If you're in the mood for a Halloween themed scare, check out "I did something bad last Halloween".
It's a short story that features a little girl's revenge.
*trigger warning - features child abuse
I did something naughty last year. But I didn’t get caught. And I liked it. *Really, really* liked it. So I think I’m going to do it again.
My mommy and daddy only paid attention to me when they were angry. This made avoiding detection in my house a simple matter of not drawing attention to myself. I had to pretend like I didn’t exist, to blend in with the walls, to draw into myself so much that I ceased to be human and instead resembled a turtle in its shell.
It worked most of the time. Children were for seeing not hearing, right? Well I made extra sure I wasn’t seen *or* heard and my efforts usually paid off. I’d go weeks without having a conversation with anyone at home.
Some days my camouflage didn’t work and I caught the eye of one of my parents. And on the extra bad days, both mommy and daddy saw me.
My mother took out her anger with her voice.
“Caroline, how many times do I have to tell you I want this floor clean enough to eat off of? I can see spots all over the damn place! You’re an even bigger moron than I thought if you think this looks good enough. Get back in here and do it again.”
“I’m…I’m sorry, mommy.”
“God, you’re so fucking pathetic. Stop with the crying! And don’t get any snot on your uniform You wouldn’t want your classmates knowing that you’re a blubbering idiot.”
And she’d storm away into her room, slamming the door behind her.
I know she didn’t really want me to clean the floor again. It was already spotless. Plus, the bus would be pulling up to the front of my house soon. She *wanted* me to go to school. The hours I spent in class was her quiet time, the time she didn’t have to deal with her stupid daughter. Or so she had mentioned on numerous occasions.
When she’d yell at me about the floor or the dishes or my room it wasn’t really about the quality of my cleaning abilities. No, her motives were meaner than that. My mom wanted to remind me of how much better she was than me. How much prettier and smarter and talented.
What mommy didn’t know was that every time she pointed her words in my direction, my heart got just a little blacker. I may have cried in front of her, but the tears had ceased being about pain. Now they only marked my fury.
My father expressed his anger in a more physical manner.
Both he and my mother were drinkers. Every day they would put away a case of beer, cracking the first one at the breakfast table. They didn’t chase their pancakes with orange juice or coffee. For them, alcohol was the complement to every meal.
They didn’t have to worry about working since my mother happened to be the heiress of a sizable fortune. Even alcoholism couldn’t put a dent in their fortune, although they tried their hardest to make that happen. All their money did was supply their booze and hide their cruelty.
The days when the beer was finished before daddy could pass out were the worst days. He’d send my wobbly mother to the store in search of the whiskey he liked, leaving the two of us alone together. Just me and my daddy.
When I heard him slurring my name, calling out to me across the house, I knew to brace myself. But as much as I tried to be strong, to be tough, to not care, I always ended up crying when my father was done with me. Unlike the bald fury that accompanied my mother’s attacks, these ones left me feeling empty.
But, last year I had figured out a way to feel better. No more anger. No more emptiness. Only justice.
I’d been inspired by a story my mother had told me when I was nine years old.
*It was Halloween night, and I had been allowed to go trick or treating with some neighborhood children and their families. I hadn’t gone out last Halloween because of my parent’s drunken stupor, so it was very exciting to roam the streets with grownups who were nothing like my mother and father.*
*My bag of candy started to get heavy as the night got later. Every house we stopped at seemed to give out the most magical treats! And everyone was smiling and laughing! It was so different than my ordinary existence.*
*When my friends and I started to slow down, the adults knew it was time to end the evening. As much fun as I was having, I knew that I needed to sleep before school the next day. I wouldn’t want to be tired and miss the bus. My mommy wouldn’t like that very much.*
*I said goodbye to my friends and went home, with my head full of memories and my hands full of candy.*
*I knew my parents would be drunk and sleeping at this hour, so I approached the house quietly. When I opened the front door, I heard a loud breath. The kind that you make when you get startled awake.*
*It was coming from the couch. And as I locked the front door, footsteps approached.*
*”Why and the hell are you coming home so late?”*
*It was my mother, stinking of beer and lumbering over me like an enraged bear.*
*”I’m sorry, mommy. I didn’t have my watch on, and didn’t know it was so late.”*
*”That’s no excuse! Get your ass to bed, now!”*
*I started to move away from her, hoping that those words were all she had in store for me. I must have turned too quickly, because the sack holding my treats swung off my shoulder and onto the floor. Dozens of pieces of candy spilled out, covering the carpet and my mother’s shoes. Terror caused me to freeze.*
