The following is a 15 minute writing exercise I wrote at a Meet-up writing group in Portland a couple of years ago. We met every Saturday morning at an area coffee shop. The woman who organized the meet-up would offer a prompt – a word or group of words – to begin every new exercise, generally 15 or 20 minutes. The prompt offered here:
“It was twisted and sharp”.
Halloween came early this year. It still fell, of course, on October 31. But it felt early. It had never been cold yet, all through the fall, and here in the northeast corner of Massachusetts we usually had a couple of frosts by Halloween. And it got here quicker, like school just started a couple of weeks ago and now it’s Halloween.
That’s what Desiree Jones – Dez to her friends – was thinking under her vampire mask, her black cape tailing out behind her. She had already gone up one side of Sycamore Ave and down the other, and her bag had taken on a pleasing weight as it hung over her left shoulder.
“Does it feel like Halloween came early this year?” she asked Randy, her trick or treat partner and probably her best friend in the world. Randy actually called her “your Dez-ness”.
“How do you mean?” he asked back.
“Well, time seems to be racing on, like we just had a Labor Day barbeque and now we are trick or treating, a vampire and a werewolf walking down the street. And it is still kind of light out, and that’s weird, having this much candy and it is still light.”
Randy, though, had stopped listening around “Labor Day” because he had spied a fairy princess turning down Elm Street, and he was sure it was Bonnie Howlett, only the best looking and hottest sixth grader at Knock Middle.
“Hey, I’m running over there,” said Randy. “I’ll catch up to you in a little.”
“Boys,” thought Desiree, as she turned off Sycamore onto Larkin Lane, where the houses and street lights were spaced farther apart. She went to the first house on the left, there were no lights on, and no one answered her knock. The same thing happened at the second house, and again at the third. But as she turned to go down the stairs the door opened and a woman about 25, cat whiskers painted on her face, said, “Oh, you cute little vampire, please come in and I’ll get you five bars of candy. We have had so few trick or treaters tonight.”
Dez, against her better judgment and a thousand mother warnings, followed the woman back into the house, and as she did the woman turned left into a room off the hall and was gone. At the same time the door swung shut behind Desiree. She felt a rush of fear, turned and ran back to the door. But when she grabbed the handle it was twisted and sharp, and would not turn. She felt the skin on her palm tear as she struggled to open the door.
“Why won’t it turn,” she thought. “What’s wrong? Where’s Randy? Who will help me?”
And that is when she heard, ever so softly, the sound behind her, approaching.
All Hallow’s Eve – early this year.