Treats

📅 Published on October 23, 2023

“Treats”

Written by Brian Martinez
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 12 minutes

Rating: 5.50/10. From 2 votes.
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The annual office Halloween party was in full effect.  The large, open-space office was plastered wall-to-wall with paper bats and plastic pumpkins, and every surface covered in enough candy bowls to give a football team diabetes.  Dressed in their vampire capes and witch’s hats, the workers and managers laughed and flirted with chocolate fingers and icing-stained teeth.

In other words, Richard was in Hell.  He could barely stand his co-workers on a normal day, but when he was forced to stay after hours and pretend to have fun with them, he felt downright murderous.  He couldn’t even tell himself he was getting paid to deal with those idiots; social gatherings were unpaid.

Christie from Accounting, dressed as a sexy-yet-work-appropriate cat, sauntered over to Richard with a red cup of what looked to be soda.  She must have seen the look on his face, the one he’d been so carefully trying to hide, because she gave him a friendly smile that made her whiskers perk up.

“What’s the matter, Rich?  Couldn’t find a costume in time?”  She took a sip of her suspiciously-watery Coke and eyed him up and down.

Richard scoffed at the notion.  Imagine him, a full-grown man, rushing around to stores to pick out some overpriced outfit that smelled like carcinogens and open flames.  “I don’t wear masks,” he replied succinctly, even though he’d spent his entire day masking.  Her painted cat nose wrinkled up at him.

“You don’t like Halloween?”

He considered keeping up the lie, pretending he was having a good time, but he couldn’t maintain appearances any longer.  “What’s to like?  Cheap costumes, bad makeup, teenagers prowling the streets to do property damage.  Not to mention the kids knocking on my door, asking for free stuff.”

“Damn, Rich,” Christie said, slapping him on his arm.  “I didn’t realize you were such a curmudgeon.”

“I’m fine; it’s everyone else who’s being childish.  Anyway, the whole thing was invented by the candy companies to sell more chocolate.”

She giggled.  “Isn’t Halloween like a thousand years old?  It was called saw-when or something.”

“Okay, so they didn’t invent it; they just ruined it.  Now I’m supposed to spend my hard-earned money on crap just because everyone says to.”

Christie glanced around the room.  “There’s so much candy here, you could take some home to put out, and no one would even notice.”

He shook his head.  “That’s not the point.”

“And what is the point exactly?”

Before he could answer, some movement across the office caught his eye.  Jeff from Receiving was ducking out early, probably because his wife had just given birth a few weeks earlier.  Richard didn’t have a new kid to use as an excuse—thank God—but that didn’t mean he planned to stick around and waste his entire night just because he was smart enough to be single.  And now that he could no longer be criticized as being the first person to leave, it was time to make his escape.

“I might need a ride home,” Christie suddenly said, either to herself or to him; he wasn’t sure.  Either way, he ignored it as another waste of time.  Like he needed Christie, of all people, hitting on him and then filing harassment charges when he turned her down.

“Well, I’m heading out,” he told her, already walking away.  “You be careful out there.  Weirdos come out of the woodwork tonight.”  She said something about taking candy, but he didn’t hear it.  He was already grabbing his jacket and bag and heading toward the exit while doing his best not to be spotted by the boss.

***

With the long days of summer in the past, the sun had already gone down.  The parking lot was dark, lit every twenty feet by evenly-spaced streetlights that threw pools of yellow onto the blacktop.  Richard held his coat closed against the wind and speed-walked to his car, feeling the chill of the damp autumn air in his bones.  For a moment, he almost wished he’d brought a companion home for warmth, even Christie.

The street beyond the parking lot was almost completely unlit save for the occasional blink of a security camera, their electronic eyes scanning for intruders.  Where once the company’s office had been located in the center of the city, surrounded by the sound and movement of people, in the last few years, they had moved their business to the decidedly more industrial outskirts.  It was a desolate, lonely place populated mostly by factories and trucks, cheaper and with less taxes, but not nearly as easy on the eyes.

