As part of the Coffin Hop, I have decided to write a 500 word flash story, similar to the Iron Writer Challenge, except with dares from some of my fellow Coffin Hoppers!
Here’s what they came up with:
D.D. Syrdal: Staircase
Armand Rosamilla: M&Ms.
Clarissa Johal: Bed sheets
Nina D’Arcangela: The image to the right.
Sweets and Strangers
By E. Chris Garrison
Sometimes the worst costumes are the best. The old Charlie Brown ghost costume is too cliché. But I had no other choice. It was Halloween night, and I had to have sweets. So, a couple of holes in a sheet later, I was on the street.
I said, “boo!” to some kids. They laughed and rolled their eyes behind vacuum-formed masks of superheroes and princesses and showed heavy bags of candy. I had no bag, so I shrugged. They laughed again and invited me along.
I nodded and followed.
Each of them stood a head taller than me, so they had me walk in the middle. One girl asked where my parents were. I shrugged and went “boo” at her again. She sighed in exasperation behind her smiling Elsa mask.
We reached the end of a lane and the kids all closed ranks, almost touching. A wrought iron lantern marked the end of a stone staircase that wound up a hillside. At the top perched an old A-frame house covered in vines. The faulty mantle of the lantern sputtered a warning.
“We can’t go up there,” said Elsa, pleading with the biggest boy. “That place is haunted.”
“It’s Halloween,” he said behind his Captain America mask. “When else would you go? The lights are on, there’s a jack-o-lantern on the porch. Let’s go!”
No one else argued. We climbed the long uneven steps, even Elsa.
At the top, there was a bowl of M&Ms for the taking. A sign read, “More treats inside!”
Behind the screen door, we saw a candle-lit hallway. Cap announced that whoever was brave enough to go in got half his candy.
A coyote howled somewhere. We all jumped. A witch cackled.
“Just a soundtrack,” sighed Cap. “Come on, who’s up for it?”
I moved toward the door.
Elsa reached out a hand to stop me. “You’re too little.”
Cap laughed. “Aw come on, sis, let him try.”
“Why don’t you go instead?” she said.
Cap opened the screen door, and before anyone could stop me, I slipped down the hall.
I heard the screen door bang shut behind me, followed by the kids’ arguing.
The hall took a quick turn and opened into a kitchen, decorated in paper pumpkins, black cats, and Frankenstein’s monsters.
“You’re a brave little thing, aren’t ya?” said a scroungy, sickly sweet smelling man in a Grim Reaper outfit. His scythe looked real. “Have an apple?”
I’d heard about razors in apples. I shook my head.
“Some hot cider?”
I smelled something stronger than apples and spice in that steamy mug. I shook my head.
He leaned in, the tip of his scythe scratched my head as his face came up to mine. “Let’s see you under that sheet. Maybe you’ve got something sweet for me.”
I shrugged off the sheet. He screamed. Just for a moment.
After that, my suckered tentacles wrapped around his throat too tight for air to go in or out.
I got my sweets after all.