Mrs. Cooper hated Halloween. If kids came to ask for treats she used to peep through her window and say, "Go away, you won't get any treats". The kids returned home sadly. Every year was the same. Eventually they stopped going to her house.
Mrs. Cooper was a cold and rude woman. She never left her house except for buying groceries. She always frowned and if someone did give her a smile she used to give such a scornful look as if that person had committed a crime. She remained isolated from the rest of her neighbours.
Once a family had shifted to this neighbourhood. They were Mr. and Mrs. Smith who had a son named Billy. Billy was a lovable boy and the other kids liked him. The entire neighbourhood welcomed the new family except for Mrs. Cooper.
Halloween approached and Billy was dressed in a wizard costume. Soon all the kids gathered together and went to every house to ask for treats. They were very happy to see the number of candy they had collected this year.
"There's still one house remaining", Billy said.
"It's no use, you won't get any candy there. Mrs. Cooper never gives us any candy", said another kid.
But Billy was determined to go to Mrs. Cooper's house."Don't say we didn't warn you", said the kids and they left.
He ran towards Mrs. Cooper's house and knocked on her door. She peeped through her window and was nostalgic to see Billy dressed as a wizard. She went down the memory lane and remembered her son Tim. Tim always used to dress as a wizard. How he loved that costume!
Billy again knocked on the door and Mrs. Cooper said, "Go away, you won't get any treats". Billy went towards her window and said, "I don't want any treats. I want to come in and have a chat with you".
Mrs. Cooper was taken aback with the reply and said, "What you wanna chat kid? Go home and leave me alone".
"Mrs. Cooper, I know you just pretend to be rude but you aren't".
Never before had anyone said something nice or had been emphatic to her. Mrs . Cooper went and opened the door. She felt some connection with this boy. Billy went in happily and sat on the couch.
Billy saw the pictures on the opposite wall and asked, "Who's that boy, Mrs. Cooper"?
Mrs. Cooper replied, "That's my son, Tim".
"Where is he now?"
"He died a few years ago in a road accident. He was just your age when it happened. He used to dress like a wizard every Halloween, no matter how much I pursuaded him to wear some other costume".
"So, that's why you don't celebrate Halloween anymore".
"It was the night of the Halloween when my son breathed his last". She paused for a moment and then went inside. She returned with a small plate with a muffin in one hand and an old box in the other.
She kept the plate on the table in Billy' s direction and said, "Have it". She opened the box and Billy asked, "What's that?"
"These are some collectibles my son used to treasure". Then she removed a wizard hat shaped brooch and gave it to Billy. "I want you to keep this".
Billy loved the brooch and said, "Thank you Mrs. Cooper for the brooch and for this delicious muffin". He got up and said, "I will have to go now or my parents will be worried".
Mrs.Cooper too got up from her chair and escorted Billy to the door. She said to him with a smile, "Do come again". Billy saw Mrs.Cooper and smiled, "Sure Mrs.Cooper, I'm glad we met."
Mrs.Cooper did not reply but the smile on her face still remained. She had not smiled ever since Tim has died. She saw a reflection of Tim in Billy. That explained the sudden change in her attitude.
Billy ran home and told his parents what had happened. They could not believe that Mrs.Cooper could be so hospitable.
Later that night, Billy went to bed but could not sleep. He took the brooch and began admiring it. He kept it under his pillow and slept. All of a sudden, there was a strong wind and the windows opened. Billy woke up and saw a boy standing near his bed. He rubbed his eyes to see if what he was seeing was true. It was Tim. Billy got scared. But Tim smiled and said, " Thanks Billy for making my mom smile. It's been years ever since she has smiled. Now I can go and live in peace". And saying this he disappeared.
Billy could not sleep the entire night. He had seen a ghost! He couldn't wait to tell Mrs. Cooper about it. But it was 3 am and he had to wait till morning.
The next day Billy woke up. After having breakfast he hurried towards Mrs.Cooper's house. Mrs.Cooper opened her door without peeping from her window. She smiled and said, "Good morning Billy, what brings you here the first thing in the morning"? She let him in and he sat on the couch.
"Mrs.Cooper you won't believe what happened yesterday night. I saw Tim. He said he was happy that you smiled after all these years and that now he can live in peace."
But instead of being horrified or surprised, Mrs.Cooper sat calmly as if what she heard happened every now and then.
Billy asked, "Mrs.Cooper, you are not shocked? I'm not lying. I really saw him yesterday."
Mrs.Cooper smiled and said, "I do believe you, my boy because you can still see me and talk to me. I died yesterday night in my sleep. Since nobody comes here, they still don't know." Having said this she disappeared from the couch where she was sitting.
Billy screamed and ran out of the house. He never spoke to anyone since then.