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A Halloween Story

A Halloween Story

It was a blood moon cold night in late October in 1988. Halloween night. With my wife and daughter, I lived in a small cabin on a large ranch outside a small town in a cold valley in the mountains of Colorado, where the Blue and Muddy Rivers joined the mighty Colorado. My daughter, Rickie, was not yet two years old, and too young to go trick or treating, but we had taken her to the Halloween Carnival in the small town. Since she was so young, coming up with a costume was an easy task, an old white sheet with a couple of holes cut out for eyes, and, presto, a ghost! Rickie was a quiet child, very shy and reserved, even for a two year old. Her sister, Bailey, on the other hand, when she came along a year later, was anything but shy and reserved. As they grew up, it seemed that Rickie spent most of her time getting Bailey out of one mess or another; but that is a story for a different time.

There was quite a history to the small cabin we lived in, a story that I was able to piece together in the years after this blood moon cold Halloween night. As winter comes early to the mountains of Colorado, we’d come home early from the Halloween Carnival, and had already put Rickie to bed when we finally settled in ourselves. Rickie’s bedroom was located just off the living room of the small cabin, and our bedroom was located past Rickie’s bedroom at the far end of the hallway; as I lay in bed, rolling over on to my right side, I could see the small glow of the night-light from Rickie’s bedroom. Everything was dark and quiet, and as I nestled comfortably in my warm bed, everything was just right for a long night’s sleep; I took one last glance down the hallway toward the night-light’s warm glow, and as I was satisfied that everything was as it should be, I turned over and fell immediately into a deep sleep.

I awoke suddenly in the middle of the night, not sure what had roused me out of my deep sleep. I immediately rolled over on to my right side, staring down the hallway towards Rickie’s bedroom. She stood there at the end of the hallway in her Halloween costume! But as my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I realized that it wasn’t her Halloween costume at all, but rather she was wearing a long white nightdress, something that would have been worn a hundred years ago. What was going on? The pretty little girl with the long flowing blond hair in the long white nightdress seemed quite at home and peaceful, so I wasn’t immediately alarmed, but what was Rickie doing out of bed in the middle of the night?

As I said, it was a cold blood moon October night, and I wasn’t eager to jump out of my warm bed, but I needed to check on Rickie. As I slid out of bed, I looked again down the hallway, but Rickie wasn’t there. I rushed down the hallway and out into the living room of the small cabin. After stumbling around in the dark, I was finally able to locate the lamp and switched on the light. The room was empty. I searched the kitchen, but found the same thing, the room was empty. I rushed into the spare bedroom, and found it to be empty as well. Where had she gone? Now I was beginning to think that maybe I’d dreamed the whole thing. But no, I had been wide awake, and the little girl with the flowing blond hair in the long white nightdress had definitely been standing at the end of the hallway. But where was she now? Now somewhat in a panic, I rushed into Rickie’s bedroom, only to find Rickie sound asleep in her crib. How could this be? It made no sense to me. I pulled up the blanket that had slipped off Rickie’s butt which stuck up in the air like a stink bug’s. She seemed peaceful, and definitely sound asleep – there was no doubt about it. I looked around the room, but except for her stuffed animals, it was empty.

I made my way back to bed, but I couldn’t sleep; instead, I kept vigil, looking constantly towards the warm glow of the nightlight at the end of the hallway. But nothing appeared.

When the early morning sunlight finally began to fill the small cabin, I climbed out of bed to check on Rickie. She was standing up in her crib, eager to begin her day. I kissed the top of her head, telling her good morning. She laughed. I pulled her out of her crib, and set her on the floor. I could hear her mother down the hall rustling out of bed. The day had begun, but I was still puzzled by the events of the night before. It made no sense to me.

When Rickie was old enough to hear the story, I told her all about the night the little girl with the long flowing blond hair in the white nightdress visited her room. She was there, but yet she wasn’t. She was a ghost. I’d learned later that the cabin we’d lived in had burned down a hundred years before, and a two year old girl had died in the fire. The cabin, the cabin that we’d lived in, had been rebuilt after the fire, but the family had moved on. The pain of their loss was just too great to bear. Rickie’s mother and I divorced a few years later, and while I remained in Colorado, Rickie moved with her mother (and her sister, Bailey) to Wyoming, where they live today.

When I told Rickie the story, when she was nine or ten, Rickie said, “I know all about it, Dad, she’s still with me.”

“What?” I asked. “You know about the ghost?”

“Of course,” Rickie told me. “Her name is Moose.”

“Moose?” I asked.

“Well, that’s what I call her,” Rickie said.

I don’t know where the name came from, or even how Moose comes to Rickie. Some things are better left unexplained. All I know is that one blood moon cold Halloween night a long time ago, a little girl with long flowing blond hair wearing a long white nightdress became a constant companion to Rickie; after a long, long time away, the little girl was finally able to come home.

 

4 Comments
  1. Oooh! Now why did I choose to read this late tonight on a cold windy night?!

    • 4:44 am on October 31???? Not in my corner of the world! I’m pulling the covers up over my head! Good night!!

      • Hi, Jody!

        I hope you had a great Halloween! Thanks for reading my blog. I truly appreciate it! Take care.

        David

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