A Not So Happy Halloween

Excerpt from Max McBride’s novel, Mink Eyes:

“Don’t stay too close, Dad,” Kelly said, “I don’t want them to think I’m a little girl.”

When she walked up to the front doors of the houses, he stood off in the darkness, as she had sternly instructed him to do, so the people could not see that she was chaperoned….

It was like a ballet in a dream, half full of foreboding, half full of wonder. The yellow street lamps emitted only a wan and distant light, vague and blurred and ebbing.  All about them, up and down the sidewalks and crossing the streets and standing on porches with their treat bags, the little graveyard people moved through the night amid the mist and the fog…


He supposed this would be the last time he would trick-or-treat with her.  Another letting go. Letting go, and letting go, and letting go again. He remembered that he had begun to go trick or treating without his parents by age eight or nine. But everything was so different now…Real goblins and demons stalked the night these days, and the wolves had emerged from the forest and were hunting in the streets…


She had forged ahead of him about ten yards. “Look, Dad,” she said, pointing across the street.  An executioner, much taller than the other trick-or-treaters, in black hood and cape and brandishing a bloody ax, marched slowly, portentously across the street toward her. O’Keefe started to laugh, but the laugh caught in his throat when he saw the executioner bearing down on her with what seemed like harmful intent. The blade of the ax looked so real.  Something in his body told him to move very fast.

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By Max McBride
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