Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Curse of Candied Apples

The Curse of the Candied Apples
A Halloween Scare
by Yung

It was time for the yearly Halloween party for the kids of Claremont Bay. The adults had set up the movie projector in the back yard of Sally Grey's house again because they had the largest shed in town. A night of scares planned by the teenagers promised to scare the neighborhood kids into having a sleepless night and the kids couldn't be more excited for it! This was one of the favorite neighborhood traditions, and Craig Harper's mom had kept it going all these years. Max Wallace was most excited because this was his favorite holiday.

Max was the average nine year old boy, he had shaggy black hair which at the moment was covered by the hood of his costume. All the better since his mom was always trying to slick it back on him. A few freckles covered his otherwise pale white face. Currently sporting a black eye from a baseball he missed during practice last week. His best feature though was the missing front two teeth he'd pulled out the night before.

"Hey Max," Sally said as Max shuffled up wearing his Reaper costume that he'd gone home to get changed into, "What do you have there?" She asked while pointing at the large bag that Max was dragging with his scythe. Max grinned,

"My mom made candied apples for the grownups!" As he saw Sally start to frown he showed he had several tucked up the loose sleeves of his costume.

"Oh ye-" She quieted quickly as her mom stepped outside and collected the candied apples. Max winked at Sally as her mom turned to walk back into the house.

"Nice costume MAXI!" Bryan Greer heckled from the sidewalk as he came walking up to the house. Max turned to Bryan in disgust, they had been friends before Bryan started hanging out with Casey Harrison. Casey was the class bully and for a 3rd grader you'd never know how mean he could truly be. Casey was right behind Bryan and already pointing and laughing.

"Sally what is WRONG with your hair?" Sally was dressed up like Elsa and her loose braid had fallen under her shoulder, giving her an odd look as though she had no braid at all.

"Same thing as your face." Sally retorted as she huffed inside the house leaving Max to greet the pair. Max looked at Bryan who was wearing a very cool zombie outfit, he even had make up making it look like part of his face had rotted off. Casey was wearing a very slick vampire costume, complete with a pair of fangs that looked so real you could tell they were carefully attached to his actual teeth. Their parents spent a lot of money on their costumes and they were definitely going to make sure everyone else knew it.

"Where'd you get your costume?" Casey sneered, "The dumpster from behind McDaniels?" The pair laughed and shoved past Max before he could even say anything. The sound of them clambering into the house was disturbingly disrespectful and Max felt bad for Sally's mom.

"Hey Max! Awesome costume!" Max turned to see Molly Halbert walking up, her long blonde hair neatly brushed. Her costume was of a beautiful angel, "You're the Yin to my Yang!" She giggled as Max blushed.

"I really like your costume Molly!" Max stated a little too excitedly, "I really like your halo." Max said while pointing at the halo made of tinsel adorning her head. Molly smiled wide,

"Sally inside?" She asked while walking past. Max nodded as he followed her up the wide steps leading into the house. Sally's house wasn't very big and it was a straight shot through the kitchen to get out back where all the kids had already gathered. The sight out back was an impressive lay of tents huddled together near the side of the shed. The girls were huddled together on the right and the boys were hanging out on the left. Casey and Bryan were busy showing off their costumes while simultaneously making fun of everyone else's.

"And look who's here." Casey turned to Max with a sneer, "Maxi wore a curtain for Halloween. He wanted to be a window but no one wanted him to wear something see through!" Everyone laughed and Max felt himself blush.

"Don't be a jerk!" Sally said as she huffed away from the others pulling Molly with her. Sally's mom came out and started the first movie, Goosebumps. As Sally's mom went inside Max could hear her talking about the candied apples with the other grownups. "I hope your mom turns into an Apple-bie." Casey looked as though he was going to burst he was laughing so hard,

"Apple-bie? You mean like your FACE?!" Sally's face turned red as she huffed quickly towards the house.

"Come on guys, let's just watch the movie." Max said while sitting in front of where his tent was set up earlier that day. Just as he was about to bite into one of the candied apples he'd swiped from the bags Bryan snatched it out of his hand.

"He says, 'let's just watch the movie' but really he just wanted to distract everyone from the real goodies." Bryan tauntingly held the candied apple out but every time Max tried to grab it he'd move it out of reach. Max stood up, fist balled.

"Give it back Bryan." Max took a step forward, "I said give it back!" Bryan moved it out of reach yet again grinning big, until Max tackled him to the ground. The boys both grunted as they rolled through the dirt struggling for control of the candied apple.

"Aaaah!" The boys stopped their rolling around as their heads jerked to the house to see Sally and Molly running down the back steps screaming.

