Richie hurriedly laced up his boots, tucking his Army Surplus pants inside them as he did. Standing up, he looked at himself in the full length mirror that was attached to the closet door. He tucked in his camo print shirt and added the matching cap that his foster father had let him borrow for the night.
"I've got something for you," Janet, his foster mother said, coming into the room. She smiled as he looked at her. "You look great."
"Good enough," he shrugged his narrow, fourteen year old shoulders. "So what did you get me?"
"Here." She held up a olive green sweater with matching reinforcement patches on the shoulders and sleeves. "I got it at the Army store this afternoon. It won't ruin your costume, but you'll be warmer."
"I don't need a stupid sweater!" he groaned.
"I wouldn't let Jeremy leave without his either."
"Jeremy has one too?" Richie asked. Jeremy was his very cool, older foster brother. He had taken him to the store earlier that week to buy what he needed for mischief night, and even paid the extra dollar Richie's allowance didn't cover of the bill.
"Put it on or you can't go out tonight."
"Okay." He took off his cap and handed it to her. He put on the sweater and walked to the kitchen where a duffle was waiting for him on the kitchen counter.
"And what are you doing tonight, solider?" the Colonel, as Richie called his foster father, asked giving him a salute.
"Nothing, sir!" Richie replied standing at stiff attention.
The Colonel got up from the kitchen table and looked over the costumed youth. Janet came in and replaced the cap, completing the ensemble.
"You going to get in trouble tonight, solider?"
"Sir, yes, sir!" Richie barked in answer.
"You going to smash a few pumpkins are you?"
"Sir, yes, sir!"
"Are you going to TP a few houses?"
"Sir, yes, sir!"
The Colonel smiled and swatted at the bill of Richie's cap. "Just don't cause any real damage, alright?"
Richie smiled and relaxed, getting his bag off the counter. "We won't."
"Are you going to go to the cemetery and see if the black bride comes?"
"Uh-huh, and Misty Vanburgerstein too," he smiled brightly, going out the front door.
He got on his bike and took off down the street, reaching top speed as he rocketed down the steep hill that led to the park where his friends were gathering. The other three were already there. They gathered in a circle and dumped out their bags to get a look at what they had to work with. They had four rolls of toilet paper, two cans of shaving cream, a roll of plastic wrap, a box of plastic forks, three cans of silly string, six cans of Jolt, Oreos, gummy bears, beef jerky, popcorn, a bag of chocolates and a flash light.
"So what do we do first?" Bobby asked.
"It's too light out," Richie decided looking around.
"Besides, we need a plan," Cliff added.
They opened up their snacks and began to plot what they were going to do where. As the light began to give way to darkness, the sounds of mischief night started to fill the neighborhood. Kids were chattering and laughing, their voices echoing in the cul-de-sacs and back allies.
"Hey look!" David pointed up at the sky.
"Full moon," they all breathed appreciatively.
"That means we have to stay away from Old Lady Myers' place," Cliff said.
"Why?" the others asked.
"You can't go to a witch's house on a full moon."
"How do you know she's a witch?"
"My big brother told me."
"Oooh." They all agreed that Old Lady Myers' place should be taken off their list of targets. Once the dark settled in, they decided to get started so they could make it to the cemetery before their curfews. They set off down the street riding until they came to their principle's house. Richie took out his shaving cream and boldly snuck up to the front door. With his friends watching him, he put a big 'F-' on the door, then scrambled away when he thought he heard movement inside.
They rode away cackling at their brilliant prank and moved on to their next target, until they had exhausted all their supplies. Then they circled once more in the park. After quick consultation, they agreed that ten fifteen was late enough and rode to the cemetery. They parked their bikes outside the gate and squeezed through the bars. Richie lit the flashlight and they systematically checked each grave until they came to the right one. It was next to the lake and the mist rolled in, blocking the ground from view.
"This is it," Richie said. "Misty Vanburgerstein."
"Who's she?" David asked.
"They buried her alive," he explained.
"Cause they thought she was dead."
"Didn't they check her heartbeat or breathing or anything?"
"Don't be stupid," Richie told him. "They didn't know about all that back in 1927, look at the dates!"
"So she's the black bride?"
"No! Don't you know anything? No one knows who the black bride is. That's why she's called the black bride and not Betty Davis or something. The only way you get to see her is if she comes to you."
"What happened to her?"
Rolling his eyes, Richie sat down and put out the flashlight. "The black bride is this really old ghost. She was going to get married, but there was another lady in love with her boyfriend. So, on the day of the wedding, the lady locked her in the house and burned it down. Burned her alive. Then the guy married her. So now the charred corpse of the bride, still in her wedding dress, comes up to Earth and tries to find her boyfriend so they can get married and stay together for all eternity. And if she catches you, she marries you and takes you with her to her grave but by the time she figures out it's not you, it's too late and you're dead anyway."
"So what are we doing here at this grave?"
"Because this one you can make work."
"You lay down on it and she grabs you trying to get out."
"Who told you all this stuff?"
"My foster brother and he's seventeen."
They sat in silence around the grave, the fog was now covering the bottom of the inscription. They could hear the somewhat distant noise of the neighborhood kids as they continued to smash pumpkins and egg cars. But they didn't pay attention. They stared at the pockmarked grave, the carved letters glowing eerily in the moon light. Something rustled in the grass over by a mausoleum. They all jumped into a small huddle.
"What was that?" Bobby squeaked.
"I dunno," Richie said, breathing heavily. "Just the wind," he added.
"There isn't any wind!" David hissed.
"Maybe cause that big building's blocking it all," he reasoned pointing at the mausoleum. "So, who's going to lay down?" he asked, changing the subject.
"One two three NOT IT!"
"Richie!" Cliff proclaimed. "You were last."
"No! Bobby was!"
"No way! You were last!"
They all agreed and pushed Richie toward the grave. He gathered up his courage and laid down, closing his eyes. He didn't want to see her bones pop out of the ground and grab him. His breathing was ragged, but he didn't feel anything. He dared to open his eyes, and found himself half submerged in the fog rolling in off the lake.
"Well?" Bobby asked expectantly.
"I don't fell anything."
"I think he just sank a little!" David pointed out.
"Yeah, man, me too! I saw it!" Cliff agreed.
"You guys… I think I can hear her!" There was something moving near his ear. The ground was moving. They all feel silent intently listening for any signs of the dead girl.
"Look!" Cliff pointed at the mausoleum. "It's her! It's the black bride!"
Richie sat bolt upright and looked where the others were staring. Coming towards them slowly was a dark figure in a long dress, outlined by the light of the moon. They sat stock still, frozen by fear.
"She's going to get us!" Bobby screamed as the figure reached towards them. He got up and ran for the gate. The others followed suit.
"She's got me!" Richie screamed as a hand grabbed his leg. "Misty got me!" He kicked hard and the hand let go. He ran screaming after his friends, pushed through the gate and peddled away as fast as his legs would let him.
Once the four boys were out of hearing range, the black bride walked up to Misty laughing. Jeremy took off the old prom dress, smiling, and helped his girlfriend off the ground behind the headstone.
"That was awesome!" They laughed loudly as they went out the back way and got into Jeremy's car to head home and hear the tale.