CAW 32: Trick or Treat

Discussion in 'Calling All Writers - CAW 32' started by TamLin, Dec 3, 2017.

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  1. TamLin

    TamLin Well Respected Member

    CAW 32: Trick or Treat

    Based on Picture 5


    A jack o’lantern’s flickering grin greeted Jo as she approached the strange house, and she hesitated before knocking. For some reason she felt anxious about drawing attention to herself while in the sight of those glowing yellow eyes…


    But then she felt her daughter Nashia’s hand tugging on her skirts, so swallowing her fear Jo rapped three times smartly on the front door. It was painted the same unwholesome shade of red as the rest of the house, and she checked to make sure the color hadn’t somehow rubbed off on her hand. “I don’t think anyone’s home?” she said, after a few seconds.


    Nashia, swinging her trick or treat back and dancing on one foot, replied, “Mommy, of COURSE someone is home. All of the lights are on!”


    That was true, of course, although the lights didn’t look entirely normal to Jo, seeming to be mostly flickering candlelight. Still, she hoped the house was empty.


    Jo never liked Halloween. An entire holiday dedicated to frightening things seemed counterproductive; wasn’t every other day scary enough as it was? If it were up to her, people would forget about the whole thing.


    She wanted to spare Nashia from the entire gruesome spectacle, but Nashia loved dressing up, and Jo couldn’t stand the idea of how heartbroken her daughter would be if every other kid on the block got a costume. So every year, against her better judgment, they went out trick or treating, and Jo spent the whole night hating herself every bit as much as she loved her daughter.


    This year’s fairy costume was Nashia’s favorite so far; Jo had made it herself, with the exception of the plastic wings, which they’d bought at the drugstore. With those cheap store-bought on Nashia really did seem to float down the sidewalks to one house after another, her small voice never wearing out as she said again and again:


    “Trick or treat!” “Trick or treat!” “Trick or treat!”


    Jo hovered behind her, hugging her jacket tight. Whenever the breeze picked up, the skeletons of dead leaves skittered in the gutters and sidewalks. She looked with suspicion on the other kids; what if she pulled aside their masks and found even uglier faces underneath, with beady little imp eyes staring back at her and crooked teeth smeared with pilfered chocolate?


    And then she scolded herself: Stop it.


    It was Nashia who spotted the strange house first. Jo could never remember seeing it before, although it wasn’t far from their own place, a tall and ungainly red thing with black trim and staring windows. The uneven picket fence was painted black too.


    Nobody had raked a single leaf in the yard since autumn started, and weeds tangled up the flower beds beneath the windows. Jo would have assumed nobody lived here, but Nashia spotted the jack o’lantern in the window and insisted they try knocking on the door.


    “Are you sure honey?” Jo had said. “I don’t like the look of this place.”


    Nashia nodded, as if she understood, but said, “I like it a lot.”


    “You do?”


    “Uh huh. It’s scary!”


    Now that they stood right in its shadow Jo didn’t like the house any more than when she’d first laid eyes on it. With yearning she looked back over her shoulder to the safety of the sidewalk and the welcoming halos of its streetlamps…


    But then the red door opened on a smiling woman wearing a long black dress and holding a candy bowl. Nashia actually leaped in the air as she said “Trick or treat!” and the plastic fairy wings on her back wobbled with the force of her tiny jump.


    Bending down to look Nashia in the eye, the woman in the black dress said, “My, my. You’re the prettiest little goblin I’ve seen all night.”


    “I’m not a goblin, I’m a fairy,” said Nashia. Then she turned in a circle on one foot, pirouette style, to make sure that the woman saw her entire costume.


    The woman in the black dress nodded as she put a handful of candy (too much, in Jo’s opinion) into Nashia’s bag. “And you’re very good at it. But fairies and goblins are sometimes the same thing.”


    “They are?” Nashia said, her eyes growing wide and thoughtful.


