Halloween Surprise

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Set your story at a party that has gone horribly wrong.... view prompt

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Friendship Middle School Science Fiction

Halloween Surprise

By

Sally Wirth

           “It’s gonna be great!” Sofia shouted at her friends seated in a circle around her.

           “Super-delish!” Avery agreed nodding her head and looking around the circle.

           “I can’t wait!” Rilee cried getting up from the floor and jumping up and down.

           “It’s gonna be better than anything stupid Janelle’s having,” Hazel added smugly.

           Basia smiled and nodded but didn’t say anything.

           “Haze, don’t say that about Janelle,” Avery said putting a hand on Hazel’s arm. “Remember Miss Schuster said we should ‘raise up each other, not knock down your brother’.”

           “Yeah, yeah,” Hazel replied running her hand through her short black hair, “but it still will be more dope.”

           “Dope!” Sofia giggled and gave Hazel a gentle push.

           So it was set-they were having a Halloween party-before and after trick-or-treating. Hazel thought maybe she was too old at twelve-all the other girls were still eleven, but the treats would be appreciated. With Avery acting as secretary, the girls spent the rest of the evening planning the big bash.

Sofia, who always thought she could get her way by being the loudest, insisted on making friendship bracelets. She had some cute Halloween-themed beads they could use, she proclaimed at full volume.

Rilee wanted a bean bag toss or horseshoes or, even better, basketball since she had a hoop at her house. They all lived in the same block-that was how they had met years ago (well except for Basia who was new this year), so they could trick-or-treat in the neighborhood and come back to her house for a sleepover. Rilee was sure it would be ok with her parents.

Avery suggested they meet at her house and dress up there. She had lots of costume stuff and makeup from her older sisters.

Hazel acted less excited than the others-trying to maintain her “grown-up-ness”, but she said you couldn’t have a sleepover without playing Truth or Dare.

Through it all, Basia had been quiet. Her family had moved in next to Avery just after school started. Avery’s mom became friends with Basia’s mom and soon the two girls were going everywhere together. It hadn’t taken long for the original group of four to become five. Where Sofia was loud and excitable, Rilee energetic, Avery organized and Hazel practicing to be a teenager, Basia was quiet and thoughtful. Sofia thought she had a French accent and Avery said maybe she heard they were Turkish, but no one knew for sure.

“So what fun things do you do where you come from?” Rilee asked.

Basia frowned as if deep in thought, then said, “Sometimes we have races. We see who can run the fastest or jump the highest.”

Rilee patted her thighs with glee. “Yeah, we can have a sack race! We’ve got lots of grass in back. We’ll do it in our costumes and my dad can take a video. He’s always recording stuff I do.”

“Sounds fun,” Hazel said and Rilee wasn’t sure if she was making fun of her or not, but no one else said anything, so she let it go.

“Yeah, I like it,” Sofia exclaimed. “Especially the video part. We can get your brother in it, too.”

Rilee smiled. She noticed that Sofia always found a way to include her brother. Better my brother than that dopey kid she used to like, Rilee thought.

The next few weeks flew by in a flurry of activity. After school, Rilee and Sofia decorated Rilee’s house inside and out, with Rilee’s brother helping do all the ladder work. Sofia always volunteered to spot him or to hand him whatever he needed. Avery, Hazel and Basia planned the prizes for their games as well as the menu excluding all the candy treats. During the weekends, when one parent or another could take them to the mall, they worked on their costumes.

Having studied France in world history this fall, Sofia chose to be Marie Antoinette. She unsuccessfully tried to get Rilee’s brother to dress up as Louis XVI instead of The Hulk. Avery was making a pro/con list to help decide between a witch (same as last year) and a dinosaur. She thought she was too short for a T. rex, but maybe a Coelphysis would work. Rilee opted for a living animal which just happened to match her energy level-a raccoon. The makeup would be easy and a nice furry suit would be cute. Cute was not of interest to Hazel. She was looking at a fortune teller or a vampire-both choices mysterious and dramatic.

Basia was undecided. Her friends’ suggestions left her confused. What did a pilgrim look like? What is a clown or a ghost? The other girls exchanged looks of surprise and eye-rolling. Where was she from? How could she not know what a clown was? Or a ghost?

“Listen Basia, why don’t we just show you pictures and you pick,” Avery finally said. “Have you ever gone trick or treating before?” Hazel asked.

