Boo dude! 👻 I present to you my new short story, a Creeptales Mini if you will, titled "Trick or Scream"! This story is dedicated to all you spooky boos and ghouls out there this chilly fall day. Have a safe and scary Halloween! 🎃
“I’ll be right down!”
Eddie Cromwell, age 12, made his way down the creaky stairs of his parents’ dark house one Halloween evening.
He was wearing his new costume- a scary clown jester with red eyes, stringy orange hair and a wide grin filled with rows of jagged, yellow teeth. He thought it looked really scary, and couldn’t wait to terrorize people with it.
I hope you’re ready for this Alice, Eddie snickered to himself.
As a kid, Eddie was pretty well-known by all to be scaredy-cat. This started at the age of 7 when Eddie went behind his parents’ back and rented Escaped Lunatic Man from the local library.
Eddie watched the videotape alone in the basement one night. In the movie, the escaped lunatic man carried an axe and chased a little boy around the house. The scene ended with the man yelling and angrily chopping down a basement door with the axe, trying to reach the small boy and chop him to pieces. After witnessing this scene, Eddie had nonstop nightmares for years. He couldn’t even step foot into a basement until just recently!
Things were different now. Eddie let out the evil clown laugh he developed and clutched a black handle in his hand, tucking it into the waistband of his costume.
He slowly made his way down the stairs and into the foyer.
The porch light illuminated the front glass door enough to see his friend Alice West standing outside, wearing a pirate costume.
“Eddie? What’s taking you so long?”
She sure sounds impatient, Eddie thought, rolling his eyes.
He tiptoed over to the front door. Thankfully, Alice did not notice him.
Eddie sat pressed up against the wall next to the front door. If he heard the doorbell ring once more, he would make his move.
All was quiet for a moment, and then--
Ding dong! rang the bell again.
“Trick or treat!” came a young voice at the door.
Eddie yanked open the front door and yelled in a gruff voice: “TRICK!”
Eddie popped out of the front door holding a fake plastic knife, stabbing it up and down in the air and screeching wildly.
A group of kids standing next to Alice screamed loudly and took off running down the porch steps. Alice also yelped and leapt backwards, clutching her chest.
“Eddie! You scared those kids half to death!”
The pleased boy chuckled hysterically and slapped the side of his leg with the plastic knife repeatedly.
“You should have seen your reactions. That one boy looked like he needed a fresh pair of pants!”
Eddie let out his clown cackle and thrust the fake knife in the air at Alice.
“So are you ready to start trick or treating or what?” Alice said, rolling her eyes and walking down the porch steps of Eddie’s family home. “The Mason twins already left without us! Come on, I’ve been waiting on you."
Eddie tucked the knife in his waistband and slowly made his way down the stairs.
“I can’t help it that I love scaring people,” Eddie said gleefully. “They need to learn not to scare so easily."
Alice sighed and took her fake pirate sword from her belt loop and started playing with it.
The two kids walked along a grey concrete path decorated with a mixture of brightly colored red, orange, and yellow leaves. The wind whistled through the path, swirling the leaves around in a spiral of color.
Next to the path was a dry, brown log sitting on the grass. Alice climbed up on the end of the log and walked to the other end, using the sword to help keep her balance.
"You know Eddie,” Alice started. Her legs buckled, then she regained her composure. “I remember not so long ago you were the one always getting scared.”
“So? I don’t get scared anymore—I do the scaring. And it’s fun!” Eddie sneered, then ran up to Alice, growling and waving the fake knife, which caused Alice to yelp and jump off the log.
“You jerk!” Alice said. “Come on, we have a lot of houses to hit so we can meet up with the girls.”
Eddie made a disgusted face under the clown mask.
"Those girls are lame! I'm way more fun than the Mason twins!"
“Somehow I doubt that,” Alice said, rolling her eyes.
Alice and Eddie finally made their way onto Hill Street, a street known in their community for going all out on the Halloween decorating. The people on Hill Street were also known for giving out the good candy, like king size candy bars!
As much as Alice was excited for all the candy and fun they would soon have, Eddie was equally excited for only one thing: Halloween tricks.
“Let’s go to the Petersons! I heard they went all out this year!” Alice said. She ran excitedly down the sidewalk and up the driveway leading to the first house on Hill Street.
Eddie followed just behind Alice, a mischievous look in his eyes.
Alice rang the doorbell next to the Petersons’ front door.
“Trick or treat!” Alice called, then glanced at her reflection in one of the windows. She noticed Eddie wasn’t behind her anymore.
