Nightmare on Oak Street

by Rob Warr

Chapter 1

Halloween, a time for fun, a time for trick-or-treating, dressing up, scaring and being scared. But what if those scares weren't the innocent scares of children, but something much more sinister? What if there really existed some of the freaks and ghouls that roamed the streets on Halloween night?

"Aren't you ready yet?" Petey groused as he sat on Dwayne's bed nervously tapping his foot.

12 year-old Dwayne Barns was just putting the finishing touches on his face with fake blood in the ensuite bathroom a few feet away, and he had a witty comeback.

"You know how we girls are, we have to get our makeup just right," he said in a falsetto voice.

"Well, hurry it up, girlie, or I'm gonna go without you," Petey Ames said with a chuckle, even though they both knew it was just a hollow threat.

"Relax, it's not even dark yet, we'll have plenty of time to score some candy and have some fun," Dwayne said emerging from the bathroom.

"Aww, I gotta admit, your makeup is rad, you really do look dead," Petey laughed.

"You look pretty good too," Dwayne admitted, "your mom did an awesome job on your costume."

Petey was dressed as an alien, green tights, which hugged his skinny body like a second skin, gloves that gave him tentacle-like fingers, and a full head mask that turned his head into an oval with slitted eyes and an 'O' shaped mouth, with just two little holes for his nose.

"Shut up Earthling and let me probe your anus," Petey said in what he hoped was an unearthly voice.

Dwayne just laughed, "Maybe later, but I get to probe yours too."

"Shut up, you'll get me hard and in these skimpy tights my boner will show, even if I am wearing a jock underneath.

"So, alien dork, is it big?"

"Ha ha, you know how big it is, you've seen it enough times, and had it in your mouth," Petey sassed.

"Now who's talking dirty?" Dwayne said, checking himself out in the full length mirror on his closet door. Not bad, he thought as he surveyed his costume, faded ripped jeans, a shirt barely hanging on him, beneath it a shirt that looked like plowed flesh and rotting sores. His hands, arms, and face were adorned with makeup to make him appear pale, with dark places to represent rot, and fake blood in others to represent open sores. For all intents and purposes, Dwayne looked like one of the living dead, and though he knew he wouldn't be the only kid dressed as such, he was pretty sure his version would be the most realistic.

"Okay, beauty queen, you satisfied?" Petey teased, "let's get out of here before your mom catches us and wants to take pictures."

"Too late," Mrs. Barnes chuckled from the open bedroom door, "it will only take a minute, but let's go downstairs and you can stand in front of the hay bales and jack-o-lanterns on the front porch.

The Barnes family always went out big for Halloween, almost as big as they went out for Christmas, and their house was a favorite place for kids to visit, not just on Halloween night, but the whole month. Besides the porch display, there were also assorted ghosts, ghouls, and monsters on the lawn, and next to the house. And beneath a sprawling elm tree, looking forlorn, most of it's leaves long gone, sat a small fenced-in graveyard complete with tombstones, engraved with names like Frankenstein and Dracula. Rubber bats with glow in the dark eyes hung from the tree, and on the roof of the house there were dark shadowy cutouts of fiendish figures, also with glow-in-the-dark eyes.

"Or, we could lay down in the graveyard," Dwayne teased.

"This will be fine," Mrs. Barnes said arranging the boys to her liking in front of the display, "look menacing, boys," she chuckled, as she began to snap pictures with her phone, "put your arm around Petey," she said then, and Dwayne gladly obeyed, then as both boys looked into each other's eyes, Mrs. Barns snapped a few more pictures. It was only later, after she'd downloaded the pictures to her tablet that she saw the look in their eyes, and in a moment of clarity she realized that the boys were more than just friends.

"Okay, okay, mom, can we go now?" Dwayne grumbled.

"Okay, I guess that's enough. Oh, I wish your father was home to see you before you go, but he should be home in a while. When you get home later be sure to show him your costumes."

"If we don't get abducted by aliens or join the zombie horde," Dwayne laughed.

"Don't be joining anything," Mrs. Barnes warned, "and remember what I said: stay on this side of the main road. There are plenty of nice houses over here, and I'm sure you'll get plenty of treats."

"Yes, mom," Dwayne said rolling his eyes. He didn't care where they went as long as they had fun and got plenty of candy. And it would be nice to scare a few little kids and maybe get some recognition for a costume well done. Besides, what his mom didn't know wouldn't hurt her, or him.

