Short Story
   Give Me Something Good to Eat
                                           By Jonathan D. Nichols


Trick or treat? Trick or treat?
Give me something good to eat.
Chewy candy, bubblegum
Halloween is so much fun.

                                           ***************

It's time again - the time for collecting treats; the time for going house to
house, asking strangers for candy, and dressing in costumes.  That is why I
love it, why we love it – the costumes.  We no longer have to hide this night.  
This is the evening we are given free reign, allowed to walk among the
humans, and it is excellent.  The Celtics from thousands of years ago were
exactly right in their beliefs on what happens on Samhain.  They knew the
borders separating the natural world from the paranormal are all but gone on
this night.  We walk among you, and we scared the living crap out of the
ancients.  They were the ones who started leaving out treats to appease us –
to get us to leave them alone.  It worked, and it came to be expected, until they
got selfish.  Initially, they remained indoors on this night in fear, but they must
have felt it was not fair for us to receive so much, or perhaps they grew
curious and wanted to see what we were truly like.  To protect themselves,
they wore costumes to look like us and began traveling the town, taking our
offerings for themselves.

They were the ones to add the “trick” to the tradition, those bastards.  Playing
mean pranks on people who did not succumb to their demands, calling this act
mumming.  The treats were not supposed to be for them.  They were for us,
the “malevolent spirits” as they labeled us.  The practitioners of mumming did
not know what they were getting into.  They were fools.  The entire purpose of
leaving the treats out in the first place was to get us to leave them alone.  To
have the audacity to steal these treats by pretending to be us?  They forgot
their fear.  They provoked us, and we were in the right taking out our anger
and vengeance on the thieves.

Tonight, many years later, the children will come out to play, going door-to-
door dressed in costumes.  Even though the traditions have forgotten their
roots, we still exist, and on Halloween, we also come out to... play.

                                           ***************

Trick or treat? Trick or treat?
Give me something good and sweet.
Lollipops and chocolate bars.
Go to houses near and far.

                                           ***************

Robert loved Halloween.  It was a fun and exciting time.  He always felt creeped
out by the feeling of fear in the air.  He knew it was all in good fun, trying to
scare his friends, wearing awesome costumes, getting candy, and staying out
late.  He was twelve years old, hitting puberty and on the verge of entering his
teens.  This would probably be his last year traveling door-to-door.  He would
still celebrate October 31st with the rest of the town every year after, but would
do so without candy collecting.  He hated facing this inevitable truth but knew
deep down that he and all his friends were growing too old for this.

The town came together on this night as a community, setting up a celebratory
festival complete with food vendors, carnival-style games, and a bonfire.  
Generally, the young ones would trick-or-treat before, or would go later after
nightfall prior to spending time at the festival.  Robert selected the latter and
looked forward to excessive game playing before setting out on his door-to-
door expedition.  His best friend, George, approached him at a ring-toss game
with several green bills in his hand.

“Are you going trick-or-treating after this?”

“Yes, aren’t you?” answered Robert

“I went earlier, but all my candy got ruined.  I wanted to ask my mom if I could
go with you.”

“Alright,” Robert said.

The boys lived on the same street, so this would not likely be a problem.  The
two of them played the ring-toss, which neither of them won, and then went to
a vending booth to buy a couple of funnel cakes.  After an hour of games,
George lied and told his mother that Robert’s brother would be escorting them
and that a number of other children would be joining them throughout the
neighborhood.

They gathered candy and met up with several friends.  Soon they had a group
of seven children.  Most of these were mere acquaintances – kids they had
seen around the neighborhood, but they all got along just fine, laughing and
joking around as they rang doorbells.  Robert spied a girl a year younger than
him, Sally, dressed as a ballerina, leading her own group of friends on their
trick-or-treating journey.  He always thought she was pretty, and became
hopeful that the two of them could spend some time together tonight.

“Hey, Sally,” he said as she passed. “Do you want to come with us?”

“No thanks, I have already been that way,” she said, smiling.  The girl
continued walking, not knowing how the young man felt about her.  Robert
continued on, despite his disappointment, and watched as a young boy
dressed as a vampire ran down the street shouting Sally’s name, trying to
catch up.  Lucky guy, he thought.  The young boy was not being very careful,
and nearly got himself hit by a car.

After a number of houses, Robert noticed George missing.  He grew
concerned, and called the eleven-year-old boy's name.  The other children
ignored his worry, continuing on to the next house.  He finally saw a boy in a
red cape from behind, and ran to touch the child on the shoulder.  George
turned around, and at first looked at Robert strangely, as if he did not
recognize his friend.

"Let's go," Robert said.