“No. Sorry. It sounded like fun, but I don’t know anything about it. We don’t have it where I come from,” Basia answered lowering her eyes to the floor.

Not able to resist anymore, but not wanting to hurt Basia’s feelings, Sofia softly spoke up. “Every place is different. I’m sure you’ve got things in your country we don’t know about.” She paused. “Where are you from?”

Everyone held their breath. This year in school their teacher had stressed how they were a family and everyone was welcome. That it didn’t matter what kind of house you had or how much money your family had or how many parents you lived with, they were all the same. So no one had asked till now, but all of them waited to hear.

“Far away. It took us a long time to get here. There were some who didn’t survive the trip. I don’t think you would know the name.” She raised her head and looked at all of them one by one with moist eyes.

Avery grabbed her hand. “We didn’t mean to make you sad. We’re glad you’re here.”

A red-faced Sofia moved over and put her arm around Basia’s shoulders. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”

“OK. Well, let’s find you a costume,” Rilee prompted moving next to Basia with her phone in hand.

Basia finally decided on an alien costume. She thought ET was cute, a funny color, but cute. Avery insisted that she could make her look just like him-she had just the right shade of makeup at home. Everyone was ready.

This year was special since Halloween landed on a Friday. After a non-so-productive day at school, the girls each went home to get their supplies, then meet at Avery’s house by 6 p.m. Five giggling girls set up shop in Avery’s bedroom. Rilee painted on her black round eyes, then sat stroking her fat raccoon tail.  Sofia nearly lost her wig when she tried to pick up her candy bag. Avery, the witch, nearly took out her own eye with her long green nails. She couldn’t do anything with them on, so it was lucky Basia had found a mask instead on relying on Avery doing her makeup. Even with the mask, Basia looked happy-her eyes crinkling in the open eyeholes. Sofia even whispered (a first for her) to Avery that Basia was the happiest she had seen her. Hazel used her crystal ball (she had gone with fortune teller) to predict that Basia would get the most candy of them all.

“Pictures! We need pictures!” Sofia shouted.

They crowded around taking turns snapping photos of each other. Laughing loudly, they fell out of the bedroom, Avery calling to her parents to come look. From around the corner her mom, dressed like a dime store waitress and her dad, looking like a 30’s news reporter. He carried an old time press camera complete with a flash.

“Smile,” he said hunching over aiming the camera at their eye level.

Bunched together, they posed: Sofia folded her hands in front so her big ring showed, Rilee stood on all fours while Avery held her tail straight up, Hazel tossed her head back and held the glass globe at her hip and Basia raised her arm and pointed a long finger to the sky.

“One, two, three.”

They heard a click and a blinding light flashed before them. Immediately disoriented after the brightness, the girls didn’t know which way to look when a scream surrounded them. A scream born of utter pain. Eyes blinking as the room came back into view and hearts pounding, the girls saw ET lying on the floor motionless. Avery’s parents rushed in, her dad started to peel the mask up from Basia’s face. Avery dropped down to the floor and saw her dad’s brow furrow. She followed his eyes to Basia’s face and saw another mask under the mask he now had removed. The color was lighter, whiter, but the eyes and wrinkles were the same. He looked for the neck edge, turning her slightly. Unable to find it, he stood and Avery’s mom took his place. She moved the clothes down, rolled her to the side still unable to find the neck of the mask. Avery moved over to help. Sofia grabbed at Basia’s hand and dropped it immediately with a cry.

“She’s cold,” Sofia cried. “Feel her skin. It feels funny.”

Just as Avery was going to check, Basia moaned. Her lips moved and the sounds were not words that anyone knew. Her huge eyes fluttered open for a moment and they could see nothing but black. Her eyes closed again, then her body shuddered and was still. Avery’s dad ran to call 911 while the girls, themselves shocked into inaction, began to wail. Avery’s mom rushed next door for Basia’s mom. The girls looked again for a way to remove her costume without success. She felt like ET. Her face looked like ET.

The paramedics arrived and the four girls huddled together. Sofia quietly sobbed. Rilee kept saying, “What is happening?” Avery was silent with hands tightly clasped as if praying. Hazel made all of them look to her when she said, “Janelle is going to be jealous!”

May 14, 2021 02:24

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