They started on Dwayne's street, Cherry Lane, hitting both sides and making quite a stir with the neighbors. Most of them didn't recognize either boy, but once their identities were revealed, each and every one thought the same thought, those two never go anywhere without the other one. They didn't especially think there was anything odd or suggestive about that, just a common fact. Some were perhaps a bit envious of their close relationship, and some might have been reminded of a similar relationship they shared with a friend when they were young.

"Trick-or-treat," Dwayne moaned at the door of the last house on the block, "oooooo, brains...."

The teenage girl who answered the door laughed loudly, "Mom, come and look at these two," Dwayne and Petey, right?"

"How did you know, earthling?" Petey said in his unearthly voice.

"Because I recognized Dwayne beneath all that makeup, and I know you two do everything together."

The girl's mom had joined them by then, and she laughed when she saw the two, "Good job, boys," she said digging out an extra large helping of candy and dividing it between the boy's pillow cases, which were already bulging with treats, "Looks like you boys are having a fruitful night."

"Yes, Mrs. Allen," Dwayne said in his regular voice, "thank you very much."

"Yeah, thanks," Petey said through his small mouth hole.

"Have fun, boys," Mrs. Allen said as the boys turned to go.

"See you at school," the teenage girl, Linda, said as she stared after them, then smiling when they turned to wave. Gosh, they are both so cute, too bad they're gay, she thought.

"Linda is nice," Dwayne said once they were out of earshot, "she's in my fifth period Geometry class. She's a whizz at math."

"You got the hots for her?" Petey teased.

"Nah, I only like Aliens with small green penises."

"My penis is not small, and it's not green, but it's all yours."

"Again, later," Dwayne laughed, "first we have fun, then we have more fun."

"Where to next?"

They covered all of the neighborhood so far, and now found themselves at the end of the last block. The only place to go from here was back the way they'd come, or...

"Oak Street," Dwayne said, looking at Petey to gauge his reaction, but of course with the Alien mask covering his face, Petey's emotions couldn't show through.

"But...your mom said..."

"I know what she said, but...I heard some kids talking at school and they said the whole street is decorated for Halloween and it's almost like a spook house to just walk down the street. It's a dead end street too, so there's hardly any traffic, and at the end of the street is the biggest house of all, with a cool wrought-iron fence around it with spikes and all kinds of spooky stuff in the yard, and on the house."

"Sounds cool, but if your mom finds out, we're dead."

"I'm already dead," Dwayne moaned, "braaaaains...must have brains...

Petey laughed. There was never any doubt that he would go along with whatever Dwayne suggested, however, that was just how it was. Dwayne was the leader, Petey the follower. It had always been that way, probably always would be.

Despite it being Halloween night, there was little traffic on the four lane divided street that separated the Cherry Hill edition from the Oak Street edition. Still, not wanting to take any unnecessary chances, the two crossed at the corner and with the light.

On the other side, they were confronted by a six foot privacy fence, which they walked along till they reached a small side street named Hill Lane. The privacy fence continued here for about forty feet, then ended about 20 feet from the sidewalk that ran along Oak Street, their destination.

Though there were street lights on both corners, as far as they could see there were no other lights along the street except the occasional porch light or yard light. Furthermore, they were surprised that besides themselves there were only two other groups of kids, one on each side of the street, but too far away for them to make out any of the details of their costumes.

"Not as busy as I'd figured it would be," Dwayne mused, "come on, let's check it out."

"The first house was dark, and even the greenest trick-or-treater knew no lights meant either the owner wasn't home, or they weren't giving out candy. Besides being shrouded in darkness, the house looked sinister somehow, with black shutters, and dark curtains on every window, as if to keep in any light that might be inside. The style of the house was called Gingerbread, but there was nothing cheery or sweet about it. If Hansel and Gretel had come calling on this Gingerbread house, both boys thought they would have found it even less inviting than the witch's house in the story.

"Come on, this place gives me the creeps," Dwayne said pulling at Petey's arm, "looks like no one's home anyway."

"Or...they're all dead," Petey laughed nervously.

"Yeah, maybe the zombies already got to them," Dwayne tittered.

Suddenly, a dark cloud covered the moon and blocked out the stars. At the same time, the wind which had brought the clouds, stirred the leaves on the lawns and sent little whirlwinds flying to dance around as if they were alive.

