The feel of fall is in the air so there is a nip in the air as you walk the dog in the early morning. The house which went into foreclosure is now rehabbed by a company whose license plate reads “Louisiana.” They hire groundskeepers who chop down the bushes and the tree which your old friend tended so carefully. The house is put on the market again and sells very quickly but it still appears to have a shaved head and a very bare feeling as if someone came in and robbed the house of its individuality. Sometimes as you pass with the dog, you remember your friend feeding her cats and rocking in the chair nearby answering questions about your life as if quizzed by the Director, himself.

Halloween is around the corner, so many of the houses in the area have arranged displays including one of grinning clowns at the windows, greeting the gate, and cornered in the side yard. There is even a sign warning about “clowns in the area.” As you continue your walk, you hear a wailing like a baby or a high pitched unnatural scream nearby from the home which is secretive looking but not abandoned. On other walks, you have noticed the owner wheeling in the garbage can or collecting the mail. You hesitate but the dog continues his walk prancing forward on his tiny legs as if he heard nothing. So you continue putting aside all those stories of people locked away in houses. It is part of your imagination you tell yourself. After all, Halloween is around the corner.

The sun appears warming the area and there you see the little Eastern European man from his back porch. He stands and inquires, “Out for exercise?” Sometimes you are not sure if he means you or the dog. He seems to want always to talk and even follows you one time to the park next door eager to chat in his stilted and awkward English. It is very awkward for you and you always hope his wife is around as you feel more comfortable with a female nearby. As you approach the block near your home, you notice the lady with her dog who waits your approach almost a half a mile away…like half a football field. You are not sure why but you don’t quite want her dog and your dog friendly and her waiting sometimes in front of your home makes you uncomfortable. So, you turn the corner and continue toward the back street, watching as she deliberately pauses and waits for you but she doesn’t come your way instead continues toward the old shuttered and very tightly kept home she inhabits down the way. You know the home because you always greeted the slight of build elderly man living there as he raked his lawn or cleaned his garage. You haven’t seen him in a year or so, but you noticed she is now living with him. Inwardly, you wonder but some instinct tells you not to approach her and you watch her carefully.

Halloween “All Hallow’s Eve” will be here shortly and it will be on a Monday. How will that play out for all the school children who live on your street? What time will Halloween end? Well, you do have 576 pieces of candy, so that should last awhile. Happy Halloween. Keep the costumes imaginary and everyone stay safe!

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