When a human-sized skeletal bird visits Brenna on Halloween, she’s convinced she’s eaten some hallucinogenic cupcakes - her flatmate’s favourite Halloween trick. But Hugh isn’t just some trick, he’s crossed over from the Other Realm – on the only night a spirit can – to remind Brenna who she really is, and what the two of them had together.
“Whoa, what a costume!” I gape in awe at the cloaked skeletal bird walking towards me through the kitchen. The detail puts my simple black dress and pointed hat to shame.
He tilts his head, the movement shifting the cloak to reveal a series of vertebrae—too narrow to hide a human neck—disappearing into the uppermost bones of an empty ribcage.
I blink a few times, but the optical illusion doesn’t change.
“How much did the body paint cost?” I still don’t know which of my flatmates I’m talking to—they both go overboard for Halloween.
He tilts his head to one side, and I sense he doesn’t understand. He draws closer, and I can’t help but take a step back to press against the bench.
He takes my hand, pulls me towards the door.
“What are you doing?”
A bony hand emerges from the cloak and he lays the cold bone of a finger against my lips, bone that is too thin to contain a human finger, and for some reason I follow him. Somehow, I know it’s a him, even though I’m now certain it’s not one of my flatmates. We go out into the garden, where he takes a moment to gaze up at the full moon.
“Fantastic timing for Halloween, isn’t it?” Nerves are bubbling up in my stomach, and I deal with them the only way I know how. “A full moon, on the spookiest night of the year. It’s gonna be a fantastic Halloween this year, don’t you think?”
He sighs, and turns to face me, pressing his bony finger against my lips once more. “I’m reminding you who you are.”
His voice is deep, familiar somehow.
I frown. “I know who I am.”
He shakes his head. “You took human form. You’ve forgotten.”