Legends That Kill
by Brianna Coleman
It was approaching midnight as I sat on my front porch alone. The Halloween breeze felt cool against my skin. I hadn't quite realized I was crying until my neighbor Matt, about twenty-five years old and known for taking his midnight strolls, came up to me.
"You know, Ashe," he started, "it is not good to weep alone, especially when Halloween is a time for fun." I knew he wasn't stupid. Everyone person in this small town knew about the tragic accident my boyfriend had gotten into. I let out a sigh. We were going to be engaged…
I let my thoughts wander off. It took me a second to realize my neighbor was still standing in front of me patiently. I sighed again.
"We met on Halloween, four years ago," I said.
"I know," he comforted me, "But it does no good to cry. Cheer up," he added. How could I? I thought.
"No offense, but I am getting sick of people telling me to cheer up. It's… hard. And I thought he was going to make it…" I stopped myself from going further.
"Understandable," he agreed. He then glanced at his watch nervously. "Well, it's almost midnight. I must be off. You better get going inside, too. You know about the old Halloween legend, don't you?" he questioned. I threw my head back and gazed at the nighttime stars. Of course I knew the legend. That's all anyone talks about around Halloween. As I continued looking at the sky, I replayed the story in my mind.
A few centuries ago, when witchcraft was still in suspicion, there was a scientist and his wife. The scientist would often go into his lab, and sometimes wouldn't come out for days. Eventually, his wife got tired of waiting for him to acknowledge her, so she started going into town looking for something to occupy her time.
She met Vladimir, a local owner of a pawn shop, a few days into her aimless wanderings. Vladimir claimed himself as a warlock, and showed her his teachings and ways of black magic. She instantly became a follower. Day after day when her husband was in the lab she would meet Vladimir at his store where they would spend hours conjuring up spells and concocting potions. She kept her Wiccan practices a secret from the townspeople, especially the scientist; he was an active member of the town consul, and he would surely have her hung if word spread. People who practiced witchcraft had a big bounty on their head. Whoever could prove that another was exercising these teachings was greatly rewarded.
It was a simple October 31 day, approaching dusk, when the scientist raced out of his lab with a new break-through in his research. When he came out, he noticed his wife was not present. In a frenzy, he stormed through the town worrying about his wife. A neighbor had directed him toward the pawn shop, where he last saw her heading. His wife was on her way out when he saw her: hair a mess, eyes ablaze, a little sweaty, and displaying a wicked grin. The scientist, thinking his wife was having an affair, attacked her. Under her breath, the wife summoned spells and fought back, struggling with his great fury. The scientist, however, had caught her off guard. The wife soon realized she was outmatched and started muttering a final, hopefully fatal, incantation. The Scientist overheard her.
"A witch?!" he yelled furiously. "No wife of mine shall be a witch!" The wife continued chanting, hoping she could finish. Within seconds, the scientist grabbed a pickax lying against the little store and stabbed her in the stomach. Her eyes opened wide, her words silenced. She fell onto the ground in shock and clutched the pick ax. The wife gazed up at the scientist.
"You have mistaken everything, my husband. Your foolish impulses will be your defeat. For when my soul leaves this world, I will be the victor. You will never forget me, my sweet darling, for you will be to blame for the curse that has been put on this town." She had completed the incantation. Her eyes turned white, storm clouds rolled in, the town grew very dark and quiet, leaves rustled and the wind circled the scientist as if trapping him in the spot where he was. She cursed the town, and most of all, her neglecting husband, declaring on every coming Halloween night, promptly at midnight, the dead shall rise, and reclaim the loved ones still walking in this town alive. They too shall have no future and suffer the horrible nightmare of death.
A few minutes passed before her eyes returned to their original state, and with one last gasping breath, she told her husband "I will be back for you, my love."
Scared, the scientist fled the town the next day, living forever with the haunting memory of his wife, scarred of the betrayal in her eyes, and the knowledge that he murdered her, witch or not. Eventually, he went insane and jumped off a cliff, a few years later on October 31st. Folks said his wife came back for her revenge.
To this day, supposedly, the curse she left on the town still remains.
I don't believe any of it. And if there was some logical way to rejoin the love of my life, I would jump at the first opportunity. At least then I wouldn't feel this hurt I bear.
I finally came back to reality and answered my neighbor.
