a short story

Brian J. Jarrett

Copyright © 2015 Brian J. Jarrett

Elegy Publishing, LLC

All rights reserved by the author.  No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted by any means without the written consent of the author.

This book is a work of fiction.  Any names, people, locales, or events are purely a product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to any person (either living or dead), to any event, or to any locale is coincidental or used fictitiously.


For Orson and Trent


“The time is once again upon us,” a mysterious man said in the darkened basement room. He had dark eyes and a thin, face with sunken cheeks and yellowing teeth like tombstones jutting up from the ground. Around him six other men sat at a mahogany table, burning candles that cast a pallid glow across their deeply-wrinkled faces. Blood red paint coated the walls of the small room, a room none of the men had seen in many years.

“Has the child been chosen?” another man sitting at the table asked. Long, white hair sprouted from his liver spotted head, bundled up into a ponytail that stretched all the way down his back.

“Yes,” the thin-faced man replied. “The preparations are complete for tonight’s event.”

“A boy or a girl,” another man asked.

“Does it matter?” a fourth man replied.

“What about…him?” the pony-tailed man asked.

“He won’t be a problem,” the thin-faced man said.

“Are you certain?” another man asked. He wore a three-piece suit that seemed to swallow his gaunt frame. Loose skin hung over a tightly-clenched tie that wrapped around his neck like a noose.

“I’m certain,” the thin-faced man said. “Tonight’s events will happen as scheduled. As they have since the early time.”

“It’s becoming more difficult these days,” the man in the suit said. “Too many eyes are upon everything. The world has changed. It’s moved on.”

“The world is the same as it’s always been,” the thin-faced man said. “People are the same as they’ve always been. New gadgets and toys can’t change that.”

The man in the suit nodded. “Then let us prepare.”

* * *

“I’m not going trick-or-treating tonight,” Tim Lemmon said as he descended the steps of New Haven Falls Middle School. His best friend in the world, Brett Renazzi walked alongside him, his overloaded backpack bouncing with each step.

“Why not?” Brett asked. “We go every year.”

“I don’t know. It just feels like kid stuff, you know?”

“But I think I still wanna go, Timmy.”

“Call me Tim.”

“I’m not used to that yet.”

“Well, you need to get used to it. That’s what I want to be called now.”

“When did you get so concerned with growing up?” Brett asked.

“I’m not.” 

“Coulda fooled me.”

“I just don’t wanna do baby stuff, that’s all.”

“It’s not baby stuff to go trick-or-treating.”

“Then why don’t adults do it?”

Brett groaned. “I don’t wanna get cheated out of my candy this year.”

The pair stepped off the curb and started across the school parking lot. “Tell you what,” Tim said. “I’ll buy you two candy bars. Full size.”

Brett thought for a moment. “Make it four.”

“Three,” Tim said.

Brett considered the counter offer. “Three candy bars and a pack of Skittles.”


Brett’s smile returned. “Snickers bars, full-size, right?”



“No way.”

“A guy can ask,” Brett said. “So what do you want to do then if we’re not going to go trick-or-treating?”

Tim shrugged. “I thought we could hang out, get into stuff. Maybe go into town and see a movie or something.”

“What kind of movie?”

“The Landmark is showing Halloween,” Tim said.

“The original? With Jamie Lee Curtis?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Skip won’t let us in,” Brett said. “You know that.”

“Sure he will. He just won’t know that he’s doing it.”

“What do you mean?”

“There’s a back door in theater number two that he always leaves unlocked.”

“How do you know?”

“Suzie from fourth period told me.”

“How does she know?”

“Her sister works there. The lock is busted, so they have to chain it at night. They can’t chain it through the day because the fire marshal will fine them, so Skip unlocks it. He thinks nobody knows.”

“I don’t know about this, Tim.”

“It’ll be a snap. You’ll see.”

“I’m still not sure I want to do it.”

“You’re not afraid, are you?” Tim asked, a slight grin forming on his lips.

Brett waved Tim off with a dismissive hand gesture. “Of course I’m not.”

“Then it’s settled. We’ll go tonight. I’ll tell my mom I’m going trick-or-treating with you and you’ll tell your mom the same thing. Then we’ll hit the theater and watch Jamie Lee Curtis run around and scream for an hour and a half.”





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