Ride of the Headless HorsemanbyAcktion©
I felt like I had butterflies in my stomach. Or maybe bats, considering the time of year. It was time for the annual fall festival. Which meant it was time for him to appear.
While everyone else was looking for the hayride to pull in, I was looking the opposite direction. The direction he had appeared from every year for the last decade.
I glanced down and smoothed my black dress across my stomach. I had been dieting since June to get as close to the figure I'd had when I was a cheerleader at the local high school as possible.
When I was a cheerleader and he was the football star. We were supposed to be together. Everyone knows that the small town football star and head cheerleader end up together. That's just the way it works.
Then he got a scholarship three thousand miles away and I didn't. That was fine, really. We could spend four years apart, sowing our wild oats, and then come back together.
Only, I came back to work in the mayor's office and he went on to play professionally. And when it was over, when he did come back to his family farm, he brought her with him.
The milling people began surging and buzzing around me, snapping me back to the present. The hay ride had just rounded the corner and was pulling along the main street to the town square. That meant...
I snapped my head around to the other end of town. There. A darker shadow amidst the stretching shadows moved. I strained my ears to listen for the sound of jingling spurs, but could hear nothing as the tractor pulling two trailers with hay piled up pulled in.
Children, teenagers, and young adults piled off of the hay to meet those people who for one reason or another had not wanted to ride. I ignored them all as I tried to see through the gloom.
Right on cue, Andy snapped on the spotlight on the town's only police car and turned it to light up what had become the town's favorite Halloween tradition.
He stopped walking and lifted the carved pumpkin in his hand high. It didn't matter that he was somehow making it look like he didn't have a head and so I couldn't see his face. Nor did it matter that not an inch of skin was exposed, covered from foot to neck in heavy black leather. I would have known those broad shoulders and strong arms anywhere. And the way he held that jack o'lantern was the exact same way he had held his helmet up in the picture I still had in a frame hanging on my wall.
I couldn't get my breath as everyone around me turned to see him and began to cheer. I didn't realize until then just how afraid I had been that he wouldn't do it again this year.
He pivoted sharp enough that the high school marching band would have been jealous, and keeping the carved face of the pumpkin turned towards us, strode into an alley.
Now, I could cheer and scream with everyone else. I clapped harder than I had in a long, long time. Because seeing him there meant that my plan had a chance to work.
The Mayor gave his usual talk. I enjoyed working for the man, but he could drone on and on. I'd heard it all before tonight. Hell I'd written most of it. I tuned him out and began craning my neck.
I knew it was too soon for him to make an appearance out of costume as part of the crowd. But, I wanted to see that face. I wanted to see his shoulders out of the costume.
I hadn't spotted him by the time the Mayor wound his way to a conclusion. I politely clapped with everyone else and began moving towards the booth I would be working.
"Everything all right, Katrina?" A familiar voice asked.
I turned to see our town librarian, the person I was going to be working with for the next hour.
"Everything is fine, Isaac." I said. "Why aren't you wearing a costume?"
"I am." Isaac laughed. "I'm in disguise as a librarian."
"Cunning disguise." I smiled as I looked him over.
Isaac wore the same sports jacket with a tie that he wore every day to work. I think he probably owned five of each that looked exactly the same. Not for the first time, I thought that he really needed to find a wife to pick his clothes for him if nothing else.
And to fatten him up. Isaac was just as thin as he had been in high school. The only difference was a touch of grey at his temples. It made him look a little more distinguished, more like a librarian than the geek he had been. But, I didn't like it. It was a reminder of eleven grey hairs that I had plucked from my own head so far.
"Seriously," I said. "Why don't you ever wear a costume? Don't you want to have any fun?"
Isaac straightened from pulling popcorn balls out of a sack and looked at me. It struck me again how odd it was that we could look each other in the eye. Somehow, I always expected him to be shorter.
"Oh, I do." Isaac said. "I enjoy fun as much as the next man. Tell me Katrina, do you know the origin of dressing up in costume on Halloween?"
"Why do I have the feeling you are going to tell me?" I rolled my eyes.