"This way," George replied, taking his friend's hand. "I want to show you
something awesome."

The two boys hurried to a dead-end part of the neighborhood, where the
houses ended and forest began.

"I don't want to get lost in there," Robert said as George darted between two
trees.

"You won't.  We're going back to the bonfire."

"But we've already been there."

"We need to go back.  Trust me."

Robert hesitated, but complied reluctantly.  He did not think his friend would
lead him astray, but something seemed askew.

"Are you sure you know where you are going?"

Before George could respond, Robert could smell the wood burning and hear
people talking.  They emerged from the woods, and were back at the festival.  
For some reason, however, the place looked more pleasant.  It had a cheerful
appearance not present earlier that evening.  Although he had already been
here an hour before, Robert grew excited.  Running to one of the vendors, he
asked for another funnel cake.  The woman handed him the sweet, fried snack
with a smile on her face.  She refused his money, telling him there would be no
charge, and then offered him a soda.  When he bit into the food, he felt like he
had just arrived in heaven.  The powdered sugar on the fried batter melted in
his mouth.  The cake itself was moist, but still crunchy on the outside.  The
flavor was intensely amazing, and he could safely say it was the most delicious
thing he had ever eaten.  When he drank the soda, it did not taste like regular
soda.  There was something different, and he loved it.  He grabbed his best
friend and they went to play a game.  Surprisingly, they won.  He went to
another game, and not only did he win, he did outstanding.  Suddenly, he saw
Sally, standing next to him.

“I have always liked you, Robert.  If you ask me to be your girlfriend right now, I
will say yes.”

“Um,” Robert hesitated. “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”

She kissed him on the lips, which was a huge deal for a twelve-year-old.  This
was perfect.  He could not imagine being happier.  He grabbed her hand, and
they walked to another game.  This time, he won her a stuffed animal, after
which, she kissed him again.  The two of them held hands as he went to a
vendor, where he was offered free food once more.  The young couple shared
an ice cream sundae, and he witnessed George walking up to them, a huge
grin on his face.

“George, this is awesome. Thanks for making me come back.”

George’s smile grew grimacing, and suddenly, Robert realized that something
was wrong with his surroundings.  He looked at the festival, and finally realized
it was not the same festival he had been to earlier.  The booths were all
different, the people looked fake, and it seemed like a cheap imitation to him.

“We can wear costumes, too,” said George, in a deep voice not his own.

                                           ***************

Trick or treat? Trick or treat?
Give me something sour and sweet.
Tangy gummies, lemon drops.
I hope this scary fun won't stop.

                                           ***************

George’s face disappeared, and so did Sally’s.  Their bodies and their overall
appearance remained the same, but their faces were void and empty.  There
were no features.  It was all a blank.  Robert looked around, and noticed a
number of individuals – not all of them, but more than half of them – had lost
their faces, and the people around them were beginning to freak out.  
Suddenly he saw somebody start to scream in fear.  He looked back at his new
girlfriend and his best friend, and they were gone.  In their place was his worst
fear ever.  He had recently watched a werewolf movie, and the beast from the
film stood before him.  It was not a similar monster to what he viewed on the
film – it was the exact same creature, right down to its skin blemishes and
detailed facial features.  He ran to another person, who seemed to duck for no
reason.

“What are you trying to get away from?” he asked.

“Don’t you see the dragon?” the young man said.

Robert saw a shy young girl from his class, and he asked her what she was
afraid of the most.

“My stepfather,” she said. “He’s right there.  Don’t you see him?  He say’s he is
going to punish me like he never has before.”

The young man suddenly realized that all the people were seeing something
different.  They were seeing their worst fears come to life.  Robert ran to the
woods, and before he could enter a thicket of trees, he felt himself hit what felt
like a wall, and fell to the ground.  He sat up, and the illusion was gone.  When
he banged his head, he cleared his mind and could see the truth.  He was in a
cave – him and about fifty other innocent victims.  There were creatures with
them.  They were not physical, but seemed to belong to more than one realm.  
Their bodies were transparent, but somehow they could affect his world.

He noticed that the cave was underground, and a hole above him led to
freedom.  Someone, or something, pushed what appeared to be a large rock,
obstructing the entrance and trapping all the occupants.  Robert grew afraid
for his life.  Several seconds later, the daimons attacked.

Outside, Sally – the real Sally – traveled with her friends through the woods on
a shortcut from one neighborhood to the next.  The children were laughing
and talking.  None of them were able to hear the screams beneath the ground
or the inhumane screeches of monstrous assailants.

                                           ***************

Trick or treat? Trick or treat?
Give me something good to eat.
Caramel, chocolate, jellybeans.
Have a scary Halloween.
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