By day the old house looked ominous. At night the house took on an ambiance of mystery.
The house was on the corner of the street surrounded by oaks and maples, aged beings which had witnessed the childhood of many children in the community. By late October the leaves covered the overgrown grounds and the circular porch.
It was said that the house had been a church once with a bell tower which would welcome Sunday morning throughout the seasons. When the congregation diminished, it was purchased by a former slave trader who hated religion.
He tore off all symbols of the Christian religion and painted the white building gray with red windows. He would ring the bells on Sunday mornings to remind the people of how all things end.
He died childless, even though there were rumours that he had fathered children across the world in his nefarious business travels. No heirs appeared.
The grand old house stood abandoned year after year. He had left in his will that the city would receive an endowment each year if they left his house untouched.
Like all stories about these places there were reports of midnight screams and those wretched bells ringing at midnight. Of course, as the local newspaper pictures showed, there were no bells in the tower. They had been removed before his death. It was attributed to imagination.
Then one Halloween night the children of the neighbourhood were going door to door with their masks and bags when every light at the old house came on. According to reports there appeared hundreds of pumpkins with their hideous faces lining the steps.
On the great porch crystal bowls of apples, red and delicious, appeared. Green bowls of candies sat beside the apple bowls.
The children rushed to the porch and filled their bags and raced away. More than one report stated there was an old man standing in the oval window staring out as candles flickered behind him.
About an hour later the old house returned to its previous state with unraked leaves and overgrowth. A night wind blew the leaves on the porch into a light dance while the crescent moon beamed down.
When the children returned to their homes to unpack their bags of goodies, their parents were horrified. What would have been a joyful event turned into mass crying. For each child who had filled their bags from the bowls on the porch of the old house there was nothing but ashes. The ashes had turned the contents of the bags into burned out cinders.
It took a great deal of scrubbing by the parents to get the ashes off the children’s hands. According to reports, they left scars in the shape of an upside-down cross.
The city built a twelve foot fence around the property. The strange occurrences continued.
On another October night there raged a fierce storm. Thunder sounded and lightning flashed. Witnesses testified that a bolt of blue lightning struck the bell tower and blue flames raced down the tower to consume the whole house in a matter of seconds.
The next morning all that remained of the house was ashes. The night wind had arranged the ashes in twelve parallel lines as neat as rows of corn.
The city cleared the property and made it into a park. Today children play there without a hint of its history.
Old stories have been told to children for centuries to teach them to be aware of what evil lurks in the night. Is there any truth in them? Is this imagination? Or is there an evil which waits in the shadows of night to embrace those who choose to walk nearby?
The dark shadows of this planet traversing the cosmos are always lingering. Walking in the cosmic light of truth is a path which allows no detours on the raven lanes which beckon us with their enticing bowls of apples and candies.
When the moon is befogged and the wolf howls on a moonless night, beware, my friends. Somewhere in the night evil is at work and play.
The Sorceress’ Brew, posted October 30, 2010
G. D. Williams © 2011
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