“Happy Halloween!” came the voices of Sid and Sally, the Petersons’ two youngest kids.
They were each wearing a cute little monster costume and holding a bowl full of packages of Haribo gummies.
Alice’s face lit up as she went to grab a package of gummy bears. But before she could, Eddie popped out from the side of the house and jumped on the porch, yelling “TRICK!” and swiping his fake knife at Sid and Sally. The kids dropped their bowls with a terrified scream, then took off running into the house.
Eddie dropped to his knees on the Petersons’ lawn, laughing hysterically and slapping his gloved hand on the grass.
“Wow, I knew they were going to be scared- but I didn’t think they were going to scare that easy! What a couple of wimps!!” Eddie said as he roared with laughter.
Alice let out a disgusted sigh.
“That wasn’t nice at all! The Petersons are some of the nicest people in our neighborhood. You scared their kids half to death!”
Eddie let out a pfft sound, then got to his feet.
“They might be nice, but I think they’re all boring! This whole town is boring, no one knows how to have any fun around here.”
“Actually, we do know how to have fun. It’s just that your idea of fun is being a psychopath!”
Alice bent down and picked up the spilled bowls and put the gummy bags back in them. She then apologized to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, who kindly accepted and offered Alice a bag of sour peach gummies. Alice thanked them and wished them a happy Halloween, then made her way down the porch over to where Eddie was standing.
Eddie had an open bag of gummies in his hand and was popping them in his mouth one by one.
“I have to say, these things are pretty good!” Eddie said, laughing and chewing.
Alice looked down and noticed Eddie had multiple bags of the gummies in his hands.
“Eddie! Did you take those from the Petersons?”
Eddie popped a few more gummies into his mouth, then smiled and chewed obnoxiously. He waved the empty bag at Alice and let it fall to the ground.
“Those kids should have done a better job at keeping tabs on their candy,” Eddie chuckled, then put the other gummy bags in his candy bag.
Alice sighed and glanced around her, searching for her other friends. At the start of the night, she felt optimistic that Eddie might have finally outgrown terrorizing people so they could just have a fun, normal Halloween for a change. But no, Eddie hadn’t matured one bit. At this point, she just wanted to find the Mason twins so she could ditch her obnoxious childhood friend.
The full moon glowed over Hill Street, highlighting the display of marvelous lights, decorations, and spooky props that adorned all the houses. It was a magical sight to be there on Halloween night. All the kids in their favorite costumes were going from door to door, laughing and enjoying the special night together.
Alice and Eddie made their way across the street leading up to the next house, the Macgrady residence. The Macgradys were well known for their hand-made Halloween displays, which they made new from scratch every year.
This year the MacGradys went all out and built a walkable footbridge on their front lawn. The bridge was made of wooden planks, many of which were rigged to cause a creepy Halloween decoration to pop out and scare you if you stepped on the wrong plank.
Alice yelled and giggled with surprise and delight as she made her way across the bridge. A prop old woman with no eyes and missing teeth popped out and cackled in Alice’s face, which caused her to scream and nearly fall over the rope attached to both sides of the bridge.
Eddie made his way across the bridge next, none of the props or spooky surprises getting any reaction from him.
"I’m the one that’s doing the scaring tonight!" Eddie said, making his way quickly across the bridge.
“That’s what you think,” came a whispery, croaky voice. It sounded like it came from someone who hadn’t touched a glass of water in years.
“If you’re not careful, you’ll know true fear before the nights’ end!”
Eddie’s ears perked, which caused him to stop and look behind him. He noticed the prop old woman next to the bridge appeared to be looking right at him. He also noticed she wasn't a prop.
“Excuse me?” Eddie said to the person in the costume. “I think you need to mind your own business, you old bag!"
Alice was already off the bridge and on her way up the Macgrady’s porch.
The eyeless woman, wearing a dried up green face and black hood covering her head, stared into Eddie's eyes, which made him slightly nervous.
“No more tricks, I’m warning you,” the old woman croaked.
“Eddie, what are you doing?” came Alice’s voice from the front porch.
“Whatever you say, creepy old bag!” Eddie said and forced a chuckle. “I’ll do whatever I want. This is my night!”
Eddie finished making his way across the bridge and approached the porch steps of the Macgrady’s house. Mr. and Mrs. MacGrady stood on the porch with their kids. The whole family was dressed up as characters from Alice in Wonderland. Their two sons, Evan and Jacob, were dressed up as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Smiling big, Evan and Jacob held up bowls filled with king size Reese’s and Kit Kat Bars, and big bags of M&Ms. Alice and a few other kids eagerly grabbed a treat from each bowl.