I liked Isaac. Not the way he had always wanted, but I did like him. I even liked how smart he was. I just wished sometimes that he could loosen up and not have to lecture on everything.
"People used to believe that this night was the closest that our world and the next could be." Isaac said. "They dressed up in costumes so that the spirits of the dead could not tell who they were. So that they would look like another spirit of the dead and so the angry spirits would leave them alone."
"And why would the spirits be angry, Professor?" A familiar voice said behind me.
My heart felt like it was choking me as it leapt up into my throat. My skin felt like electricity was crawling across it. And I briefly wished that I had worn panties, even though they would have gotten in the way later, as I felt a familiar warm wetness.
"Hi, Abe." I said, turning around.
"Hi yourself, Kat." Abe said. "I take it you are the beautiful good witch?"
Beautiful. He still thought I was beautiful. I ached to raise up on my tiptoes and kiss him.
Then she walked up and spoiled my moment.
"Hey, Honey." Abe turned and kissed her. "You've met Kat. But, I don't know if you've ever met Isaac, the smartest man I know. Isaac, this is my wife, Honey."
"A pleasure to meet you, Honey." Isaac said.
"Silly name, I know." She laughed. "Dad kept bees."
"I think it's sweet." Abe said, kissing her again.
I wanted to vomit. What kind of parent names their little girl Honey. And what kind of nimrod thinks the name is sweet.
Ok, so I was more than a little irrational about Honey Houston nee Haggard. But, seriously. She should have at least had blonde hair with a name like that instead of hair like the underside of a raven's wing.
I was jostled and realized I was glaring at her. I turned my glare on Isaac who had bumped my shoulder with his as the happy couple kissed.
"I was just telling Katrina how dressing up on Halloween started." Isaac said.
"Ah, yes." Abe said, breaking the kiss. "I heard some of it as I walked up. Something about hiding from angry spirits. But, why would the spirits be angry?"
"Because we have everything they've lost." Isaac said. "Life. Happiness. Love. They can't let go, but they can't hold on to these things any more either. And they are jealous of us for having them."
"You give me the shivers." Honey laughed, drawing closer to Abe.
"That's why I'm dressed up like a librarian." Isaac said.
"But, you are a librarian." Abe said, his brow wrinkled.
Isaac held up a finger and raised one eyebrow. Then he started to laugh. Honey joined in. I caught Abe's eye and he shrugged that he didn't understand any better than I did.
"Oh, you big galute." Honey shook Abe's arm. "Don't you get it? He's dressed as a mild mannered librarian so the spirits will think he's harmless and pass him by. Kind of like Clark Kent."
"Oh." Abe joined in the laughter. "See what I mean about him being smart."
The happy couple said goodbye and walked away. I couldn't help but stare after them.
"I'm sorry, Katrina." Isaac said softly.
I pasted my practiced smile on my face and turned back to him.
"Whatever for?" I asked.
Isaac's grey eyes were unreadable as he stared at me. Then he shrugged and turned away as a child walked up to the booth.
The rest of that hour dragged by as we handed out sticky popcorn balls to children. I don't know whether I envied them or their parents more.
A part of me wanted a child of my own. But, a part of me wished that I could be a child again myself. Everything had seemed so much simpler then.
Finally, the hour was over and it was time to close up the booth.
"You can go on if you need to." Isaac said. "I can close up."
"That's okay." I said. "I don't mind."
"Don't you have a party to go to or something?" Isaac asked as we packed away the treats that hadn't been given out.
"I'm not going to any of the parties this year." I said. "I've got something else to do."
"Oh." Isaac said. "Well, you can go ahead and go do whatever it is. I can manage this."
"I've got time." I said. Up to four hours if I was right. But, I couldn't tell him that. "And this won't take long."
"No, really." Isaac said. "I've got this. You go on and have fun."
I paused and stared at Isaac. This wasn't like him at all. Since even before we were teenagers, he had tried to stretch out any time we spent around each other. I didn't mind too much. It was really sort of flattering. But, this was almost like he was trying to get rid of me.
"Have you got a hot date or something?" I asked. "Someone waiting in the wings for me to go away?"
I glanced around, but no one seemed to be hanging around watching us.