    “Of course,” said the woman. “Especially on Halloween.”


    And then she stood up to her full height again, tall enough to look Jo in the eye. Without even the suggestion of irony in her voice she said, “And what are you supposed to be?”

    Blinking, Jo found herself momentarily tongue-tied. “I’m…just supposed to be me, I‘m afraid.”


    The woman in black’s smile thinned out. “I don’t think that’s anything to be afraid of.”


    Over the woman in black‘s shoulder Jo saw the inside of the house lit with the soft yellow light of candle flames, and odd but homey smells wafted out of the place, all cinnamon and cloves and burning wicks, mixed with something sweet and sticky and slightly burnt that Jo couldn’t put her finger on.


    But her eyes inevitably strayed back to their host, and the woman in the black dress returned her gaze with a level expression that made it seem like she knew every single thing that Jo was thinking.


    Putting her hand on top of Nashia’s head in an affectionate gesture, the stranger said, “You know, I have something special inside that I just took out of the oven. If you both want to come in for a second?”

    No, we really have to be going home, Jo tried to say.


    But when she opened her mouth nothing came out and instead she found herself nodding in agreement. Nashia went in first, grabbing the hem of Jo‘s skirt and pulling her along. The woman in the black stepped aside, and as soon as they were both over the threshold the red door swung shut behind them.


    It was hard to see anything; the candles were barely strong enough to illuminate even themselves. The living room seemed populated by bulky shapes draped in sheets. That sweet, slightly burnt smell came from down the long hallway, and the woman took a candle from the foyer table (a black candle, Jo noticed) and held it in front of them as she led them on.


    “I apologize for keeping things so dark,” she said. “I’m expecting company later and I want to get the atmosphere just right.”


    “Are you having a Halloween party?” Nashia asked.


    The woman’s teeth glittered in the candle flame as she smiled. “Yes, I very much am.”


    “You really don’t have to go through extra trouble on our account,” said Jo, trailing in the rear.


    “It’s no trouble,” said the woman. “I wanted to make something special for the very best trick or treaters tonight. It‘s lucky you came along when you did.”


    The kitchen had more light. Another jack o’lantern sat in the middle of the table, freshly carved. A black cat with yellow eyes sat next to it, motionless except for the never-ending twitch of its tail. Nashia climbed up onto a chair to get a better look at it. “What’s her name?” she said.


    “Trulibub.”


    “Can I pet her?”

    “That’s up to her to decide.”


    Now Jo could identity that sweet smell: On a flat metal pan on the counter rested a dozen caramel apples, candlelight gleaming on the glossy surface of each. The woman in black noticed a stray bit of sweet caramel on her finger and licked it.


    “I’m Dulciana, by the way,” she said, as she picked up one apple and twisted plastic wrap around it.


    “Jovanna,” Jo said. “Everyone just calls me Jo.”


    “Jovanna it is,” Dulciana said. “You live in the neighborhood, right? Have you been here long?”

    “I was about to ask you the same thing,” Jo said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around.” She would remember seeing someone like Dulciana. The same way she’d remember if she’d ever been hit by a car.


    “I’ve been here,” the other woman said. “I guess we’ve just always missed each other.”


    She held out the apple and Nashia, no longer distracted by the cat, looked at it for the first time. “Oh!” she said. “I can’t have those. See?” She pulled at the corners of her mouth to show off her braces.


    Dulciana said, “That’s a shame. Why don’t you take it then? So that I don’t end up with an extra.”


    It took Jo a second to realize that she was talking to her. Blinking, she stared at the apple in the other woman’s hand, candlelight winking off of the plastic wrap. She was halfway toward reaching out for her before she stopped herself. “I really shouldn’t,” she said.


    “Mommies deserves a treat too.”


    Speechless for a moment, Jo said nothing. Dulciana held her gaze and let the apple fall into her palm. It was heavy.


    “Be careful,” she said. “It’s still sticky.”