"Wow, that was cool...but kinda scary," Petey said when the whirlwinds had finally died out.

"Yeah, does it seem colder now or something," Dwayne said, shivering a little.

"Yeah, definitely, I have goosebumps all over my body now, we should go on back to our neighborhood, don't you think?"

"Not yet, let's check out the displays, these folks went to a lot of trouble to put them up, the least we can do is check them out, and maybe get some treats at the same time."

"Okay, but if we get abducted or eaten by monsters, it's your fault," Petey laughed.

"You've been watching too many horror movies, that stuff isn't real," Dwayne scoffed.

The two groups of trick-or-treaters they'd seen earlier had moved to the far end of the block now and were standing outside the wrought-iron fence that surrounded the property. Some seemed to have their heads between the metal bars, looking at something of interest on the lawn, while others seemed content to stand back and watch.

"I wonder what's going on down there?"

"Probably one of those laser light shows or something," Dwayne suggested, "I wonder why those kids aren't going up to the house though. The gate is wide open."

"Maybe they're scared," Petey laughed, "or more sensible than we are."

"Ha ha, very funny," Dwayne said, then suddenly throwing out an arm to stop Petey, he added, "Wait, what's that?" he said pointing at a dark shadowy figure lurking beside the house they were approaching.

"Someone dressed in black, probably jumps out to scare kids when they go to the door."

"Well, shall we give it a try, or pass on by?"

"There's no light on, so...maybe they're not giving out candy."

"Yeah, heck, seems like most of the houses are dark. Except for the decorations on the lawns, you'd think they didn't believe in Halloween."

Indeed, there were plenty of decorations, authentic looking mummies, ghosts, vampires, wolf-men, ghouls, goblins, and even an alien or two.

"Hey, anyone you know?" Dwayne laughed as they passed a house with an alien pointing a ray gun at the sidewalk.

"Wow, that looks almost real," Petey said nervously, then suddenly he grabbed Dwayne's arm so tight it almost hurt, "Oh man, I just saw him move, and his eyes blinked."

"Huh? You sure? I didn't see anything," Dwayne said staring into the alien's dark, oval shaped eyes.

"I swear they moved, I think that's a real person, dressed up to scare kids. Let's go before he decides to attack us."

"What about the candy?" Dwayne said, "if they went to all this trouble, surely they have some really good stuff to hand out."

"You want to go past all those...those things just to get some candy? Huh uh, not me, I'll wait out here."

"Alone?" Dwayne reminded him with a chuckle.

"Huh? Oh...maybe not," he said eying the alien to see if he had moved again, "Okay, okay, let's go. If we die, we die together."

So together they marched up to the door, past, ghosts, and ghouls, and monsters, but though Petey kept a close eye on them, none seemed to move, as had the alien.

There was no door bell, only a knocker, this one shaped like a skull with what looked like a wrist bone at the bottom to strike the hollow skull with. Despite looking as if it were made from real bone, the knocker produced a loud booming sound, more like a drum than a knocker.

"Ouch, that's loud," Petey said nervously.

"Weird knocker, but it goes along with the rest of the decor," Dwayne chuckled nervously.

They only had to wait a few seconds before the door opened, and though it was dark inside they could just make out a short figure dressed as a ghost. If they had looked closer, however, or if the light had been better, the boys would have seen that the 'ghost' wasn't just dressed up as such, but rather the real thing. What appeared to the boys to be glow-in-the-dark was actually a glow that came from within the apparition before them, and it's glowing eyes were not some special effect, but rather the haunting eyes of evil.

"Trick-or-treat," Both boys said at once, and the figure before them laughed. The laugh, however, conveyed no mirth or good will, but was rather like that of some wicked evil being finally achieving victory over good.

"Cand...deee," the ghost said in a spooky voice that caused the boys to shiver at the very sound of it.

"Yes, ummm, if you have some. If not, that's okay., like your decorations."

"Decor...ations?" the ghost said, seeming confused, "wait here," it said then as it seemed to float back into the darkness from which it had come.

"Dwayne, we should go. This is way too creepy. That thing looked real, not like a costume at all, and that laugh..."

"I know, but, said to wait, we'll give it a couple more minutes, okay?"

But before Petey could answer, the ghost returned, as silently and fluidly as it had disappeared, but this time it held a bowl in it's hands that was filled with all manner of candy. Some wrapped, some not, but names and types that the boys recognized.