"Isaac, that's great." I said. "Who is she?"
"Ha. Ha." Isaac said. "Very funny. You know there has never been anyone else I was interested in."
The reminder that I was anything more to him than something of a co-worker and a long standing acquaintance made me distinctly uncomfortable. I said an awkward goodbye and left him to deal with it.
I was in my car before it dawned on me that he might have manipulated me. As I said, he usually tried to stretch out the time we spent around each other and he had learned when we were fourteen not to say things like that.
"No." I said as I watched him close the front of the booth from across the street and start walking towards his library. "No way. Somebody else maybe. But, Isaac is too clueless to play people like that."
Still, I waited and watched as he slipped around the building to his library. I didn't see anyone following. I felt a twinge of something thinking about him meeting someone.
Not jealousy. Most definately not jealousy. I could have had Isaac at any point in the last twenty years or more. It couldn't have been jealousy. But, it wasn't exactly the relief I would have had when I was younger.
I shrugged it off, a little irritated with myself. So what if Isaac was finally going to get laid. Maybe it would loosen him up some. I started my car and drove away. I had other things to worry about that night.
In almost the center of our little town, there is a small park with a playa lake. Each of the past years, the day after Halloween, a jack o'lantern had been found at a certain spot there by that lake.
After the festival was over and everyone went home, the Headless... Can I call him a horseman since he never rode, but walked? Still, I guess Headless Soldier doesn't have the same ring to it.
Anyway, this Headless Horseman without a horse could be seen around town for awhile after the festival closed down. He never actually stopped anywhere or even got close to anyone. But, he would do things like lift that carved pumpkin over a fence like he was looking at the people at a party.
People would laugh and talk for a week about his various appearances, so I knew he didn't just appear at one or two but walked all over the town.
But he always ended up in that spot by the small lake in the middle of town where he would leave the jack o'lantern that he carried for someone to find the next day.
A spot that had a special meaning. I think it was the third year that I finally realized that it was a message meant for me.
I pulled my car into a special spot. One that was mostly hidden. A spot that Abe had pulled his pickup into all those years ago for us to get out and go down by the water.
I was a bit surprised that his truck wasn't there. It would have been a perfect place for him to have parked it to wait until his night was done. He must have parked somewhere closer to where he made his entrance at the beginning of the festival.
I briefly considered trying to find it, but it made more sense to wait where I knew he would be. I got out and walked around to the trunk where I pulled my two secret weapons out.
The first was his old letter jacket, which I pulled over my shoulders. The second was the exact same blanket he had taken me on the first time. I folded it over my arms and started walking.
In a small hollow, not far from the water's edge, there was a log. I sat on that log mere feet from where he would leave that carved pumpkin, from where he had taken me that first time, and prepared to wait.
As I sat and waited, I remembered.
I remembered how nervous I had been that first time. I had let him feel me up and had even given him handjobs and blowjobs and let him finger me. But, that night that I had picked to give him the last little bit that I had been holding back, I was a little nervous.
I wanted to feel him inside me, but I had heard that it hurt as well if the guy wasn't careful. And I wasn't sure that Abe could be careful. Sometimes when he came up behind me and hugged me, I thought I knew how the guys he tackled felt. It wasn't that he was trying to be rough exactly. More like he didn't know his own strength.
Fortunately, I had been thinking about that moment for two days and had myself pretty well worked up. Because he wasn't gentle when he plowed into me. I know enough now to know that it could have hurt a lot worse than it did when he broke me open. Also, fortunately, he didn't last long. Three stong pumps and he had frozen inside me, filling that condom he had gotten from the gas station with his cum.
No, that first time hadn't been much to write about. Hardly anything at all, really. And almost a relief to have over. I didn't understand the fuss that night.
Eventually, we got better. And then I did understand the fuss. After homecoming our senior year comes to mind when he brought me three times before emptying his balls onto my face. It took three times through the wash to get the stain to come out of my cheerleading sweater.
But, the first time had been here by the water in this park in the center of town. The same place he was leaving his carved pumpkin every year on Halloween.
I wondered idly how long I had been waiting. Not that it mattered, really. I had been waiting for him to come home to me for seventeen years. What was a couple of hours compared to that?
