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A Halloween Tale (Wings challenge)

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  • Jerry S
    He didn t know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 31, 2011
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      He didn't know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any light. Faint sounds of screams broke the silence at times, but he couldn't tell from whence they came. An occasional dog would growl behind bushes which shook violently and then became still. He never saw the dogs though.
      The neighborhood seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Cold winds blew in an unsettling way, first from one direction and then another. Leaves raced across the street and then back again, their dry edges scraping the pavement like fingernails on a blackboard.
      A three day old crescent moon hung darkly in the sky as wispy clouds raced by. Faint cold stars hung on a blackened velvet sky. The veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin, very thin tonight.
      "Come," said a voice in a whisper at his ear.
      He turned violently for he had not heard anyone approach, but there was nobody to be seen. The hackles rose on his neck and chill bumps covered his arms.
      He walked faster towards the next lamppost hoping to leave whatever spirit had spoken behind. This was the last light on the street. The dark blackness of a forest loomed at the street's end.
      "Come," the voice again commanded. Once again there was no one to be seen.
      In near panic the man called out, "Where are you? What do you want of me?"
      Silence filled the air. The wind had died. Only the faint beating of his heart could he hear. And then the lights went out. Nothing could be seen of the street he had been walking down. No houses were visible.
      He turned at the sound of raspy breathing behind him which made his heart leap in his chest. Against the dark sky was an even darker shadow, twice as tall as a man. He wanted to run away, run anywhere but where could he go?
      Looking around he became aware of a faint glow in the forest, more like the light cast from a lightning bug, but it was light none the less. He lurched forward in a stumbling run hoping the great shadow behind him would not follow, but he could feel that menacing presence only inches behind him.
      Panic stricken he crashed through underbrush towards the faint light, its soft glow a seeming safe harbor in an evil sea of darkness. The raspy breath of the shadow always within arms reach is seemed. Limbs and branches tore at his flesh, scratching him deeply on the forearms and face. Small drops of blood oozed and mixed with his salty sweat making his arms feel as though they were on fire.
      What he had thought were dogs flanked him, but now he could tell that no dog had ever growled as deeply and menacingly as these creatures did. They crashed through the brush just as he did not letting him turn right or left. The shadow and the creatures were either herding him towards the light or else trying to catch him before he reached it.
      With all of his remaining strength he crashed through the last of the brush and reached the light. As he tried to catch his breath he noticed that the shadow had stopped chasing him, but still waited nearby. The creatures who had flanked him howled in dismay at having lost their prey yet they prowled close by in the underbrush.
      A small campfire was glowing softly in the small clearing, the wood almost consumed in the bed of coals. A hooded man sat next to the fire with his head bowed.
      "I'm lost," he said to the hooded man.
      "That you most certainly are," the hooded man said cryptically.
      "I don't know how I got here."
      "You ran here. This is where your actions and decisions have brought you."
      "But where is here?"
      The hooded man raised his head and peered and the man from under the hood. Only two faint eyes sparkled from the darkness under the hood. Nothing more could be discerned.
      "This is your final destination, that is it will probably be your final destination."
      "You aren't making any sense," the man complained. "I didn't wish to be here. I just found myself here."
      The hooded man slowly shook his head and pointed a boney finger at the man. "By your actions you have brought yourself here. You have been grasping and ungracious your whole life. What else did you think would happen? Did you expect to spend eternity in paradise? Not so! The demons which chase you are of your own making. The darkness you created by refusing to live in the light. The shadow is you yourself, stalking yourself, consuming yourself if it can. You have given nothing in your life. You have shared nothing in your life. Now it is time for you to pay that price."
      "NO," screamed the man. "This can't be true! This can't be true!"


      "This can't be true. This can't be true. This can't be true," the man repeated until he opened his eyes.
      He was laying back in his recliner in his own living room. The only light on was a small lamp in the corner, barely casting any light. He had not turned on the television earlier because he wanted his house to look and sound as if nobody was home tonight.
      "A dream," he sighed with relief. "It was only a dream."
      He slowed his breathing and tried to collect his wits when he noticed some discomfort on his face and arms. He went to the bathroom, turned on the light and gazed in disbelief at the mirror. His face was covered with scratches as was his arms. The drops of blood were still fresh and only just now drying. His hands trembled and his breathing increased when suddenly the doorbell sounded.
      Going to the front door he turned on the porch light and opened the door. A small hooded figure stood there with a bag. He could not see the face under the hood.
      "Trick or Treat!" said the small boy.
      Having no candy in the house, the man pulled out his wallet and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. He dropped it into the boy's bag.
      "Gee! Thanks Mister!" beamed the boy. "That's a swell costume you are wearing. Happy Halloween."
      "Happy Halloween," the man smiled.
    • Susan Donahue
      Well done, Cousin Jerry, I like a story with a moral. This is a tale well told. Thank you for reminding us readers of what is important. Suzianne
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 31, 2011
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        Well done, Cousin Jerry,

        I like a story with a moral. This is a tale well told. Thank you for reminding us readers of what is important.

