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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Ghost · #845244
True love at long last reunited.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
-- Edgar Allen Poe

A loud banging brought Ed out of his quiet reverie.

"Dang kids!" he muttered, slowly rising from his chair.

He snatched the large dish of candy from the hall table before opening the door to an array of little characters.

"Trick or treat!" chanted a miniature Batman, Spiderman, is that a purple dinosaur? and hobo.

Ed smiled wearily, dropping candy into their outstretched plastic pumpkins and shopping bags. The children chanted their rehearsed "Thank you," and disappeared into the night.

Closing the door, he sat the dish on the table and shuffled back to his comfortable old chair where his open book awaited him. The collection of poems had been a gift from Rosie on their tenth wedding anniversary. Ed's favorite had always been Poe's "The Raven." It had become his special ritual to read the poem every Hallow's Eve.

Picking up the book, he settled deeper into his chair, with a creak of his old bones. A racking cough shook him. He knew he had taken a chill this morning, but he'd had them before and thought nothing of it now. He lowered his eyes to the words on the page.

..."Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-

Another loud knock made Ed start. He slowly made his way to the door once more. This time, two little witches, a princess and a ghost visited him. He passed out the candy and they ran off to the next house. Ed hardly realized he had closed the door and sat the dish down. He felt cold--chilled to the bone. The cough hit him again, nearly sending him to his knees. Making his way back to his chair, he reached for the afghan that Rosie had crocheted for him and wrapped it around himself. He could still smell her in it.

Rosie and Ed had met while they were teenagers. Entranced with one another from the get-go, it was assumed they would marry. Ed loved Rosie with his entire being and she had felt the same. They had never had children, only each other and they had been fine with that.

Rosie had always been the strong one of the two, or so Ed thought. When she passed away two years back, he had been devastated. He didn't know how he could ever go on without her.

Take Halloween. She had always passed out the candy while Ed read his poem. She had loved the kids and their varied costumes. Ed preferred to stay in the background. Now that she was gone, he just couldn't see turning the kids away. They had meant too much to her. He decided that, if it took him all night he would cover candy duty and still get his poem read.

Before Ed could settle back into his poem, the kids were at the door again. Now, there was a steady stream of cartoon characters, goblins, royalty and ghosts. He leaned against the doorjamb for support. He was getting colder and the night air wasn't helping. His cough was worsening. Soon enough, the kids and the candy had vanished. Turning out the porch light, he could settle in and read his book.

A loud rap sounded at the door.

"Who could that be? The light is off and it's too late for the little imps to be out now," he grumbled.

Darkness there and nothing more.

Ed peered into the darkness. There was not a soul in sight.

"Must be those damn teenagers, trying to scare an old man!"

Slamming the door, he once again hunkered down in his chair to read his poem. A few more lines into it and there was a loud crash on the front porch. Disgusted, Ed limped as quickly as he was able in an effort to catch the troublemakers. He threw the door open to find the wind had picked up and had caused a flower pot to fall from the porch railing. It now lay shattered, black dirt scattered.

'Tis the wind and nothing more!

"I'm just being a jumpy old fool! I'm letting this Halloween business get the best of me."

He wrapped himself tightly in Rosie's afghan. He couldn't seem to get the chill out of his bones. The comfortable old chair wrapped around him like a warm hug. He picked up his book but just couldn't seem to concentrate.

Rosie had been the prettiest girl he'd ever seen. He had been surprised when he asked her out and she'd said yes. They had gone to the soda shop and ordered burgers and malts. Rosie was as smart as she was pretty. She had kept up her end of the conversation and hadn't played those silly games the girls usually played. He knew that day she would be his wife.

"Oh Rosie! I sure do miss you!" he said to the empty house.

Ed tried to go back to his reading, but his reminisces of Rosie wouldn't allow him his peace. She was so strong in his mind that he could almost feel her with him. Almost.

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did pour.

Ed coughed again, wracking his frail body with spasms. The chill was getting worse and he was sure he felt a fever coming on. He thoughts kept drifting back to his beloved.

Their wedding day hadn't been a fancy affair. Ed liked it that way. He knew Rosie would have liked something nicer but they simply couldn't afford it.

She had worn an ankle length champagne-colored dress that she had made herself. It wasn't made of silk or satin, but Ed thought she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever laid eyes on. He had worn his best suit. The preacher was an old friend of both families and had agreed to perform the ceremony as a gift. When told he could kiss his bride, Ed had been so nervous he nearly missed Rosie's lips altogether.

He had been the happiest man in the world.

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore...

Rosie had been a good wife. The first several years of their marriage were ones of bliss.

Then, Rosie took ill. She would be tired, ache and feel cold. She began to lose weight and then her strength. The doctor couldn't find a suitable diagnoses for her condition. He just told her and Ed that she should rest and do nothing that would tire her.

Ed cared for his ill wife the way only a devoted husband would. He cooked for her, cleaned the house and performed his own chores. It wore him to the bone but he never complained. He loved Rosie with all his heart and wanted her to be comfortable.

She managed to live to an old age before the illness took her.

Ed remembered the night well. It was a cold, blustery night. Rosie had been coughing all day. She told him she was tired and wished to lay down. Ed went to check on her a half hour later and she was gone. He had sat in disbelief. She had left him alone. How could he go on without her? He would never hear her laugh or her voice again.

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking, "Nevermore."

Ed was hit with another coughing fit that doubled him over. His chest was hurting and the cold settled into his very bones. He tugged at the afghan, seeking comfort in the fact that Rosie had lovingly made it.

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer...

An odor caught in Ed's nostrils. He stiffened from the recognition of it. Rose water! He had bought Rosie a bottle of it on their first anniversary as a joke. He felt it was a clever play on her name. Rosie, however, thought it perfume from the gods. Every year thereafter, she received rose water and a dozen roses.

But there was no rose water in the house anymore. Ed had poured it all out in a fit of grief after his precious Rosie had died. Time had passed and it wasn't possible for the aroma to linger.

"Maybe it's because she's all I've been thinking of," he told himself.

A rustle near the curtains caught his attention at the same time he was hit with another cough. When the spell subsided, he opened his eyes and gasped. By the open window stood an iridescent figure. Something was familiar about it but Ed couldn't quite put his finger on it. Another waft of rose water refreshed his bewildered memory.


Did the figure smile?

"Rosie girl, is that you?"

She stood by the window, as if waiting on him. The pain in his chest was growing worse. He began coughing again. This time flecks of blood splattered his gnarled hands.

He looked once more to the waiting figure. The forgotten book fell to the floor, open to the poem he had been trying all night to read. Ed slumped in his chair.

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!

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