"Take some," the ghost said then, "take the cannn....deee," it said in a haunting voice.

Both boys quickly scooped up a handful of the candy, but neither had any intention of eating any of the unwrapped pieces. In fact, both boys were wishing they could separate this candy out and throw it away, just in case it was poison.

"Thank you!" Both said as they made their getaway, then the ghost at the door laughed, that maniacal laugh again, and with a bang the door flew closed.

"Nice manners," Petey fumed, "and weird as heck."

"Come on, that wasn't so bad, let's check out the next house."

Petey groaned, but he knew when Dwayne made up his mind, it was useless to try to dissuade him from whatever hair-brained idea he'd come up with.

The next house could only be described as spook-tacular. First of all, the place looked more like something out of a Victorian Novel than the typical run of the mill cookie cutter urban dwelling. In fact, most of the houses on the street seemed to be of this design, though Dwayne couldn't remember noticing that the few times he'd been down this street in the daytime. Perhaps they only seemed that way because of the decorations, but deep down inside Dewayne thought there was more to it than that. There was something else different too, but it took him a moment to figure out what that was. Then suddenly it dawned on him.

"Umm, does it seem like these houses are farther apart than they used to be?" Dewayne said, trying to sound casual about his sudden observation.

"What do you mean?" Petey said, spinning around to take in the street, which now seemed to go on for miles and not just a block, "holy shit, the lots are huge, and the houses seem to stretch on forever. I can't even see the house at the end of the block now."

Turning to look behind them, Dewayne let out a little gasp. Not only did it appear that houses ran as far as the eye could see before disappearing into the darkness, there was no longer a cross street where they had entered the edition.

"What the fudge...?" Dewayne muttered.

Petey spun to see what had Dewayne so upset, and his cry of surprise was so loud it seemed to echo off the surrounding houses and reverberate till it was carried by the wind, to repeat over and over, until it was just a whisper.

"This is too weird, we need to go back..." Petey said nervously.

"Go back where? There is no back, Hill Street is gone, there's nothing but Elm Street stretching on for miles in either direction. How is this possible, are we having a nightmare...or is this for real?"

"I don't know," Petey lamented, "Ohhhh, we should've listened to your mom. Maybe she knew..."

Dewayne almost laughed, "Knew what, that this place sucked you in and wouldn't let you back out again? Hey, I wonder what happened to those other kids...?"

"Huh? Petey said spinning back around, but things had changed once again and the dead-end and the house with the wrought iron fence could be seen clearly once again. The group of trick-or-treaters had now moved on, moving up to the next house and headed their way.

"What the...?" Dewayne said, "am I going crazy," he said spinning back around to see if the view at the other end had changed again as well. To his relief, Hill Street was barely visible through the fog that had suddenly appeared.

"Fog?" Petey said reaching out to fan the thickening muck, which rose like some primeval beast from the depths of hell.

"Uh, yeah...more weird shit," Dewayne said, turning to face his friend, "Hey, the kids are getting closer..." he said with apprehension as he watched the little group approach.

"Really good costumes," Petey said, "or...they're real," he added under his breath as the small grotesque creatures approached.

"Uh, hi guys, uh, nice costumes..." Dewayne began.

"Grumble grumble," the creatures mumbled, their eyes seeming to light up as they spoke. Their huge distorted noses, complete with warts, huge flopping lips and pointed ears, rotund bodies and huge bare feet, made them look more like something you might find under a bridge than in an urban neighborhood.

"I don't think those are costumes," Petey whispered nervously.

"I know," was all Dewayne could come up with, "let's go," he whispered, but the group had formed a line now, blocking the way back, and their only option was to move forward. Perhaps they could circle back up the other side and escape, they thought, if the goblins or trolls, or whatever didn't block that way too.

"We could probably outrun them," Dewayne whispered after they'd taken a few steps, when he looked back he was shocked to see that the line had grown and now included some of the creatures they'd seen on the lawns, including the alien that Petey had insisted he'd seem move, "Oh shit..."

Petey looked back then and his bowels felt watery, in danger of doing what Dewayne had just said.

"Run!" Dewayne said then, as he grabbed Petey's hand and practically dragged him along.

Despite the fact that they were running at top speed, it seemed to take forever to reach the end of the street, and only then did they dare to look back at the horde that impeded their movement.

"Where'd they go?"

