Once upon a time there was a man named Kevin who lived all on his own in a big old house in the town of Nottingham. He was a very jolly man who always had a warm smile on his face and a kind word to say even to the meanest of men. Nothing, it seemed, could darken his spirits or cloud his heart, from season to season he remained bright and cheerful and all the people in the town loved him.

At Eastertime, he dressed up in a brightly coloured bunny outfit and hopped around the streets of the town bestowing little eggs, made of the finest chocolate you have ever tasted, to the little children. At Christmas, he donned his Santa Claus suit, which had been lovingly made for him by the women of the town, and and handed out little gifts and nuggets of wisdom and kindness to one and all. On his namesake St. Kevin's day, he would make a journey out of the town to the forest, followed by many of the townsfolk, and there he would talk all day long about the animals of the forests and the lakes, and in particular about his special friend the otter, and the magnificent trees of the forest of Sherwood.

But there was one day of the year when the people of Nottingham had no taste for Kevin's happiness and jollity, and that was Halloween. For it was the only holiday that Kevin disliked, and he refused to participate in it at all - he didn't like not being jolly. The children were always disappointed for there was no Kevin about to make their holiday extra special, the women of the town missed helping him devise exciting and fun events, and the men of the town were annoyed that they would not get to see his handsomeness covered up with a mask or scary face paint. So each and every year they begged him to be scary and evil, but to no avail. He would not let the darker side of his nature come to the fore. Not even for one day. So each Halloween, he would stay at home in his big old house and read a nice, pleasant, improving book.

It was a dark and stormy night before Halloween. Kevin had left work a little early that day, in order to avoid the pleading townsfolk, the ugly jack o' lanterns and ghoulish decorations. He had a long hot bath and then, after putting on all the lights in the house, he made his way down to his brightly lit living room, and sat in his big comfy armchair in front of the fire which burned cheerily in the hearth. After a little time, he nodded off into a deep, sweet slumber...

When he awoke, all the lights in the room had gone out and the fire was smouldering like thick black lava in the hearth. Then he heard a voice behind him, and the voice said: "Kevin of Nottingham! You will be visited this night by three spirits!"

Kevin spun around in his chair to find a tall, thin figure enrobed in daisy chains standing before him.

"Who are you?" cried Kevin. "Are you lost or something? Can I get you some herbal tea?"

"I do not drink!" roared the figure, "Nor do I eat. I have not done so since I left this world. Do not think I am a benevolent ghost just because I've got daisies on."

"Oh, so you're..."

"Silence, Kevin of Nottingham! Cease your merry chatter at once, and hark at my words."

"Sorry, on you go."

The spirit frowned. "As I was saying. You will be visited this night by three spirits. Now, I bid you farewell, Kevin of Nottingham."

"Is that it? Are you sure you won't stay for some tea? You can get on with being dead when you're finished..." ventured Kevin, but the spirit was gone.

Kevin rubbed his eyes in wonder, and went to bed. He awoke with a start at the stroke of Midnight, and there at the end of his bed were three spirits. One was the spirit which had visited him earlier, one was the spirit of a young woman with long, brown hair and a plentiful bosom, and the third was the spirit of a young man with short, black hair, green eyes and a mischievous grin.

"Let us begin" spaketh the daisy covered spirit. "I am the ghost of Halloween Past. The eternally young lady is the ghost of Halloween present. The dapper ever-young man is the ghost of Halloween future. Now, we will play."

"Play what?" asked Kevin.

"The game which we ghosts generally play on Halloween. It is called Hide and Seek in the Dark. It's hide and seek, but... well, in the dark."

"It's loads of fun," said the young man "and that's what we're here to show you. That Halloween, being scary and horrifying and creepy, can be fun."

The young lady spake not.

So the four of them, spirits and man played hide and seek in the dark. They extinguished all the lights in the house. The spirits hid first, and Kevin searched for them in the eerie shadows. Then they took turns being the seeker. Kevin was terrified the whole time, but he soon realised that that was exactly what made it so much fun.

As the first wisps of daylight crept into the house, the spirits said goodbye and Kevin fell sound asleep.

When he awoke he remembered with excitement that it was Halloween! He opened his bedroom window and shouted to a passing boy:

"Boy! Hey, boy! What day is it?"

"Why, it's Halloween, Kevin!" answered the boy.

"Then go to the shop on the next street and get me the biggest pumpkin they have, or I'll pull out your intestines and whip you till you wail!"

"Right away Kevin!" shouted the boy, and off he ran with a smile on his face for he knew that this would be the best Halloween ever...

a story for the everything quests: scary stories inspired by wertperch

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