"Run!" Sally yelled while bounding down the steps, "They're Apple-bies!"

"Apple-bies??" Casey glanced to the house while laughing.

"Apple-ZOMBIES!" Molly screamed as she rushed passed the boys towards the back gate. As she hit the gate the grownups made it to the back steps, only... they were massive, swelled up and round, and their faces had sunk into their chests. Max and the others wasted no time following Molly's lead as they too rushed towards the gate.

One of the Apple-bies, maybe Sally's mom, took off rolling towards the children. Just as Max slipped through the gate Casey slammed it shut and the Apple-bie bounced off of it with a tremendous force. The children quietly yet quickly retreated into the woods behind their houses. Once they were sure they were safe and far enough away Sally turned to the group,

"Okay. I'm guessing it was the candied apples that your mom sent." She said while pointing accusingly at Max, "So you tell us how to break this curse right now!"

"Curse?" Max said hesitating, "I swear I don't know."

"Don't know?" Bryan jumped in, "You brought the darn things." Max shuddered, he'd almost eaten one himself had Bryan and him not gotten into it they both could have been cursed too.

"Look," Max said shaking his head, "All I know is where she got the apples, and that isn't going to help us."

"Wait wait," Craig Harper said while moving forward, "They weren't from the Harper farm were they?" Suddenly everyone got quiet.

"Yeah, so what?"

"There is a tree there that no one ever eats from, grandpa always said that the last kid who ate one of them turned into a pie." Sally gasped, Molly cried, and Casey snickered, "...but. I think I know how we can reverse the spell. Let's go out to the farm!" With that all the children quickly cut through the woods and into the fields which started the Harper farm. Getting to where the apple trees were growing took a little while but when they arrived the could clearly see the lone apple tree on the hill even in the darkness. Because the tree on the hill was glowing.

"No doubt about that." Said Bryan matter of fact to his tone, "That's a cursed tree Maxi." Sally hit Bryan's arm and turned to Craig.

"What do we need to do to break the curse?"

"We need to pick the apples and throw them at the Apple-bies!" Everyone looked a little skeptical, "Trust me, we can even test it. Max, since you brought those cursed apples now you get to eat one. When you turn into an Apple-bie I'll hit you with this one and you'll turn back into you." Max jumped back,

"No way! Are you freaking crazy?!" It was too late though, the other kids all agreed that this was the best way to proceed. Molly walked over, picked an apple and walked over to Max.

"Take one little bite, we just need to see." As she held the apple out Max felt his eyes transfixed on Molly's as his hand touched the apple in hers and lifted it to his lips. He heard the crunch, tasted the sweet apple, and then...

"Oww!" Max yelled as Bryan nailed him in the side of the head. "Not yet you dummy." Max turned back to Molly who encouraged him to take another bite. Bit by bit and bite by bite Max ate the apple, and then the next he remembered was laying on the ground.

"Well, that proves that. It works!" Molly said smiling while extending her hand to Max.

"What happened?" Max asked whilst feeling dazed,

"You turned into an Apple-bie," Sally chimed in, "we threw apples but we all missed." Max looked confused and then Molly sheepishly looked down and kicked a rock.

"Until Molly said your name and you stopped moving long enough for me to nail you in the eye!" Casey said while trying to contain a laugh. The children began gathering up apples to go throw at their parents while Casey and Bryan sang a beautiful duet of Maxi and Molly sitting in a tree. Once the children decided they had enough to do the deed they hauled their ammunition back across the fields the woods. The whole thing seemed very strange to Max; he didn't understand how Apple-bie's even existed, how the curse worked, or any of it. Perhaps it had something to do with Halloween. His thoughts were cut short when they arrived at what was left of the back gate.

"Oh no," Molly whispered as the children viewed the flattened camp sites, gate, and fence. Screaming could be heard from down the street. The children started running just in time to see the Apple-bie's attacking the other grownups. Without hesitation Max hurled the first apple. All of the Apple-bies turned towards the children and started rolling at them at top speed! The girls screamed, the boys yelled, but all of the children attacked at full force. Apples were flying back and forth and as they'd hit the Apple-bie's they would pop and the Apple-bie's started turning back into the grownups!

They were winning but there were still many Apple-bie's and it came down to the last two and there were only two apples left! Molly grabbed one apple and Bryan grabbed the other. They both threw their apples and POP! POP! Sally's mom came rolling to a stop, and so did Bryan's dad.

The children had won this year, but they knew what the new Halloween tradition would be. The curse of the candied apples would be a tradition that the kids of Claremont Bay would be sure to remember!