That year, Halloween was not an excuse to eat lots of candy and it all started when Annie was scolded for throwing a rock and breaking the window of a neighboring house. She was trying to hit the vase in the neighbor’s veranda. Peter, her friend, companion and accomplice, stood by her, and said he had thrown a rock too, which he hadn’t. Both were punished severely, six months of no Internet, no TV, and what was worse, of not seeing each other throughout the whole summer. It had been a harmless prank that ended badly for them. The six months were over and what a better time to celebrate than Halloween. “What could we do?” asked Annie.
They could put on their usual costumes and go from door to door, hello, trick or treat, oh how cute, yawn, yawn, boring, boring out of their wits. The neighbors were friendly people. Always smiling and sharing a compliment, they were generous too. By the end of the evening, Annie and Peter could have filled their bags twice, going on a third time. But it was boring, simply too boring for them. So, that year, they decided to do something different.
All the houses in Apple Street had a porcelain apple by the gate. Everyone took great pride in their hand-painted apples. Some were modern with bright colors and designs, others a bit more traditional in red. The town was famous for their apples and many visited to see them. Well, Annie and Peter decided to go around and temporarily remove the apples from their perches. It was a brilliant idea, they thought. It would be fun! They would be the terror of the neighborhood. For days, they couldn’t sleep in anticipation. They were too thrilled!
Finally, Halloween arrived. They dressed up and met at the main road. It was dusk; they decided to start early. There would be a kids’ jam, everyone running back and forth from house to house, later on.
They would start in the South end of the street and walk their way up North. Annie would do the East side and Peter the West. It seemed like a solid plan.
“We are terrocious!” they yelled in unison. And one by one, the apples disappeared inside their bags. They moved fast through the street, hiding in the darkness and behind the trees whenever anyone showed at the window. Finally, they arrived at the haunted house at the end of the street.
It was dark by then and a bit chilly. There was no apple outside. They walked up the squeaky wooden steps and looked inside. Nothing. They took a few steps forward and a loud bang came from behind them. They jumped back, trying to reach the door, but it was closed. As their eyes adjusted to total darkness, strange noises surrounded them.
“Ghosts,” Peter said fearfully.
But Annie wasn’t afraid of ghosts; she wasn’t going to let a ghost ruin her Halloween. So, she took a step forward and said “If you are trying to frighten us, forget it. We don’t believe in ghosts. We are here for the apple. Tell us where your apple is and we will be on our way.”
Peter looked around doubtfully wishing to leave immediately. He pulled Annie’s sleeve, but she wasn’t willing to give up that easily.
“Do you hear me? The apple, now, or you’ll be tricked and we have some reeeeally bad tricks,” she said.
“We do?” whispered Peter. He wasn’t sure about playing tricks on ghost. For some reason that seemed slightly dangerous to him. “Well?” asked Annie impatient.
And that’s when they saw the apple. It was quietly sitting on the end of the railing. Annie walked through the hallway decided to grab it. They were going to get all the apples. That was the plan, and no ghost was going to stop her. When she picked up the apple, it sort of… exploded in her hand filling her face, her outfit, and her hands with flour. Good thing she thought of closing her eyes, just in case something jumped from under the apple. Peter suddenly started laughing so hard he almost choked. And there was someone else laughing in the dark.
“Who’s there?” she asked, clouds of flour coming from her mouth as she spoke. “Boooooo,” they heard.
Annie looked at Peter who had completely lost his will to laugh. “Ahm, Annie, perhaps we should go... I don’t like it here…” But Annie was determined. “Booo?! Is that all you can manage? Booooo?!! Come on! Why don’t you let us see you, Mr. Boooooooooooo!” the booo’s getting longer as her sarcasm grew.
What Annie didn’t expect was the spectral figure, half transparent, who slid gracefully down the stairs boo’ing louder and louder. “Run,” she yelled. And they ran, their hearts pounding madly, till they reached the main road.
The next day, there was a big commotion about the missing apples. Annie and Peter tried to divert everyone’s attention to the ghost. The more they tried to convince everyone that the house was really haunted, no one believed them, especially when a group of town members went into the decrepit house and searched every corner of it for ghosts with no result.
Annie and Peter never admitted to taking the apples, of course. But every now and then, they still go to the gate of the haunted house and, through the window, they see all their apples lined up on the staircase banister, a low booooooo coming from inside, followed by a ghostly laughter.