        Suzianne

        --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Jerry S" <jerry5849@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > He didn't know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any light. Faint sounds of screams broke the silence at times, but he couldn't tell from whence they came. An occasional dog would growl behind bushes which shook violently and then became still. He never saw the dogs though.
        > The neighborhood seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Cold winds blew in an unsettling way, first from one direction and then another. Leaves raced across the street and then back again, their dry edges scraping the pavement like fingernails on a blackboard.
        > A three day old crescent moon hung darkly in the sky as wispy clouds raced by. Faint cold stars hung on a blackened velvet sky. The veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin, very thin tonight.
        > "Come," said a voice in a whisper at his ear.
        > He turned violently for he had not heard anyone approach, but there was nobody to be seen. The hackles rose on his neck and chill bumps covered his arms.
        > He walked faster towards the next lamppost hoping to leave whatever spirit had spoken behind. This was the last light on the street. The dark blackness of a forest loomed at the street's end.
        > "Come," the voice again commanded. Once again there was no one to be seen.
        > In near panic the man called out, "Where are you? What do you want of me?"
        > Silence filled the air. The wind had died. Only the faint beating of his heart could he hear. And then the lights went out. Nothing could be seen of the street he had been walking down. No houses were visible.
        > He turned at the sound of raspy breathing behind him which made his heart leap in his chest. Against the dark sky was an even darker shadow, twice as tall as a man. He wanted to run away, run anywhere but where could he go?
        > Looking around he became aware of a faint glow in the forest, more like the light cast from a lightning bug, but it was light none the less. He lurched forward in a stumbling run hoping the great shadow behind him would not follow, but he could feel that menacing presence only inches behind him.
        > Panic stricken he crashed through underbrush towards the faint light, its soft glow a seeming safe harbor in an evil sea of darkness. The raspy breath of the shadow always within arms reach is seemed. Limbs and branches tore at his flesh, scratching him deeply on the forearms and face. Small drops of blood oozed and mixed with his salty sweat making his arms feel as though they were on fire.
        > What he had thought were dogs flanked him, but now he could tell that no dog had ever growled as deeply and menacingly as these creatures did. They crashed through the brush just as he did not letting him turn right or left. The shadow and the creatures were either herding him towards the light or else trying to catch him before he reached it.
        > With all of his remaining strength he crashed through the last of the brush and reached the light. As he tried to catch his breath he noticed that the shadow had stopped chasing him, but still waited nearby. The creatures who had flanked him howled in dismay at having lost their prey yet they prowled close by in the underbrush.
        > A small campfire was glowing softly in the small clearing, the wood almost consumed in the bed of coals. A hooded man sat next to the fire with his head bowed.
        > "I'm lost," he said to the hooded man.
        > "That you most certainly are," the hooded man said cryptically.
        > "I don't know how I got here."
        > "You ran here. This is where your actions and decisions have brought you."
        > "But where is here?"
        > The hooded man raised his head and peered and the man from under the hood. Only two faint eyes sparkled from the darkness under the hood. Nothing more could be discerned.
        > "This is your final destination, that is it will probably be your final destination."
        > "You aren't making any sense," the man complained. "I didn't wish to be here. I just found myself here."
        > The hooded man slowly shook his head and pointed a boney finger at the man. "By your actions you have brought yourself here. You have been grasping and ungracious your whole life. What else did you think would happen? Did you expect to spend eternity in paradise? Not so! The demons which chase you are of your own making. The darkness you created by refusing to live in the light. The shadow is you yourself, stalking yourself, consuming yourself if it can. You have given nothing in your life. You have shared nothing in your life. Now it is time for you to pay that price."
        > "NO," screamed the man. "This can't be true! This can't be true!"
        >
        >
        > "This can't be true. This can't be true. This can't be true," the man repeated until he opened his eyes.
        > He was laying back in his recliner in his own living room. The only light on was a small lamp in the corner, barely casting any light. He had not turned on the television earlier because he wanted his house to look and sound as if nobody was home tonight.
        > "A dream," he sighed with relief. "It was only a dream."
        > He slowed his breathing and tried to collect his wits when he noticed some discomfort on his face and arms. He went to the bathroom, turned on the light and gazed in disbelief at the mirror. His face was covered with scratches as was his arms. The drops of blood were still fresh and only just now drying. His hands trembled and his breathing increased when suddenly the doorbell sounded.
        > Going to the front door he turned on the porch light and opened the door. A small hooded figure stood there with a bag. He could not see the face under the hood.
        > "Trick or Treat!" said the small boy.
        > Having no candy in the house, the man pulled out his wallet and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. He dropped it into the boy's bag.
        > "Gee! Thanks Mister!" beamed the boy. "That's a swell costume you are wearing. Happy Halloween."
        > "Happy Halloween," the man smiled.
        >
      • Wings081
        Jerry my friend, I knew we could rely on you to not let this night pass without enthralling us with a tale of terror.The owls outside of my window are hooting
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 31, 2011
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          Jerry my friend,

