Give Me Something Good To Eat
Pamela K. Kinney
“Trick or treat! Smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!”
Halloween again, when all those damn kids rang his doorbell and asked, no, demanded, candy, money, and other assorted treats. But he’d be double-damned if he’d break down and give the little hellions anything. In his opinion, these days the only thing the brats deserved was nothing. Nothing at all.
The noise escalated, changing to a persistent pounding at his door instead. Jonas Perkins flung open the door and found two small children, maybe five or six, standing on his porch. One was dressed as a witch, the other a Power Ranger. Their loud, obnoxious father, Pete Quarters from next door, stood next to them like the glowering Neanderthal he resembled. Jonas felt pretty sure it had been him and not the kids that had been doing the knocking. The man inched closer so that Jonas and he stood practically nose to nose. Bile threatened to rise in Jonas’ throat as the odor of cheap beer lacing the other man’s breath slammed into his nostrils.
“Hey, Perkins!” said Quarters. “Didn’t you hear Jenny and Parker ringing your doorbell? It’s Halloween, you know.”
Jonas snorted and glared at Quarters. “Yeah, I heard. But I decided not to give out candy to any kids this year. I thought the Dental Association would have one less idiot handing out sugar products and causing cavities. Felt it was my civic duty.”
Quarters’ piggish eyes narrowed. “Are you going highbrow on me, Perkins? It’s Halloween and I’m sure that my kids’ dentist won’t mind them having some candy. I should know, as he gave them a few Snickers bars when we stopped at his place, so why should he care if you give them anything?”
“Well, I didn’t get any candy so I am not giving them, or any other little monster, anything tonight. And that’s that. So no one better play a trick on me either, or I’ll call the cops. Now get off my porch!”
Jonas slammed the door shut on Quarters and his kids, locking it.
“Stupid idiots and their brats,” he muttered, as he stalked into the living room and thumped down in his favorite chair in front of his television. Picking up the remote, he surfed through endless channel after channel, but only found monster movies, how to make Halloween treats on the Cooking Channel, and the history of Halloween on the History Channel. With a click, he turned off the TV and tossed the remote onto the coffee table with disgust. Nothing but Halloween crap.
And nothing but more Halloween crap to his thinking as the door bell sounded again and he answered it. Kids dressed in costumes of all types, from vampires and werewolves to ghosts, super heroes, and simpering princesses stood with their bags held up, the light spilling onto their masked or made up faces. Their parents waited just outside the reach of the porch light, hidden in the shadows of the night. He screamed at the little monsters, making them run and their mothers and fathers curse him, but he slam the door on them all, switching off the porch light. After a while he sat in the darkened living room, ignoring the persistent bell. Finally, he got up and went to disconnect the doorbell to get some peace. Snatching a book from a nearby bookshelf, he relaxed in his chair under the light from the floor lamp as the laughter and screams from the children faded to silence around nine o’clock. After a while he began to nod off, so he laid the book on his lap and let sleep overtake him.
The blare of the doorbell woke him. He leaped from his chair, the book falling to the floor and almost knocking over the lamp. Blinking the slumber from his eyes, a glance at the clock on the wall revealed it was midnight.
Hadn’t he disconnected the doorbell earlier? Maybe he hadn’t done the job right as he’d thought.
And what fool trick-or-treater would be out this late anyway? He gritted his teeth. Must be teenagers running around while their asinine parents were getting drunk at some Halloween party.
At first he wasn’t going to answer the door, but when he spied something on a table near him he flashed a grin. He picked up a horn that he kept to bugle at birds in the spring when they tried to get the grass seed that he sowed his front lawn with. With his fingers curled around it he crossed over to the door.
“I’ll give you a treat!” he yelled as he flung open the door.
A trick-or-treater about his height stood silent in the night-filled porch. Jonas had been right—some dumb-assed teen. His fingers pressed the button on the horn and a loud high-pitched sound screamed out of it. With another press of the button, he cut off the blast. The figure didn’t move or appeared fazed.
Dumbfounded at first, the heat of anger replaced that feeling. “Aren’t you a little old to be trick-or-treating, you stupid nitwit?”
The costumed figure didn’t answer. Jonas took in the costume. Tall and gaunt, threadbare iron gray pants hung loosely from the hips and the person also wore a shirt rotted away in places, leaving dirt crusted holes. Dust covered most of the clothing and the large shoes on the feet looked like those that a clown would wear.
The skin gleam the same pale, chalky color as the crescent moon that hung in the night sky above. Long hands ended in long black nails, sharp like claws, and they grasped an extra large bag, like the kind that held grain or seed in the hardware stores. But it was the make up job that impressed him the most. The flesh masked over the skull like a second skin. Not a speck of bright color touched its lips or cheeks, just dull gray.
And the eyes! They dominated the features, like large black holes, no consciousness peeping out of them.
Must be FX contact lenses, thought Jonas.
The lips parted in a dark smile, revealing a mouthful of cannibal-sharp fangs.
Jonas shivered, but not from the cool autumn breeze that drifted into his house. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut this door now. No tricks either, because you’re not getting any damn treats from me.”
He shut the door on the its face.
When he turned around, he found himself eye to eye with the strange trick-or-treater. It stood there, blocking Jonas from the living room and access to his phone.
“What the hell?” Jonas backed into the door. “How did you get inside?”
The figure silently held up its bag.
Suddenly angry, Jonas snarled. “You want a treat, do you? Well, I’ll give you a treat. A treat like a smack from this horn.”
He raised the horn up and brought it down. With no warning, the trick-or-treater grabbed the arm holding the horn and with a twist, broke it. Jonas yelled from the pain as the being let go. The horn dropped to the floor, making a loud clatter. The trick-or-treater kicked it to the side.
Fear twisted Jonas’ guts as he cradled his useless arm with the good one. “Oh, God. What do you want?”
It snatched at him quickly, not giving him time to escape, and after snapping several more bones to bend the body easier, it shoved a dying Jonas into the bag.
The ghoul cackled as it flung open the door, stepping out into the night air. The pungent odors from burnt jack-o-lanterns on door steps and lawns, along with half-eaten candies grounded into the pavement from the feet of countless children wafted to its nostrils. But it didn’t think of those things, only of the meal it would enjoy tonight in its home in the mausoleum. Nowadays, Halloween made it so easy to hunt humans. They just thought of it as another costumed trick-or-treater. No one believed that real monsters stalked among the fake ones.
It skipped down the street to the town cemetery as it sang, swinging the heavily loaded bag at its side.
“Trick or treat, smell my feet, and give me something good to eat!”