I was walking home from school on an unusually dark afternoon when I felt a pair of eyes staring right at me. It wasn’t an intimidating sort of feeling, just enough of one to make me aware that they knew that I existed and they were paying attention. I could feel the crisp clean air swoop my hair backwards as I skipped over lines in the sidewalk, watching as the jack-o’-lanterns sitting atop neighbor’s porches began to look eerier and eerier as the last rays of sun slipped under the horizon in front of me. The feeling struck me again, and I instinctively whipped around and scanned behind me. No one. It’s just a stupid holiday!
Halloween is really no different from the rest of the chilly calendar days of October, yet here I was, scared half to death of something that wasn’t even really there. No matter how many times this popped into my head, how many times I took deep breaths or used logic, I couldn’t rid myself of the feeling. It was almost in the wind.
My footsteps quickened as I headed through the empty tallgrass lot in front of my house. With the sun completely down, the dark held me close, wrapping me in an infinite amount of possibilities, even more reasons to worry. Someone drew in a breath behind me; it was real. No longer was it only my imagination. I immediately threw myself forward, sprinting, finding it hard to catch my breath, swimming through the cold, heavy atmosphere.
Off in the distance, a porch light was on. My porch light. My glasses started to fog up with my hot exhales that clashed with the frigid breezes. Heavy, unbalanced footsteps followed mine — whoever or whatever was behind me was gaining, and quickly. I screamed as loud as I could, hoping that if I went down, right here, right now, maybe someone would hear. Maybe someone back home would come looking, maybe someone would dial a phone.
The end of the lot was a few feet away at most. I leaped ahead, hoping I could reach the flat cement of my drive before my pursuer. As I hit the ground, it clung onto my ankle, scratching and struggling against my sharp kicks. I hit something with my heel and felt the grip loosen. Looking down only long enough to see blood spilling from my wounds, I took off.
Skipping my porch steps with one jump and flinging the door open, locking it behind me, I was safe. I fell into a slump, finally losing adrenaline.
I shoved my socks off quickly to examine the slash in my ankle. To my disbelief, it was gone. The skin that was torn and bleeding just seconds before lay taut and untouched. A wave of laughter overcame me; I felt outwitted. What a trick — a day of the year can fool the human mind and pin one person against another without even a single word.