Tommy didn’t believe his parents, no way, he was fine, he could eat way more before it affected him, and hey, he never went to sleep on time anyway. Tonight’s trick or treat haul was, average at best, but it was still free sweets, and his parents wouldn’t eat too much of it, he’d stashed the good stuff as well, in his secret box, under his bed. The crown jewell in tonights collection was a halloween egg, composed of spooky green chocolate and containing a terrifying surprise, “yuck” was all it had elicited from his Mom. He was looking forward to that egg, it was huge, so big the lid on his secret box wouldn’t shut, tomorrow was Saturday, plenty of time to play Nintendo and devour it. It had been a funny trick or treat though, it came from a house at the other end of his street, he had no idea who lived there but they had set out a whole family of carved pumpkins on a bed of fake spider web, he’d stepped onto the porch and was reaching for the bell when he saw the note,
“Sorry kids, not feeling well so gone to bed, treats, or maybe a trick 😉 in the box by your feet, just take one, Happy Halloween!”
He lifted the flap on the huge box, there was only two items left, both Halloween Eggs, there was plenty of chocolate in his sack so he reservedly grabbed just one and went on his way, paying no attention to the To Let estate agent sign at the foot of the overgrown path, or of the shuttered windows behind him.
Bedtime, his father declared, he grabbed one more jelly brain and put the sack on the side in the kitchen, went into the lounge, hugged both his parents and headed up to bed, despite all the sugar he didn’t take long to drift off.
Then he was awake, it seemed like only minutes later, but it had obviously been hours, the house was perfectly dark and he could hear his parents snoring from the next room, he adjusted his pillow, poked a leg from under his duvet and closed his eyes.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
His eyes were wide, his mind raced, a mouse, under the bed, in his secret box, eating his Halloween egg.
The boy flicked on the bedside light and hung over the edge of his bed, his hair dragging on the carpet.
It wasn’t a mouse, and it wasn’t eating the egg, it was emerging from it, one sinewy limb at a time, three of them were scrabbling at the underside of the bed, they found purchase.
The egg split, a real Kinder Surprise moment, the boy screamed.
He was still screaming when his father stumbled into his room, the boy had made it to the doorway, his feet still kicking in front of him. His father knelt and embraced him, the boy raised a hand and pointed.
“Under the bed, a monster, under the bed”
His father sighed and kissed his head.
“It’s ok Tommy, there isn’t a monster under the bed, there’s no such thing.
Tommy’s legs resumed pistoning at the carpet. His father stood and headed for the bed.
“No Dad no, come back, it’s there, it’s there” the boy screamed.
His father dropped on one knee, lifted the discarded bedding and lent to look under the bed. The boy jumped as he heard a step behind him, his head jerked around to see his mother reaching for him.
“What’s up Tom…”
Was as far as she got, two heads jerked in unison, looking toward the bed, the man had managed to elicit a small scream of his own just before the breath was taken from him, he fell onto his side then rolled onto his back, reaching for his face with both hands, grabbing at the bronzed form clamped there, stick like digits disappearing into his hair, his chest rapidly rising and falling in time to a mucous filled gurgle.
Time stretched, inflating like the mans lungs, release, exhale, still.
The man’s chest no longer rose, a whistle escaped, rising in pitch like a kettle on the hob.
Deep crimson squirted everywhere, the arachnid squirmed in the pulpy mess it had created for a moment before rolling upright, it span a complete circle before pitching itself towards the screaming pair in the doorway.
Tommy reacted first, slamming his mother back into the hallway and ripping the door shut behind them, it bounced with a loud thud a moment later.
They made it down the stairs and to the kitchen door, the woman grabbed for her keys from the table and dropped them, the sound was echoed by a smashing window from upstairs, the back door was left open behind them as they ran for the car.
The drivers door creaked open, she threw her son across to the passenger seat and followed wrenching the door shut behind her.
Her shaking hands struggled to find the ignition slot, the boy covered his face and sobbed,
“we have to go Mom, please, we have to go”
Blessedly the key slipped in, habit took over and clutch was engaged, the key turned and the Volvo coughed exhaust, the pedal was flat to the floor, the front wheels squealed and they were on their way.
Suddenly the boy was screaming again, the woman looked to her right, the arachnid was on the passenger side mirror, glistening red in the moonlight, she swerved, smashing the offside into their mailbox, the mirror and it’s passenger were gone. She straightened the car out, grabbed her son’s hand and began to cry.
They reached the edge of town and slowed when she saw the blue flashing lights, two patrol cars were angled across the road, a yellow road closed sign was in the right hand lane. She stopped the car and got out.
The boy watched, the blue lights took it in turn to illuminate his mothers slow steps between the vehicles, she appeared to moving in stop motion, even with this effect he could tell she had frozen, one hand on a cruiser bonnet, the other raised to her mouth, she turned, she ran, she was back in the car, firing it into life.
As she executed a perfect three point turn the boy caught a glimpse of what she had seen, two arms, two legs, a torso, and a puddle.
Said the boy,
“it was a trick after all”