The sun slowly slipped behind the trees leaving a warm glow to the field. Night birds scattered in the branches of the trees while insects droned on in monotony. The air felt cooler now. Ground fog swirled around the grasses casting eerie shadows on the ground. The evening gloom was rapidly approaching. I shivered in anticipation.
Not far off in the field, our two neighbor horses steadily crunched grass, their teeth reflecting bone-white in the rays of the setting sun. It was Halloween night – All Hallows Eve. Trick-or-Treating kids would soon fill the neighborhood with the sounds of laughter, as they went from house to house showing off their costumes and collecting treats.
The horse hole was visible in the fading light. The horses visited me daily looking for handouts of carrots or even an occasional apple. They would hang their enormous necks through the opening, all the while munching, as I rubbed their velvety noses. They were the best neighbors.
I was ready this time. Last Halloween I ran out of candy early. This year I made sure I had plenty of candy to hand out to the kids. My pumpkins were lit and my decorations spread around the front porch were inviting – not too scary for the little kids. I made myself comfortable in a chair and sipped my glass of wine, enjoying the descending darkness.
The kids came from every corner of the neighborhood, dressed as fairy princesses with dainty shoes, green colored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, skeletons, Count Dracula’s, monsters of every variety you could imagine. Babies dressed up as bugs, teddy bears, and even a vampire baby stopped at my door to receive a treat.
The darkness filled the neighborhood. The street lights were lit and an orange glow cast long shadows on the street. The children ran ahead of their parents, laughing with their friends. Parents milled about in small groups watching their children, always near. The sounds of laughter completed the friendly Halloween atmosphere. I watched and smiled at how cute the kids were, enjoying their banter.
By 8:30 p.m. most of the children and parents were finished with Trick or Treat and were heading home. A few crying fairies stomped their way behind their parents, mad because the great adventure was over for another year.
I cleaned up the porch, and put away the decorations in the bin I stored them in. It was such a lovely night, and a Friday night too. I refilled my wine glass and went out back to my patio that overlooked the field where the neighbor horses grazed.
It was a marvelous night. Stars lightly sprinkled the night sky and were spread out like a mantle overhead. The warmth of the day barely lingered and I could feel the coolness creep in between the folds of my sweater. I sipped my wine and appreciated the view of the night sky.
Suddenly, I smelled the most obnoxious odor. It seemed to waft, thick like fog from the horse hole in the fence. Far in the distance, I could hear the neighbor horses running as their thundering hooves hit the ground. They seemed frightened as their cries filled the vicinity of the field. I was rooted to my chair, unable to move.
There he was – the Headless Horseman! His profile was etched in the inky darkness of the horse hole! I heard my wine glass fall and shatter to the ground as shards of glass flew all around me.
(Image credit: Telltale Games)
The horseman’s black steed snorted flashes of lightning through his muzzle, as his blood-red eyes glared at me! He balanced a glowing Jack-o-lantern in his right arm. I could see him clearly and there was NO head! The buttons on his coat were visible in the light from the pumpkin.
I swallowed hard and felt like my eyes were popping out of my head. I stared transfixed at the horse hole. The Headless Horseman whirled about and was gone! The fog churned in great billows and drifted about the field.
Slowly, the smell faded. The fog grew thicker and moisture dripped from the remaining leaves left on the trees. I started trembling uncontrollably. All around me it was silent. My breaths came in great gasps. I shifted in my chair and looked around my back yard. I looked specifically at the horse hole. It was all dark – just swirling fog.
He was really gone! I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest. I relaxed my tightened muscles and gradually stood up. My shoes crunched in the ruins of the wine glass beneath my feet. Behind me, inside the house, a light came on in the kitchen which illuminated the patio outside.
My husband came to the back door and called out to me to come to bed as it was getting late. I told him I was just coming in and would be right there. Could I really tell him what had just happened without him laughing at me, I thought. No, I would keep this encounter to myself. Too much wine and a tad too much chocolate, I figured. I will just clean up this mess in the morning.
I went into the house, locked the door, and turned off the light. I had enough Halloween for one night.
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I hope you enjoyed my Halloween tale which was inspired from one of my favorite television shows, “Sleepy Hollow.” Thanks for stopping by so I could scare see you!
Category: Authors Supporting AuthorsTags: fiction, Florida, Halloween, Halloween night, Headless Horseman, horror, horse hole, horses, Pensacola, Sleepy Hollow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Headless Horseman, The Horse Hole, wine glass
“What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you’re a poet.”
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Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger’s hexastich, Abhanga, and diatelle poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and in “Hedgerow, a journal of small poems,” and in various other online publications. She’s won numerous awards from participating in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, a yearly 99-word flash fiction contest sponsored by carrotranch.com, an online writing community. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen has published a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020” published by Plaisted Publishing House. Colleen Chesebro’s poetry blog is called Word Craft – Prose & Poetry at https://wordcraftpoetry.com/ Her author blog is found at https://colleenchesebro.com where you will find her poetry and short stories.