By noon on Halloween day, the shops had sold out most of their supply of horror costumes, creepy masks, and artificial blood. The items reappeared in the late afternoon, when the town’s younger generation showed up as giggling ghosts and hopscotching witches. Later in the evening, more serious and experienced mummies and cadavers took to the streets, which turned into an exhibition of frightening characters.
Every now and then, screams were heard, sometimes with the intention to scare and sometimes as signs that the intention had succeeded. Everybody was enjoying the free adrenaline rushes.
Suddenly, a different scream was heard. This scream, however, sounded genuinely desperate and didn’t stop. Like a stubborn fire alarm it kept sounding, causing irritation and anger. When people looked for its source, they saw a person with a tormented face and a twisted mouth, expressing agonizing pain.
It was obvious that that face and that scream didn’t belong in the family friendly celebration of death and terror. Make-up hadn’t painted those hollow eyes or those greenish cheeks. The appearance was simply inappropriately human.
As the scream continued, people started muttering that it was disturbing the peace; that the screamer needed a tranquilizer or a straight jacket. Responsible mothers pulled their children closer and brave fathers considered to shut the screamer up with a good whack.
Before that happened, though, a little boy broke out from the crowd and approached the annoying person. Without a word, he gently wrapped his arms around the screamer in a long, warm, generous hug. Immediately, the irritating sound metamorphosed into soft crying which gradually quieted down. The face turned calm and peaceful, with clear signs of beauty and serene peace.
There was an unspoken agreement that the Halloween celebration now was over; that it was time to return home. A strange thought had come to people’s minds which they needed to ponder alone.
Something told them that outer sights and sounds sometimes are deceptive; that they might hide something invisible but very important, maybe even holy. Reluctantly and secretly, some of them admitted their need for a similar, transformative hug.