          I knew we could rely on you to not let this night pass without
          enthralling us with a tale of terror.The owls outside of my window
          are hooting their applause and the frogs are croaking in sympathy.

          Sir you are a raconteur extraordinaire.

          Fifteen minutes to the bewitching hour and it's time I was climbing the wooden hill to the land of dreams.

          Happy and peaceful halloween to you and yours.
          As always
          Wings

          --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Jerry S" <jerry5849@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > He didn't know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any light. Faint sounds of screams broke the silence at times, but he couldn't tell from whence they came. An occasional dog would growl behind bushes which shook violently and then became still. He never saw the dogs though.
          > The neighborhood seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Cold winds blew in an unsettling way, first from one direction and then another. Leaves raced across the street and then back again, their dry edges scraping the pavement like fingernails on a blackboard.
          > A three day old crescent moon hung darkly in the sky as wispy clouds raced by. Faint cold stars hung on a blackened velvet sky. The veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin, very thin tonight.
          > "Come," said a voice in a whisper at his ear.
          > He turned violently for he had not heard anyone approach, but there was nobody to be seen. The hackles rose on his neck and chill bumps covered his arms.
          > He walked faster towards the next lamppost hoping to leave whatever spirit had spoken behind. This was the last light on the street. The dark blackness of a forest loomed at the street's end.
          > "Come," the voice again commanded. Once again there was no one to be seen.
          > In near panic the man called out, "Where are you? What do you want of me?"
          > Silence filled the air. The wind had died. Only the faint beating of his heart could he hear. And then the lights went out. Nothing could be seen of the street he had been walking down. No houses were visible.
          > He turned at the sound of raspy breathing behind him which made his heart leap in his chest. Against the dark sky was an even darker shadow, twice as tall as a man. He wanted to run away, run anywhere but where could he go?
          > Looking around he became aware of a faint glow in the forest, more like the light cast from a lightning bug, but it was light none the less. He lurched forward in a stumbling run hoping the great shadow behind him would not follow, but he could feel that menacing presence only inches behind him.
          > Panic stricken he crashed through underbrush towards the faint light, its soft glow a seeming safe harbor in an evil sea of darkness. The raspy breath of the shadow always within arms reach is seemed. Limbs and branches tore at his flesh, scratching him deeply on the forearms and face. Small drops of blood oozed and mixed with his salty sweat making his arms feel as though they were on fire.
          > What he had thought were dogs flanked him, but now he could tell that no dog had ever growled as deeply and menacingly as these creatures did. They crashed through the brush just as he did not letting him turn right or left. The shadow and the creatures were either herding him towards the light or else trying to catch him before he reached it.
          > With all of his remaining strength he crashed through the last of the brush and reached the light. As he tried to catch his breath he noticed that the shadow had stopped chasing him, but still waited nearby. The creatures who had flanked him howled in dismay at having lost their prey yet they prowled close by in the underbrush.
          > A small campfire was glowing softly in the small clearing, the wood almost consumed in the bed of coals. A hooded man sat next to the fire with his head bowed.
          > "I'm lost," he said to the hooded man.
          > "That you most certainly are," the hooded man said cryptically.
          > "I don't know how I got here."
          > "You ran here. This is where your actions and decisions have brought you."
          > "But where is here?"
          > The hooded man raised his head and peered and the man from under the hood. Only two faint eyes sparkled from the darkness under the hood. Nothing more could be discerned.
          > "This is your final destination, that is it will probably be your final destination."
          > "You aren't making any sense," the man complained. "I didn't wish to be here. I just found myself here."
          > The hooded man slowly shook his head and pointed a boney finger at the man. "By your actions you have brought yourself here. You have been grasping and ungracious your whole life. What else did you think would happen? Did you expect to spend eternity in paradise? Not so! The demons which chase you are of your own making. The darkness you created by refusing to live in the light. The shadow is you yourself, stalking yourself, consuming yourself if it can. You have given nothing in your life. You have shared nothing in your life. Now it is time for you to pay that price."
          > "NO," screamed the man. "This can't be true! This can't be true!"
          >
          >
          > "This can't be true. This can't be true. This can't be true," the man repeated until he opened his eyes.
          > He was laying back in his recliner in his own living room. The only light on was a small lamp in the corner, barely casting any light. He had not turned on the television earlier because he wanted his house to look and sound as if nobody was home tonight.
          > "A dream," he sighed with relief. "It was only a dream."
          > He slowed his breathing and tried to collect his wits when he noticed some discomfort on his face and arms. He went to the bathroom, turned on the light and gazed in disbelief at the mirror. His face was covered with scratches as was his arms. The drops of blood were still fresh and only just now drying. His hands trembled and his breathing increased when suddenly the doorbell sounded.
          > Going to the front door he turned on the porch light and opened the door. A small hooded figure stood there with a bag. He could not see the face under the hood.
          > "Trick or Treat!" said the small boy.
          > Having no candy in the house, the man pulled out his wallet and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. He dropped it into the boy's bag.
          > "Gee! Thanks Mister!" beamed the boy. "That's a swell costume you are wearing. Happy Halloween."
          > "Happy Halloween," the man smiled.
          >
        • Jerry S
          My dear Suzianne, I m glad you enjoyed my little offering. I too enjoy stories which point us in the right direction, or at least point out what we are doing
          Message 4 of 5 , Nov 1, 2011
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            My dear Suzianne,

