So the week (and weekend) sort of got away from me… I didn’t get my links up or my post in on time for the Tuesday Tales deadline but I’m making it a point to have something up every day. Lucky for you guys out there in internetland, that means you get something fun to read.
It’s a Halloween something-or-other that I started awhile back and haven’t quite finished yet. This is the first part.
It’s called “Trick or Treat”.
Comments or suggestions on where to go, please scream. I need all the help I can get right now.
“Trick or treat!”
A piece of candy landed in the bottom of the empty bucket, starting the night off in a good way for Kelly and her toddler son, who wore a bright orange pumpkin-suit.
“Trick or treat!”
Another piece of candy hit the bottom of the bucket, its wrapper rattling against the one already in there.
“Trick or treat!”
A third piece of candy bounced off of the other two.
For well over an hour, Kelly walked the little boy up and down the street, aptly named Candy Lane, collecting sugary treats and tiny little “trick” toys. With the child’s bucket full and his eyelids growing heavy from the excitement, she lifted him into her arms and started home.
Once the sleepy child was tucked safely into bed, she went into the living room of her tiny house and picked up the big, plastic bowl of candy sitting on her own coffee table, then switched on her porch light, signaling that she was ready to join the festivities from the other side. As she sat at the door, child after child, each one in his or her own festive costume, scrambled up to her door, holding out a bag or bucket and repeating the same mantra, “trick or treat!”
It was late when the stream of children tapered off. Kelly, worn out from the excitement, pushed her front door closed and turned off the porch light. With only a few bits of candy left in the bowl, she laid it back on the coffee table and started down the hall to check on her son. Her husband would be home soon – his second-shift job always prevented him from sharing in her fun.
As she reached for the door to look in on the sleeping child, a heavy fist rapped three times on her front door. She paused, considering it, and stepped into the room anyway. Her little boy slept soundly, a soft smile on his cherubic face. Only two, she knew she’d kept him out too late, but it was Halloween, after all, and the first one he would remember.
She’d already forgotten about the latest caller as she crossed the hall to her bathroom. When she started to push the door closed and prepare for a shower, the fist pounded on the door again. Apparently this new visitor wasn’t going to go away easily. Kelly stepped back into the hall, pausing just at the doorway to the living room.
“No more candy!” she called out, but the pounding started again. With a frustrated growl, Kelly stormed across the room and jerked open the door. “I said there’s…” her sentence died in her throat as she looked up into a gruesome mask floating nearly a foot above her head. A low, deep chuckle issued from behind the mask, and a pair of gloved hands rose from the dark-clad sides.
“Trick or treat,” the muffled voice said, and snatched Kelly out of her front door, leaving it wide open with her son still sleeping in the back of the house.
“Babe, I’m home!” Robert called through the front door, still puzzled by the fact that it stood wide open well after midnight. The lights in every other house on their street were already out, the kids long-since put to bed after their adventures. It was now November first. The time for celebrating was over.
He glanced around the living room, still in perfect order save the two candy wrappers lying on the coffee table – evidence that Kelly had been in the candy. Nothing else was out of place except the damn door. And his wife still hadn’t answered him.
Pushing the door closed, Robert turned the deadbolt and started down the hall, calling after Kelly again. Still no answer. His son lay in his bed, face turned toward the wall, sleeping soundly. With the baby still here, she couldn’t have gone far. Pulling the door toward him to block some of the light from the hallway, Robert turned around and opened each door in succession – the bathroom, the office, and finally their bedroom.
Maybe she’s just outside, he thought, battling the panic rising in his chest. He took off down the hall again, jerking the front door open and screaming her name into the darkness.
Her car sat in the driveway. Her keys hung on the rack next to the door. He coat was in the closet. Even her shoes still sat on the welcome mat by the door. She never went outside without shoes. That small detail told Robert one thing with absolute certainty.
His wife was not in their home.
He fumbled twice pulling his phone from his pocket, and immediately punched the emergency number.
“911…what’s your emergency?”
“My wife… oh, my God, my wife is gone!”
Kelly came to in pain. Every part of her body ached, from the roots of her hair, all the way to her toenails, which from her dangling position, scraped painfully against the ground with the gentle sway of her body in the breeze. The very, very cold breeze.
Her first instinct was to panic – to suck in a deep breath and scream at the top of her lungs while struggling against whatever held her just out of the floor’s reach. But rather than let her fear and her emotions get the best of her, she drew in a breath through her nose – shallow from the way her shoulders bent back at a violent angle and constricted her lungs – and began to take stock of her situation.
Something heavy covered her head. It felt like burlap against her skin. Whatever it was, it wasn’t breathable material, and it smelled of old sweat. Thin dots of light filtered between the fibers, but keeping her eyes open hurt as the material scraped against her eyelashes.
That same cold breeze blew against her skin – someone had removed her shirt, but her pants were still there – she couldn’t feel the wind on her legs. The cool air came in bursts – someone had obviously turned a fan on her. With each gust, her nipples tightened further, drawing up into painful little knots on her chest.
Her shoulders ached. Her arms had been pulled behind her with some sort of heavy rope, her elbows close to touching, which threatened to pull her shoulders out of their sockets, and something ran beneath her elbows, holding her from the floor. Her hands, she assumed were bound, but she could no longer feel her fingers.
Her toenails continued to scrape against the hard floor – what she assumed was concrete. Warmth against her toes told her that her feet were probably bleeding. There was no telling how long she’d been hanging here. Or why. Or who had done it. She couldn’t really remember anything except the mask.
“I’m sorry, son, but we can’t list it as a missing persons case until forty-eight hours after her disappearance.”
Robert had never, ever wanted to punch someone the way he did this man. He knew the detective was only doing his job and they couldn’t go on the gut feelings of civilians… but damn it, this was his wife they were talking about! Kelly never left the baby, even to go to the store – she loved him, and she took him everywhere!
“I understand, but the circumstances…”
“The circumstances are unusual, yes, but I cannot bend the rules for one family.” The detective tucked his notepad into his shirt pocket. “I’m sorry about this, I truly am. When we reach the twelve-hour mark, I will file the paperwork and we’ll see what happens.” With an apologetic nod, the uniformed man stepped out the door and pulled t closed behind him. Unable to support himself any longer, Robert collapsed to the floor, his face buried in his hands as panic-stricken tears began to fall.