Ghoulish Behaviour

“Finn, I don’t want to…we should just go home it’s getting late”

“Don’t be a baby, Henry, you’re a big boy now, you’re ten.” Finn teased his younger brother, pointing at him with the tip of his plastic sword.

“I’m not a baby!” Henry swung his bag of candy at his brother, but Finn danced out of the way.

“Prove it. Go into the graveyard, touch the angel tombstone and come back out.” Finn stood with his hands on his slender hips, his smile smug as he showed off for his friend.

“Fine. But don’t leave while I’m doing it,” Henry stuck out his chin towards the two older boys.

“Watch out for ghosts and ghouls,” Finn’s friend, Bradey, said in a menacing voice, his zombie makeup running rivulets down his sweaty face.

“G-Ghouls?” Henry stopped at the entrance, looking back.

“Yeah, they come out at Halloween and eat the skin off of little boys. They eat everything, leaving behind only blood and bones” Bradey said, leering at Henry.

“Finn?” Henry turned to his brother, imploring him to come with him.

“Fine, Henry, we’ll all go. You’ll see what a baby you’re being,” Finn sighed, joining his brother and motioning for Bradey to follow.  The wind picked up as the boys picked their way through the tombstones, leaves crunching underfoot and blowing around their legs.

“Finn, how much further is the angel one?” Henry asked, turning in circles when he didn’t get a response.

“Finn?! Where’d ya go? This isn’t funny! Finn! Bradey! Fine, you’re both babies, I’m gonna go touch it,” Henry yelled into the wind, his voice swallowed up in the gusty weather.

“Henrrryyyyy,” A high-pitched voice reached him and he spun, tripping over a root and falling on his bottom. His mummy costume unraveled, falling over his eyes He tore it from his face and scrambled to his feet.

“Henrrryyyy….I want to eat….your…skin….Henrrryyyy,”

“Stop it! Guys!” Henry wiped his sleeve across his face, trying to blink back tears and see into the darkened cemetery. He thought he saw shapes ahead of him, creeping between the plots and he started towards them. When he reached the spot he thought he had seen the shapes moving, there was nothing but two creepy looking stone creatures perched atop two graves. He thought he saw them move and shook his head, trying to get hold of himself. Henry circled the tombstones with the weird creature-markers, looking for Finn. When he looked back at the stones, only one had a creature decorating it. His heart hammered in his chest and his mouth felt like cotton. His hands were clammy and he could smell rotting eggs. The wind seemed to push at him and he broke into a run, looking right and left for the other boys. He tripped again, landing face first in a pile of mud. His glasses bent and he couldn’t hold back the tears anymore.

“Is baby crying?” Bradey asked, laughing as he came out from behind a tree, his round form imposing as he stepped closer.

“Sorry Henry, geez, didn’t think you’d believe us,” Finn said, coming towards his brother. He crouched down, coming to eye level with his sibling. He wiped the dirt from his brother’s twisted frames before sliding them back onto his face.

“Finn…that…that wasn’t funny,” Henry sniffled, “Why were you guys creeping between all the stones?”

“We weren’t, we were right behind you the whole time bud,” Finn said, looking around. “Come on, Bradey, let’s go,” he said, helping Henry up.

“Are you kidding? No way, you guys wait here. I’ll go be the only non scaredy-cat,” Bradey said before disappearing into the darkness.

“He’ll be a minute, we can stay here. When we get home we can pig out. I’m really sorry Henry. You’re not gonna tell mom, are you?”

“No, it’s ok. I won’t tell her if you give me one of your full sized chocolate bars,” Henry smiled.

“You got it,” Finn laughed, looking around for his friend.

“What is that?” Henry asked, smelling the bad egg smell again.

“I don’t –“ Finn’s words were cut off by a loud scream. It came from the direction that Bradey had gone. Henry and Finn ran towards the sound, candy bags forgotten.

They got to the angel tombstone and saw Bradey’s candy bag, chips bags strewn over the grass.

“Bradey?” Finn called, keeping a hand on his brother’s arm.

“Dude, this isn’t funny anymore, let’s go,” Finn tried again. With his next step, Finn felt something snap under his foot. Taking a step back, he dropped to one knee to examine it. The blood drained from his face when he realized what it was – a bone, covered in something dark and glistening.

“Henry, we gotta go,” Finn said, standing and brushing his hands off. He gripped his brother’s arm, dragging him back with him. He kept his eyes glued to the scattering of bones and candy until they were a safe distance away. When they were, the boys turned and fled.

The creatures that had been stalking them watched their departure with red eyes and full bellies.

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