Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story Treat or Trick!

Treat or Trick by P.S. Winn Children's horror short story

Treat or Trick by P.S. Winn


The triplets sat in their living room with sad looks on their faces. It was almost Halloween and their parents had just told them they were too old for trick or treat. Haley looked at Anthony and Alysa, then at their parents. “Okay, we understand, we’ll find something else to do. Maybe somebody is having a party or something.”

The triplet’s Mom smiled. “I’m sure lots of your friends must be having parties or there is probably something going on at your school.”

Haley stood and waved for her brother and sister to join her. When they did, she turned to their parents. “We’re going to go to the family room and play some video games okay?”

When their Mom and Dad nodded okay, the three left the room and headed to the family room. Half way there Anthony looked at Haley. “What were you thinking? We don’t want to go to any lame party. I want to go trick or treating, that’s where the fun is. I already have my costume ready. You know I am going to be a devil, I even have that cool devil pitchfork.”

Haley looked at him shaking her head and putting a finger to her lips. She hurried to the family room followed by her sister and brother. When they got in Haley shut the door. “I only told Mom and Dad that so they would leave us alone. I want to go trick or treating too.”

Alysa nodded. “So do I, I’m a ghost.”

Alysa sat down; she didn’t say much, being the quietest of the three and a little shy. She usually let Haley and Anthony do the talking.

Haley in fact, was talking now. “Well, I have my witch costume ready too. Here’s what I think, we’ll tell Mom and Dad we’re going to my friend Kylee’s house. I know she’s having a party. She’ll cover for us.”

Anthony smiled, his face lit up. “Cool, but where will we trick or treat at? The neighbors around here will tell Mom and Dad for sure.”

All three sat quietly for a minute thinking then Haley smiled and laughed. “We can go to the old west side of town. No one will know us there.”

Anthony nodded. “That’s for sure, no one goes down there.”

Alysa frowned. “That’s because it’s dirty and scary.”

Anthony took her hand. “Don’t worry Alysa, I’ll protect you.”

Haley laughed. “Yeah, and I’ll protect you.”

The three picked up controllers and spent the rest of the night playing video games.


* * *
Halloween night came and the triplets all had their costumes on and were standing in the living room. Their Mom was smiling. “Let me get the camera, you guys look great. I want some pictures.”

After the pictures were taken, their Dad grabbed his car keys. “Come on, I’ll drop you off at Kylee’s house and remember I’ll be back at midnight. None of you can be out later than that. You are still only thirteen.”

A few minutes later the triplets stood in Kylee’s front yard waving good-bye to their Dad. As soon as the car left, Anthony turned to Haley. “Let’s get going it’s about six blocks to get to the west side where we can start getting some candy.”

The three walked down the road and finally got to the first house. They ran to the door and rang the bell. When the door opened the trio yelled.
“Trick or treat.” and were given candy.

They continued on going from house to house until they got to the bottom of the street.

Haley turned to Anthony. “Which way should we go now?”

Anthony pointed across the road where there was a house sitting next to an empty lot. “What about that place?”

Alysa frowned. “I think that’s an empty house, besides I think it’s haunted.”
The three stared at the house that did look empty and haunted. Anthony was looking at his sisters.

“Come on, what are you two chicken or something?”

Haley put her hands on her hips. “I am as brave as you, besides I have my magic wand in case there’s trouble.” Haley waved her wand in the air and laughed.
Anthony turned to Alysa. “Come on, let’s just go look, there’s probably no one home anyway. Then we’ll go back the other way, okay?”

Alysa looked skeptical, but finally nodded and the three hurried across the long dry grass in the empty lot and over to the house. When they got there, it did look empty. None of them could see a light. The three stepped up onto the rickety porch.

They could hear the boards squeaking as they stepped closer to the front door. Anthony reached out and knocked on the faded wood door. The three waited a minute and then Anthony knocked again. When no one came Alysa smiled. “I guess we might as well go, no one is here.”

Anthony reached forward and turned the doorknob.

The door opened with a loud screech. Alysa and Haley both gasped. Anthony laughed. “Come on, let’s just look inside.”

Haley shook her head. “Alysa might be right, this place could be haunted.”

