I’m Going to be Hiding on Halloween

Not everyone wants to be a part of Halloween. We all have our reasons and we might actually enjoy parts of the holiday and the days leading up to it. But, not all of us want to wait by the door to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Not all of us want to attend Halloween parties. For whatever your reason, you may be among those of us who hide on Halloween.
Halloween-Wallpaper-7

Create Your own Halloween Magic – A disappearing act

Personally, I have no children and would rather leave the handing out of candy to those who would enjoy it. I don’t. Nothing against the dear little children but handing out candy is just a chore to me. It means spending 2 or 3 hours (sometimes more) pretending I’m happy to see a lot of parents and children and teenagers coming to my door. I’m a introvert, not a great party host. The times I have handed out candy I really did it for the teenagers. I don’t like the way some people are ageist about Halloween. Let the teenagers trick-or-treat and don’t give them a hard time about it.

Anyway, the past three years I have left behind Halloween and done something else. I love the decorations and all the fun leading up to Halloween but on the night itself – I disappear!  Just think of it as a little Halloween magic.

Grab a Good Book – Think H.P. Lovecraft to keep in the Halloween theme

Of course, what you do while disappearing will depend on who you are. I prefer to take along a good book and hide out at the coffee shop. When it gets late enough I head along home. It is especially nice to take the bus (if the bus is available for you). Let someone else worry about driving on Halloween night with children running amok and jack-o-lanterns being smashed on the road.  It’s a good time to treat yourself to the public chauffeur.

Here are some other ideas:

  • Go to the movie theatre or a play
  • Visit someone else staying home
  • Go out for dinner, bonus if they have a Halloween special
  • Have a Halloween drink out somewhere
  • Find an adult party and dress up for Halloween
  • Run errands and pick up a few things at the mall
  • Stay overnight at a fancy hotel
  • Take your vacation time from work

There is always the Halloween staycation too. If you can keep the house looking dark from the outside and ignore the rustling at your door and around your yard (because you know there will be some who just have to try every house for candy, lights or not).

Some people would leave up a sign telling kids they aren’t doing Halloween. Some people would leave a bunch of candy for kids to pick up. Neither of these sound good to me. I think it’s smarter and simpler to just leave the lights off and pull any Halloween decorations inside the house where they won’t be seen or broken.

Where the Wild Things Are: I Believe in Santa Claus

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, December, 25, 2003.

I believe in Santa Claus. Maybe I just choose to believe. But I think there’s more to it. In part it’s the Christmas spirit generated in this season, sharing good cheer and love, friendship. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of giving and not just taking. Maybe it’s the strength of all those children who also believe in Santa Claus. All those things combine and make strong magickal forces. You may scoff all you like. But the fact is this is a powerful time of year. Each person wandering around with their own part in the whole of the Christmas spirit contributes to the power. Each good deed, each gift shared and each friend greeted is part of a huge ritual taking place.

Children traditionally set out offerings for Santa: milk and cookies, something for the reindeer and a tidbit for the elves. We send him notes asking for blessings. Santa also has ritual music and poetry, widely known and frequently chanted at this time of year. The rituals are passed on to each new child, carried along and given new life for each generation.

All those people, no matter what path they follow, know about Santa Claus. He’s the focus of the spirit of giving and good will. For children he’s the figure of authority, he who must be pleased. Cultural icon, old wives tale or commercial legend, Santa has been given power and there doesn’t need to be an actual human being for that power to exist. We don’t need to see a man in a red suit driving an air borne sleigh, packing a bottomless bag of toys to believe in Santa Claus. It’s all around us, every moment of every day in this season.

So, scoff if you choose. But, I believe in Santa Claus. I like it that way.

Merry Yule, Seasons Greetings and leave Santa a little something tonight.

Make Great Opportunities Happen

7 Habits That Make Great Opportunities Happen

1. Pay attention

Value curiosity and collect information. Make a habit of interacting with your environment. Notice things that happen around you. People who notice things know more than people who don’t.

Notice the kind of preparation and responses people value.
Notice how you can make processes and meetings work better.
Notice what makes people’s lives easier, faster and more meaningful.
Notice ways that you can add value without taking something away from those around you.
Develop a habit of paying attention. You’ll grow as a person and you’ll become a natural resource to the people who work with you. It will become natural for them to think of you when new opportunities happen.

