By Neil Leckman
Every Halloween Scott Turly gave candy to the children who came trick-or-treating at his house. He was always very generous with his candy but what everyone talked about for weeks afterward was how fantastic it was. There was no store-bought fare that could match what he handed out. Speculation was that he made it at home, but nobody could ever prove it since he was never seen out of his house. Maybe he made midnight runs to some far off store that nobody knew about.
However he did it, every year he had fresh candy and it was so good kids had been known to fight over a couple of pieces. Jesse, Frank and I were going to sneak over to Mr. Turly’s house and see if we could figure out where he got the candy, or maybe find a package with a name on it. We made our plan to perch in the old oak tree that looked down on the windows on the south side of his house and hoped we’d be able to see something come night.
As the kids lined up to get candy from Mr. Turly, we watched expectantly through a gap in the curtains at the windows to his living room and kitchen. There was nothing that helped to reveal anything new to us except the fact that he had a lot of candy ready to hand out. Finally the lines got shorter and the night darker and it looked like he might be running short of candy. The three of us began to get excited about the prospect of learning his secret.
Lindsey Colhan was walking alone up to the porch, a big smile on her face. She rang the doorbell and waited for Mr. Turly to open the door.
He looked down at Lindsey and then quickly looked up and down the street, which was empty.
“Come on inside and I’ll get you some of my candy, Lindsey. I thought everyone was done for the night so I need to get something for you.” He put an arm around her shoulder and hustled her inside. Once again he looked either way down the street, then, smiling, he followed her inside and shut the door.
He walked her over to his couch and had her sit there while he went to the kitchen. I took the binoculars hanging around my neck and watched him open a closet. He was doing something but I couldn’t tell what because his back was to me, then he stepped away to grab a small bowl. Inside the closet some strange slug-like creature hung from the bar that you put clothes on. It was oozing a brown liquid from open sores along its body. He walked back over, squeezed one of the open sores and something pink slid down its body onto the plate. He picked it up, wiped off the goo and wrapped it in paper like candy.
“Holy shit!!” Frank said. He almost lost his grip on the branch he was hanging from, Jesse grabbed him.
In the kitchen Mr. Turly stopped and looked towards the window, then set the plate down and walked over and peered out into the night. We had all shifted out of sight but only just. I didn’t like to think what he would have done if he’d caught us.
He walked back over and picked up the plate. He took it into the other room where he held it out for Lindsey. She took the candy, unwrapped it and placed it in her mouth. That familiar dreamy look came to her face and I almost vomited. A couple of moments later a puzzled look crossed her face and she curled up in agony. Pustules formed all over her face and neck and began to ooze a clear liquid. She began to twitch as the rapid forming spots began to come to a head.
Frank looked like he was getting sick as he turned away. Jesse, like me, was too enthralled to look away as the pustules began to pop and familiar shapes plopped out of them. Lindsey began to look smaller as they formed in greater numbers, covering every inch of her visible body. Soon all that was left was a lumpy pile of skin and hundreds of candies. Mr. Turly walked over, rolled up Lindsey’s skin and went into the kitchen. He opened the closet again, fed it to the slug and closed the door. A little later he turned off the lights and went up to his bedroom. When the light came on we crawled down from the tree, shaking.
“What do we do?” Jesse asked.
“Call the cops?” Frank suggested.
“No, we keep our mouths shut. Nobody will believe us, there’s no evidence except all that candy. If we say anything we might be next year’s treat!!” I said, firm in the knowledge that saying anything would be a very bad idea.
I chugged down the last of my beer, set the bottle down and got up to leave. “That’s why I don’t do the whole Halloween thing anymore, but you can do whatever you want. Remember, though, that sometimes the treat you get was last year’s trick on someone else.”