Saturday, October 1, 2016

Witch or Treat

This story may be too scary for some younger readers. Parents should read along with their children.

“Trick or Treat!”

“Well, don’t you look pretty,” Helga said, looking the little princess up and down. 

“I’m a fairy,” the little girl said. Helga frowned. “Where are your wings?”

Tina turned her back to show the woman where the wings had been torn off.  “A mean old witch stole them.” 

“I did not,” her sister, wearing a witch mask said. “He snipped them off.” She turned and glared at the Ogre with paper wings glued to his mouth.

“Mmmm, fairy wings,” the Ogre burped.

The children giggled and then held their bags out again, waiting expectantly.

“Well let me see what I have…” the elderly woman turned her attention to a bowl that was sitting on a table by the door. “I don’t suppose you would want asparagus?” She looked at the kids and cackled at their expressions. “No? Maybe a yummy carrot? How about an apple?”

“Don’t you have anything else?” Bobby the Ogre asked, peering past the woman.

“Well, nothing else except…no, you wouldn’t want…chocolate?”

The trick or treaters sighed with relief. “Yes, please,” they said in unison. 

“Okay,” she said, placing a candy bar in each of their bags, “but you make sure to brush your teeth after. Promise?”

“We promise,” the fairy said and then the three children ran towards the next house. Helga watched them go, then looked up and down the street. There were no more children. She looked at the clock. It was nearly nine. Time for all the little kids to be calling it quits and going home to stuff their bellies with chocolate and other sugary treats. She shut her door, making sure to lock it and then limped painfully towards her kitchen. 

“Let’s see,” she muttered, pulling a large pot down from the cupboard. She set it on the stove and then filled it with water. Turning up the heat so it would boil, she sprinkled in a little salt. Then she peered into the liquid, waiting.

“Don’t you know a watched pot doesn’t boil,” a voice said from behind.

“Silence, sister,” Helga cackled.

Hilda sighed, ignoring her twin’s admonishment. “I think there were less children this year than there were last Halloween.”

“The neighborhood is going…too many families moving away.”

“What will happen to us when there are no more children?” Hilda wondered.

“We will move away too.”

“And leave this house? We grew up here. Mother is here.”

“Mother is welcome to come if she chooses.”

“Now you are just being silly,” Hilda said. The curtain windows blew aside, even though the window was closed and no breeze could have moved them. “Ghosts do not just pick up and leave.”
“You are exactly right,” Helga said, “which is why we will move, or be stuck in this house for eternity. Like mother. She didn’t know when it was time to leave…” She glanced towards the window. The curtains hung loosely, but the apparition that appeared remained silent. She stared at the pot. The water was beginning to boil.

“Oh, I almost forgot about that,” Helga laughed.

“That’s the trick,” Hilda said. “You can’t watch, or it won’t boil.”

“You have to watch though,” Helga said, “Otherwise the others will come through…they’re tricky you know, sometimes dressing up as children to fool us.”

“An old wives tale,” Hilda snorted. “Now let’s see…who will be first?”

It was the little vampire who had shown up early in the night. His spirit floated above the pot, looking weary. Suddenly he caught sight of the two sisters and his eyes widened.

“Where am I?”

“You are dreaming,” Helga said.

Back in his bed, Jack’s legs twitched as he tensed to run. In his dream the old woman reached out and took hold of spirit and breathed in, deeply. Puffs of Jack’s soul were pulled into the witch, whose hair began to look a little less gray.

“Now, save some for me,” Hilda said, “don’t be greedy.”

“There will be plenty more,” Helga said, breathing in more of Jack and refusing to share with her sister.

As though on cue, another shape began to form out of the water. It was the witch that had told Helga her nose was shaped funny. Well now your nose is shaped funny, Helga thought, as Hilda breathed the girl in, warping the child’s face as it pulled toward her.

“Why is this happening?” another voice asked. It was the little fairy with the broken wings. Behind her more children were floating out of the pot, all looking confused and scared. Some tried to run, but they couldn’t…the salt kept them tethered to the pot.

“Enchanted candy,” Helga said. “You eat it, you fall asleep and then you come to us…”

“Where we eat your soul,” Hilda said. “Eternal life.”

“Oh don’t worry,” Helga said, when the little fairy began crying. “It doesn’t hurt and we don’t eat your whole soul. You’ll wake in the morning thinking this was all a dream.”

“And then come back next Halloween, having forgotten the nasty nightmare, and we’ll do it all again,” Hilda said. “Really, a win for all of us.”

“How is it a win for us?” Bobby asked. He still had his Ogre mask on…he must have fallen to sleep with it on, Helga thought.

“Because you’ll never grow old either,” Hilda said. 

“That’s not quite true,” Bobby argued. He sounded wiser than his years. “They won’t grow old, because once you’ve consumed all of their soul, they’ll die.”

“They?” Helga asked, suspiciously. “You don’t think we will eat your soul?”

“I don’t think mine will taste right to you,” the Ogre said.

Helga let go of the ninja turtle she’d been nibbling on and turned her attention to Bobby. She breathed in, summoning his spirit to her, but it didn’t budge. She gagged at the stench that teased her throat.

“Take off your mask,” Helga said.
“I’m not wearing one.”

The Ogre then dove toward the witches and devoured them. Once they were gone, the children returned to their beds. When Tina and Wendy woke, they told their parents about their dream and the two witches that wanted to eat their spirits.

“But Bobby ate them instead,” Tina said.

“Who is Bobby?” Their mother asked.

“He’s an Ogre,” Wendy said. “He went Trick or Treating with us…”

“Because they don’t have candy in the Ogre forest,” Tina finished.

“I should have guessed,” Mother laughed. “Too many fairy tales and too much candy. Not a good combination.”

“But it’s true,” Tina protested. 

“Of course it is,” Mother said, eying the empty bags on the bedroom floor. “And I suppose Bobby ate all the candy too?”
“Not all of it,” Wendy said, “Just the ones that were shaped like witches.”

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