    Back on the front porch, the night air seemed more crisp than a moment ago. Hesitating on the stairs, Jo turned back. “Thank you very much,” she said. She was still holding the caramel apple in her hand. Dulciana watched her from the shadows underneath the front door.


    “My pleasure,” she said. Then, “Will you stop by again sometime? Since we’re neighbors, we should get to know each other.”


    “I…yes, of course. This week maybe.”

    “Anytime,” Dulciana said. “I’m always here.”


    The red door closed again. Jo kept staring at it. Only when Nashia got her attention again was she able to look away. “Mommy, come on,” she said. “There are more houses.”


    “Right,” Jo said. She spared the strange house one last look over her shoulder as they walked away. The jack o’lantern kept watching them from the window. She still didn’t like the look on its face. It seemed to know too many things.


    ***


    “You liked the lady in the scary house,” Nashia said as she climbed into bed that night. She’d changed into her pajamas, but insisted on keeping her wings.


    Jo nodded as she tucked her in. “Yes, I guess I did,” she said.


    “I did too. I liked her cat also.”


    “Did it let you pet it?”

    “Not this time. It said maybe next time.”


    “Yes, there’s always next time,” Jo said, and kissed Nashia on the forehead.


    Sitting up a little again, Nashia said, “You don’t like Halloween, do you?”

    Shrugging, Jo admitted, “No, I never have.”


    “Why not?”


    “I guess nights like this just remind me that you’re growing up is all. Good night, pumpkin.”


    “Good night,” Nashia said, and rolled over. She’d bend up her wings up sleeping like that, but she didn’t seem to mind. Jo turned on the night light (jack o’lantern shaped) before she left the room.


    Sighing, she flopped onto a chair in the living room and put her feet up. Her knees were going to be sore tomorrow from all the hiking door to door. Nashia’s trick or treat bag was nearly bursting. It sat by the door, like the carcass a great hunter might drag back to his cave.


    Jo wanted a drink, but she reminded herself that it was late and she’d be tired enough in the morning. She’d have to start at the hospital early to make up for the hours she’d taken off tonight, and then after work she and Nashia both had to start getting ready for her class’s Thanksgiving pageant. And then…


    Groaning, Jo covered her face. She felt like sinking into the material of the chair and never coming out again. The holidays were always a grind. Of course, the non-holidays weren’t much easier anymore. But life had to go on, didn’t it?


    Realizing her shoes were pinching her feet, Jo reached down to tug them off. She only got halfway through the first one before the candy apple caught her eye; it was sitting right in the middle of the coffee table, next to her purse. She’d have sworn that it should still actually be in her purse, but evidently she had removed it. Now its mere presence seemed somehow incriminating.


    Picking it up with just two fingers, she went to throw it out. She wished the woman (Dulciana, she reminded herself) hadn’t insisted she accept it. But then, she hadn’t really taken all that much convincing, Jo realized.


    Scolding herself, she held the apple at arm’s length and marched to the kitchen, pressing the pedal on the trash can with her foot. She imagined that the plastic-wrapped treat was a dead sailor being consigned to burial at sea, and laughed at herself.


    But when she tried to let it go, she couldn’t. Frowning, she tried again. Despite her resolve, she simply couldn’t bring herself to toss the apple away.


    She looked at it more closely. In the yellow kitchen light, it didn’t even look particularly appetizing. Shaking her head, Jo muttered to herself, “You‘re going screwy, kid.”


    Instead of trying to throw it out again, she sat down at the dining room table and unwrapped the treat, going slowly so that the plastic wrap didn’t pull all of the caramel off. The smell of semi-burnt sugar was almost overwhelming. It should have made her sick, but didn’t.


    Drumming her two fingertips on the tabletop, she regarded the apple with suspicion. “You are not wanted here,” she said to it. She wanted to laugh again but was afraid it might come out sounding like the laugh of a crazy person. The apple, of course, made no response. She said again, “You weren’t invited in. You’re a hitchhiker. So it’s time to go. All right?”