Not one creature could be seen on the sidewalk now, however, the many ghosts, ghouls, and assorted monsters on the lawns were back in place, silent and motionless as before.

"This is crazy," Dewayne said bending over to catch his breath.

Suddenly, a loud boom from the other side of the wrought-iron fence caused them to jump, and their eyes turned toward the house that lay behind the fence. Even from that distance, which seemed to be almost as far as the entire length of the block, they could see activity on the wide, long porch, and on the lawn.

Things, creatures, roamed the lawn, sometimes interacting, sometimes acting alone, with no discernible purpose. There were noises too, banging, moaning, screeching, as well as more of the loud booming that had attracted their attention in the first place.

"Oh my God, what are all those things doing?" Petey said in a shaky voice.

"I dunno, I guess that's what the other things were looking at earlier, but I wonder why they didn't join in the fun, and..." he added turning to see if the coast was still clear behind them, "where they got off to?"

"Maybe, maybe they were never really there," Petey suggested, "maybe none of this is real. Maybe we ate some candy laced with drugs or something...or we're dreaming, or someone is making us see things that aren't there..."

"I haven't eaten any candy, not one piece, and if we're dreaming, then we're both dreaming the same dream,'s my dream and you're just in it. If that's what it is, then I wanna wake," he said loudly, then pinching himself...hard, "Oww, damn, that hurt."

"What about the last thing I said, what if someone can make us see things that aren't there? Someone evil who lives on this street maybe..."

"You mean like hypnotism? How could they..." Dewayne said sounding nervous.

"No, not like that. Maybe like they can control our minds..."

"Mind control? Hey, maybe it's the aliens we saw back there..."

"Aliens, yes....aliens would probably have that kind of power," Petey said almost excitedly, "but what do they want from us?"

"I hope it's not to probe our anus, cause I'm not ready for that stuff yet," Dewayne joked.

"I think that's just a myth, I don't think all aliens are after our butt-holes."

"Good to know," Dewayne said leaning against the fence now, still keeping an eye on the activities behind the fence, as well as keeping a weary eye on their surroundings.

"So, what now?" Petey said, out of ideas, and turning to his buddy once more for direction.

"I don't know. I guess we make our way up the other side of the block and hope those things leave us alone."

"What about the things on the lawns on that side?" Petey asked, eying the houses on that side of the street. Though they couldn't see in any detail what lay ahead, it was obvious that most of the houses and lawns had some kind of Halloween display, including more of the creatures they'd already encountered.

"We could use the street, I guess, walk down the center..." Dewayne suggested.

"Yeah, that might work," Petey said, sounding less worried now.

"Okay, then...let's try that," Dewayne said taking the first step, but as soon as he placed his foot on the street, he felt a wave of nausea wash over him, and suddenly he found himself back on the sidewalk, only now he was about four feet from where he had been before.

"Dewayne, how did you do that? That was weird, it was like you teleported from there," Petey said running over to where his friend stood, gripping his head and trying to recover.

"I...I don't know. One second I was standing there by you, then I was over here. It's like whoever is controlling us doesn't want us in the street."

"I'm sure it's not cause they're worried about our safety," Petey joked, although he certainly saw no humor in the situation.

"Yeah, no traffic, that's for sure. Hey, how can that be? There has to be at least a dozen people living on this street, yet there's not one single car in any of the driveways or on the street."

"I don't know, none of it makes any sense," Petey said, "Oh man, I just want to go back to your house and bury our heads under the covers."

"Me too. Okay, so we can't use the street, let's try the sidewalk. Only this time, no stopping for anything. We march straight ahead till we reach the side street, then we head home."

"I hope it's that easy," Petey said softly.

"Me too, Petey, me too," Dewayne said, laying a reassuring hand on his best friend's slender shoulder.

Unlike most cul-de-sacs, the sidewalk here was not curved, but rather at 90 degree angles, and wider at the end, tapering as it passed in front of the next property on that side of the street. This house did not seem to have participated in the Halloween-themed decoration, and in fact looked vacant and dark. The grass obviously had not been mowed since summer, and though now brown, it was at least six inches high, with weeds taller than that in some places.

No light shown from within, nor were there any outside lights that the boys could see. As was the case with most of the houses on the street, a 6 foot privacy fence enclosed the backyard, this one with a gate on both sides. The gate to the left of the house was left open and swung back and forth in the wind, making an eerie squeaking sound that sent more goosebumps up and down their bodies.