Anthony nodded. “Maybe, but Alysa is a ghost, maybe she knows someone inside.”

Alysa hit Anthony on the arm. “Very funny, I don’t know any ghosts and you know I’m only in costume.”

Anthony rubbed his arm even though the hit from Alysa really didn’t hurt. “Hey, I was just kidding. I just want to see what’s in here. We’ll just take a minute to look around and then we’ll go.”

Alysa and Haley looked at each other and finally Haley nodded to Alysa that it was okay.

The triplets stepped into the dark old house. Haley pointed at the furniture covered with sheets.

“Looks like whoever lived here is gone now.”

She looked up at the cobwebs hanging everywhere.

“Nana would freak if she saw this place.”

Anthony laughed. “Yeah, she would need her whole supply of cleaning stuff for this place.”

Alysa looked up in awe at a staircase covered in dust. “I wish Nana was here. This place could really use some cleaning.”

Anthony saw what she was looking at. “Wow, look at that, let’s go up.”

Haley looked at him, her eyes wide. “Do you think we should? What if whoever owns this place comes by?”

Anthony shrugged. “I doubt if anyone is going to come by here. Let’s just go have a peek.”

Haley nodded and looked at Alysa, who looked scared. Haley took her hand. “It’s okay Alysa, I’ll be right here with you. I’m kind of curious myself. We can leave after we see the upstairs.”

The three walked slowly up the stairs, looking around for any signs of trouble. Halfway up the stairs the trio was stopped dead in their tracks when they heard a loud noise. It sounded like someone was yelling. “Ooooohhhh, ooooohhhhh.”

Alysa was the first to start running quickly up the stairs. Haley followed when Alysa pulled her hard by the hand she was still holding. “Ouch Alysa, don’t pull so hard.”

Alysa wasn’t listening to her sister. She just wanted to get off those stairs. Anthony chased after his sisters. He didn’t want to be left out here alone either. When Alysa got to the top of the stairs she ran in to the first doorway she saw. She pulled Haley in behind her and Anthony stepped in right after. “Jeez Alysa you could have slowed…”

The slamming of the door cut off Anthony’s words. He turned quickly and grabbed the doorknob and twisted, but it was locked. He turned to his sisters.

“I can’t open it; the door must have locked when it slammed shut.”

Alysa’s eyes were wide and she looked like she might cry. “Now what are we gonna do?”

Haley put an arm around her. “Don’t worry, we’ll find a way out.” Haley pointed across the room.

“Look there’s another door.”

Before the three could even take a step toward the door, it flew open. The man standing there was old, very old. To the triplets he looked to be hundreds of years old. He lifted a thin arm and pointed a finger at them. The nail was two inches long and crooked. The voice was deep and sounded almost like a croak. “What are you doing? You are trespassers in my house.”

The triplets were all shaking their heads. Anthony stepped in front of his sisters. “We weren’t trespassing, we uh, got lost and thought you might have a phone.”

The old man frowned and shook his head. “I have no phone and you have no business in my home. Trespassers are always punished.”

Haley shook her head as she looked over Anthony’s shoulder. “We are not trespassers.”

The old man pointed at her again. “You are a witch but you’re not going to put a spell on me.”

The man reached in his pocket and pulled out a long chain with a cross on the end of it. “This necklace has a charm on it to protect me from evil.”

He looked at the three standing there. “It will work on devils and ghosts too, so don’t try anything.”

Haley was thinking, there must be something they could do. “It’s Halloween, we are just dressed like a ghost, a devil and a witch, and we aren’t real.”

The man shook his head. “You can’t fool me, I’ve been around a long time and I know what I’m seeing right in front of me and in my own house.”

Haley shook her head. “We aren’t trying to fool you; honest we were just trick or treating.”

The old man frowned. “What’s that?”

Anthony shook his head. “Everyone knows that, where have you been?”

The man shook his head. “Never mind where I’ve been. Just tell me what this trick or treating is.”