2. Think of your work as important

No matter how dull, uninteresting, or seemingly useless the project, assume a higher purpose is driving it. Bring your best talents and most dedicated attitude to it. What you think changes how you feel and what you do. People will respond to the importance you place on the work that you’re executing. Develop a habit of honoring your work. People will place more value on the work you do and start to look for opportunities where they might use your higher-level abilities.

3. Be aware of the potential of your impact

The way you look, the smile you give, the way you answer on your cellphone—each causes a response in someone you might never be told. Everything you do has an impact. When you make decisions, think them through to understand how they will affect other people. Develop a habit of considering how your actions affect the people around you. People will see that you make work easier, rather than making more work for them.

4. Imagine opportunities everywhere you look

Lucky people know that opportunity is always present. Look for ideas and trends that match your interests and your skill set. Bend and twist those ideas to make them uniquely yours. Develop a habit of looking at everything to see how you might improve it—how you’ll make it more fun, faster, cooler, friendlier, easier, quieter, more musical, lighter, more romantic, more exciting, more inviting, more anything. Choose the opportunities that benefit other people and they will support your offer to take advantage of an opportunity.

5. Make yourself a magnet for jobs you do well

Be generous offering your help and counsel. When people help you, suggest your best skills as a way you might return the favors. Be on alert for the tiniest ways to match your best work with what the people around you might be doing. Talk about your favorite projects. Develop a habit of letting people know how much you love doing what you do well. People get impressed by folks who love their work and want to help.

6. Count and record the opportunities that suit you

Small ideas and opportunities have a way of getting bigger. Research shows that things we watch and measure get bigger and more plentiful. Develop a habit of attending to what suits you. People will notice that you record ideas and opportunities. They’ll start listening and looking to find more. Soon you’ll have a network of people who are offering you ideas they’ve collected for you.

7. Decide

When an opportunity is set before you, don’t hesitate. Take the opportunity and use it to grow the skills that got you that far. You know which opportunities fit your interests and skills and which don’t. Develop a habit of taking on new opportunities as a way of growing. Be clear that you’ll always be noticing and learning and people will feel secure in offering you opportunities that grow with you.

Dragon Zodiac Sign

The Dragon

The Dragon personality The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend. A symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast – the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.

Years of the Dragon

Fifth in the cycle, Dragon Years follow the Rabbit and recur every twelfth year. The Chinese New Year does not fall on a specific date, so it is essential to check the calendar to find the exact date on which each Dragon Year actually begins
1904 * 1916 * 1928 * 1940 * 1952 * 1964 * 1976 * 1988 * 2000

THE SIGN OF THE DRAGON

The key to the Dragon personality is that Dragons are the free spirits of the Zodiac. Conformation is a Dragon’s curse. Rules and regulations are made for other people. Restrictions blow out the creative spark that is ready to flame into life. Dragons must be free and uninhibited. The Dragon is a beautiful creature, colorful and flamboyant. An extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly irrepressible, everything Dragons do is on a grand scale – big ideas, ornate gestures, extreme ambitions. However, this behavior is natural and isn’t meant for show. Because they are confident, fearless in the face of challenge, they are almost inevitably successful. Dragons usually make it to the top. However, Dragon people be aware of their natures. Too much enthusiasm can leave them tired and unfulfilled. Even though they are willing to aid when necessary, their pride can often impede them from accepting the same kind of help from others. Dragons’ generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be rather solitary people at heart. A Dragon’s self-sufficiency can mean that he or she has no need for close bonds with other people.
DRAGON FACTS:
People born in the Year of the Dragon share certain characteristics. The Dragon sign is an abbreviated way of characterizing that individual’s personality. Following are features associated with the sign of the Dragon.
Fifth in order, Chinese name-LONG, sign of luckHour-7am-8:59 a.m. Month-AprilWestern Counterpart-Aries
CHARACTERISTICS

  • Innovative
  • Enterprising
  • Flexible
  • Self-assured
  • Brave
  • Passionate
  • Conceited
  • Tactless
  • Scrutinizing
  • Unanticipated
  • Quick-tempered

IN YOUR ELEMENT

The characteristics of the Dragon Sign are tempered by one of the five Chinese elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth overlaying a 5-year cycle of characteristics on the original 12-year cycle.

