A short Halloween story
I was standing in the town of Alpine at the little white wood convenience store with the gas pumps out front. I was wearing full riding gear, as I always do when I am on my bike – my favorite warm black jacket, pants, and warm boots. I was fueling up the big black dual sport bike, my BMW F650GS. I heard the crunching of tires on gravel, and an oversize four wheel drive pickup truck pulled up. The dried mud that served as its paint job was scratched from countless branches that had clawed its sides as it crawled through the underbrush. In the back were supplies for hunting and living rough, piled somewhat haphazardly, as if they had been packed quickly. Four stocky men climbed out. They were unshaven and dirty, and they smelled of dried leaves, and earth, and sweat.
“I’ll get the ice,” said one, walking away from the truck and toward the store. One of the other men put the nozzle of the gas pump into the tank of the truck. He finally looked up, saw me standing on the other side of the island. I gave him a knowing half-smile, the right edge of my mouth twisting upward.
“Date with Diana?” I said in a low voice. It was a rhetorical question.
“Huh?” he said. He seemed a little vacant, almost like he was half asleep. I pushed shut the gas filler cap on my bike and turned toward him.
“Out of the mist Diana comes,” I breathed. Seeing his puzzled look, I said, “Diana. The huntress.” The overcast, thick overhead, parted momentarily and light flooded down.
“You’re her,” he whispered as the wind kicked up. Suddenly my hair was free and swirling around my face. My hair was auburn-red. I looked down and I was wearing the black flowing dress that I’d imagined. Instead of the gas pump handle in my hand, I held a bow, and slung over my shoulder was a quiver filled with arrows. On my head was the moon crown. The man’s eyes widened and filled with awe. I was the call of the wild, the beating heart of the forest.
The sky turned purple, and I dissolved into countless ravens, their wings making that flrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound of many birds as they take off simultaneously. Somehow I was one of them, and I looked down into the fire-ravaged forest of claw-like blackened trees. My heart bled for the dead trees, it overflowed, spilling onto them, turning them golden.
Regaining semi-consciousness, my hands searched for my body, found my thin torso, hugging it as if confirming that I still humanly existed as I lay between the cool sheets of my bed. Buried in the blurry warmth between sleep and wakefulness, I dreamed again of Alpine, returned there in an instant as I felt the cold wind chill my face.
The magic of All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, can make anything can happen.