I can hear them scurrying around the porch. Plotting in hushed whispers. Who was the bravest? Will any of them have the guts to knock on old man Rattle’s door? Maybe break-in? That’s when the fun really begins. There are three this time, two boys and a girl. Back in my day, children had more respect than to break into people’s houses, but I see them sneaking around the kitchen. I know what they’re doing. They’re looking for evidence. Hoping to find some gruesome artefact to confirm local legend. Well, they won’t find it up here.
I head for the basement. the lights flicker as I pass and the girl shrieks. She’ll plead with the boys to leave, but they won’t. They never do. They need to prove who’s the bigger man. We’ll soon find out.
The shuffling upstairs gets louder as they approach. Their ridiculous polyester costumes rustle as they descend. I watch from the shadows. A fleeting panic crosses the taller one’s face when his flashlight catches my form. I’m gone before he can be certain, but my image still haunts him. I play with my prey like a cat with a mouse. the fear somehow seems to tenderize the meat. maybe I’m making that up, but I play anyway. I slam the door closed.
“Oh, screw you guys, I’m outta here.”
The girl runs up the stairs, I trip her as she goes, making her drop her candy. I allow her to catch a glimpse of me just for fun, I have no interest in her. She’s out of the house before the boys even reach the bottom of the stairs. Now the fun really begins.
“We should try and find her.”
I emerge from the shadows. The tall one spots me first and freezes.
“Maybe if we apologise, she’ll still come to the party.”
His wide eyes glue themselves to my blade, which I raise with a rotten grin behind his friend.
“Are you listening to me?”
He takes a step forward, crushing a piece of the girl’s candy underfoot.
I drag my blade cleanly across his throat. Warm blood coats my bony hand. He falls to the ground. I step over his still but not yet lifeless body. Eric stumbles, his face beautifully speckled with the blood of his friend. When I vanish before his eyes it takes him longer than most to scramble upstairs for the door. When I re-appear, blocking his path, he cries out. It’s like music to me. A simple push is all that it takes to send him tumbling. A sharp snap as he hits the floor makes my body shiver.
Back upstairs, I watch through dirty windows as children fill the street. Most rush past my house, avoiding its glare. That is until an older group sneaks up the garden path. I glance up at the clear night’s sky, the full moon and stars, and wish this night to never end.
By Stacey Potter