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"Happy Halloween" by Tim Myers

Twist #292 - December 2014

Originally appeared Oct. 1998

(Page 1 of 3)

Some people might have considered the power outage on Halloween a mere nuisance occurring on the one night of the year the entire country celebrated the spirit world. Not Yancey Cole. He saw it as a gift from above, an added pleasure that only enhanced his already perfect opportunity to steal.

Throughout the year, slipping in and out of the darkness was his specialty, bypassing most alarms and locks like a ghost, robbing the richer homes of the community almost at will.

Tonight on Halloween, his talent would shine. Yancey, dressed in a flowing black cape and skillfully applied stage makeup, walked openly down the streets as he moved toward his target. It was the one night of the year he wasn't forced to skulk around the edges of shadow. Walking among the little ghosts, goblins and Disney-inspired characters, Yancey felt the surreal tone of the night down to his bones. As a child, he'd always loved a good scare. Too bad that the trappings of adulthood had taken that from him. He watched the little trick-or-treaters with more than a touch of envy.

Soon he found himself in front of his target for tonight. The house he'd originally picked was a modern three story monstrosity that stuck out in the staid old neighborhood like a gold tooth on a nun, but what the owners lacked in taste, they more than made up for in conspicuous consumption. He expected to make an excellent haul tonight. Thank God for Yuppies.

In particular, the flashy home Yancey had picked was in stark contrast to the residence next to it, a place he had long admired but regretfully passed up since it sported a state of the art burglar alarm system that even he couldn't touch.

Wait a minute, Yancey thought. That was before the power failed. He'd checked several of the houses in the neighborhood out of habit the day before when he'd been snooping around dressed as a meter reader. He'd noted that the old house he'd seen had a system that didn't have a battery back up.

Yancey didn't believe in changing plans abruptly, he'd always considered it bad luck, but this was an opportunity too good to pass up. The place was particularly suited to his Halloween mood. Built of brick a hundred years ago, the house sported turrets that rose high above the ground and wide dark buttresses that supported its own cast of gargoyles watching over all below. The original builder had obviously been in love with the castles of the old world, and had commissioned a home reminiscent of days long gone.

That suited Yancey just fine. Dracula was going to rob the castle tonight.