    She paused, as if waiting for a reply again, and this time she did laugh. “Oh, all right, the hell with it.”


    Picking it up tentatively, her first bite was just a nibble. She realized she’d been expecting it to taste special, but the fact was that it didn’t; and as she sank her teeth in more, Jo realized that it didn’t necessarily have to. It was good enough already.


    She allowed herself a second bite, and then a third, bigger one. The juices popped on her tongue, and the sickeningly sweet taste of sugar filled her mouth. Her lips were sticky right away, and she wiped them on the back of her hand like a kid. Swallowing, she felt the lump travel all the way down her throat.


    Sitting back from the table, Jo looked at the bite as if someone else had done it. She imagined turning around for a moment and coming back to discover the entire thing eaten.


    But no, she told herself, there’s no here but you. Except for Nashia, but she was in bed, and too reliably well behaved to sneak sweets in the middle of the night. Your daughter’s not like you, Jo told herself. She’s a good girl.


    And then she thought, what the hell is wrong with me?


    Jo wasn’t tired anymore. Even the ache in her knees was gone. Restlessness had replaced exhaustion. She looked at the clock on the wall and was startled to see that it was past 11:30 and going on midnight. Where had the time gone?


    Standing and pacing, she looked at the window. It was as black as oil outside, even the streetlamps seeming to have given up their nightly contest with the darkness. Maybe I’ll go for a walk anyway, she thought. Burn off some of this extra energy. It’ll be healthy.


    Pausing to put on her coat and wrap a scarf against the cold, she listened for any sign that Nashia might still be awake after all. The house was quiet through and through.


    She really shouldn’t leave her daughter here alone, she thought with chagrin; but Nashia had slept through plenty of Jo’s graveyard shifts over the last year and would sleep through more in the year to come. This won’t be any different, she told herself. And anyway, I’ll be right back. She locked the door behind her.


    It was the cold, burnt-out end of a Halloween night, blacker than the wick of a snuffed candle. The kids and their parents had all gone home. Jo had the entire street to herself, it seemed, although of course she’d walked only half a block before the fleeting, paranoid feeling of being watched set in.


    It only took a few steps for her to admit to herself where she was going. And why not? She did tell me to stop by sometime. Maybe her party isn’t over yet. I can catch the end…


    At first she worried that she couldn’t quite remember her way back to the red house; earlier she’d just been following Nashia as she fluttered and flitted wherever she pleased. Jo retraced their steps now, struggling to remember which way they’d turned and at which intersection.


    For the second time that night she almost walked right by the place. It was the jack o’lantern that caught her eye again. Its candle had burned low, it seemed, but wasn’t out yet. The carved pumpkin sat right on the porch steps instead of in the window. It looked like it was expecting her.


    She wanted to bend down and blow it out as she approached, but as she did she noticed that the red door was halfway open, as if someone had forgotten it midway through the act of closing it and just forgotten. Jo’s footsteps thumped up the porch steps. A breeze blew the dead leaves out of her way.


    It’s actually a rather pretty old house, she realized. I shouldn’t have been so hard on it before. Even the color is rather nice, she thought as she reached for the door. It was a warm, living color. What was it her ex used to say about the color red? “If it bleeds, it leads.” She couldn’t remember what that was supposed to mean, but it seemed to fit now.


    Letting herself in, she found the interior of the house much brighter. There were more black candles burning, on the mantle and the end tables and even right here in the entryway. Melted wax filled metal trays and ran over the sides of candlesticks. The little yellow flames seemed to form a trail for her as she pushed the door shut behind her with her back. She imagined them as a welcoming committee of sorts.


    There was nobody here in the living room, where sheets still covered everything. For a moment Jo almost retraced her footsteps back to the kitchen, but no, she sensed that wasn’t quite right. Instead she followed the candles to another open door, and standing at the threshold she peered down into the swallowing black depths of the basement.