THE METAL DRAGON 1940 AND 2000

Truthful but extreme, courageous but unyielding, Metal Dragons have a strength similar to the Dragon fire. Metal Dragons succeed through determination. They are mighty and respect people who stand up to them. In troubled times, these Dragons make great allies, but become ferocious challengers. Metal Dragons can often calm others through their forceful personalities. They seek action, and things are never better than when they are defending a thought or belief about which they have complete faith. Metal Dragons like to lead, and have an affect that makes others want to follow them. Yet even if they attract no support they will fight alone.

THE WATER DRAGON 1952 AND 2012

Water has a calming effect on the Dragon’s fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.

THE WOOD DRAGON 1904 AND 1964

Wood has a modifying influence and brings creativity to this sign. Questioning and liberal, Wood Dragons enjoy talking about original ideas and are open to other points of view. They are innovative, imaginative practical and appreciate art in each of its forms. Generally less pretentious than other Dragons, Wood Dragons have an ability to get along with other people. They have the essentials to build a prosperous and happy life for themselves. Still, Wood Dragons are outspoken and at times a bit pushy to quell everyone, even in the most friendly quarrel.

THE FIRE DRAGON 1916 AND 1976

The Fire Dragon is a powerful force to be reckoned with. This is a Dragon doubled! The Fire Dragon can move from calm and collected to combustible in a matter of seconds. In some ways the Fire Dragon is his or her own worst enemy. These Dragons cannot help feeling they are valuable and all-knowing. When they are right their vehemence and vigor is an asset to the cause, and though they value objectivity, they do not always employ the best decision-making measures, and sometimes jump to the wrong conclusion. They also suffer from recklessness and quick tempers. Yet, when they do keep their temper, emotions, and rivaling spirit under control, they emanate a commanding influence on other people.

THE EARTH DRAGON 1928 AND 1988

Earth Dragons make great managers because they are practical, levelheaded and demonstrate a knack for organizing. They still have the need to dictate and be admired, but they are affable, congenial and supportive. Compared to other Dragons, Earth Dragons are less likely to breathe fire at the least irritation. They will work diligently to complete their life goals. The Earth element adds a greater portion of self-control to the Dragon’s personality and usually the Earth Dragon is deserving of the respect he or she desires. These Dragons take their life and romantic responsibilities quite seriously.

HEALTH AND HOME

HEALTH
Dragons take thrilling risks and burn the candle at both ends so they are fortunate to be blessed with good health. Among the most hearty of the Animal signs, they can suffer bad health as a result of stress. Symptoms of their personalities often stem from emotional outbursts and can range from tension headaches to depression to hypertension. Dragons can remedy these problems by maintaining their cool, implementing a routine in their daily lives, and utilizing exercises such as yoga or tai kwon do that soothe the mind and spirit as well as tone the body.
AT HOME WITH THE DRAGON
Not the most domesticated of the Animal signs, Dragons and may be more content out and about rather than at home. Nevertheless, with their imagination and artistic sense, they can enjoy decorating their home or anywhere else where their extravagance can be expressed.. A Dragon’s home should be as large and majestic as his personality, providing space for the fiery temperament or emotional eruptions that accompany their character.

CAREER AND FINANCE

THE DRAGON AT WORK
The Dragon’s originality is the most impressive and outstanding of all his characteristics. The Dragon is quite imaginative and always able to see new paths where others may run into brick walls. Dragons are very adaptable and are fit for various occupations, especially if those occupations allow him to take the limelight. In any of these occupational situations, the Dragons will take a radical approach. Dragons work hard, but would rather give orders than receive them. They should avoid jobs that encompass too much routine, and should move toward jobs in which their self-reliance can be an asset.
FINANCE AND THE DRAGON
Dragons like to spend money and are charitable themselves as well as with others. They do not know the meaning of the word “accumulate,” and making money does not intrigue them as it may others. Many Dragons will take big chances with their finances, sometimes betting on their shirt and losing it right off of their backs. Yet, they were born with the Midas Touch, and it very rare that a Dragon remains poor for long. Dragons will always be straightforward in financial dealings and can always be trusted.
DRAGON CAREERS
Those born in the Year of the Dragon also share the same kinds of goals and objectives in life. The occupations best suited for the Dragon are listed below:
DRAGONS MAKE EXCELLENT:

