There was nothing more important today that the preparations for the festivities that would bring in a huge tourist crowd to Prosper Island. What was today you ask yourself? Why today is October 31, Halloween, Samhain, and the night that ghouls and goblins roamed the land and people were free to be everything they were afraid to be. You see Prosper Island was famous, at least as far as small towns go. It was famous because it was founded by the descendants of the Tompkins family. Adelaide Tompkins was born in 1674 in the tiny little town of Ipswich Massachusetts and died in 1692 at the age of eighteen, or did she?
Prosper Island, a grand total of thirty thousand square feet, which, isn’t that large if you think about it. With a population of only three hundred people, it relied on tourism as its main source of income. Perhaps that is why Halloween was so important to the small town, at least one who claimed to have been founded by the decedents of someone who was killed during the Salem Trials. So every year the tiny community bounded together and created a Fall Festival and Haunted House event that would start at seven in the evening and go until four in the morning.
This year the theme was simply Halloween: The Spirit of The Season. Lights were strewn in every tree that graced Withrow Park, blinking and sparkling as they warmed the night sky. Booths littered what space was available the more popular ones up front. Signs had been posted all along the mainland of Salem and Ipswich, hoping to lure people towards the island off the New England Coast. People in costumes set about finishing last-minute preparations and grills were fired up for the food and festivities.
Children seemed to love this event each year, but this year held special meaning one person in particular. For Rebecca Daughtry, Halloween was more than just a holiday it was her birthday as well. This year she would be turning fifteen, a milestone in her life. Rebecca was a fan of the holiday, always enjoyed dressing up and attending various events in her local community of Prosper Island. Her parents had other plans for her, however, they had no idea what their daughter was in for. For generations, Rebecca’s family lived and worked on the island.
This year she wouldn’t be alone when she attended the festivities, her twin cousins Diana and Isadora were going to be joining her. It took quite a bit of coercion to get her cousin’s away from their cell phones and computers and out into the crisp October air, but Rebecca was successful. Their three-man troop made an interesting appearance since their costumes were as different from each other as possible
Diana was dressed remarkably enough as Diana the Huntress from Greek Mythology, her long blonde hair flowing in graceful curls. Isadora, the drama queen of the bunch was aptly dressed as Princess Bride Barbie. The hot pink of her dress making her golden hair shone in the moonlight and her matching three hundred dollar shoes click across the pavement. Rebecca had made her outfit, instead of purchasing one from the store.
The emerald green silk was edged with white satin, and fit her amazingly well for a ball gown. She wasn’t used to showing a lot of skin but had opted to go for a strapless design with a corset laced back. The pins that held her black-brown curls up from her face were emerald and diamond butterflies, and they matched her necklace. On her back, hiding the laces of her dress were a pair of gossamer wings, making her look like a beautiful green fairy.
Magical and fantastical creatures had always been an attraction of Rebecca's and while her costume reflected her favorite she felt her cousin's far outshine her. She was an average girl, at least in her eyes. Average height, average weight, average looks. So it was not surprising that Diana and Isadora made sure to point out that little fact to her. Even as they drug her around from booth to booth.
For the locals, it only cost a measly five dollars to enter the festivities but for out-of-towners, it was ten dollars. With your ticket purchase, you were also awarded five dollars in food vouchers, redeemable at the kiosks with the golden star. Each booth handed out candy, and there was a prize location where tickets could be redeemed from the games.
Rebecca had not really been interested in any of the booths this year, which was unusual for her. No, this year she was drawn to the old abandoned house that sat at the edge of Withrow Park. It was the Tompkins house, and it was rumored to be haunted. The legend spoke of the ghost of a girl, a girl who was eighteen and had been falsely murdered during the trials. They say her family brought her body here, back to the place where she was born to lay her to rest. It was the anguish that she endured in her eighteen years that allowed her spirit to roam the halls.
Haunted houses always held an appeal, most it was the idea that they might, for once, get to encounter something extraordinary. For Rebecca, it was being able to be close to someone of historical importance, someone who gave their lives to keep a secret.
As a slight wind picked up, an omen of sorts. As she stood with her blue eyes focused on the house, Rebecca felt a whisper in her mind. Someone, or rather, something was telling her that she needed to pay a visit to the building. It was thoughts like these that made her oblivious to the actions of her cousins. If she had been paying attention she would have noticed their devious smirks and as the same idea popped into their head.
Every year among the teenagers it was popular to play a bit of truth or dare, and the dare was always to spend the night at Tompkins Manor. Most of the youth chickened out. In fact, only four had ever actually been brave enough to make it to the front door of the home, but none had managed to get inside. Rebecca was the kind of girl that would accept the dare, just to spite her vengeful cousins.
"Rebecca. REBECCA!" Diana yelled.
It was the harshness of her name that made Rebecca turn her gaze from the house and back to her cousins. The walk was only a few feet and she easily traversed it in her heels.
"What's the matter Diana?" she asked softly.
"Isadora and I were just talking with Jack and the others, and well they chose you to act out the dare. You know the one." Diana replied with a sneer on her lips.
Smoke filled the air, and Rebecca knew that it was her time to die. She couldn't breathe and as the smoke filled her lungs she made one final attempt to escape the burning building but failed. Passing out and being too weak to stop the voice, she was taken over by the spirit of Adelaide Tompkins, and whenever she woke a new journey would begin.