By Christian Laforet
Spider-man and Dracula stepped off the porch.
“What did she give us? I can’t see.” Dave pulled his Spider-man mask to adjust the eye holes.
“Take your stupid mask off, we’re not even at the door anymore.” Twin lines of spit dribbled down Rob’s chin from where his plastic fangs poked out past his lips.
Dave shook his head emphatically. “Sorry dude, with great power comes great responsibility.”
Rob raised his arms and looked around with exaggerated movements. “There aren’t even anymore houses on this street.”
Behind them, two Batmans, a Transformer and Princess Bubblegum ran up to the steps.
“So… seriously, what did she give us?”
Rob began rummaging around in his pillowcase. “Oh man, weak!”
“She gave us a toothbrush!”
Dave stopped walking and started digging through his own haul. “Who does that? Why would somebody want to ruin Halloween?” With a groan, he pulled the offending ‘treat’ from his bag and flicked it into a nearby bush.
Rob tossed his own toothbrush as well.
Dave turned back towards the house they had just come from. “I kinda want to use these on her now.” He let his hand rest on the small, nylon bag tucked into the waist of his spider-pants.
“Yeah right, and miss the look on old lady Talbot’s face? Never.”
Dave twisted his wrist towards the woman’s house and jabbed his middle and ring fingers hard into his palm, a thwip sound coming from his concealed lips. Happy with spraying the offending home with imaginary spider webs, he turned back towards Rob and said, “Yeah, you’re right. Speaking of which, I guess we should start heading that way.”
Rob checked his phone. “Crap! I didn’t know it was so late. Yeah, let’s go. I told my mom I would be home by eleven.”
The boys continued towards the end of the street. Most of the houses had turned off their porch lights creating an eerie darkness which was only pushed back by the yellow tinged streetlights lining the road. They walked for a few minutes before coming to an alleyway.
“We better cut down here.”
Rob stared down the narrow alley for several seconds. “Uh, maybe we should just go around.”
Dave let out a honking laugh. “You’re such a baby! I can’t believe you’re scared. Rob, man, we’re going into high school next year, we can’t be acting like little kids anymore. Besides, the next two streets end in cul-de-sacs, we’d have to walk like twenty minutes to get over to the next block.”
“Hey, you’re the one with a curfew. Listen, if we walk alllllll the way around, we’ll have like five minutes at Old Lady Talbot’s. What fun is that?”
Dave didn’t give Rob a chance to respond, instead he grabbed the cheap black cape tied around his friend’s neck and yanked him into the alley. “C’mon, it’ll only take like two seconds.”
“You think she’ll be home?”
Dave let his hand rest on the small bag. “Of course she’ll be home. That miserable old hag lives for Halloween. I heard that a couple years ago she threw a cup of prune juice on some sixth graders who dared to knock on her door.”
“Yeah… still, maybe we should think about this. The whole thing seems a bit extreme.”
Dave stopped walking. “Are you kidding? Old Lady Talbot has been making our lives hell for years! Remember that time she told your mom you were drawing on the wall behind the 7-11? You got grounded for like a month for that one.”
“I know she’s horrible, but couldn’t we just egg her house or something? We could run over to Fresh Choppers and get a dozen eggs. I bet she’d piss her granny panties if we did that.”
Dave grabbed his friend by the shoulders. “Firstly, somebody egged her house last year. Remember? Secondly, we owe her, and I’m not just talking for us, I mean for every kid that has ever met her. Some people just have it coming.” Dave cocked his head to the left before continuing, “Are you afraid we’re gonna get caught?”
Rob nodded as he toed an errant weed jutting through a crack in the concrete.
“Jeez. We went over this like a million times. Her house is the only one at the end of the street. Barely no kids go down there anymore. And even if somebody was still out trick-or-treating, they’d never recognize us.”
Rob let out a sigh. “I guess you’re right.”
