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jackolanterns

I used to always have the feeling that everyone else was having more fun than me on Halloween. Tonight I’m content to hand out candy on my sister’s porch and watch scary movies. Later we’ll drive down this one street and proceed until there’s nothing but woods on both sides and few street lights. We will slow down, lock our doors and look closely for what we know we probably will never see again.

A few years ago, my sister and I were driving back to her place sometime after midnight when her tire light came on. This happened so often she drove around with an air pump – no big deal. We didn’t even need light to unscrew the thingy and inflate the tire enough to get back. She had her back to the woods and I was watching the pressure gauge when something in the middle of the street caught my eye.

I don’t have the best vision and only wear glasses when I’m driving, so I had to stare for a few seconds to make out what looked like a woman a few hundred feet away walking towards us. My normal instincts would be to flee and feel bad about abandoning my sister later, but at the time it didn’t seem strange or dangerous. Neither of us had yet noticed that there weren’t any houses or businesses for a person to be walking to or from.

I don’t know why I watched with passive curiosity as she continued walking towards us. I was that person you yell at in horror movies, the one who doesn’t realize it’s time to stop staring and move it. It felt like something was going to happen and I wanted to know what that something was, but it didn’t occur to me anything could happen to us, the viewers.

I didn’t have the impression help was needed until my sister finished tightening the tire seal, followed my line of sight and thoroughly freaked. At that point we both jumped in the car, locked the doors and were incredibly grateful it didn’t stall. The drive back to the main road felt much longer than it had when we’d turned off. Of course, the longest red light in history greeted us.

After comparing notes and realizing we saw completely different things – she saw a man and I saw a woman – we realized we had no idea what we saw and decided to turn back just in case the person did need help. The drive back felt completely different. We had the radio off and windows rolled down straining to hear a sign of human life. She even turned her headlights off for a moment thinking maybe we’d find a person easier without blinding light. We drove a few miles past where we’d stopped then turned back without finding anything.

Now we can’t drive through that town at night without taking the same detour. More than actually finding a lone figure, we’re really just chasing that scary fun I-have-no-idea-what-that-was sensation. I think maybe we just saw a person out for a stroll and scared him/her, but I’ve always found it strange that we saw completely different things and the person walked towards us for a few moments yet never got any closer.

Hope you have a fun Halloween.

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