Eddie could feel the sides of his mouth rise up into a mischievous grin.
This is just too perfect. They’re Tweedledee and TweedleDUM, alright!
Reaching into his Halloween bag, Eddie wrapped his fingers over the round object inside.
As Eddie made his way up the porch steps, he heard the woman’s creaky voice again behind him: “No more tricks my boy!”
Eddie paused for a moment, thinking if he should go through with this next trick or not. He let out a snicker and kept going.
“Whatever you old coot,” Eddie said, snatching the round object from his bag. “This is my night.”
Hiding behind the big oak tree in the Macgrady’s front yard, Eddie watched as Alice made her way down the porch, smiling and enjoying herself without her troublesome friend’s presence.
A mom with her daughter dressed as a mermaid said goodbye to Mr. Macgrady, who stood waving in his white rabbit costume.
“Happy Halloween everyone!” the little girl called out.
Evan and Jacob stood on the porch, grinning and waving goodbye to the girl and her mom.
They look so stupid in their matching costumes! Time to wipe those goofy grins right off their faces.
Eddie reached into his bag again and pressed a button, then popped out from behind the tree and bellowed: “TRICK!”
Eddie let out his wild laugh and ran up to the porch, his scary clown face causing Evan and Jacob to scream and jump back in horror.
“Instead of candy, how’s about we have a little… grenade explosion!”
Eddie pulled out the round, green object he was holding and thrust it at the two terrified kids, then swung his arm back and lobbed it overhead.
The grenade landed right between Evan and Jacob.
“Evan, run!!!” Jacob screamed at the top of his lungs.
A massive explosion sound pierced the air and shook the porch, which caused everyone nearby to stop and gasp.
The round object Eddie tossed was a smoke bomb, which popped open and caused billowing clouds of smoke to pour high into the air.
Eddie doubled over on the Macgrady’s front lawn, laughing and cackling so hard that he dropped his Halloween bag.
“Incredible! You should have seen all your reactions. Gold, pure gold!!"
A black Bluetooth speaker rolled out of Eddie's bag, which started playing other loud, realistic explosion sound effects. The powerful bass on the speaker thumped and caused the ground to vibrate.
Mr. and Mrs. Macgrady were too busy trying to get rid of the smoke and consoling their wailing children to reprimand Eddie, who continued to belly laugh as he took off down the street.
“What the heck is your problem Eddie?!” Alice yelled at him with disgust. “That wasn't a trick! That was a horrible, mean, awful joke to play on someone. Let alone a couple of kids!”
Tears started to form Alice's face. She stood and faced Eddie directly.
“You know, I’ve waited all these years in hopes that you would finally grow up and start acting more mature. But I can tell that's never going to happen!"
Eddie stopped laughing and faced Alice, his wild clown face grinning at her.
“Oh yeah? Well, you’re just another boring old crybaby! I don't want to be friends with a loser like that anyways."
Picking up his bag, Eddie pushed past Alice and ran across the street. As he ran, some of the parents on Hill Street yelled and pointed in Eddie’s direction. Eddie laughed giddily and swung his Halloween bag over his shoulder.
"I can have way more fun without all you losers!" Eddie yelled back, then took off running into the night, leaving the warm, inviting lights of Hill Street behind him.
* * *
“Bunch of whiny babies,” Eddie said to himself, kicking a rock and making his way down a dimly lit side street.
Gripping his Halloween bag, Eddie thumped it against a wooden fence at the edge of some abandoned property. The property had been vacant for years, and the only thing left besides the fence was some garbage and overgrown shrubbery.
Eddie continued making his way down the dark, empty street. This was the part of town that the kids tended to avoid, and for good reason. A lot of the houses in this area were old and rundown, and most of them vacant. There was only a handful of dimly lit streetlights, which at night made it feel like you were standing in the middle of a ghost town.
Eddie finally realized he had wandered off a bit too far on his own. All around him was more of the same, long stretches of road littered with abandoned property and rundown houses. It seemed to stretch for miles and miles in every direction. None of it looked even remotely familiar.
“Did I take a wrong turn?” Eddie said, scratching his head.
His head suddenly felt hot and sweaty; the air inside his clown mask felt warm and damp.
Gripping the edges of the mask, Eddie peeled the mask off his face, letting out a sigh of relief and taking in the cool fall air.
The moon above was no longer full, but thankfully still provided some light.