            I'm glad you enjoyed my little offering. I too enjoy stories which point us in the right direction, or at least point out what we are doing wrong. (smile)

            As always,
            Jerry

            --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Susan Donahue" <suzianne411@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            > Well done, Cousin Jerry,
            >
            > I like a story with a moral. This is a tale well told. Thank you for reminding us readers of what is important.
            >
            > Suzianne
            >
            > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Jerry S" <jerry5849@> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > He didn't know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any light. Faint sounds of screams broke the silence at times, but he couldn't tell from whence they came. An occasional dog would growl behind bushes which shook violently and then became still. He never saw the dogs though.
            > > The neighborhood seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Cold winds blew in an unsettling way, first from one direction and then another. Leaves raced across the street and then back again, their dry edges scraping the pavement like fingernails on a blackboard.
            > > A three day old crescent moon hung darkly in the sky as wispy clouds raced by. Faint cold stars hung on a blackened velvet sky. The veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin, very thin tonight.
            > > "Come," said a voice in a whisper at his ear.
            > > He turned violently for he had not heard anyone approach, but there was nobody to be seen. The hackles rose on his neck and chill bumps covered his arms.
            > > He walked faster towards the next lamppost hoping to leave whatever spirit had spoken behind. This was the last light on the street. The dark blackness of a forest loomed at the street's end.
            > > "Come," the voice again commanded. Once again there was no one to be seen.
            > > In near panic the man called out, "Where are you? What do you want of me?"
            > > Silence filled the air. The wind had died. Only the faint beating of his heart could he hear. And then the lights went out. Nothing could be seen of the street he had been walking down. No houses were visible.
            > > He turned at the sound of raspy breathing behind him which made his heart leap in his chest. Against the dark sky was an even darker shadow, twice as tall as a man. He wanted to run away, run anywhere but where could he go?
            > > Looking around he became aware of a faint glow in the forest, more like the light cast from a lightning bug, but it was light none the less. He lurched forward in a stumbling run hoping the great shadow behind him would not follow, but he could feel that menacing presence only inches behind him.
            > > Panic stricken he crashed through underbrush towards the faint light, its soft glow a seeming safe harbor in an evil sea of darkness. The raspy breath of the shadow always within arms reach is seemed. Limbs and branches tore at his flesh, scratching him deeply on the forearms and face. Small drops of blood oozed and mixed with his salty sweat making his arms feel as though they were on fire.
            > > What he had thought were dogs flanked him, but now he could tell that no dog had ever growled as deeply and menacingly as these creatures did. They crashed through the brush just as he did not letting him turn right or left. The shadow and the creatures were either herding him towards the light or else trying to catch him before he reached it.
            > > With all of his remaining strength he crashed through the last of the brush and reached the light. As he tried to catch his breath he noticed that the shadow had stopped chasing him, but still waited nearby. The creatures who had flanked him howled in dismay at having lost their prey yet they prowled close by in the underbrush.
