Paul looked at his assignment and his heart sank. Ones like this were hard. After his mother passed and he took her job, he understood why sometimes he would wake up and find her by his bedside crying. It was hard, but it needed to be done. He had a job to do.
Maple Street was filled with laughing children dressed as zombies, vampires, witches, and every type of ghoulie he could imagine. He smiled as he remembered the many years of trick-or-treating he enjoyed with his family. His mother always went all out for any holiday. ‘Celebrate it like it was your last’ she would say. It wasn’t until he was assigned his first shift that he truly understood what she was saying.
Paul took a deep breath and started walking behind a little witch with orange ribbons in her hair. Her mother held tight to her hand as they walked through a good of teenagers who were harassing a zombie. The mother was busy watching the kids. She didn’t like what they were doing, but she was scared. She had always been scared. Paul saw flashbacks to Halloween of ’76 when she ended up sitting under a bush crying after two teenagers stole her bag of candy. Her daughter wasn’t scared though. Six years old and full of spunk.
Her mother was watching the teenagers. Paul was watching the little witch. No one was watching the car.
Paul looked at the ground and tried to drown out the crushed dreams and lost hopes that now filled the street. As he walked past the laughing teenagers, he set their bags of candy on fire. The little witch laughed and turned so she could get one last look at her mother.
One thing about being a child’s angel of death that never sat well with Paul was that when his shift was over, he would go back to his bed and look at the clock. Always stuck between 2:18 and 2:19. Eternity can be lived in a blink of an eye, his mother would say. His mother was always wise.