Ashes and Acetate
Andrew R. Crow

I t was All Hallow's Eve and he was weeping. The tears had long ago ceased; crying was now a dry moan that emptied his lungs and scoured his soul. The darkness enveloped him as he sat in the dingy parlour. Hallowe'en, the time when the spirit world invaded ours. A night when anything was possible...He berated himself for his own foolishness.
He lit a single candle and picked up his glass of whiskey, staring out the window at the churchyard behind, spires reaching up, yet no part higher than another. He glanced at what was in his other hand: a slide film of his lovely Abby in colour, for God's sake. Three months before the accident. Eastman's company had really come out with something this year. He remembered her skeptical look as he shot her with his new camera. Colour film? Pooh! And she'd never lived to see it.
He squeezed the glass, shattering it in his hand, spilling blood on the film, to mix with tears that had fallen from some reserve he'd had left. The clock struck the midnight hour and time stood still; every object in the room taking on crystal clarity as the earth seemed to shift without moving.
The clock struck its final chime.
The acetate smoked and vanished.
A whiff of perfume filled the air.
And a soft hand touched his shoulder.
It was All Hallow's Day and he was laughing.

First published: November 2000