Trick or Treat?
Rachel braided her long brown hair and secured the long tress with a golden rubber band. Glancing in the oval mirror of her vanity, Rachel checked out her reflection, clad in Princess Leia’s slave costume from “Return of the Jedi”. A pleased smile highlighted her ruby lips. She looked almost exactly like Carrie Fisher did playing Jabba the Hutt’s slave in the last episode of science fiction epic.
Too bad, Joe would not be there tonight to see her in this getup, Rachel thought, as she walked into the living room of her duplex apartment. Joe, her boyfriend of three years, would probably turn off her porch lights so they would not be getting any trick or treaters because he would not be able to wait to get her out of her costume. She looked so hot in it; she laughed softly, and poured the large quantity of candy she had bought to give to youngsters into a large plastic orange bowl decorated with ghosts, witches, bats, and cats.
Usually Joe helped her pass out candy to the young ghouls and goblins they had stop by on Halloween. He loved the end of October holiday as much as she did. He had planned to compliment her Princess Leia by dressing up as the fictional heroine’s love interest, Han Solo, but as the chief of police in the small town of Pan, Texas, about 20 miles west of Van Horn, that evening he had to in his police car patrolling the streets making sure the streets were safe for everyone that All Hallow’s Eve.
She knew she was certainly safer since she came to live in Pan four years ago. She moved to the small Texas ranching village to escape her abusive ex-husband, Tim, who was also a wanted criminal.
She’d been young and foolish when she had married Tim at age 18. Tim had been a wonderful and loving man who regularly talked in the early months of their marriage about how he looked forward to having a house with a white picket fence and a dog and raising four children with her; after repeated FBI visits to their home in coastal Georgia, she discovered Tim was secretly working as a drug dealer. When she tried to leave him around their six-month anniversary, Tim beat her so badly that she had to be hospitalized for days. After she was released, Tim told her if she ever tried to leave him, he would kill her.
On their one-year anniversary, Rachel told Tim she was going to the grocery store to get some items and alcohol for a romantic meal that evening; she never returned home. She went to an abused women’s shelter and they helped her file for a divorce, but even after their divorce was finalized Tim continued to harass and threaten her verbally and physically. Tired of living with the fear and abuse, Rachel just disappeared without a trace and four years ago started a new life in Pan, thanks to her friends at the abused women’s shelter.
Lighting the tea light in her Halloween candle holders and turning on all her Halloween decorations around the house, Rachel flipped on her porch light. As she loaded her Halloween CDs into the stereo near the front door, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson thudded around the room, activating the spirit ball on her dining room table. “Want some candy?” the skull inside the glass cackled, laughing mysteriously.
As if on cue, there was a knock on her door.
Grabbing her bowl of candy, Rachel opened the door. With their parents watching nearby, youngsters dressed as Dracula, Disney princesses, Batman, and Frankenstein and his bride stood on her door step. “Trick or treat!” they shouted simultaneously.
“Aren’t you cute!” Rachel gushed, scattering a few pieces of candy into their Halloween buckets and bags.
“Thank you,” many of the youngsters murmured as they scurried off to go to other homes in the neighborhood.
“Have fun and stay safe,” Rachel called after them.
For the next hour and a half, Rachel had a steady stream of trick or treaters ranging from toddlers to teens visit her duplex. She was delighted by the variety of costumes – some were homemade and others were store bought. The youngsters were disguised as a little bit of everything from nuns, to Scooby Doo, to robots. Many of the parents who accompanied their children even complimented her on her costume and Halloween decorations.
The knocks at her door started become more and more infrequent around 8 p.m. She had not had anyone come by to trick or treat in 15 minutes or more, so she sat down on her couch and began watching “Halloween”. The late 1970s horror flick starring Jamie Lee Curtis was being aired on TBS as it was every Halloween; she soon became engrossed in it as she always did.
As Michael Myers stalked the dark house where Curtis, playing a young teen, baby sat a boy on Halloween night, she heard a faint knock at the door. Slowly rising to her feet, she picked up the candy dish and opened the door as she had done all evening only to find a man disguised as a red glowing eyed grim reaper standing there.
In his hand, the sole trick-or-treat visitor held a glistening knife. “Trick or treat,” the specter hissed ominously.
With an amused look, Rachel flicked her Princess Leia braid off her bare shoulder. “Aren’t you a little old to be trick or treating?”
“Trick or treat,” the creature of death growled low in reply as he closed the distance between him and the young woman candy giver.
“Okay, Joe, you’re trying to scare me, I’ll play along,” Rachel said with a note of amusement in her voice.
“I don’t know who this Joe is,” the grim reaper replied, advancing toward her with his knife posed for the kill, “but I’m going to kill him as soon as I kill you.”
Realization darkened her green eyes. It was Tim. She knew it, but what she did not know was how he managed to find her.
With a scream, Rachel dropped the candy bowl and ran. Tim’s black boots crunched over the pieces of candy and gum that had scattered across the wooden floor as she hurried to get to her purse sitting on a nearby chair. If she could just get to her cell phone, she could call the police.
Just as she reached into her open purse, Tim grabbed her. Holding her close, the older man squeezed the breath out of her so she could not scream. “Do you know how long I have searched for you, my wife?” He whispered, his fingers caressing her bare skin and braided hair. “Everyone told me we were divorced and you were no longer mine; I refused to believe that.” Rachel silently cried as she struggled to break free of his powerful grip. “Sadly, it’s true because I heard the words from your own mouth. You thought I was your lover, Joe.”
“Please, Tim,” she blubbered, “Don’t hurt me.”
“Oh, I won’t hurt you,” Tim kissed her, running the steel of the knife over her exposed skin. She shivered as she felt him press the tip to her throat. “I am going to kill you. I have to. I told you I would kill if you ever left me, Rachel.”
Closing her eyes, Rachel prepared to die, and then she heard a knock at the door. “I have to get that,” she managed with a crock.
Letting her go, Tim hid as Rachel went to answer the door. Standing there was a man dressed as Darth Vader. “Trick or treat,” the Sith Lord rumbled, flashing a gun and a badge.
Rachel was relieved to see Joe and stepped aside.
Pulling away his mask, Joe pointed his gun at Tim. “You are under arrest.”
“I don’t think so,” Tim said, lunging at the other man with his knife.
Quickly reaching for his Taser on his utility belt, Joe shocked the man to the ground. He slapped on the cuffs on Rachel’s ex-husband, who moaned in pain, and finished reading him the rest of his Miranda rights. “You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.”
Another officer came in. “Boss, can I help with anything?”
“Sure,” Joe said, lifting the limp Tim up off of the floor. “Take this garbage to my car, will you? I have something I want to take care of.”
“With pleasure,” the officer said, roughly shoving Tim into the night.
“My hero,” Rachel said, throwing her arms around Joe.
Embracing his girlfriend tightly, Joe kissed her passionately.