Death of Wilbur Whateley by Paul Mudie (Click to see more)

Trick or Treat?

by Anthony Sarnelle

Brittany Muller shook in fright as she waited in the parking lot for the police to arrive. Behind her, the church where it all happened; ancient stained-glass windows, a fa?ade of dark brick, and a large tower that rose into the sky topped with an eroded crucifix that cast a black contour against the pink stratus clouds. Thirteen religion school children stood beside her crying, some sitting in the grass holding each other?s hands, one girl standing with her arms wrapped around Brittany?s leg because the thing . . . with its horrific eyes . . . and deadly horns . . . was still inside the church.

A police siren grew closer, echoing through the densely wooded trees that secluded St. Mark?s from the rest of the town. Brittany saw the faint glistening of red and blue lights twinkling through the woods as a police car drove up the dirt road and parked in the gravel parking lot. Two policemen hastily exited the vehicle and approached Brittany who stood with the children.

Officer Smith flashed his golden badge. ?Are you guys alright??

?We need to get the children out of here!? Brittany yelled. ?There?s something inside the church! Something evil!?

?Hold on a second, ma?am,? said Amshel, the other officer. ?Is anyone hurt??

?I gathered the children out before anything bad could happen. We ran as fast as we could when we saw it!?

?Saw what?? Smith asked. ?What did you see??

A look of terror came over Brittany?s face as she turned to face the thick wooden doors that led entrance to the church. ?A demon!? she said. ?We all saw it!?

?You mean a ghost?? Smith asked.

?No! It wasn?t a ghost. It was a demon! It had a red face, white horns, and glowing eyes. Ask the children! I swear it!?

Amshel waited outside with Brittany and the school children, while Smith investigated the church. The interior was gloomy, covered in grotesque spider webs like an ancient attic. Smith?s eyes dilated with each daring step into the darkness. There was a sound in the shadows that made the hair on his back stand stiff. Smith took his gun from its holster and aimed it in front of him.

There was another noise. Smith rested his finger on the trigger. Suddenly, to Smith?s disbelief, he saw it . . . the nightmare of a face . . . the violent eyes. It was the demon that Brittany had seen! And it jumped toward Smith with a hellish growl!

Outside, Amshel heard the noise of a loud gunshot come from within the church. He ran inside as fast as he could, bursting through the wooden doors, fearing the worst for his partner- his friend, Officer Smith.

When inside the church Amshel?s jaw dropped with horror. Before him stood Smith with a smoking gun above a lifeless body. Shot dead was a man in a demon mask- the janitor- with a pocket full of candy for the children.


I am a recent graduate of St. Bonaventure University in Elementary and Special Education. When I am not teaching, I play guitar in my rock band Infinity Fall ( Inspirations for my writing come from Lovecraft, Richard Brautigan, Pablo Neruda, and Mitch Cullen.