Paul looked at his assignment and his heart sank. Ones like this were hard. After his mother passed and he took her job, he understood why sometimes he would wake up and find her by his bedside crying. It was hard, but it needed to be done. He had a job to do.

Maple Street was filled with laughing children dressed as zombies, vampires, witches, and every type of ghoulie he could imagine. He smiled as he remembered the many years of trick-or-treating he enjoyed with his family. His mother always went all out for any holiday. ‘Celebrate it like it was your last’ she would say. It wasn’t until he was assigned his first shift that he truly understood what she was saying.

Paul took a deep breath and started walking behind a little witch with orange ribbons in her hair. Her mother held tight to her hand as they walked through a good of teenagers who were harassing a zombie. The mother was busy watching the kids. She didn’t like what they were doing, but she was scared. She had always been scared. Paul saw flashbacks to Halloween of ’76 when she ended up sitting under a bush crying after two teenagers stole her bag of candy. Her daughter wasn’t scared though. Six years old and full of spunk.

Her mother was watching the teenagers. Paul was watching the little witch. No one was watching the car.

Paul looked at the ground and tried to drown out the crushed dreams and lost hopes that now filled the street. As he walked past the laughing teenagers, he set their bags of candy on fire. The little witch laughed and turned so she could get one last look at her mother.

One thing about being a child’s angel of death that never sat well with Paul was that when his shift was over, he would go back to his bed and look at the clock. Always stuck between 2:18 and 2:19. Eternity can be lived in a blink of an eye, his mother would say. His mother was always wise.


Not This Time


Right now, at this moment and in this place, Pike and the girl were invisible. He didn’t know how much longer he could hold it, but he knew he would have to maintain the time shift long enough for the assassin to do her job. He couldn’t fail this time.

This 50-word short was written for 50-Word Thursday #25


Anything For Betty

Betty spent two weeks carving pumpkins, cutting construction paper bats and witches, and hanging black and orange fairy lights. The day was spent putting final touches on her costume and filling over one hundred individual candy bags. She loved Halloween more than any other day of the year.

At dusk, she flicked on her porch light, lit the pumpkin candles, and set out the talking butler. It was a nice evening, so she sat on the front porch in her rocking chair. She smiled and waved at the children as they walked by and motioned for them to come up the walk, but none did. Not a single trick-or-treater even glanced at her house.

Heart-broken she went back inside and turned off the porch light.

“I told you sweetie,” her husband said, wrapping his arms around her, “we wouldn’t have any this year.”

She wiped the tears from her eyes and nodded. The candy bowl looked so sad and lonely sitting in her favorite chair without her. He would do anything for her. In fact, he did do the unthinkable for her, which is exactly why she is crying her eyes out upstairs on their bed. He would do it again though. He loved her that much. But, this was killing him.

He knew what to do though. He always knew what to do. A single phone call later to a friend at the Old Church and dozens of children were at the door yelling trick-or-treat.

Betty ran down the stairs, wiping tears from her face, snatched the candy bowl so fast some bags flew clear across the room and opened the door. “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” she screamed,

The children came in and stayed for a few minutes. A few promised to come back and visit.

He had never seen her so happy since the day he agreed to take their lives before the cancer could. He would do anything for Betty.

Teddy Bear’s Picnic

“Our number’s on the fridge if you need us. Jeremy is already asleep in the crib.”

“No worries, Mr. and Mrs. Richards. I’m sure everything will be just fine.”

“I’m sure it will. We should be back by ten. Thanks, Julie.”

“Have a great night.”

Julie settled in on the couch and tried to decide what to watch. A loud thud rattled the ceiling and Jeremy started crying. Worried that he fell out of the crib, she ran like a mad woman up the stairs only to find him snug and sound asleep. The floor boards creaked behind her.

“Oh my Gah,” she half-whispered, half-screamed when she saw a little boy standing by the door. She didn’t remember the Richards saying they had two children, but maybe she just forgot. “Hi.”

The boy stared at her and smiled.

When he did a shiver went up her spine and she shivered. Creepy little boy, she thought. Jeremy stirred and started crying. Julie picked him up and started rocking him in her arms. “Your brother is still tired.”

The boy looked at her and shrugged. “Want to play a game?”

“Um, it’s kind of late to play a game and I need to get your brother back to bed. How about we sing him a song?”

He shrugged again and sat on the floor. “Well?”

Really creepy little boy…and rude! Julie sat down and glanced at the time. Thirty more minutes till she could get away from creepy little dude. Couldn’t come fast enough.

“Do you know the itsy, bitsy, spider?”

“That’s for babies.”

“Well, your brother is a baby.” As she sang, she rocked Jeremy but he was just as fussy. She sand a second song, then third, and finally a forth song. Jeremy was becoming more and more agitated.

“I remember my mother used to sing a song about bears on a picnic,” Julie said.

The boy’s eyes grew and his face snarled. “Not that one!”

Julie ignored him. “If you go out in the woods today.”

“We went in the woods. My family and I,” the boy said, staring at the carpet.

“You’re sure of a big surprise.”

“We got a surprise alright.”

“If you go out in the woods today.”

“Stop singing that song!”

“You’d better go in disguise.”

“We didn’t wear a disguise.”

“For every bear that ever there was.”

“Stop! I don’t want to remember! I mean it!”

“Will gather there for certain, because.”

“There were a lot there.”

“Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.”


“Don’t you yell at me!” Jeremy started wailing, so she stood up and started rocking him up and down, back and forth, as calmly as she could. “You shouldn’t yell in front of your brother, either.”

“He’s not my brother!”

The Richards’ car pulled into the drive and as she watched their lights turn off, she sighed a breath of relief. “What do you –”

The boy was gone. She glanced around quickly and even looked under the crib, but he was not in the room.

“Julie? Everything okay?” Mrs. Richards called from downstairs.


“Oh, did he wake up? He’s been having trouble sleeping lately.”

Mrs. Richards took Jeremy. “He was sleeping just fine until a bang woke him up. His brother and I sang him some songs.”

“I’m sorry, who?” Mr. Richards asked.

“His brother. The little boy upstairs.”

Mr. and Mrs. Richards looked at each other. Mrs. Richards gasped. “I told you. See. It’s not just me.”

Mr. Richards cleared his throat and looked at Julie. “Jeremy is an only child. Um, how should I put this. Um, Mrs. Richards thinks we’re being haunted by my nephew. His family went camping this past summer and –”

“Was eaten by bears?” Julie asked.

The couple looked dumbfounded. “Unfortunately, yes,” he said.

“How did you know?” Mrs. Richards asked.

Julie looked up the stairs. “He didn’t want me to sing Teddy Bear’s Picnic.”