  • Computer analysts
  • Inventors
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Lawyers
  • Philosophers
  • Psychoanalysts
  • Brokers
  • Managers
  • Salepeople
  • PR People
  • Advertising agents
  • Officers in the armed forces
  • Campaigners
  • Politicians


CONGENIAL BUSINESS PARTNERS

Whether Dragons are compatible with their business partners depends on whether their signs are harmonious or antagonistic to each that of their partners. Considering the congruity of the components of their own characters and the characters of their business colleagues can also be very useful.
Dogs Ruled by: Benefit from: Are Antagonistic to:
Metal Earth Snakes Fire Tigers
Water Metal Monkeys Earth Sheep
Wood Water Roosters Metal Oxen
Fire Wood Rats Water Rabbits
Earth Fire Dragons Wood Horses
Leisurely activities and pleasures

LIKES AND DISLIKES

Since Dragons are born under the same Animal sign, they often share likes and dislikes. Following are similar likes and dislikes of the Dragon personality:
Color Preference: Greenish-Blue
Gems and Stones: Opal, Sapphire, Amber
Suitable Gifts: Tarot cards, camera, a copy of the I Ching, mirror, a family crest, mobile phone
Hobbies and Pastimes: Computer programming, public speaking, fossil hunting, astrology
Dragons Dislike: Taking orders, unnecessary bureaucracy, discounted ideas, people who don’t give 100%

THE DRAGON ON VACATION

Dragons are attracted by the bizarre. No self-respecting Dragon desires to walk in a tourist’s footsteps. Instead, they take a lot of gratification in finding hidden destinations, or, closer to home, locations off the beaten track. But Dragons also need thrills, which they might find by taking an unplanned winter break to go skiing or a spontaneous rock climbing trip in the spring. They may even test their bravery by daring to ride the highest roller coaster in the world. Dragons are also sentimental at heart, so conquering their childhood haunts, or taking a second honeymoon would bring immense pleasure too.

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES

Dragons are usually popular people, but because of their personalities, they seem to gather as much criticism as they do esteem. Due to their tumultuous temperaments, Dragons are not the most sensitive friends to those in need of a shoulder to cry on. Those who truly know the Dragon know he is a loving soul who will become your best ally in times of need. Once the dynamic Dragon has given his friendship, he will not let his friends down and will never falter in his allegiance to his companions. To a Dragon, a friend is a friend for a lifetime. Incredibly honest, Dragons are known for sincerity and are trusting souls. Because of this honesty, Dragons don’t realize others may not demonstrate or uphold the same codes of ethics. Making the discovery that they placed their trust in someone who is dishonest makes the Dragon person quite sad, yet much more perceptive for future encounters.
Compatible Friends
Best Friends: Rats and Monkeys
Mortal Enemy: Dogs

DRAGON PARENTS AND BABIES
Because people born in the year of the Dragon are so working on furthering their careers, they usually Put off having and raising children until later than many of the other Chinese horoscope signs. Parenting doesn’t come very naturally easily to the Dragon. However, when Dragons do become parents, they approach it with the same enthusiasm as other endeavors. They are proud parents and tend to boast about the accomplishments and good looks of their children.
DRAGON INFANT AND CHILD
Dog children are creative, able to entertain themselves for hours on end. They don’t mind playing by themselves, often inventing games and puzzles while doing so. They are responsible children who love to take on and complete as many tasks as possible for it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Dragons, noted for their benevolence, tend to shower their children with toys and spending money. It has been remarked that they substitute material things for quality time with their children. Even so, Dragons take parenting seriously and are quite protective of their children’s welfare. Should anything upset them, or should anyone wrong them, the Dragon will prepare to fight and avenge the people who have hurt or belittled their offspring.
DRAGON PARENT/CHILD KINSHIPS
Like their adult counterparts, children born in the Year of the Dragon have vivid personalities and are independent from birth. Noisy and active, parents should stimulate their imaginations as soon as possible. Their imagination and inquisitive natures can be troublesome for the Dragon child and can often land them in a heap of trouble at school which can cause teachers and other parents to deem them troublemakers or naughty. Sometimes Dragon children are loners who daydream and drift to into their own world of make-believe. Either way, Dragon children demand careful attention and special handling in order to bring out the best in them. Their creativity and talents must be encouraged, even if it means spending extra time in certain school subjects in order to help them master the subject. .
DRAGON PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS
Some parents immediately click with their children and others find they will never have a close relationship, no matter how hard they try to make it happen. Following are the compatibility ratings between Dragon parents and their children.