Richard told himself he liked it better that way, that it was quieter and less distracting, but the truth was he missed the old location.  The streets there were full of beautiful women and nice restaurants to take them to.  The streets here unnerved him at night.  They were cold and dark, like staring into black paint. Stare long enough, and he began seeing faces in the swirls.

Even now, his straining eyes picked out shapes in the empty spaces, four or five phantom spots drifting about in his vision.  He scolded himself for allowing his mind to wander, scaring himself like a child. Then he got in his car and drove off.

***

It was a painfully long commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and Richard was exhausted.  So much so, in fact, that he barely noticed the trick-or-treaters running up and down his street, clutching their candy bags and squealing like little pigs.

Just as he was turning onto his block, something darted out in front of his car.  Richard slammed on the brakes.  Tires screeched on pavement as the car came to a hard stop, sending his work bag to the floor and the contents scattering.  He picked his head up.  A mummy, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, stared back at him through the windshield.  Richard’s heart pounded as he realized he’d nearly hit one of the trick-or-treaters with his car.

He cursed and honked at the lanky mummy running to catch up with his friends, bandages flapping behind.  The kid could have ruined Richard’s night, or worse, his career, simply because he was too dumb to look both ways before crossing the street.  Sure, pedestrians had the right of way, but they were also a lot softer and crunchier than cars.

“Too old to be dressing up anyway,” Richard mumbled as he parked and got out of his car.  At least he’d been lucky enough to find a spot right in front of his building.  But as he leaned in to retrieve his bag, scooping the spilled items back inside, he got the feeling someone was standing behind him.  A burning in his ears like he was being watched.

A group of small kids had formed a semi-circle around him, five in all.  They were holding bags and wearing identical costumes: sheets covered their heads and bodies, torn shrouds that ended below the knees in ragged strips.  With eyes peering up at Richard through holes in the sheets, they all said, “Trick-or-treat” in a practiced chorus of uniform voices.

Something about them bothered Richard, tickled his brain like a dull alarm heard just beyond a wall. Richard shooed them away, telling them to get away from him, but they didn’t move.  They simply said again in unison, “Trick-or-treat,” holding out their bags.

“I don’t have anything,” he said as if he needed to explain himself.  Still, they didn’t leave.  They just stared back at him until he walked off, not moving an inch as he made his way up the stairs and inside the apartment building, shutting the door behind him and making sure it locked.

He checked to see if they were still there, watching him from beside his car, but they were gone.  No trace of any of the five.  “Brats,” he whispered under his breath, fixing the bag on his shoulder and heading up the staircase that always smelled of damp carpet.

Mister Thomas, Richard’s neighbor across the hallway, was bent over, putting out a bowl of candy in front of his door.  He always did for the kids in the building and whoever else managed to get through the front door.  He was an older guy, bald like a baby, with a wife who rarely went out anymore.  Mister Thomas spotted Richard coming down the hall and gave him a friendly nod.

“Don’t forget,” he said, gesturing to the bowl.

“I don’t participate,” Richard replied succinctly.  Mister Thomas’ white eyebrows shot up on his face like two surprised caterpillars.

“You’re not worried about upsetting the kids?”

Richard scoffed.  “Why, so they don’t egg my door?  I’m not getting the shakedown.  They can go to the store like the rest of us.” Richard fished his key out and unlocked his door.

“Ah, it’s all in good fun,” Mister Thomas said with a shrug, straightening up with a groan.

“Not for me,” Richard replied, slipping inside his apartment and ending the conversation.

The apartment was empty, quiet, the way he liked it.  As he stood there, under the single light of his small foyer, Richard considered Mister Thomas’ words.  He had to admit, the man had a point.  If kids came knocking for candy and found he didn’t have any, that could set them up for disappointment.  He pictured the sad looks on their faces looking up at him.  While it would probably make for a funny image, it would also grow stale very quickly, especially the fifth and sixth and seventh time it interrupted his night.  He was forced to consider his options.

