Monday, October 31, 2011

only one \\ a halloween short by J. Konst

The air was crisp, but not quite cold, and the wind was just gentle enough to tickle the stray hairs at the nape of your neck in the autumn night. Beneath the pale light of a full moon, in packs of fours, fives, and sixes, ghosts, ninjas, superheroes, cowboys, Indians, zombies, rock stars, cops, robbers, firemen, French maids, devils, demons, angels, and a host of other unusual forms roamed the streets as the sounds of their laughter carried over the suburban hills. They prowled from house to house, sometimes walking, usually running, with the smaller ones being trailed by watchful adults as they flitted from porch to porch, stopping briefly only to collect their bounty, and then on to the next.
On a particularly busy cul-de-sac, where an unusually high density of costumed creatures flitted from house to house, a large, grey-haired creature, with the elongated jaws and sharp teeth of a canine, sat in a lawn chair with a plastic pumpkin in its lap. The vacant, yellow eyes stared off into the distance, lifeless, and the plastic pumpkin was filled with king-size candy bars, the holy grail of Halloween night to the rampaging flocks of uniquely attired treat-seekers.
A group of four, an older crowd, probably with ages all ending in “teen” were walking towards the hirsute, motionless creature. They’d heard about the king-size reward awaiting them and strode up the narrow walkway with a confident nonchalance befitting their age. Each step, however, became less and less self-assured. The trees and foliage on both sides of the walkway were unkempt and overgrown, and in the quiet of the evening seemed to loom over them, the long, spindly shadows cutting off their escape. Only one light was lit behind the hairy, unmoving thing in front of them, but it was unusually bright, and magnified the darkness around them. The sounds from the street had all but faded, and it fell to almost dead silence as the four of them stopped a few yards short of their goal.
“Dude this place is creepy,” said one, the tallest, dressed as a shirtless firefighter with suspenders and a fake mustache.
“That’s kind of the point genius,” said another, a girl this time, dressed as a construction worker with a yellow hard hat, a tool belt, and a bare midriff.
“I dunno guys, it seems a little too dark back there. Maybe we should go,” This husky, male voice belonged to a more modestly dressed zombie, complete with torn and bloodied three-piece suit and pale make-up.
“Come on, so it’s a little dark, “said Construction Girl, “I’m sure something ‘scary’ is gonna pop out and try to freak us out,  or the dude in the bad werewolf outfit is gonna try the same thing.” She said the last part with an added exclamation, cupping her hands over her mouth and aiming it at the shape beneath the porch light. It remained still.
“I think we should go to. It’s just…eerie at this house. Can we turn back?” The fourth and final voice belonged to a petite Red Riding Hood with a knee-length skirt beneath her trademark crimson hood.
“You’re just as bad as your boyfriend. If no one else is going, I will.” Construction Worker turned away from the group, and marched up to hairy creature in the lawn chair. Her first few steps were resolute, but when the details of the shape came into focus her stride slowed and her confidence ebbed.
It was by far the best werewolf outfit she’d ever seen, like something out of a movie. A really good movie. The hair looked real, and was shaggy and knotted in places, like it was lived in. The hands, large enough to wrap around a basketball, had long, powerful fingers with sharp, yellowed claws at each tip. The whole thing had black, white, and gray motif, just like the wolves she’d seen on TV. The last place she looked was the head. It had the long, elongated snout of a canine, and the lips were peeled back, revealing a row of sharp, yellow teeth as long as her index finger. The whole thing was huge, and if it stood up it would be twice her height.
The eyes though, were glassed over and empty, like cat’s eye marbles, and she immediately let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding in. She reached in to the plastic pumpkin, pulled out her reward, and marched back to her friends, her tool bet swinging sassily with each step.
“See, nothing to it. Plus it’s full of these,” and she flashed her friends a king-size Snicker bar.
