This freewrite was born in creative writing club in college. The character clicked her way into my consciousness and is loosely based on a few of my own Halloweens growing up. I still remember my sister and I spreading our treats across the dining room table and dividing them into piles for us and for the candy fairy who only came once a year while we were asleep on Halloween night. We were a little disgruntled to give up a portion of our sugary treasure but looking back, we always seemed to get the better end of the deal.
Her tall high heeled black boots clicked rhythmically on the cold concrete as she walked, a steady metronome for her thoughts. The red and gold leaves strewn on the path in front of her seemed to leap aside as she passed as if afraid of being trodden on by her heels. It was nearly 7:00pm. The sun hadn’t yet dipped behind the mountains but already, little toddlers in Walmart Elsa costumes and Spiderman masks were scattering over the trimmed lawns that hadn’t yet lost their color.
She watched them as she walked. They were so excited. She remembered being that small and being just as full of anticipation for the mountains of sweets still to come. She was never allowed to keep all her sugary treasure from the evening’s dance from house to house. Her parents always made her pick her favorite ten pieces. The rest, they said, was for the Candy Fairy, who always came in the night. Every year when she woke the next morning, her extra candy would be gone but in its place would be a present. One year, the candy fairy brought a beautiful leather bound copy of her favorite story, the Lord of the Rings. She still remembered when she first felt those velvety smooth pages, smelled that alluring scent of a new book, sweeter than any candy to her.
It was just another Santa Claus, another Easter Bunny, another Tooth Fairy. She knew the truth now about where those wonderful gifts came from just like she knew the truth about who set the presents out under the tree every Christmas. She had long since stopped going Trick-or-Treating although she still got dressed up and went out with friends. It was odd. There was a deep sense of nostalgia which ached in her stomach. She missed the days when the Candy Fairy had been real and yet, in some ways, it still was. She had seen behind that curtain around the same time she’d discovered the truth about Santa but she could still feel the magic that had fueled the happy glow in her six-year-old eyes.
Now, she watched it bloom in the wake of dozens of costume clad kids all with orange plastic Jack-o-Lantern buckets swinging from their arms or bouncing behind them as they skipped from house to house. They were all so intent on their treasure hunt. Their parents and younger siblings in strollers trailed behind them, keeping their distance while still close enough to be considered a watchful eye.
None stopped to wave to her or catch her eye. She didn’t expect them to. Even when it wasn’t Halloween people rarely grew so friendly as to be called neighborly. Not to her. She had long ago been branded as odd. People kept their distance. By now, she barely noticed except around children. All the adults in town knew to stay away but there was still the rare occasion when some little person hadn’t yet been taught to keep away from the weird witch girl who lived on Luna Way up on the hill.
It was hardly her fault. She wasn’t a powerful evil enchantress. Strange things simply happened when she was around, not all of them good.