The October air always felt different on Gavin Sheets’ skin. The chill that comes along with truncated days, and the way nature seems to surge with life; one last gasp before the cold, dark hands of winter take hold.
“You were born for this time of year,” his father would recite like an incantation, like clockwork as the weather began to falter.
Gavin had been imagining this day for as long as he could remember. He would play all the possible variations on a loop in his mind; the feeling of achieving everything you had ever hoped and strived for. Not something flimsy, like a simple lifelong dream, but the true living legacy of his family’s name. The moment where the man can look his ancestors directly in the eyes, unflinching, without fear or shame, and overflowing with the pride of the clan.
Just as his father before him, a 25-year-old man himself at the time, Gavin Sheets takes his place as the head of the family, succeeding in taking possession of the family’s heirloom and namesake: The Sheets Clan Spooky Ghost Costume.
The stories of legend and the prestige of the Sheets Clan Spooky Ghost Costume reverberate through, filling the air of any family gathering an event. By the age of four or five, members of the Sheets family can perform the legends by heart, seemingly ready at a moment’s notice to reel off tales of Halloweens gone by.
How his great-great grandfather was wearing it when he first met his future wife. The time his great uncle, on one eventful Halloween, pulled a family’s pet hound dog from a raging house fire caused by an errant jack-o’-lantern candle; the Spooky Ghost Costume somehow remaining pristine and untouched by the savage flames. Even his father once found a $20 bill on the ground while donning the magical garb.
Gazing at himself in the rearview mirror, Gavin could feel the weight of generations of Sheets there with him. A faint aura emanating off the fabric, glowing in the dim moonlight as he stepped out of the car.
In large strides, Gavin bounded onto the grounds of Power Plant Live with a newfound confidence, seemingly summoned from somewhere deep down within his soul, untapped and waiting for this exact moment to be unleashed.
Time moves slowly around him as he surveys the crowd, chest thrust out under the enchanted fabric. He swells with the pride of being an armor-clad warrior, on their way towards battle and certain glory. Gazing slowly upon Angels Rock Bar, Gavin breathes in deeply, fully prepared for everything the universe has prepared for him tonight. Almost gliding, he comes upon a large man at the door handing out wristbands.
Scanning Gavin up from bottom fringe, to the tip-top of the cut-outs which reveal the eyes, the man paused for a brief second as if searching for just the right words.
“Cool costume, bro,” the man leaks from the side of his mouth.
“Thank you,” Gavin squeaks out, overwhelmed with recognition and the emotion of the moment. “Thank you, so much.”
“You got ID?” the man continued.
Gavin’s spine shot straight, and his eyes stiffened wide with a stark realization. “Uhhhh,” he sputters, failing repeatedly to find the words to match the situation.
Patting at his legs and backside, he could not hear anything in his surroundings, but only the low dulcet tone of his father’s voice, ringing through time and space from an early morning at the ballpark, when Gavin was very young, but remembers vividly.
“You have to remember this, Gavin. No matter what, you can NEVER wear anything underneath the Sheets Clan Spooky Ghost Costume. Any barrier between the sheet and your body will break the blood bonds of the Sheets family with the friendly spirits. You have to promise me, Gavin.”
Just then, a cold breeze shot up Gavin’s bare legs and midsection, snapping him back to the situation at hand and the now clearly confused gentleman before him.
“I uh, seem to have left it at home, but it should be fine, right?” Gavin throws from his mouth like a dart missing its target.
The man’s unmoving face says it all as Gavin turns, defeated, sulking away from the bar and the conversation.
Firmly in shock, he arrives at his car in what seems like just an instant. Looking back longingly towards the bar, still unable to process what had just occurred, Gavin earnestly questions out loud, to the universe, or anyone else willing to hear it: “I wonder why he didn’t recognize me?”
With more and more questions filling his head and no one around to give the answers he so badly sought, he starts the car and begins to head towards home; keenly on the watch for any wayward house fires on his way.