“Trick or treat!”
Mr Swinton eyes up the pair of children – dressed up in old white sheets and skeleton face masks – and crosses his arms. “I choose trick.”
The kids glance at one another, rolling their eyes behind their masks.
“You kids all expect something for nothing, don’t you? Well, impress me with a trick and maybe you can earn some sweeties.”
One of the kids steps forward, reaches out a small arm from beneath his sheet, and punches Mr Swinton in the gut.
Swinton doubles over and grunts. Then he coughs. Then he chokes. He hacks and hacks, eyes bulging, face turning pink.
The kids stand and watch.
Swinton brings a hand to his mouth and spits up a miniature pumpkin. He takes in a wheezing breath, then coughs some more. An eyeball emerges from his mouth next, shining with slime and covered in a series of fine red veins. The coughing continues. With a hack and a retch, Swinton brings up a small, fuzzy-bodied spider, its legs long enough to cover his entire palm.
The kids watch Swinton as he stares in horror at the objects in his shaking hand. One of them – the one who didn’t do the punching – steps forwards and gathers the items up. The other holds open his sweetie bag pointedly.
Swinton leans back into his house and retrieves his bowl of treats. He dumps the whole lot into the kid’s bag, retreats through his front door and slams it closed.
The kids listen for the click of the lock and the slide of the bolt, then scamper off into the night, their giggles ringing through the street.Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com