Fuckers are back this evening. I’m trying to shave with my shaking hands, when I catch a glimpse of a yellow slicker, running past the window.
In my own backyard, goddamn it. Makes me jump and I cut myself. I blot the blood with tissue.
I run out to catch them, in the encroaching muddy gloom of twilight.
No one there.
I can see the prints of their sneakers in the damp on the concrete patio. Small feet. Bloody kids again.
When I go back inside, I find dogshit smeared on the door handle. I swear and yell, kicking over the ex’s planters and screaming at the pain in my toes. It might be them laughing in the distance. Yeah, it probably is. Fucking Halloween.
I want to crawl into the bottle and hope and pray for peace.
Try to keep the voices out, still the whispers in my head.
Keep the lights off, no one at home. Go away. We’re dead.
My breath had been surely wasted. Night’s finally here and stones start bouncing off the windows again.
Tap, tick, bang.
I try to ignore it, but it only gets worse. I scramble out of my seat when it sounds like bricks are being thrown, the chalky sound as they smash off the wall, the deafening boom when they find their target.
I call the cops while crouching behind the safety of my couch. They’re less than fucking useless. Sounding sympathetic, but don’t want to help.
“Lots of it happening, this time of year. Trick or treaters are turning more malicious, nothing we can do.”
I can hear it in their voices, the disdain, the revulsion, the stuff that isn’t said. I know what they say about me. But it wasn’t my fucking fault. A year tonight, that’s what they’ll be thinking. Should be in prison for what I did.
I switch on the porch lights and see the yellow slicker, running out of sight. I’m sprinting out the front door in my shorts, vest and sandals before I can even think.
The night air’s got a greasy, smokey taint. I stumble over the wet ground to the garden wall.
No one, again.
Nothing but halogen street lamps and the bark of a dog in the distance. I’m winded, legs shaking, have to stop against the wall, catch my breath, wait for the heart to slow its painful throbbing.
I look up, see the kid in the yellow slicker. Skeletal mask grinning back at me from under his hood. Half hid in the inky shade of the overgrown tree where the street light can’t reach.
“Fuck you, and fuck off before the cops get here, you little shit,” I wheeze at him, showing him my phone. He just points at me, standing still. The strangest feeling’s nipping at me, a shiver up my back. I see Yellow is not alone, as more of them press forward from the night.
I back away, clutching my chest, willing the hammers there to stop. I trip and slip along the path, but reach my doorstep. When I turn back they’ve all gathered there. Hollow eyed monsters, all dressed up for the nights’ festivities.
I’m dialling the police again, locking my door, waiting for help to come.
The first hammering on the wood lurches me backwards, it’s so close. Banging on the back door. Faces at the windows. Hands are slapping at the glass, leaving bloody fingerprints.
Through the letter slot, they scream with the sound of school bus tyres slipping merrily over rain-soaked asphalt.
I stumble through my empty house to find the back door open.
They’re standing there in rows, motionless in the dark.
Their hands move to take off their masks.
The only noise is the silence of my heart.
Steven Patchett is an Engineer, Father and Writer in the North East of England. His works have been published in Ellipsis Zine, Dread Stone Press and Molotov Cocktail. He can be found on Twitter, being encouraging. @StevenPatchett7