    Hesitating, Jo put one foot on the top step and then waited to see if anything would happen. Nothing did, of course, although in the moment of hesitation she managed to at least ask herself what the hell she was doing. I just broke into a stranger’s house, she realized. I’m about to barge into a dark room where I’m liable to be shot. Shot if I’m lucky.


    Instead of turning around, she took another step down. The basement blackness looked like a solid thing, some sort of membrane that she might break through any minute. She thought of playing hide and go seek with Nashia and she wanted to call out, “Ready or not, here I come!” if only to see what the reply might be.


    Biting her lip and holding her breath, she half walked and half charged down the basement steps, bracing herself for the coldness and darkness below.


    Instead she found the basement strangely warm and inviting, and a cozy feeling like a comfortable blanket settled on her as she forged through the shadows and came out the other side in a space with a deep, plush rug laid out on a brick floor, the room lit bright orange by the roar of an old, black furnace on one end that created flickering shadows on every wall.


    Dulciana was here, dressed in a long black garment that flowed down to the floor, and she greeted Jo with an impatient look, as if she’d been kept waiting. Standing at the foot of the stairs, Jo wasn’t sure what to say at first. Then she threw back her shoulders and said, “You told me to come by.”


    “Yes,” was all Dulciana said. With her back to the fire it was impossible to see her face or her expression.


    Jo tried again. “I thought maybe you’d still be having your party.”


    Dulciana didn’t answer for a while, and then she shook her head very deliberately, moving it just once to the left and then just once to the right.


    “Oh no,” she said. And then she opened up her black robe a little bit, so that Jo could see that had nothing on underneath it. “The party is just getting started.”


    Jo took one step forward, but Dulciana stopped her with a single upraised finger. “Ah, ah,” she said. “Not like that. Crawl.”


    Blinking, Jo said, “I’m sorry?”

    “You crawl if you want to come to me. Or you stay right where you are.”


    The furnace light burned like a red halo behind Dulciana’s head. Jo noticed for the first time that she was holding a huge black book, almost too big for her to lift, and she thought it made her look like a saint in a stained glass window.


    Careful not to scuff her pants, Jo dropped to her knees, then went down on her hands, and then, keeping her eyes on Dulciana at all times, she crawled on all fours over to where the other woman’s bare foot tapped impatiently on the deep piled rug. Up close she smelled like perfume and sweat.


    Tentatively, watchful for any negative sign, Jo kissed the other woman’s bare foot. Dulciana purred in approval. Then she extended an index finger. Rising up a little, Jo kissed her fingertip, then began sucking on the rest of the finger.


    “That’s right,” Dulciana said. Her voice was low, and little different from the steady growl of the furnace. “You must have liked your sticky treat.”


    Jo nodded in answer but kept her eyes closed and continued sucking until Dulciana took her hand back.


    Suddenly hesitant, Jo briefly glanced away. “I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” she said.


    “You can’t possibly think I care what you normally do. I have another treat, if you need it.”


    She opened the front of her robe more, revealing naked skin painted orange in the firelight, with the soft curves of hips and thighs. Jo leaned in almost before she realized what she was doing, yearning to bury her face between those legs. Dulciana held her off with one hand.


    “Ah ah. Not while you’re like that. Take off your clothes. No! Do it slowly.”


    Her cheeks burned red, but Jo obeyed, pulling her sweater up and off and depositing it on the bare part of the floor before doing the same with her undershirt. Once she was down to her bra Dulciana reached out and squeezed her exposed breasts, a quick and violent motion that took her by surprise and made her gasp.


    The other woman ignored it and pulled her in to begin fondling her more, putting her hands everywhere, groping Jo‘s breasts and legs and thighs and the curve of her buttocks; Jo felt like she was being sized up.


