22 Dec Every Halloween I’m Visited By a Childhood Figure – Creepypasta
“Come on, Dad, let’s go!”
My daughter stomped a slipper clad foot on the sidewalk as she looked back at me. I was sitting on the front steps of my childhood home, a well-loved cul-da-sac that was teaming with costumed children. The moon hung overhead, a ghostly sickle that presided over this Halloween night, and I was seated with my back against the smooth stairs and found my eyes tracking up the road. The children laughed and screamed as they stalked by. The street was a sea of superheroes, video game characters, colorful animals, and everything in between. I let my eyes drift past the excited pageantry, though.
I was looking for one costume in particular.
My mom smiled at me, slipping her hand into my daughters and giving her a little tug.
“Come on, hun. Your dad’s waiting for someone. We’ll go trick or treating while he waits.”
My daughter looked interested, “Who are you waiting for, daddy?”
Of course, she wouldn’t have remembered from last year. She had been excited about trick or treating, showing off her Wonder Woman costume, and swinging between my wife and mom’s hands as they walked. However, my wife was six months pregnant this year and had opted out of the hour drive to get to my mom’s house. She just smiled at me knowingly as I left and told me to tell him hi for her.
My mom smoothed her hair as it sat under the tall princess hat, “It’s an old friend, dear. Your father meets him here every year.”
“Well, you’re gonna miss out on the candy.” my daughter said incredulously.
I smiled, “That’s okay, Cat. You go have fun with grandma, okay?”
She glanced back as they walked onto the cul-da-sac but was soon lost in the crowd and probably wouldn’t think any more about the conversation. I leaned back, getting comfy as I waited for him to arrive as I did every year. In many ways, he was what I looked forward to most about this holiday. The candy was nice, the costumes were great, but seeing him was why I always came home on Halloween. No matter where I was, no matter what I was doing, I always came home for this one night in particular.
This was the night I got to see him.
This was the night I got to see Snarf.
Snarf was a mutt, a bull terrier mixed with a basset hound mixed with God knew what. We grew up together, he was just a puppy when I first got him, and he was my best friend for many years. I got him in kindergarten, which had been a difficult time in my life. I had been sheltered, my mother just a little bit overbearing, and I had never been around so many other kids in my life. I was not what you would call a popular child. I had thick glasses, I was overweight, and my isolation had made me painfully shy. The other kids, kids who had gone to daycare and cub scouts and t-ball together, took one look at me and dismissed me as a social outcast.
It’s rough to be all alone at five years old.
My mom thought a dog might help my confidence, or at least ease some of my shyness. I think she really just wanted to make me happy, to see me come out of my funk, and she thought that something to love me back might help with that. My mom worked twelve hours a day, six days a week, and often I was left to the care of my grandmother. She loved me and always doted on me, but she wasn’t always up for the games a five-year-old would be interested in. Now, I think that Snarf was a way for her to alleviate some of her guilt about leaving me alone so often.
Whatever the reason, I loved her for it.
We found him at the Humane Society, this little smiling puppy, and when he put his feet against the glass, I was already in love. He sat in the backseat with me the whole way home, head against stomach, panting happily as I scratched him behind the ears. He was that rare animal whose temperament never led him to jump up on people or bark for no reason. His accidents were few and far between, and he was easy to house train. We called him Snarf because he had a deviation in his nose that caused his barks to sound like snarfs instead. He was the best dog, the only dog that I ever owned, and after he came home, I do remember doing better in school. I was less anxious around the other kids, he got me out of the house more as I ran the neighborhood with him, and when I entered first grade, I had made a few friends that made the transition easier.
None of them, though, could hold a candle to my friendship with that little wiggling mass of fur and ears.
I was eternally thankful for the time I got with him, but it would never be enough.
The trio of Disney princesses said thank you as they ran to the next house in a flurry of skirts and sneakers. A pirate wondered up and gave me his best Arg, which I rewarded him for with a couple of little snickers bars. I sat up a little as I saw a small ghost, four legs poking from below a short bedsheet, but he turned and wagged at a larger ghost who was walking him. I sat back, scanning around, hoping he wouldn’t be long.
I’d sit here all night if I had to.
