Or Treat

“Of all the rotten goddamned days to die.” Richard Larks stared around the room, waiting for his wife to come to bed. She wouldn’t, of course. She was somewhere between Tyler Memorial and Beckman’s by now. Richard was left with a room full of her things, every object a phantom of the woman herself.

He palmed her opal earrings as the doorbell rang “Mrs. Larks! Trick or Treat!” called a querulous voice.

“She doesn’t hear you,” Richard muttered.

He found a needle and an ink pen among Sophia’s things then went to the kitchen for ice. Wasn’t this how they did it in the old days? In the bathroom, he marked his lobes carefully. “This is stupid, Sophie,” he told the mirror. But he had promised. He bore the pain of the piercing in silence, though it took too many jabs. Then the doorbell rang again, and he cursed its noise instead of his own hurts.

It was hard to get the backs on the opals and harder still to look at himself wearing a pair of women’s earrings that were not, for all his efforts, even close to the same height. “OK,” he said. “I did it. Now what?”

Sophia manifested in the mirror. “Help me out,” she said.

Richard slammed his nose against the glass. “My God, it is you, Sophie.”

“Help me out,” his wife repeated, extending a hand.

Richard braced himself against the sink and punched through. Sophia broke free in a shattering of glass. It hardly mattered that both of them were bleeding from a dozen cuts. He held her tight as her warmth returned.

Downstairs, the doorbell rang again, and another needling voice, or perhaps the same one shouted, “I said ‘Trick or Treat’!”

“Oh!” Sophia broke away from Richard. “I know it’s been a long day, but we can’t let the children down.” She hurried down the hall, living but not yet fully corporeal, her feet trailing inches above the carpet as she walked.


In addition to participating in the Trifecta prompts, I also periodically join up with the awesome folks over at Write on Edge. (Far, far too rarely these days.)  Today, Write on Edge released its second annual anthology of Precipice. There are poems, short stories, and memoir pieces from some of the authors I admire the most online, and I am honored to have not one but two pieces featured between Precipice’s covers. If you have a minute, please, visit the Write on Edge page for download or paper purchase links.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Or Treat — 33 Comments

  1. Your stories in Precipice are eloquent.
    I love knowing that my words are between the pages with yours.

    (so come and write with WOE more often…pretty please? )

    This was creepy and sweet simultaneously, I love thinking of them doing this “for the children”.
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  2. I loved this! The opal earrings-what a touching thing to do, and then the ending is as sweet as a pillowcase full of Halloween candy:) Excellent piece!

    I just downloaded my cope of Precipice, and I can’t wait to read what you, along with everyone else, has written. I’m pretty thrilled and proud to be a part of it too:)
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    • I haven’t had time to delve into my Precipice yet, and I can’t wait for this Sunday, when my family is under orders to leave me ALONE so I can read it.

  3. Love this piece. The imagery is glorious. I envisioned these folks only partially formed from the very beginning. Well done and, as usual, excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Awww! She didn’t want to disappoint the children on Halloween–how sweet! Ghosts have manifested for less important reasons. I love that he wanted to do this one thing for her, and that he ‘helped her out’.
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    • I imagine him as a total disbeliever who wanted terribly for something she had told him about those earrings to be true. So I kind of see him standing there bleeding all over the bathroom gape-jawed as she floats down the hall.

  5. Jessie! So happy to see you posting here. 🙂 This was fantastic – I loved every word. He has such a matter-of-fact attitude about something that is clearly WEIRD. I love how she was “living but not yet fully corporeal” – what a fabulous image.

    Congrats on the Precipice publication, by the way – I’m looking forward to reading it!
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  6. Such a great ghost story, Jessie! I loved him piercing his own ears and then pulling her from the mirror. So oniric, while the everyday dialog keeps it ‘real’!
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  7. Because of the excellent story telling, I imagined a “real” relationship even when I knew it wasn’t. I pierced my ears this way, opals are my birthstone; you totally sucked me into your ghostly tale. I didn’t have (blog) reading time this week but I’m happy I picked yours as my “one”.
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    • That’s exactly the effect I wanted – he’s already in pain, but he’d do anything in the world to have her back, so punching through the glass isn’t even a question.

  8. What a unique take on the prompt JQ and an adorably spooky story!Loved the humour in that he is upset that she died on Halloween-what a day to die indeed!But because it was Halloween,she could return,with a little help(painful piercing-ouch!)from him ;-)Guess the kids at the door are going to find it pretty cool that she has a “costume” that makes her feet trail inches above the carpet,lol!

    Congratulations on your writings being included in the econd annual anthology of Precipice by Write on the edge:-)
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