“Trick or treat,” the
eager young face of little Terry Whipple called. Old Mrs. Parker beamed her
kindest smile at the elaborately costumed seven year old.
“Aren’t you just the cutest thing? And what are you supposed to be?” Mrs. Parker
strained to keep her pleasant demeanor.
“I’m a witch,” replied the
little girl who, with her wig and pointy hat, looked like a cartoon version of
the Wicked Witch of the West right down to the hairy mole on her chin and
“You don’t really believe in witches,” the old lady asked, “do you?”.
Terry shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Well, you’re so cute, I’m
going to give you a special treat,” Mrs. Parker reached around and handed Terry
a cupcake. “I baked these this morning especially for us witches,” and she
slipped the cupcake into Terry’s goody bag. Mrs. Parker chose one of the little
cakes from a tray that must have held a dozen of them. They all had orange
frosting and a face made of candy and sprinkles. The expression on little
cake’s face matched that of Mrs. Parker’s-- a person not used to smiling. Terry
thanked her and went to the next house on the street.
Ever since Mrs. Parker moved in to the old Spencer house, strange things had
been happening in the neighborhood. First the Spencer family were all afflicted
with some bizarre allergy and were forced to sell their house and move to Arizona. Mrs. Parker
bought their house the very day it went on the market. The Whipples became her
next door neighbors. Terry had been introduced to Mrs. Parker when her mother
brought her a plate of cookies and welcomed her to the neighborhood.
“It’s so sad about the
Spencers,” Terry’s mother said, “We’d been neighbors for such a long time. It’s
so strange them getting sick like that,” Mrs. Parker just smiled her not quite
smile and said nothing. Then the Bartlett
boy disappeared. The police were still looking for him.
Now it was Halloween and Terry was allowed to visit her neighbors and ring
their bells all by herself. Terry knew all the families up and down the block
and they all knew her. Everyone gave her something, mostly it was candy but
sometimes coins. When she got to the Bartlett
house, she hesitated, wondering if it was okay to disturb Mrs. Bartlett what
with Billy being missing and all. But after some small deliberation, she rang
the bell. Mrs. Bartlett answered. There were dark circles under her eyes, it
was obvious she had been crying. “Trick or treat,” called Terry sorry she was
“Well aren’t you the cutest thing,” said Mrs. Bartlett making an effort to be
happy and handed Terry an apple. The Bartletts
always gave out apples on Halloween. They believed that sugar was bad for
children. Then, quite unexpectedly, Mrs. Bartlett burst into tears and had to
close the door.
When she had been to every house on the block, Terry returned home and dumped
her loot out on the kitchen table. She had an assortment of miniature candy
bars, thirty eight cents in coins, Mrs. Bartlett’s apple and Mrs. Parker’s
cupcake. Terry liked cupcakes. What kid didn’t? She examined it closely. The
face looked different. The candy mouth was open and its little sugar teeth were
pointy. It didn’t look that way before, did it? She figured the cupcake had
gotten squashed in her bag. She didn’t like the looks of those teeth.
Putting the cupcake aside, she reached for the apple. That was one snack her
mother wouldn’t mind if she ate. She was about to take a bite when she noticed
that the apple had already been bitten into. The apple’s white flesh was
already turning the color of dried blood. She didn’t remember the apple having
a bite missing when Mrs. Bartlett handed it to her. She threw the apple in the
garbage. Maybe Mrs. Bartlett was too upset to realize what she was doing. That
must be it, poor woman. It must be hard to lose a child like that. One minute
he’s playing in the street and the next he’s gone.
Terry looked at the cupcake again. Now the face was smiling, a nasty satisfied
smile, the kind of smile you get when you’ve done something bad but it feels so
good. This was too much. Terry picked up the cupcake and tossed it in the
garbage. She noticed a blob of orange frosting on her hand. She licked it off
reflexively without even thinking. It tasted sweet but also vaguely odd like
hamburger cooked very rare. It gave her chills.
She washed her hands, brushed her teeth and got ready for bed. She slipped into
her pajamas and kissed her parents good night. She lay in bed for a long time
before sleep would come and when it came it was restless and filled with
nightmares. She dreamed she saw the Bartlett
boy, his skin blue and frozen. When she touched his shoulder he turned toward
her his mouth contorted in a silent scream—he had no arms. She screamed herself
awake. Her parents came running. They put on her light and dispelled the
darkness. Her mother stroked her hair and comforted her until she could speak.
“That’s what comes from
too much candy before bed,” her mother said.
“I didn’t have any candy,” Terry said in a tiny voice.
“What’s all this then?” Terry’s dad said pointing to an orange stain on her
pillow. It was the frosting. Now Terry was really scared. She tried to explain
about the cupcake and the terrible dream but it all came out garbled and didn’t
make any sense. Terry made her father check under the bed and in the bedroom
closet but he couldn’t find anything. When her parents finally said goodnight
and returned to bed, Terry tip toed into the kitchen and looked into the
garbage pail. The cupcake wasn’t there.
The next morning at school Terry was her usual self, playing with her friends,
swapping stories about Halloween and all the candy they ate. At lunch, Terry
felt inside her lunch bag for her sandwich without really looking. She pulled
her hand away immediately. Something had bitten her finger. She put the finger
in her mouth and tasted a drop of blood. It tasted somehow familiar. She knew
what she would find if she mustered the courage to look. Instead, she dumped
the entire bag into the trash and went on with her day.
The rest of the afternoon, she was hungry from missing lunch, but when she got
home and her mother offered her milk and cookies, Terry refused. Milk and
cookies were not what Terry wanted. The big bowl of raw chopped meat her mother
was kneading for dinner looked far more appealing. And when mother looked away,
Terry helped herself to a large handful of the red and bloody stuff. She ran to
her room, hid in her dark closet and feasted.
2011-10-26 11:20:45 Mickie D: That'll teach the little brat..I mean, shame on that mean ole witch. This was a fun/creepy story. It's a fun crossover between fantasy and reality.
I did notice there were parts in my edition that said (if!supportlinebreakNewLINe), but that's not the author's fault - although it was kind of hard to wade through.
2011-10-14 05:39:09 RossK - Rossk- great fun. Nice and creepy. Reminded me of one of those pulpy horror comics I read as a kid.
2011-10-02 14:53:32 Talk about your classic creepy tale! Liked it.
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