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Author's note: This is my entry for Cornconic's Halloween 2021 story contest.

The sound of the disk sliding into the DVD player whisked Gale’s ears, as he trod back to the couch to grab the TV remote.

“I’ve heard good things about this one,” Susie spoke, “you got the candy set up for the kids?”

“Always ready, Susie,” Gale replied, a smile shining upon his ageing face.

As the two laid back down, Gale went through the cheesily fonted DVD menu to start the movie, and the couple were finally ready for yet another night of a Halloween tradition they’d been doing for so long. That was, until the door knocked, accompanied by the so thoroughly known phrase, “Trick or Treat?”

As Gale paused to stop the movie, Susie chuckled, “They just can’t get enough of us, huh?”

For 10 years, Gale and Susie had worked hard to build up the reputation of being, “that house.” Although the house was decorated with a singular pumpkin, the sight of that pumpkin meant only one word to trick-or-treaters. Jackpot. Nearly every single person who stepped upon that veranda and even so muttered those sacred words, would be blessed by mountains of confectionary. No matter how much the house was visited, no one ever saw the bottom of the candy bowl. You could go to that house at any time, at afternoon or midnight, and they would still seem to have an infinite supply of M&Ms, Hersheys and other methods of turning a set of pearly whites, into a painful dentist visit.

This Halloween was no different for Gale and Susie. Like always, they’d started their movie, and had not even gotten ten minutes into it by the time they had children practically crowding up by their door. While it was a little agitating having to answer the door nearly every 30 seconds, Gale loved the process of handing out candy to the trick and treaters. Watching their eyes shimmer as he handed out generous servings of candy to the masses. Like always, he’d worked on his stash at the start of the month, and built up as the days went by, so that he would never run out.

This cycle of joy streamed consistently until around 11:00pm, where visitors began to slow down in number. Susie and Gale had just finished a third movie, and were almost about ready for another.

“Eh, that one was a bit underwhelming,” Gale remarked cynically.

“You can’t always expect sequels to be good,” Susie rebutted, her sentence slightly staggered by coughs.

“Are you alright Susie?”

“It’s nothing, I’ve taken my medication today, just having a little coughing fit.”

Gale nodded, before lifting himself from the couch to get another movie going. His walked was stifled with hobbles, and Gale himself was feeling rather exhausted after the big night. Yet, he was fine with another night dozing off on the couch, so he continued the process. He uncased the DVD, placed it in, and listened as the sound of the insertion once again lightly swept his eardrums.

Then Susie collapsed.

Immediately alerted to the sound of his wife hitting the cold wooden floor, Gale was quick to turn and realise what had just happened. With all his strength, Gale rushed towards her body, and put even more strength into rolling her over. He looked upon her face. What was once Gale’s purpose of living, was now weakened and strained. His heart froze. He won’t let it get away from him.


Gale swiftly brought Susie to the carpet in the centre of living room, with every inch of power that was left within him. His eyes darted across the room for anything that could further endanger an already unconscious Susie. Books, popcorn bowls, broken TV remotes, DVD cases, anything that even had the slightest chance of loosening Susie’s grip onto the cliff of life was punctually removed.


Gale grasped Susie’s hand, feeling her cold, blood deprived embrace.

“Can you hear me?” Gale croaked, fighting against fear’s constriction of his voice.

Her lips remained closed.

“Open your eyes, Susie.”

Her eyes remained closed

“What is your name Susie. I know it, but do you do?”

Her mind remained closed.

“Squeeze my hand.”

Her hand did not close.

Noticing the lack of reply against his calls of desperation, Gale knew what needed to be done next.


Gale pulled out his phone and began to shakily dial those three numbers.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“My wife has collapsed. She is unconscious.”

Gale continued to frantically converse with the operator, before the operator told him to stay on the line. Gale turned the phone to speaker mode, before continuing the steps to keep Susie alive.


Gale opened Susie’s mouth, checking for any blockages that may create further complications in the process of saving her life. After trying to make out anything in the darkness that only the start-up screen of the movie provided any light for, Gale concluded nothing had obstructed her airways.


Gale desperately looked for any signs of breathing. He checked Susie’s chest, but no matter how much he tried to mentally deny the severity of what had just happened, he could not feel any sign of movement. Gale poised his ear close to Susie’s mouth, but he could hear no breathe but his own. Gale took his glasses and held them above Susie’s mouth. Like the glasses, it was clear to see that Susie was not breathing.


Gale mustered himself upon Susie, and placed both his hands upon her check, trying to imagine where her heart is. With little hesitation, Gale quickly found himself within the cycle of thirty compressions for two breathes. He kept his pace, pushing harder and harder into Susie’s chest with every push. The breathing part was the hardest part. Having to face an unconscious and cold Susie every time he forced himself to complete the two breathes. However, all while Gale was putting every single fibre in his soul to keep Susie alive, a knock was heard at the door.

“Treat or treat,” a giggle-accompanied adolescent voice called from the door. Gale was unsure if he had actually heard it, as he had occupied all attention to Susie. Then, a knock came again.

“Uh, yo, trick or treat?” sniggers from what was presumably the teen’s possie could barely be supressed. Gale now knew that this time someone was surely knocking, but he knew he couldn’t answer it. However, he did not possess the verbal strength to call back to the teenagers. The knocking and calling recommenced, as Gale continued to see Susie’s life slip away from him. The knocking seemed to be faster, almost in rhythm to Gale’s compression rate.

“Hey old man, I’ve heard all the shit, can I have some candy?” the voice once again quipped, which was followed by a more obvious eruption of laughter. As the rage consumed him, Gale began to feel his strength fade from Susie’s chest. She was dying. After a few more knocks and weak jokes, Gale heard the group leave the entrance of his house and felt a pinch of relief for their departure. Then he heard an egg crack.

As the sound of eggshells beating against his house became ever so clearer to him, Gale’s hands loosened. Each faint crack felt like a bullet into Gale’s head, as time seemed to freeze around him in favour for his anger and shock. In the moment, Gale kneeled still, as he heard eggshell after eggshell barrage his house.

Once the act of vandalism had halted, Gale looked down at Susie. Her face was pale, less tensed, and although her eyes were shut, Gale could perfectly imagine how they could look in the state that Susie was in. Tears ran from Gale’s eyes, as he heard the screeching of sirens overhead, coming in closer and closer.

Written by Maanhatt
Content is available under CC BY-SA