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I took the last fifteen minutes to touch up my hair. Today was going to be great. My stomach had already begun to ache just thinking about the candy I would get. I lightly teased my hair and applied more hairspray until I felt satisfied. This was the first year I had decided to look scary for Halloween. In my previous years, I always dressed up as a butterfly or a Disney princess. I grabbed the boldest red color I could find from my makeup bag, and smeared a thick layer onto my lip. Just as I finished, the doorbell downstairs rang three times. That was Leah’s way of telling me she was here. I grabbed my pumpkin basket from the corner of my bed and ran downstairs to open the door.
"Hey! You ready to go or what?" said Leah in a bored voice. She was wearing an almost identical outfit as me, except hers was way more ghastly. The idea was to go trick-or treating dressed as twin zombies. We spent a whole two weeks making these costumes perfect. The outcome wasn’t what I expected, but it was better than being another princess for Halloween.
“I thought maybe we could wait till it got darker outside. Only little kids come trick-or-treating at this time,” I replied.
“That’s exactly my point. If we don’t go now then the little kids will take all the candy,” she replied in a rather hasty voice. There was no point arguing with Leah once she had made up her mind.
"Fine. Let's go!" I grabbed a couple Snickers from the kitchen counter. A girl's gotta eat somehow. Right? The door shut tightly behind me as Leah and I sprinted down the chiseled wooden stairway.
The sky held a vibrant orange glow that lit up the entire neighborhood. It was freezing cold outside. The October winds brushed past my skin. I wished that I had worn something other than sheer material. The first house we went to was Max Russell's house. Max Russell was your average neighbor, except he wasn’t exactly average. I had promised him that his house would be the first I would go to for trick-or-treating. I climbed up his stairs and impatiently waited for Leah to catch up. I reached over and rang the bell twice. Ding Dong. The door opened and I was stunned to see Max wearing a banana costume. Under it, he wore knee high black socks and matching yellow converse. It might not have looked so bad... if he wasn’t, well, over fifty years. I paused, trying to come up with something to say.
“Trick-or-Treat! I saved you some of my special candies. You can grab as many as you like,” exclaimed Max. He brought out a large orange bowl from behind him. It was covered with fake spiders and thin wisps of cotton. I dug my hands deep into the bowl, opening them to their full capacity. There was no wasting time in seeing what I got. I abruptly thanked Max and ran down the street to the next house.
It had been three hours since Leah and I had left my house. We had hit three neighborhoods and made a truckload of candy.
“Let’s head home. I’m so tired that I could pass out right now,” I said in weary voice. The truth was that I was scared of the dark. It was mainly my mom’s fault. Every time we watched a scary movie, she would always scare me by talking about late night killers and rapists. Up until now, I had never believed any of them.
“Oh, come on. We’re not ten years old anymore. Unless...you’re a chicken,” Leah joked.
“I am not. Fine! We'll go to one last house, and then we're going home,” I said in annoyed voice. There was no way I would let Leah call me a chicken. She pointed her hand to the house on the corner of Maine Street.
“Okay. Then let’s go to that house over there. They still have their lights on.” I glanced at the faded paint on the walls and the corner boards. The gutter looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years. Out of all the houses on this street, leave it to Leah for picking the most daunting. We walked up the cracked pathway and approached the door which was covered in graffiti. There was something creepy about the house that put every sense in my body on high alert. I looked at Leah who just shrugged and pressed the doorbell. No answer. She pressed the bell again. Still no answer. This time Leah pounded on the door violently. The door slowly creaked open, allowing us to peek into the interior of the house. Leah was about to step in when I pulled her back.
“What do you think you’re doing? You can’t just trespass into someone’s house like that!” I hissed. She lifted her finger to her mouth as if to hush me.
“As long as you keep quiet no one will know we are here. Plus, I’m not leaving without my candy, she replied. “I still haven’t got any Butterfingers and I don’t plan on leaving until I get them. She abruptly turned around and stalked into the house. Not wanting to be alone in the dark, I trailed after her.
The house was completely dim except for one light that escaped through the living room window. The furniture was so tightly spaced that there was barely any room to walk.
“Looks like no one is here," Leah said in a loud voice. I nodded my head in agreement and went to find the light switch. The room was so dark that I couldn’t move without hitting myself with something. I tried to feel my way through the mess when I accidently stubbed my toe on the sofa. Right then, the lights came on.
“Geez. Would you stop making so much noise? You’ll wake up the neighbors!” Leah scolded me from the wall with the light switch.
"Can you just find your stupid candy so we can get out of here," I begged, rubbing my foot where I had been hurt. If I stayed in this room any longer I would probably end up with several bruises. "Check the kitchen. There's bound to candy there." Leah walked across to the kitchen while I resumed rubbing my toe. I wanted to scream at the owner for putting that stupid coach in the center of the room.
Leah shouted from the kitchen, "Hey! Can you believe it? I actually found Butterfingers!" She returned to the living room, waving a handful of the yellow wrapped treats.