    The arch of Dulciana’s eyebrows told her she still expected Jo to continue undressing, and she slipped her jeans down her own thighs and to the floor, stepping out of them and then catching her breath in her throat when Dulciana stuck her fingers underneath Jo’s panties and continued touching anything she wanted.


    Freeing up her hands meant Dulciana had to put the book down on a nearby table. Glancing at it, Jo couldn’t recognize the language or even make sense of the illustrations on the gigantic open pages. “What’s that?” she said, noticing that her own voice sounded distance and hazy now, like she was drunk.


    “Nothing you need to worry about,” Dulciana said. There were other things on the table: a feather, a knife, a bowl of water and a bowl of salt, a piece of white chalk that had been used to draw a circle on the tabletop, and other things around the edge of that circle too. Jo saw that an apple was part of the arrangement too.


    But then Dulciana dragged Jo’s gaze back to her. Jo stood naked now, and encircled in Dulciana’s arms; the other woman’s grip was strong and hard, but her skin felt soft and smooth and Jo felt goosebumps wherever they touched. She didn’t mind the hard, pawing way that Dulciana touched her anymore. It felt good to have another woman’s hands all over her while Jo looked into Dulciana’s deep, dark eyes, the same color as the shadows in the corners of the basement.


    Dulciana’s lips were red and Jo wanted to kiss them, but it didn’t seem safe to lean in. Instead she let Dulciana push her to her knees again, and then Dulciana leaned back against the table and spread her legs, the black cloak spreading too. Jo crawled forward and laid her cheek against the cool, soft flesh of Dulciana’s bare leg, then began trailing wet kisses from the other woman’s knee all the way up to the inside of her thigh.


    Twining her fingers through Jo’s hair, Dulciana cooed. “That’s right,” she said. “I know what you came here for.” She spread open even wider and dragged Jo in. Her pussy looked swollen and juicy in the firelight. Jo tried to envision taking a bite of the sweet apple again, but of course, that wasn’t right at all; that was weak and pale compared to putting her lips against Dulciana’s warm, wet pussy and drinking it in.


    Closing her eyes, she lapped inside Dulciana’s thighs and licked again and again at the other woman’s swollen lips, savoring the sweet tastes and the acrid ones. Dulciana cooed more and pushed on the back of Jo’s head with both hands. Jo felt the tight cradle of Dulciana’s thighs close around her face and pressed herself further into it. Every single inch of her own body was gooseflesh.


    “That’s the treat you wanted,” Dulciana said as she growled deep in her throat.


    “Mmmhmm,” was all that Jo could say, her head swimming with the scents of the other woman’s body. She felt the heat of the nearby furnace particularly acutely on her own bare backside as she stuck it out, and she imagined what she must look like here, naked as sin in a complete stranger’s house in the middle of the night with barely a memory of how she’d even gotten here.


    “It’s been a long time since you treated yourself, hasn’t it?” Dulciana continued.


    “Mmmhmm,” Jo said again. God she felt good; Jo wanted to melt all over the basement floor, but instead she continued licking and teasing and sucking away. She put her hands between her own legs and worked her fingertips in a tight and furious circle, until she was positively dripping wet, feeling it run down the inside of her own thighs.


    “That’s not how we should live,” Dulciana said. “We take the things we need to feel good, and we use them until they’re used up. Don’t we?”

    “Oh yes!” Jo said when she Dulciana pushed her away and she could finally talk again. Sweet juices covered her lips, and she licked them greedily. Then Dulciana pulled her up for a kiss, and the touch of their lips meeting was like electricity in the dark.


    Jo went back to her knees and resumed licking, while Dulciana picked her book up from the table and began reading from it:


    “’Nothing is real except for the world and the flesh. No god is higher than the gratification of flesh, because all thoughts and imaginings die when we let the flesh grow too weak.’ Do you understand?”


    “Oh yes,” Jo said, touching herself again.


