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Word Count: 1,401
SPIRITS OF THE NIGHT There was a time in the town when you could walk out alone at night and not have to fear anything You could leave your doors unlocked and your car in the driveway without worry You could drop the kids off at the cinema downtown and not think a thing of it Or stroll through the park on a Saturday evening without watching every shadow or movement in the evening twilight But no more Now doors barred the entrances along with the windows Residents hurried home lest they be caught outside after dark and cars were secured in their garages as cats and dogs were brought in from outside People watched in terror as the sun would sink low on the horizon leaving the community vulnerable to the clutches of the night This was a town gripped by fear foreboding so powerful and pervasive that it was evident in every stare in the residents eyes They would sit in their living rooms mindfully watching the evening news on television or at their dinner tables eating silent meals of penance And listening always listening The wind would brush through the streets blowing the gutters clean of leaves and debris The wind would bring with it the cool air the small voice the lost souls of the past And they would pass down from street to street grasping for any living entity that dared to be out after dark After their time in the light of day that was no longer theirs Parents would bar and shutter the windows against the curious faces of their children who wished to gaze out at the spectral parade that pasted by their houses Come away from there they would command fearing even a glimpse from the ethereal visitors would portend dreadful consequences The darkness was not for their eyes So the night would pass with terror and resignation Night after night the pattern would remain unchanged
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