It was getting cold, though. And the black dress I was wearing wasn't very thick. I shivered and spread the blanket over my legs and thought about how nice it would be to have a fire like the old days.
This had also been a gathering place for a group of about ten of us. We would have a fire and sit around it, passing a bottle someone had picked up from the bootlegger. I tried to remember who it was that had usually started the fire. I couldn't though. It had usually been going when Abe and I showed up.
I would sit beside him, holding his big arm and listen to them relive the football game they had won and other past games and talk about the next game.
A wet splat hit the blanket around my legs.
"Oh, no." I muttered, looking up just in time to get the next drop of rain in the face. "No. No. No. It wasn't supposed to rain tonight."
But, the clouds didn't listen to me. When I had planned this night, I had not planned on being cold and wet. I had wanted to be hot and a different kind of wet.
That old quilted letter jacket and the blanket kept the worst of it off. But, still I was starting to have second thoughts about my plan.
"Don't be ridiculous, Kat." I whispered to myself. "You've cheered on the sidelines in rain and cold before."
Still, at least then I'd had the other cheerleaders huddled around me to share our warmth between cheers. And we'd had a small heater next to our bench. Sitting here alone in the dark while it was rainy and cold was completely different.
But, it would be worth it. Oh, yes. It would be worth it.
Even the quilting in that old jacket was soaked through by the time I saw movement coming through what had turned into a freezing downpour. I hadn't known which direction he would come from and wasn't sure what I was seeing at first.
Then the shape began to take form. With a familiar rolling walk that made my heart ache, he splashed through the mud and wet. Every step thudded down into the ground making the wetness splash up. Now that the time had come, I couldn't seem to get my breath.
I watched as he bent down and placed the carved pumpkin on the stump where it had been found every year. Then, he turned and stood with his back to me, looking out across the lake.
"I've been waiting for you!" I blurted, rising from where I had been sitting.
He spun and drew the twin swords at his sides so quickly, it startled me. What was he doing with real swords on his costume? He could get in real trouble for that if the police found out.
The blanket I had intended to spread for us to lay on dropped to the mud at my feet. Something was nagging at me, but I couldn't seem to think.
He had come.
He was really there. We were there in that special place all alone. Just the two of us. He had come to me just as leaving that small clue to his identity for me to puzzle out had promised.
But, he was acting oddly. Almost as if he was angry to find me there. Why wasn't he saying anything? And why did he still have those swords out as he stepped closer to me?
One of those swords flashed towards me, knocking my pointed hat off my head. I screamed a little as I took a step back and tripped on the log I had been sitting on.
As I looked up at him from where I was sprawled, both swords darted to either side of my head. I was too terrified to scream. What the hell was he doing?
I felt a tug under my back as he raised the swords once more. When I had fallen, the letter jacket had slipped from my shoulders and the points of the swords had speared it.
I laid there and watched, too stunned to react, as he lifted the jacket up and then stabbed the dirt wall of the hollow I had been sitting in, pinning it there by the shoulders.
What the hell was wrong with him? I wondered as I tore my eyes from the jacket with two swords through it. He was standing over me with his fists clenched so tightly I could hear the leather creaking over the drumming of the rain.
No. I had waited too long for this. I would have him and it would be so good he would leave that bitch with her stupid name and come back where he belonged.
"I'll bet I still remember what you like." I said, reaching out for his belt.
He slapped my hands away hard enough to sting.
I bit down on my first pained response, reaching for him again.
"What?" I asked, trying to sound sexy. "Don't you want me to suck your cock? You used to like that."
He batted my hands away again.
"Oh, come on." I said, torn between wanting him and being furious that he had led me on. "You know you want to fuck my face. To slap my chin with your balls."
For a long moment, he stood there with the rain running down his black leather duster and his hands knotted into fists. He stood there for so long that I started to wonder if I had made a mistake. That he didn't want me after all.
Finally, his hands went to his crotch. But, he didn't undo the belt. Just unzipped and pulled himself out into the cold air. I felt like cheering. And I felt my pussy clench in anticipation. I was going to get fucked by this man who should have been fucking me all along.