It was a usual workday Monday, and Jeff Dobbs was running late. He had slept
through his alarm clock's warning. Omitting his usual shower, he brushed his teeth and
raked a comb through his unruly hair. He rushed to the bedroom closet. Reaching for
his new, black suit, he immediately noticed that something resembling dandruff lay
across its shoulders. What is that and how did it get there? As he stood scratching his
head, more of the stuff drifted down. He looked up, and it dawned on him that his
friend, Matilda's cre-mains were falling from her box, directly overhead. Matilda I'm
sorry, he thought with remorse. I meant to buy a plot and bury you years ago. As he got
dressed, he decided to stop procrastinating and give Matilda, an old friend of the family,
a decent burial. She had lived with him and his wife, Thelma, until her death, having no
place else to go. Jeff finished dressing, kissed Thelma on the forehead as she lay
sleeping in the bed they shared, and departed.
When the weekend arrived, Jeff and Thelma visited the local cemetery. They
purchased a niche, much smaller than a burial plot. It would be perfect for Matilda's
remains. Jeff had always called her a beautiful flower. He had loved her very much and
was saddened when she died of old age.
Work and other interests intervened, and for three weeks Jeff was unable to take
any action regarding his friend's burial. When he finally found the time and started to
take her box from the closet, he noticed big piles of ashes on his clothing and on the
floor. Puzzled, he removed the box from the shelf. At first he could not believe what he
was seeing, a gnarled hand sticking out of the box. It had ashes underneath its black
As Jeff stood there, astonished, the hand began feeling its way around the box.
Jeff screamed and dropped it. He backed his way out of the room. Thelma heard him
and came running. The box had landed right side up, and there was no spill of ashes, but
the hand continued to move and wave in the air. Thelma put her hand to her throat.
"What is it?" she asked in horror.
"It's Matilda's ashes. I was taking them out of the closet when the hand popped
out. I never saw anything like this before." Thelma started toward the box. Jeff pulled
"Don't touch it! We don't know what we're dealing with." As they watched, there
was movement at the box's top, right corner. An eye erupted with a little poof of the
ashes. The eye looked around the room, then glared at Jeff. It had no eyelid. The eye
was full of blood, but it kept staring. Jeff and Thelma bolted from the room. They stared
at the apparition through the slightly cracked door. As they watched, another eye
popped from the ashes. It had an eyelid with small, red sores. Then, a bone-white arm
extended from the gnarled hand. As a hidious head emerged, the eyes jumped into its
sockets. The leftover ashes seemed insufficient to create a torso, but one soon appeared.
It was twisted with black hairs sprouting everywhere. The head was bald, but more
sores appeared, seeping with blood.
At last, the creature stood in the middle of the room on four legs with feet. It had
six arms, each with a black-clawed hand. Its mouth was where its neck would have been
if it had a neck. It looked directly at Jeff.
"Why did you have me burned?" Jeff was struck dumb with fear. Thelma
"Because cremation was cheaper. Your burial policy wasn't enough for a full
funeral, and we are not rich. How did you arise from your ashes?"
"The Spirit of Halloween awakened my remains. I love the Spirit of Halloween.
She wants me to Trick or Treat since it is almost that time."
Matilda wore no clothing, nor did she need any. Her body was an ashy gray blob,
and it was doubtful that she could become cold. She had no modesty to protect. She
seemed to be alive and dead also, if that was possible. Somehow she stood on her four
feet, but was wobbly. She managed to leave the room where she had been reborn and
make it to the dining room table. She pulled a chair out and sat. She saw the sugar bowl
and immediately poured the contents down her maw. Her neck made chewing motions,
and a slurping sound escaped.
Banging the sugar bowl on the table she growled, her eyes, glittering with malice.
"More sweet!" she demanded. Thelma rushed to the pantry and retrieved a
cannister of sugar. Matilda grabbed it and stuffed the entire amount down, sugar spilling
onto the floor as she did so. Her unwieldy body slid off the chair. She sat in the middle
of the remaining sugar, busily scooping it up. When she had finished, she looked around
the room for more.
"More sweet!" she cried.
"She's going to become a diabetic," Thelma whispered.
"How can she do that? She's not even a real person," Jeff replied.
"Trick or Treat!" Matilda howled. "I want Trick or Treat!"
Matilda sat on the floor through the remainder of the day. Abigail, Jeff's and
Thelma's daughter, aged eleven, ran screaming from the kitchen when she spotted her.
Flies and spiders appeared around Matilda, and the floor became stained with her
reconstituted blood. Jeff and Thelma attempted an explanation of why such an alien
creature had taken up residence in their home. Abigail was too frightened to stay in the
house. she grabbed her school books and departed.
