Brodrick kissed his wife lightly on the cheek. She looked lovingly into his eyes.
"Tonight," Precious said, her voice a throaty whisper, "Tonight is the night. All Hallow's Eve."
Brodrick's smile broke and a puzzled expression replaced it. "I thought it was Halloween?"
Precious' hand shot up the backside of Brodrick's head like a two-by-four. "All Hallow's Eve IS Halloween, you idiot!" she barked.
Brodrick grinned sheepishly, "Oh."
The oversized sleeves of Precious' pink clown outfit fell back as she spread her arms around the glowing Jack-O-Lantern. Yellow light pulsed out of the neatly carved face and cast shadows in the darkened kitchen. She grinned wickedly, "Within this Jack-O-Lantern lies power beyond our wildest dreams!" she paused for a moment and shot a sideways glance at her green-clad husband. Then she said dryly, "Or your's at least."
The cheapshot did not go unnoticed by Brodrick, who rolled his eyes and
said, "Oh my precious..." he faltered as he realized what he was going to say and
recovered with a weak smile, "...Precious-"
Precious cut him off, "Oh, shut up!"
The doorbell rang. Precious quickly grabbed a towel and threw it over the glowing pumpkin. She raced to the front of the house and opened door to find a devil-child, a pirate, and a four foot tall "Barrack Obama," standing on her front porch.
"Trick or Treat!" They shouted in unison as they lifted their bags expectantly.
Precious smiled sweetly and retrieved three bags of candy from her colossal sleeves.
"Here you go, my pretties!" she crooned as she dropped the candy into their
bags, "Don't eat it all at once."
The children dashed off without so much as a thank you. Precious stared out at the departing brats a moment longer, her sweet smile transforming into a disgusted sneer. Then she slammed the door closed.
The witchy woman stomped back to the kitchen. "Is everything ready?" she snarled.
Brodrick's head bobbed up and down. "Yes, it is," he replied enthusiastically, hefting a large duffel bag from the other room.
"Good. The sooner we get this over with, the better." Precious snatched the towel away from the glowing pumpkin, its eerie glow growing stronger. She whipped off her dunce-like cap and leaned in towards the glowing Jack-O-Lantern.
Her face was bathed in yellow light and, for a moment, Brodrick thought he saw a beautiful young maiden, instead of the old hag he called his wife. But the moment quickly passed.
Precious looked up. "Give me,” she paused dramatically and then demanded, “The Book!"
Brodrick faltered for a moment, jerking back at her harsh tone. He reached into the duffel bag and retrieved a few stapled photocopies. Precious abruptly seized the papers from his hand.
"What is this?!" she roared, her eyes going bloodshot and her face turning red. She held up the photocopies with a shaking hand.
Brodrick nervously shifted from one foot to the other. "Uh, well you see, the only magic book they had at the library was a reference copy. They wouldn't let me check it out. So I had to photocopy the spell," he stammered out, then he added quickly, "They assured me the spell would still work."
Precious glared at him for a moment and thumbed through the photocopies. Everything looked right. She decided she would risk it and continue. She placed the papers on the table and studied the first page for a moment. Then she spoke, "Give me the dead rat."
Brodrick reached into the duffel bag and brought out a rodent, which he placed in his wife's open palm. Precious looked at it. Then she looked up at Brodrick. "I'm sorry, dear," she said sweetly, her voice as pleasant as a harp, "I had forgotten you're losing your hearing," her voice got a little sharper, "I asked for a dead rat, not a rotting squirrel!"
"Uh, well, I figured a, uh, squirrel would work, because, uh, I, uh couldn't find any rats," Brodrick stuttered. He was sweating nervously.
"The spell specifically calls for a RAT!" Precious shouted in vexation.
"Well, they're both rodents," Brodrick offered weakly.
Precious fumed for a moment and then moved to a cabinet and pulled out a knife. She quickly stripped off the squirrel's bushy tail. Now it resembled a rat. Then she tossed it unceremoniously into the glowing Jack-O-Lantern. Looking down at the papers she read out loud, "Iksnay, ipsnay, attersnay!"
There was a tiny explosion of yellow light from the pumpkin, it shot up in a perfectly spherical ball and dissipated quickly.
"Quickly," she hissed, "Give me the ground buck's tooth!" Brodrick handed her a jar filled with a white powder. She opened it and sprinkled the contents over the glow of the pumpkin. Another explosion of yellow energy shot up, this time stronger, lasting almost three seconds before it dissipated.
"Now the child's finger!" Brodrick handed her a ziplock bag with a finger in it. She dropped the finger into the pumpkin.
Another yellow ball shot out of the pumpkin, this one almost reached the ceiling.
Precious rubbed her hands together and smiled maliciously. "Opsnik, ipsnik, lipstick!"
This time an orange ball of light shot out of the pumpkin and hit the ceiling. The house trembled.
Precious raised her hands to the ceiling. "Gods above us! Gods below us! Hear my plea to give us what we decree!" She turned to Brodrick, "And now, the final ingredient!" She glanced down at the spell and then looked up again and said, "Give me the Plutonium!" Precious paused for a moment and did a double take, "Plutonium?" Suddenly like a kettle reaching its climax, she screamed out, "THIS IS THE WRONG SPELL!!"
Every bit of glass in the house shattered at her voice. She towered over the cringing Brodrick, who was now curled in a fetal position against the wall. Behind her, the energy in the pumpkin was cycling through a multitude of colors as it approached its zenith; orange, yellow, black, white and the cycle started over again.
"I'm sorry," Brodrick moaned between sobs, "I'm sorry!"
Precious glared at him through blazing red eyes, oblivious to the mounting energy behind her. "You copied the wrong spell and all you can say is 'I'm sorry'?!?!" she shrieked.
The kitchen was now bathed in the multiple colors. Incomplete, the energies the spell had conjured were now running amuck. Precious, pulled from her blind rage, finally took noticed of the event behind her. She stared dumbly at it. Brodrick got up from the floor, captivated by the cascade of colors.
Suddenly a beam of energy shot up from the pumpkin and breached the ceiling, it continued up into the far reaches of the atmosphere. The Trick-Or-Treaters paused in their festivities to gaze in wonder at the magnificent sight. For a moment, everything and everyone just stopped and stared at the pillar of energy extending from the house of the people known only as the Millers.
Then the beam suddenly dropped back into the house with a silent explosion.
The house was enveloped in a burst of yellow light and then everything was as it had been. People gathered around the house, but no one moved to enter it.
Eventually, old man Foster went inside.
Everything looked normal as Foster made his way through the house. No one answered his calls. In the kitchen, he found a neatly carved pumpkin sitting on the table, an empty duffel bag and a few charred pieces of paper. Next to the bottom cabinet were two little figurines, so small Foster almost missed them. He bent down and picked them up to examine them more closely. One looked like a woman in a clown's outfit, she appeared to be upset about something. The other was a man, dressed in a similar clown's outfit, gawking. For something made out of stone, they had an extraordinary amount of detail to them. Quickly making sure no one was in the house, Foster dropped the figurines into his pocket and went outside, eager to make the most of this Halloween.
This story was brought to you by:
Ahh, nothing like a romantic picnic in a cemetery, after dark, on a Friday the 13th. What could possibly go wrong? Will true love blossom for Mike and Danielle? Or will they join the throngs of the undead? Nothing like first date jitters. BONUS CONTENT Original Short Story: The Forgotten. A mysterious stranger with no memory finds himself to protect a helpless family.