Close Encounters of the Halloween Kind
By: Vanessa Sgroi
Johnny Gage’s eyes popped open as he fought his stomach’s urgent need to expel its meager contents. Knowing the battle was a lost cause; he raced for his bathroom, barely making it in time. Several moments later, Johnny sat back with a moan as additional symptoms made themselves known. Oh, man! Don’t tell me I got that flu . . .
The off-duty paramedic slowly made his way back to his bed. He eased down into its familiar comforting warmth, pulling the covers to his chin. Utterly miserable, he coasted into a deep sleep.
The ringing of the telephone eventually pulled him to full awareness. Gage shuffled to the phone and mumbled a greeting.
“Johnny?” Roy’s voice hummed over the line.
“Mmm . . . yeah.”
“Hey, buddy, are you coming over?”
“For Halloween. Remember? Chris and Jennifer wanted to show you their costumes before trick or treating starts.”
Johnny let out a long, low breath.
“Johnny, are you okay?”
“Uh . . . yeah . . . no . . . not really. I think I got that flu that’s been goin’ round.”
“Uh, oh. Do you need anything?”
“Nah, but I’d better stay home. Don’t wanna pass it along to you guys.”
“Okay. I’ll tell the kids you’re sick. Look, are you sure you’ll be all right?”
“Uh huh,” Johnny felt his stomach flip, “uh . . . gotta go.”
Gage dropped the receiver into place and sprinted for the bathroom.
Despite being ill, Johnny was determined to enjoy himself at least a little bit on this Halloween. He scrounged up a couple of bags of candy to pass out to the kids and settled in front of the television to wait.
Fifteen minutes later, the first knock echoed throughout the young man’s apartment. He carefully made his way to the door, clutching the big plastic bowl of multi-colored candy. A tiny faded version of his usual grin graced his face at the sight before him. Five little green “aliens” waited patiently for some candy. One offered a perfunctory “trick or treat” thought it sounded a bit odd and garbled to Johnny.
“Hey, great costumes. Aliens . . . cool. Here you go, guys.” Wow, those costumes look so real.
Johnny tossed candy into the sacks they carried and closed the door. Wearily, he returned to the couch. “Man, I feel like crap,” Johnny spoke aloud to the empty room.
Gage was half engrossed in a sitcom when there came another knock.
Swinging the door open, the dark-haired man started to smile at the kids gathered there. His half grin faded a fraction. A half dozen more “aliens” gazed expectantly back at him.
“Huh. More aliens. Sure must be THE popular costume this year.” This time none of the children spoke and Gage quickly handed out the candy and sent them on their way.
Twice more the ailing man was summoned to the door. Each summons left him more perplexed as he continued to encounter the funny little aliens. Didn’t the kids pick anything else this year.
Johnny’s strength, as well as any enjoyment he’d hoped to derive, was rapidly dissipating. Although there was still a good quantity of candy, he decided that the next group of trick or treaters would be the last. It wasn’t a long wait.
At this final knock, he swung the door wide. Johnny rubbed his tired eyes as his gaze fell upon one lone alien. Too tired to care about these strange coincidences any longer, the paramedic’s shaky hand grabbed a handful of candy. His fist had just cleared the bowl when suddenly the air reverberated with a strange humming sound and an immense silver disk-like object descended over the parking lot.
The whirling and twirling lights flashed with an intensity that made Gage dizzy. He blinked in disbelief and his jaw dropped in astonishment. The candy hit the pavement.
“Uh . . . wha’ . . .”
Before the amazed, and thoroughly terrified, paramedic could utter another sound, there was a loud whistle and a clearly feminine voice from within the spaceship called out.
“Okay, you mazrats, trick or treat on Earth is over for this year. Come on. Let’s fly back home.” Though somewhat garbled, the words were still easily understood.
From all corners of the apartment complex, little green beings walked, ran, and glided toward the now-open door of the ship. Excited babble filled the air competing with the loud hum emitted by the silver disk. The lone being in front of Johnny bent down and scooped some of the discarded candy into his sack before he, too, headed for the ship.
When the last little being was safely ensconced within, the huge ship took flight and disappeared at light speed, leaving behind no evidence of its visit.
Johnny closed his mouth and took a deep breath. Turning on his heel, the disconcerted paramedic slowly re-entered his apartment, quietly shut the door, and headed for the telephone. As he dialed, he leaned back against the wall and replayed what he’d just seen. The phone was answered on the tenth ring.
“Hello, DeSoto residence.”
“Hey, Johnny. How are you feeling?”
“Roy, I just need to tell you one thing. Just one.”
“What’s that, Junior?”
“Next year, I’m comin’ to your house on Halloween. No matter what. I don’t care. Passin’ out candy is just too dangerous.”
<<< THE END >>>