I had Snarf for five years. He never left the yard, always bounding and yarking when we pulled into the driveway, so I never worried about him getting into trouble or being hit by a car. He was a good dog, a neighborhood favorite, and he should have lived a good long time.
He would have if it weren’t for me.
Reggy moved onto the block when I was ten. I had a group of friends that I hung out with by then, Terry and Walt and Pattrick, and when the new boy had been seen unpacking boxes from his family’s moving van, we had gone over to introduce ourselves. He was a big kid, tall and muscular, and it became apparent very quickly that he was going to be trouble. Five minutes of conversation was enough to let us know that his interests were different than ours. He had scoffed at our comic books, asked if we were babies when we’d asked about action figures, and had grinned at us when we asked about playing basketball in a way that made us nervous. He was a large, sneering boy, and we all decided to keep our distance from him.
But…he lived on the block, so he inevitably found a place in our games.
We were playing baseball when it happened. Reggy had seen us setting up and inserted himself into the game, as he usually did. We never invited him, he always just showed up, and we were too polite to tell him to buzz off. The problem was that Reggy didn’t always play by the rules. We had been correct in our assumptions that he liked to hurt people. He had nearly broken Pattrick’s wrist when he fowled him during basketball, and he had shoved Terry off his bike, skinning both knees in the fall, during a bike race. None of us wanted to play with him, but we were too afraid of him to tell him to go away.
The second he wandered up, I heard Snarf growl from my yard. Reggy was the only person I had ever seen elicit a growl out of my usually good-natured dog. Reggy had quickly learned not to come into my yard as Snarf would not tolerate him, which was fine with me. Unlike the others, whose houses he frequently came into, Snarf kept him out of my yard and his fingers off my stuff. I was careful to keep Snarf inside, though, when I wasn’t outside. I’d seen the way Reggy’s little pig eyes narrowed when he looked at my dog, and I was not too fond of it.
I wish I’d just put him inside when he started growling that day.
Reggy was up to bat, and we all prepared to get out of his way as he ran. Reggy did not believe in dropping the bat after he hit the ball, as the bruises on our ankles could attest, and as the ball went sailing off down the street, I dashed it. Reggy came running around first base, Terry and Pattrick nearing the other two bases as Walt moved off the manhole we were using as a pitchers mound to cover home. It bounced once before I grabbed it, turning to throw it when I heard Pattrick yell out in pain. I dropped the ball, sprinting towards them, as Reggy lifted the bat up to hit Pattrick again. Walt told me later that Reggy had crashed into Phillip, skinning his hand as he almost fell. In a rage, he had hit Patrick in the stomach and now prepared to bring the bat down on his head.
Fast as I was though, Snarf was faster.
He hit Reggy in the back, sending him reeling forward and dropping him into the street. He stood over Patrick, protectively, snarling and showing his teeth. Reggy was getting back up, shaking his head, but Snarf did not continue his attack. He just stood over Pattrick, the boy still frozen in surprise and fear, as Reggy got back on his feet. His knuckles turned white against the handle of the bat, and I saw him turn in slow motion. I was running for Pattrick, Walt and Terry were running for Pattrick, but none of us got there in time to make a difference.
Snarf was staring daggers at Reggy, but when I called his name, he looked towards me, tail wagging as he looked at me.
The bat crashed down on Snarf, and the pitiful noise he made sent a shard of glass through my guts.
Walt and Terry arrived in time to grab Pattrick under the arms and drag him away from the scene. I hit Reggy as hard as I could around the waist, dropping him to the concrete and sending the bat clinking across the pavement. Reggy hit his head on the concrete, and as the wind oofed out of him, I saw his eyes glaze a little from the impact. I got off him, picking up the bat and yelling at him to get out of here. I told him not to come near me, my friends, or my dog again. I said some of the adult words I knew, the cusses sounding high and whispery as I fought back the tears, and Reggy scrambled home on his hands and backside.
When I turned to look at Snarf, it was already too late.
I found myself glaring at Reggy’s old house as I watched a pair of Transformers walk off with their chocolate. The house was occupied now, but it had been empty for quite sometime after that Halloween. Reggy’s parents had refused to believe that their son had killed y dog, and when they told my mom about the scratches and scrapes their son had come home with, it was decided that we would drop it and not involve the police. “Reggy’s parents are threatening to sue us for hospital costs, and I can’t afford something like that, sweetie. I’m sorry about Snarf, but if we call the police, we’ll be in trouble as well.”
