me to respond. He left me there to deal with the news, saying that a nurse would be in to release me soon. I put a hand to my belly and couldn’t believe there were two of them in there. Why hadn’t anyone caught that before? How long would it have taken for them to catch on that I had twins if I hadn’t had that altercation with the little girl? Everything I could remember about her was really confusing. I could only guess that she pushed me or that I passed out for some reason. Nothing made sense anymore.
As I tried to take it all in, a nurse walked into the room. I looked up and saw that old woman from before, only in light blue scrubs. She gave me a weary smile and approached my bedside. The world around me seemed to waver and I began to feel dizzy again. It was a good thing I was laying down because I think I would’ve fallen over if it wasn’t for that. Were they sure I didn’t have a concussion?
She came to me and put a soft, warm hand on my stomach. In a gentle tone she told me, “Don’t be scared. There is nothing wrong with the little girl you carry now. She’ll be a sister to your son and I’m sure you’ll love them both dearly. That girl only knew sorrow and agony in her short life. You are her chance to try again. Feel free to rejoice.”
The dizziness I was feeling began to fade. I felt myself shake it off as I heard a new voice tell me, “Okay, Ms. Anderson, let’s get that IV out and you can go home.”
I looked up to see a young, brunette nurse with a chart in her hands at the end of the bed. The old woman was gone but I could still feel residual heat from her hand on my stomach. I was so astounded that I couldn’t say a word. The nurse didn’t seem to mind. She got the IV out swiftly and showed me to the front desk.
Even as I filled out papers and signed forms, I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened. I was in a daze. It wasn’t until I started asking the receptionist about talking to the older nurse that was in my room that it finally hit me. The old woman said I was pregnant with a boy and a girl. She was clearly referring to the little girl from before. How was that possible? Where had she gone? I couldn’t find anyone that knew who I was talking about and I eventually called a ride home before they re-admitted me for further inspection.
Just three months later, I gave birth to two healthy babies. My family was elated to have twins brought into the family. Their father created more distance by disappearing to his mother’s house an entire state away. I was fine with that. He still had to pay child support. I had my family. I had my little boy, with his sky blue eyes and his bald head. I had my little girl that came out with eyes as dark as the Earth and enough fuzzy brown hair to be the talk of the town. I never forgot about that night of trickery in which she found me. I guess I got a treat after all.
Credit To – Nixie B. Vilda
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