Nothing can be more scary than the events of 2020 so far, and there isn’t much we can do about it except struggle to protect ourselves and the people around us. However, we might find a little happiness in reading some cool flash stories where the scariness is twisted and utterly not-2020-real. So without further ado, here are my story and the ones from 10 other participants of 2020’s Halloween Bloghop.
If you love audio, you’ll find many of the Bloghop stories (including mine) in the final two episodes of the Podcast “Alone in a Room With Invisible People” (which I highly recommend). Episode 1 can be found here with 21 amazing stories.
Episode 2 can be found here with 25 outstanding stories. My story is on this one and starts about 1/4 of an hour in.
Enjoy the season (and my story) and as always, remember to visit the other participants (list below the story).
The Witch at the End of the Road
Halloween is a nightmare for me. Mom always forces me to join tight-knit groups of friends that don’t want me, and I hate to pretend to be happy, collecting sweets. This year is worse than usual. She shoves me toward the group of bullies from my school. My arms, back, and legs are still hurting from the lashing she gave me when I begged her to let me stay home.
To my surprise, the trick-or-treating goes smoothly at first, even though the others’ none too gentle nudges hurt. But then Gordon tells us of the witch at the end of the road.
“She turns candy into stones.” His gleeful stare finds me. I shiver with dread. Not because of the witch—we wouldn’t go there if she existed—but due to the promise of lost sweets in his gaze. The closer we get to the witch’s house, the faster my heart beats. I struggle to join the chorus, but my painful bruises remind me of Mom’s anger and I go on.
“You first,” Gordon pushes me up the steps. There are potted plants on the porch and a black cat with white paws. I nearly wet my pants. This is it! I’ll lose my sweets, and Mom will be furious. I search for a solution in vein and ring the doorbell with trembling fingers.
A lady older than any I’ve ever seen opens the door.
“There you are!” Her voice is surprisingly friendly. “Been waiting for you, lazybones.”
I start speaking and stop when I notice no one falls in. Looking around, the boys are staring open-mouthed and motionless at the lady.
“Not spellbound?” She winks at me. “So you’re kin, ey? Interesting.” She turns to the others and taps Gordon on the forehead. “You will stop hurting people. Find joy in the woods.”
He walks away with glazed eyes. The lady taps every boy and gives them a command, and they file away silently. Witches do exist after all. I’m mesmerized.
When she turns to me, fear freezes my blood. Although I want to run, my legs don’t move. My heartbeat drowns out every sound but my breathing and her words.
“For you, I’ll need something special.” She cups my face with her hands. Barely louder than a whisper, a scream escapes my lips. She smiles and her eyes are full of sympathy. “I know, honey. Be strong. It’s over in a blink.” She kisses my forehead, warming me.
Next I’m in Mom’s kitchen, arms over my head, hurting. Stones have spilled from a plastic pumpkin onto the table. I’m covered in fresh bruises, and Mom is lifting a wooden spoon to hit me again.
The witch grabs her wrist.
Blue light whizzes between them.
I can hardly breathe.
The witch changes to the semblance of Mom, while Mom grows old and frail and vanishes eventually.
“Finally!” Witch-Mom hands me a bag of sweets. “Guess, it’s time for a new life for both of us, ey?”
If you liked the story or want to comment with anything else that’s on your mind, feel free to do so. I’ll answer as soon as I can. Meanwhile read the stories of the other participants:
Unwelcomed Visitors by Bill Bush
Unraveled by Bonnie Burns
Holiday Guest by Sabrina Rosen
Home by Barbara Lund
Missing Parts by Jemma Weir
A Perfect Match by V. S. Stark
The Glistening Bat by Karen Lynn
II-The Priestess by Raven O’Fiernan
The Old Ways by Nic Steven
Halloween Pest by Elizabeth McCleary