“Real Halloween Monsters!”
The doorbell rang just after sundown.
No doubt this was the first trick or treater or trick or treaters of the night. On Halloween… who else could have come knocking? Or rather ringing.
Sasha slowly made her way from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a rag she had stuffed in her apron strings. She left the dinner boiling on the stove along with a cutting board with a half chopped carrot and a pile of three or four other orange victims.
Again the doorbell rang.
A smile on her face Sasha said, “Coming. Keep your masks on, kiddos.“
Passing the living room Sasha glanced at her husband. Asleep in the recliner. Shoes off. Feet up. Shirt tails out. He snored loudly as his gut grew like a over blown balloon and then retracted. His nose made a soft wheezing like the air being let out of a balloon. His snoring seemed to drown out the doorbell. He didn’t move to get up.
Sasha’s annoyance grew as she lost sight of her layabout husband and the bell rang again. And again.
Then a child’s fist knocked against the door. Several quick wraps.
Sasha drew in a long breath, her smile falling, closed her eyes, and when she exhaled through her nose her smile returned to her lips. But not to her eyes.
This Halloween is starting well, she mused. Last thing I want is to clean up splattered egg from the porch and toilet paper from the trees.
Next to the front door, beside an umbrella bucket made of hammered tin and painted to appear brass, was a table with two bowls–a small dish for keys and a large salad bowl overflowing with wrapped pieces of candy. Sasha picked up the candy bowl and opened the door.
A small chorus of three voices greeted her.
“Trick or treat!?“
The normally white porch was drenched in red-orange light, the bulb in the porch light having been switched out with a more festive illumination. It reminded Sasha more of a bloody massacre than a pumpkin. The three youths standing with orange plastic jack-o-lanterns held out in placation seemed dosed in blood. She didn’t much like the light.
Sasha’s body clinched suddenly, her spine shriveling, her asshole puckering tight enough to knock her knees. It was as if a cold wind had wafted across the porch. Except the dark leafy silhouettes in the yard beyond stood stock still in imitations of Buckingham Palace guards.
She attempted to maintain her smile, distracting herself by placing attention down on the trick or treaters.
“Well now. Who do we have comin’ to visit this Hallows Eve, hmm?”
One of the children had dressed up as Superman in a blue onesie and red cape, the S-shield on his chest crocked and… backwards? Strange. He looked more a zombie than a superhero.
The child to the right of Crocked Superman wore a black jumpsuit toe to crown that nearly blended into the night, except for the skeleton bones that stood out so realistically from the black. The skull on the black mask leered at Sasha. The blank eyes regarding her lifelessly.
Standing back and to the left of Crocked Superman was a child wearing a costume unlike anything Sasha had never seen before. One that truly frightened her for its realism.
This third child had a wolf’s dark grey pelt on. Four paws, though the child stood on the hindquarters. Wagging tail. An open snout with blood dribbling into a short beard. The eyes appeared yellow and dangerous, not the glass from a costume shop. Had the boy killed and skinned and dressed up a dead wolf’s skin? She caught a whiff of wet fur and nearly gagged.
Sasha shook herself.
Her eyes glanced behind the children.
Once more the children shouted, this time with confused impatience, “Trick or treat!?“
Sasha blinked. Felt her body jerk back into motion. Back into the moment. She noted briefly that only two voices had spoken up.
“Those are some neat costume, kiddos,” she said.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Crocked Superman said, his speech slurred by a lisp.
Lively Skeleton bobbed his skull. “We worked hard.” The voice came out a rattling female, hollow and distance.
He actually barked. And wagged his tail. And held his candy bail high in two paws.
That not-wind grazed a chilly hand across Sasha again. The porch light seemed to pulse, making her sick, making her taste a filthy copper.
Sasha cocked her head. Looked closely at the third child’s wolf paws. She couldn’t discern where the boy curled his human fingers inside those paws.
Within a few breaths, during which Sasha had obviously lost her voice, the other two doorbell ringers urgently pushed their bails further toward her.
Swept with a compulsion to shoo the children away, her asshole so tight her stomach began to cramp, Sasha scooped up three handfuls of the wrapped candies and nearly tossed them at the children.
The three children peered quizzically into their respective bails. Looked at each other. Crocked Superman to Lively Skeleton. Lively Skeleton bent forward and glanced at Wolfboy. Wolfboy looked up at the taller Crocked Superman.
“Happy Halloween, kiddos,” Sasha said, unable to keep her voice steady. She was nearly batting them off her porch with a broom.
Two ‘”thank you”s and a short series of barks proceeded the unnerved housewife’s dismissal.
Lively Skeleton did a loose jigged and bounded down the porch steps, bones knocking. Crocked Superman nearly glided off the porch, skipping the steps, cape blowing. Wolfboy bit down on his plastic bail’s handle, dropped to all fore paws, and scampered down the steps with tail shaking side to side.
“That’s some realistic outfits those kids have.”
The sudden appearance of a voice behind her nearly sent Sasha jumping through the roof.
The candy in the bowl she clutched to her chest exploded and clattered to the floor around her like spilled water.
Her husband watched over her shoulder as the three trick or treaters waded into the darkness of the Halloween night, passing between the shadowed sentinel trees in the yard.
“Scared me half out of my shoes, Darrel!”
Sasha slapped the back of her hand against her husband’s chest. His eyes were glazed over with sleep from his short nap. His hair stood up messily on one side of his head. He rubbed his tired eyes, not really seeing the skeleton, the flying boy, and the wolf cub taking off to neighbor next door.
“Sasha! What’s got you on edge?” Her husband Darrel rubbed his chest as if her slap had actually hurt. She’d brushed him, at best.
Sasha looked at her hand. Then her gaze flittered to the three retreating shadows. Back to her husband. She gestured with the empty candy bowl. “You didn’t see ’em?”
“What? Those kids?”
Darrel chuckled. “Costumes that good, huh? I didn’t get a good look.”
Sasha drew in a deep breath. Held the air in her lungs for a count of three. Exhaled.
“Nevermind,” she reached out and grabbed the open door. “Go back to napping. I’ll finish dinner.” She looked around her feet. Sighed. “After I clean up this mess.”
“Don’t worry about this.” He waved at the scatted wrapped candies. “I’ll clean up.” By his voice he seemed fully awake now. Worried about her.
She gave him a reassuring smile. Tired. She felt tired. Out of her mind.
As she closed the front door Sasha swore she heard the barking of a wolf or a maybe a boy imitating a dog. Yes. Definitely a boy. Or so she assured herself.