Trick or treat (Writing Contest entry)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: The Rabbit Hole
A 3822 word short story of a Halloween's night filled with battle royale style disappearances. Five teens, out of which one, you'll never get to see. (Written for AnarchyBlues's MonsterMash Halloween Writing Contest.)

Some author's notes/experience thingies:
TLDR; It was a cool story to write even though very challenging.

First time writing anything 'horror' so this's definitely no Stephen King short story if I'm completely honest... Oh well, this was a very fun project to write, and it took me a few days. I usually write drabbles that are less than a 1000 words so this was a challenge for me in more ways than one lol
If the ending sounds a bit forced... I do have to say that it's not my best, but it also isn't exactly that simple.
Thank you for reading though!

Submitted: October 26, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 26, 2016

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A A A


“Hey hey, could you maybe open the door yet?” Macy played with the hem of her white dress. Her mom had made it for her from some old sheets a few days back so she could dress up as a cute little ghost tonight.

“Yeah, it’s freaking freezing here”, Alisha pulled her cape tighter around herself, trying to cover the orange mini-dress that left her long legs bare.

“Oh, shut up”, Henry fumbled with his keys, “Not my fault you guys don’t wear enough.” The front door opened with a satisfying click.

“Actually, it’s a hundred percent your fault”, Alisha rushed inside past him. The two siblings followed suit into the old house. The yellowing, formerly white, walls were illuminated by the dozens of Jack’O’Lanterns their dad had carved just for Halloween.

The living room was dim, only lit up by an orange lamp in the corner just behind the sofa. Macy threw her basket on the floor in front of it, and sat down with an ‘oomph’.

“Ugh, this thing hurts so bad”, she set her a-size-too-small alice band next to her.

“Aww, awen’t you a wittwe sensitive bwaby?” Henry teased her.

“Hey, shut up. You’ve never worn one”, Macy threw the band at him. When he dodged it, she decided to give up for now, and instead focus on the goods she’d gathered earlier. Her silvery bracelet jingled as she went through her haul. Henry sat down as well, and did the same. Alisha emerged from the toilet, fixing her hair as she walked over. She also complained something about the toilet light flickering one too many times.

“Hey, I don’t have any chocolate in here!” Macy shot up, and stomped over to Alisha’s suspiciously full basket.

“Ah! I knew it! You took all of it!”

“Whaaaat, never, I wouldn’t such a thing, not in a thousand moons”, Alisha held the basket away from her on an extended hand.

“Hmph, then you’re not getting any of my candy corns!”

“Ew, who would want any of that?”

“I think I remember you saying something like: ‘I would totally sell my soul to candy corn’”, Henry chimed in.

“That was so last year! Also, what’s this? You two double-teaming me?” Alisha continued to dramatically hold her hand to her forehead, and feigned feeling lightheaded. “Whatever shall I do?”

Macy showed her tongue, and snatched the basket.

“Oi, May, put that tongue back or a cat might catch it”, Henry hollered from the couch.

“Shut up, you’re not my mom”, Macy blushed ever so slightly. The cat her brother was referring to was her classmate who was a complete cat maniac. He’d even dressed up as a cat for Halloween every single year.

“Speaking of, where are they? Y’know, Kim, and Jon,” Alisha glanced at the large clock hanging on the wall. Ten to ten in the evening. “Weren’t we supposed to meet here at nine or something?”

“Or something. Hey, we were late too, you know. Like, by a half an hour.”

“Maybe they found something better to do”, Henry threw a small gumball into his mouth.

“What?” Macy suppressed a shriek.

“Ha! No way our innocent Kimberley would ever do him”, Alisha unwrapped a lollipop.

“Yeah, yeah, exactly. Kim would never.”

“No, but seriously though. Where are they?” Alisha crushed the lollipop, and chewed it into soft mush in a matter of moments. She hummed at the sweet strawberry taste that filled her mouth.

Henry was about to answer, no doubt with a bad joke, but was interrupted by Jonathan breaking through the door. Henry hadn’t bothered to lock it, Macy noted.

