Halloween Fiction - Four Stories for the Price of One!
by Michele Christopher
So our Halloween fiction contest didn't get that many entries.
Ok, we got three.
Therefore, these two guys win. And you get to read their cool stories today. Plus, one from FTTW editor Michele.
"Chew on this!"
by Laurence Simon
Nobody gets razor blades in apples anymore for Halloween. Why? Nobody gives out apples much anymore. And when's the last time you've heard of kids going apple-bobbing?
No, it's getting hard to tamper with Halloween treats these days. With all the paranoia making folks go to airports to run their candy through the x-ray machines, Reese's Needle Cups is a thing of the past.
Do they still x-ray candy at the airports, or did the terror attacks make all the airport people busy taking off shoes and stuff like that?
Anyway, they've done all sorts of things to candy these days to make it hard to tamper with, Wrappers on candy get puffed out with nitrogen or vacuum-sealed. That's so they'll look funny if you stick a needle in them or rewrap a tampered candy bar. Or putting bad candy back in the plastic bag before sealing it up - that's pretty obvious, too. You'll
see a scorch mark in the packaging where the label gets singed if you're not careful.
Kinda takes the fun out of poisoning a few Fun Sizes, doesn't it?
But there's one thing that's out there that's easy to mess with and has the perfect packaging for it, too: bubble gum.
Individually-wrapped bubble gum uses twists on the ends of the wax wrapper to close it up. Rewrap it tightly and nobody will know the difference.
Even better, they sell the crap in bulk. Just buy up a pound, open the wrappers, spray whatever you want on them, wrap them back up, and slip them back in the bins.
The powdered sugar looks a lot like other less-appetizing white powders. And many of those white powders don't take much to get Little Johnny Popsalot into a whole heap of trouble.
Worried about getting caught? Wear gloves - no DNA or fingerprints in the wrappers. Then, when the FBI comes around asking who was giving out the bad bubblegum, they finger the dumb sap with the big salad bowl full of them, tossing a few pieces into every ghost and goblin's bag.
Okay, so you lose the thrill of seeing their greedy faces when they get the gum. But you still get to see their parents' weeping faces in the hospital on the news.
I'll be satisfied with seeing the beaming faces of my own kids when they realize the school bully won't be beating them up anymore. When the popular kids won't be telling them to go to the "losers" table. When the smart kids stop turning their D's into F's with the grade curve.
The district will send in grief counselors, but my kids won't need them. Hell, they'll be downright relieved not to suffer these daily humiliations anymore.
Hopefully not too happy, mind you. Hate to have them jumping for joy and someone connecting the dots all the way back to me here.
Am I worried that they'll get the poison gum? Hardly. They don't chew gum. Ever.
It's a nasty, disgusting habit. -L
by John Stacy Worth
(with apologies to Stephen King)
With customary expertise, he'd gotten the waitress's name and number. Another easy lay. But then, for Charles Weston, it never was difficult--Adonis in the flesh with luxurious blonde hair and a perennial tan. It also didn't hurt that, as top salesman, he had access to any sportscar of his choosing.
Yes, for Charles Weston, it was a typically perfect day as he steered the white Ferrari down the highway, checking his reflection in the rear-view and running his comb through those thick, gorgeous locks.
He noticed the Gypsies up ahead in their horse-drawn wagons, with three strings of goats and a loose gaggle of children. He was gearing up to whiz past when, suddenly, a small, pink form darted right into his path, followed by a snot-nosed Gypsy boy.
"Dammit!" Charles jerked the wheel and locked his brakes. He barely missed the boy but caught the mutt head on, flinging it up into the air and onto his hood. Blood splattered against the windshield. Screeching to a halt, Charles watched, transfixed, as the dog slid across the glass and then thudded back onto the asphalt.
He jumped out, furious, as the boy, and then the others, gathered around.
"Dammit, kid! Look what your mutt did to my car! If there's any damage I'm coming for you folks, and you'll pay. You can bet on that--you'll pay!"
The boy had retrieved his small, bloody mongrel. It was almost hairless and already stank. He clutched its bruised, limp body to himself.
Charles turned up his nose. Damn thing's got the mange.
"You killed him. You killed Fluffy!" The kid was standing there in shameless tears.
"Fluffy? Kid, a few more weeks and you'd a had to call him Slick!" Charles turned to go. "And I meant what I said about my car, too."