*”Caroline. Turn around and look at me.”*
*I forced my body to obey her command. Her face was contorted in rage and she was looking back and forth from me to the candy.*
*”What in the fuck is your problem? You come waltzing in here late and then you have the audacity to throw this trash on the floor right in front of me?! Pick up your mess this instant!”*
*I dutifully picked up each piece, treasuring the memories I had created while gathering the red, blue, and yellow wrappers. After I finished, I looked up expectantly at my mother.*
*”Caroline, you know what they say about Halloween candy?” How dangerous it is?*
*I shook my head.*
*”Yes. It’s incredibly dangerous. Every year, certain children are given pieces of candy that have something wrong with them. Some pieces have razors inside. Others have deadly poison mixed in with the chocolate. No matter what’s been done to doctor the candy, the children that eat the special pieces die. Their insides get cut up or they vomit so much from the cyanide that they wither away.*
*”The children that are selected are the ones that deserve it. They’re the rotten little brats that nobody wanted in the first place.”*
*She stopped talking for a moment and smiled.*
*”I bet there’s a special piece in this bag, here. There has to be one, because you’re the worst child I’ve ever met in my life. You’re going to eat each and every single piece of this candy, right now. And you’re not going to bed until we see if you die or not.”*
*I did it. I didn’t die, but I did eat every single piece of my candy. I ate so much that I threw up over and over, begging my mother to let me stop. She was true to her word though. She forced me to continue until I’d swallowed every last bite.*
It took me a few years, but I finally learned a valuable lesson from that story. *The Special Candy!* The special candy was for the worst children. The ones who pulled my hair or called me names or who didn’t know what it was like to grow up with parents who only wanted to hurt you!
I knew plenty of kids like that. They were in my school and on my block. It would be easy to select a few.
The first batch of candy I tampered with looked lumpy and misshapen, and it was impossible to put back in the wrappers. I needed a new plan.
I used the library computer to look up recipes for chocolate bars and I bought the ingredients with money I stole from my dozing mother’s purse. The two ingredients I didn’t need to buy were already at my home—razors and arsenic. I laced all of the chocolate with poison and placed small, jagged pieces of the sharp metal in my concoctions. Using the wrappers from the failed first round, I gently placed my special treats inside and sealed them just right.
On Halloween night, I was allowed to go trick or treating on my own. I skipped about, darting from group to group, slipping pieces of chocolate into open bags as often as I could. I made a dozen pieces, and I passed them all out.
The first was to Jamey, who lived two houses down. Her mother always welcomed her from school with homemade snacks and a smile. It wasn’t fair that my own mommy only greeted me with insults!
*Hope you like chocolate, Jamey.*
The next piece was for Andy. He had held me in the coat closet, pushing his sweaty hands into my stomach, pressing his slimy lips onto mine. His touch brought back memories of my father, and the alone times we shared together.
*Maybe this will help with your awful breath, Andy!*
After that, I lost track of where the pieces went. It didn’t really matter. All of the children I selected undoubtedly had a better life than I did. It was time they were hurt *just like me*.
I arrived home in a whirl of anxiety and excitement. What if I was caught? And what’s worse, what if my candy didn’t work?
But it did. Oh, it did.
Reports of hospitalizations started rolling in less than an hour after I came back from my trick or treating. Children who had eaten some of their candy, their special candy, before bed had to be brought to the hospital for emergency surgery.
While most lived, one unfortunate did die. It was Andy. Andy who thought he could treat me how he wanted. Who thought my mouth was his to claim.
He was wrong. His life was mine to claim.
This year, I need to be careful. Although it’s been almost a year since Andy’s death and the multiple hospitalizations, parents are still wary. As the holiday grows closer, news stories have been promoted and flyers passed out, reminding the entire town of what had transpired. I kept one of the flyers. Folded it and placed it in my underwear drawer.
My parents had given me permission to go out of town for Halloween this year. One of my childhood friends had moved away, and I made a big show to my parents about how much I missed them. I think they finally relented not out of empathy, but out of a desire for a child free house.
My thirteenth birthday is a few days after Halloween. I know as the years trickle on, I will look less innocent. See, no one suspected that a child was behind the Halloween horror last year. Every suspect who was questioned resembled those washed out men you see on wanted posters. The ones that have beady eyes and who look like they wanted to diddle your children.
But me, with my blonde curls and my blue eyes and my sprite-like height, well I was just as inconspicuous as pie! I guess that’s one thing I can thank my parents for.