A haunting hush fell upon the dusky lit street when I spat the candy corn onto the ground. The disgusted expression that I wore under my witch’s hat quickly dissipated when I looked up and realized…everyone had frozen in mid-step, their eyes trained on me. I wanted to say something but couldn’t find my words. I wanted to give them the finger but my hands, trembling, held fast to my candy filled jack o lantern. I took a step back, and in unison, they took a step forward. I was scared. Freaked out. I took another step away but they shuffled closer. I wanted to drop everything and run all the way home but just the thought of them giving chase kept me planted. They – the Frankenstein monsters, the demons, ghouls, werewolves, dead nurses, and princesses in garish gowns – continued to stare, silently. Their shadows were long and reaching, I was sweating and on the verge of crying, maybe fainting. I glanced down at the candy corn, now a wad of orange-yellow mush on a crinkled, dry leaf, and they looked down too. Slowly. I decided to stoop but they remained standing yet watching. I picked up the leaf and it crumbled slightly in my palm. Their gaze followed my movement, my mouth twisted as I brought the discarded candy corn to my face. I looked at them, and as still and unnerving as mannequins, they looked back. I swallowed the lump in my throat and put the mush into my mouth. I chewed it, forced it down, and suddenly they became animated – resuming their trick r treating and leaving me stunned.

adrienne ophelia


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