The dimly lit streets of Bellbary were filled with excited children in bright costumes today. Families spent time and effort covering their houses with cobwebs, accessorizing their doorsteps with skulls, and carving out Jack-O-Lanterns to display on their front porch. Today was Halloween: A special, exciting holiday for everyone in this little town.
Bellbary was an isolated, secluded village, surrounded by mountains. This old village consisted of a small, close-knit community, and everyone here knew their way through the town like the back of their hand. On the main road of Bellbary, beside the local barber shop, laid Mr. Rose’s house. Mr. Rose was a gentle, well-spoken man who had been elected as the mayor of Bellbary. He was a farmer, like most of the men in Bellbary. The farmers of Bellbary called themselves the “Jolly Ranchers”, for they were a happy, good-humoured group. Mr. Rose lived in a clean, medium sized house with his wife and seven-year-old son, Oli. Oli was a cheerful and clumsy little fellow; everyone in this town adored him, and called him “Little Oli” because of his petite figure. He broke his baby teeth last week, by tripping over his own shoelaces and landing face first on the concrete. When this happened, everyone in the town was so worried for Little Oli; they brought him warm soup and sent him get well cards. The neighbours saw the way Mr. Rose cried as he carried his son to the hospital, and gained an even deeper sense of admiration and respect for him, calling him a “family man”, and a “loving father.” Thankfully, Little Oli recovered very quickly, and was now getting into his Batman costume, excited to go Trick-Or-Treating with his friends.
In Bellbary, all children from ages five to twelve had to go Trick-Or-Treating; it would be strange to not want to go in the first place; after all, all the kids enjoyed dressing up and collecting free candy with their friends. Trick-Or-Treating in Bellbary was a blind pick process; each house had a big box that was filled with candy, and the kids would reach their hands in, hoping they could get their favourite one. This tradition added to the fun and excitement of Halloween. And of course, everyone had to go Trick-Or-Treating at Mr. Rose’s house, for Trick-Or-Treating at Mr. Rose’s house was what made Halloween so special in this little town.
Little Oli had met up with his friends, Ash and Axel, and was making his way around town. His mother, Ash’s parents, and Axel’s parents kept an eye on them while they had their own little discussion.
“Who do you think it’ll be this year?” Ash’s mother asked timidly.
“I don’t care who it’s gonna be. Someone’s gotta do it to keep our village safe from that thing.” Axel’s mother replied firmly.
“Yeah, we’ve got to keep it away from us. Can’t let it come and leave our village in ruins, like it did back in the days.” Little Oli’s mother added.
“After we’ve adopted this practice, it hasn’t been seen for hundreds of years.” Ash’s mother reminded them.
“Still, we can’t risk it. Gotta keep our little town nice and safe.” Axel’s mother stated, and everyone agreed. They continued their discussion until they arrived at their first Trick-Or-Treating stop, Mrs. Charlotte’s house.
Mrs. Charlotte lived in a small, modest house with her husband. For as long as Little Oli could remember, Mrs. Charlotte decorated her house the same way every year for Halloween. She placed two Jack-O-Lanterns on her doorsteps, two tombstones in her front yard, and two skulls on the front porch. Everyone in the town called Mrs. and Mr. Charlotte the “Lucky Charlottes”, for they were the only family that possessed two skulls.
After two hours of Trick-Or-Treating, it was now 9:00 pm. By this time, Little Oli and his friends had filled their pumpkin-shaped baskets with candy up to the very top. They had visited each and every house in Bellbary, except for one: Little Oli’s father, Mr. Rose’s house. Trudging their tired little feet along, the kids finally arrived at their last stop. An abundance of carefully carved Jack-O-Lanterns were neatly placed on the doorsteps of Mr. Rose’s house, but this was no surprise; after all, Mr. Rose’s love for Jack-O-Lanterns was well known around town.
“Go on Oli, you ring the bell, it’s your house.” Axel urged. Little Oli stepped up and pressed the doorbell. Almost immediately, Mr. Rose opened the door.
“Oli! How was Trick-Or-Treating, did you get a lot of candy?” Mr. Rose beamed and welcomed Little Oli with a hug. He made eye contact with Axel and Ash, and gave them and their parents a warm smile. Mr. Rose’s wife stepped into the house, and planted a kiss on Mr. Rose’s cheek.
“How many left?” Mrs. Rose asked her husband while he was ticking off Axel’s, Ash’s, and Oli’s name.
“Eleven, kids are going to bed earlier each year. You lot are the night owls.” Mr. Rose chuckled. “Come on now kids, go ahead. Pick a candy. There’s only eleven pieces left.”
The three kids exchanged looks with one another, and looked at the big, sturdy, black box. Tension hung in the air, until Ash stepped forward, and stuck his hand into the box. Everyone watched his hand silently as he pulled out a KitKat. He smiled, looked up at Mr. Rose, and Mr. Rose smiled back lovingly. Axel went next and pulled out a Snickers Bar. He turned around and winked at Little Oli and Axel, then slowly made his way back towards them.
“We saved the best boy for last.” Mr. Rose said as Little Oli stepped forward. Mr. Rose patted Little Oli’s head as his soft, tiny hands reached into the rigid box. Little Oli mixed the candy around with his hands a few times, before pulling out a single Jolly Rancher.
“Well, isn’t it my own little boy this year.” Mr. Rose said tenderly. He held Little Oli’s hand, and calmly walked him inside the house and into the living room. Mrs. Rose was tired, and went upstairs to shower immediately. Just like each year, Mr. Rose took out a big, round pumpkin, and carefully began sawing off the bottom. There was not even the slightest trace of sadness in his eyes; they were like two lifeless stones forced into an empty socket. Afterall, Mr. Rose was a man that knew only what he should or should not do. He only cried when was supposed to cry and smiled when he was expected to smile. And right now, there was no need to smile or cry, for this task was to protect the town of Bellbary, and his only job was to carry it out perfectly.
“Oli, sit down on this chair.” Mr. Rose ordered as he took out a wooden, bloodstained chair. The chair was worn out, and the seat was a little dented. Little Oli sat himself down on the chair, and Mr. Rose put the pumpkin over his head. It was dark, and Little Oli began to cry. “Be quiet, dear.” Mr. Rose said nonchalantly. He then took from his pocket a clean, sharp, knife and began carving the pumpkin. Little Oli let out a blood-curdling scream as Mr. Rose carved one triangle into the pumpkin. His tiny hands tried to push the pumpkin off of his head but Mr. Rose held him still and carved another triangle. His cries erupted, but his mother did not leave the shower, his neighbours did not call the police, and his father did not stop; no one came to save the once beloved Little Oli. Blood was trickling down from his face and stained his Batman costume as Mr. Rose deeply carved the mouth. The cries became deafening, and Mr. Rose became tired; it was too loud for his liking and he wanted the noise to stop, now. Without hesitation, he took out one long, silver blade, and cut off the pumpkin that encircled Little Oli’s head. The newly carved Jack-O-Lantern fell to the floor, and rolled for a bit before coming to a complete stop. In this neat, well-lit house, it was completely silent.
As the people of Bellbary passed by Mr. Rose’s house the next morning, they happily reassured their families that the Beast had been satisfied, for they all saw that on the front porch of Mr. Rose’s tidy, well-organized house, laid a small, fragile skull.