A Spooky Halloween Tale

Gather in close now as I relate to you a brief anecdote of woe and foreboding!

One moonless Halloween night, a man named Joe sat alone in his affordable apartment on a decaying Brooklyn street, perusing pornographic videos on his computer. Just as his business in that regard was finished, and he was about check his Facebook account, he was startled by a quick rap at the door.

“Who could this be alighting on my doorstep?” thought Joe, a groove of concern furrowing his brow. “I expect no caller at this hour.”

Joe arose slowly and, with much trepidation, opened his dark wooden door. There, at the threshold, stood a radiant apparition, five feet seven inches tall, with long, strawberry blond hair and a pair of glasses that could only be described as “cute” or, perhaps, “quirky.” While he should have felt joy at seeing her visage, he was, instead, aghast.

“O, my greatest dread is upon me!” he thought. “For with this unannounced arrival, that fear I hold most deep is surely realized.”

The creature carried a box he recognized, but Joe sensed it held no Cinnamon Toast Crunch, as its fading label suggested. He knew it had long ago been emptied, and could see it had recently been resealed—its present contents were a great unknown.

As if under a spell, he allowed the creature entry. She glided past him wordlessly, taking a seat on the cheap yet comfortable futon she had helped him pick out earlier in the year.

“Why, this is a pleasant surprise,” said Joe, beads of sweat forming on his head as he eyed the box, now resting on her lap. “You were unexpected this All Hallows’ Eve. How are you?”

The creature stared at him as if peering into the darkest corners of his heart, silently rebuking his offers of food and drink. Joe felt himself spinning into darkness as he looked into those piercing hazel eyes which now seemed to radiate only cold pity. Finally, when he could bear it no longer, she broke both her gaze and her silence.

“We need to talk,” the creature said.

“Of course!” Joe said, and laughed uneasily. Those words could mean any number of innocuous things! Yet the air that hung about them portended only grave ruin.

“It’s not working out,” the creature said, and she looked down at the box.

Thunder cracked, and a flash of lightning briefly illuminated her grim visage.

“What madness is this?” Joe hollered. “We’re naught but halfway through Fringe, and this weekend we were to venture upstate to pick apples!”

“You’re a great guy, but if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit I don’t see this going anywhere,” Jen, I mean, the creature, said. “I just don’t feel…challenged. I’m sorry.”

The monster—for what was she now but some abomination of the fun-loving creature Joe had once known?—set the box on the table and walked out the door into the howling wind.

When morning broke, Joe stirred from his chair, toppling a near-empty bottle of gin at his feet, and went to examine all that remained of the previous night’s encounter: the mysterious box. He gasped. It contained everything he had left in the creature’s safekeeping—clothes, books, toiletries, a half bottle of salad dressing—everything, that is, except for the conspicuously absent fourth and fifth season DVDs of Fringe.

“Now I shall ne’er view the conclusion of the series, lest I e-mail her and request the discs’ return!” Joe shouted. “Bah!”

And with that, he returned to the computer, to forever and futilely chase her apparition in the deadened eyes of similar-looking pornographic actresses.