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  • Reese Walker

Dead Ends

By Reese Walker
Posted on November 28, 2022
Cover image title: Halloween Candy
Cover image by: Anonymous
Classification: Photography
Year: 2022

The wind howled in the distance, while stars danced along the sky. Underneath the clouds, the road lit up in flickers from the dying glow of the street lanterns. Empty homes lined the road until they met the horizon. Cracked driveways waited to be filled with cars that would never come. On each doorstep was a pumpkin, whose eyes glowed with candlelight. No doorbells were rung, and no kids dared to seek treats from this end of town.

Except for one girl.

Shadows crawled up her spine, the darkness embracing her. Not another soul was awake, but something was watching her. Her footsteps were an invitation to the creature lurking around the corner. Goosebumps trickled down her arm. A jacket was not enough to protect her from the cold of the night.

Her bag longed to hold more than a few Snickers bars. If only her parents hadn’t made her spend Halloween with her brother and his friends. If only they hadn’t been so caught up in a game of truth or dare. If only she hadn’t longed to be seen as someone more than Eli’s little sister. Then maybe she wouldn’t be scrambling down a haunted path scavenging for candy.

A cold hand pressed against her back. She swirled around. Through the dying glow of her flashlight, she saw no one. Nerves overtook her appetite, soon chocolate bars turned to crumpled wrappers. Yet, her grumbling stomach cried of fear rather than hunger.

Old branches loomed over her head, reaching to grab her. A crow sang her demise from a hollowed tree trunk nearby. The girl took another step. Under her feet, the loose cobblestones shook while insects crawled in their crevices. How can the street of the dead feel so alive?

Someone tapped her shoulder. She came face to face with a tall figure in a skeleton-mask. “Truth or dare?” The voice asked.

She shook. “Who are you?” Sweat built inside her jacket, despite the autumn’s frost.

The masked man came into view, he seemed familiar. “Answer the question. Truth or dare?”

The world started to spin. The dark entangled her thoughts, words fell from her tongue. “Truth!” She screamed, wishing the nightmare would be over.

The man in the skeleton mask was really just a boy. He chuckled. “Why do you scare so easily?” Eli asked. He revealed his face, a long nose and big eyes, like hers. Only her brother, someone who’d rather trick than treat would pull a prank like this. “My friends bet all their candy you wouldn’t last two minutes down this road. They didn’t dare follow me when I came searching for you. Anyways, do you want a Snickers bar?”

She took the chocolate and left the wrapping stranded on the haunted street. With no other trick-or-treaters in sight, they strolled home under the moonlight’s watchful eye.


* The End *

[Writing Editor: Ellie Chang]

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