"You might as well take their whole stock," I remarked, rolling my eyes as she tucked the pieces into her plastic tote bag.
"You think they'll notice?"
I gathered my things, when I heard a whistling noise.
"Would you stop? That’s annoying," I complained, facing Leah. She looked at me as if she had no idea what I was talking about. The noise came again, this time even louder. "Okay. I'll admit it. I'm scared. Now would you stop whistling?"
"It's not me, I swear! I’m as creeped out as you are."
"Then if it's not you...who is it?"
"I don't know and I don't plan on finding out. Let's get out of here!" yelled Leah. We made our way through the door when it shot open and slammed into my face. I fell to the floor, crushing my ribs against the shoe rack. I yelped in pain. I looked up to see that my attacker trying to grab Leah. She dodged all of his attacks.
I used all the strength I had left and tried to lift myself up. After several tries, I finally managed to get up. The attacker had his hands clasped around Leah's neck. I looked around for a hard object to hit with. The coat rack. I clasped my hands around it and brought it down on the attacker's back. He loosened his grab around Leah's neck, and fell to the ground.
"Did you kill him?"she said. Even through all that Halloween makeup, I could still tell her face was paled.
"I don't know. I just wanna get out of here," I said out of breath. The blow had impacted me more than I wanted it to. I grabbed Leah's hand, and carefully tiptoed around the unconscious body lying on the floor. We had made it halfway down the stairs when Leah suddenly stopped.
"Come on. You can't stop now."
"I'm going back in there"
"I left my bag of candy in there," she replied simply.
I was stunned. How she even think about eating candy when we almost got killed. I was about to grab her and force her down the stairs, when she turned and ran back in the direction of the house.
As soon as we entered the house, I noticed that the attacker's body was missing. That meant the attacker must still be in the house. I pushed that thought away and started to frantically look for Leah's candy bag. I searched the living room while Leah went to search the kitchen. I tossed the pillows off the sofa. Nothing. I was retracing my steps when Leah came out of the kitchen, her candy bag in hand.
"Thank god. Let's get out of here!” I zig zagged my way through the living room. I was nearing the corridor when something jumped at me. It was the same attacker. In an instant, he had pinned me under his arms. I screamed loudly hoping some of the neighbors would hear me. “Leah, help me.” Leah appeared through the doorway. She looked from me to the attacker. His grip on my arm tightened as he pushed my face down against the cold harsh floor. I looked at Leah again as a sign for help. She stood there motionless staring at my awful state. Why isn't she doing something? Just as I was struggling to loosen his grip on my arm I heard laughing. It was the kind of you could only hear in the movies; only after being edited so many times. Am I dead, I thought to myself?
Leah stood in front of me laughing her head off. I was stunned at her unprecedented behavior. How could she laugh when her best friend was lying on the floor with a murderer on top of her? The attacker loosened his grip and me and stood up. It was the first time I had noticed that he was wearing a mask. It was a ghastly white and had several traces of red paint running along the side.
“Way to ruin it, Leah,” the attacker complained teasingly. My eyes dilated twenty times their actual size. The attacker spoke. And since when did he act so friendly with Leah? He was talking as if he had known her since childhood.
Leah walked up to the attacker. “You know, you can take your mask off. She probably knows it’s you.” Who? I still had no idea who the attacker was. But something about his voice did sound familiar. The attacker took off his mask, rubbing his hand over his thick curly blonde hair.
It took me a split second to take in all his features. “Harry! What are you doing here?” Harry was Leah’s and my friend from school. We had asked him to join us for trick-or-treating, but he had refused. “Aren’t you supposed on a vacation?”
“No. Leah and I had made a plan to scare you for Halloween. I thought we were doing a pretty good job, until Leah here had to ruin everything.” He looked glaringly at Leah.
“I’m sorry!” she began apologetically. “I couldn’t help it. Steph just looked so funny.”
I stood by angrily until their attention was directed back at me. “I can’t believe you guys. That was not funny!”
“You’re right,” Harry said. “It was hilarious! If only I had a video camera, I would have showed it to the whole school.” Harry and Leah gave each other high fives while I blushed, clearly embarrassed.
Leah swung her arm over my shoulder and led me to the door. Harry followed. “Oh come on. Everyone needs a scare once in awhile.” We walked down the stairs in silence when my stomach growled loudly.
“I think I had enough tricks and treats for today. I’m gonna go home and eat all this candy. You guys wanna come?” I asked questioningly.
“I’ll come,” Leah replied in an instant.
“Me too,” said Harry.
We had made it back to my house and scrambled to my room. All of us dumped our candy in the center, forming a huge pile. We talked for hours and hours, until all the candy was gone. We had made a separate pile for all the reject candies, which I was planning on giving to my sister. At night I rested my arms underneath my pillow. All the days’ memories kept replaying in my head. I smiled. I guess it really was the best Halloween ever.