“Hello my dear brethren!” he dangled two completely full baskets with his arms spread. “Check what I got!” He pulled out a huge pumpkin shaped chocolate. It had melted a bit at the sides, but that only revealed some thick jelly oozing out from the cracks.

“Ain’t that nice”, Alisha reached for another candy. She’d been worrying for nothing. Except, her hand halted in mid-air.

“Hey, wasn’t Kim with you?” Macy had caught on as well.

“What? Kim? Nah, I’d never take the blabbermouth through my ultimately secret trick-or-treat route.” Although everyone, and their grandmother’s cat already knew exactly what that route was. He wasn’t the exactly the type to keep a secret a secret either. His green eyes didn’t look like they were lying this time though, so the others accepted it.

“Oh yeah, I did see her, like, an hour ago or so.” He put his black leather jacket, decorated with a big bell, on the arm of a large armchair. “She was running towards here, so I didn’t bother calling out to her or anything.”

“Hey, she knew where our spare key was, right?” Macy tugged at her bracelet nervously.

“No mistake about that.” Henry slowly chewed on another gumball. Some wind wheezed in the corners of the house.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure, Lish.” Henry’s voice didn’t sound too sure. The teens stood silent in the dim living room for a good moment or two. Kimberley was never late. She was always at least ten minutes early, preferably fifteen if anything. Tardiness was one of her greatest pet-peeves.

“Kim! You in here?” Jonathan had cupped his hands around his mouth as to amplify the sound. His call echoed for a moment, and although they were all straining their ears to hear any kind of tell-tale movement; there was none.

“Should we go search for her then? If she’s not here, maybe she went home already.” Alisha fixed her ponytail.

“Yeah, her mom said she’d come pick her up at eleven so she’d better be here by then.” Henry rose from the couch.

“Hey, I don’t want to go out there anymore. Way too dark.” Macy crossed her hands.

“Aww, is somebody scwared?”

“Stuff it, Jon, it’s a good idea if someone stayed here anyway. In case she comes back on her own, and all that jazz.”

“What she said. Kim’s probably still somewhere trick-or-treating or something.”

“Eh, fine, whatever you say boss”, Jonathan grabbed his jacket from the armrest.

“Hey, so, if she does get here—“

“Just call me”, Alisha changed her cape into a long trench coat.

“We’ll be right back”, Henry didn’t bother putting on another jacket, although he did switch his wizard’s hat for a woolly hat. Jonathan opened the door, more gently this time, and was followed into the brisk air by Henry, and Alisha.

 

Thus the youngest was left alone in the quiet house. Macy plopped down on the sofa. She grabbed a few chocolates from Alisha’s basket, and munched them slowly. She closed her eyes. So boring. Maybe I should’ve gone with them anyway.

Somewhere in the house, a phone rang. The ringtone echoed down the stairs, and around the corner, to her ears. She flinched in surprise. The ringtone was Kimberley’s. It was the theme song to her favourite TV show. No doubt about it. No one else would choose to have that cheesy tune as their ringtone. It ended just as quickly as it had begun. Right away, Macy fished out her own phone from a sowed-in pocket, and called Alisha. She waited impatiently for her to pick up.

“Yo, Mace, she come back?”

“Hey, Lish, and no, she didn’t. But I heard her phone just now.”

“What, like, inside the house?”

“Yeah.”

“That fucking… ugh, okay, got it. Wonder why she didn’t answer though.”

“It was you?”

“Well duh, it was me. Look, I’ll tell the boys. She probs only forgot it there earlier or something, so we’ll look around a bit longer, then head back. That sound cool?”

Macy was quiet for a moment. “Cool.” They ended the call, and Macy sighed. She should probably go get the phone in case Kimberley wanted it when she got back. If I’m not completely wrong, which I rarely am, it came from upstairs, she climbed the stairs sluggishly.

Dragging her feet, Macy checked inside her own room. They’d spent some time in there earlier, so she could’ve dropped it then. The room was cold. The window was open for some reason. Mom must’ve opened it before leaving for that party, Macy walked over the piles of clothes to close it. After a bit of searching, no phone in the room though.

