Samhain is the Pagan New Year -- the time where old meets new. In the spirit, then:
Trick or Treat:
Enid slipped on her sunglasses and smiled as a group of preschoolers were herded down the sidewalk by their teacher’s aides. Every one of the little ones was dressed as some Halloween figure.
Most of the parents had gone in for some sort of cuddly, animal motif. The children wore pajama-style costumes that morphed them into bunnies, puppies, rabbits and the like. Of course, there were a few witches and pirates dealt into every deck.
She had always adored this holiday. It had been called many things in the cultures that she had drifted through. Yet the similarities remained charming. Any holiday that featured offerings to the dead was going to be top shelf with Enid.
It was about four in the afternoon. The sun was just starting to bow its head over the crisply temperate horizon.
The teacher’s aides were walking as fast as they could in an effort to herd their short-legged charges to their school. It would be time for the parents to start swarming in for the evening pick-up, soon.
Enid would be starting her Samhain festivities when the sun went down, as well. She was on the prowl for some particularly tasty meat. This was indeed “harvest time.”
Enid did not pick her prey based upon height, weight, or appearance. She did not even care about blood type. Enid liked to kill bad people.
She was looking for a pimp or a pedophile or a superficial asshole. She was a true hunter – respecting the natural balance of things. Yet she took this a step further than the other creatures that hunted their meat.
Enid sought not merely to kill the weak, old or sick. She sought the immoral ones. She would make the world a better place, one meal at a time. That was how the world made sense to her.
She already had a good candidate. It did not take long when she hunted near these suburban schools. There were others hunting here, too.
Enid could smell her prey -- the short man who sat upon a bus bench on the other side of the street. She wrinkled her nose. It wasn’t his blood that had the foul stench. It was his soul.
That was how she picked them. Vampires had razor sharp senses. The horror movies had that small detail right. That was why she needed sunglasses.
It was not because the sun would burn her, but only because solid shapes were too dense. They hurt her eyes. Her kind saw more than the surface of things. When Enid hunted, she looked well into the edges of the spirit realm.
She could hear the warm blood gurgling through the man’s veins. She could hear his past whisper like a distant echo. She could hear how he yelled at his aged mother. She could hear that he used to pull the legs off frogs.
Now he was looking for a youngster to steal. Not this time. He would never see the dusk, let alone the next dawn.
Enid ran her tongue over her fangs. The man was here to find a Halloween treat. She was going to turn him into hers.
She was just about to cross the street when two enormous shadows towered up from behind her. The man jumped up and walked away. Enid was too preoccupied to care. There was some terrible power behind her – one that even the undead had to respect. It could only be….
“Naughty, naughty,” a raspy voice said. It sounded like a very old woman.
“Yes,” someone else added. “Naughty – were you going to ask for that chap’s candy?”
“She would take it, I think.” The first one said. “She would take away all his sweet meats.”
Enid turned slowly and looked up at the eight-foot-tall forms. She felt her own blood grow cold, as it had not since she had been un-born. She was facing the arcane women – the old ones.
These were the elders that had made her. They were the Nosferat.
There were a hundred things that she might have said when faced with the old ones that had made her. All those things faded out of her mind at the sight of the elders in their Halloween costumes.
Both of the Nosferat were nearly nine feet tall. One had the feet of a lion and the other had the talons of a bird. The feet were not disguised, but each wore a novelty costume over her scaly body.
The elder who had bird feet was dressed like Cinderella – complete with plastic tiara. She had cut slits in the back to accommodate her huge, black wings.
Her lion-footed sister wore a Jedi robe and was carrying a plastic sword. She had an unsettlingly realistic police-hat perched between her own donkey ears.
The surreal look of a silly costume on top of what looked to be an extremely good one was enough to make parents yank their children to the other side of the street. Not to mention their enormous size.
The squawk of a police radio sounded from somewhere. Enid traced the sound. It was coming from inside the Jedi Nosferat’s plastic, Trick-or-Treat bag.
“How are you doing, Enid, dear?”
“We decided to come and see you.”
“It is the only night of the year when we can walk amongst the living. If we wish to leave even a single one of them alive, that is.”
