A Trick or Treat Story
This Halloween trick or treat story is for the ones who don't believe in treats for the tricksters.
Are you sure you don't want to hand out candy? Beware!
~ TRICK OR TREAT ~
Henry Allan was having a great night, and things were only looking better. It was the night that he was finally able to have his neighbor, Teri Hart, over for dinner. She was sitting on his couch waiting for him. It was Halloween, and hopefully that would not be any inconvenience. In reality, Henry loved Halloween and had been looking forward to carving a pumpkin, handing out candy and watching every horror movie he could find on cable. But for once the rituals of Halloween held no interest for him at all. He wasn't about to let the simple pleasures of the dark holiday take a moment of his attention away from Miss Hart. For the first time in years, no Jack-O-Lantern sat glowing on his porch. He drew the curtains over the small window in his front door and turned off the porch light.
Only a few hours earlier, Henry was surprised when he answered his door to find his neighbor poised on his threshold. She told him that she was going to be out for the evening and was wondering if he wouldnt mind keeping an eye on her place for her. She went on to explain that she feared that if she wasn't at home to answer the door for trick-or-treaters, they might break her windows, or pull some other prank. Somewhere amid the conversation, as Henry wished that he had combed his hair before opening the door, Teri had inquired about Henry's plans for the night. She revealed that she was just looking for a reason to get out of the house only to avoid the trick-or-treaters. She professed a hatred for Halloween which Henry had difficulty grasping, but which he found himself agreeing with completely. Quick to respond to an opportunity, Henry suavely invited her over to dine with him, modestly offering that he could find something around the house to "whip up" for a meal. It was just being neighborly, he pressed. And to Henry's amazement, Teri had accepted his offer eagerly.
With only a sepia glow on the horizon, Henry fled his sweltering kitchen to answer the door. He wondered if it was the first group of trick or treaters ignoring the darkened façade of the house. Instead, it was Teri.
Im probably a little early. Is that okay? She asked, glancing quickly over her shoulder.
Sure! Great! Come on in. Henry admitted her clumsily, stammering pleasantries and led her to have a seat in the living room. Excusing himself, he hurried back into the kitchen.
Henry quickly set the dining table and brought in the food he had prepared. Luckily he had enough pasta and the ingredients for a basic sauce. Teri took her seat and began sampling the fare.
The conversation over dinner had been simple and at times, awkward. They talked about work topics and about the other neighbors before adjourning from the dining table for the living room. Henry followed, pausing to puff out the tapered candles on the table. Teri lighted upon the couch and smiled broadly up at him. "Thank you so much. It really was a great dinner.
Well, I hope it was all right. Im not used to cooking for two. He answered and sat down next to her.
"This is such a nice place you have," Teri said, moving up to the edge of the couch and staring into the small fireplace across from her. Flames waved and sparkled as they fed upon the wood in the hearth. "Im glad that you understood about me not caring for Halloween. Youd be surprised at how many people dont understand that.
"Oh sure. This is a lot better than handing out candy to greedy kids. I turned out the porch light so the little buggers would get the message."
"I just never liked Halloween, Teri said. Even when I was kid."
"I know what you mean." Henry lied. "I didn't even realize that tonight was Halloween until you came over this afternoon. Just another night to me."
"It seems like we have a lot in common." She said with a smile.
Then the door-bell rang.
Henry looked to Teri and seemed to say in a glance that if they sat still and were quiet, the intruders would go away.
But the door-bell rang.
Springing off the couch Henry lunged at the door. Grasping the doorknob he hesitated, blood rushing through his brain, wheezing breath, he was going to give them one more chance.
The door-bell rang.
"Trick or Treat!" the gang of children shouted up to him.
"Look! I don't have anything for you! There's plenty of old people living around here to take care of you. Now go on, get out of here!"
The children lowered their treat bags to their sides and looked up at the silhouette of the man in the doorway. There must of been a dozen of them, from toddler to lanky teenager disguised in capes, hoods and coats. Clutched in their small hands, flashlights glowed through plastic skull or pumpkin covers. There was a low murmur of young voices, muffled by their masks. Henry stepped back from the doorway. For just a moment, he felt a heaviness in his chest as he took in the full weight of being such a cruel, deceitful jerk, but before he could take any of it back, all at once the somber goblins began filing off the porch with a rustle of taffeta, vinyl sheets and the crackle of paper bags.