    Dulciana continued: “’What they call sins are our true gods. What they call heresy is the only piety. Nothing exists except for life, and the only blasphemy is to deny what living wants.’ Do you understand?”


    “Yes,” Jo whispered, shaking all over. “Mother, goddess, vessel, queen, I understand.”


    And at that moment she did. Kneeling in the red light, she became a whole congregation to herself, on her knees and praying in the chapel that was the other woman’s body to the god that was herself. Purring, Dulciana touched her affectionately on top of the head.


    “That’s very good,” she said. “But to make sure you get it right, I think we’ll have to try it over again.”


    And Jo agreed.


    ***

    Jo woke with a start, suddenly frightened, as if from a nightmare that had retreated before entirely finishing its handiwork.


    Panicked, she tried to figure out where she was and realized it was just the living room; she’d fallen asleep in the chair after putting Nashia to bed, as the crick in her neck and the pain in her lower back signaled.


    Groaning, she dragged herself to the kitchen, where Nashia was already up and had dutifully fixed breakfast for herself, nodding at her mother over her Cheerios as Jo fixed a morning meal of aspirin. “Good morning, Mommy,” she said.


    “Good morning, dear,” said Jo, kissing Nashia on top of the head. “Mommy is having another one of those mornings.”


    “You were talking in your sleep.”


    Suddenly more alert, Jo said, “What did I say?”

    “I couldn’t tell. But you were having a bad dream.”


    Pausing before sitting down at the table, Jo said, “I guess I was, in a way.”


    She could only just remember whatever she had dreamed about, a shadow play of naked bodies and fire…


    “And you left the door unlocked when you went out last night,” Nashia continued.


    Jo choked. “What do you mean?” she said as soon as she recovered, although she already knew by the time she was even done asking the question.


    “You went out just before midnight. I woke up when I heard the door close, but I thought you must have been taking a walk, so I got up to make sure you locked the door, because you’re always warning me to stay safe and lock up the house at night. You hadn’t, but don’t worry, I did it for you.”


    “That was…very good, dear. I’m sorry I woke you.”


    Jo shook a couple more aspirin out for herself. Details of the previous night’s dream tugged at the corners of her memory, but she forced them back down.


    “It’s okay. Isn’t this your apple?” Nashia said, pointing. Jo was startled to realize that the caramel apple--unwrapped and with several large bites missing--had been sitting in the middle of the table the entire time.


    Tsking and feeling guilty, she picked up the half-eaten thing and prepared to throw it away. Following along with her now empty bowl, Nashia said, “You don’t want the rest?”

    “I don’t think so. I mean, I do, but it’s not good for me.”


    “I thought the only things that aren’t good for you are the things you don’t let yourself have?”


    “Who told you that?” Jo said, turning around in alarm.


    Nashia shrugged. “I don’t know. I just heard it somewhere. Is that not right?” And her face looked so innocent and guileless that Jo had to look away.


    “It’s complicated,” she said.


    “Okay. But if you don’t want the rest can I have a bite? I know I’m not supposed to because of my braces, but it’ll just be a small one? Please?”

    Jo paused and looked at her daughter again. Her daughter, who was already growing tall for her age, and in whose face Jo often imagined she could already see the shadow of the woman she’d grow into.


    Then she looked at the mark of the bite she’d taken from the caramel apple the previous night and, without quite wanting to, crossed her legs.


    “No dear,” Jo said. “That’s not a good idea. Someday you can decide things like that for yourself. When you’re older.”
     
    fantasysflirt and Redbeard1031 like this.
  2. Very nice and an enjoyable story.
     
  3. Redbeard1031

    Redbeard1031 Well-Known Member

    Right from the start I think this is going to be an excellent CAW. Great work you had me from the beginning and I was trapped inside the story until I reached its end. Thanks for your submission.
     