She had told me this, and I seethed in my ten-year-old heart.
I saw a big blond kid with a crew-cut walk up, dressed in a karate gi, and I almost didn’t pass him anything, Reggy still on my mind. This kid could have passed for Reggy once upon a time, but his eyes didn’t have that evil gleam in his eye. I smiled at him and nodded, and he left with a mock salute. Reggy had been bigger, Reggy had been meaner, but, in the end, Reggy had not been braver.
I had been inconsolable after the death of Snarf. I had pretended to be sick for a week, my mother letting me in the wake of my sadness. My grandma stayed with me, and she never pushed me as I moped around the house. We were sitting on the couch one afternoon, her arm draped around me, when she told me something I would never forget.
“I know you miss your friend, but you can’t let his death be the end of your life. You have to live for both of you now; it’s what he would have wanted.”
I looked up at her with big swimmy eyes, “But…but I miss him.”
She smiled, “I know you do. It’s almost Halloween, though, a time when they say the ghosts of our loved ones can walk the earth again. Maybe, just maybe, his love will be great enough to bring him back to you.”
That made me think. If ghosts and spirits could walk the earth on Halloween, then maybe Snarf could too. I spent the rest of that month in a little better mood, waiting for Halloween night so I could see if Snarf would come back for a visit. Mom had to work on Halloween, but Grandma was home with me, and I sat in my room and watched out the window, hoping to see him. The costumed masses began to swirl and run, but I didn’t have time for that.
I wanted to be here when Snarf came home.
When my friends came to see me, they begged me to trick or treating with them. I hadn’t been out to play since the incident, and they wanted me to join them. Each of them were dressed as a different Power Ranger, and Terry said that his Grandma had sent him a second costume if I wanted to use it. I had a feeling that he had bought it in case I decided to come out with them, but I still didn’t want to go.
I might miss Snarf.
What if I wasn’t here when he came back?
Once again, my Grandma had the answer.
“I’ll keep an eye out for him, and I’ll tell him to stay if he comes while your gone.”
I was still hesitant, but after some coaxing from the others, I put on the costume and left with the group. They had made me the blue ranger, my favorite at the time, and as we set out into the night, I felt a little better. I had missed my friends over the past few weeks, but after what had happened, I could bring myself to see them. Going out with them now made me feel a lot better, and we spent a few hours filling our sacks with candy.
It would have been a perfect Halloween if Reggy hadn’t come.
I started noticing lights going out on the cul-da-sac as it ticked closer to ten. The kids who were present were becoming older, the little kids already turning in, and I furrowed my brow as Snarf still hadn’t appeared. I felt like I had on that first Halloween after his death, looking for him as I walked the streets and hoping to catch a glimpse of him. I heard a bark and snapped my head to the side expectantly. I frowned, though; it was just a lab in a bee costume, its owner hurrying him after a football player who was heading for the next house. I saw a pair of ninjas wander up and sighed as I dug them out some candy.
Surely he wouldn’t stand me up.
It was almost ten by the time the lights started going out, and the street began to empty. My friends and I had full sacks of candy, and I was sitting on the sidewalk and trading candy with Walt. I had started out looking for Snarf, glancing around as we walked against that tide of excited children. In those two hours, I had been granted a reprieve from my sadness over Snarf. Only now, as we parted ways, did I remember to look for him and started running home to see if he was with grandma.
When the egg hit me in the side of the head, I staggered, my ears ringing from the impact. I thought I was bleeding when my gloved hand came away wet, but one look told me it was just egg. I looked across the street and saw Reggy grinning at me. He wasn’t in costume, dressed in basketball shorts and a tank top, but he did have a silver bat in his hand and was tossing an egg up and catching it. I froze when I saw that he was staring at me, realizing how vulnerable I was out here alone, with my house still three street lights away.
“Been waiting for you to come back out. We’ve got unfinished business, four eyes. I think I owe you the same sort of beating I gave your stupid dog.” he chuckled, swinging the bat experimentally.