She continued down the hall, and peeked inside Henry’s room. It was messy, and smelled of soda, and old burgers, so Macy didn’t frequent the room. Neither did Kim. She took the chance though, and rummaged through her brother’s things for a bit, but found na-da.

“Ugh, hey, where is it?” Macy complained, and kicked an old toy-car under his bed. She stomped out, slamming the door shut behind her. There was no way it could’ve found its way into her parents’ room, so she didn’t bother checking there. Not even Henry was allowed inside on a good day.

The floorboards creaked when she made her way towards the master bathroom. Has the paint on this door always been this shitty? She felt lightheaded when she reached for the handle. The candlelight from the outside somehow managed to play patterns on her pale skin. The heart pounding in her throat made her feel like someone was in the bathroom.

“H— hey, Kim, you in there?” No answer.

“Did you, I dunno, eat something bad?” Silence. Macy grabbed the handle, pushed it down, and pulled the door open.

 

“Yo, Lish, can’t we just go back already? Kim’s probably just gone home already”, Henry leaned on a brightly decorated fence.

“Yo, did you know that that fence is actually cursed by a little kid demon, who’d be really sad if you didn’t search for her?” Alisha kept moving.

“That makes literally no sense.”

“Hen’s got a point, ya know? This’s so boring too”, Jonathan stifled a yawn.

“Oh shut—“, Alisha was interrupted by her phone.

“See? I bet that’s May, and Kim was just really late.” Henry was too tired to pay any attention the death glare Alisha sent his way before answering the call.

“Heyo, May. Wait? What are you— Kim? Kim’s back? No?” she started, but her face dropped soon after. A breeze passed by them. Henry heard some kids being ushered back home somewhere down the street, while Alisha was busy trying to decode Macy’s message from the few words she could hear.

“Yo, girl, calm down. Take a brea— no, no, it’s okay, just calm down. I can’t— what? What do you mean? Hey? Hey!” Alisha held the phone away from her with a grimace on her face. “She hung up.” She turned to face the confused boys.

“So?”

“What did she say?” There was a certain level of nervousness in both of their voices.

“I, uhm, couldn’t really make everything out ‘cause she was in total hysterics, but— she said something about Kim at first, then she mentioned the tub like twice, and then— she just hung up on me.” Alisha played with a loose strand of hair. “She didn’t sound like she was joking or anything.” Henry laughed nervously, while Jonathan’s face paled.

“Heh, I guess it’s not so boring anymore, huh”, Henry mumbled.

“We should go back. Right now.” Alisha started down the street. Henry followed right after her, but Jonathan took a bit longer. He’d frozen on his feet, and moving said feet turned out to be a task similar to pulling lead with his feet.

Alisha arrived at the front porch first. She was completely short of breath, so she took a short moment to catch it. She grabbed the handle, and the front door opened easily.

“Oi, I thought you locked this thing!” she turned to face Henry who was trailing after her.

“Wh— I did! You saw me!”

“Ugh, I’m sure you did. Let’s just go in.”

Jonathan called for them wait, but the two ignored him. Everything was just like they’d left it. Their baskets were strewn across the floor, wrappers were piled up around the room. Even Macy’s alice band was right where it had landed after she’d thrown it at Henry. Even so the house felt empty for some reason. Click. Click. Click. Alisha tried turning the lights on, but the lights didn’t as much as flicker. Henry was already climbing upstairs. If Macy mentioned a tub, there was no other place that could be other than the one upstairs.

As he was walking, his ears picked up on something. It came from the bathroom, most likely the shower, but it wasn’t an eerie pitter patter that you’d expect from a situation like this. The sound was closer to a rushing cascade of water, that had been unleashed in the small room. He stepped into something wet when he got to the bathroom door. Something deep inside his gut twisted. He wanted to puke, but he didn’t know why. Never before had he felt so jittery. Cold sweat trickled down his spine, his breath hitched, and his feet turned to stone.