            > > A small campfire was glowing softly in the small clearing, the wood almost consumed in the bed of coals. A hooded man sat next to the fire with his head bowed.
            > > "I'm lost," he said to the hooded man.
            > > "That you most certainly are," the hooded man said cryptically.
            > > "I don't know how I got here."
            > > "You ran here. This is where your actions and decisions have brought you."
            > > "But where is here?"
            > > The hooded man raised his head and peered and the man from under the hood. Only two faint eyes sparkled from the darkness under the hood. Nothing more could be discerned.
            > > "This is your final destination, that is it will probably be your final destination."
            > > "You aren't making any sense," the man complained. "I didn't wish to be here. I just found myself here."
            > > The hooded man slowly shook his head and pointed a boney finger at the man. "By your actions you have brought yourself here. You have been grasping and ungracious your whole life. What else did you think would happen? Did you expect to spend eternity in paradise? Not so! The demons which chase you are of your own making. The darkness you created by refusing to live in the light. The shadow is you yourself, stalking yourself, consuming yourself if it can. You have given nothing in your life. You have shared nothing in your life. Now it is time for you to pay that price."
            > > "NO," screamed the man. "This can't be true! This can't be true!"
            > >
            > >
            > > "This can't be true. This can't be true. This can't be true," the man repeated until he opened his eyes.
            > > He was laying back in his recliner in his own living room. The only light on was a small lamp in the corner, barely casting any light. He had not turned on the television earlier because he wanted his house to look and sound as if nobody was home tonight.
            > > "A dream," he sighed with relief. "It was only a dream."
            > > He slowed his breathing and tried to collect his wits when he noticed some discomfort on his face and arms. He went to the bathroom, turned on the light and gazed in disbelief at the mirror. His face was covered with scratches as was his arms. The drops of blood were still fresh and only just now drying. His hands trembled and his breathing increased when suddenly the doorbell sounded.
            > > Going to the front door he turned on the porch light and opened the door. A small hooded figure stood there with a bag. He could not see the face under the hood.
            > > "Trick or Treat!" said the small boy.
            > > Having no candy in the house, the man pulled out his wallet and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. He dropped it into the boy's bag.
            > > "Gee! Thanks Mister!" beamed the boy. "That's a swell costume you are wearing. Happy Halloween."
            > > "Happy Halloween," the man smiled.
            > >
            >
          • Jerry S
            My friend Wings, It has been some time since I have written anything. Life has been overly full for some time, but your challenge forced me into whittling the
            Message 5 of 5 , Nov 1, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              My friend Wings,

              It has been some time since I have written anything. Life has been overly full for some time, but your challenge forced me into whittling the rust off my pen, so to speak.

              As for the owls and frogs, there are no other groups I would wish to entertain. (lol) I'm happy you liked the piece. It was a fun write.

              Have a happy autumn. It is a beautiful season here right now with the many colors of leaves. The hot days are behind us and a fire on the hearth is a delight.

