When tricks are treats. A story for Halloween.
A story for Halloween
Work on Mrs. Parsons at eighty-one years young moved well for a senior. The date helped her motivation somewhat. It was Halloween night, the one night of the year that she could guarantee that she would have company. Her husband had passed away three years ago and her four children had moved away. Sure, they kept in touch and sometimes visited with their children but it was rare.
Tonight, October 31 was the one night that the old lady could guarantee to see smiling children’s faces and she was well prepared. There were home baked cookies, cakes and plenty of candies and little toys. She busied herself carefully covering the home baked goods and putting the candies and toys in baskets. Mrs. Parsons expected to be busy.
Sitting patiently by the table in the hallway that was loaded down with goodies was her black cat, Bunny. Well, he was Bunny to everyone else but to Mrs. Parsons his real name was Salem. But one didn’t want to be calling that out late at night to get the cat in, did one? It might give people the wrong idea. An old lady living on her own with a black cay called Salem? Well, that might give people notions. Whatever next.
Pictures on the walls and displayed on furniture all over the house showed Mrs. Parsons and her husband in various poses with animals at the veterinary clinic they ran together for over three decades along with family and camping pictures. Happy times, all.
The afternoon and evening was busy, as usual. The local children knew Mrs. Parsons was kind, very generous and trusted by parents and older relatives not to give out anything inappropriate. One just can’t be too careful these days. At a little after ten, the old lady was tired out and ready for bed. All her regular visitors had come and gone as had virtually all her goodies. One packet of homemade cookies and some candies remained, just in case.
Bruce and Barb Maddox were brother and sister and renowned bullies at the local high school. They enjoyed the thrill of scaring people. Tonight, All Hallows Eve, the pair were out in their costumes. Bruce was a pretty scary looking Joker while his sister had somehow squeezed herself into a Cat Woman costume, which almost fitted where it touched. Perhaps bulged would be a better description. Somehow the plastic had not split, not yet anyway. But the threat remained. Barb felt constricted but pretty good as the sugar she’d consumed raced around her body.
Trick or treating for Bruce and Barb was more trick or trick really for the people they visited. Get the candy then throw eggs, dog poop, even break windows was part of their repertoire. There were always plenty of newcomers in town that had not yet experienced the Bruce and Barb effect. Now though, it was time to head home, eat the rest of their spoils and look forward to scaring some kids in the daytime tomorrow. They cut onto a street they didn’t often visit. Too many people there knew them. There was one house though. “What about the old lady with the cat?” Said Bruce. “I don’t think we’ve ever been there.” Barb paused and thought. The latter being something of a rarity. “Sure,” she said. Shaking up a can of unopened soda. Bruce did likewise.
Just as Mrs. Parsons was thinking about bed the doorbell rang. The cat yowled a warning. “It’s just children Salem,” the old lady scolded. “Older children, but children. Look at their costumes.” Salem was not impressed and scooted under the table from where he watched the door balefully.
The old lady opened the door and just got a glimpse of a rather good joker outfit and what looked to a very overweight Cat Woman was it? “Trick or treat,” the tricksters screamed then opened their soda cans so the contents exploded over the old lady and the cat. “That was funny,” said Bruce. “Now give us something.” Mrs. Parsons was badly shaken and could feel palpitations in her chest. She was scared but also angry. Even though she was dripping with the sticky soda she kept her head and her temper. Only a glint in her eye revealed that.
“I’ve got one thing left,” she said handing them each a cookie from the last packet. Bruce and Barb snatched the cookies and devoured them in short order. “These are good,” said Barb spitting out crumbs. “Oh yes, they’re very good, “said Mrs. Parsons. “Is it OK if I clean up now,” she said icily. “Sure, you old bag,” said Bruce scooping up what was left of the candies. “Licky sticky,” said Barb. They left, laughing, just making it through the door as Mrs. Parsons shut it, Salem ran out too.
“That was fun,” said Barb as they headed down the street. “Yes,” said Bruce in an unsteady voice. He stopped and vomited copiously over the side walk. “Yuck,” said Barb, yawning. “I’m tired. Let’s cut through the woods to go home. It’s much quicker.” Bruce did not look or feel at all well. His head was spinning and he was having difficulty coordinating his movements. “OK,” he croaked. A shadow, a big one moved quickly to the side of them. Barb, jumped and grabbed her brother. “Did you see that?” Bruce confessed that he didn’t. Both heard the low growl that was coming out of bushes in a garden behind them. Whatever it was it sounded large and very unfriendly. They lurched as quickly as they could towards the woods. Something very large and vaguely cat like crept out of the bushes and followed at a distance.
The woods weren’t large and the path to the bully’s home through them was a little over 200 yards. That distance seemed like a lifetime for the siblings who were both now very much under the influence of whatever was in Mrs. Parson’s special last package of cookies. They thought and perhaps they were stalked by a large, strange animal all the way that was snarling, spitting and sometimes darting in to scratch at their costumes with the tip of it’s claws.
By the time they had reached the edge of the woods they were barely able to walk or speak and saw terrible visions of a giant black creature roaring at them. When they got home they spoke of it to their parents who sat in disbelief at their tale. Their children’s scratches and scrapes they could have got from running through the woods as for the odour on them that was certainly the work of a tom cat. Suffice to say that was the last time Bruce and Barb went out on Halloween for many a year.
Responding to a meow at the door Mrs. Parsons opened it so Salem could come in. The cat walked in with his tail up and his fur clean. It a cat could look pleased with itself, he did. “There you are Salem,” said the old lady. “I hope you taught that pair a lesson.” The cat looked at her and purred.