"Jackie this is like the 15th house tonight, can't we just go? Look everyone else is leaving and they'll all be home soon!"
"One more house, let's make it an even 16 and we can both go home for the night."
"Fine but this is the last one..."
"You should be happier, I mean we did beat our record from last year."
"Yeah yeah, let's celebrate when we get home my arms are tired."
*Knock, Knock, Knock*
"Happy Halloween, you got a killer costume but uh, Aren't you a little old for this sort of thing?"
"Exactly my point young lady, wouldn't you rather be out partying with your friends. I mean look all the lights are out and I was just about to turn mine off too."
"Don't worry we'll turn the lights out for you..."
As those last few words left her lips she gestured to the figure standing behind the man and before he even had a chance to react a knife was being plunged into his back. Jackie quickly walked forward pushing him aside as she entered the house an closed the door behind her, looking at the man bleeding out on the floor with a somber expression and gently taking the knife out of her brothers hand. she flipped him over onto his back and put her foot on his neck almost crushing his windpipe a small smile crossing her face as he struggled under her weight.
"I may not like going to loud party's with the rest of my nicotine addicted generation but you were right about one thing, I have a killer costume indeed."
After everything was said and done she flipped off the porch light switch and the left out the backdoor skipping into the woods directly behind the mans house a bag full of candy in her hand and a bloody sack filled with eyes in her brothers. Quickly they left the neighborhood as screams of terror started to fill the dark void trampling over a newspaper with the heading : "BEWARE OF THE TWIN EYE THEIVES, YOU WON'T SEE THEM COMING!"
Another successful Halloween.
scream for me
as i drive down my street, i smile at all of the children posing outside in their costumes as their parents try to snap a picture while there is still a little bit of daylight lingering. their eager faces hide behind their halloween costumes, ready to stomp on the orange and yellow leaves scattered across the pavement.
i glance at the bags of candy sitting in my passenger seat, knowing there will be plenty left over and i'll probably end the night drowning in chocolate and watching hocus pocus. i can't complain though, i'm the one who turned down any halloween party invitations that were offered by my friends. now i'll be one of the only twenty two years olds home alone on halloween night.
as i'm getting my things from my car, i notice a figure standing across the street. all i can make out is a ghostface mask and dark clothing, they seem to be pretty tall so i'm guessing it's a man. i try not to stare for too long but as i'm about to turn away, they give a little wave and tilt their head. the interaction made me a little bit nervous but i try to brush it off as i rush inside. what a weirdo.
an hour later, i'm answering the door every now and then to children dressed as monsters, princesses, and superheroes. there's a lot more traffic this year, i'm definitely surprised but thankful i decided to pick up extra bags of candy.
"trick or treat!" two little boys and one girl stand at my door holding their candy sacks open.
"you are the most adorable power rangers i have ever seen," i smile, dropping chocolate in each bag, one extra for the little girl.
"thank you," one of the boys say. "um, the scary man across the street said if he could have some candy too."
the smile vanishes from my face almost immediately. when i stand straight up and look ahead, i see the same figure in the ghost face mask standing there. i look around for the children's parents, not wanting to let them walk off alone without supervision.
"uh, where are your parents?" i ask, my voice sounding uneasy.
"we live two houses down," the girl points to the light brown house. "our mommy said we could go to one more house but your neighbor was out of candy."
i look at the figure still standing there. the street is nearly empty aside from a few trick-or-treaters getting their last houses in before the night of receiving candy is over. i know they live close, but i can't let these kids walk alone with a complete weirdo standing there watching them. so i grab my keys from the hook, lock my door, and offer to walk them home.
when we reach their door, their mother is standing there waiting. she gives me a warm smile as her children run to her and excitedly tell her how much candy they've gotten tonight.
"i just wanted to make sure they got home safely, there was a weird figure standing over there-" i point the where the ghost face was standing, only there was no one there. an eery feeling overcomes me.
