Twelve year old Tommy Sand ran after two boys he knew were three years younger, growling and screaming threats, his Jason mask muffling the sound. Then Tommy saw it: a huge jack-o-lantern on the front steps of the old Hansen house. The jack-o-lantern’s carved face flickered with light, accenting the horrific carved features of agony. Tommy couldn’t pass up a chance like this. He had already robbed numerous kids of their candy, and the thrill had worn off significantly. The number of trick or treaters with parents increased dramatically, along with the number of larger predators: roving bands of teenagers older than Tommy. He walked across the street toward the enticing creature feature face, the jack-o-lantern left porch bound, with no other light on in the house behind it. From a distance, the brilliantly lit jack-o-lantern obscured the ill kept two story house it guarded. Tommy walked happily toward the oversized lot on the dead end street, already picturing the mess left behind when he finished stomping the jack-o-lantern.
As he drew closer to the jack-o-lantern porch, the street sounds behind him faded. Only the crunching, crackling symphony of dead leaves swirling around at his feet accompanied Tommy. He glanced up uneasily at the dark street lights above him; and then back the way he had come, where the lamps cast their dull glow on the street below. They seemed far off. Tommy shivered, and turned quickly to his task. Avoiding the telltale leaves, heralding each of his footsteps, Tommy slipped soundlessly up the old porch steps to where the jack-o-lantern stared back at him in ghoulish fascination, as if welcoming the boy. Setting down his pillowcase full of pilfered candy, Tommy smilingly moved behind the jack-o-lantern, setting up as if he were getting ready to kick a field goal. Without further fanfare, he ran toward the jack-o-lantern, and kicked at it soccer style with the side of his foot. A bright flash of blinding red-orange light flashed as he connected.
In the next instant, Tommy looked out from the porch at a boy about his age, dressed in a Freddy Kruger costume. The boy looked up at Tommy in horrified wonder, patting at himself as if he wanted to confirm his existence. Tommy tried to speak, but he couldn’t feel anything other than a hot burning sensation. The boy shook his head sadly at the new jack-o-lantern with bright flame highlighting its horrific features, and walked away unsteadily, without another glance.