We were nine. Beth and Jim who did everything together. Halloween night we took a
dare, and went to the ancient, broken house on a remote side street on the South end of town. Adults said an old, mean woman lived there, and to stay away.

Approaching the evergreen hedge, we just reached the dirt entrance, when we saw two teenage boys on the porch, knocking at the door. As it opened the first boy laughed and exclaimed “your as ugly as expected”. A bright light illuminated him, and his flesh began to melt away. The second boy turned to run, and was struck down by a bolt of lightening from the woman’s hand. He burnt up. Even in our shock, we had enough sense to turn and run. Two steps later, we were frozen in place. The wrinkled woman approached us morphing into a beautiful young girl, no older than us. A tear rolled down her eye as she touched my arm.

“I’m sorry you had to see that. Those two boys have been here before, ripping plants
from my garden. I am stuck in time and space. Cursed to relive an old woman’s life because of the magical heritage of our family. Sometimes I lose my temper, and destroy life. Now what do I do with you?”

Beth looked at the girl and whispered, “We are sorry for your plight. Life is not kind. Our parents are poor, but our lives are filled with love. Please let us go home.”

“Young ones, you must never speak of what happened here. I am tired of death, and
choose life for you. Live it well.”

At that instant we were transported to the end of the street. We ran to my house and sat on the porch dividing up our candy. My parents asked if we enjoyed the night. Nodding, we continued to concentrate on our candy.

The next day rumors began to swirl that two teenagers were missing. Over the next
week police interviewed many town children that had been trick or treating. When our turn came, we described the route we had taken, and mentioned those boys had past us on the North end of town, and seemed fine. After weeks went by with no sighting of them, the story died down.

The old woman’s house burnt down in January. No body was found. We never talked
about that scary night, but had become closer because of it. In February, walking from the town skating rink, a young girl approached us. The darkness obscured her face until we were a few feet apart. Smiling, she stopped and began to speak. “Thank you for reminding me of what really matters, family and love. I am moving forward in time again. I cannot forget the evil in me, but choose to feed the good.” Then she was gone.

We married after high school. Raising our three children on fantasy stories, we always emphasized the magic in life.

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