“Sheesh guys, you couldn’t— just— wait— for a bit?” Jonathan’s out of breath voice reached Henry, and he snapped out of the solid cage something had locked him in. He turned to see Alisha standing at the last steps of the staircase. He hadn’t even noticed her walking up, although he was usually very aware of other people.

“You were just too slow, slowpoke!” she turned to Henry, “Well?” Their staring contest took place for a few seconds, before she broke it. 

“Have you even tried opening that door yet?” Henry shook his head slowly. He didn’t feel too good.

“Ugh, then open it, for god’s sakes!” Something inside Henry couldn’t carry out Alisha’s command. Some invisible force kept his hands frozen at his sides. Alisha waited for him to react, but when he didn’t, she stomped over while muttering something about having to do everything herself. And she ripped the door open, almost slamming its edge into Henry’s face.

The noise from the shower grew even louder. Cold air rushed through, carrying with it the worst stench any of the three had ever smelled. However, it wasn’t the smell itself that had halted even the fiery Alisha in her tracks. It was its grimy source.

Blood blanketed every surface in the room. It was like something had exploded in the tub. Long and thin streaks of blood decorated the shower curtain. Some of it had pooled beneath the sink, and there was a large dried spot over the sink-hole, representing the lethal stream that had drained through earlier. There were a few bloodied footsteps from the tub to the door, but they ended when the floor-tiling changed into the carpet of the corridor.

“What the fuck?” Jonathan fell backwards. He’d just arrived, and had been about to wave a hand in front of Henry, but unfortunately he’d caught a glimpse of the state of the bathroom. It was so cliché, having so much blood everywhere, but every single one of them knew that whoever was the source, was not with the living any longer.

Henry was released from the petrificating spell cast on him, and he stumbled into the room.

“May…” His hands didn’t know where they should be anymore.

“May?” Instead, they flailed around in front of him.

“May!” He ripped the shower curtain off its hooks, as if to make sure she wasn’t hiding behind the already pulled back curtain.

“Macy!”

“Dude”, Jonathan’s voice was rough, “Just what happened here?”

“Do I look like I know?” Henry’s brows had furrowed into a mix of panic, worry, and anger. He shouldn’t have let Macy stay home alone. Not tonight, not on Halloween of all nights. By some magical tidbit of knowledge, he should’ve known that his annoying little sister would be in danger if he’d leave her on her own.

“Maybe— maybe she’s just hiding somewhere. Ya know, in her room or— or, maybe—“, Alisha suggested quietly.

“Well no matter what, we gotta find her! I’m taking upstairs, Lish, you’re down, and Jon, there’s— there’s the shed in the backyard. Maybe she’s hiding in there”, he tried to breathe normally, “We’re definitely gonna find her!”

“Good idea!” Jon called after him. He’d already hurried out, making his way toward her room.

“May? You in here?” He called before opening her door. There was no immediate sight of his sister in there, however, it was surprisingly chilly. The window was open. She always keeps that closed, Henry managed to think, before the thought was overcome by the frantic need to find her. The blood had throughly spooked him, and he was determined on finding which one of the girls it belonged to. Hopefully not both. That thought he shook away as soon as it rose up. No. Just find her, and it’ll be alright. He got on all fours to peek under the bed. He clambered up to open the large closet. He even stuck his head out the open window, if she was on the roof, or a pancake on the ground below. He noticed Jonathan coming outside with a flashlight as well. He pulled himself back inside, and decided to check his, and their parents’ rooms.

Not a moment after he’d closed the door to Macy’s room, and had managed to calm down just a notch, he heard a scream pass through the house. He heard Alisha’s voice in it.

“Lish?” With a thud-thud-thud he ran downstairs. She wasn’t in the living room, but she was in the kitchen behind it. She was keeled over the trashcan, dry heaving quite violently.

“Lish? You okay? What happened?”

“The—.” She gulped. “The— fucking baskets.” She pointed to the pumpkin baskets that were on the floor in the living room. Henry looked between them, and Alisha a few times.

“What— what about them?”

