His cape kept catching on the bottom of his sneakers so he spread out his arms, hoping that a breeze would whip underneath and blow the cape out behind him. That’s the way it had looked on the picture: wind blown and heroic.
Of course, no amount of wind would make Bobby look like the picture looked, and he had his doubts that Batman wore a t-shirt with his own name scrawled beneath the bat logo. It was disappointing, but not unexpected. Grey tights and utility belts wouldn’t be enough to transform him into anything other than plain old Bobby.
“Get a move on,” Dad said from the sidewalk.
Bobby nodded and hustled to the next house. He hoped that he would be able to fill half of his pillowcase before his father decided they were done.
The cape caught again, and Bobby fell against the little witch in front of him. With a yell, she shoved back. Then she giggled and ran, turning to look at him expectantly. She wanted him to chase her. She was coasting on candy and adrenaline, and she wanted more of it.
They all did. Between houses, Bobby watched the ghosts and goblins stormed through the streets. They laughed at the funny faces carved into the pumpkins and played with the crepe paper decorations. But what they really wanted was a good scare. That’s what this night was for after all.
Bobby was different though. The more effort someone took in decorating their yard, the more likely he was to avoid them. He was willing to brave the night for the treats, but he really didn’t want the tricks.
It was hard to take pleasure in imagined fright when one was so accustomed to the real thing. The stories the other children whispered to one another could not hold a candle to the ones that Bobby could tell them, though his did not include any bogeymen or dead girls crawling out of mirrors.
“Okay, that’s enough. Let’s go home,” Dad said. “And don’t give me that look. You’ve got enough to last until next year.”
Bobby fell into line behind his father. He lifted his eyes from the ground just enough to take a last look around. This night was made of fantasy, but like all fantasies, it would dissolve with dawn. Come the following morning, the plastic bones would return to the box in the attic, the Jack O’Lanterns would be smashed against the pavement and the hordes of candy would dwindle. The costumes would be cast aside; the monsters packed away.
Bobby was glad. In spite of the candy, he hated Halloween. He didn’t understand why anyone would want to be scared. He didn’t understand why anyone would willingly go in search of fear.
Because Bobby had a secret, you see. Even the most elaborate costumes could not fool him because he knew the truth. He had learned that some people wore their masks everyday. He knew that the face of real evil was a smiling face, a happy face, a face that no one else would suspect.
“What’s with the hold up?” Dad asked, eyes alight with a hint of something that the rest of his genial expression would never betray. In public anyway.
Bobby did not reply. Silently, he bade goodbye to the temporary demons of Halloween as he walked home hand in hand with the devil.
BIO: Sarah-Jane Lehoux is a new author who makes her living as a veterinary technician. For more information, please visit www.sarah-janelehoux.com
MOTIVATION: “Bobby's Devil” began as a writing exercise. The idea was to write a Halloween themed story, but like most of my stories, it took an unexpected turn.
Photo by: Philippe Ramakers