Frankenella walked, hand-in-hand, alongside her mother. The bolts in her neck itched in nervous anticipation. This was the first time she had been to the village. All the scary stories of angry farmers roaming the countryside with pitchforks and torches had given her a healthy distrust of the place.
Mom had laughed at her fears, pointing out to Frankenella that that is what she deserved for listening to Father’s absurd tales of horror. There were no monsters in the village anymore than there were in the graveyard. After mother and daughter attended the grand festival tonight, Frankenella could see that for herself.
Up ahead a mother and child walked along the road. The child looked normal enough with his green, patchwork skin and dusty, work clothes, but the mother was something of a fright. All of her parts matched as if put together from a single corpse and not a stitch or seam to be found.
Frankenella remembered her manners and growled at the two as they walked past. The boy returned her growl and the malformed woman laughed.
“See,” said Mother. “Just what I told you. Perfectly normal people.”
The next street had lights along it. Small groups of people walked, strolled, and even skipped on the sidewalks there. A man and four children crossed the street and accompanied Frankenella, and her mother, to the house up ahead.
“This is the fourth time for us,” said a girl who had glittering wings and a bright pink dress that dazzled with miniature fake gems. She had creepy smooth skin like the woman before. In fact, so did the man walking with her and a boy.
Images of monsters chasing Grandfather into a dark, shambled mill sprang to mind. Perhaps the stories Father told had been correct after all. The thought of an entire village of smoothies gave Frankenella the chills—and not in a good way.
Not sure what else to do she growled at the pink monstrosity walking next to her.
The girl flinched at first, but then reared her shoulders back and said, “That is not the way to treat a princess. I’m not going to talk to you anymore.” And she stuck out her tongue.
Mother had always warned Frankenella not to stick out her tongue, it might fall off. Now she had no doubt that Father was right. The village was filled with monsters. She looked up at her mother, hoping that they would turn around and go back home, but they didn’t.
“Follow the rest of the children and do what they do,” said Mother.
Reluctantly, she ambled forward. The monster children knocked on the door of a house and waited. Frankenella stood at the back of the group and watched.
A monster opened the door and flashed her fangs at them. Of all the scary things Frankenella had seen this evening, this was the scariest. The monster had wrinkled skin and teeth that were too white and too perfect to be natural. Sure, her hair was tangled and of a healthy gray color, but that didn’t set off the sense that the insides of the creature had somehow shrunk, leaving the outer layer in such a horrifying state.
The village children shouted, “Trick or Treat.” They held out open bags and the hag dumped small packages into each one.
“What about you?” she cackled at Frankenella.
Taking tiny steps forward, Frankenella stopped just out of reach of the hag. Not having a bag, she held out her hand, palm up.
“That is an amazing costume,” said the hag. She leaned forward and tugged on one of Frankenella’s neck bolts. Her lips covered the bleached fangs in her mouth and her eyebrows creased.
“Those are really connected to you.” The hag looked up at Mother and then back down at Frankenella. Then she screamed.
Frankenella screamed, afraid that the wail of the hag might steal her soul.