“Just look inside!” she snapped. He was taken aback a bit, but went over. His feet felt heavy again. He caught sight the contents from afar. It was red, and strangely slimy. He could swear it twitched. A small gasp escaped him when he recognised what it was, and with that realisation, he could feel some bile rising in his throat.

“Why the f— who the fuck’s are these?” his voice broke when he shouted to Alisha.

“How would I know?” she yelled back. Henry closed his eyes to take a deep breath. He felt just as sick as Alisha right now, but now wasn’t the time for that. He re-capped the evening’s events in his head.

“W— where’s Jon?”

“What? Outside?”

“No way he didn’t hear you scream!”

“He— uh— maybe he’s just in the—“

“The shed.”

Henry turned on his heels, and bolted to the backdoor. It was slightly tricky trying to open it, but it didn’t take him too long to.

It was surprisingly dark outside. Sure, it was nighttime already, but the streetlights were on, lights in the house were on, even in the houses of the neighbours, but still it was pitch-black. Henry could only faintly make out the outline of the woods right behind the backyard fence. The wooden door to the shed was propped shut by a sturdy plank. Dad had left it there so no animals could get in during the winter. The plank was so heavy, that Henry would’ve expected Jonathan to still be trying to push it off the door, but the boy was nowhere to be seen.

“Jon, if this is a prank, it’s not funny!” Henry called for Jonathan. He knew that Jonathan tended to be a bit of a prankster, but something told him that was not the case. A whisper in his ear that was carried by the wind. He could only hope the guts in their baskets weren’t Jon’s. It was too silent. He noticed that there was no wind anymore, it was completely still. He counted his heartbeats when all other sound left his ears. Like shot from the barrel of a gun, there was a scream. High pitched, and so sharp it cut through the air like a knife. He whipped his head towards the house. His home felt dark, and loomed over him. Some curtains were hanging outside Macy’s window. Reluctantly, he left the yard, and returned to the kitchen.

What the fuck is going on here?

 No one was in the kitchen. The guts were still twitching in the baskets. He stood still like a deer caught in headlights. His little sister was gone. So were all three of his friends. He was slightly put off by having to admit it, but if he was completely honest with himself, they were his only real friends. Not that he’d ever admit that.

“Macy!” His voice echoed from the dark corners of the house.

“Kimberley!” He tried to ignore the terrible smell from the baskets.

“Jonathan!” He felt something hot in his throat.

“Alisha!” He wanted to weep, and puke at the same time. He was reminded of the literal bloodbath in the bathroom, and the guts. Those should’ve made him frightened for his own skin, but the anxiety in his chest wasn’t for his own safety. It was for them.

A laugh startled him. However, it washed all of the fear away in a split second, replacing it with major confusion.

“Oh— my— god! You should’ve seen your face!”

“Yeah, that was so priceless!”

“I wish I’d recorded that.” Four people emerged from the shadows, laughing, one even doubled over in violent laughter. It was Kimberley. Henry looked at her funny, her laugh wasn’t the usual crystal clear laughter that he’d grown to love.

“Guys, what the fuck was all that about?” He felt exhausted all of a sudden though his hands still shook a bit. The adrenaline had probably left his body through all the sweat that had soaked his shirt.

“What? You actually thought it was real?” Alisha combed long bangs of hair from her eyes.

“Well—“, he stopped to find his words, “How did you guys do those guts? Like, they were so real, and all?” He pointed to the baskets. “And the bathroom too?”

“Eh, that’s just a few red scarves, and loads of jam ’n ketchup”, Macy hit his arm with a smirk. Henry noted her bare wrist.

“Hey, where’s your bracelet?” Also, I’m pretty damn sure I saw those things twitching.

“What?”

“You know, the one Mom gave you for your birthday? Have you seriously lost it?”

“It’s not that big of a deal, dude, she’ll just give me a new one”, Macy shrugged. Macy had always been annoying, sure, but she wasn’t one to be disrespectful. Especially not to their mother. Henry turned to look at Jonathan, see if he’d noticed the same thing.

 

His green eyes were the brightest blue he’d ever witnessed.


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