Trick or Treat
I felt the push, and I teetered forward. They shoved again, and I splattered in the mud puddle.
"Come on, Billy. Get up." They laughed. One kicked me.
I grunted and got to my knees. Thick brown sludge coated my pirate costume. "Leave me alone."
"Why would we do that?"
Sam picked me up, throwing me toward gate. "Go in there. Trick or treat. I dare you."
"Dare, dare, dare." The other three chorused.
Straightening my glasses, I peered up the driveway to the house on the hill. The haunted house. The scary house. The place no kid wanted to go. "I don't wanna."
Justin hit me in the back. "Get in there."
The gate creaked open, and they threw me in.
"Be a man, Billy. Or are you a pussy." Alan taunted me. The boys snickered.
I stood up and looked between the house and the others. Sam was fourteen, Alan thirteen, Justin fifteen, and Mike twelve. They'd picked on me since I moved here last summer. The broken down house with the eerie green light emitting from the windows appealed more than trying to get through them.
"Fine, I'll do it." I glared and tried to regain some dignity, despite the mud on my puffy shirt and black pants. I'd lost my pirate hat somewhere. "If I do, you'll leave me alone." It wasn't a question.
"Sure, sure, we promise, Bill. Get up there." Sam crossed his arms and waited.
The others followed suit.
"Fine." I marched up the hill.
My footsteps grew slower as the house grew closer. A low hum pulsed, and the hairs on my arms lifted. I broke out in goose bumps. Finally, I stepped up on the porch. The steps groaned and creaked. The weathered door seemed to stare back. I knocked.
The inside lights extinguished. When the door opened, someone shined a flashlight in my eyes. It blinded me.
"What do you want?" The man barked.
"I-I...trick or t-treat." I stuttered.
"I chose trick."
The boards beneath my sneakers vanished. I screamed.
Darkness surrounded me while I fell through the trapdoor.
Then, I hit the hard ground. I couldn't breathe. My hands clawed cool, concrete floor.
I howled in pain.
I passed out.
The sun had set, and I walked home from the library. A shiver raced up my spine when I saw the haunted house again, and I broke out into a run. A couple more blocks.
"Where do you think you're going, Billy?" Sam stepped out from St. Peter's cemetery. He held a can of spray paint.
"Home." They hadn't bothered me since that night a month ago.
"Maybe not yet." Alan shoved me inside the cemetery.
"What are you doing?" I spun around.
"If you want to join us, you have to pass all the tests." Justin grabbed my arms.
"But I don't want to join you." I was confused.
Mike ran around with a rope, tying me up.
"Stop it, guys!"
They mimicked me, and I stumbled onto a grave. The tombstone rested above my head. Panic and anger warred inside me, and I shook with the fear and rage. "Stop it. Untie me."
They didn't heed my words.
Then, the full moon broke through the horizon.
Madness seeped into my bones. They snapped and shifted. The rope burst. Fur sprouted over my hands, my face.
The boys' faces drained to white.
Gnashing my teeth, I growled at them.
When they ran, the chase was on.
Closer, closer, closer. My fangs snapped down on…nothing!
Growls and laughter rose and died.
"Trick or treat?" I heard my own voice in my mind.
"I choose treat."