“This will be the best party of the year,” Colin said.
“Nah, the party of the century,” Chaz said. “I’ve been helping get all the lights to sync with the music.”
“We even got Mr. Frank to let us paint the windows in the gym as long as we come back before Monday and wash it off.”
“Can’t wait for tonight,” Colin said, slinging his school bag over his shoulder, and picking up his xenomorph mask off the bench.
The pair stepped onto the number six bus that took them to school every morning. As the bus pulled away, a small boy’s head popped out from behind the bushes that lined the street by the bus stop.
The boy ran all the way home and bolted through the door screaming. His mother screamed in fright.
“STOP!” his father finally managed to scream over them. “What is wrong?”
“Nothing,” the boy said between pants. “Can I go to a party tonight?”
The boy’s mother shook her head and sat on the couch. She was too old for that kind of excitement. “Party? What kind of party?”
“A Halloween party.” The boy and his father sat in the other chairs in the living room.
“Son,” the father said, shaking his head. “You know we don’t –”
“Dad, it’s a Halloween party! Everyone will be in costumes. It’ll be fine. Please?”
His mother looked at his father with the ‘no’ look, but his father simply sighed and looked at the pleading look on his son’s face. The boy deserved to go out every now and then, didn’t he? And he was right, it was Halloween.
“Okay,” he father said. “On one condition.”
“You come straight home if there is any trouble.”
The boy spent the rest of the day rummaging through his things in order to create the best costume the world had ever seen. Nothing seemed right though, but his father helped convince him that all he really needed was an old suit.
“But what if they ask what I am?”
The boy’s father laughed. “Just say you’re last year’s road kill.”
“Honest. Just be yourself and have a great time.”
The boy waited all afternoon and early evening behind his bush by the bus stop to see the two friends head for their school’s gym. As he watched them pass, he quietly stepped on to the sidewalk and followed them. Never close enough for them to care, but never far enough away that he lost sight of them.
The school was magnificent. The boy had never seen anything so bright and colorful. Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns lined the walk to the gym door. Kids and monsters of all shapes and sizes were waiting inside. The music could be heard all the way down to the main sidewalk.
“Halloween,” the boy said as he walked into the gym with an ear to ear grin.
With a little newfound courage, the boy talked to other kids and costumes. He danced and watched as people bobbed for apples and tried to get caramel apples off strings hung from a bar above them. It was heaven.
The party went on for hours and the boy made lots of new friends who were all impressed with his costume and imagination as going as last year’s roadkill. When the party was over, a small group wanted to walk home with him. He was more excited than he had ever been in his life.
“Where do you live anyways,” a girl asked as they approached the bus stop.
“Over there,” the boy said, pointing to a large steeple lit by the moon.
The girl laughed. “You don’t live in the church.”
“I live by it.”
Chaz and Colin looked in disbelief.
“There’s no homes by the church,” Colin said. “Just a –”
“Never said I lived in a house,” the boy said.
The group stood in silence, staring at the boy in his old suit. Last year’s roadkill? More like fifty years ago roadkill.
“You’re not wearing a costume, are you,” the girl stammered.
The boy laughed and shook his head. Shrieks echoed down the street as the children all sprinted for their homes.
“Everything okay, Edward,” a voice asked from behind the bushes.
“Yeah, Dad. Everything’s perfect.”
Edward told his father all about the dance and how much fun it was. He can’t wait till next Halloween.