""Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates-the darkest and most evil of thoughts.""
-Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat

Friday, October 7, 2011

Knock If You Dare

                       By T.K. Millin

Within hours the dead silence of the street would soon be alive with wide eyed little monsters running from house to house shouting, “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” 

The darkened figure rocked back and forth on the withered porch chair listening to the rustling of the leaves, waiting and hoping this year would be different. 

The population of Carnival Towne had never grown beyond the size of the fifty or so carnies who worked the traveling big top. The only time outsiders would come to town was once a year, no matter what day of the week, they arrived in droves on October 31.
Over the years, Carnival Towne had earned the reputation of being the best little town to go and trick or treat in because every house was decorated and every house handed out candy; with the exception of one house. But to some outsiders half the fun on Halloween was playing tricks on the last house on the corner.

The halls of Westmore High had been buzzing all day long with the chatter of going to Carnival Towne to trick or treat. Being new to town, Danny couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

A week ago during basketball practice he had reluctantly promised his teammates, Adam and Stan, he would go with them to Carnival Towne, but he made it clear he was not wearing a costume. He had outgrown that silly tradition way back in junior high.

“Hey Danny, change your mind about wearing a costume?” Adam shouted from behind.

Danny stopped and spun around, “No.”

Adam caught up with him and the two of them walked to gym class. "So what’s the big deal about this Carnival Towne and why does everyone in town only go there on Halloween?” Danny asked.

“It’s really a matter of tradition.” Adam shrugged, “and Halloween is the only time of year the strange carnie people look cool.” 

“What do you mean by cool?”

“I don’t know. I guess you could say on Halloween it’s cool to look like a werewolf without a mask or to have lobster claws without wearing gloves.” 

Danny threw his books into a locker and changed into his gym clothes. “All day long I’ve been hearing about the last house on the corner. What’s the big deal?”

“It’s the only house in Carnival Towne that doesn’t decorate or hand out candy so we trick the house.” Adam finished tying his sneakers.

“What does that mean?”

“You know, trick or treat?”

Danny shrugged.

“If a house doesn’t hand out treats then it has a trick played on it. You know, like throwing eggs at it and then covering it with toilet paper. It’s fun, you’ll see. Oh, and Danny, if I were you I’d at least wear a mask.”


“You don’t want whoever lives in that corner house to know what you look like because tonight we are going to play the best trick yet.”

“What are we going to do?”

Adam pushed open the gym doors, “You’ll just have to wait and see.” He ran onto the court without looking back.

The clock struck eight and Danny stepped out to the front porch to wait for his teammates to arrive. Before Stan’s car even turned the corner Danny heard the revving of its engine. The cherry red mustang pulled up to the curb. “Come on Danny we don’t want to be the last ones there!”  Adam yelled from the passenger seat.

“Show him what we have!” Stan said.

Adam flung a black duffel bag on the back seat and Danny unzipped it and looked inside. "Why do we need flashlights and screw drivers? Where are the eggs and toilet paper?” 

Adam looked at Stan and then back at Danny. “I told you tonight we were going to play the best trick yet. My plan is for the three of us to go inside the last house on the corner and scare whoever lives there.” 

Stan pressed on the gas and the three of them sat in silence as the car roared toward Carnival Towne.     

“Danny look, there it is!" Adam pointed to an eerie orange glow in the distance. 

The street gradually became darker as they made their way through town and when they pulled up to the last house on the corner all the roaming little monsters had faded away. 

Adam clapped his hands together. “Yes, we’re the first ones here!”

“Wait, maybe one of us should go up and knock on the door first." Stan looked at Adam. “You know just to see if anyone answers.”

“You’re right.” Adam looked at Danny.

“Why me?”

Adam shrugged. “Come on, knock if you dare." He handed Danny a plastic ghost mask and flashlight. "Oh, and Danny, if someone does answer, don’t forget to say trick or treat." 

Wanting to look brave Danny grabbed just the mask and stepped out of the car and headed toward the darkened porch. He wrapped the elastic strap over his head, took a deep breath and knocked three times on the door. 

Danny stood not knowing what to do when the door creaked open and nobody was standing there. He looked back at the car and Adam and Stan were walking up the path wearing plastic ghost masks and waving flashlights around. 

“Let’s go in.” Adam muffled, handing Danny the flashlight.
The three of them entered one at a time shining their beams of light around, but the only thing they could see was their reflections on the walls. 

The door slammed shut and a darkened figure stepped out from the shadows and said, “Finally, after all these years, someone knocked.”

Danny, Adam and Stan all ran in different directions and old man Carver, the carnival headmaster, stood chuckling with delight.

After all, what fun would a carnival town be without a house of mirrors?

May you have a spooky and fun Halloween!

Word count: 998

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