Behind the third door of the Halloween advent calendar is a short horror story to celebrate all things spooky!
Mrs Ellingworth had always made the neighbourhood kids cookies. She’d open her front door and push out a small table on wheels, proudly offering her latest batch of soft, warm, milk chocolate chip treats that we would run to, screaming with joy.
I can still remember the taste of those cookies now, the crunch of the outer edges and the sweetness of the first bite, then as you reached the middle there was the blissful, melting chocolate that ended up everywhere – around your mouth, on your hands, on your brand new shirt your Mum bought you after begging in the shop.
She’d leave the table there and go sit back in her living room, in her high back chair, to listen to our exclamations of ‘yum!’ and talking with our mouths full. She never waited for thank yous or pleases, she took joy from the empty plate that she took in later.
When I turned 16 she shuffled round to our front door, quietly knocked on the glass pane and presented my mother with a huge chocolate birthday cake.
She knew our family was going through a rough time, that my Mum was working two jobs to provide and so she took the time to make this beautiful cake to lighten the load. I think my Mum cried. She tried to invite Mrs Ellingworth inside, offer her the ten pound note in her purse for her trouble but the little old lady smiled, shook her head and shuffled back to her home.
I remembered all these things as I stood there, watching Mrs Ellingworth’s arthritis crippled hands reaching for me through the bars of our garden gate. Her eyes had turned a milky yellow and she was frothing something black and sticky from her mouth. She was still in her nightdress, but there was fresh blood splattered down it and across her face. Against her pale complexion, white hair and the pastel pink of her nightdress it was startlingly bright. I hadn’t known blood could be so red.
I knew that if I opened that gate she would kill me and as I stood there I could hear screams and people running and cars driving at excessive speed all around the neighbourhood.
I had a kitchen knife in my hand; the handle was sticky where my fingers grasped it. I’d already used it once that day and I didn’t want to have to use it again but if I was ever going to get out of this garden Mrs Ellingworth would have to meet the sharp end.
She was creating noise now, rattling the gate and making low guttural growls. I knew more would come if I didn’t stop her. I stepped forwards and she got excited, almost jumping up and down as I moved closer. The virus had taken away all her mobility issues – it was controlling her now and the osteoporosis she had didn’t make a blind bit of difference.
I thought about those cookies again, about how kind her face had once been when she pushed the table out, about the birthday cake she’d put together with love and care just for me and then I plunged the knife through the bars of the gate.
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