Magic Candy

10/08/2019

 

Magic Candy

 

 

By

 

 

Hi-Standard

 

 

 

"Are you ready yet?"

Michael Hanes looked up the stairs of his home, his impatience growing in

the silence that followed his call.

"Are you ready yet?" he repeated, his voice rising in volume.

"I’m ready, keep your shirt on." His sister Carrie suddenly appeared at the

top of the stairs. She was wearing a bodysuit in vibrant colors of pink and

white. White gauntlets covered her hands and a plastic helmet was tucked under

her arm.

"Well, what’re you supposed to be?" Michael asked.

"A Power Ranger. What’d you think?" she replied, her face twisted into a

decidedly unheroic grimace.

"We were supposed to be out a half-hour ago," he growled. Carrie struck a

theatric, come-hither pose. It looked ridiculous on her skinny, eight-year-old

frame.

"You can’t rush perfection," she intoned. Her fresh, round face formed into

a smirk. "It’s not like you have anyplace to go tonight anyway."

Michael folded his arms across his chest and began to tap his foot on the

carpet. Carrie sighed and stuck her tongue out at him as she clumped down the

steps in her oversized costume boots. Her older brother felt a grin tug at his

mouth despite her smart remark and tardiness. He pulled on his jacket, then

picked up the plastic jack-o-lantern sitting on top of the hallway settee and

offered it to her.

"Here’s your candy bucket," he said. Carrie shook her head.

"It’s not a candy bucket," she replied. "It’s my confection receptacle."

Michael bit his tongue to keep from bursting out in laughter. "A

‘confection receptacle’? Where’d you hear that?"

"Hey, I’m a Power Ranger. We use words like that," she replied.

"You sound like a Borg. You will be assimilated."

Michael waggled his fingers at her, grinning. Carrie rolled her eyes, then

jammed her helmet on her head.

"I hope you’re not going to embarrass me tonight," she said, the serious

tone of her voice penetrating the muffling effect of her headgear. Michael’s

grin diminished but did not fade.

"No, I’m not. Are you going to be warm enough?"

"I’ll be fine."

"Maybe you better bring a coat."

"I said I’ll be fine."

Michael shrugged defeat. "Lead on, Power Ranger."

Michael followed as his little sister promptly began her Halloween sojourn,

hustling down the walk from their front door with what seemed to be an

inexhaustible amount of bubbly energy. He had great affection for her despite

their twelve-year age difference. Michael would have preferred to spend

Halloween night in a different fashion, but with both parents working he could

not refuse to supervise Carrie’s trick-or-treating so they could have a night

on the town. It didn’t matter too much anyway. His sister was right when she

said he had no one to see or do anything with. His long-time girlfriend Sandra

had left him to date another guy—again—and his patience with her

self-described "weakness" had finally, completely eroded. The end of their

relationship had long since been written on the wall but Michael had refused

to see it. Not being the Leonardo DiCaprio type (hair too short, body too

lanky), being too shy and not being athletic enough for hunk-hunting females,

achieving a kissing friendship with the long-legged, raven-haired Sandra had

been like manna from heaven. He simply had not wanted to give it up, even when

she openly flirted with other guys. Oh, well. There were plenty of other women

on campus. He was one fish in that big pond, and a fresh start is just what he

needed.

Michael shook himself out of his reverie. Carrie was walking as fast as her

legs could carry her to make the acquaintance of their neighbors up the block.

Her enthusiasm rapidly filled her plastic bucket.

"Mike, my bucket’s almost full and we haven’t even made it around the block

yet," she complained. She offered the jack-o-lantern in evidence. Michael

grinned.

"Well, you shouldn’t have been so greedy and grabbed so much candy," he

replied.

"Auggh," she replied, shaking her head. "You’re no help at all. It’s

Halloween. I’m entitled."

Michael almost laughed—and pulled a paper bag out of his back pocket.

"Here," he said, offering it to her. "Pour your candy into this and I’ll

keep it for you so you can get more."

Carrie’s eyes lit up as she saw the bag.

"Oh, Mike, you’re a lifesaver!" she cried. She grabbed the bag and quickly

filled it, then handed it back to him.

"You’re welcome, squirt. Just remember you said that later."

Carrie smirked and looked up the street. Her merry expression fell.

"Oh, no," she moaned.

"What is it?"

"That’s Pete Llewellyn’s house!" she said, pointing one gloved finger

towards the next residence up the road.

"Yes?"

"He’s in my class. I can’t stand him. He’s such a geek."

"The Llewellyns? Didn’t they just move in to the neighborhood last week?"

"Yeah. I don’t wanna go there."

"What’s wrong with him?"

"He’s a geek."

"So, you like him."

"Nuh-uh. I don’t like boys. Never will."