Dragons with Under the same roof Compatibility Rating
Rat take pride in each other ****
Ox not much understanding *
Tiger Many Thrills ***
Rabbit Contesting Viewpoints *
Dragon Like Mother like Daughter ****
Snake Little problems ****
Horse Different Attitudes **
Sheep To Delicate *
Monkey Mutually Satisfying ****
Rooster few clashes of temperament ***
Dog Problems arise *
Pig get along, but hard work **
* Uphill Struggle
**Some Complications
***easy bonding
****on the same wavelength


LOVERS AND SPOUSES

Negatively, Dragons are egotistical and love to be the center of attention. Modesty is not one of his assets. Add to that the Dragon temper and you have a bossy, dominating and authoritative being. They hate solicited advice and can be hopelessly tactless and insensitive to their lovers.

THE DRAGON IN LOVE

IRRESISTIBLE ATTRACTION
People love Dragons so much because they are generous, charismatic, irresistible, and so brave that standing beside them banishes fear. They generate excitement and turn heads anywhere they go. They are free-spirited and impulsive and can help others achieve their dreams. Others love to be around Dragons because they have a way of making people feel better. Dragons are quick to fall in love, but do not surrender their independence easily leaving most of them to live life by themselves. Yet, an smart, witty, and funny companion may intrigue the Dragon long enough to make him want to get married. And once the Dragon becomes committed, he is unlikely to ever leave.

THE DRAGON LOVE PARTNER
It takes someone with thick skin who is easygoing to be a Dragon’s partner, because, despite their sentimental characters, they can be moody, and insensitive. Many people will want to run when the Dragon’s temper is provoked. Chinese horoscopes are very specific about which partnerships have the potential to be successful in love and in business. Yet, though destiny can point us in the right direction, we must still make all efforts to maintain loving relationships. Following is a brief description of how a Dragon will affect a relationship with other Animal signs.
PARTNERS IN LOVE
DragonRat
A brilliant relationship-plenty of love, mental sensitivity and understanding. Tipped for happiness.
Dragon
Ox
When it comes to being obstinate, Dragons have met their match in the Ox. The give and take essential for a happy marriage is lacking in this partnership
DragonTiger
A gutsy combination full of gusto to fuel passions
Dragon
Rabbit
Your obstacles will either unite or divide you
DragonDragon
If you learn to share the spotlight, you can accomplish anything together
Dragon
Snake
Clever, crafty and quick-witted-you fit together like pieces of a puzzle.
DragonHorse
You share a powerful sexual chemistry.
Dragon
Sheep
Despite the sexual attraction, eventually you’ll find too many differences to overcome.
DragonMonkey
You share opinions and goals that destine you for happiness.
Dragon
Dog
A truly tumultuous affair-not recommended for peace of mind.
DragonPig
A caring and deeply affectionate relationship.
Dragon
Rooster
You make a beautiful couple, but your egotism blinds you.

EAST MEETS WEST

ARIES DRAGON
Aries Dragons tend to have good luck. With a passionate drive they fill their days to the brim with activity. They are upwardly mobile people so they usually get what they want.

LIBRAN DRAGON
The Libran Dragon is a chic creature, quite cultured and cultivated. Charm is this Dragon’s greatest asset and is a magnetic force that causes people to flock to him. The Libran Dragon fair person and is a champion of the people.