              As always,
              Jerry

              --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Wings081" <wings081@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > Jerry my friend,
              >
              > I knew we could rely on you to not let this night pass without
              > enthralling us with a tale of terror.The owls outside of my window
              > are hooting their applause and the frogs are croaking in sympathy.
              >
              > Sir you are a raconteur extraordinaire.
              >
              > Fifteen minutes to the bewitching hour and it's time I was climbing the wooden hill to the land of dreams.
              >
              > Happy and peaceful halloween to you and yours.
              > As always
              > Wings
              >
              > --- In ticket2write@yahoogroups.com, "Jerry S" <jerry5849@> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > He didn't know how he got here on this dark lonely street. The streetlights were few and far between, and even when he stood under one it barely cast any light. Faint sounds of screams broke the silence at times, but he couldn't tell from whence they came. An occasional dog would growl behind bushes which shook violently and then became still. He never saw the dogs though.
              > > The neighborhood seemed vaguely familiar, but he couldn't recall where he had seen it before. Cold winds blew in an unsettling way, first from one direction and then another. Leaves raced across the street and then back again, their dry edges scraping the pavement like fingernails on a blackboard.
              > > A three day old crescent moon hung darkly in the sky as wispy clouds raced by. Faint cold stars hung on a blackened velvet sky. The veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin, very thin tonight.
              > > "Come," said a voice in a whisper at his ear.
              > > He turned violently for he had not heard anyone approach, but there was nobody to be seen. The hackles rose on his neck and chill bumps covered his arms.
              > > He walked faster towards the next lamppost hoping to leave whatever spirit had spoken behind. This was the last light on the street. The dark blackness of a forest loomed at the street's end.
              > > "Come," the voice again commanded. Once again there was no one to be seen.
              > > In near panic the man called out, "Where are you? What do you want of me?"
              > > Silence filled the air. The wind had died. Only the faint beating of his heart could he hear. And then the lights went out. Nothing could be seen of the street he had been walking down. No houses were visible.
              > > He turned at the sound of raspy breathing behind him which made his heart leap in his chest. Against the dark sky was an even darker shadow, twice as tall as a man. He wanted to run away, run anywhere but where could he go?
              > > Looking around he became aware of a faint glow in the forest, more like the light cast from a lightning bug, but it was light none the less. He lurched forward in a stumbling run hoping the great shadow behind him would not follow, but he could feel that menacing presence only inches behind him.
              > > Panic stricken he crashed through underbrush towards the faint light, its soft glow a seeming safe harbor in an evil sea of darkness. The raspy breath of the shadow always within arms reach is seemed. Limbs and branches tore at his flesh, scratching him deeply on the forearms and face. Small drops of blood oozed and mixed with his salty sweat making his arms feel as though they were on fire.
              > > What he had thought were dogs flanked him, but now he could tell that no dog had ever growled as deeply and menacingly as these creatures did. They crashed through the brush just as he did not letting him turn right or left. The shadow and the creatures were either herding him towards the light or else trying to catch him before he reached it.
              > > With all of his remaining strength he crashed through the last of the brush and reached the light. As he tried to catch his breath he noticed that the shadow had stopped chasing him, but still waited nearby. The creatures who had flanked him howled in dismay at having lost their prey yet they prowled close by in the underbrush.
              > > A small campfire was glowing softly in the small clearing, the wood almost consumed in the bed of coals. A hooded man sat next to the fire with his head bowed.
              > > "I'm lost," he said to the hooded man.
              > > "That you most certainly are," the hooded man said cryptically.
              > > "I don't know how I got here."
              > > "You ran here. This is where your actions and decisions have brought you."
              > > "But where is here?"
              > > The hooded man raised his head and peered and the man from under the hood. Only two faint eyes sparkled from the darkness under the hood. Nothing more could be discerned.
              > > "This is your final destination, that is it will probably be your final destination."
              > > "You aren't making any sense," the man complained. "I didn't wish to be here. I just found myself here."
              > > The hooded man slowly shook his head and pointed a boney finger at the man. "By your actions you have brought yourself here. You have been grasping and ungracious your whole life. What else did you think would happen? Did you expect to spend eternity in paradise? Not so! The demons which chase you are of your own making. The darkness you created by refusing to live in the light. The shadow is you yourself, stalking yourself, consuming yourself if it can. You have given nothing in your life. You have shared nothing in your life. Now it is time for you to pay that price."
              > > "NO," screamed the man. "This can't be true! This can't be true!"
              > >
              > >
              > > "This can't be true. This can't be true. This can't be true," the man repeated until he opened his eyes.
              > > He was laying back in his recliner in his own living room. The only light on was a small lamp in the corner, barely casting any light. He had not turned on the television earlier because he wanted his house to look and sound as if nobody was home tonight.
              > > "A dream," he sighed with relief. "It was only a dream."
              > > He slowed his breathing and tried to collect his wits when he noticed some discomfort on his face and arms. He went to the bathroom, turned on the light and gazed in disbelief at the mirror. His face was covered with scratches as was his arms. The drops of blood were still fresh and only just now drying. His hands trembled and his breathing increased when suddenly the doorbell sounded.
              > > Going to the front door he turned on the porch light and opened the door. A small hooded figure stood there with a bag. He could not see the face under the hood.
              > > "Trick or Treat!" said the small boy.
              > > Having no candy in the house, the man pulled out his wallet and grabbed a twenty dollar bill. He dropped it into the boy's bag.
              > > "Gee! Thanks Mister!" beamed the boy. "That's a swell costume you are wearing. Happy Halloween."
              > > "Happy Halloween," the man smiled.
              > >
              >
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