  4. Uncle B

    Uncle B Well-Known Member

    Very nice work! This was a great spooky, and also sexual story. With plenty of description, I was able to visualize the red house, and see the events in my mind. The story moved along and left me interested in where it was going.

    This is the type of tale that I enjoy. There are so many things that we don't know, but enough information to be able to piece our own ideas together. I think it is a fine line between not enough information, and too much. I feel like you landed on the right side of the line.

    No glaring mistakes, and a lot of good writing. This will be one to read again.


    Bonus points for adding the number of the picture that you used. I thought that was a requirement, but I see that many of the stories didn't include that.
     
  5. Missrachael

    Missrachael Queen of Cheshire

    Wow! Excellent read! The level of suspense was brilliant and I really felt Jo's thoughts in full. Love the confusion twist at the end too. Well done and good luck x
     
  6. AnX...

    AnX... Bloody nuisance

    I liked it, from to start to finish, well worded, but all the way through I was worried about Nashia being alone.
     
    Missrachael likes this.
  7. 1 Toy Maker

    1 Toy Maker Well-Known Member

    That was excellent from start to finish!
     
    Missrachael likes this.
  8. Pars001

    Pars001 #1 Knight Writer

    hmmm well it was deeper than I thought it would be. Took a bit to get all of it. A different take on Halloween.
     
    Missrachael likes this.
  9. bistander

    bistander Well-Known Member

    It was a good story. Well thought out with suspense and a message. Minor mistakes.

    The style, format or whatever it's called made it hard for me to read and enjoy the way I think I could have. Can't say they were errors, but turned me off.
    More than 12 paragraphs starting with But then, and then or just but.
    There was ellipsis at the end of paragraphs that confused me and at one point, on one screen I saw paragraphs starting with:
    Sitting, Shrugging, Sighing, Groaning, Realizing, Picking, Scolding

    I'm sorry, I know it's just me, but stuff like that takes me out of the story and I have to keep fighting my way back in. That makes it hard to enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  10. ejls

    ejls Moderator Staff Member

    A really well-told and well written story. I especially enjoyed your skill with descriptions. Very enjoyable and on my short list.
     
  11. Little Miss K

    Little Miss K **Reigning CAW Champion**

    A little creepy and weird, but I like it. :D

    This leaves me with a whole bunch of questions. Was this Jo's fantasy, or was she coerced by the tainted apple? Did the apple make her do it, or did it only release her inhibitions? Most of all, did the cat really talk to Nashia? :eek:

    I didn't really like Dulciana. :confused: Maybe I wasn't supposed to, or maybe it didn't matter if I did or not. She is a little bit spooky, and I'm not sure I like the way she went about seducing Jo. It also seemd like the sex was very one sided, and it seemed like if this was Jo's desire, that she didn't get much out of it for herself.

    The writing was very descriptive, and I could easily picture the scenes. I liked it. :)
     
  12. TamLin

    TamLin Well Respected Member

    This story started as a variation of the old urban myth about the poisoned Halloween candy, with the obvious twst that mere poison seems like a failure of imagination and that the parent might make a more enticing quarry than the child.

    As an adult, trick or treating seems like a potentially scary experience: Kids are often without supervision and possibly in a community they might not usually frequent, and I can imagine a sense of suspense or anxiety about every new door they knock at...except of course I don't remember ever feeling any of that back when I was a kid trick or treating myself. These are adult anxieties that we project onto childhood experiences, and so I tried to imagine a scenario in which an adult fear--which also corresponds with a desire, because in my experience the two things are often related--plays out but leaves the child unaware.

    Originally this was to be a larger and more elaborate story, first with other witches and Satanic cultists joining Dulciana and then, inversely, with Jo being joined by other unwitting parents drawn back to the house, but eventually I decided that the gratuitous group sex distracted from the protagonist's experience. I might bring those elements back in another draft for next Halloween, but we'll see.

    Thanks to everyone who read and congratulations to the winner. Cheers.
     
    bistander likes this.