Here’s a little short story I wrote over the weekend. Hope you enjoy it and Happy Halloween!
“Mrs. Piper’s Special Treat”
by Chad P. Brown
Well, it’s trick-or-treat time again, kiddies, and every little witch, ghost, ghoul, vampire, and zombie is going to be sure and hit Mrs. Piper’s house tonight (twice if they can get by with it). You’ve heard of Mrs. Piper, haven’t you? She’s that sweet old lady who lives over on Poplar Street, the one who passes out the Holy Grail of Halloween treats to the children on their costumed quest for candy: the caramel popcorn ball. Twice the size of your fist and dripping with sweet caramel, Mrs. Piper wraps them in orange cellophane to look like a jack-o’-lantern, complete with eyes and a mouth made out of black felt that she glues on each one.
Every kid’s mouth is watering with anticipation as they stand in line to get one.
Every kid, that is, except Donnie Morgan.
See that werewolf shuffling his feet and looking around nervously? That’s Donnie. The little girl dressed up in the cat costume (of all things, Donnie thinks) beside him is his younger sister, Sydney. She’s wondering why he’s acting so weird about going up to Mrs. Piper’s house.
But Sydney doesn’t know what her brother did. And Donnie was pretty sure that Mrs. Piper didn’t have a clue what he’d done either. But as soon as they got in line, it hit him: Mrs. Piper knows.
As the line creeps forward, that burning knot in his stomach rises up his throat leaving a nasty taste in his mouth, as nasty as the extra dash of rat poison he thinks that Mrs. Piper has added to his caramel popcorn ball.
A special treat that she has concocted just for him in exchange for the pernicious prank he pulled on her.
“Trick or treat, Mrs. Piper,” Sydney squeals as she hops onto the porch and holds her candy-stuffed bag out.
“Sydney Morgan,” Mrs. Piper exclaims. “That’s just about the cutest kitty cat costume I’ve ever seen.” She reaches down into the box beside her and pulls out one of her famous treats. “Almost as adorable as my dear Buttons,” she adds, dropping the cellophane-wrapped caramel popcorn ball into Sydney’s bag.
See how delighted Sydney is? Quite the opposite of her brother, Donnie, as he steps forward to receive his treat, shuffling his feet along like he was walking the last mile to the electric chair.
“T-trick or t-treat, Mrs. P-piper,” he says in a trembling voice as he holds forward his bag with even shakier hands.
“Well, Donnie Morgan.”
Mrs. Piper’s cold voice and icy stare send shivers up Donnie’s spine. Underneath his mask, beads of sweat form on his forehead and his breathing grows more rapid. He knows that somehow she has found out what he did.
“I like your sister’s costume,” Mrs. Piper continues. “I used to have a cat, you know?”
Donnie slowly nods his head, his dry mouth and the lump in his throat preventing him from speaking.
“Yes, my sweet Buttons. She disappeared a few weeks ago. There for a while, I thought that maybe someone had done something to Buttons.” Mrs. Piper pauses, looking deeply into Donnie’s eyes before continuing. “But I could never prove anything.”
She reaches down into the box and rummages around a moment before finally retrieving a caramel popcorn ball. A vindictive smile forms as she holds it up in front of her.
Donnie stares wide-eyed when he sees that the caramel popcorn ball is wrapped in aluminum foil rather than cellophane like all the others.
“Just for you,” Mrs. Piper hisses as she drops the treat into his bag.
Donnie staggers backwards off the porch, bumping into the boy behind him, and then bolts out of Mrs. Piper’s yard leaving Sydney to hurry after him.
* * *
Later that night, after all the trick-or-treaters are back home and digging into their candy, Donnie sits on his bed staring at the special caramel popcorn ball that Mrs. Piper made just for him. He turns it over and over in his hands, trying to build up enough courage to unwrap it and take a peek at it for a brief second before tossing it in the trash.
Old Mrs. Piper must be a fool if she thinks he’s going to eat it.
He smells it, a little sniff at first but then inhaling deeply, to see if he can catch a whiff of the rat poison. But there is no hint of the pungent, garlicky odor that he read was how rat poison smells. In fact, he doesn’t even smell the delicious aromas of popcorn and caramel.
With his interest piqued now, he decides to unwrap it and see exactly what Mrs. Piper has placed inside for him. He slowly peels away the aluminum foil.
When he discovers what’s inside, he lets out a squeal and drops it onto the bed. It’s a large plastic ball with a mouse inside. But upon closer inspection (or rather once his fear of mice subsides and allows him to look at it more closely), he realizes that it’s just a rubber mouse.
He picks up the plastic ball and shakes it, laughing as the rubber mouse bounces around.
“Nice trick, Mrs. Piper. But now it’s time for some treats.”
Donnie tosses the plastic ball with the silly rubber mouse across the room. Reaching down beside the bed, he picks up his bag of candy and dumps it in front of him. He shoves piece after piece of the treats down his throat, his mouth and hands sticky from the tasty morsels.
A knock at the bedroom door interrupts his Halloween feast of treats.
“Come in,” he yells with his mouth full and then immediately returns to stuffing his face.
Sydney walks in, licking caramel off her fingers. She’s come to tell her brother how Mrs. Piper’s caramel popcorn balls are more delicious than last year – if that’s even possible!
When Sydney looks up at her brother, she screams in horror and disgust, dropping her half-eaten caramel popcorn ball onto the floor.
Donnie’s mouth and hands are smeared with blood from the mice he is eating.
Mrs. Piper’s special treat for his trick of killing her cat.
Copyright © 2012 by Chad P. Brown
This short story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this short story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing by Chad P. Brown.