All Tricks and No Treats

The full moon poured light into the room through the old curtains. A cold draft swept in. There was no fire to ward the goose bumps on the man’s arms.

He pulled his blanket closer and wondered what time it was. The darkness seemed to have gone on forever — it seemed like it would never leave.

The dark was the only place he could hide. No one would ever find him there. As long as he stayed quiet and small under the quilted blankets, no harm would come to pass him — or at least, this is what he hoped.

The man jumped as he heard a noise from the corner, a pattering of feet running across the room. A mouse, it was only a mouse. He sighed. You’d think he would be used to this life by now.

He was always running, running from the people that wanted to take everything from him.

He scoffed. What did he have left? He used to have everything. He had a house, a family, a dog. But that was taken from him one day, the day they came.

The man jumped again and then groaned in aggravation as he realized it was just his shelter creaking, trying to stay up against the cold hard wind that refused to let up. There was another noise, but no. He refused to be afraid for no reason.

He was safe… for now.

He was safe to wallow in pity as he thought of the family that left him when he most needed them. He didn’t blame them though. He would have taken the kids and run, too.

Or would he have? Would he have taken the kids and found safety away from the damned or would he have stayed and attempted to protect what was precious to him from the inside?

In the long run, either way was losing. Either was he would have lost everything, because they were going to catch up with him. Really, it was only a matter of time.

The sound came again. It was a creak… from the porch? No. No. It must have been the wind again, but he had to check. He slowly left his cocoon and crept out of the room and into the dark hallway. There were no windows there. It was cold. Lifeless. Just like him.

The walls groaned around him as he slowly made his way to the front door.

BANG. He jumped and stifled a scream as a bang came from the front of the house.

BANG. BANG. BANG.

He flinched as they continued. Was it possible? Had they found him? He knew the day would come, but he had thought he was at least safe for now. Did they really expect him to come to the door? Did they think he was going to greet them as old friends? Perhaps, they thought maybe he would invite them in for tea before they took him away.

No. That couldn’t possibly be true. Maybe it was just the land lord looking for rent. Perhaps someone was lost and needed directions. It was even possibly that the maintenance man was here to fix the power, so warmth would be brought back into his life.

Of course… warmth had truly been lost to him for a while now, but he would give the handy man his best regards in his quest. He laughed quietly at the morbid manner of his thoughts before rounding the corner to face the door.

He examined it closely. Nothing seemed out of order. No one was trying to force their way in. If it was truly them, they would be using brute force, right? That’s the way they had broken into his house the first time. On the night when everything was ruined, they smashed through the windows right there. Discreet was not there style.

And even if it was them, let them come! He would stand up straight and face them proudly in his march toward death. If that was the only victory he could have over their wretchedness, then that was the road he would go down.

After all, nothing could be worse than the life he was living now, right?

The man’s hand closed around the cold, hard door knob and twisted slowly.

“Trick or Treat,” said a gruff voice before a cloth was shoved over his head and he knew no more.