Today there is a wonderful piece of work from Melissa who entered our Halloween Competition. Please, enjoy…

WARNING: some readers may find the story distressing

Once A Year by Melissa Neubert

Crunchy dried-up leaves in shades of orange, yellow and red drifted around the neighborhood dancing in the crisp autumn evening breeze. A smoky fog hid the imperfections of the old homes creating am eerie feel. Pumpkins lit, brightly decorated for the season sat on front porches glowing with their faces carved into perky smiles and scary scowls all awaiting All Hallows’ Eve.

Dusk had always been my favorite time of day. The time I found myself sitting in front of the window in my rocking chair, holding an old rag doll, watching people arrive home from work. They stop on their porch and grab the mail then head inside and soon the house would be lit up and they would be bustling around their kitchens preparing dinner. So normal. So mundane. Sometimes I wished I were more like them. I wasn’t normal though. I was a monster.

I had been a monster all my life. My parents had passed away when I was little. They had been murdered, killed right in front of me. I was hiding under the bed like my mom told me to do, clutching my rag doll, but I saw what happened to them. I witnessed him brutally slicing their throats and as they lay writhing on the floor in front of me, I saw all their life’s blood ooze from their fatal wounds. I wanted to cry. I wanted to be sad. The doctors talked behind my back saying that I failed to grieve properly.

I remember sitting in school and instead of learning history or math I day-dreamed about killing my classmates. Each day was a new and different vision of how they might die. My foster parents were afraid of me by the time I was ten. They should have been. I was a monster, well a monster in the making.

Now as Halloween approached, I had chills of anticipation. It was the one and only night of the year that I let the monster in me out to play. I might be a monster, but I am also intelligent enough to know that jail wouldn’t suit me, so I move from place to place, year after year. I only indulge once a year to prevent from getting caught. Tomorrow….

The little red-haired girl from up the street just happened to be out Trick or Treating alone. She was the perfect choice. When she knocked, I invited her in.

The headlines read: Nine-year-old girl out Trick or Treating found dead. Her eyes had been removed.

I folded up the paper and placed it in the box with the glass jar containing the eyes. They were green. I grabbed my old rag doll and loaded up my old Mercedes and checked the calendar on my phone. Only 364 days till the next All Hallows’ Eve.