TAUREAN DRAGON
Taurus brings the Dragon back down from the clouds and adds a purposeful strength to his character. Taurean Dragons will work consistently to achieve material comforts and high standards of living essential to their well-being.

SCORPIO DRAGON
Eccentric and exotic, Scorpio Dragons are mighty people with legendary zest and enthusiasm, and incredibly passionate emotions. They throw themselves into everything they do. When they fall in love it is completely and exclusively and they expect the same treatment of their partners.

GEMINI DRAGON
These are life’s performers, taking pleasure in the company of others. Gemini Dragons can accomplish several tasks at once and are able to juggle many conversations successfully. However, taking on anything in depth is not really their style.

SAGITARRIAN DRAGON
Open and straightforward, the Sagittarian Dragon’s honor is well-intentioned, although it can sometimes be insensitive. Extemporaneous and careless, this Dragon’s abundant fervor sweeps everyone along. They have a charming outlook on life.

CANCERIAN DRAGON
Cancer Dragons have polished tastes and are generally an artist of some sort. Their homes act as show- cases of these artistic talents. These are less self-indulged characters and are caring, tender, individuals. For them a tight-knit relationship and established home are necessary for happiness.

CAPRICORN DRAGON
These Dragons are pragmatic, determined and modest, with a driving craving for achievement. They will work long hours to make a slow climb to the top. For them, passion and romance come second, but once committed, they are responsible partners.

LEONINE DRAGON
The Lion is King of the Western zodiac and the Dragon is the sign of the Emperor. Leo Dragons have an innate sense of royalty; thus they are born leaders. They are flashy and like to show-off, but their kindness and zest for life make them fascinating.

AQUARIAN DRAGON
Impractical and atypical, these Dragons are intrigued by the shock of the new. Most importantly, they are intellectuals, very individualistic and original, born ahead of their time. Receptive and open-minded, they are held in high regard by all.

VIRGO DRAGON
Status and title matter a lot to the Virgo Dragon, and he is prepared to work diligently to achieve them. These organized and productive people carefully plan each aspect of their lives and leave nothing to chance. The Dragon’s capricious characteristics are calmed and the Virgo Dragon has a streamlined, efficient outlook on life.

PISCEAN DRAGON
With Piscean tenderness added to Dragon brashness, these individuals are still vivid and impassioned, but. less self-involved and more responsive to the needs of others. However, the Dragon motivation is still there, hidden underneath that seemingly tranquil surface.

The Old Car Test

You Are Totally Stylish

If you were a car, you’d be sparkling clean and shiny. You always look good!
When it comes to the road of life, you like it when all eyes are on you. You’re the most polished car on the road.
You may get irritated while driving, but you always remain cool. You could never imagine honking at another driver.
You are the epitome of manners and grace. You like to hold your head up high.

Just Empty Space

I think of space when I think of that day. Kind of odd I guess. But space as an element, a thing you can almost reach out and touch, something that you could hear if you listen during a quiet time.

An empty space is mysterious and unknown. That’s likely why we fear it. Around the corner, at the other side of a dark room, the backseat of the car when you know no one is sitting there. Our hitchhiker was like that. Something in the space that you could almost feel but not actually see, smell or touch. Just something sensed enough to give a creepy feeling and start us looking into dark corners expecting to see her there.

Her, was the girl who died, of course. Alone, in the rainstorm, under a bridge, she drowned in her over turned car. I thought it was a sad way to die. Hoping to be found and yet time passing with no help. Could she see the clock on her dashboard, watch the seconds and minutes pass as she died. The water rising but not filling the car quite enough to ease the pressure so she could force open a door and escape. Or was she already gone when she hit the water? Did she never even know she was dying until she was dead?

Did she now wait on the bridge, looking at the world of the living and want to come back, to join us again or just finally get home.

My husband parked the car there, at her bridge. He’d noticed the floral offerings at the side of the road and wanted to take a look. We often made road trips to cemeteries, abandoned farms and houses. He liked to put them in a more gruesome and haunted light. He’s into horror. I’m not a horror fan, not someone who’d stay up after midnight to watch movies about murderers, violence and gore.

