The moon hung low as my foot dropped from the doorway onto the cold, damp stone below. The moon seemed brighter and larger then normal, it must have known it was Halloween. The world was large and dark, the wind blew through me like a sharp whisper and the damp air made me feel uneasily slimy. It was a night of fancy, or so I was told, I was the only girl in the neighbourhood that night; dressed in my long red cloak, and bright red wellie boots, a black gown under it that mam spent hours sowing, my favourite part was the old-timey braid my sister put in my hair that morning, it had become quite messy and loose but it was still really fancy, my bucket even looked like a picnic basket. Mam just had to ruin it though, making me wear my coat over the top, I don't know why she would work so hard just for me to cover up my costume. Red riding hood never had to wear a coat! My older brother was with me, tall and strong, too cool to wear a costume but I knew he would look after me, without him I don't think I could have left the house.
I walked down the street and entered a Forrest of tall dark trees, but they didn't look like trees weirdly enough: they looked like normal houses. They were decorated in the scary things you would find in a Forrest though, spiders, webs and the dreaded evil pumpkin. Skulking around me in the dark were creatures so much worse, watching me, waiting for me to show weakness before they pounced. I squeezed my brothers hand tighter.
The biggest monster was a tall, gangly thing, silhouetted against the moons vibrant glow. Its snout peered out from under a matted head of woolly fur. It turned to look at me. I was so scared I could cry, I felt my brothers grip loosen as he beckoned to the monster to come closer. He was going to feed me to it! I had to run, my wellies squeaked loudly with each sprinted step against the damp floor as I ran off between the trees.
It wasn't long before I was lost, I heard my brother shouting for me, but I knew he was just going to feed me to the monster, he must have been a monster too. The real him wouldn't have done that, he would have hit the monster and then bought me ice cream.
But now I was alone, hiding behind a large tree stump, that looked strangely like a wheelie bin. But that must have been a coincidence because monsters only exist in forests. And maybe the odd cupboard. I looked out from behind my tree stump and saw something far worse then the moonlit creature and the not-brother. An army of monsters walking around, there gangly faces and gibbering noises scared me, but at least these ones were more my size. Mostly.
I closed my eyes and counted to 10, slowly as I could before stepping out fully from behind the tree stump and walking onto the Forrest path. The monsters surrounded me, walking around me, walking past me and paying me little attention, I let myself relax but knew I still had to be careful as each group of monsters seemed to be lead by a giant alpha monster, taller and longer. Giving orders to the smaller monsters, I knew if they saw me that they would alert the Not-Brother and I would be fed to whatever creature was waiting for me in the moonlight.
My name was no longer being shouted, or if it was I couldn't hear it. The noises all blending together into a chorus of blustering winds and speckled droplets hitting my polyester hood. The moon was dimmer now, the inky blackness of the night rolling like waves over the bright glow of the moonlight, swirling before my eyes making my vision fail me as I stumbled forward trying not to look at the gross faces looming over me as I try to sneak through the groups of monsters walking back and forth along the pathways. I didn't want to be there but going through them was the only way I was going to get home.
I missed Mam.
Leering at me from the darkness were faces I try very hard not to remember, though it was difficult to keep my head down, my wellies still squeaked under my weight and I knew they could see me like a walking red burger van but hoped they had already eaten and I would be too small a meal for them to consider the effort worthwhile. A gore covered metal face with protruding spiked implements only a doctor or someone very very smart could find a use for looked down over me. His gargled words and grunts seeming almost like balls of gore and awfully smelling mucus was pouring out from a breathless mouth of writhing living teeth. A hooded skeleton moved ominously opposite him, his large soulless orbs of hatred and nothingness left me feeling empty and made my footsteps slow to a snails pace as if the damp yellow and brown leaves below me had become an uneasy primordial ooze attempting to drag me down into the blackest reaches of the world.
I didn't like this Forrest one bit.
