Trick or Treat
Bobby Hodges pushed his mask onto the top of his head and hefted the pillow case he had been using as a bag all night to inspect his haul. The bag was at least three quarters full and a lot of it was quality candy too. None of that candy corn or those orange and black wrapped things that he hated. He was especially looking forward to that full size Snickers Bar that Old Man Holliday had given out. Full size candy, truly the holy grail of Halloween candy treats. All in all, it had been an impressive night of trick or treating and he had managed to hit his whole neighborhood plus the apartment complex next to their development.
This was the first year his parents had allowed him to go out on his own. He had just turned 13 and had been helping out watching his kid brother after school since Mom had gotten that part time job at the Toys ‘R Us a month back. Mom had said it was just cause she was bored, but he knew things had been tough this year. She was probably working there to save some money for Christmas. He’d even re-used his costume from last year to help out, not that he really cared if he was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle again, Bobby Hodges was all about the candy. Still as a reward they had let him go trick or treating with his friends instead of going with them and his kid brother, Kevin. He’d agreed to be home by 9:30, but most of his friends had to be home by 9:00. That’s when he decided to hit the apartment complex.
Bobby looked at the light up display on his watch and realized he only had 8 minutes to make it home before he was late. He swung the pillow case over his shoulder and tossed the dying glow stick he had pulled off the of his neck into the street. He grabbed the plastic Bo staff that went with his costume (cause Donatello was his favorite Ninja Turtle) and hurried down the street towards his house.
There were still a few people on the street trick or treating and he watched them as he made his way home. He recognized a lot of the costumes, Spider-Man, Batman, Princesses, skeletons and ghosts, and a whole lot of vampires, even girl ones. There were a few he didn’t though, like the guy dressed like some kind of yellow square with pants or the kids with the bulky metal headbands and orange karate suits. It didn’t rest long on his mind though as he rounded the last corner, coming up on Oak Street, his street.
Bobby lived at the end of the street, before it rounded left and made a big loop back towards the main avenue. All of the houses were pretty much the same on the outside, there were really only four models to choose from. His parents had chosen the only two story model and had it built, their dream house. Bobby had lived here practically his whole life. His dad loved Halloween though and always decorated the house. Some years they even did a haunted house in the garage, though not this year. Probably because of Mom having to go back to work. Still Dad had gotten out the old decorations and had done the place up grand. The hanging skeleton, the smoke machine, the creepy music, spider webs, the works. Dad usually dressed up as Frankenstein too and handed out candy from the lawn chair he sat up in the front yard.
Bobby slowed his pace as his house came into sight, realizing that something wasn’t quite right. He walked the last few steps and stood in front of his house, confused. It was his house all right, but all the decorations were gone. He didn’t understand, he had helped his Dad put them up two weeks ago. Heck, they had been there just a couple of hours ago before he went trick or treating. But they were gone. The hanging skeleton, the fog machine, the creepy music, heck even the porch light was off. They never turned the porch light off when he was outside after dark, let alone on Halloween. Yet here the house was, dark and plain, so unlike what Bobby remembered.
Bobby walked up to the front door and walked through, entering the dark foyer. The whole house was dark, just a single light on in the living room, the light that his Mom always left on when they left the house. Bobby began to wonder if both of his parents had taken Kevin out trick or treating after he realized the whole house was empty. The kitchen and living room was dark and his parent’s room was empty. Dad’s wallet and keys weren’t in the bowl by the door though, so that meant they HAD to have left. Bobby shrugged it off though and headed upstairs to his room, candy in tow. All that meant was he could sneak a few Three Musketeers bars before his folks came home. He pushed open the door to his room and flung his mask onto the bed and dropped his bag of candy in the middle of the floor to his room. He turned his desk lamp on, shedding some light in the dim house.
Something was odd about his room though too. It was his room all right, it was just…different. His posters were still on the wall, Spider-Man and the Turtles and Super Mario staring down at him, but his room was clean, un-naturally clean. His Lego stacked neatly in their bin, his action figures put away in their cases, his books and desk neatly organized. Even his bed was made, and unless his Grandma was coming over Bobby NEVER made his bed. Bobby shrugged it away again and began rummaging through his bag of candy. He turned on the TV in his room while he rummages, watching the end of It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown before he fell asleep, half a Twix bar uneaten in his hand.
Frank and Marilynn Hodge came home at 10:30pm. They never stayed at home on the 31st anymore, especially after Kevin had moved out. They usually went to a movie, or dinner, anything to try to forget the date. Frank punched the garage door opener, but stopped well short of the drive way. He looked to his wife, whose face went pale. There was a light on, a light in Bobby’s room. He felt his wife snake her fingers through his and grip his hand as he eased the car into the driveway and put it in park.
They both went through the front door and walked slowly up the stairs, stopping at Bobby’s room. His wife’s grip seem to tighten even harder as he reached out with his free hand and turned the knob. The room was empty, as empty as it had been for the last 15 years. Though Bobby’s desk lamp was on. A light that neither had turned on since that night 15 years ago when Bobby had been struck by that car speeding out of that apartment complex. Frank over to turn off the light but stopped when his foot brushed something. He bent down and picked it up. A crumpled Twix wrapper, left in the middle of the floor. He turned to his wife, watching fresh tears roll down her face, as he clocked off the light, once again, plunging the preserved room into darkness.
End of Line.