The doorbell rang for the sixth time that evening. Agatha got up from her chintz armchair and shuffled into the hallway. No one appeared to be on the empty doorstep, but soon a small, round-faced boy dressed as a pumpkin bounced out from behind a potted shrub and yelled, “Trick or treat?”
Agatha gave a shriek. Her false teeth dropped from her mouth and clattered onto the mat as she grasped for the door frame. The child stared at the teeth in horror and let out a blood-curdling scream.
“I'm so sorry. Did he scare you?” The pumpkin’s mother rushed up the path.
“I’ll be okay,” Agatha lisped. “Can you pick up my teeth please?”
“Oh yes,” the woman bent to retrieve them. Looking perturbed, she handed the teeth back to Agatha, who immediately put them into her mouth.
“You don’t want to be eating lots of sweets, or you’ll get like me,” Agatha addressed the traumatised child, who retreated behind the shrub again.
“I do apologise,” his mother said. “Look, we've just moved into number 33,” she gestured towards a house a few doors down from Agatha’s. “Have you got something I can write my phone number on? If there’s ever anything we can do…”
“Thank you, dear. That’s most kind.” Agatha shuffled across to the hall table to fetch a pad and pen. Taking the proffered number, she gave them a handful of toffees, then watched as they trooped off down the path. Agatha closed the door softly and laughed. Did they really think that an overweight kid dressed as a pumpkin would scare a woman who had survived the Blitz? She added the note to the others in her pink cardigan pocket. Halloween was always a good time to meet the new neighbours. When the winter snow came and she needed someone to get her shopping they wouldn't think to knock on her door, but now they’d feel obliged to trudge to the supermarket when she called them.
Bridget Scrannage lives near Bath with her husband. She’s founder of an online writing community with more than 140 members worldwide. Her work’s been published in print and online by Christopher Fielden, Didcot Writers and others. https://bridgetscrannage.wordpress.com/