Cry For All Hallows

There was a time when All Hallows Eve really meant something. Now it is nothing more than “Halloween”. Just another holiday that no-one remembers the significance of. An enterprising excuse – dreamed up by the confectionary companies – for children to stuff their faces full of junk food and run wild in a sugar induced hyperactivity that has become acceptable by parents and neighbours everywhere.
“It’s only one night a year,” I hear them say indulgently as their little ones throw toilet paper and eggs around trees, cars and houses. And that’s the innocent stuff!
Heaven help the people who are away for the night, run out of sugary treats or simply don’t believe!
In my day, children would have been thrashed within an inch of their lives for such behaviour, particularly on the night where the dead are meant to be honoured instead of mocked.
Back then, of course, the monsters were real, not just cute cartoon characters or special effects in violence mongering movies.
The monsters of today’s world are all flesh and blood. They’re often the ones handing out the treats, more than glad for this one night a year when usually diligent parents turn a blind eye to danger.
It is those particular monsters that are the only ones left who truly fear my kind. We watch them carefully. We do what we can to scare the devil out of them and keep the children safe.
If we fail, we all feel the pain. It is the only purpose we have left now, one we took upon ourselves to stave off the madness that overtook many of our brethren.
The monsters can’t see us, but I know they can feel us. That alone is often enough. Our presence creates a primal fear inside their rotten hearts and minds. Perhaps it is a fear of the Hell they know they shall have to face when their time on this earth is done.
Maybe it is the will of their God, or our Goddess, that only they know of our presence. Maybe it is His or Her gift to us for our suffering; a small comfort for the loss of All Hallows.
Who are we? What are we?
That’s a good question. Let me try to explain. I can’t speak for us all, but I can tell you my story.
I was once a farmer on the Emerald Isle. Pretty good one too. Using the old ways, much to the local Priest’s disgust, I saved my family through the great blight. Afterwards, when many of our people had died of starvation or sailed across the seas in search of a better life, the Banshee came and took me to the land of the Faerie.
It was a gift from the Goddess for remaining faithful to Her. Most of our people were going to the Christian heaven then. Can’t tell you how grateful I was when I saw her coming! I was very old, very tired.
Every All Hallows Eve, I had a chance to come back and visit my family. I’d follow the sacred candles to the home of my son, then to his son’s and then the son’s son. There would be a place set for me every year, even though their customs had changed and none of my family joined me in the afterlife.
That was alright by me, but I was mighty glad they hadn’t forgotten this most vital of courtesies.
Then it all changed. One year, as the human souls in the land of the Faerie were preparing to visit their descendents, the Banshee came to us. There were tears in her beautiful dark eyes. Her head was bowed in misery, but she never said a word.
She kissed us all goodbye, something she’d never done before, and told us that no matter what, we must believe that the Goddess loved us.
As soon as we crossed through the veil, we knew something was terribly wrong. Some tried to turn back. I knew it was too late. The veil between the living and the dead had closed behind us. Sealed for eternity.
No sacred candles shone in the windows. No places were set out for us.
Instead we saw scarecrows in front of people’s houses, carved pumpkins lit by ordinary candles and children in costume running from door to door collecting lollies and chocolate bars from strangers.
“Trick or Treat?” They called out shrilly at every doorstep.
No treats for us, only tricks. We were trapped, caught forever between two worlds. My family was gone, my country changed in what seemed like a blink of an eye. How did I miss it? The changes must have come on over many years, but all I ever thought of was seeing my family.
Now I walk the earth as a lost soul. I want to believe the Goddess has a higher purpose in mind for us. I try to do some good, but I can’t help crying for All Hallows.

© Alison Pearce 2008

Cry For All Hallows

Alison Pearce

Logan Central, Australia

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For Twisted Tales Sugar High challenge

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