Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Death Goes Trick or Treating by Crystal Collier

If you’re a normal person, bad caramel corn with give you a stomach ache. If you’re Death, it means there will be Hell to pay. 

Halloween. No one blinked twice as I strolled down the street among the crowd of trick or treaters—all twelve feet of me. The occasional grandparent watched with wide eyes, clearly recognizing I was more than just a big kid in costume on stilts. And really, who doesn’t want to see me? I’m a nice guy. Great sense of humor. Shiny scythe. Not to mention, when we come face to face your troubles are over. Really. I should be a welcome guest in anyone’s home.

But speaking of Halloween…

I swung a glowing pumpkin pail at my side, more excited than I cared to admit and knocked on a door along side several unruly children. They bounced from foot to foot and giggled. I chuckled inwardly with them. They loved tonight almost as much as me, but of course they wouldn’t after this moment.

The door popped open and an elderly woman lifted a hand full of candy. Her eyes jumped to me and grew the size of doughnuts. 

“Trick or Treat,” I said, batting my eyes…which she couldn’t see.

Her hand trembled as she offered me a cellophane wrapped ball of caramel corn. Still warm. Melty caramel overwhelmed me, and I was in my own personal heaven. It was like she knew this was my favorite treat—never mind that I had come to take her through Death’s doorway. 

Maybe I’d let her live another hour for the generous gift.

I tossed a handful into my mouth and savored its caramely goodness, gliding down the suburban street. German caramel. Sticky corn and…something slightly off…

Children flooded around me, dwarfed by my stunning height. That’s when my eye started to twitch. My tongue watered. 


I NEEDED candy.


Shoving kids out of the way, I sprinted up to the next doorstep. I held my bucket with all the other kids and shouted, “Trick or Treat!” 

The middle aged woman dropped a tootsie roll into my bucket. 

A tootsie roll.

One tootsie roll.

The insult to all things candy. The penny of the money world. The roach of the animal world.

A tootsie roll.

Rage exploded through me like dynamite in a Venetian vase. I lifted a finger and pointed right at her. “Die!”

She swallowed the wad of gum she was chewing, gagged and choked. To death.

“Death to tootsie rollers!” I grinned like a madman and trotted on to the next house like a little girl with pigtails on a spring day. 

Candy bars survived. Licorice depended on my mood. Gum and sucker givers suffered heart attacks, one got death by vacuum cleaner. Smarties got an aneurism, two from me shoving their treats back up their noses. I stretched taffy givers insides until they ripped in half. Hard candies got beheaded, one by the chainsaw he was wielding to scare kiddies, another by the fire hydrant I threw at him. Tootsie rollers spontaneously exploded, bits and pieces flying everywhere like confetti. One even got death by lava lamp, right through the chest. A deliriously happy Death skipped from door to door, loving every moment.


I woke from my psychotic haze. The streets were empty and dark. Sniffles carried on the wind, doors shut tight and windows covered. I had singlehandedly destroyed Halloween.

How many souls had I sent on before their time? How many traumatized kids memories would I have to wipe? What a mess. 

Caramel corn.

I made my way slowly back up the street, taking note of the names and addresses of my untidy fatalities. Fifty two.

The door cracked open when I knocked a second time, the caramel corn giver’s door. Her silver-gray bob trembled as her doughnut eyes lifted, blood draining from her cheeks. She looked almost as transparent as a spirit. 

Louise Johnston, due to die two hours earlier.

I tapped impatient fingers against my scythe. 

“He said he knew how to cheat death,” she croaked, falling back and lifting her hands as if they could protect her. “I did exactly what he said, put the white powder into the caramel.”

“Do you have any idea what kind of chaos I have to clean up?” I gestured down the street. “I’m not even sure I can put some of them back together.”

Her trembling amplified to a full body shake, the rolls around her jowls jiggling.

I sighed. “Look, Louise, I’m a reasonable guy. Just tell me who it was that gave you this white powder so I can move on here.”

Her Adams apple moved like she was swallowing a cantaloupe and might choke on it. “He said his name was Tom.”

Flames could have spewed out of my ears. They might have. Mr. Undying pain-in-my-rear. The guy who always stayed one step ahead. The annoyance who slit my throat, stole the keys to Hell to rescue his dead girlfriend (who didn’t want him as it turns out), and then tossed my scythe in the ocean. I ended up wrestling an octopus for two days to get the dang thing back. All the while people lived past their death dates and my schedule piled so high that I didn’t get unburied for months. Not that I had to worry about time, but it was non-stop work until every last soul was where it belonged. With approximately 107 deaths a minute, they really stack up. 


If it wasn’t enough that I couldn’t kill him, now he was seriously messing with my happy time. 

My teeth scraped across each other like chalk on a board. Time to pin him down in a piranha infested pool. Or maybe chain him to an earth-bound asteroid. Drop him in a steel box filled with flesh-eating amoebas and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Stuff him down an active volcano… The possibilities were endless.

But first, I had this dung heap to clean up or Hell was going have my skin. I hoped some of those candy givers could survive without bits of ear or lung, because I really wasn’t sure I could scrape the pieces out of carpet and ceiling vents. Although I’d try.

One thing is for certain: I’d never eat caramel corn again.


You can read more of Death and his adventures here:

Crystal Collier is an author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids, with the occasional touch of humor. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her HERE. 

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