"well thank you, i very much appreciate it," she beams. "let's get inside kids, it's time for a halloween movie."
as the door closes, i turn to make my way back home. i'm relieved to see a group of kids walking down the street with two adults. at least there will be witnesses if the creep jumps out and snatches me up.
i let out a deep breathe when i make it inside my cozy home, my nostrils filling with the scent of the pizza i had in the oven. thank goodness because i am starving. only when i go to take the pizza out of the oven, i notice that my side door is cracked open. chills go down my spine because i'm well aware that i closed it when i let milo out a little bit ago.
the sound of glass shattering nearly gives me a heart attack. i whip around to see my cat standing on the counter and the glass of wine i was sipping on is now splatters across my kitchen floor.
"are you trying to kill me milo?" i yell, placing my hand on my chest. i shake my head and tell myself that i didn't close the door all the way and he was able to push it open and let himself in. because that's the only explanation i am willing to think of.
after picking up the glass and mopping up the wine, i pull the pizza out of the oven and cut myself a slice. though before i could take a bite, there's a ring at my door. i assume it's the last of the trick-or-treaters, i might as well give them the last of the candy.
but when i swing the door open, there are no children in masks waiting for candy. an uneasy feeling settles in my stomach and i look around to make sure the creep from before wasn't across the street but the spot is empty.
when i turn around, the figure with the ghostface is looking down at me. the bowl of candy falls from my hands and i let out a shriek. before i can do anything else, he slams the door and pushes me against it. i try to scream again but he covers my mouth with one hand. i feel a sharp pain in my side and let out a cry. i can feel the tears falling down my cheeks. i feel the sharp object being pulled in and out from my side and it's getting harder and harder to keep my eyes open.
"that's right, baby," he says. "scream for me."
The House and the One Before It
It was Halloween night. Or maybe the evening right before. My mind was as foggy as the day had been, but oncoming dusk made the lack of sight more acceptable. I was out trick or treating with my son. He was dressed as Indiana Jones, but looked nothing like Harrison Ford. In fatherhood, I’d learned to temper the onslaught of disappointment. He was six. The scene around me was picture perfect. It was nothing but a dreary October night, but the neighborhood was awake. More awake than it had ever been. Who’s neighborhood was this? My son and I weaved through the beaming children and reached the front of a house. It was an old man’s house, but a young man lived there. A young man had always lived there. To my son, it was just another slot machine with near-guaranteed odds.
My son raced to the door and rang the doorbell. With this action he chanted the famous associated words passed down through the haunted generations. A weathered young man answered the door. He smiled, but he didn’t want to. The moon showed me the outlines of angry clouds above his house. The moon wanted me to see. We had a relationship of taunts, myself and the moon, but only ever one-sided. The man, with an ever trembling hand, dropped a single fun sized snickers bar into my son’s raggedy burlap sack. He said to him, slowly, “you’re wearing a costume, but your father is the one truly wearing the mask.” My son blissfully ignored him, and I gently touched my face.
We walked on over to the next house and I found it eerily familiar. It was a splash of familiarity dropped onto a black canvas of the unknown. My son walked up to the front door, but before he got there he turned to me. “Is this what you wanted?” he asked.
“What?” I asked back. He simply smiled and turned back to the door. I got the feeling that he wasn’t referring to anything in the immediate moment. I did not smile. He had such a happy gait up to the doorbell of the familiar house. He had to avoid, well, no decorations at all. When he got to the doorbell, after ringing it, what he should have said was “trick or treat.” He should have said “trick or treat.” But instead he turned to me and asked, “why don’t I exist?”
Before I could answer, through the chills sent down my spine, the door opened. The man that opened the door was me. He was older and much more tired. His skin was grey and his eyes looked as though they’d conceded. They’d conceded everything. Despite these grisly differences, he was me. “No candy here,” the other me grunted out. He then slammed the door shut.
“What is and what could’ve been are so far away,” said my son. I was inclined to agree. To my left was an infinite row of houses decked out for Halloween, and I came to find that the same was situated to my right. I looked into my son’s emotionless eyes and then looked passed him. Passed him, in the familiar house, was a silhouette through the window of a man hanging from a noose. I screamed but it meant nothing.