Eddie looked over in the distance and pointed a finger.
“So, if Hill Street is back this way, then I should only be a few blocks over from Alice’s house.”
Nodding, Eddie picked up his candy bag and slung it over his shoulder.
“I’ll just go apologize for hurting her precious feelings, then she’ll probably let me stay over. Then, I’ll make her parents order my favorite food, Cal’s Pizza.”
Eddie patted his growling stomach. He was craving real food now, and not just the jumbo sugary kind.
Crossing over to the next street, Eddie continued on in the direction of where he thought Alice’s house would be. Wherever he ended up, it was yet another street with mostly vacant property and homes without lights on.
A sudden flash of light caused Eddie to look up in the distance.
A house at the end of the street now had its lights on. It was decorated with bright and colorful white, yellow, and green lights.
“Finally, a normal person. I should stop and ask for directions.”
Eddie walked down the long street and up to the brightly colored house. He was amazed at the level of detail the decorations had.
All the decorations in yard were life-sized, life-like figures dressed in various Halloween costumes. Only instead of the usual scary faces, each of the figures in the yard appeared to be scared themselves.
“That's weird,” Eddie muttered to himself.
Feeling tense, Eddie made his way past a lifelike dummy of a teenage girl dressed in a purple monster costume. Her hands were up to her mouth, which was stuck open in a wide scream. Her eyes were bugged out, as if seeing something truly horrifying. He knew it was fake, but something about it gave Eddie the creeps.
Eddie made his way past all the strange yard decorations and walked up to the front door of the otherwise nicely decorated home. He noticed a doorbell beside the door and gave it a good press.
“Trick or treat!” Eddie called out, only he was done playing tricks. At least for the time being. Now was the time to figure out how to get back home before his parents got upset and ready to do some grounding.
Eddie stood there for a moment, not hearing any movement inside the house.
"What's the hold up?" he said, annoyed. He raised his hand to ring the doorbell again.
Just then, the shuffling sound of a person walking was heard from inside the house, followed by a friendly woman’s voice saying: “I’ll be right there!”
“About time,” sneered Eddie.
The boy turned around and looked behind him. The figures in the yard seemed to be facing him now, the same scared expressions on their faces.
“It’s just an optical illusion,” Eddie said, then turned to face the front door in time to see it swing open.
“Hello! Oh my goodness, Happy Halloween you cute little clown!” exclaimed the woman inside the house, who was holding a bowl of mixed candy. She was a woman that looked to be about Eddie’s mom’s age, and had nicely kept blonde hair, a fun festive Halloween sweater, and a warm smile on her face.
Eddie rolled his eyes, ready to get this over with.
“First off I’m not a cute clown, I’m a scary clown, okay? And second, I don’t want any candy, I just need directions to get back home.”
The woman put a hand up to her mouth and set the bowl of candy down.
“Oh dear! Are you lost my boy? Please, come inside, I’ll be more than happy to let you use the telephone to ring home.”
Pleased, Eddie nodded and stepped forward, but then stopped for a moment. The decorations in the yard gave him the creeps, and something in his gut was telling him to be on guard.
Eddie stood there, about to ask what’s the deal with the decorations, when his stomach let out a loud growl.
“Oh! My boy, you must be starving. How long have you been out here wandering about?”
“I uh, I don’t know. I kind of last track of time…” Eddie said thoughtfully, looking back at the yard decorations.
Calm down dude. Your eyes are just playing tricks on you. They're just decorations.
“You actually came at a good time. I just had some pizza delivered from Cal’s Pizza! Have you ever had them before? You're more than welcome to have some while we give your parents a call!”
Eddie’s mouth dropped open.
“No way! That’s my favorite pizza place!” Eddie exclaimed.
The woman at the door chuckled heartily and opened the front door all the way.
“My, what are the odds of that? Come on inside, my dear boy!”
Relieved and ready for some nourishment, Eddie dropped his candy bag on the ground and stepped inside the woman’s house.
As he crossed through the doorframe, he felt a wave of energy soar through his body. Then, the feeling passed.
Eddie stopped in his tracks.
Man, I must be hungrier than I thought!
Eddie shook his head and noticed the woman standing over by a long table next to the living room. On the table was an old school rotary telephone, and a long row of open pizza boxes from Cal’s. The delicious smells of cheese and pepperoni came wafting through the air.
“No way, deep dish?! That's my favorite!” Eddie exclaimed, running over to the table.
As he made his way through the living room, Eddie tripped over a stool. Before he realized what was happening, Eddie's body went flying into the air.