I stepped off the curb towards him, angry at what he’d said, but then thought better of it. That metal bat could cave my skull in, and Reggy was pretty good at swinging bats, as I’d seen during our games. I glanced towards my house. Three street lights wasn’t so far, and I thought I could probably run faster than Reggy could. It was either run or sit here and get killed by this psycho, I realized.
I tore off, hearing his trainers slapping behind me.
I made the first light, easily outstripping him, but I heard him getting closer as I moved under the second light. He slapped the light pole with the bat as he went by, and it made a hollow thunk as it connected. I started to panic, what if he caught me? Would he kill me? Would I die in the road like Snarf had? I wished he was here, I thought, as the tears streamed down my eyes. He would have protected me; he would have stopped Reggy from hurting me. If I hadn’t distracted him that day, maybe he’d be here to help me.
My house was in sight when the second egg cracked me in the back of the head.
I had forgotten about the egg he’d been throwing and catching, and though it hadn’t been thrown very hard, it surprised me, and I staggered into the fence that separated my yard from the neighbors. I crashed against it with a loud thunk, my head connecting with the boards, and my head swam a little the cheap plastic mask broke into pieces. I was reaching out in slow motion, moving my hands and legs like someone wading through mud. I rolled onto my butt as I prepared to take off again, but it was too late.
Reggy loomed over me, the street light gleaming off the bat in his hand.
“Looks like I caught you,” he said, raising the bat, “say hi to your dog for me when you see him.”
I pushed against the fence, hoping it would fall backward, knowing it wasn’t going anywhere.
Reggy raised the bat high, the metal twinkling as the light made galaxies of starbursts.
I closed my eyes, preparing for the blow that would end my life.
When the growl split the night, I opened my eyes and looked between Reggy’s splayed legs. Reggy had turned his head to look at the shadowy crevice between the house next to mine and the fence that now stopped me from escaping Reggy. Between the structures stood a snarling, red-eyed creature that seemed to fill the space with its shadowy mass. Reggy took a sidelong step away from me, the beast snarling hugely as it took a single thunderous step towards him. I felt my breath hitch as Reggy stepped into the street, his own breath trapped, as this looming thing lowered its head and rumbled. My brain couldn’t fathom it, this nightmare creature that had appeared in my neighborhood out of nowhere, and when it loosed that single, earsplitting bark, I put my head between my knees and pushed my palms against my ears.
I sat in darkness, screaming against my leg as I prepared to be devoured.
When the warm tongue slid over my hair, I cracked my back against the fence, trying to escape again.
Then I opened my eyes, panting like a trapped animal, and was looking into Snar’s panting, grinning face. Reggy was gone, his bat lying in the street, and I wrapped my arms around my lost friend and laughed as he licked my cheek. I pressed my face against his familiar short fur, and my sadness, my pain, melted away as his doggy tongue bombarded me.
That’s how my mom found me, laughing with my back against the fence as her headlights dissipated the ghostly dog licking me.
That was twenty years ago. Snarf had come back every year since, visiting me on Halloween night. When mom didn’t come right out and say it at first, she was upset about my injuries, but she told me later that she had seen a Snarf for a few seconds before her headlights hit me. After I told her what had happened, told her how Reggy had ambushed me, she called the police. She gave them the bat, told them he had been a problem, and started a process to have a restraining order placed against him. She was tired of being bullied by Reggy’s parents, as tired as I was of being bullied by Reggy. Reggy’s family moved shortly before the order was finalized. I’ve never seen him since, and I’m quite happier for it.
I watched her walk up the front walk now, my daughter in her arms as she sleepily held onto her sack of candy.
“She was stumbling on the way back. I think we’re going in to have some cocoa if you’d like to join us.”
“Gimmie a few more minutes, mom. I think he’s just running late this year.”
She smiled, “Take all the time you need, dear.” she said, walking inside and leaving me alone on the stoop. The street was emptying, only a few stragglers heading for home, and I glanced around furtively. Where was he? Had he forgotten about me? Twenty years was a long time to visit someone who wasn’t a little boy anymore. Maybe he…
I dropped the bowl when that ghostly cold nose prodded my hand.
I looked down to find Snarf, tail wagging, as he smiled up at me from the front lawn of a house he had loved as much as I had.
I wrapped my arms around him, and it felt like coming home all over again.