Happy Wednesday, Briefers! Hope you all had a great week. The second and final part of my Halloween story is below. I didn’t use a prompt this week, as I’d already written this little two-parter. Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out the other stories this week, links below:-
Coming Back Part 2
I touched him again, a casual brush of my fingertips across his wrist below the cuff of his shirt. When I felt warm skin, I snatched away my hand in shock. Gently, he caught my hand in his and held it, lacing our fingers together the way he used to.
“I’m really here, Richard. Finally.”
“I can’t really… how could this happen?” I met his eyes, unwilling to believe just yet. I feared I’d accept it, that somehow, impossible as it was, he was back with me, alive, and then I’d wake up, or I’d come out of the daydream I’d fallen into, and I’d be alone.
“Like I said, sometimes impossible things happen on Halloween. Magic things. Souls once lost can sometimes return, if the desire is strong enough. I’ve visited every year you know, since you lost Margaret. I didn’t have form then, but I did everything I could to let you know I was there. That friendly tree outside your window tapped and whispered. But each time you told yourself it couldn’t be me. I’ve been watching over you, my love.”
“But how? You’re buried in the churchyard.”
“My old bones are. My soul never settled. I was snatched away from you so young, and we were so in love. If I’d lived, and somehow we’d been able to hold on over the years, we’d have been able to have a life together eventually. I could never accept it was snatched from us, and it seemed you couldn’t either.”
“No.” I shook my head. “I was very lucky to have Margaret. She knew how I felt, and her love for a lady she couldn’t have, helped us understand each other. We were best friends.”
“I’m glad you didn’t spend your life alone. But you lived only half a life. And I lived none. But now I can. Each year my determination to be with you again became stronger. And the past few months I’ve watched you grow more regretful, and full of despair. Tonight when darkness fell, my body slowly returned by both of us wishing it were so.”
“But when the sun comes up tomorrow, won’t it end again?”
“No.” Charlie smiled and squeezed my hand tighter. “I’ve seen this happen with others. Always at this time of year, and always for the same reason. I’m here to stay.”
“But you’re…” I gestured to his face, still so young and beautiful. “And I’m… old and wrinkly. Old enough to be your grandfather.”
Charlie grinned wider. “That’s the thing. If Halloween has enough magic in it to give a ghost his body back, couldn’t it make an old man young? Look in the mirror.” He released my hand and guided me to the small mirror propped on top of the fridge. A strange place for a mirror, I’d always thought, but Margaret liked to keep it there so she could check her pretty hair when she’d finished the proverbial slaving over a hot stove, and I’d kept it after she was gone. Now I took a peek, startled, and gaped back at my reflection. My thinning gray hair was gone and in its place, the shock of unruly dark curls I’d always failed to tame. Deep brown eyes stared back from my now unlined face and when I lifted my hands to study them, they were smooth and firm, unmarked by liver spots. Speechless, I met Charlie’s eyes again.
“I can’t explain exactly. But it’s real, and it won’t change tomorrow. This is us now.”
“But what will people think?”
“What people? I hated to see you so lonely and isolated, but the good thing is that you have no children, no one you can call a friend. Nobody to notice the new young man living here. You can have your life over again – with me.”
“It’s unbelievable. Incredible.” Finally, I allowed myself to smile. “Over forty years apart, and yet we can still have our whole lives together, from the beginning.”
“Oh yes. And I mean for us to make the most of it.” Charlie slid his arms around me, pulling me against his body. Identical in height as we were, our lips met easily, fitting together just as they had so long ago, which now seemed like only yesterday. I clung to him, stroking my fingers through the silken strands of his hair, and let myself drown in the kiss. It took my breath away and I parted my lips eagerly to admit his tongue. Arousal flared and I felt myself stiffen, matching his obvious desire.
Eventually, Charlie pulled away, but only long enough to draw me back to my bedroom. We’d never had the opportunity to lie together, managing only quick fumbles in the dark, frantic mutual hand jobs. Now we had all the time in the world for Charlie to make me his.
When I opened my eyes to daylight, I hardly dared turn my head to see if he was still there. But the reassuring warmth of him against my back, his arm around my waist, and the familiar scent of him made me smile. He was really there. I had my life back, and Halloween had brought me what I longed for most.