“Sweet. First one I’ve seen giving out king-size. Let’s go.” The Zombie grabbed Red Riding Hood’s hand and they walked toward the hairy thing holding their king-size prize. The Fireman turned too Construction Worker and narrowed his eyes.
“How come you only grabbed one? They’re just leaving them there. We should load up.”
“You’re such a tool. Seriously, it’s Halloween David. Leave some for everyone else.” Zombie and Riding Hood came back, each bearing one hunk of chocolate each.
“You guys didn’t grab more?” Zombie and Red Riding Hood looked at each other sheepishly while Fireman shook his head. “Unbelievable.”
The Fireman took his turn and marched up to the creature, paying very little attention to the detail of the hairy thing in front of him, instead focused on the plastic pumpkin and getting everything out of hit he could. He grabbed one candy bar and threw it in his pillow case. His conscience reared up for a few annoying seconds, and then he reached in for another.
A sound, throaty and grinding, like the engine of a muscle car, made him stop halfway. He moved his hand a little closer to the pumpkin, and heard it again, louder this time. It sounded almost like a growling dog, but with enough bass to lightly vibrate his breastbone. He looked back at his friends but they were all busily conversing, and seemed to be ignoring him.
When he turned back, the thing was looking at him.
The glassy, amber-colored eyes he barely registered on his walk up the driveway were now intensely full of life. The eyelids twitched as the lip quivered, baring more of the elongated fangs standing out against the onyx gum line. He felt pressure on his arm, and looked down to see a hairy hand wrapped around his forearm. It didn’t feel rubbery or fake, it was warm and smooth, and impossibly powerful. It held him in a gentle but firm grasp.
The movements were too fluid, too easy, and the eyes weren’t empty like they should be. The head, neck, and mouth were all animatedly in synch as it stared into him with fierce yellow eyes.
Only. One.
The mouth moved in time with a voice like stones grinding together that reverberated in his ribcage.  The lips peeled back to reveal even more teeth, in a sinister imitation of a smile. The Fireman didn’t make a sound for five seconds. His brain, moments ago so focused on pilfering the plastic pumpkin for all it was worth, couldn’t process what he was seeing. The seamless reality of the creature in front of him was too much to comprehend.
He pulled his arm from the creatures grip, turned, and ran at full sprint past his friends, dropping his candy bar and emitting a high pitched scream as he went. He streaked past the three without slowing down, and their eyes followed him as he went full steam into the street, and toward the end of the cul-de-sac.
When they finally looked back at where Fireman had come from, they saw the same creature, impressively detailed but utterly lifeless, resting in the lawn chair with the plastic pumpkin in its lap. They saw one lone candy bar lying on the concrete at its feet.
“Weird,” said Riding Hood, “I didn’t think it was that scary.”
“Yeah, I wonder if it does something that we missed.”
“He’s just a pussy,” said Construction Worker, “But we’d better go find him.”
As they were walking down the drive, a sound came from behind them, a throaty chortle with a deep bass echo.
“What was that?” said the Zombie, sharing a worried look with Riding Hood. They both looked back at the creature but it hadn’t stirred.
“Just a car or something. Come on, the way he was running he’ll be at the end of the block by now,” Construction Worker pointed toward the mouth of the cul-de-sac and gestured for them to move on. Riding Hood and The Zombie fell in behind her.
“It didn’t sound like a car,” said Riding Hood in a conspiratorial whisper.
“I know. It almost sounded like someone was laughing,” he stopped looked back down the driveway to see that the creature, much further away and harder to discern, still hadn’t moved. He shrugged, shook his head, took Red Riding Hood by the hand, and they walked after their friend into the crisp autumn night.

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  1. Hahaha! This made me laugh :) definitely put me in the fall spirit, love it!

    Gives me some ideas too! ;)


  2. this is great!!!!!!!! :)


  3. Fabulous! I wish I actually saw so many kids dressed in such varied costumes! Also I wish there was such punishment meted out for Halloween greed!