Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Continuing our run of Halloween short stories by Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun), we’re pleased to present “Friedly’s Treats.” You can see the previous two stories here and here, and be sure to come back on Halloween for a brand-new story!
By Cullen Bunn
Joshua hated Halloween. He once loved costumes and jack o’lanterns and candy. But now he dreaded the holiday.
Outside, trick-or-treaters giggled and climbed Mrs. Friedly’s porch steps. The shuddering knock sent shivers down Joshua’s spine. He squeezed his eyes shut.
The door creaked open. Cool air swept the foyer.
Guttural voices cried, “Trick or treat!”
“Aren’t you fearsome!” Mrs. Friedly beamed at the anxious little monsters. “I’ve something extra special for you.”
Joshua squirmed as she lifted him, but the ropes around his hands and feet held tight. The gag muffled his screams. Grinning sweetly, Mrs. Friedly plopped him into one of the yawning treat bags.
“Oh, dear!” She pursed her lips. “I’m afraid I’m all out of treats. I don’t have enough for each of you.”
A disappointed groan rose from the beasties.
“Oh, I know!” The kindly-looking woman snapped her fingers and ducked into the house. She reappeared minutes later.
She dropped shiny treats into the other bags.
Wide-eyed, Joshua watched over the edge of the bag.
“Here you go!” Mrs. Friedly said. “Remember to share.”
Thanking the old woman, the hideously-masked trick-or-treaters skipped down the sidewalk, Joshua in one bag, butcher knives and meat cleavers in the others.