We returned to the house on Halloween night and picked through buckets of treats spilled out on the floor. The kids waited patiently as I removed the unsafe candy. Then more.
“This is candy tax for taking you guys trick or treating”, I announced. They groaned, and I ate.
Don’t remember taking more from their spoils through the night but I had, until I was doubled over in pain on the bathroom floor. I caught my breath, unlocked the door and stumbled down the hallway, my hand stretched out, leading me to more unsafe candy.
Something was happening to me.
Think I’ve figured something out.
I’ve walked the haunted tour for years now, hundreds and thousands of times. Tour groups climb these stairs to the armoire, where the guide recounts the story of the ghost inside. The doors are opened, but the armoire is empty, always empty, despite shrieks of fright from the tourists. They just want a good scare. Can’t they see there’s no ghost in there?
And then, they’re gone. I only notice when, at the foot of the staircase, the door creaks wide. Another tour has arrived. And a thought crosses my mind.
Am I the ghost?
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It was a treacherous night of knocking on doors and dodging monsters, all to get my fill of Halloween candy. Monsters had been dodged, and my bucket was heavy. My parents inspected the winnings. After that, the booty was mine. I was polite. I was patient.
“You can have one,” they said. That’s when the horror began.
When I reached inside, I felt dried apricots, apple slices, cinnamon sticks and sunflower seeds, packets of apple cider dust, raisin balls, and an orange.
The switch witch must’ve gotten to it,” they supposed.
The switch witch. The most horrible monster of all.