(Thanks to Maddie for the starting sentence.)
I woke up at 3:13 a.m. to the sound of persistent scratching that came from the wall above the furnace.
“Too early!” I called out. “You’re a day too early! It’s not Halloween until tomorrow.”
The poltergeist, or whatever it was, took no notice. The scratching continued.
These noises were an annual event. Strange noises appeared every Halloween, but this time they were a day too early. Nor had I ever heard them at night before. The first time it happen I was terrified out of my skin. Now that it’s occurred on Halloween for the last nine years I find it more annoying than anything else. There are footsteps, and a little bit of giggling, the sounds of a boiling kettle whistling and of water flushing, and scratching, scratching, scratching. I have never heard any speaking. It seems that poltergeist don’t like to talk.
And then I heard it! A faint and muffled voice. “Help! Help!” followed by more scratching. “Help! Help!”
“Too early!” I called out again. “You’re a day too early! It’s not Halloween until tomorrow.”
The noises stopped. The call for help faded away. I went back to sleep.
The next morning, quite early, there was a gentle knock on the door. It was a distraught woman. Had I seen her husband? Every year he came to clean my chimney at this time. She remembered because it was always on Halloween. But this year he was two days early because of a daughter’s wedding, and she hadn’t seen him for two days.