"Yeah," I told him. "People make up those stories to scare the little kids who live around here. None of it is real."
He chuckled. "That story is more real than any old ghost story. Why, don't you remember Ruth Ann, who lived down the street? Her husband passed away a few years back. It was indeed October 31 when she left us."
I just stared at him. "Yes, but Ruth Ann was also very old. She died in her sleep from old age." I emphasized the last part.
He shook his head. "You kids are too stubborn these days. Believe want you want. But I'd still be careful. Get inside kid," Matt told me.
"I am a year younger than you!" I yelled at him. "Stop calling me kid."
Matt laughed. "I will see you tomorrow. Remember, midnight is the fatal hour!" and with that, he walked away
This time I laughed, unable to comprehend why everyone believed such a ludicrous story. "Okay then."
My neighbor continued down the street. I watched him until he walked up his driveway and I could no longer see him. I checked my watch: 11:50 p.m.
"I probably should go inside, though. It is pretty late," I thought. The wind got cooler and a mist crept around me. I sighed, and started to get up. Suddenly, a quiet whisper caught my attention. I turned my head to find no one there.
"Just the wind," I muttered to myself. I continued to my door. Right when I reached the door knob, a sudden crash came from the alley way two houses down. I jumped, almost falling off my porch. I heard a cat screech and a faint whimper. I looked around. No one was in sight. It couldn't possibly be Matt, his house was in the opposite direction from the alley way.
"Hello?" I questioned the still air. The whimper continued, growing louder. "Are you hurt?" I was skeptical about going to look, anyone could be playing a trick, but I knew it was the right thing to do in the event that someone really was injured. I walked down the street cautiously. As I got closer, the noise grew louder. When I reached the alley, however, the night went silent again.
"Hello?" I said again, a little intrigued. "There is still a good chance that this is another Halloween prank," I thought. I took a step forward, watching my shadow from the street light. As I moved, it made my figure look very long, irregular, and creepy. Apparently, I distracted myself too long. I saw a shape emerge from the corner of my eye. I immediately jumped back, taken completely off guard. I searched for the person the shape belonged to, but couldn't place it. Then, without warning, the street light went out and I started to panic.
I do not believe any old ghost story. I will not believe it.
But, oh, the questions that surfaced.
Was that real? Who was it? What was it? They raced through my head and before I could sort them all, I was jogging down the alley. It was impulsive, and probably foolish, but I had a feeling that I needed to be there. I had no idea what I was going after, or who I was trying to save. The closer I got, however, the more my feeling started turning bad. Was I looking for death? Was I so desperate enough to think the impossible? What was I hoping to find? I ran a quarter of the way down when it first spoke to me.
"Ashe..." it said faintly. My heart dropped, tears started pouring down my face. Could it be? Was it possible after all?
"Please," it barely whispered. I was in a full sprint then. I couldn't contain myself. I wasn't even positive if it was him, but I didn't care.
I reached the end of the alley; a tall wooden wall prevented me from going farther. "Where are you?!" I shouted, tears forming on the corners of my eyes. "Why did you leave me?" A noise was coming from the right side of me, near a couple of garbage cans.
"Don't leave again," I murmured as I started walking toward it. My good judgment was failing me. I outstretched my hand toward the garbage cans, and a giant hiss pierced the alley. A black cat jumped out and ran down the street, knocking me to the ground. The tears from my eyes were so dominant on my face by this point, it blurred my vision. From what I could tell, shadows were circling around me; a thousand whispers filled the atmosphere. The air got tight and everything started spinning. I gasped, hoping I could scream, but nothing emerged from my terrified voice. I managed, stumbling, to arise from the ground. But when I tried to escape, my body felt numb, immobilized. The shadows got darker, came closer, moved quicker. I gasped for the breath that could save me, but it couldn't come. The nightmare continued and I knew it was the end.
But then I saw his face, his beautiful, angelic face that made even a time of dying, the most peaceful in the world.
"I love you," he told me, soothing the fact that I could no longer breathe.
I mouthed the words "I love you, too," hoping he would recognize them. Then, I toppled over onto my back, struggling against death. The shadows and the voices vanished, but I still saw his face.
"You always make everything better. Always make the scary things go away..." my thoughts drifted. I stretched my hand toward him, and felt pure bliss when he grasped it.
The town was dead quite as a nearby clock struck twelve.
It was the best moment of my life, as well as my last.