Deena Warner

2022: Thanks, Alice, for this wonderful story.

Halloween Card 2022

The Night Wraith

by Alice Henderson

The Night Wraith had crept over their lands the year before, bringing darkness and cold to October Village. Candles wouldn't stay lit. Hearths wouldn't ignite. Families shivered in constant snow.

The Elders tried in vain to dispel the Night Wraith.

But Trillium and Lareth knew what to do. They'd heard the legend of the Jack-O-Lantern of Light all their lives — that it could dispel any darkness.

But it lay far away on Halloween Isle, and the journey was fraught with danger. Ancient water monsters of myth and legend lurked out there.

Determined, they crafted their boat of cardboard, the only material they could steal under the noses of the Elders, who would have forbidden their journey because of the danger.

On Halloween they set sail, eluding the hungry maws of the water creatures, and at sunset spotted the curled spire of Halloween Isle.

Trillium grinned. She raised the paddle and let out a sigh. "We've made it."

Cautiously they set foot on the Isle, entering its darkening forests, drawn by the distant glow of the Jack-O-Lantern of Light.

As the moon rose, they weaved through the trees in silvery light. Werewolves howled and vampires slunk in the shadows. Though scared, Trillium and Lareth slipped past them, never wavering on their quest. At last they reached a moonlit meadow, a great jack-o-lantern hanging from an ancient gnarled tree in the center. Brilliant light spilled from the giant pumpkin's eyes and mouth. As the light touched the pair of adventurers, they felt their worries and fears fade away.

Gently they pulled it down from the branches. Instantly another jack-o-lantern shimmered into view, replacing the old, awaiting the next brave heroes.

With their magical source of illumination, Trillium and Lareth hurried back to their waiting boat. Together, they would bring warmth and light back to their village.

Alice Henderson is the author of A Solitude of Wolverines and other great suspense novels. Visit her website.