Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I know it's already past that time of year, but this is the first chance I have gotten to write this little snippet that's been bouncing around in my head. As always, I'd like to thank Cassie for being a wonderful proofreader and putting up with my constant sleep-deprived state.
Michael pressed his hand to the smooth glass, smiling as autumn's cool presence pushed through the double-paned safety windows. He knew the janitor would hate being forced to clean his fingerprints off the glass yet again, but he couldn't help himself. He missed this time of year, when he used to take slow evening walks with Lisie. They'd hold hands, the tips of their fingers and noses turning red in the brisk air, and listen to the leaves rustle around their feet.
He couldn't exactly remember when they started those walks or when autumn had become their favorite time of year. He just knew that now it seemed even harder to be away from his family, his life. The cool breezes that forced him to turn up the collar of his coat, the smoky scent of wood-burning stoves heavy in the air, the sound of helmets and heavy padding clashing in weekend football games he missed it all.
He was about to turn around and head for bed, weary from more useless reminiscing, when a movement caught his eye. Pressing closer to the window, he looked at the sidewalk running in front of the townhouse. Three children none probably older than 7 or 8 were carrying bags and flashlights. One little boy wore what looked to be a bowler or a derby and a cheesy brown suit. Another wore a buckskin coat and slouch hat. Both had gun belts strapped to their waists. A little girl a sister, perhaps was dressed as a princess in a frilly pink dress, her long blonde hair curled and swept back in a tiara. A proud-looking parent followed the trio.
Numbly, Michael realized it had to be Halloween. Halloween. How had so much time have passed without him realizing it? It seemed like he had just weeks since he'd woken up and found himself in this new body.
Of course, time often had a way of playing tricks on him. Laying his cheek against the window so he could watch the children wander down the street out of sight, Michael thought about the last time Heather had dressed up for Halloween. He knew it had been a few years she was probably no older than 12 the last time but he felt like it was just yesterday.
Heather never had been a frills and lace type of kid. The one and only time they managed to get her into a princess costume was when she was three. Her straight, fine hair refused to curl for Lisa and Heather didn't like the shiny tiara on her head, preferring to hold it. By the end of the evening, despite how closely he and Lisa watched her, she had lost her crown and one tiny gold shoe and had torn and stained her white tights.
They decided right then that the angel outfit they had contemplated for the next year was definitely out.
The last year she dressed up, Heather was in it for pure shock factor. She painted a white strip down her hair, rimmed her eyes with black eye shadow and slathered on black lipstick. Her clothes were just as grim with an oversized, button-up black shirt and a pair of black jeans. Heather ended up scaring more little kids than any of the ghost or goblin outfits did. Michael never was sure where she got the outfit or the idea for it, but the three mutually agreed that it was going to be the last year for trick-or-treating.
The last few years, she'd either spent the evening hanging out with friends or rolling her eyes at her parents. Michael chuckled lightly at the idea of Heather spending the night looking bored and distracted as she watched Lisa smile and compliment each child on their wonderful, scary or inventive costume.
"The window amusing you, Mr. Wiseman?" Theo said, interrupting his thoughts.
Michael turned and gave the man a small smile. "Yeah, Doc," he said. "It's amazing the things it sees in a day or night."
"Feigning insanity will not get you out of exercises tomorrow, Mr. Wiseman."
"Tell me about it," Michael muttered, walking over to his bed. He flopped down on the hard mattress, once again marveling at how something could be so uncomfortable. "So, why didn't you tell me it was Halloween?"
"Halloween?" Theo asked lightly, putting a stack of new homework on the table that Michael knew he would ignore.
"Yeah, you know, All Hallow's Eve?" he said. "When all the ghoulies come out?"
"Why would you need to know?" Theo asked with a faint smile. "Are you scared?"
"No," Michael snorted, rolling his eyes. " I just figured that I should be out and about. I mean, what better night for a Morris out on the street? This night was made for monsters put together from spare parts."
"A what?" Theo asked, his eyes narrowing.
"No. Before that."
"Oh, a Morris," Michael said, trying to hide his smile as he stared at the ceiling, "You know -- Frankenstein was named after Dr "
"Frankenstein," Theo finished dryly. "Yes, I get it. However, Mr. Wiseman, I believe your own name is far more fitting."
"Thanks," Michael smiled slyly.
This time, it was Theo's turn to roll his eyes. "Good night, Mr. Wiseman."
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