A Short Story by
Upon opening the door many of these visitors would merely stare at me, silent, waiting as if I would instantly recognize what it was I was supposed to do. I would often spy assembled assorted parents whispering to each other in the background, perhaps logging their neighbors’ particulars and odd mannerisms for possible future use. Not being one to follow the herd and give up without a fight (unless of course it's a Tuesday, I'm awake, and my partner is willing to 'play'), I found myself at odds at times with the oft displayed youthful ignorance. Suffice it to say on occasion I would prompt my young visitors with a greeting, a smile and a question if they knew not how to play this particular game.
“Good evening.” More often than not this would be answered by a bashful smile, brief eye contact and a limb shooting forth ending in a reaching five fingered appendage (depending on the complexity of the costume). “Aren't you supposed to ask me something first?”As I asked I would hold the treasure out of reach, not out of spite, for it mattered not in the slightest to me to who or to what I gave the tightly wrapped shiny goodies away. What was important, however, was the one single, short, traditional (doubtful whether it was in fact customary) query. A number of times I would smirk as various confused gazes met mine, quizzical looks peeking out from under various disguises depicting all fashion of species. I watched sheepish furtive looks shot to a parental figure for further guidance as uncontrollable adolescent digits continued to make grasping movements.
Why is it I haven't gotten candy already? You said this was going to be easy.
One instance, more than any other, threw me off guard. A short comment from whom I could only assume was a parent as we happened to lock eyes as the words were spoken. My mind was awhirl over something so trivial, was it a suggestion, a comment, a sardonic reply. Aimed at me or another? I knew not but as the night wore on and the chalk's dust mingled with the air above the tables tan felt and the large dishes interior (cradling the treats) became more visible I could not help but ponder upon its meaning, no matter how hard I try not to.
“Black, corner pocket”.
“Ok, rack em' up. I'll break em'.”
“What the hell was that? It was already in the pocket fer' christs sakes!”
“It's been a long day. Sorry. This is my last game.”
As luck would have it I spied my antagonist's vehicle (strange what the subconscious will remember when not willed to) moving at a snail's pace coincidently not that far away. Why did an abrupt nagging thought that I was being lured somehow into a trap even surface, odd, truth be told it was more than a little weird.
The words still echoed in the confines of my skull. I endeavored to follow at a distance for what reason though I'd still yet to decide. I was lucky it was Halloween, a night where one might be able to peer around bushes, act weird and dive out from around corners at a moment’s notice. “Just what are you supposed to be? Something your mum warned you about, now scram!”
I was surely above suspicion. However, that might have all came to a crashing end the moment I rolled, Indiana Jones style, tightly behind the slowing vehicle and into a dimly lit garage. The garage door closed immediately and very snugly behind me with a whir, concealing my wheezing as if by magic. I'm outta shape. I have no trouble whatsoever in admitting I'm in no condition to be stalking motor vehicles for even the smallest length of distance. Within seconds the room was flooded with light as the cooling vehicle's occupants hastily exited. I detected the distinct voices of two young children both were raucously excited about their night's haul. Barely above that, I heard 'her' calming them in a rational manner. Could this really be she who continued to vex me so?
For a split second I feared she might have spied me as it appeared she looked back at my position as a digit caressed the light to the off position. The children's excited babble lessened in volume leaving me in complete darkness as the door closed softly behind them. I had a single thought on my mind as my heart started to hammer in my chest. Did she lock…
I waited for what seemed to be aeons, making sure to put my phone on silent mode. How awkward would I feel, getting discovered in a stranger's garage on the phone confessing (to my significant other) “...sorry I'm going to be late”, only to hang up and stammer, “Uh... Trick or Treat?” to a hysterical individual who may or may not be brandishing a loaded firearm in the direction of my dangly bits. With careful minute movements I disentangled myself from the rear of the car thankfully without making that much of a racket against the bare metal surface of the electronic door. Finally I was able to stand. I gasped realizing that my pant legs and my knees were scraped up. But that wasn't all, my elbows were aching, raw and my sweater was torn. A curse made its way past my lips as I crossed my fingers in hopes I hadn't left behind even a smidgen of evidence though I still hadn't the slightest idea why I was even in my current predicament.
It was deathly quiet. I'd been in the garage for a while, or at least it felt like I had. I checked my phone. The brightness from the small screen lit up my surroundings, my mouth dropped in awe. How could anyone be this tidy and organized? The floor was immaculate without a speck of dirt, boxes lined the walls and there I stood with my mouth agape with my flesh in lacerated tatters messing the place up.
I'm a dick!
There it was again. A snapshot of her face lit up the blackboard in the back of my mind. Was that a smirk or a smile that alighted upon her features? Her narrowed come hither eyes stare pinpointed boring a hole directly into my mind, my thoughts.
Each word sounded a little off. There was an inflection twisting each, transforming the meaning into something else entirely.
(come to me)
It was clearly a summons now.
Without sending a single conscious command to my limbs I suddenly found myself holding the cold brass of the door's knob.
(I can smell your desire)
It turned easily within my grasp.
(come find me. Come find me)
I had no control, it was as if my body was being pulled down the dimly lit hallway. The absence of light was all encompassing but I felt no fear. I felt calm. It was as if I somehow knew the way. But to where.
A slither of light in the shape of a closed door demanded my attentions.
I was not in any way surprised to find another knob within my grasp. It's emotionless metal surface in no way frigid but warmed as if by the last touch upon it.
(I can feel your warmth. Bring it to me)
The door opened wide without a single sound.
(ahhh -you're here!)
In the middle of the room was a large bed. The distinct imprint of a sleeping adult form under the covers moved ever so slightly.
