“I’m freezing,” Maggie whined hugging her arms to her torso as they walked along the sidewalk.
Rita refrained from commenting but Lani had no problem saying, “We told you so.”
Zoe skipped a few steps ahead waiting for them at the next mailbox.
Travis wore black robes and carried a cheap plastic sickle. When he put the hood up, he wanted to into the night, the foreboding figure of the grim reaper watching from the edges of perception. But his parents had forced him to put reflective tape across the back of his cloak as well as on the hanging sleeves for safety reasons. He decided it didn’t matter. He let the hood hang down, any enthusiasm he might have felt on his sister’s behalf would have vanished anyway the moment he came face to face with Rita and her friends—he needed to keep his cool.
“What are you supposed to be?” Zoe asked Maggie, pausing in her skipping for the rest of the group to catch up.
“A witch.” Maggie’s tone was blunt.
“You don’t have a broom,” Zoe pointed out. “And you didn’t make your face green.”
“Not that kind of witch,” Maggie tried to explain.
Zoe shrugged and continued on, stopping at the next driveway. She’d learned early in the evening not to run across the grass in her haste after seeing a boy in a pirate costume slip in a mess of dog poop on his way to get candy. His mother had carried him away crying and told him they were done for the night.
“Well, go ahead,” Travis urged. “Get your candy.”
“I want you to come too,” she insisted, tugging at her brother’s hand.
“Come on, you can do it by yourself. Just follow the path there and push the door bell.”
“But it’s dark and I don’t want to go by myself.”
“I’ll go with you,” Rita volunteered, reaching for Zoe’s hand and leading her down the driveway towards a converted barn. A rock-lined walkway ran from the driveway to the front door where lights on either side of the door had been shrouded with red tissue paper, casting everything in an eerie glow. Cobwebs were strung along the shrubs and somewhere they must have had either a fog machine or dry ice in a bucket leaving a cloudy haze hovering over the grass.
Rita tugged on Zoe’s hand, urging her forward. “We can skip this house if you want,” she suggested as Zoe froze in place.
The girl didn’t respond, her eyes locked on something just past Rita’s shoulder.
There was a high-pitched cackle as Rita turned and found herself face to face with a glowing skeleton dummy that had been attached by a zip-line from the barn to a telephone pole, a young boy laughed from the window of the loft where he was already pulling the line to retrieve the dummy.
They both screamed and ran to rejoin the others who’d been startled by the noise.