There was no moon this night, just a cool gentle wind. Horteignquas responded to the cool, raised her wart filled chin to enjoy this natural refreshment. It was a mere moment, and then her duty came to chase her revery away. She scanned the hill of marble and plaster grave markings and began to float over a row. At each carved monument, her wrinkled features grimaced, pulling her crooked features close to her nose. A faint light, barely discernible looked to be dropping from her face, down her chest, to hips, to knees, to her withered toes, and the marker dissolved in silence. Her slow floating move continued, and very soon, there was a hill of light colored grit, where the solemn markers once stood.
Small sparrows were awakened from their perches high in the nearby oak tree and their attention was riveted to the dancing human below. Her arms waved the air as she turned, rotating, her faint light flashing on, off, on, off, glowing that soft white, then a yellow, orange, red, pink, back to white. The oak tree shuddered, and its wood could be heard creaking, creaking. A soft popping sound in multiples filled the night, and then the buds causing the sound turned into expanding small globes all over this infected tree. There was a flutter sound as the flock of sparrows, startled, screaming in cheeps, flew into the night, away.
Horteignquas, with a wide open smile, a smile with only corner cuspids showing, pointed her bony arm powerfully to the tree, and its strange fruit obediently fell in a gentle wave to the long pockets of her dark dress. Then, in a move resembling the moves of an orchestra’s director, her arms folding into her chest, then flying out, making her hands snap the air. The whitish grit rose from the hill, looking like a whirling fog and in slow deliberation passed Horteignquas, and the little fruits took on life, lifted to join the gritty conveyor belt and left this graveyard.
The grit with its fruit cargo floated just over the telephone poles of the little town, and each little orb found a home in the bags of candy brought home by the young trick ‘r treaters...as they slept in peace. Their town, every neighborhood was now under the spell of the anonymous lady who lived in the nearby woods.
Little Joel slept in his bright colored costume that night, though his mother had made him wash the make up off his face. He had enjoyed the night with his friends, and the neighbors were delighted with his Halloween ‘get-up’. He was even shivering a little with excitement over his haul, his bag of treats. Mom was stirring cereal in the kitchen, and his Dad was looking through the channels of the TV. He moved some newspapers and stuff off the coffee table and started taking his candy out of the bag, hoping to organize it. He was putting the Hersheys and anything chocolate at the top, hard candies next, chewy candies, and this odd looking apple. It had a strange appeal, a golden orb with a flush of bright red. It felt solid, yet with a little give. Joel couldn’t help himself. He seemed pulled by its irrepressible attraction. He took a little nibble. It filled his mouth with wonder at its flavor. He took a big bite, then another, then the last sector he popped into his mouth and swallowed, his young eyes closed in the delight.
“Joel! I don’t want you eating any of that candy...not until after you have your breakfast.”
“Mom, I just tasted the most wonderful thing ever. It was like a fruit...” His mother stood for a moment, noticing the glazed expression and ... Joel was changing...his shoulder was swelling.
A block down from Joel’s home, Barbara Spellins was up. She ran into the kitchen to find her Mom. “Mom, that was fun last night. Suzanne made us go all over the neighborhoods, even way over on Columbia. Most people like Janna’s minion costume the best, one of the houses even took pictures of us. We saw some kids dressed like Flo, saw Tinker Bells, one kid even was dressed like the lion king. Can I look in my candy bag yet?”
Her Mom said, “let’s wait til you have your waffle. It’s ready to come out. I’m hoping you got enough to share with me, I love those gummy bears.”
Barbara gave her Mom a friendly frown, but said, “I get all the green ones, okay?” Her Mom smiled. “I was just kidding. You get to have ‘em all...just don’t eat too many.”
So Barbara ate her maple flavored waffle as quickly as she could, drank her milk and said, “Now can I look? Please Mom, please?”