As I shook and fretted my way through the small group, there eyes burrowing deeper and deeper into my skull like woodlice through an old bed frame, and that was when I hit my head. As a sharp pain rose through my bum and I looked up I saw the alpha monster bending down over me, seemingly worried about me, maybe they don't like it when there food is bruised. That makes sense, I don’t like the brown parts of bananas. A tall, thin witch stood over me, her tall pointed hat making her almost as tall as my dad and the brim shadowing all of her face except her warty green nose so close to mine that I could hear the swelling of the puss under the surface just waiting for a chance to burst and cover her in a pungent yellow goo, and a pair of large smiling lips, covered in a sticky red liquid which must have been the blood of her last victim. As she pulled me to my feet, almost pulling my arms from there sockets and brushed down my cloak before clamping her hand around my shoulder and barking a strange order to the two smaller monsters I had just slipped past who groaned painfully as the 4 of us turned on heel and I was forced into a march to my death.
The trees around me became thinner and thinner and she marched me forward to her house, the other monsters occasionally lunging in at me growing in strange twisted tongues, they probably didn't like leaving the Forrest. But before long I saw where I was going, the witches house stood tall and lonely, flanked on all sides by trees and rocks, I knew with each footstep closer to the door that I was walking into her cooking pot, at least I got to stay up past my bedtime.
She knocked on the door, which was weird.
I heard fumbling with the lock, she must have other witches that live with her.
The movements were frantic, and the door flew open with a frightening speed and thud as it hit the wall, mixed with the bright light within it was almost like a bolt of lightning and a harsh drumming of thunder gave an encore to my doom.
As I looked up, I saw my Mam.
Her eyes were so wide with shock that the tears that were cascading from her eyes like they were waterfalls fell onto her cheeks in one large blob as if they turned into quickly upturned buckets. She dropped down and hugged me.
“Don’t you dare ever do that again young lady!”
she squeezed me so tight and hard that my organs moved inside my body just so they wouldn't be crushed, and she picked me up as she thanked the witch for bringing me here, my vision was blurry as a yawn pushed itself up my throat and out my mouth and that's when I saw the witch who promptly bowed her head and lead her smaller monsters from the doorway.
I got wrestled into the bath quicker then id ever been before, the bright warm lights and speckled white wallpaper felt nice though, after being lost in that Forrest all by myself. I heard my Mam yelling downstairs but had no idea what she was saying, I just liked playing with my little army of rubber ducks, I gave them all beards with the bubbles until my Dad came in with a giant fluffy towel and dried me off, the pink fuzz being beaten around my body and hair like an excitable egg whisk before I was plopped into my pink dinosaur pyjamas and carried down the stairs. Dad said we needed to get my supper down me quick so I could go to bed.
When the rocking up and down of the stairs stopped and we turned into the front room my face turned white as a sheet and I felt all the blood rush into my legs as my body told me to run.
In front of me…
right in front of me….
Within 3 steps of me….
Was the moonlit monster, but now I could see it. My eyes scanned up and down and over and around the monster who’s back was turned from me, its long gangly limbs matted in a grey felt like fuzz with deep black nails poking from rubbery fingers just like I remembered, As my eyes pulled up I saw its fuzzy mane, hiding its snout. Long and blonde, like mine! Straight and down past its shoulders, like mine! And then it said my name, the fear exploded inside me and the rampant energy coursing through my legs turned to painful pins and needles. The snout turned round, smaller then I remembered, a pinkish buttony thing. Its evil eyes looked directly into my soul, but not the deep cavernous pits of hell I remembered, the deep caring blue eyes of my…
“Leslie” I shouted happily as I leaped from my Dads hands at my big sister, surprised as she struggled to keep her balance when my weight rushed against her chest like she had been passed a very heavy basket ball and I headbutted her in the chin.
It hurt. A lot.
I yawned, and closed my eyes.
Not bad as far as Halloween's go, how many other little girls get to say they explored a monster Forrest. Don’t think I ever went trick or treating a second time though.