Jacob sat on the sidewalk across from his house and watched the flames reach high into the sky, where they danced in the cool October air. The leaves in the front yard were blown about and he watched them burst into flames when they got too close to the fire. It was almost like having fireworks, he thought.
Fire trucks and police cars and ambulances were in the street and on the sidewalks—their lights flashing and spinning. There was also a crowd of people standing in their yards—watching.
He glanced over, jealously, at the other kids all decked out in their Halloween costumes—their candy bags sagging from the weight off their night’s take—as they watched his house burn. The kids kept looking over at him—their ghostly or decaying fingers pointing at him. He couldn’t tell who was in the pirate, or the superhero, or the zombie costumes, but he knew they were all talking about him. He could hear their whispers, their giggles–even over the crackling flames.
He looked back at the house, already missing his toys and books and movies.
Jacob seemed to be the only kid not wearing a costume. There was no candy bag to dig into either–because he’d been “bad”. And his punishment for being “bad” was missing out on his favorite holiday. His parents always overacted when he did something they thought of as “bad”.
Refuse to eat his supper—no dessert.
Track mud into the house—grounded for the weekend.
Get an “F” on a school paper—no swimming at the pool.
Forgettting to take out the trash—no trip to the movies (which also meant no popcorn).
Break a window—no TV for week.
Kill the neighbor kid—no Halloween. Even though it was over a month ago that it happened.
When they found out what he had done, his parents made him drag the boy’s body into the backyard, where they wrapped him up in plastic and took the kid out to the forest on the edge of town to bury him. They made Jacob refill the grave.
His parents had gotten dirt all over their clothes from the digging, so that added even more onto his punishment. They would not be buying any candy this year to give out at Halloween, which meant there’d be no candy in the house to eat.
No costumes, no candy, no trick-or-treating. It was the worst Halloween ever.
As he sat on the sidewalk watching the house burn to the ground, he knew he had been “bad’ again. Especially since his parents had still been inside. But, at least they couldn’t punish him this time. Though he did wonder one thing—who would be getting him his Christmas presents this year?