Little Scares to Celebrate All Hallow's Eve!
“But why can’t I trick or treat, mama?” asked my littlest girl.
“It’s not safe, honey. Not this year.” I looked up at the darkening sky and realized we didn’t have much time left. It was stupid, this new game of the townsfolk. Using the one night my children could blend in with the other kids and have a little fun.
“But Morry got to go last year. So did Gala and Nalia and Harbert.”
“I know, my love. And I really, really wish you could go into town and get a bucketful of candy.”
“Carn, c’mere.” Harbert stretched out his hand and my sweet baby took her brother’s hand. “You and Dad should stay with us,” he said. “They bring guns, Mom.”
“I know. But if our tribe doesn’t stop this nonsense, Carn will never get to experience Halloween. Now, go inside. We’ll be back later.”
My husband was with the other parents, preparing to scare the humans out of our territory. Last year, the fools got too close to our community. Luckily, most of them were drunk and easily deterred by our screaming and rock throwing.
I waved good-by to my children and pushed the boulder against the entrance to our cave. I lifted my head and yowled. Moments later, I received an answering yowl from my husband. I headed to the south, where my mate and our tribe waited.
Bad enough they called us Sasquatch and Bigfoot. Or worse, they thought of us as the missing link in their own history. More and more of them brought their curiosity and gadgets into the forest seeking our kind. We’d spent thousand of years hiding from them. They would never find us.
But tonight … we would find them.
It would be a Halloween they’d never forget.
Don’t Say a Prayer
The bathroom offered piddling protection against the apocalypse. But as fire filled the sky and emergency sirens wailed we hunkered in the tub underneath a flimsy twin mattress. My four-year-daughter Hailey and our Chihuahua Cooper curled together next to me, their tiny bodies cold with fear. I belted out my favorite songs from the 1980s, but even Duran Duran lyrics proved poor distractions from booming explosions and screaming victims. Then the ceiling collapsed, and the mattress became our coffin lid. Later, I awoke as soldiers pulled me from the wreckage. Cooper barked. He made it. But Hailey … my sweet baby … did not.
Dying to Know You
Hi there. I’m glad you’re awake. No, you don’t know me. We kinda met at the diner. Um, you waited on me last Tuesday? No, no. I understand. I’m not the type of guy that sticks out in people’s mind. It’s just that … unlike most women, you were very nice to me. And I admit … I have an affinity for girls with blonde hair. Yours is like God took sunshine and spun it into silk. I hope you don’t mind, but while you were unconscious, I took the liberty of shearing all that beautiful golden hair off your perfect skull.
Ssh. Ssh. No need to panic. Please be quiet. I don’t want to sew your mouth shut again, but I will. Good girl. I’m sorry about all the blood. I promise when this is all over, I’ll tend to your wounds and give you a nice hot bath. I even have a dress picked out for you. It’s pink. You like pink? You do? That’s wonderful. You’ll look beautiful again, I promise. I mean, I’m not giving your hair back, but I have a beautiful sparkly tiara to crown your crown. Get it? Crown and crown?
People probably won’t even notice that your hair is gone. They’ll get to look at your beautiful, round, bald head. Your skull … oh my God. Just per-fec-tion. No bumps or indentations at all. Some girls have a flat space on the back of their heads. It’s not their fault. It happens to babies whose mothers left them on their backs for too long. But your mother must’ve really loved you. I bet she didn’t leave you alone at all. Your skull is proof. No flat space.
I notice you’re looking at my head. It’s off-putting, I know. Especially since I’m not wearing a wig. When I was born, the doctors used forceps on my little soft head and you can see the result. It’s misshapen. I’m a little embarrassed about the big, deep dents behind my temples. Believe me, my mother noticed. She read those doctors the riot act. I mean, probably. She … she always told me that the doctors squished my brain or something because I wasn’t right in the head.
What did she mean? Well … she got mad at me for taking off the heads of my sister’s Barbie dolls. There was one time, oh, you’re going to laugh because it’s so funny! I talked my sister into cutting off all her own hair. She didn’t have a perfect skull, not like yours, but it was better than mine. Anyway. Mom said I was no longer allowed to play with Sis “unsupervised.” Sheesh. It was just a joke.
I mean, get this. Mom locked me in the closet for shaving the cat. I admit I was a teensy-weensy bit too rough and its skin came off, too, but I was just a kid. There was no need to lock me in a closet and call the police. No, no. I didn’t go to jail. I went to a mental health facility. You know, the nut house? For crazy people?
I didn’t like being locked up with all those mentally ill people. I learned to be good, just like my mother always wanted. I’m going to show you something, okay? I’m drawing the curtain. See? There’s my mother and my sister. I made the glass boxes myself. Mom and Sis were my first dolls. I really liked getting them all dolled up. Get it? Dolled up?
You’re speechless. I take that as a compliment. I’m a trained mortician—and I like to think of myself as an artist. I take pride in my work. I have more dolls. And you’re going to be one of them. The princess! Isn’t that exciting?
Oh, dear. You’re screaming again. I’m sorry, but I can’t work with all that noise. Hang on, I need to get the three-ply embalmer’s thread. Okay, here we go. I have to use the curved needle. It’s so old-fashioned. But I can’t use the needle injector until you’re completely perfect. You’ll be my crowning achievement. You know, because you’re the princess. Wow. Not even a smile? I swear I’m the only one around here with a sense of humor.
Time for the next phase. I ordered new cosmetics from Derma-Pro, and I am dying to use them. Get it? Dying. You know, like you.