It's Sunday Scribblings time again and the prompt is Adventure. I suppose that going out on a cold October night 'trick or treating' is quite an adventure for most kids. My kids however had a far deeper and darker motive! Enjoy!
It was a cold night in October. In the narrow street, nothing stirred but for a black cat which meandered along the road pausing occasionally with one paw raised, ears pricked, listening. It stopped opposite a run-down terraced cottage, turned its head toward the door, arched its back and hissed.
The stillness was broken by a gaggle of laughing children which appeared from a side street calling out ‘trick or treat’ and banging on doorways. There were about ten of them, all dressed for Halloween night. The girls wore witches gowns of red purple and blue, their eyes black and their lips scarlet. The boys had whitened faces and grey cloaks which dragged behind them on the ground. The black cat looked on, motionless.
One of them, a small boy wearing a black cloak and a grotesque monster mask ran up to the terraced cottage and shouted ‘this is the one’. The black cat turned and ran in the opposite direction. He banged on the door with the handle of his axe then pulled a hood over his head. The others gathered around him giggling excitedly.
The terraced cottage belonged to Billy Brown. He'd moved there several years ago. No one knew much about him. They never knew him as Billy ‘Bully’ Brown. As a child in school he’d terrorised his fellow pupils. He was moved from one school to another then eventually to an institution for young offenders. His bullying continued later in life when he was feared by even the most hardened of criminals in London’s gangland. But eventually it all backfired on him and he was forced to flee and go into hiding as an anonymous resident of the village.
The boy banged on the door again. Nothing. Bang, bang.
Suddenly a voice yelled a voice from inside the cottage. ‘Go away’
The boy banged again and again. Suddenly the door swung open and there was Billy Brown, his face like thunder, brandishing a base ball bat.
‘Trick or treat?’ said the hooded boy quietly. ‘Trick or treat?’
The children still were smiling, but their faces were no longer angelic. Instead they had turned ghostly white and their mouths ran with crimson blood. They stared straight up into Billy’s eyes. His expression changed and a look of fear came over his face.
They started chanting, very slowly, very softly, almost in a whisper.
‘Trick or treat? Trick or treat?’
He dropped the bat.
‘Trick or treat?’ they said, their voices becoming a little louder. ‘Trick or treat?’
The boy took a step towards him.
‘Trick or treat Billy?’ he said looking up into his ashen face. Billy took a step back shaking his head from side to side. The children moved towards him and he started to shuffle back into his hallway.
‘Trick or treat? Trick or treat?’ their voices grew louder and louder. ‘Trick or treat? TRICK OR TREAT?’ The children were now shrieking and the noise echoed and bounced around inside Billy’s head.
They crept forward, he stumbled back and then he came to a sudden stop when he backed into a wall.
‘Trick or treat?’ they screamed ‘TRICK OR TREAT BILLY BULLY BROWN?’
Billy pressed his hands over his ears and screwed closed his eyes. Suddenly the children fell quiet. Total silence. You could hear a feather drop.Something yanked one of his hands away. He tried to resist but he was helpless. He felt warm breath on his ear.
‘School’s out Billy’ said a deep voice from an inch away. He slightly opened one eye and jumped as he came face to face with a hooded man in a grotesque mask carrying an axe. The children stared up at Billy, their huge eyes boring into his. They each had both arms rigid, pointing up at his terrified face. They started chanting again, softly at first, then rising to a deafening crescendo.
‘School’s out, school’s out, SCHOOL’S OUT.......’ They started stabbing their fingers at him. ‘SCHOOLS OUT.......SCHOOLS OUT’. Their screaming was unbearable, their voices echoed and their words jumbled and multiplied as they bounced off the walls and ceiling.
His mind started spinning back through the years. Suddenly he recognised the children. How could it be? It was impossible. They were the kids he went to school with. The kids who thirty or more years ago had lived in fear of him. And now the tables had turned.
An elderly lady was walking down the street with her dog. As she approached the run-down cottage, the door flew open and out ran a small boy in a cloak carrying an axe followed by ten other children in Halloween costumes and smiling painted faces.They skipped up to her, giggling. ‘Trick or treat?’ they laughed. ‘I thought I come across some witches and ghosts tonight’ said the lady, and she produced from her pocket a bag of sweets and lollipops and handed them out. ‘Thank you’ shouted the children, then they ran off into the darkness.
She went to walk away, but her dog refused to move. Instead it stood rigid, growling as it looked at the open door. It started to tug the lady toward the house. She was unable to hold him back. It was then she noticed that a vivid blinding light was coming from a room at the far end of the hallway. The dog pulled her inside and she shielded her eyes from the dazzling light as she was pulled closer and closer to the room. Her dog continued with its deeply menacing growl, but now she could also hear the distant unworldly sound of children’s voices chanting ‘Billy Bully Brown, Billy Bully Brown’.
As she peered into the room the searing light hurt her head, and through half closed eyes she could just make out the shape of a small boy, sitting cross legged on the floor slowly rocking to and fro. Gradually the light began to fade and the sound of the children became quieter and quieter then disappeared. The child was unaware that she or the dog was there. He just stared straight ahead as he rocked and swayed. She spoke to him, asked his name, but he didn’t answer. He didn’t even blink. She tried gently shaking him but he was totally oblivious to her presence. He was gripping something tightly in his hand, a crumpled school group photograph. One face had been cut out and across it was scrawled the name Billy Brown and an arrow pointing to the hole.
She rushed out into the street hoping to find someone to help her, someone with a mobile phone who could call an ambulance. But she found no one. Then from inside the cottage she heard her dog whimpering. She ran back into the room to find the child gone, and to her horror her dog was lying motionless on the floor alongside a bloodstained baseball bat and the screwed up photograph.
A year has passed, and the house has remained locked and boarded ever since. No one knows what happened in the cottage on Halloween night last year. And you can be certain that nobody will go anywhere near that house tonight.
The End....or is it?