Flash Fiction

Halloween, 2018

Prompt: A dark photo of a smiling jack-o-lantern on a porch. 250w limit. 

Garrett shut the front door with a gentle click and stepped forward to lean against the front porch column. The cold autumn air felt foreign against his freshly shorn scalp, but he didn’t plan to be out here long enough to need a hat.

The street was empty, as usual. The few cars that remained on the block hadn’t moved in months, and his house was the only one with its lights on. The streetlight half a block down flickered, and Garrett could hear the whine of its lamp from where he stood.

Quiet. Always quiet.

He looked down at the pumpkin near his feet, pulled the old Zippo lighter from his pocket and leaned over to lift the carved top from the base. With a flick of his fingers, the jack-o-lantern cast a weak shadow across the stairs.

Garrett put the lid back.

Rhythmic steps echoed down the street. Garrett looked up, but he knew who it was. There were only three of them left in the neighborhood, and Mrs. Tolliver wouldn’t come out after sundown. Everyone else was dead, gone, or…something else entirely.

“Hi, Rhett,” Garrett said.

“Hey, Garrett.” Rhett looked at the pumpkin. “You expecting trick-or-treaters?”

Garrett sighed. “No candy.”

Rhett looked at him, then walked up the driveway and sat down on the steps. “You’re in luck.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out two small chocolate candies.

They sat on the stairs without saying another word until the candle flickered and died.