"Nice place, maybe I should ask mom and dad about moving over here," Petey joked.

"Yeah, right, well...don't count on me visiting you if you do."

"Probably doesn't even exist in the daytime," Petey said, a thought solidifying in his head even as the words came out, "I don't think any of this exists in the daylight, or on any other night."

"You're scaring me," Dewayne said shivering even more than usual, "what do you mean, what do you know?"

"Huh," Petey said as if awakening from a trance, "what did I say?"

"You said something about this place not existing except for tonight."

"I did?" Petey said looking confused, "I don't remember saying that, but...somehow I know it's true. Does that make any sense?'

"No, but neither does any of this other stuff, come on, let's keep moving."

Suddenly, from the open gate of the empty house, they heard a growling sound, and darting their heads that way, they saw what appeared to be two large glowing eyes. Both boys froze in their tracks, but when the thing, whatever it was, didn't move from the darkness, they began to slowly walk away, keeping an eye on the thing and ready to run for their lives if the need arose.

Adrenaline ran high, and both boys felt flushed with excitement and fear, but they were both healthy active boys, and if something did take chase, they were prepared to give it a run for it's money. Almost walking backwards now, the boys were relieved to see that the thing had apparently disappeared, nor could they hear the loud incessant growling now.

"Maybe it was just protecting it's territory, probably a dog," Petey suggested.

"Ha, a six foot tall dog with eyes the size of plates. I'd hate to pick up his poop," Dwayne said, trying to lighten the mood.

For some reason both boys found that to be about the funniest thing they'd heard all year and they both burst out into laughter. However, as they became aware of that same echoing effect they'd noticed earlier, they suddenly slapped a hand over their mouths and fell silent. Yet, the laughter seemed to go on, as if recorded and replayed, booming louder and bouncing off the fog as if it were something solid.

"Holy shit," Petey whispered, "Is that us?"

"I think so, we need to keep our voices down from now on. I don't know why, but every little sound is amplified and replayed. Listen..." he said holding a finger to his lips.

From all around, the sound of rapid breathing, the thump thump thump of two hearts, and a tick tick tick sound filled the air. The sounds were faint, but distinct, but even as they listened they began to fade away.

"Holy shit, was that us?" Petey whispered.

Dewayne nodded, then motioned for his friend to follow him.

The next house on that side of the block was again a two-story Victorian with a wrap around porch, and as did most of the other houses, this one had the usual assortment of lawn creatures, tombstones, and spider webs, but in addition, it also had a rather large and nasty looking spider, it's web stretching from the top of the porch to the roof of the house.

At first the spider sat almost directly in the center of the web, who's strands looked to be as thick as rope in some places, but as the boys watched, suddenly the thing began to move.

"Holy shit, is that thing real?" Petey said in horror as they watched the spider drop onto the roof of the porch and start to slowly climb down .

"Either that, or...we're both hallucinating. Come on, let's get outta here before we wind up like flies on it's web."

However, escape did not prove to be as easy as that. Ahead, once again, the group of drooling troll-like creatures blocked their way, their eyes aglow as they mumbled their incoherent gibberish.

"Guys, this is getting ridiculous. Step aside please, or we're gonna use you for bowling pins, and we're the balls," Dewayne said, finally having had enough of this BS.

"Grumble--grumble?" the lead ugly said, seeming to be confused by Dewayne's outburst.

"He looks scared, "Petey said frowning, "maybe they're not as tough as they look.

"I don't know," Dewayne said, turning to see that the spider was now on the ground, though it didn't seem in any hurry to come their way, "let's see if they're men or pussies," he added gritting his teeth.

Petey laughed, "If they're pussies, no thank you."

Dewayne laughed too, "On the count of three, we charge them. One...two...three."

Closing their eyes, both boys charged ahead, arms locked across their chests to shield themselves, and suddenly they nearly stumbled and fell as they opened their eyes and realized there was nothing or no one there.

"So, they're not real..." Petey concluded, "and when we ran through them, they just disappeared. Were you looking?"

"Nah, I closed my eyes, did you?"

"Yeah, mine were closed too. I bet if our eyes had been open we'd have seen that we passed right through them.

"Maybe, but I'm not anxious to find out if that's true for Mr. Nasty Spider back there," Dewayne said looking back to see if the thing had moved, happy to see it had not.

"Right, no need to take chances. If it's not in our way then we avoid it."