Suddenly, Eddie was on the ground, surrounded in complete darkness.
Eddie's eyes were wide open, but he couldn't see his own hand in front of him.
"What the heck?"
Eddie’s voice echoed into the darkness. It seemed to echo in all directions. Eddie was suddenly feeling so frightened. So cold. So alone.
Eddie sat up on the ground, huddling to try to warm himself up. He had no idea where he was or how he got there.
"Where am I? I want to go home!"
Eddie's voice again echoed into the darkness surrounding him. It gave him the creeps.
"Can anyone hear me?"
His voice echoed all around him as the boy sat still, waiting for a response. He was met with complete silence. Until--
“I can hear you just fine, my boy,” came a familiar-sounding voice behind Eddie.
Eddie, startled, spun around and saw the woman in the Halloween sweater standing in the darkness behind him. Only this time, she didn’t look so friendly.
“W-where am I? What did you do to me? Is this a dream?”
The woman clapped her hands together and let out an amused chuckle.
“My boy, that makes three things you’re wrong about tonight,” the woman said, smiling and taking a step toward Eddie. Eddie took a nervous step backwards.
“W-what do you mean? What three things?”
The woman continued slowly taking steps toward the boy, who continued to inch back.
“Well, first thing’s first, this isn’t a dream.”
Eddie tried to swallow, but his throat suddenly felt dry as sandpaper.
“Two. The decorations you saw? Those aren't decorations.”
The woman snapped her fingers together, and suddenly Eddie found himself to be standing in the middle of a dark, dingy basement.
The basement looked so creepy, so familiar, so…
“I told you boy. No. More. Tricks.”
The whispery, croaky voice caused Eddie to drop to his knees.
The eyeless, toothless, dried up green face of the haggard old woman from before appeared in front of the boy. She let out a loud, throaty cackle that echoed all around Eddie. It was an otherworldly sound that frightened and chilled Eddie right to the bone. In fact, his fingers immediately felt ice cold.
“The third thing you’re wrong about, is you not getting scared,” the horrid woman’s voice croaked. “You’re gonna feel scared, my boy, for the rest of eternity.”
The woman let out another round of horrible, throaty cackles, which pierced the air and caused Eddie to yell and cover his ears.
"Nooo!!" Eddie exclaimed.
In the next instant, both the laughter and the menacing woman were gone, leaving Eddie alone in the dark, dirty basement.
It took a moment for Eddie to realize this wasn’t just any old basement. This was, the basement.
Bewildered and heart pounding in his chest, Eddie forced himself to stand up. He stumbled over and grabbed onto the staircase banister for support. His knees shook and buckled beneath him.
Eddie forced himself to look up. The familiar wooden door stood at the top of the basement stairs.
“It can’t be…” Eddie muttered in disbelief, staring at the door. It looked exactly like the door from...
Wood chips exploded from the basement door. Eddie stared in horror as the sharp blade of an axe chopped repeatedly through the door, over and over.
No... it can't be.....
The axe continued chopping into the door, over and over until-- the pale, hairless, bulging face of the man with black eyes and pointed nose poked his head out of the hole and let out an angry ROAR!!
Every part of Eddie's body froze as he became paralyzed in complete and total fear. Eddie’s watery eyes bugged out, and he let out a horrible, primal scream which pierced the air—
Suddenly, the haggard woman appeared next to Eddie and snapped her fingers, freezing Eddie in his moment of absolute terror.
* * *
“Trick or treat!” a trio of youngsters all dressed as Thing 1 from Cat in the Hat called as they ran up to the front door of a house. The door opened, revealing the friendly-looking woman in the Halloween sweater.
“Oh my, what great costumes you all have!” the woman said, picking up her bowl of candy. She smiled and held the bowl out as the excited kids began laughing and picking out their favorite candy bar.
“Thank you!” the kids called to the woman, as their cheerful parents waved and said happy Halloween.
“You’re very welcome, my dears! Happy Halloween to you too!”
Holding the candy bowl in her hands, the woman smiled and waved at the group as they made their way out of the yard.
“And Happy Halloween to you, my boy,” the woman's voice croaked.
Standing next to the front door was Eddie Cromwell.
The boy was still frozen in mid-terror; his watery, bugged out eyes staring off into the distance, his mouth wide open in mid-scream, his hands shielding his face-- Eddie was now truly feeling the most scared he had ever felt in his entire life. And he would be stuck feeling this way, in a state of perpetual fear, for the rest of eternity.