While Anthony explained what trick or treating was, Haley reached in to her pocket where she had put her wand. She frowned at the feeling of warmth when her hand closed around it. She pulled it part way from her pocket and was surprised that it was lit up. She quickly put it back in her pocket and tapped Anthony on the shoulder. He turned to look at her, Haley whispered. “Anthony something strange is going on.”

Anthony frowned. “What are you talking about?”

Haley pointed at her wand, half hidden in her pocket. Anthony’s eyes got wide. “What’s that, why is that lit up?”

Haley shook her head. “I don’t know, I just noticed it.”

Haley turned to share what she’d found with Alysa and she noticed her sister looked like she was somehow different. It was almost like her sister was fading and becoming a ghost. Haley gasped. “Oh my gosh, I think this house is turning us into our costumes.”

Anthony looked at his devil pitchfork. The tips were lighting up also. Anthony pointed at the fork tips.

“Look, I think you’re right Haley, this place is making us turn in to a real ghost, a witch and a devil. We have to get out of here.”

Haley pointed her wand at the door and tried to think of some kind of spell to open the door.

“Double, bubble, toil and trouble, open the door on the double.” Nothing happened. She looked at Anthony and then at Alysa. “I’m becoming a witch, but I don’t know how to make a spell work.”
Anthony shook his head. “We have to do something; Alysa is vanishing more and more. We have to get out of here.”
Haley looked at her sister and gasped because she could almost see through her arms. She nodded at Anthony. “We have to trick the old man in to opening the door.”
The old man yelled. “What are you monsters talking about over there?”

Anthony looked at Alysa slowly disappearing and then back at Haley. “What can we do? You got any ideas?”

Haley gave Anthony a half smile. “I think I might. Remember it’s Halloween, the night where you get treats or you have to do a trick. Well, in this crazy house maybe you get a trick for giving a treat.”

Anthony frowned but then nodded and lifted his bag of candy and held it toward the old man. “I have a treat in this bag. All you have to do is open this door and you can have it.”

The old man looked curiously at the bag, then shook his head. “It’s not enough, I want more, and then I’ll open the door.”

Both Alysa and Haley quickly held up their trick or treat bags. Haley shook hers’ so the man would know it had stuff in it. “We have these. Is that enough of a treat for you to do a trick and open the door?”

The old man’s eyes shut part way as he glared at the children. Finally he nodded. “It’s enough; I want you out of here anyway. Put the bags on the floor and kick them toward me.”

The triplets did as he asked. When they did, the door flew open. Haley tried to grab Alysa’s hand but her hand went right through her sister’s. Haley groaned. “Sorry Alysa, I can’t grab your hand, just follow me. Anthony, you follow behind her.”

Anthony nodded and the three ran as quickly as they could down the stairs and then out through the front door and down the creaky steps. The three didn’t stop running for two blocks when they finally stopped below a street lamp to catch their breath.

Anthony blew out his breath in a sigh. “That was close; I didn’t think we were getting out of that place.” He turned to Haley. “Good thinking Haley.”

Haley nodded, but wasn’t really listening to Anthony. She was staring at Alysa, watching as she slowly became more solid. Haley timidly reached out and grabbed her sister’s hand. She laughed when she was able to hold on to it. Then she pulled Alysa in to a hug. “Thank goodness, you are solid again.”

Anthony looked at his watch and groaned. “Forget all that, we only have fifteen minutes to get back to Kylee’s house. Dad will be there at midnight and we better be there too.”

The three took off running and didn’t stop until they reached Kylee’s front yard. One minute after they got to Kylee’s house, their Dad pulled in. He pulled the car over to the curb where the triplets stood. He rolled down the window. “Hop in.”

The triplets piled in the back of the car. Their Dad turned around in his seat to look at them. “I hope you had fun at the party.”

The triplets looked at each other and then back at their Dad. The three nodded.
Haley was the first to laugh. After a second Anthony and Alysa joined in.
Their Dad frowned. “What’s so funny?”

Haley shook her head. “Oh nothing really, we were just thinking how much more fun and different it was this year. Because we didn’t trick or treat like usual, it was kind of backwards and more like a treat or trick.”

Their Dad shook his head and frowned. He didn’t think he’d ever figure out half the things his kids were talking about.


The End.

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Short Story written by P.S. Winn

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