She walked up Branchton Road quicker than was her usual pace. The sky was a deep blue and growing dark. She could smell the smoke from the chimneys on her side of the street and she watched the lights going on in all the rooms. Families getting ready, hanging candy apples, dressing up for Halloween.
She loved the 31st of October, always had since she was a child and now she had children of her own. Her little Sue had decided that she was going to dress as a clown as far back as July and hadn’t changed her mind.
Her favourite game was ‘ducking for apples’; hands behind your back and trying to catch an apple, which was happily bobbing on the water, with your teeth.
When she was younger she loved to go around all the houses and sing her song; It was the same one she sang every year from when she was five years old until, she was sixteen. Then she discovered boys and Halloween lost its attraction until she had her own family.
Now it was just as much fun having the kids come to her door and she insisting on them providing a trick. Many of the kids hadn’t prepared anything as they were always given treats, but she would push them into providing a song, or a joke.
It had been a great night and she’d accompanied her kids around a few friends, then they’d got back home to see a few reluctant kids singing. It was as she was packing up that the door knocked.
“Who can that be at this time” She whispered to herself as the rest of the family had taken themselves off to bed.
She opened the front door with some treats in her hand to get rid of whomever it was, quickly. There, standing in front of her was a little boy in a false-face and a wooden stick.
“Please, may I come in?”
She thought about it, then said, “Oh go on then, but be quiet.”
The little boy walked into the middle of the room and stood there.
“What would you like to do? You see I always want a show from my little fellows.”
“I want to sing a song, if that’s okay?”
She told him it would be okay as long as he was quiet. What harm could it do? A little show to herself was a treat for her.
He sang the most beautiful song about a nightingale, it was so heartbreaking that a tear ran down her face. When she had finished she asked what treats he would like and he asked her for a hug.
“You can have treats as well.”
But he only wanted the hug and then he left.
She forgot all about the little boy until one day, a few weeks later, she was standing at the bus stop talking to her friend, Annie.
Her friend pointed out Mrs Scalder who was walking down the other side of the road. Annie asked if she knew the family but she said that she didn’t.
“So sad,” said Annie, her little boy got knocked down and killed on Halloween a few years ago. He was such a lovely little one. Always sang a song about a nightingale.
“Did he ever sing for you?” Asked Annie.
bobby stevenson 2013