Desire from Beyond
di Belle Roberts
It was Halloween night, and the neighbourhood
streets will full of children. Jack-o’-lanterns grinned and grimaced
from every porch, with fire dancing in their eyes. Leah walked slowly
back to her apartment, dragging her feet through the fallen leaves. A
group of young girls dressed as princesses ran by, chasing one another
and wielding magic wands. Mum and dad followed close behind, keeping a
watchful eye over them as they danced about turning people into frogs.
Leah smiled at the trick-or-treaters, fondly remembering her childhood.
A hard lump formed at the back of her throat. Tonight she was alone.
There would be no Halloween festivities this year, no costumes, no
parties. As she turned onto her street, Leah felt a warm tear form in
the corner of her eye.
“Dammit,” She muttered, drying her eyes.
Halloween had always been Jack’s holiday. The two of them had met twelve years ago at a high school Halloween party. Leah had spotted him sitting alone in the kitchen wearing an elaborate vampire costume, and while all the others pointed fingers and laughed, she went up to talk to him.
“What?” He asked. “You don’t think I should have worn a costume?” Leah just smiled and shook her head.
“It’s just… well…” She hesitated as he watched her expectantly, a slight grin creeping onto his face.
“ – Not cool?” Jack offered.
“So not cool…” She said laughing, and then quickly adding, “Sorry.”
“Hey now…” He said, chuckling softly. “I love Halloween, I love dressing up. It’s the one day of the year that I can be whoever I want and no one will ever question me.” He moved toward her and looked deeply into her eyes. “It’s the one day I can totally be me.”
Something about the way he spoke to her sent chills down her spine. He was intense, but kindhearted, and his presence was compelling, provoking. That evening they got to know one another, and the following morning they fell in love. Ever since then, it had been Jack and Leah: inseparable.
Leah reached her apartment and fished through her bag for the keys. She turned once more to look at the street, letting out a sigh. Her front steps were bare – no pumpkin, no spooky cobwebs, no bowl of candy. She missed him, her loneliness made her heart ache. Salty tears began to run down her cheeks as memories invaded her mind, one after another; the thunderstorm, the brake lights, the shrieking sounds, the crunch of metal against metal, metal against…
She grimaced. No matter how she tried she was haunted by memories of that night. She had never forgiven herself for surviving the crash – she was supposed to have been driving, not him. It was supposed to have been her behind the wheel, not him.
Leah pushed the front door open and dropped her bag on the floor. Her apartment was silent and empty. Padding softly into the kitchen, she put the kettle on the stove and rummaged through the fridge for some dinner. Contemplating the contents of the fridge, she grabbed a beer and turned off the kettle. What I really need is something stronger, she thought to herself. She turned on the television and flopped down onto the couch, trying to shut off her mind.
The doorbell rang, making her jump. “Good lord,” She said to herself. “Darn kids.”
Sighing, she walked to the front door and pulled it open, wondering if putting up a ‘No Candy Here’ sign would get her a bad reputation on the street.
“Randy!” She said, surprised to see her next door neighbour on her front porch.
“Hey Leah,” he said, “Sorry to bother you. I just wanted to give you this.” He handed her a small black envelope.
“Thanks…” she said, looking at Randy quizzically. “What is it?”
“Dunno,” he said. “Someone came around earlier to drop it off. Got the address wrong, I suppose. But it’s got your name on it.” He turned it around in her hand and pointed to the delicate gold calligraphy.
dropped into her stomach. She knew that handwriting. She would recognize
it anywhere. “T-thanks, Randy,” she said, almost slamming the door in
his face. She leaned against the wall to balance herself as she stared
down at the envelope. Could it be? Her heart pounded in her chest
as she tore open the envelope and pulled out the letter with trembling
“Jesus.” Leah said aloud. “What kind of sick
joke is this?” She slowly walked back toward the kitchen, stopping every
few steps to look around the room. She felt as though she was being
watched, as though someone else was there with her. She stepped into the
kitchen and spun quickly around, raising her arms in a karate stance.
Nothing. She was just as alone as before, in her quiet, empty apartment.
Leah looked around the kitchen. There was
clearly no one else there. How did this note get into her fridge? Who
was sending them? Could it really be him? The ball of fear in the pit of
Leah’s stomach began to soften as she thought about the possibility of
Jack being there with her. Still trembling, she ran her fingers over the
gold writing and closed her eyes, willing herself to feel his presence
around her. The words in the letter, his words, excited her. It had been
so long since she had felt aroused. She reached into the fridge and
pulled out the bottle of wine, smiling to herself.