“How is your sister? Does she still eat her dinner out of a plastic bag?”
The Nosferat giggled and Enid blushed. Her sister, Svetlana, was on what she referred to as the “three pint program.” She ordered her blood from some diet company that got it whole-sale from local hospitals.
“Sign up now and get your first week of blood for free,” Svetlana had said. Enid thought it was shameful for a vampire to live that way.
She fidgeted and tried to think of what she could tell the arcane monsters that had chosen Svetlana and herself to receive this heritage. She was afraid that they would punish Svetlana for denigrating the hunt. Yet they seemed to be in too jolly a mood. Thank goodness for the holiday spirit.
The winged one clicked her tongue impatiently. “Come, now, Enid. Demon got your tongue? Now, tell me…what exactly is your costume?”
Both Nosferat scrutinized Enid for several moments. She could not think of a single thing to say.
The one in the Jedi robe finally nudged her sister. “I don’t believe she is wearing a costume.”
“Oh, Enid…where is your holiday spirit?”
Enid swallowed hard and managed to speak. “I do not know, Mother. I…I suppose that I could not think of anything.”
The one with the donkey ears shook her head so that they swayed violently. “Dear, dear. That is very sad. Don’t you own a television?”
“I don’t think she does.”
“Oh, my. What a shame. We watch the telly all the time. The humans have the most wonderful technology.”
“Yes. We especially like the cooking shows. We saw a lovely cordon bleu recipe just the other day. They did it to a chicken.”
The winged one licked her lips. “Yes. We must try that, once we catch a really plump one.”
“It shouldn’t be hard after this holiday.”
The two giggled like nine-foot, mutant schoolgirls. The police radio squawked again. The Jedi Nosferat shook her bag until it fell still.
“You really should have a costume, Enid,” the winged one said. “It is only respectful to age old traditions.”
Enid forced herself to speak. “Mothers, it is so good to see you, again. There are many who say that the Nosferat no longer walk the earth!”
The monsters giggled again. “Oh, you youngsters don’t have any imagination. I think you rely too much on the telly to tell your stories for you.”
“I don’t know about that, Sister. The telly has some very good stories. They come up with some very entertaining….”
“Well I know that, Silly. I only mean that these youngsters tend to enjoy the stories without taking the bother to tell their own. Take Enid, here. She can’t even think of a costume. Isn’t that right, my dear?”
Enid mouthed something silently and then looked at the ground. A giant hand with talons like tree branches reached down to pat her on the head.
“Well, we had best be going,” the winged one said. “We have a haunted house to go to. We like to sneak in the back door and bring a little something extra to the ending.”
The Jedi cackled. “Yes, yes! They get tricked and we get treated! Would you like to come along, Enid?”
Enid mouthed something silent. The winged one nudged her sister and shook her head.
“She has a pedophile all picked out, remember? And he has scampered away. Hurry, Dear. His trail will grow cold.”
“We can catch him for you if you like, Sweetling. After all, we called you off the hunt.”
“Now, now. She can do her own hunting. Enid is one of our best pupils, aren’t you, my blossom?”
Enid still stared in silence at the arcane goddesses that had been the fodder of her village upbringing – brought suddenly and horribly to life when they snatched her off the steppes. Their sudden reappearance seemed to have the same effect on her, to this day.
“She is peckish,” the donkey-eared one finally said. “Let us be on our way.”
Both monsters blew kisses at Enid. The gust of breath that this created sent up a massive swirl of dead leaves.
Enid blinked and that was enough. When her vision cleared, the old ones were gone.
She turned and looked at the suburb around her. It was bustling with cheerful, holiday life. The young ones were out. Goblins and werewolves abounded. The pedophile was long gone. Enid could just catch his scent.
He was near the public firehouse. She knew that the mortals were having a community party there. So many parents were afraid to let their children knock on strangers’ doors, these days.
They were right, but Enid was going to give them one less reason to be afraid. Holding the fantastic memory of her Nosferat mothers in her mind, she started down the concrete sidewalk.
The sun was down and its warmth was gone. She didn’t want her dinner to get cold.
The end (and happy Halloween)!