This one was written for one of Amazon’s Write-On challenges.


Natalie Scrooge slammed close the shutters and blew out the porch lantern. Her uncle Ebeneezer had retired for the night, and she wasn’t going to entertain rapscallions all evening. “Halloween, what rubbish.” Her uncle had told the entire family about the ghosts who supposedly changed his life. She loved the old man, but balderdash, all of it.

She closed the front door and tightened her flannel robe. Ebeneezer was still cheap, in her opinion, despite his new found generosity. Bags of candy sat on the small table by the door. “He should have spent that money on coal,” she muttered. “House is like a tomb.”

The tiny table lamp’s pendants tinkled at the rapping on the door. Natalie snorted and moved off toward the sitting room where she had a warm fire and a good book.

The rapping persisted. Unable to settle to her story with all the noise, she returned to the door.

“Go away,” she shouted through the wooden panels.

“Trick or Treat!” came the cheerful replies.

Natalie cracked the door. Three tiny children, less than waist high and draped in white sheets, stood with their bags held high.

“We don’t have any candy. Go away!” She started to close the door.

“Mr. Scrooge always has candy,” one of them said.

“It’s a bargain he made with our brothers,” said the second.

“If you don’t give us our treat, our brothers will come next with a trick,” said the third.

“Balderdash and malarky! Get off my porch.” Natalie slammed the door.

Natalie was deep into her book by 10pm. No children had called after the ghosts, and she’d enjoyed the evening. Only embers glowed on the grate when, again, there came a sharp rapping at the door. “Why aren’t the little monsters in bed?”

She flung open the door to find three full-sized ghosts, white sheets drifting, with baleful red eyes peering at her. “Trick or treat,” they said.

“You three are too old to be out soliciting candy. Begone,” she said.

“We came for our bargain,” one ghost said.

“You treat or we trick,” the second one said.

“Candy and gum or our fathers will come,” said the third.

“And they’ll face my gun!” Natalie slammed the door. “Face my gun.” She laughed all the way up to her bedroom.

The chiming of the old clock woke her at midnight. That clock hadn’t worked since she was a child. She sat up in bed, a shiver wiggling its way down her spine.

“Trick or Treat!”

Three creatures of horrible countenance, perhaps ghosts since they were translucent, hovered at the foot of her bed. Natalie cowered under her quilts, too terrified to move or scream.

“The bargain was broken,” said the shortest.

“No treat was delivered,” said the one in the middle, his head speaking from beneath his arm.

“’Tis the trick, then,” boomed the tallest.

Natalie was found on the morn, hanging like an ornament from the tree in the yard, Halloween candy protruding from every orifice.