The next day was Halloween, and Matilda was eager to participate. She wanted to
hand out candy to the Trick or Treaters who would be there that night. Jeff and Thelma
agreed to that, although they had their doubts that any good would come of it. Sure
enough, when Matilda was handed the bowl of candy, she immediately crammed the
contents into her mouth, not bothering to unwrap the sweets.
The first visitors of the night were a small boy and girl. The boy was dressed as a
pirate, his sister, as a fairy princess. "Trick or Treat!" they said in unison as the door
was opened. Matilda stood there, looking from one child to the other. She spotted the
sacks of candy they had already collected. Without a word, she snatched the sacks from
them and began wolfing down the contents. The children ran screaming back to the car
where their mother waited. She had witnessed everything and wasted no time leaving,
her tires squealing down the street.
After several more chidren were frightened out of their wits and their candy taken,
word got around that something strange was happening at Jeff's and Thelma's house.
Matilda had devoured every piece of candy she could get and had also eaten the paper
bags that had held it. She was starting to grow like a proverbial blob.
The next time the door bell rang, Jeff answered it. A group of teenaged boys stood
"We don't want to Trick or Treat," one of them said. "We came to see the freak!"
Upon hearing this, Matilda charged, shrieking, "Trick or Treat, more sweets!" She
scuttled out the door and headed in the direction the boys had gone. A misty rain with
fog had begun, and Jeff and Thelma could not see Matilda anywhere. They were glad,
hoping she would not return. She had upended their lives too much already.
Matilda was hungry. She had scared the meaness from the boys who had taunted
her and had eaten all their candy. In her rudimentary brain she was satisfied for a while.
She was at the edge of a forest, and she could see a farmhouse in the distance. Perhaps
there would be something sweet there. As she approached, three farm dogs began
barking. When she came closer, they charged, snapping viciously at her legs and biting
her wretched body. Matilda bit back, causing one dog to yelp and try to escape. Matilda
held it close and took a bite. It was delicious. she began eating the dog, causing such a
ruckus, a light came on in the farmhouse. The front door opened, and there stood a
farmer in his long-johns with a shotgun aimed at Matilda.
"Who goes there?" he shouted. Matilda was enjoying the dog and ignored him
until a blast from the shotgun took half her head off. She felt no pain, but knew one of
her eyes was no longer there. A survival instinct kicked in from somewhere, and
Matilda scurried away, but she had found a new food source that was almost as
delicious as candy and other sweets. Meat would be her mainstay if she could not find
sweets. However, it was almost midnight, and Matilda had a vague feeling she should
go home. Her head, or what remained of it, was bleeding and blinding her one, good
eye. She had to constantly sling the blood away in order to see where she was going.
As she hurried toward town, she encountered more dogs, but although she had
scared up a rabbit and scarfed it down, she avoided the dogs. Her hunger was satisfied
for the moment. But a deeper hunger was beginning to stir in her non-body. She wanted
more sweets.Perhaps she could find some if, on her way home, her hunger returned.
It was about two o'clock a.m. when Matilda reached home. The lights were out,
and no sound came from the place she had called home for many years. She went
around to each door, but only found a window open that led to the basement. Seeing
that her bulk would never fit through such a tiny space, she howled and cried. Dogs
began barking, and porch-lights came on in the neighborhood.
The commotion woke Jeff and Thelma. They scrambled into housecoats and bed-
"What on earth is that racket?" Jeff asked. Thelma pulled her housecoat tightly
around her body and shivered.
"I don't know, but it sounds eerie. Maybe we should call the police." Jeff grabbed
"Let me check it out first." When he went around the side of the house with a
flashlight, he was shocked by what he saw. There stood Matilda, half her head gone,
glowering at him. Blood covered most of her face. When she came at him, he raised the
revolver and fired. The bullet struck Matilda in her other eye. She stopped her charge
and grabbed the eye. Her screams brought the neighbors from their homes. They stood
in their yards, dazed and confused, wondering what the commotion was about.
Thelma came around the side of the house. Her eyes widened in shock when she
saw Matilda. Matilda no longer resembled anything even somewhat human. She was a
monster of epic proportions. She began to run in an awkward, half stumbling way, her
enormous body swaying from side-to-side. She howled as she went.
She ran straight into a light pole and simply exploded. Bloody ashes, candy,
animal bits and pieces shot in all directions. It splattered on houses, neighbors, the
sidewalk and the street, a terrible death from a creature that should never have existed.
Jeff, shocked by the spectacle, only had one thing to say to the neighborhood. "Trick Or
Treat! Happy Halloween, everyone!" But Matilda was not quite dead. Her severed arms
and legs moved along the ground like inch-worms as they searched for more candy.
Published on October 1st, 2022
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