The porch creaked as the woman stepped outside to be sure there were plenty of
spiders hanging from the cobwebs near the light. And the screen door groaned as
her friend stepped out to put the fake jack-o-lantern in the corner, then went
"You know, parents aren't going to let their kids eat this stuff?" The friend,
dressed as Medusa, hefted a bowl of homemade rice crispy treats in the shape of
pumpkins, dyed with orange food coloring, and wrapped in plastic wrap, onto a
table in the entry.
"Oh, please, I'll bet half of the kids eat them before they even get home." She
stepped back into the house, leaving the main door open, letting the screen
door slam behind her. She adjusted her witch's hat, and tugged down her shirt,
to show a little cleavage for the boys who should've stopped trick or treating
years ago. It'd be her real treat to them.
Inside, the foyer had been encased with black fabric, painted with a scene from a
graveyard. The two ladies sat in rocking chairs, waiting.
"Still, Lexi, I don't think it's right," Medusa said, as she rocked back and
Lexi practiced her witch cackle as a response. She stood when she heard the voices
and laughter of children in the distance.
They'd hit almost every house in their four block neighborhood. All except the
ramshackle house on the corner of Lupin and Primrose. Billy's barely had
enough candy to fill the bottom of his bag, and Zane's bag was mostly loose
stared up at the house as Zane said, "The porch light is on. So maybe
someone does live there."
of the kids had come and gone, the neighborhood buzz quieted, and the streets
again deserted. But Zane was avoiding going home, so they roamed the sidewalks.
go knock on the door," Zane said. He took off at a sprint.
in his makeshift Minions costume of too big overalls and his dad's yellow
shirt, couldn't run, so he waddled along, eventually catching up.
Victorian's paint peeled liked the dried lips of an old lady, and the shutters
hung at odd angles. The curtains were drawn, but it wouldn't have mattered,
because the landscaping had overgrown its boundaries, and covered most of the
lower level, no one would be looking in or out of the downstairs windows. Billy
thought he saw someone looking down at them from an upstairs window though, and
his breath caught.
Zane asked, irritated.
ready to go home. Let's just skip this one." He looked toward the porch,
where the light still shown. "Besides, I think I saw the light
stepped up to the rickety picket fence, dense with a jungly tangle of vines and branches.
When he leaned against it to get a closer look, something scrambled from
beneath the leaves that hadn't been raked since fall set in. Zane jumped, and
fell into Billy, who plunged backward onto the sidewalk.
be a wuss. It's just a trashy yard." Zane pushed off Billy and stood.
"Here comes a bunch of kids. Let's see if they go."
pulled Billy off the sidewalk, and they climbed over the flimsy fence, thinking
they'd hide near the house, but the dried leaves crunched under their weight.
They stopped short and dropped flat on their bellies, up against the fence. Out
of sight. Or so they hoped.
kids, a ballet dancer, a witch, a clown and a...a...mmmm, opened the gate and
crept up the path. There was something missing as the kids approached the front
door. Chatter, laughter, and the sound of leaves.
The path to the front door
must be well-worn
, Billy thought, as the
boys and girls crept toward the light. They seemed more terrified than he was.
He could feel his heart beat, as he waited for one of them to knock on the front door.
But it seemed time slowed, the closer they got. Then wham, creak, thwack, the
screen door flew open.
harmony, the kids almost whispered, "Trick or treat."
witch in the doorway said, "Well, you aren't very scary. How
disappointing." Then she cackled, and shoved a huge bowl at the group.
"Take one, oh, hell, take two. I have plenty."
little hands reached out and took whatever was in the bowl, then turned and ran
back down the walk at warp speed.
got the better of Billy. "Come on, before they turn out the light."
He wanted to know what was in that bowl.
let's just go home."
ignored Zane and stood up, walking directly to the front door. Zane, not
wanting to look like a chicken, followed.
door opened before they could knock, and the green faced witch with huge boobs
answered the door. His voice cracked when he said, "Trick or treat."
shoved the bowl at him. "I'm too tired for tricks, here's a treat, boys."
took one of the treats. They were the size of a softball. Zane, who had said
nothing, took one too.
a couple. I'm turning out the light," Medusa said, stepping up behind the
witch, making them both jump.
took two more each.
and Billy didn't run away from the porch like the other kids, but they walked
fast, heading to the kiddy park at the end of the neighborhood.
aren't supposed to eat homemade treats," Billy reminded Zane, who
unwrapped the pumpkin and took a huge bite.
don't eat yours. I'll eat it for you. It's delish."
couldn't help himself. He unwrapped his, intending only to take a small taste.
Thirty minutes later, he and Zane had eaten all three pumpkin treats, and were
laying in the grass, ready to vomit.
said, "It's probably getting late. We should head home."
Billy, do you feel kinda shaky?"
lay really still. "Yeah."
your heart racing, like you just sprinted across the playground?"
he lay still, and listened to his body. His heart pounded in his chest, so hard
he was sure Zane could hear it, so he didn't answer.
think I'm going to barf," Zane rolled over on his stomach, but he didn't
Billy said, "There's going to be a lot of sad parents in the
himself up to his hands and knees, Zane croaked, "Why is that?"
I don't think that lady likes kids." Billy tried to stand.
don't get it."
I just think we should go home now. So we can be with our parents before it's
too late." Billy's heart raced as he reached out his hand to help his
leaned against Billy as they walked back to the apartment complex they called
home. At one point he looked up at Billy and asked, "Are we going to
pulled off her hat as she turned off the porch light. Then she turned around
and ripped down the black fabric to reveal a nearly vacant house. She
unbuttoned her witch costume, removed it, and folded everything, putting it
neatly in a cardboard box.
the kitchen, Medusa still wore her wig. She put the lid on a hypodermic needle
that was attached to a 10cc syringe, and stuffed it in a box along with a
coffee cup and a stainless steel machine.
whose real name was Nancy, said, "This is the last time I help you do
emptied the leftovers into the sink, and helped put the rest of the kitchen
items in the cardboard box. "What's the big deal? That's what their
parent's get for turning their little brats loose on the neighborhood for the
night. They should know better. Especially in this day and age. Maybe next year
they'll reconsider, and keep their kids home for Halloween."
I'll bet half the kids won't even eat it. Their parents have warned them."
grinned. "Oh please, did you see those things? They were eye candy. Even I
almost ate one. No kid was waiting until they got home to ask permission.
they unwrapped them, the smell alone would deter them."
pulled a bag from the box and pointed. "White coffee beans. Almost no
flavor, and the caffeine content is much higher than a regular shot of
espresso. And I put at least one shot in each pumpkin. Those kids will be
bouncing off the walls all night. Those parents won't get a wink of
stuffed the bag back in the box, and tucked the top flaps over.
walked out to the garage and flipped down the main breaker, then carried the
boxes down the street to their car.
Jamie Lee Scott is the USA Today bestselling author of the Gotcha Detective Agency Mysteries, and a produced screenwriter.
Her short film, No One Knows, made its television debut in January 2015 on DirecTV, where it was voted Editor's Choice on ShortsHD.
She lives on a farm with her family, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 3 horses.
When she's not writing or reading, she's riding horses and competing at barrel races.