No one has said as much, but it became obvious when the stream of visitors began arriving at my door this evening. One after the other they marched in a long parade, most of whom haven’t been around since last year, and each averting their eyes to avoid staring at the look of terror carved into my face.
They’re all gone now, I lie here alone. But not for long, as I know that the kind lady who’s been taking care of me will soon make her appearance. And when she does, it will mean that the hands on my clock are about to tick their last tock. Light’s out, so they say.
If only there was a little more time. Just a few more magical moments to make someone smile.
The door opens and there she stands. Our eyes meet, both of us knowing what comes next and wishing there was some other way.
She gives a wistful sigh, moves to the front of me and leans close. But a noise from behind gives her a start, and she spins around. A small white van is parked just beyond the fence, and two more visitors are making their way up the walk.
“Oh, my, you’re just in time,” she says, a note of relief in her voice.
“Trick or treat,” the two, both in costumes, say together.
“Just a minute, I’ll get the candy.”
“Wow...cool Jack-o’-Lantern,” the taller one, definitely a girl, says, pointing at me. “Did you carve him yourself?”
“Yes I did. Thank you.” She takes another one of those wistful sighs.” I was actually just getting ready to blow out the candle.”
“Oh, no,” says the smaller one – a boy, I do believe. “What will happen to him?”
“I’ll probably take it, ah, him, out to the forest for the animals.”
The two look at me, then look at each other, then back to me again. Finally, the girl takes a step forward.
“Could we have him? We didn’t get one this year at the shelter.”
The lady’s eyes widen, her face goes pale. Slowly she moves over to the edge of the porch and takes a long look at the van. She must see the same thing as I do, because she puts an open hand to her mouth.
The sign on the side says: Crimson County Child Services
When she turns back to the kids, her eyes are filled with tears.
“Yes...yes you most certainly may have Mr. Jack-o’-Lantern. And the rest of my candy bowl. Let me carry them out to your van for you.”
The two light up as if they, too, have a candle deep inside.
Well, I guess this isn’t the end of the line for me after all...