The creatures on the lawn of the next house seemed to stay in place as the boys watched them warily and continued their trek along the sidewalk. Two houses later, they stopped to look back, and they could just barely make out the house with the gigantic spider, which thankfully had returned to his web.

"If this wasn't so damn scary, it would be cool...and fun," Petey said suddenly, as if he'd had another revelation, "yeah...actually fun."

"You mean a spook-house, where you know the crap is fake, but it still causes you to wet yourself a little?"

"Yeah, fun in a scary way. Hmm, I wonder..."

"What, what are you thinking?"

"Well, maybe whoever or whatever set this place up didn't mean to harm us, just scare us. Not to scare us away though, to scare us in a way to make our Halloween night one we'll never forget."

"Well, I'd say they've succeeded in that. I will never, ever forget this night...if we ever make it home."

"I don't think we're in danger, really," Petey said looking thoughtful, "I think he wants us to enjoy ourselves."

"He, you said he?" Dewayne said squinting his eyes and giving his best pal a serious look.

"What, I did?" Petey said frowning, "I...don't remember saying that."

"Just like before, when you said that thing about this block not existing except for tonight. It's almost like someone is putting these things in your head without you knowing it, till you blurt them out, that is."

"You might be right, and ordinarily that would scare the crap out of me. To think someone had some kind of mind control over me, but I don't think it's like that. I think it's more a suggestion, that things will be okay."

"I hope you're right," Dewayne said glancing back one more time to see if the spider had moved, only to get the shock of his life, "Loo...oook," he said pointing, "the house with the spider has changed, it looks...normal, no decorations at all."

"What?" Petey said swinging around to see what Dewayne had, only he didn't seem nearly as shocked, "so, it's true, it's all an illusion..."

"Huh, you never said that..."

"I know, but now it's clear to me. None of this really exists, except in our minds."

"Well, we must have very good imaginations," Dewayne said, then managed a slight chuckle.

"Well, I suppose deep in our minds we could have come up with this stuff, but I don't think that's all of it. I think the images were planted in our brains. Maybe some of them were things we'd thought of before, like the spider or the alien," Petey said thoughtfully.

"So, what's the answer, get out of here as soon as possible?" Dewayne wondered.

"That, or...just relax and enjoy the show while it lasts," Petey said excitedly, "instead of running from the fun, we should join in, interact, be a part of it."

"I dunno," Dewayne said, scratching at a patch of makeup that had dried up and was irritating his face now.

"Well, it's that, or run like crazy till we reach the end of the block, then hope we can find our way back home. But I don't think he wants us to go yet. I think he wants us to have more fun first."

"You said, he, again," Dewayne said studying his pal's face carefully.

"I did?" Petey said, then suddenly Petey's whole demeanor changed and the voice that came out next was deep and raspy, "Yes, have fun. Be scared, but don't worry, I will not let you be harmed."

"What the hell, Petey?" Dwayne said, ready to take off running if his friend answered in that voice again.

"Huh?" Petey said shrugging, "what do you mean? I already told you everything I know and feel."

"You didn't hear yourself say that last shit, in that voice from the grave or something?"

"No, what did I say?"

"You sounded like a completely different person saying something like: have fun and be scared, but not to worry cause he wouldn't let us get hurt."

"Wow, I said that?" Petey said softly, "I don't remember saying that, but...somehow I know it's true."

"So, we interact, that's what you're saying, what he's saying. Be part of the fun, have fun, be scared, but don't worry about being eaten, or killed, or anal probed?" Dewayne said in a nonsensical voice.

"Yeah, I think, I know so."

"Okay, but if you're wrong, it was nice knowing you. Can I at least have a hug before I risk my life for the sake of 'fun'?"

"Sure," Petey said, his smile apparent in his voice, even if his mouth was only an 'O' because of his mask.

For a moment, Dewayne forgot about the ghosts, the ghouls, the monsters, the aliens, and the scares they'd been subjected to that night, and all that mattered at the moment was the feel of his best pal in his arms.

"I'd kiss you if you weren't wearing that silly mask," Dewayne whispered in Petey's ear.

"I'd kiss you back," Petey replied, his voice equally as soft and low, "when we get back to your house, I'll do a lot more than that."

"I can't wait," Dewayne whispered, as he placed a soft kiss on the 'O' mouth of the alien mask, then they both giggled and the moment passed.