“Oh man, we’re going to be legends. Just think, when all the kids are talking about this tomorrow, we’ll know they’re talking about us. Nobody will ever top this!”
The boys stopped suddenly when a nearby garbage can toppled over and began rolling towards them.
“What the?” Dave jumped at the sound.
Rob stuck his foot out stopping the can with the sole of his shoe. He stood motionless, willing his eyes to pierce the darkness enveloping the nook that the can had come from.
“It was probably nothing,” Dave started, his sentence going unfinished as a sharp hiss filled the air.
“You… you hear that?” Rob knew the question was stupid, but his brain was in a state of near panic and it was all he could manage.
Dave nodded quickly as his fingers pulled at the eyes holes of his mask.
The hissing grew louder, another can clanged to the ground. Moments later, a small, dark creature flew out from between the remaining garbage cans, it ran straight towards the boys.
Rob felt himself running even before the thought to do so presented itself. He noticed Dave keeping pace right next to him.
“What is it? Did you see it?” Rob screamed.
“I can’t see anything!” Dave was struggling with his mask. In his haste to clear his vision, he had twisted it awkwardly across his face.
Dave tripped on a slightly raised sewer grate. His foot struck the edge of the protruding metal disk and he tumbled forward. As he collided with the pavement of the alley, he released his pillowcase sending a wave of assorted candy skidding across the ground.
Rob heard Dave fall. The sound was dull thud followed by the crinkling of candy wrappers. He skidded to a halt and spun back to look at his friend.
“Rob! Help me!” Dave struggled to get up, but his mask was completely blinding him.
“Hold on!” Rob backtracked to where Dave had fallen. He grabbed the top of the Spider-Man mask and gave it a tug. The fabric pulled across his friend’s face, stretching Dave’s upper lip painfully before coming free of his head.
Dave spun around looking wildly down the alley behind them. “Is it still coming?”
As if to answer Dave’s question, the hissing sound returned. The boys looked on as two glowing orbs became visible in the darkness.
They grabbed each other in a tight embrace, both of them screaming in terror.
Slowly, almost lazily, an obese raccoon waddled from the shadows. The critter looked at the boys for a moment before letting out another long hiss. This time however, the noise quickly turned into a retch as a chicken bone came flying from the things mouth. Having cleared the obstruction, the creature skittered off into the nearest backyard.
Dave and Rob watched in stunned disbelief as the critter disappeared from sight. A moment later they realized they were still tightly entwined with each other and the two boys hurried to their feet, standing a bit further apart than necessary.
As Dave checked himself for injuries, Rob slowly shook his head. “That was messed up.”
With nothing more than a couple of scrapped palms and a hole in the right knee of his spider-pants, Dave turned his attention towards the backyard into which the creature had vanished. “What kind of raccoon does that? I swear that thing was trying to scare us!” he said as he kicked the chicken bone into the side of the fence.
Snatching his mask back from Rob, Dave started collecting his candy from the ground. “So, we’re in total agreement that we don’t to tell anybody about that, right?”
“Yeah, for sure.” Rob hurried to help his friend.
Besides a Twix that had landed in a puddle, they managed to save all of Dave’s loot.
The walk to Old Lady Talbot’s was a quiet one. The run in with the obese raccoon had soured the night considerably, neither boy said two words the rest of the way.
Only once they stood in front of the large, two story home, did Dave pull his mask back on. As they had predicted, the street was completely empty.
“Alright, are you ready to do this?” Dave started up the steps before Rob could answer.
“Yeah… but let’s be quick, I kinda just want to go home.”
Dave pulled the bag free from his waist as Rob banged on the front door.
A series of lights came on within the house one at a time like a row of dominoes, the porch light coming on last. A stern looking old woman answered the door.
“I thought you damn kids were aware by now that I don’t do Halloween,” she said with a snarl.
Dave passed one of the hammers he’d been carrying to Rob, as he pushed the old lady back into her home with the other hand. “We know.”
The door shut behind them, moments later, the porch light went dark.