Henry slowly began to close the door, but just before it shut he heard a young whine of a voice from among the retreating horde call out, "You'll be sor-r-ry!"
Giggles and childish laughs erupted from within the darkness as Henry closed the door and engaged the locks.
"Did you send them all packing?" Teri asked with a chuckle.
Henry smiled weakly.
Maybe if we turn out all the lights, it will help keep them away. Teri added.
Sure. That could do the trick.
Teri got up and began switching off lights, until only the waving flames in the fireplace gave the room a fiery glow. Henry returned from turning off the kitchen lights and found Teri back on the couch and slipping out of her black leather pumps. Come on back, she said patting the cushion beside her. Now youre going to have to protect me in the dark.
Henry took a step toward her when the doorbell rang.
Cursing, he stomped to the front door. He jerked the doorknob, cursed again at the door not budging. Then unlocked the deadbolt, jerked the knob again and threw open the door. Rushing outside he stood on the dark, empty porch. By the light of the streetlight he could see no one in his yard. Grinning jack-o-lanterns shimmered with fire on the porches and steps of the houses across the street, but he could see no one. Dropping his chin onto his chest, he turned to go back inside, when laughter came from the shadows around his lawn.
"You little brats!" He shrieked and went back inside his house, slamming the door.
"What happened?" Teri asked.
"Oh, theyre just playing some tricks.
Well, c'mere, I'm scared." She pleaded.
"I'll be right there. I just want to try something." He wasn't about to let the little pests outside trick him again, so he walked up to the front door and waited, listening. He planned on waiting until he heard them coming up on the porch again, before turning the tables.
After several minutes of silence, and then hearing only Teris distant sigh, Henry was about to give up when he heard something outside. Was it a footstep? He waited another moment and then yanked open the door with a scream, "Aaarrgghhh!" and stormed onto the porch.
Feeling like a fool on the empty porch, he turned to go back inside when POP, he was hit on the back of the head with something firm, cold and wet.
What the hell! He drew his hand up to his throbbing head and found the gooey remains of a tomato. POP. POP. Another hit him squarely on the chest and one splattered across the door. Henry was back inside and closing the door when three more thumps pelted the house in rapid succession.
Walking back to the couch he drew his comb through his hair, scraping out pulp and seeds and brushed off his shirt. He had never expected such an attack from a bunch of disappointed kids. "Sorry about that, Teri. I guess I only made them mad."
"Ignore them, they'll leave us alone."
Henry dropped onto the couch and draped an arm around Teri's shoulder.
See what I mean about Halloween? I hate it. Teri said softly.
"Maybe we should see if theres something on TV? Henry asked, and began searching for the remote control. He found it on the end table beside him and thumbed the power button. But the television stayed dark.
"What the?" He shook the controls and reached for the table lamp. Turning the switch did nothing. "The power's off." He said, confused, turning back to Teri.
"What does that mean?" Teri asked.
Before he could answer he thought he heard something odd from the fireplace. A sharp sputter and hiss.
Teri heard the sound, too, and brought her hand up to her mouth as if to keep from making a sound.
A piercing whoosh filled the air. Henry jolted. Teri screamed. Cracks and hissing echoed and the room went dark. The acrid smell of smoke, ash, steam and cinders stung Henry's nostrils as he glanced about the darkness in horror. His brain began working again. The fire had been doused. The grate sizzled from the volume of water poured over it.
"Wha--what happened?" Teri stammered.
"Something got poured onto the fire." Henry said, blinking into the smoky darkness. "But, how? Down the chimney," Henry considered the words as he spoke them. "Theyre up on the roof!"
Teri found him, taking hold of his arm in the blackness.
He pulled his arm free. "It's those stupid kids. I cant believe it, but they've got on the roof. Stay here and I'll be right back. Im going to stop this right now."
"No! Dont leave me!" She shouted after him. "I can't take this!" She said, her voice quavering. "It's like that movie with the zombies!"
