“LaShaun, you better not be on the roof again.”
“Mom, we’re just up here playing Spider and Prey. We want it to look realistic.”
“Hurry up and get dressed for Halloween.”
“I am dressed. I am wrapped in spider-silk and Frank’s going to dangle me from the roof at just the right moment.”
“Did you put the lights up?”
“Yes, mom. Remote’s in the kitchen.”
“What’s my part?”
“You don’t have a part. You’re the Mom handing out candy to innocent children. That is your part. You also get to be technical support. Turn on the lights after I twitch convincingly and then surprise moan.”
“Frank makes his menacing hiss and the kids run off screaming into the night.”
“No they won’t.”
“Yeah, Mom, they will. Remember when he jumped down and ran off with the Davis kid dressed as Superman?”
“All I remember is having to chase him down the street telling him not to eat that kid.”
“Yeah. That’s what all the kids remember too…They don’t know he lives in the backyard.”
“Frank says there are kids coming down the street. He’s on the back side of the house.”
“The camera is recording from the corner of the house and in the car.”
“Great, Mom. I’m going to the roof to get ready. Stall ’em for a minute.”
“Okay, Caesar Romero.”
“Trust me, Mom. It’s gonna be great.”
“FRANK, no running off with the kids!”
“He knows, Mom. He knows.”
“He knew last year, too.”
“After we’re done here, you have to finish packing. We’ll need to be on the road by tomorrow.”
“Okay, Mom. See you soon.”
“Trick or Treat!”
“Hello children. What do we have here. A vampire. A princess. Captain America. What about you little girl? What are you?”
“A serial killer. They look just like everyone else.”
“That’s so sweet… Everyone gets some candy.”
“What’s that noise?”
Children and parents scream as LaShaun dangles from the porch awning skillfully wrapped in webs. Mom hits the lights and they see Frank, waving his arms in a menacing but completely over-acted fashion. LaShaun twitches artfully while spinning above the heads of the fleeing children.
The terrified families flee down the street, followed by smaller dog sized things swarming from around the house. Each is grabbed, webbed, scooped up and flung skyward to land with an awkward thump in the backyard of LaShaun’s house.
The spiderlings too small to carry away prey, pick up every drop of candy and debris before disappearing into the darkness. It was as if no one had ever been there.
The next group of children were just a block away, everything had to be perfect.
Frank reels LaShaun in and the two high-five.
“Yes, Frank, it’s going to be an all you can eat night.”
Editor’s note: this piece by the quite remarkable Thaddeus Howze is the very first piece of fiction ever published by SCIFI.radio, or by Krypton Media Group, its parent company.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.