He was bent over, about to crawl back behind the wheel, when he felt a tiny hand upon his head. He was suddenly immobilized by a slow, hypnotic voice. "My grandfather told me how to deal with people like you. I invoke the curse. I curse you!" The last word was a long, drawn out whisper:
Charles Weston woke early the next morning and stepped in for a cold, brisk shower. He wanted to be packed and out of the hotel before sleeping blondie, whatever her name was, awoke. Before he finished, however, the drain had clogged, standing him in an inch of water. He reached down and pulled out a wad of thick, luxurious blonde hairs.
All Hallow's Eve
by Andrew Ian Dodge
All Hallow?s Eve was a special time in the little Hamlet not far north of St David's, Pembrokeshire. Despite protestations from some in the area; Halloween was not an American invention but part of the heritage of all those who were Welsh from way back. Even the costumes were part of the ritual of the night when the spirits of the dead walked among those of the living. It was not a night to be feared despite what the local Christian chapel maintained. The night was one to celebrate the past and one's ancestors. It was a time to reestablish the chain of history from beginning to now.
Da was careful with the preparation of his elaborate wolf outfit. Making sure that he did not miss one aspect of making it look as real as possible. His outfit was inherited by generations of his branch of the Davis family. He was now the proud wearer of the
skin, said to be that of the last wolf in the area, in the annual dance of the dead. He learned some of his dance from his grandfather before his death but liberally added elements of the moves he made at his local metal club in Cardigan. He thought
himself as much Axel Rose as it was Druid.
All Hallows Eve felt like no other night, whatever the weather. Da for his part felt part of something larger more natural than his normal night. As he walked towards the clearing upon the edge of town he saw all the Chapel families closing themselves in for the night.
He reached the clearing and walked towards the fire in the traditional way; on all fours, joining the rest of the men in circle.
In the centre of the village a cacophony of wild animals began to be heard. It would reach a fever pitch at midnight soon to be done for another year. The Christian modern world shuddered in anticipation of what was to come. No amount of loud praying would
drown the battle for the very soul of the community. The annual battle between the evil spirits and that of the land of the living; one that had happened every year since the Druids had stopped sacrificing humans, cutting them up and tilling them into the soil.
Da knew of the time when Chapel and pagan did not cooperate and the town was almost
destroyed by this conflict. It took the deaths of 1/3 of the town one ghastly Halloween to end the problem.
An uneasy, unsaid agreement had prevented any further massacres since then. The
Chapelists stay out of the way while for those who practice the old rituals.
Da and his companions danced by the large bonfire compelling themselves from modern
man to ancient druidic warrior. As midnight neared it was clear evil was in the air. A presence that filled the air with malevolence and hate.
The animals finally turned to face their foes and the battle across the realms began?
The Cat Came Back
Twice he brought mice. Bloody, ragged stumps of rodent left on the doorstep.
“Good kitty, Bradford,” is what Oswald said because he knew that the cat was only offering him a gift. How was a cat to know that humans don’t think half-eaten, blood-caked rats make good presents?
Once he brought a bird, a beautiful blue jay torn to shreds by angry claws. Oswald’s front stoop was littered with feathers and smears of jay innards.
The duck was probably the worst. Oswald found the poor thing splayed out on the doormat, bleeding into the flowered letters on the welcome mat, feathers everywhere. It was days before he could get the gut stains out of the W and the E.
Or perhaps the worst was the rabbit, its body ripped open, entrails hanging, so fresh that the rabbit was still warm, so mutilated that Oswald threw up right into the gaping hole that was once the bunny’s abdomen.
Oswald tried to tell Bradford that he didn’t want these presents. But Bradford, being a cat, couldn’t understand that. Oswald scolded him and sprayed him with water every time the decrepit corpse of an animal was deposited on the doorstep, but Bradford would just look at him like “What? What did I do wrong?” and Oswald realized the futility in teaching this cat how not to drag his bloodied victims home.
The morning when Oswald opened the front door to retrieve the paper and found only the neighbor’s racing pigeon, headless and pried open, he had enough. Tired of cleaning up blood and burying his “gifts,” Oswald took Bradford to the woods and left him there. He consoled his conscience with the fact that Oswald must be a wild, feral cat by nature and he would be better off running free through the woods where he could pounce on owls and sparrows and woodchucks to his heart’s delight.
The next morning when Oswald opened his front door to find only the newspaper and no blood or guts or stinking animals with intestines hanging out, he felt better about his decision.
It wasn’t until the following morning, when Oswald found Bradford’s bloody, bodiless head on his doormat, eyes fixated in horror, flies milling around its ears, that he knew he had bigger problems than a killer cat.
Thanks to today's guest authors. And Happy Halloween!