"It's just kids. I'll get a flashlight." He said easing his way through the dark room by memory. Making it into the kitchen he tried the light switch, just in case. Nothing. Finding his way to the sink, he opened the cabinet and felt inside for the flashlight he knew was there. He only hoped the batteries were still good. Finding the plastic shaft, he slid the switch with his thumb and cast a thin, white beam into the room.
On to the back door, he unlocked and opened it and ran out into the night. Turning and facing back at the house he cast the light up to the roof. The beam found only the red brick chimney jutting out of the asphalt-slate tiles. No one was up there, at least not on the back side. He could see no ladder, but a huge, ancient post oak tree grew beside the house, with wide limbs angling out over the roof. Limbs that could easily bear the weight of little intruders.
With a sudden chill, Henry realized that he was vulnerable to another pelting of tomatoes. Before he could rush back inside, he felt his head almost shatter. A stunned moment later he found himself lying on his back. He could feel the dead leaves and grass underneath him. His face felt on fire. He blinked, seeing only glitter and haze and brought his hand up to his forehead. It was wet, warm and sticky beside his right eye. Pain streaked through him at his touch. Something had hit him, but it had not been a mealy tomato. It was much bigger. He could see again, making out the back facade of his house against the night sky. Drawing his arm underneath himself he began to ease off the cold, damp ground. The movement of each muscles sent new ripples of pain cascading out from his head.
He rolled onto his knees and staggered upright. The flashlight still glowed, half buried in leaves where it had fallen. Henry reached down for it. Dizzy, he fell onto his knees. In the light, he saw the broken, orange chunks of a ruined Jack-o-lantern that had hit him.
He heard a distant elastic snap just before a rock exploded on his left elbow. Screaming, he pitched over onto his shoulder his head slammed into the ground firing off a fresh shower of unbearable pain. But, he worked his legs, pushed off with his right arm and was somehow able to stand and staggered toward the house, his left arm dangling numb and useless. He pulled open the door when he heard another snap and saw the rear light fixture over the door explode into a spray of sparks and glass. Ducking he scampered into the kitchen and collided with a counter-top. Leaning on the counter, he tried bending his arm at the joint. It could still bend, the pain was electric, and he assumed that the elbow wasn't broken. More rocks and debris began cracking against the house around him.
He heard Teri screaming for him. Gritting his teeth from the pain he hurried toward her, though he couldn't be sure how long it took him to cross the distance between the kitchen and living room. With the flashlight beam he found Teri cowering on the couch, clutching her cell phone and using the display for a dim light.
"What happened? What was all that noise?" Teri spoke shrilly. "I thought I heard you yell, I thought someone was killing you!
I think they were trying to. He said and exhaled heavily.
I called the police, Teri said. I didn't know what else to do. I told them someone was breaking in and that they had guns.
Whyd you say that?
It makes the cops show up faster. She answered with her eyes wide.
Henry sat down on the couch and began thinking hard and fast.
With the light out of her eyes, Teri closed her phone and reached out for the flashlight and turned the beam onto Henry. Whats that? Oh my God!" She shrieked, "You're bleeding!"
"Listen to me, I think we should probably get out of here. Henry said, blinking painfully into the light.
Teri cast the light around the room, apparently fearing that they were about to be pounced upon. "What? But you said it was only kids!"
"I know, but theyve gone nuts. Crazy. We've got to go. I'll go start the car. Then you run out. We'll drive down the street and wait for the police. Come out when you hear me start the engine."
"You're hurt!" Teri said.
"Im okay. But I don't want you to get hurt."
Teri reached out, pressing her palm against his chest. "You said they were just kids." She said softly.
Henry frowned down at her and turned. Her hand fell away from him and she watched him leave.
His pain had subsided somewhat as he stepped out onto the porch. He could feel the cool dampness on his wounds, but each footfall jarred the tender, ruined nerves that still managed to signal their pain throughout his body.
He tensed to be suddenly hurt again as he moved closer to the car. Some pale beams of the distant streetlight were cast onto the car making the chrome and finish glisten. And in the light, Henry noticed one of the tires. He squinted down at it, then brought the toe of his shoe against it and found it completely deflated. When he saw that the rear tire was in the same shape, he continued around the car without a word. He was just too tired and in too much pain to shout and gesture as he would have liked, instead, he resolved only sit and be safe for a while.