In the end, he grabbed a few things from the kitchen and headed out into the hallway to do some quick work.  Hands on his hips, he admired his handiwork: a sign that read NO CANDY! Taped to his door.

“All in good fun,” he snorted, and went back inside.

Later, after Richard had changed from his work clothes and into his usual t-shirt and sweatpants, he was just finally settling into his chair with a drink when there was a quick knock at his door. Apparently the sign hadn’t worked the way he’d hoped.  Probably, he realized, because some kids were too dumb to know how to read.  He set his drink down and stomped to the door, ready to give whoever it was a piece of his mind.

When he opened the door, he was even more annoyed to discover the same five kids from earlier standing on his doorstep, still covered up in sheets, still holding out bags like beggars.  Again, in unison, they said, “Trick-or-treat,” in a way that grated on Richard’s last nerve.  It was almost like they were taunting him rather than making a request.

“I told you I don’t have anything,” he said through gritted teeth.  They looked up at him through their eye slits and, as if he hadn’t just said anything, once again said in harmony, “Trick-or-treat.”

Under the harsh cast of the hallway light, Richard noticed how dirty their costumes were.  The sheets they wore were downright filthy.  If their mothers had ever washed them, it must have been before the kids rolled around on the ground and maybe even jumped into a dumpster for good measure.

“I don’t think you heard me,” he raised his voice, “get out of here before I kick you out.”

“Trick-or-treat,” the kids repeated, no louder, no quieter than before, and yet he sensed a rising urgency in their tone.  He took a step out into the hallway to grab one of the little jerks by their dirty sheet and shake some fear into him.  But he stopped himself.  You had to be careful with behavior like that these days.  One shaky cell phone video was all it took to take down a guy like him, not like when he was younger and kids could actually be punished the way they deserved.  He wouldn’t give anyone the satisfaction of his undoing, especially not for something as pointless as Halloween.

Instead, he stepped back inside and slammed the door in their sheet-covered faces.  Returning to his drink, he mumbled into it how kids lacked respect, that no one reads signs anymore.  Then he turned the TV on and located the news.

***

Forty minutes.  That’s how long he got to watch TV before he was interrupted again.  Not even an hour of well-earned peace.

He’d only gotten halfway through sports and a third of the way through his drink when he found his attention drifting away from the screen.  It was a sound that did it, like someone tapping on his window. Considering he lived on the third floor, it seemed unlikely that tapping was the cause of the sound, especially since it wasn’t coming from the fire escape window.

He tried to ignore the noise and focus on the football highlights, but again he heard it.  Then again. After the third time in a row, he began to realize what he was hearing.

Tiny rocks, hitting the glass.

A fire lit in his blood.  Richard jumped up from his seat and ran to the window to catch them in the act. Sure enough, down on the street, he caught a glimpse of a tiny, white sheet wisping away and out of sight.

“Those little bastards,” he said, fumbling to put on his shoes.  He took the musty stairs down two and three at a time, bursting out the front door of the building, hoping to catch one of the costumed kids before they got away.  There were other kids out, as well as their parents, but he didn’t spot any dirty sheets among them.

They were gone.

“If I see you again, I’m calling the cops,” Richard announced to the night.  A few of the parents gave him odd looks, but otherwise the comment went unanswered.  It was getting colder, and he wasn’t wearing a coat.  He retreated back inside, looking left and right all the way.

Back in his apartment, though, something wasn’t right.  The light was on in the kitchen even though he was one hundred percent sure it hadn’t been when he left.  Worse, his largest bowl was sitting out on the counter, placed almost intentionally close to the edge.  It looked as if the slightest nudge would send it falling off the counter and crashing down to the floor.  He hadn’t used the bowl in months, let alone touched it that night.

He walked to it in a daze, not quite understanding.  He picked it up, held it, noticed how cold it was. As he put the bowl in the cabinet, back where it belonged, he realized what bothered him most about it. What, perhaps, he was supposed to realize.

It was the perfect size for candy.

