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The Ghost of Kilarney Park: Conclusion

October 31, 2016

Part One can be found (here).

 

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Haunted houses and Halloween go together like dots on dice, but the haunted house on our street never did anything to attract trick-or-treaters. So why was there a light burning on Verna’s porch?
           

My feet began pulling me to the light. My head swirled with thoughts of murder: rat poison, asphyxiation, throat slashing, but I was more interested in candy than safety. 
           

I inched up the front steps to her porch and peered into Verna’s kitchen window. She was seated at her kitchen table, her head resting in her hands. Her back was to me and I couldn’t see her face, but I could hear her crying, a raspy soul rending sound, not the depraved rant of the undead or the wailing tirade of a guilt-riddled wife who’d murdered her husband.  
           

Instead of ringing her doorbell, I turned to go. As I did so I saw something on her table that made me squeak like a mouse finding a wheel of cheese—treasure. Edible treasure.
           

On Verna’s kitchen table was a large pirate chest made of cardboard. Among the pirate images painted on it was one of the most cherished names in a chubby kid’s lexicon—Hershey. Inside the chest were countless bars of chocolate. Not the penny-size ones—these big boys fetched upwards of a quarter each. I felt like Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo as I eyed such treasure.
           

 

Verna must have heard my squeak. She turned around and looked at me standing there on the other side of her kitchen window.  I’d never seen her up close and I noticed she was totally opaque without a ghost’s translucence. Her eyes, while red, didn’t look otherworldly. She swiped away tears with the back of her hand and waved me in, saying, “The door isn’t locked.”
           

The door opened with a moan, as if it wasn’t accustomed to swinging open. My costume didn’t make entering any easier. Verna’s house had the same floor plan as ours which meant I was practically inside her kitchen when I stepped through the threshold. She stood up and gave me a watery smile. She looked…rather pleasant, even with puffy eyes. But then Hansel and Gretel would never have entered the witch’s house had she not also appeared pleasant.
           

“That is a very nice costume. Did it take you long to make?”
           

I nodded.

 

She turned to the chocolate chest. “I ordered this from a catalog a few months ago.”
           

“It’s a lot of candy.”
           

“I was planning on handing it out to trick or treaters this evening.”
           

“But you never give out candy on Halloween,” I said.
           

“True. But this year I decided to make up for all the years I sat in this dark house without handing out treats. Unfortunately, I had to work late tonight and by the time I got home all of the children had already passed through the neighborhood. All the children, except you. You’re Stephen, from across the street, aren’t you?”
           

I nodded. The costume didn’t disguise me as much as I’d thought.
           

“Would you like some candy?”
           

Another nod.
           

She reached into the chest for a foil-wrapped chocolate bar, dropped it into my pillowcase. 
           

I thanked her and headed for the door, but her sniffling stopped me. “You should come to neighborhood barbeques and block parties next summer. And my birthday party is in two weeks. Why doncha come?”
           

“After all this time, I don’t think people would want me to come,” she answered.
           

“I want you to come.”
           

She looked kinda pretty as she smiled and closed her door. I headed home, where my mother and her sweet tooth waited.
           

The next day I awoke to find a Hershey’s treasure chest on our front porch. An attached note said:
                    

For Stephen, my only Kilarney Park friend. Don’t get a stomach ache.
           

That afternoon something sprouted on our street we hadn’t seen before. The bright red paint seemed out of place in front of the gray house that had once haunted my feverish imagination. Hammered into Verna’s front yard—a FOR SALE sign.
           

A few weeks later, the Ghost of Kilarney Park moved away. 

 

 

 

 

Blind Cat by S. Hayes (Acrylic on Masonite)

 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

 

 

 

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Comments

16 Comments
I remember reading that story before but it's still very touching. And that is one creepy cat. Happy Halloween!
By: PT Dilloway on October 31, 2016
I remember it as well, it is still as good as ever! Reminds me of the stories I heard on the radio years ago by that great story teller Jean Shepard.
By: cranky on October 31, 2016
One of my favorite stories. Just a lonely lady. I had an aunt who used to say that my dad and I were her only friends. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 31, 2016
I don't remember that story, but I love it!!
By: fishducky on October 31, 2016
You are a good friend, and a good person.
By: messymimi on October 31, 2016
Just as good the second time around, Stephen.
By: Catalyst on October 31, 2016
A great story with quite a twinge of sadness. Nicely done. The blind cat painting is eerily fantastic.
By: Tom Cochrun on October 31, 2016
You found a treasure, but it wasn't a chest full of candy.
By: Val on October 31, 2016
What a great story. I love how you left us hanging:) Rick
By: Rick Watson on October 31, 2016
Every time I read this story, my heart aches for her... and your tummy. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 31, 2016
This story just broke my heart.
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 1, 2016
You'd give Charles Dickens a run for his money.
By: Tom Sightings on November 1, 2016
What a neat kid your were. I am just sorry she didn't stay around long enough for your birthday. It might have made her change her mind about moving if she opened up to her neighbors and they to her. Wonderful yet very sad story.
By: Arkansas Patti on November 1, 2016
Sad when I first read it, sad when I read it again. But, you knocked it out of the park. Well done!
By: Al Penwasser on November 1, 2016
awww I wish she had come to your party!
By: Kathe W. on November 1, 2016
I wonder what made her move away. Well, at least you had a chance to be friendly towards her.
By: Pixel Peeper on November 5, 2016

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