Once inside, he locked the car door and started the engine, as he had told Teri, but knowing that they would be going nowhere. Still, it was probably safer in the car than in the house.
Pain coursed throughout his body in a dull, seemingly audible drone. He tried to focus his eyes on what he could see of his front door. Through the car windshield, the shadows and refraction hid most of the house, but it was clear that Teri was not yet coming. He honked the car horn with a stiff palm on the steering wheel. He glanced at the rearview and side mirrors for any lurking horrors and tried sounding the horn again. He didn't know if he could push his tortured body back out of the car and back into the house, but he had to see about Teri. If she was scared and cowering in the doorway, perhaps only a moments coaxing could get her out to the car.
Henry left the car without falling or without further assault and stepped up and onto the porch. The front door stood open, beckoning him into seamless black.
"Teri? Teri, c'mon!" He shouted, leaning a hand on the door frame, and paused, hoping for a response, and dreading entering.
The cool wind that had once seemed so soothing to his wounds, now buffeted him and chilled him to shivers. He stepped slowly, cautiously into his house, fearing that at any moment something sharp, heavy and deadly would come spinning out of the darkness and kill him in his tracks.
Feeling his way from the door into the living room seemed so impossibly far in the darkness. The house, which he knew each corner, each closet and cupboard, had become strange and hostile. He had padded along the same polished floors as a child and man countless times in both darkness and light, but a sinister pall had descended upon the home he had once known. He could be sure of nothing any more.
A few tiny glowing embers remained in the fireplace hearth. Henry felt along the mantle until he found a tin of matches. Igniting the tip of a little stick, brought a small area around him into view. Turning to face the couch and lifting the match away from his eyes, he could see Teri lying there. Had she fainted? He wondered and realized that the match flame was sliding down to his fingers. She wasn't answering him and he couldn't see what was wrong with her. He lit another match from the first and leaned closer to the couch. Teri lay still on the cushions, her lovely legs relaxed, her arms hung limp, her face hidden in darkness. Shaking for fear of what he was seeing, Henry glimpsed the flashlight on the floor beside the couch. With a flick, he shook out the match, retrieved the light and cast it on Teri. An orange and black plastic treat bag hid her face. Henry lunged toward her, screaming, grabbing and tugging on the bag. It was held firm over her head by the drawstring tried around her neck. He kept shouting, cursing and pleading for Teri to be all right even after a thud and clatter arose from somewhere. Then he felt something firm extending out of Teris chest. He may have screamed when he saw the handle of a knife against her chest, but his mind was no longer working right. He pulled the knife from her, but that had not helped anything.
A light flashed in the hallway, then brilliant light washed over him, startling and blinding him. Voices shouted from out of the light. Staggering, screaming, he moved toward the light with the bloody knife raised high just as fire and sparks sprayed toward him. The shouting stopped. His breath emptied from his mouth. He thought about Teri lying dead and wondered if he was falling on her. Turning and tumbling he waited to crash onto the hardwood floor. He knew it was going to hurt. He waited for it to hurt but it never did.
An ambulance bounced and ground its way up the gravel drive and halted with a dull scrunch. A policeman finished winding a plastic yellow ribbon around a porch column as another officer shouted for someone to get the kids out of the yard. Sitting on the top porch step, an officer looked up and handed over his handgun to a man in a dark trench coat. Another officer assured him that it wasnt his fault and that he would be cleared. That officer looked across the dark lawn to the children. I said get those kids out of here!
He watched the costumed children join hands and thought about his own kids out in the night somewhere trick or treating. Its Halloween. They shouldnt be seeing this.
Standing in line, the children joined hands and began singing a song about seeing a hearse drive by.
~ By Darren Hinesley ~
Two of Darrens passions are writing and building haunted houses. The first haunted house he worked on opened in 1977 in an old Baptist church, of all places. From there he has either worked in, created or done both in anything from simple yard haunts to one of the largest haunted houses in the country. As for writing, he has been a writer for nearly as long as he has been haunting. It takes up the time and keeps him somewhat sane between the Halloween seasons.