The Bucket

February 2, 2017

It was night-time, the kind of night that’s so silent that even the wind doesn’t dare to whisper. The moon hid behind a mask of clouds, wrapping the night in a velvety black and blue. Candy wrappers blew along the sidewalk like leaves. Orange banners that shouted “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” dangled from doors, held up by  one last piece of tape.

Suzie was alone, comforted only by the dingy yellowish-orange light that spilled from the streetlamps dotting the pavement. She walked down the street, her boots tapping on the sidewalk. She looked down at her candy bag and scowled when her eyes were greeted with nothing but an M&Ms wrapper, a plastic spider, and a strange lollipop where everything on the wrapper was written in a language Suzie didn’t know. I’ll get back at those kids, she thought. The people of this town will know never to touch my candy again.

She continued walking, her heart began to sink farther and farther in her chest as she noticed that every door was shut tight, every curtain was pulled closed, and every light was off. No other trick or treater was in sight. Suzie felt dejection fall through her. She was contemplating giving up and just heading home when something crept into her periphery.

Could it be? Suzie raced down the block, her sadness beginning to wash away. She turned a corner, and gasped. A house! With a door wide open, light shining through and striking her like a bullet. Suzie could barely contain her excitement. She didn’t bother to look both ways when she sprinted across the street and up the marble steps before the house. She spotted a pastel blue bucket standing in the window, filled to the brim with all kinds of candy. Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Pops, Twix, Snickers, you name it, it was in that bucket. Suzie felt her mouth begin to water as she knocked on the door.

Knock, knock. The sound echoed through the house.

No response.

Louder this time, she knocked again. Knock, knock, knock.

Once again, she was met with no response but the leaves rustling outside.

“Hello?” she called into the house. She knocked furiously on the door. Suzie was getting impatient. And the candy seemed to be getting more and more tantalizing…

They left this door open for a reason, right?  They wouldn’t mind people coming in if the door is open. If they did mind, they would have closed it. Yeah, I’ll just go in. Just go, grab some candy, and leave, Suzie thought to herself. Comforted by this thought, she crossed the threshold.

Ever so hesitantly, Suzie crept to the window. The wood floor creaked beneath her, causing her to jump— so high that she could swear she felt her head brush the ceiling.

Slowly, slowly, she crept to the window. She stood before the bucket, marvelling in all its glory— she couldn’t wait to get home and eat all of this. As she was reaching for the bucket, the lights shut off.  She screamed, so loud that she could swear she felt the ground quiver beneath her.

She regretted that immediately.

From upstairs, Suzie heard a door creak open, ever so slowly. Suzie braced herself a moment, getting ready to run. She reached into the bucket, scooping handfuls of all types of sweets into her bag as rapidly as she could. She was two handfuls in when she heard it.

Thump, thump, thump.

The sound was muffled, but it was undeniably there. Suzie hurried up, scooping faster. Pieces of candy fell to the ground, but she didn’t bother to pick them up.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The sound was getting louder. She heard the thing responsible for it begin to go down the stairs, ever so carefully, taking its time. She couldn’t give up now. Her bag was almost full. One more handful, she thought.

Then I run.

The sound was getting louder and louder, pounding in Suzie’s ears like a door slam. She stuck her hand in again, and screamed.

Something— something in the bucket—  had gripped her hand.

She fought against it, dropping her candy bag on the ground. She tugged as hard as she ever could, harder than she ever had before. Thump, thump, thump.  The sound was getting louder and louder. Suzie kept tugging, more urgently than ever. She felt sharp claws scratch her arm, and she screeched again. But she wouldn’t stop pulling.

THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. It was right behind her— she could hear it breathing. Behind her, she heard a low, raspy voice, something almost animal-like.

“Little girl, didn’t anybody tell you that breaking and entering was illegal?” the voice growled. This took her by surprise, and Suzie felt her grip loosen.

That was her mistake— the last mistake she would ever make. One last tug from the claw, and everything went black.

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