Hocus Pocus and All That
Behind the Mask
By Maureen L. Bonatch
Sometimes we’re shocked, or surprised, because it isn’t the paranormal we need fear. Not when what we considered ordinary removes the mask they wear all year.
Enjoy this short shivery treat—and Happy Halloween.
“You can’t get enough of that pumpkin spice latte, can you, Celeste?” George punched her coffee card.
“I do love pumpkin.” Celeste stepped out of the way of the rush of customers.
George leaned over the counter. “Wally was looking for you.”
“Oh.” Celeste cringed and glanced over her shoulder, as if expecting Wally to appear.
George raised an eyebrow. “You turned him down?”
She averted her eyes and snuck a taste of the pumpkin flavored foam escaping the plastic lid. “You could say that.”
“He seems like a good guy.” George diverted his attention to the onslaught of customers clutching their nectar and the dollars to support their caffeine habit.
Celeste rolled her eyes and exited the store. After scanning the parking lot, she slid into her car, relieved there was no sign of him.
Initially she was flattered by Wally’s attention, but his leering stares and inappropriate comments were creepy.
The parking garage at the office was empty. A glance in the rear-view mirror made her breath catch. The interior light illuminated a small pumpkin perched on the back seat. A hasty carving completed one ragged eye and an attempt at a menacing scowl. A knife pierced the side of the orange shell. Seeds oozed on the upholstery from the wound and the jagged grin.
“Trick or treat!” An arm snaked around the seat and gripped Celeste, a hand stifled her scream.
Wally leaned over the seat, sneering into the mirror. His lower lip pushed in an exaggerated pout. “What? You don’t like your treat? I thought you loved pumpkins.”
Celeste struggled against his vise-like grip.
“Well then, I have a trick for you instead.” Wally removed his hand from her mouth to draw the knife from the pumpkin. Orange pumpkin guts splattered against the side of the window and the jack-o-lantern slumped in defeat.
The blade of the knife pressed against her throat. “Wally, wait!” She met his gaze in the mirror and forced a tight smile. “I was just playing hard to get.”
Wally roared with laughter. “Oh, I’m sure you were Miss I’m too good for Wally.” He pressed the blade tighter until blood trickled along her throat. It mingled with the orange pumpkin goo and seeds clinging to the blade.
“It’s true. Look in my purse.” She nodded toward where it sat on the seat. “I have a note in there for you.”
Appearing intrigued, Wally reached for her purse, relaxing the blade.
She lunged for her latte and threw the scalding liquid in Wally’s face. He fell back, roaring in agony.
Celeste bolted out the door and across the parking garage, gagging on the sweet scent of pumpkin.
© 2018 Maureen L. Bonatch All Rights Reserved
Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keep her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu, her teen twins & alpha hubby keep her in line. http://www.maureenbonatch.com/
by Maureen L. Bonatch
Hope just wants to be normal—too bad that will never happen.