The boy woke up. He couldn't believe it. Above him was his bedroom ceiling. He pressed his hands down to either side of him and found familiar, cold sheets. He couldn't believe it had been a nightmare.
But how much of it? Everything? The scarecrow coming to life. . . it seemed unlikely. Not just unlikely, it was impossible. He was a little surprised when he realized there was a pang of sadness at it all being fiction, but it was certainly better than being boiled to death. A hell of a lot better!
He threw himself out of bed in elation. He stood in place on the floor for a moment, just enjoying the reality of it all. And yet, he couldn't help but wonder. . .
Being careful to not make too much noise, he pulled the closet door open and turned on the light inside, then began to dig. He didn't see it right away, so he pulled out a box of old toys and dug deeper, and then, fruitlessly, even pawed through his hanging clothes.
The small battery lantern was gone. For that matter, so was his backpack.
He wasn't sure which was harder to believe. If it was all real, then how did he get home? And, if it was all real. . . then they were out there. The witch was out there, the madman, the coffin man. Jack o' the Lantern was out there somewhere, creeping around in the shadows.
William hurried out of his bedroom and down the hall. He didn't care if he woke his mother now-- in fact, that's just what he needed. He came to her door and flung it open-- harder than he meant to. It slipped from his hand and slammed against the wall.
She woke up with a start, then slowly sat up in bed. She stared confusedly into the dark. “Who's there?” she said uncertainly.
“Mom, it's me. I'm sorry.”
She continued staring at him, not answering.
From down the hall, another door opened, and his grandpa emerged. “What the hell was that?” he asked.
“Dad?” his mom answered. “I don't know. I think the door.”
“It was me,” William answered them.
“The wind,” his mom said.
“Oh my God,” the boy said.
“Doesn't seem that windy,” Grandpa said. “Maybe the spooks are out early this year.”
“Don't say that, dad," chided the boy's mother.
William took hold of the door once more and ever so slowly began to pull it shut.
“Oh my God, dad, look! Its doing it again.”
His mother and grandfather were very impressed with his ability to close a door. Far more impressed than they should be. His grandpa put a hand out and stopped the door's motion.
“Wind,” said his grandpa.
“Grandpa?” William asked him. There was no response, just as the boy expected. His mother had gotten out of bed by now and joined her father. They both stood near the boy, but did not comprehend his presence.
“I'm dead,” he said. “I'm dead and you can't even hear me!”
He found his legs carrying him away from his two family members as they discussed the magical moving door. His path crossed a curio cabinet with a mirrored back, and he stopped to stare at it. Within he saw antiques, framed pictures and the reflection of the wall behind him. His presence was as absent there as it was to his family.
William grabbed the top edge of the curio and yanked it to the ground. Glass shattered, antiques broke, picture frames went flying. It was satisfying. Dead or not, he was still here, and he was real. As real as the scarecrow. As real as the witch.
“Oh my God! Dad! What's happening!?” His mother was yelling. His grandfather could only stare with horror at the mess on the floor.
“I'm Dead!” William yelled. “That's what's happening!”