He remembered hearing about the accident and her death on the news. We talked about it. I was sad for her. There was nothing left of the car of course, it had all been towed away, put away and dealt with. He wanted to take a better look, maybe find some car part left over or something of hers which had been overlooked. So he picked his way down the weeds and stepped around the muddy shore searching for a souvenir.

I took some photos of her flowers. They were looking pretty weathered and shabby but I was glad her family and friends had given her a memorial, a tribute. Then we got back in the car, thinking of how welcome a hot chocolate would be. The girl was in my mind, as any tragic figure lingers awhile before becoming just a memory and passing thought.

Did he look over his shoulder first or did I? I’m not sure. More likely my husband did, he was driving and had a reason to check the rear view mirror now and then. He didn’t say anything. Just drove on down those wet dirt country roads, splashing through puddles but not laughing about the spray of water as he usually would have. I decided he was feeling a bit somber, as I was myself. When I noticed he was a bit jumpy I laughed and asked if we were being followed, maybe he wanted to play at being secret agents and spies as he sometimes liked to do on drives along quiet roads.

He didn’t answer right away. Then he asked if I could see, or did I feel, anyone in the car, in the backseat. I gave a quick look, humouring him. I was all set to say “Of course not”, but I did catch something out of the corner of my eye. Just something in that space. I turned around in my seat, pushing the seat belt off my neck, for a better look. Nothing. Of course nothing. We hadn’t brought anyone else along, not a dog, not so much as a goldfish.

“No”, I said. I didn’t laugh or make a joke about it though.

We drove farther, closer to the road into town. Each of us would sneak backward looks. I could see him look in the rear view mirror several times on a road where we were the only traffic.

He pulled the mirror down to focus on the back seat. I scrunched down to watch the back from the passenger side mirror. It began to feel really creepy in that car. Something was in that space of nothingness, something we couldn’t see.

Just behind my head I could feel eyes, keeping silent, soundless as the dead, ironically. We hardly dared to breathe ourselves. I wished my husband could find the bravery I lacked and flip on the radio. Surely something as normal and ordinary as the radio could chase away the skin crawling creepiness of whatever lurked in the backseat.

She must have been so cold, dying in that deeply chilled water. How desperate she must be now to find some warmth, something human, to not be alone and quite so dead. If you believe in ghosts surely you could see how she might want to sit in our warm backseat with the heater making the car so toasty warm. Only now I was getting chilled just thinking about heat sucking ghosts sitting just out of sight, right behind me.

Another quick flick of my eyes to the backseat. My imagination pictured her sitting there. Her eyes dark and haunted, bruised looking. Her body so cold, right through, unable to feel warmth. Dripping water. I imagined hearing the little plop, plop, plop of water as it dripped from her cold, dead self. Maybe she would shiver, not knowing that a ghost isn’t alive and wouldn’t need to shiver.

It was a long trip back to town, we didn’t speak again. How can you speak about what isn’t there.

At the coffee shop, back in the living world where the spaces are all filled with artificial light, noise from the living and the smell of bacon and eggs, it was very easy to shake off the creepy feeling and put it down to just imagination. But, the feeling came with us when we got back in the car. I feel it still.

It’s been days since we took that road trip. I’m often alone in our apartment after my husband takes the car to work. Those spaces of time which I used to do laundry, make dinner, wash dishes and vacuum are no longer just the passing of time. My space is captured by something I only feel, see out of the corner of my eye. It’s her I’m sure. I think she is sad, missing the people she knew and the things she liked to do.

Since that day at the bridge I’ve stopped looking in the backseat when I’m in the car. I avoid mirrors especially, they give me a very creepy feeling. When I brush my teeth each morning I look down, avoiding my own eyes and anything that might be in that space behind me. I never take that space for granted any more.

You see, she isn’t the only one there now. I think they followed her to our home. Someday they’ll fill all that space. Taking it all. I hardly dare to take a real breath any more. I never look into corners and I always have the lights on. Someday they will suck out all the space around me. I don’t know what will happen then, when the dead fill the space of the living. My husband thinks I’m crazy so I just don’t talk to him about it any more. But I can see he gets nervous too, sometimes after dark when the apartment is quiet and he gets that creepy sense of something else, something that hitchhiked back into the living world with us and won’t now let us go.


My Halloween story. By me.

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