Moving apart, both boys sighed and pulled themselves together, which included a little rearranging of their boy parts, which had grown excited from the hug and promises of more to come later.

"Wow, look, the next house has changed. There's more stuff than before, look at the aliens in this one, they're not as cute as you, more like the kind that break out of your chest," Dewayne noted.

"I wonder if whoever is setting all this up knows that 'Alien', the movie, was the scariest movie I ever saw. I had nightmares for weeks," Petey sighed, "but I have to face my fears and believe everything will be okay."

"We could skip this one," Dewayne suggested, but Aliens of this kind had never really bothered him that much, because he knew it was all CGI, or at least just costumes.

"Nah, Petey said softly, "besides, we might be neighbors," he joked, "second planet to the right..."

At first, the Aliens just stood there, something wet and nasty looking dripping from their stainless steel teeth, but as the boys approached one of them began to move, slowly raising it's arms as if to attack.

"Oh shit," Petey gasped, his sphincter tightening as he prepared for the worst.

"Relax," Dewayne said, somehow knowing what Petey had said was true, that they were in no real danger. Then raising his own arms and growling, he began to mutter, "Braaaains, braaaains, you got any brains, bub?"

Petey actually laughed, even as the Alien hissed and postured, but still did not attack. Dewayne seemed to grow bored of this after a moment and he grabbed Petey's hand and led him to the next creature, a realistic looking wolf-man.

"Now, this is more like it," Dewayne said, having developed a taste for classic monster movies over the years.

"He looks real," Petey noted as he studied the creature with a wary eye.

Then suddenly the creature lunged and growled, but it's clawed paws fell short of either boy, as if it were just teasing them.

"See, just good fun," Dewayne said, now more convinced than ever that they were in no real danger. Then turning to the wolf-man, he added, "hey, seen Frankenstein lately?"

As if on cue, from somewhere in the dark, a huge green hulk came lumbering into sight, his arms outstretched as he growled and moaned, shuffling along in his shoes, which looked more like anvils than footwear.

"Well, well...there's Franky. Hey, Franky, seen the mummy lately, or how about the creature from the black lagoon, or how about old Drac himself?" Dewayne laughed, and as if by magic, one by one the creatures he'd named appeared from the darkness to shuffle, saunter, stumble or fly up to them.

"Wow, it's like a classic horror movie, like the one we watched last night, 'Monster Squad'," Petey said in awe.

"Yeah, all my faves. This is so cool."

"Dewayne," Petey suddenly said, grabbing onto his friend's arm, "umm, there's one more monster that really scares me, and I think it's coming...look, over there."

Dewayne focused his attention where Petey's eyes were glued to something emerging from the darkness at the opposite corner of the house.

"A robot of some kind?" Dewayne said, "I didn't know you were afraid of robots."

"Yeah, especially this one. When I was a little kid my dad and I watched this movie called 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', and there was this huge robot named Gort, and well...that's him. I still remember the words you had to say to keep him from killing you, Klaatu-barada-nikto. See, Klaatu was the alien guy and he'd told the girl what to say to keep Gort from killing her or something. I almost fainted waiting for her to say the words, I thought she was a real goner at first..."

Dewayne almost laughed, but after all, he had his fears and phobias as well, "So, go up to him and tell him to chill then. Use the words you memorized. This is the day you're finally gonna use that knowledge."

"Come with me, please," Petey all but begged, and of course Dewayne was happy to do so.

Hand in hand they met the huge robot halfway and suddenly it stopped. The visor that served as it's eyes pulsed with a red light now, though Petey remembered that in the movie that visor could also emit a destructive force beam. There was a humming sound as well, sort of like the sound one might hear at an electric plant where thousands of volts of electricity surged through the wires and transformers.

"Klaatu-barada-nikto," Petey said in a voice that sounded more like a six year old than a tween.

The humming noise got louder then, and the red light on the visor began to oscillate like a sine-wave generator. For a heart-stopping moment the boys held their breath, fearful they were about to be disintegrated. Then the noises returned to their previous volume, the oscillation morphed into a pulse again, and the huge robot turned and retreated into the darkness once more.

"I guess it worked. Good thing you memorized that," Dewayne said grinning, "we should watch that movie together sometime, so I'll know what the heck that was all about."

"Let's go," Petey said softly, "I've had all the fun here I can stand."

"Sure, we still have at least four more houses till we reach the end of the block, assuming more aren't added as we go."

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