I am re-posting two of my own Halloween-themed stories below. The first one, Jack, is from last year, and the second is Little Monster, from this year. I hope you enjoy them (again).
“Step 1: Dissect”
Mary moved the instructions out of her way and set to work. The knife was efficient; serrated on both sides. She liked the way it felt in her hand; the way the handle vibrated against her palm as she cut through the tough skin. She went in from the top, just as the picture instructed. When she was done, she looked down into the dark hole she had created and gave a satisfied sigh.
“Step 2: Gut”
This was the part Mary was less anxious for. She knew though, that it would be worth it. She rolled up her sleeves and plunged her arms deep into the freshly cut hole. She used her fingers to massage and grab and yank out the unnecessary junk inside. She even clawed around the edges with her fingernails until it was nice and clean. Then, referencing the instructions once more, she inserted a scalpel-esque tool to smooth down the interior walls. Afterwards, she rubbed them gently, admiring her work.
“Step 3: Carve”
Now, for the creative part. Mary had spent weeks plotting her design and had about 12 tools to accomplish it. The thought of it made her giddy, butterflies flapping away in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t help but giggle as she worked the tiny, handheld saw back and forth. The eye holes would be spirals. The nose, two slits. The mouth, a frankenstein-inspired production, complete with real stitches! This year would be her best yet.
Buried wrist-deep in her work, and all of her attention focused like a laser on her creation, Mary didn’t hear the footsteps pulsing up the stairs or the door creaking open. But she did hear the gurgled, wretched cry that poured out of her mother as she dropped to her knees.
“What did you do, Mary?! What have you done to Jack?!”
Mary, stone-faced, let her head drop. Lamenting, she eyed the pool of blood she was sitting in. No one ever understood her art.
Justin gazed in the mirror. Shirt tucked; tie bowed; not a hair out of place. The moonlight bounced off his scales just right, too. He smiled, baring his fangs with confidence. Tonight was going to be perfect.
“‘Tis the season to be spooky, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!” His mother sang out as she entered. Her own scales raised in excitement for him. “Now remember,” she instructed, “don’t make your bag too heavy. Hell forbid it busts open and you lose all your hard-earned mortals!”
He nodded and took her hand. Together, they called out the magic words: “Trick or Treat!”
The portal to the mortal realm sprung open. Justin could see his treats, mortal children, scurrying about dressed like monsters and demons. He wondered how many he’d catch before the end of the night.
“Be safe, dear. Bring me something good to eat!”
“I will, momma,” he beamed. “I will.”
Justin stepped through, and the portal zipped shut behind him. A cacophony of giggles and screams filled the streets. He opened his mouth wide and gobbled up the cool autumn air. It tasted different than the air at home.
“Where to start!” He said to himself.
“Huh?” Justin whipped around to face a small boy in blue tights and a red cape.
“The Patricks! That’s where you should start. They give full sized bars! C’mon!”
Before Justin could resist, the boy was dragging him to a nearby doorstep. This was all wrong. Panicked, Justin froze, and followed the boy’s lead. He watched him rap on the door hurriedly, and tried not to gasp at the suddenness when it flew open.
“Trick or Treat Mr. and Mrs. Patrick!”
“Happy Halloween, Marco,” The lady bellowed. “You make a lovely Superman. And who’s this dashing little monster?”
She eyed Justin with curiosity.
“This is my new friend, um, what’s your name?”
“Justin,” he murmured, unsure of himself.
How had he ended up here? He had to take control back, or he’d fail at his first Halloween! He couldn’t imagine bringing home nothing!
“Well, hi there Justin!” the woman exclaimed.
Beside her, the man reached out and put something in each of the boys bags and everyone said goodnight. When the door closed, Justin turned to Marco. It was now or never. He had to pounce.
“WOW!” Marco exclaimed. “You got a good one! Kit Kats are my favourite. Wanna swap?”
“What’s a Kit Kat?” Justin was intrigued. Was the thing from the man of value?
“What’s a Kit Kat?! Wait, are you an immigrant?”
“What’s that?” Justin could feel heat rising to his cheeks.
“Someone from somewhere else. Like my mom and dad. They’re from Ecuador. But I’m from here. Where are you from?”
“The other side.” He supposed that was true enough.
“A Kit Kat is a chocolate bar. You eat it. See?” Marco, ignoring Justin’s odd response, tore open his own thing from the man and took a bite. “Mine’s a Mars bar. It’s ok. Taste it.”
Justin took the Mars bar with a little skepticism and sunk his fangs in. It was fantastic! He felt his eyes light up red with joy.
“Whoa! I really like your costume. I wanted to be a werewolf but my mom says that’s too scary. Superman is cool though. He can lift a car, I bet.”
Preoccupied with his Mars bar, Justin let Marco ramble on about some universe called DC. He supposed there was a portal to that one too, but he didn’t want to visit it unless it had Mars bars. He eagerly followed Marco to house after house, collecting what he was told was called candy. Most of it was as good as the Mars bar!
“Trick or treating is different where I come from,” Justin explained as the two boys sat on the curb, munching away. It had gotten so late and houses were running out of things to give them.
“They don’t give you candy to eat?”
“You get stuff to eat. But you have to take it. It’s hard to catch.”
“Like a hunt?”
“I guess so. But this is better.”
When Marco said it was time for him to go, Justin felt sad. He leaned in and gave Marco a big hug.
“Thank you for the candy. I think my mom will love it.”
When the coast was clear, Justin called out Trick or Treat one last time, and the portal appeared. Momma waited on the other side.
“Oh, my little monster is back! Wait, dear, where are your treats?”
“They’re all here! It’s called candy. Give it a try!”
She took an uneasy bite of chocolate, but her eyes immediately turned red. Excitedly, they dumped out Justin’s bag on the floor. There was so much!
“Well, Justin,” momma sighed. “I think we may have found a new tradition. Next year, though, don’t forget about the mortals. Just be sure to take the children with the biggest bags of candy.”
“Okay, momma,” he smiled. “I will.”
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! STAY STRANGE