“Okay, sweet heart, let’s both do it. Fred, Fred. Did you need some more coffee? I want to see what Barb brought home, Okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’ll be in the office”
So Barbara and her mother Cynthia sat down on the couch. Barbara turned the bag over and everything fell out onto the rug. “Wow! Some haul! Good job. What’s that thing?” The little attractive fruit had bounced over near Fred’s favorite chair. Cynthia got up to retrieve it. “What is this thing?” She worried that it might be something to hurt her child. It could be poison of some kind. But in her hand, she felt very attracted to it. It was a lovely little fruit, a nice yellow with a blush. At first she was going to toss it down the sink, but she so wanted to taste it herself. She held it to her mouth. “Mom, you said you didn’t want any! Isn’t that little apple thing mine?” Cynthia reluctantly held it out to her young daughter, feeling not sure at all, but it had a strange appeal. “Okay, here. Be careful though. I’ve never seen anything like that. Maybe just a teeny tiny bite...” As soon as Barbara held it, she felt that same attraction. “I’ve just got to taste it, Okay?” she said to her Mom. She took a little bite and her eyes opened in wonder. “Oh, gosh, that absolutely ...deeelicious!” She popped it into her mouth. There was no stem, no core, just deliciously pleasant sweetness. Cynthia was smiling, then her smile froze. “Barby! Barby! Oh my gosh what’s happening? Fred! Help! Help”
So in every household that had young trick ‘r treaters in the family there was shock and dismay.
Charlie, a bachelor was out mowing his lawn, and saw pretty little Charlotte run out front, slamming their front door behind her. She looked terrified.
“What’s wrong little Charlotte? Looks like you just saw a ghost!”
Charlotte fell down on the lawn, sobbing. Charlie turned off the mower and stepped over the little fence to see if she was hurt. “What’s wrong, girl? Something wrong?”
Over on Jordan Street, Joel’s mother watched her son in horror and shock. A flesh colored bulb appeared on his shoulder and seemed to develop Joel’s facial features. Then he had four arms. His body seemed to split into a Y shape, and with a disgusting noise like flatulence, he ripped apart, and was two Joels! Then those two Joels developed shoulder bulbs, and with that same awful noise, split apart.
Charlie was shaking little Charlotte, and could hear the sound of flatulence from within his neighbor’s house. “Charlotte, tell me! Is your father sick or somethin’? Should I call your doctor, what?” Charlotte tried to recover her composure. “Charlie, it is so weird...Her eyes filled with tears, her mouth opened showing her lower teeth. “It’s me. The house is filling up with mes! Look! Look, in the front window!” Looking out at him and Charlotte were six little girls that looked exactly like Charlotte. “OHHHhhNO!” Charlotte screamed. “It’s happening!”
Charlie’s hand went off Charlotte’s little shoulder and could see a bulb growing, taking on a face, sprouting hair. He started yelling himself, like a crazy person. He ran back to his house, ran inside and slammed the door shut.
Cynthia and Fred were out of their minds, holding their own faces in their hands, being pushed around their own house by this multitude of little Barbaras. Besides the awful unending sound of flatulence, each child was frightened, and the house was a chorus of little Barbaras crying “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, what’s happening? Mommy...”
One of the beleagued parents had called the local police department, and after a number of stops, they realized that this phenomenon was occurring all over town. A reporter from a TV station at the big town 30 miles up north heard of it, and sent three of their trucks and reporters to see what was going on in the little town.
Down a seldom used path that meandered through the tall pine trees, sat the dark cabin built and owned by Horteignqua. She had had her rest from her devilish activity, and hunched forward in her chair and then pushed off to a standing position. She went over to her calendar first, to tear the old March page off. Then her eyes bulged in disbelief. “OhhhNoooh, she groaned. It isn’t April first, it’s November first. I got it all mixed up. Oh, well.” So, she got up on the roof of her cabin, did a little counter clockwise dance with her hands gripping into fists, and within moments, just before the TV trucks had driven into town, the strange curse was gone, and one by one, the multitude of duplicates faded away. We just hope it left the originals.