On the Doorstep
by John N. King
The suburb was in a panic. Fathers were jumping out of their cars before they reached the drive-through. Mothers gathered up their little ones and bundled them into the houses. Boards were pressed against the glass and shivered as nails were hammered into them.
Gale watched all of this from behind her window. As the sounds of her mother’s footsteps combined with the hammering of a hammer against wood, Gale picked up the phone and dialed.
After a single ring, a voice answered.
“Hey Chance," Gale said. “Listen, what’s going on with our parents?"
“More like what’s going on with the entire neighborhood."
“They’re pulling this on your side too?"
“Yeah. Something about… them."
“That’s what they’ve been saying over here, too."
A man crashed into a street lamp and just kept driving. Gale flinched.
“Isn’t it a little ironic that ‘they’ decide to attack, like, right after Halloween?"
“Well, it is ‘them.’ ‘They’ probably don’t even know that it’s Halloween."
Gale moved away from the window. She moved towards an orange bowl containing several assorted Halloween candies.
“But it’s so ironic. The original Halloween came from the idea that, like, demons would leave you alone if you gave them candy. That’s what started the whole trick-or-treating thing in the first place, right?"
“Well, yeah," Chance said. “But…" Chance was silent for a second. Then another second. And then another second.
“Chance?" Gale asked.
“Gale, I’ve got an idea," Chance said. “Leave some of your candy on the front porch."
“That might be a problem," Gale said. “My mom’s about to barricade it."
“Just do what you can. I’m gonna try it myself. If I’m wrong… oh, please don’t let me be wrong."
“Chance, you’re kinda scaring me."
There was a click on the other end.
The buzzing of an ended call emanated.
“Darn." Gale put the phone down.
Her candy was sitting at the end of the table. Outside, a car smashed into a fire hydrant. The blast of water flipped the car over, and the driver crawled out and bolted for cover.
Gale’s mom’s footsteps became louder. She was coming downstairs.
“Oh darn it," Gale said.
She grabbed her candy bowl and rushed for the door. As her mother’s footsteps grew closer, Gale yanked the front door open. Falling to her knees, she placed the bowl in a corner on the porch. Closing the door part way, she turned as her mother came into the room.
“Abigail Madison," her mom said. “What are you thinking?"