I'll admit I got a little aroused at the thought, an undiscovered and as yet untried role playing scenario deemed taboo by most.
(only a few more steps)
I stepped closer as if attached to a taut beckoning chain attached to the bed's backboard. I stopped short as I felt a warmth, a breath against my ear. As if falling from a great height and colliding with the speedily approaching ground the trance over me had collapsed onto itself. It was then that I noticed an odor. Its foulness engulfed my senses. I started to gag uncontrollably.
(do you like to play dead too?)
No longer enthralled I would no longer play this game. I turned abruptly as if to leave as the form on the bed started to rise.
(leaving so soon?)
It was then that I felt appendages grasping at me from behind, twisting me, turning me around.
(why I've barely had enough time to compliment you on your...)
Inches from my own face too shocked to shriek in absolute terror were twin visions from the blackest realms of anyone's worst nightmare.
My eyes started to water hampering my vision, sadly no onions to blame, only an over powering pungent odor invading my sensory organs. My new companions between them had me in a vise grip hold yanking me backwards. On my left what was once a young boy, probably seven or eight years of age, tugged ferociously. The strain plucked various bones out of their joints, a sight elevated by a collection of sickening crunches. Fibroid tumors burst forth from his flesh oozing crimson fluids as I continued to resist. What was once a recognizable costume (a Power Rangers outfit?) hung in multiple strips, red sparkly shoulder pads encrusted in foam shredded tatters dangling from the edges of his rapidly transforming torso onto the floor. Several thick tendrils branched out suddenly (from what I could imagine was the young lad's back) spitting slime about the room as their scaly surface whipped fervently growing larger still from his bent over stance. Letting go of my shoulder I could see his misshapen exposed spine as he wailed in what would only be described as a combination of both pain and exquisite pleasure.
The creature leered at me as a handful of teeth plummeted from the cavernous torn space where his mouth once resided. I yanked against the other form's touch upon my flesh. I turned only to shudder in revulsion at yet another vision of blasphemous carnage encapsulated in a form that was very recently disguised as human. What was perhaps at one time the other form's sister sneered at me at about the same time her skull commenced to split in twain, within no time at all both halves fell from her shoulders to drop upon the carpeted floor making but a soft thud. I was fascinated, I couldn't do a thing but obey my curiosity and watch. At the back of my mind a familiar adage spun around and around like a howling cat in a very small space (it couldn't have been that big after all!).
I glanced away from the writhing, blond nylon, entanglement, on the floor (recognizing against my better instincts the trademarked hallmark of the newest overhyped Disney Princess) to see my 'original' antagonist in a seated position on the bed. Naked from the waist up, she sat bolt upright, the covers lay disheveled across her legs though appeared nothing as I had imagined (it must be an immediate male thought undressing a stranger of the opposite sex glimpsed for barely a moment). The figure's face was contorted wide in a rictus grin. The grin, more a devious smirk, expanded even further still as its advances to conquer the surface of her entire face.
If I were to ever conjure up a vision of a black hole it would be eerily similar to what I was witnessing. An implosion of sorts or self-consumption, if you prefer, the creature on the bed was shrinking onto itself. But that was not all, another was emerging from the chaos. My gaze was torn away as I was forcibly twisted around, admittedly I was livid. Mad because I was somewhat in a scenario that may well conclude in my early demise but also because I could no longer witness that which I somehow felt I needed to.
For some ungodly reason I felt the urge to react as if it were one of my children begging my attention for another treat after being told numerous times, “No Already!” If for any reason you find yourself at odds with what a look of shock might register as on an alien/demonic lifeform you may, as I was, be very surprised to find that no such look exists, anywhere, especially in this particular being’s emotion lexicon. The word was the last I ever had the pleasure to utter as in one fell swoop I was bundled up, upended and tossed unceremoniously into...
“Sweets wake up. Wake up sweets.”
“You fell asleep. Your friends laughed for a little while, got bored understandably then left.”
“You scared me when you jolted upright and yelled, “What!” at the top of your lungs.”
“Umm sorry.” I was still very much disoriented merely playing the “nod and agree game” that most successful couples take part in, whether one realizes it or not.
“Seriously wake up. You have a visitor.” My spouse's playful smile was turning sour.
“What! Who?” I was now careening towards a full state of consciousness faster than I was finding comfortable. My head was starting to spin.
It was surely too late to receive any teeth-rotting-goody-hungry guests at this hour.
Shaking various lingering cobwebs that hampered a plethora of thoughts which didn't make any sense whatsoever, perhaps only in a half dream state, I plodded towards the front door. With the handle firmly in my grasp and not seeing a break in the shadows outside the outer screen I turned back.
“Did they say who they were and what they wanted Pumpkin?”
I don't know what urged me to turn the handle and open the door but I did. Peering past the door wedged open by my foot I saw nothing out of the ordinary, well it was Halloween night so there were a few things though nothing wholly out of the ordinary. I craned my neck to see if I couldn't spy my spouse swiftly changing position for the 'Gotcha' move that I was well expecting.
“Sweets... please stop screwing with me. It's not going to be funny. I'm still half asleep for God's sake.”
A slight noise made me turn.
“C'mon Swee-!” I could feel an abrupt wetness pool its way down my inner thigh and the marrow in my bones liquefy. I could not speak, my voice was but an inaudible croak. A familiar face peered intently into my own.
“Let me reiterate... what I actually meant was... you'd make a nice costume.”
I glanced down to catch a tidal wave of viscous flowing movement. My descent to the tile and eventual darkness was graced by a smirk, more a devious smile, that I would swear was something else entirely.