It’s Halloween, After All

It's Halloween, After ALl

By Sophia Cho

Angela tippy toed in the bathroom mirror, twisting her hair into two tight braids. She could barely contain her excitement as she hummed a little halloween melody. This was the spookiest night of the year and she had been planning for it since the first day of school! Her dress was spotless white and her shoes a glossy crimson– she resembled the perfect department-store doll in every way except for the massive basket of brightly colored candies that she held in the crook of her elbow. Angela had wrapped every lollipop, every chocolate bar, every tootsie roll herself, tucking a small heartfelt message in each one. Her scraggly cursive was likely illegible, but she was sure her classmates wouldn’t read it anyways. The candy was what halloween was all about. 

“They’ll say ‘oh, Angela, you shouldn’t have!’ and I’ll say ‘no, please, it’s the least I could have done’”, she rehearsed to herself.  

Everything was going to be perfect. 

The October breeze whispered, sighed, and whispered again. Brown and orange leaves whipped around her shoes in a circular motion, like a spoon swirling the murky depths of a teacup. At promptly 7:47 AM, the yellow bus lurched its way down the street and Angela was ready, backpack on shoulders and basket in arm. The engine raised such a ruckus that she could barely hear the kids screaming and squealing inside. The doors wheezed open and she heaved her candies up the steep stairs. Just as she got to the top, light rain began to patter down on the sidewalk.

“That’s a big ‘ol basket ye’ve got there!” the bus driver bellowed.  

He was a delightful old man – although a little deaf– and he would always snap at the other kids when they yanked at her hair. Angela hoisted up the basket as best she could, quivering under the weight.

“Mhm!” she responded. “Would you like one? It’s Halloween, after all.”

“Golly– that’s sweet o’ you! Not allowed ter have candy though. Got a nasty cold an’ sugar inflames it er somethin’ o’ the sort. Can’t smell a thin’,” he smiled. 

The driver sniffled and wiped his mustache, but as Angela bounced down the bus, he furrowed his brows. She was bound to get her basket stolen before lunchtime, but there wasn’t anything he could do. Perhaps she’ll give out all her candy before then, though. He could hear her cheerfully offering them as her braids bobbed down the aisle. Heaving along with the deafening engine, he shut the doors. Outside, it had just begun to pour.

As the bus drew nearer and nearer to the school, the driver couldn’t help but notice that the usual shrieks and screeches of the children had died down… a little too much. His rearview mirror was splattered with fat droplets so he couldn’t see either. As a gust of wind blew past his nose, he didn’t know whether something was rotting or it was just his imagination. Sniffling, he pulled into the parking lot and brought the bus to a sputtering stop. 

“Better be gettin’ out! ‘Ave a great day!” he hollered. 

He heard Angela’s dainty scarlet shoes clack down the aisle, with the contents of her basket just barely scratched. She beamed and skipped down the aisle, but no other students followed. Puzzled, the driver craned his neck for a look backwards, before letting out a low yelp. 

In eerily motionless rows were dozens of students. Slumped over. Bodies were slung over seats and pools of black vomit coated the floor. Their fingers curled inwards, eyes rolled heavenwards, mouths full of foam. Rashes festered and limbs twitched. Those who weren’t slouching were petrified, staring around in horror. A stammered prayer passed over the driver’s lips as he slowly stood. He had never seen such a horrifying scene, seemingly painted by the devil himself. Black bile dripped down the plastic seat covers. One of the girls in the back let out a heart-twisting scream. A boy gripping the window broke down into distressed laughter. Above all this, Angela’s sweet voice could still be heard, extending her basket to strangers with a smile. 

“Would you like one?”

It’s Halloween, after all.