“What guy? What did he look like?” Lena asked Anita. They had called in for dinner. Anita was cooking.
“He looked creepy. Dressed in a long dark coat with skin as pale as the dead. He had such dark eyes that I saw when I was close enough.”
“And he was hiding? From you or from my crow?”
That was an odd question. “Actually, he was watching Samson. He could have been scared of him.”
Lena frowned. “Oh shit!”
“Why? What’s the matter?”
“It’s just that my kind don’t get on so well usually. We don’t like crossing paths or messing with each other. It takes a lot out of you to deal with a fellow witch.”
Anita gulped. “A fellow witch?”
“Yes, I’d guess so—hanging around the old cemetery the day before Halloween… Did you read the sign?”
“Yes… Never linger! And did you linger? Inviting the interest of some freaky undead creature?”
“I lingered,” Anita confessed. “Only until I saw him, though. Then I ran.”
Lena huffed. “And he was at the grave of the Hawthorne boy? That’s particularly bad news. This would be the dark rising I sensed. It would be Alex Hawthorne come for another bride.”
“Yes. For his willow tree. Every generation or two he comes back for a new young spirit to feed to his three hundred year old whispering willow. Which apparently grew from the body of his wife, who the townsfolk of Apple Glen burned as a witch.”
Anita turned from stirring sauce to face the strange witch girl. “The willow tree story is true?”
“Well, it was before my time, but yes, I think it’s largely true,” Lena said quite seriously. “And it would be tomorrow night that he comes for you, if he’s chosen you, that is. Maybe you just disturbed him and he’ll pick someone else. It’s always a local girl.”
“I’m not a local but I was actually born here.” Anita had been born right there in Apple Glen, at the local doctor’s clinic, though she was taken to the city to live before she was three months old. “Plus I had this really weird feeling today. But I didn’t grow up here or anything. I haven’t been here in years.”
Lena took her hands. “What weird feeling? Nostalgia, right? Yes, I can see it in your eyes—like you own the place, right?”
“Yes. Like that,” Anita uttered, her heart fluttering.
“Oh boy, this is big. This is huge!” the witch went on. “I can’t quite see… There’s something…” She paused in thought for a moment, struggling to grasp some idea or other, it seemed. She met Anita’s eyes again. “You might be more local than you think, Anita. You may have lived here before—in a past life.”
Lester came into the kitchen sniffing the air. “Are we eating soon? I’m hungry.”
“Come on. We’ll talk more later,” Lena said. “Don’t worry. This could be a good thing.”
A good thing? Anita couldn’t see how having a reincarnated dead guy choosing her for his bride could be a good thing…….
What is true wisdom? A young and pretty mortal girl scares the hell out of a reincarnated dead guy….. Powerful meaning-of-life themes underpin this short, fun Halloween read.