That should do it!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

Flash fiction story, inspired by Halloween!

Margaret had become an embittered old woman... every aspect of her life seemed to irritate and anger her. It wasn't just her vocal outbursts of dissatisfaction, but her features also demonstrated her intolerance. Her thin mouth was set in grim, hard lines, her darting, beady eyes, were like cold steel and the effects of a permanent frown had etched deep grooves into her forehead.

 

Since the death of her husband, Dave, five years previously, Margaret had lived a solitary life. The couple had never had any children, and visits from concerned relatives were met with hostility. Not that she pined for her husband, quite the reverse... whatever affection they had once shared had died many years before he passed, but while she had not missed HIM, in a strange way she missed the constant arguments and the sparring. He became someone to vent her anger at, and she had missed that outlet. So Margaret had developed a habit of standing at the window of her living room, staring daggers at high spirited children who dared to let a foot slip on to her property or disturbed her with their jubilant shrieks, or worst of all, pestered her for the return of an errant ball. Over time she had amassed quite a colourful collection of the pesky things, after refusing their pleas to retrieve them, and shooing them off with a menacing swing of her walking stick.

 

Unsurprisingly, Margaret became the most hated person in the neighbourhood... adults gave her a wide berth, while the bravest and cheekiest of the children made obscene gestures and shouted vile abuse as they passed her house.

 

At three thirty every afternoon, Margaret stood at the window, scowling at the school children who walked past on their way home, ready to rap hard on the window pane if she deemed their behaviour unacceptable. Today, she noted with a sigh of dismay, they were in particularly high spirits and groaned at the reason why... they were carrying pumpkins. That's all I need, she thought.

 

On the eve of Halloween, she rifled through the drawer in the kitchen and retrieved a permanent marker. Next, she cut a piece of card from a discarded box and wrote in big bold letters... NO TRICK OR TREATERS. With an evil smirk she attached it to the front door with strong sticky tape and stood back to admire it. That should do it!

 

That following evening, Margaret sat down in her armchair in front of the television, a dish of steaming tomato soup on a tray on her lap, confident she would not be disturbed.

 

As the evening progressed, she became increasingly aware of a commotion in the street, right outside her house... the sound of much hilarity. As she peeked through a chink in the curtain, under the glare of the street light, she could see children dressed up in their ghoulish outfits, accompanied by their parents. They appeared to be laughing and pointing in the direction of her house. She pulled back the curtain with a flourish, rapped hard on the window and, with an indignant flick of her hand, gestured them to move on... a process she repeated numerous times, until finally, the revelling ceased.

 

With relief, and pouring herself a large tot of whisky, she eventually retired to bed, confused as  to why a sign that warned off trick or treaters, had seemed to be the cause of so much hilarity.

 

The following morning, as Margaret opened the front door to remove the sign, the reality dawned. The sign had been sabotaged, underneath the words 'NO TRICK OR TREATERS', an annogram had been added in big flourescent letters, which read... SICKO ROTTEN TARTER lives here!

 

With trembling hands, she tore it from the door, the words like a dagger to her heart. Was this what people really thought of her. For the first time in years, a tear leaked from the corner of her eye and rolled slowly down her withered cheek. As she walked into the kitchen, she vowed to change... but then, she pondered, why break the habit of a life time? She swiped away the errant tear in reinforced rebellion. “How dare they,” she said out loud. “They're going to regret this... they ain't seen nothing yet. Now, where did I put that book of spells?

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: October 28, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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Comments

KathrynAcacia

I felt bad for Margaret at first, but by the end it was clear she has no need for anyone's sympathy! Guess there's a good lesson here- don't mess with grumpy people, not only because it's very unkind, but because you never know who's a witch! I have a feeling the neighborhood children will not be bothering Margaret again, once she's through.
A really great story, with some very clever descriptions and a wonderful twist. This made me laugh!

Mon, October 28th, 2019 7:17pm

Author
Reply

This is my one and only attempt at a Halloween story for this year. I can relate to Margaret, in that I find the Trick or Treater's annoying, and that's a horrible admission. Tried to make it more humorous than serious, so was pleased it made you laugh. Thanks for reading and relieved you found it entertaining. Back to The Truth...

Mon, October 28th, 2019 12:29pm

Vance Currie

An excellent story, Sue. I am not a witch and I don't think I am particularly grumpy, but I am among those who get annoyed when kids with huge bags come knocking on the door every ten minutes demanding free lollies. I would write more about that but I think my cauldron is due for another stir.

Mon, October 28th, 2019 7:30pm

Author
Reply

Ha, Joe, that is so funny! I have an admission, I also find Halloween antics annoying, but I plaster on a smile. Thanks for reading, so pleased you enjoyed it. I don't think anyone could possibly be as grumpy and bad tempered as Margaret, but I loved creating the character.

Mon, October 28th, 2019 1:22pm

hullabaloo22

Brilliant, Sue. I got a real picture of Margaret staring daggers through her window!

Mon, October 28th, 2019 9:07pm

Author
Reply

Aw, thanks, Hully. Your comment means the world to me!

Mon, October 28th, 2019 2:18pm

Robert Helliger

Margaret is a sad character. I feel sorry she lost her husband.
But she shouldn't do anything bad to the trick r' treaters during Halloween. A great, well written, story Sue.

Mon, October 28th, 2019 9:30pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for reading, Robert, it is greatly appreciated.

Mon, October 28th, 2019 2:40pm

jaylisbeth

Excellent tale, Sue. One can't possibly not feel bad for Margaret. Excellent Flash!

Thu, October 31st, 2019 5:15pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Lis. It is greatly appreciated!

Thu, October 31st, 2019 10:24am

Bert Broomberg

A truly wonderful story.

Wed, November 6th, 2019 8:44pm

Author
Reply

Aww, thank you so much, Bert. So pleased you enjoyed it!

Wed, November 6th, 2019 12:48pm

Sharief Hendricks

Sue , I absolutely love Margaret !

A brilliant twist in the end...and boy do I love twists...and I love it even better if I didn't see it coming..."Now where did I put that book of spells"... best line ever !

Well done...Loved it !

Mon, July 6th, 2020 11:19am

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