Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 is located here.
The wailing owl Screams solitary to the mournful moon. – David Mallet
There was a steady scratching at the door. Talking on her phone, Lynn grabbed the handle and pushed it open, ready to hand out candy. Instead of the trick or treaters that she expected, a simple, black cat sat on the mat. “Hold on, Rhonda,” she said, switching her attention to the animal. “What are you doing out here?”
Timmy, the little boy that she was babysitting, stepped out of the kitchen to see the costumes of other children. He stepped forward when he saw the green eyes of the feline look at him. “Major!” Timmy exclaimed, scooping the cat up into his arms.
“I’ll have to call you back,” Lynn said, ending the call. “Who’s Major?”
“This is Major,” Timmy replied. “I thought he ran away, but apparently not. See, his tag even says he lives here.”
Lynn inspected the tag, not wanting to anger the parents by letting a strange cat into the house. Timmy had been telling the truth, their address was stamped clearly onto the thin metal. “Okay, kiddo,” she relented. “What do you want to do now?”
“I don’t know.” Timmy wanted to go trick-or-treating, but his illness prevented it this year. Lynn had been nice and let him help her greet the other kids that rang the doorbell, watch movies that his parents didn’t like, and even eat some of the candy from the bowl.
The babysitter considered their options, she knew that Timmy was sick and was sympathetic to the kid. “I know, why don’t we make faces to put up around your room.”
Timmy’s face brightened as he heartily agreed. “How?” He asked.
Opening the tote bag that she always carried when babysitting, Lynn pulled out a stack of construction paper. “You draw the faces and I’ll cut out the paper to glue in place.” She explained.
“Okay. Come on, Major.” Timmy ran just like any other boy his age, even though his body was slowly deteriorating.
The black cat glared at Lynn before following the child to the kitchen table. Glancing up, Lynn saw a group of kids walk past on the street outside. The bright beams of the full moon let her see the costumes clearly. She wished that Timmy had been able to go out with his friends, but his mother had made her worries clear and disobeying her would mean no tip for Lynn. Joining her young client at the table, the two started on the project, when the doorbell rang. Timmy was the first one to the door this time with Lynn close behind. When the door was opened, no one stood on the doorstep and there was no sign that anyone had been there.
Shrugging, Timmy pushed the door and turned back towards the kitchen. Lynn caught sight of a black-robed figure standing underneath the Magnolia tree in the front yard before the door closed. Grabbing the door open, Lynn stared out at the empty yard. “Halloween,” she mumbled.
Several more times someone rang the bell and ran away before Lynn decided that she would just turn off the porch light. “What about the trick or treaters?” Timmy asked, genuinely concerned.
“It’s nine, they should be done by now.” She replied. “Speaking of which, you had best get in bed, or I’ll be done.”
Timmy giggled at the face she had made as he hurried up the stairs. A few moments later, Lynn had tucked the boy in with a kiss on his forehead. Wish all the kids I sit for could be this easy, Lynn thought as something in the kitchen fell.
She glanced into the room but did not see anything on the floor. The young woman was positive that she had heard something. A closer inspection did not reveal any suspect item. The window above the sink was open, but nothing had been moved. Lynn thought that the window was already closed and shrugging, made sure it was shut and latched. “Must’ve been the pipes,” she mumbled as she started to turn around.
Something snagged in her hair and tossed the young woman into the living room. Hitting the back of the couch, Lynn flipped over and landed on the cushions. She stood up, expecting to see someone, but only an empty room greeted her. From the foot of the stairs, Lynn saw the green eyes of Major, staring at her. One of the end tables flipped over, tossing a lamp to the floor where it shattered. Lynn yelped in surprise. “Screw this,” she announced, running towards the stairs.
Her hands landed on the bannisters when her foot was pulled out from under her. The babysitter could feel herself being lifted as some unseen attacker pulled at her. It was all the teenager could do to hold onto the railing. Major sat staring at her.
Hissing, the cat launched himself at her face. Letting go of the bannister to deflect the angry cat, Lynn was thrown back towards the sofa with the cat digging its claws into her forearm. Falling before she reached the furniture, her head bounced off the wooden frame of the sofa.
“Lynn?” A familiar voice called.
“Timmy!” A frightened woman shouted.
The name brought Lynn around immediately. “In bed,” she managed to say as she saw his parents kneeling over her.
“What happened?” Timmy’s father asked as his mother rushed upstairs.
“I don’t know,” she replied. “Things got a little weird after the cat came back.”
“Major, he had his tag and everything,” Lynn replied.
Timmy’s father stood up. “Major’s been dead for months, we told Timmy he had run away. He’s buried in the backyard.”
A scream erupted from upstairs. Lynn saw Timmy’s dad take the stairs two at a time. Shakily with her head still throbbing and her forearm bleeding, the babysitter got to her feet and stumbled up the stairs. Timmy’s door was open and his parents were kneeling in the floor, his mother cradled in her husband’s arms. Lynn stepped through the door. Timmy’s bed was empty. The sheets had been carefully pulled back. Instead of the sleeping child, the only thing in the bed was the mouldy collar and tag of a dead cat; a cat that had returned, bringing something with it. As the parents wept and called the police, the October moon illuminated the world with its cold light.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these three shorts. If so, please share them with friends and check out my books. May you all have a safe and happy Halloween, hopefully, I’ve managed to put you in the proper spirit with these three tales of what goes on during the October Moon.