Someone had been in his apartment.  Not just someone; one of those little brats had lured him out so the rest could walk right in and go through his cabinets.  It was the trick-or-treaters, the children in the sheets.  There was no other explanation.

Richard opened the foyer closet and grabbed the baseball bat he kept there for emergency use, gripping it tightly next to his head as he made his way through the apartment.  If any one of them was still there, he was going to break their legs, simple as that.  He would lie to the police and tell them he didn’t know they were kids, that it was dark and they were wearing masks.  He would be well within his rights to do so.

First, he went to the bedroom, checking the closet and under the bed.  If he was a kid, he figured, that was where he would hide.  But he found nothing.  Then he checked the bathroom, in the shower, under the sink.  Then back out to the kitchen and living room.  He even checked under the couch, where no one could reasonably fit, but he imagined a sneaky kid with enough effort could at least shove himself under halfway.

Twice he went through the apartment until he was sure he was alone.  They’d been there, he knew it, but they were long gone now.  He waited for more signs of them, almost praying for more interruptions so he could deal with them properly.  But all remained quiet for an hour, then two, until he accepted that they’d moved on to terrorize some other poor sap.

He returned to his drink, then another, but he kept his baseball bat close by.

***

Later that night, long after Richard had fallen asleep in bed under the heaviness of drink, he awoke from a deep sleep.  His head was fuzzy.  More than fuzzy, it felt like he was drowning in syrup.  His arms wouldn’t move, and he could barely feel his legs and feet.  When his eyes finally blinked open, he didn’t believe what they were seeing.

The five children in sheets surrounded his bed, arranged in a star, two at each side and one at the foot. Small eyes stared at Richard through the eye slits.

Richard tried to jump up and grab the closest kid, give him the beating of his life, but he couldn’t move. His body, naked except for the underwear he slept in, was pinned to the bed by an unseen force.  There were no ropes holding him, no chains, yet no matter how much he struggled, he could only watch in horror as the children removed their sheets to reveal the death underneath.

Rotten, sunken faces stared at him coldly, the skin shriveled and gray.  Bony arms held bags out to him as their broken lips once again uttered a chorus of, “Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat,” chanting it again and again, “trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat.”

This was no simple phrase they’d been repeating all night, he realized with mounting terror.  It was a choice.  The way the phrase used to mean before it was repeated so much it nearly lost all meaning. They were telling him to decide.  No, not just telling him, demanding it.

Choose one: trick, or treat.

Seeing as he now did their true form, their gruesome power revealed, Richard shuddered to think what they would consider tricks.  Still, he couldn’t bring himself to say the word, to admit his fear and acknowledge their control over him.  To do that seemed like an admission far beyond the here and now but to everything he’d ever denied, everything that had ever scared him.

“Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat,” they droned over and over, and though their tone remained the same, the words sank deeper and deeper into Richard’s skull until they were like rusty nails being hammered into it.  His mind felt as if it would buckle and give, his body helpless to do anything about it.

He could stand it no longer.  He drew up his strength and willed his lips to move.  Forced the word up from his throat and out his mouth so they could hear it, so they could do what they came to do and leave him alone.

“Tr-treat,” he choked with great effort, and the moment it left him, his body relaxed.  It felt like he’d given himself up to them, warts and all.  Like he’d admitted he was only a child himself, small and afraid, with no power over the world or anything in it.  Tears stung the corners of his eyes as he looked at them for acceptance of his choice.  He didn’t keep candy in the apartment, no, but there were some things in the pantry that were sweet, enough to fill up their bags and be on their way.

To his horror, the children laughed.  They laughed at him and at his choice.  It was a sound like no one should hear, like the grave itself coughing up its corpse and enjoying the taste.  Tingling sweat broke out all over his skin, and warmth ran between his legs.

The deathly children gathered close.  Richard looked down at himself, lying in bed, and watched as they tore at him with their filthy, skeletal fingers.  Watched helplessly as the children opened his belly up, reached inside, and took their treats.

Rating: 5.50/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Brian Martinez
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Brian Martinez


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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Ayli
Ayli
4 months ago

loved it

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