Michael smiled tolerantly. As he followed Carrie’s pointing finger he saw

the front door of the Llewelen residence open. Two figures were silouhetted in

the light; one was a small boy wearing some sort of costume, and a taller,

feminine-looking figure.

"Who’s that?" Michael asked.

"His big sister Anne," Carrie replied. She grimaced. "He’s such a

geek. Oh, no, he’s coming this way."

Michael watched the two figures walk down the walkway to the sidewalk. It

was difficult to see in the dark, but a brief glimpse of the big sister’s

shadow immediately caught his interest. Unconsciously he began to propel

Carrie down the sidewalk.

"Er, let’s go, it’s going to be full dark soon," he muttered, almost

pushing his sister off her feet.

"Hey, quit shoving!"

"C’mon, let’s go." Michael took the lead, walking directly towards the two

shadows.

"I said I don’t wanna go there!"

"You know, you could try to be nice to him. He’s only just got here."

"Yecch."

The two Llewellyns came to a stop at the bottom of their walkway. The post

lamp beside the walk snapped on, illuminating them brightly. Michael saw that

Peter Llewellyn was dressed in a very convincing lizard costume, a suitably

reptilian headdress atop his hair. The boy looked up at Michael and his

sister. A smile creased his face.

"Hi, Carrie!" he called out. "Look—can you guess what I am?"

His smile broadened, then faded a little. Michael looked down at his

sister. Carrie had put on her frown number 5—the one designed for the scum of

the earth. Michael poked her in the ribs.

"Be nice," he growled under his breath. Carrie started and looked up. She

looked betrayed. Michael poked her again, harder, and repeated his warning.

"Okay, okay, don’t jab at me like that, it hurts," Carrie muttered, moving

out of his reach and rubbing her back. She quickly fashioned an utterly phony

smile on her face and stepped towards the crestfallen Peter.

"Hi, Peter. Wow, that’s a great Godzilla costume. Where’d you get it?"

Carrie’s greeting immediately cheered the boy. He stabbed one claw towards

the girl beside him.

"Sis made it for me," he announced proudly. The girl stepped fully into the

light. Michael followed the boys’ pointing finger. As their eyes met he felt

his breath catch in his throat.

"Hi," she said, extending her hand. "I’m Anne, Anne Llewellyn."

Michael barely managed to remember his name as he nodded dumbly to her.

Anne Llewellyn smiled and a twinkle appeared in her deep green eyes as he took

her hand. She was a very pretty girl. Her hair was a bright, natural blond,

long and thick. She was dressed in an old-fashioned, blue bib-front dress over

a simple white blouse that did nothing to hide her curvaceous figure. White

stockings and black shoes with silver buckles completed her attire. Michael

gulped at the soft warmth of her hand.

"Hi. Ah, hi, I’m Mike. Mike Hanes."

Anne’s smile broadened.

"How do you do, Mike. I’m glad to meet you," she replied. The twinkle in

her eyes grew brighter. "Or should I say James Dean?"

"Huh?" Michael went blank.

"You look just like James Dean," she explained, her mouth curving upwards,

her gesture covering his white T-shirt, denims and brown leather jacket. "I

like it. It looks good on you. A little hair oil and you’d be perfect."

Anne stepped closer to him. While she was not as tall as Sandra she was

much more endowed. Michael felt warmth creep into his cheeks as his eyes

traveled across her curves. She smiled more brightly.

"I’m playing Alice in Wonderland tonight," she continued. Michael swallowed

to regain control of his tongue.

"You look wonderful," he said. Even as the words left his mouth he felt his

flush deepen until he thought he would heat the air around him. Anne’s smile

did not diminish

"Thank you, Mike. That’s sweet."

Michael shook his head in an effort to recover his wits. He gestured to her

costume.

"I guess you’re keeping your little brother company?"

Anne nodded. "Don’t want to see Pete eat half his candy before he gets

home," she replied. She bent over double and hugged the little boy, who

wriggled in her grasp. She did not see Michael measuring the fall of her bust

in her dress with his eyes—or the glow on his face as it grew to flame-heat.

"First you get to party, then I do, right Petey?"

"Awww," Peter said, his face blushing brightly in stark contrast to the

mottled green of his hat. Michael swallowed down his embarrassment and smiled.

"Me, too," he said, gesturing to his little sister. Carrie was standing a

full stride away from them. Her arms were folded aggressively and her

expression was distinctly unsatisfied.

"Can we get a move on?" she demanded. "The night’s getting old and I’ve

lots houses to visit."

"Is it okay if we trick-or-treat with you?" Anne asked. "It’s our first

Halloween in Chesterfield."

"Sure," Michael replied immediately. "We’d be happy to show you around."

Anne’s smile made him feel like he could melt. Peter literally jumped for

joy, cheering. Michael fixed Carrie with his most authoritative look. She

looked like she was ready to vomit but kept silent.

"That’s great," Anne replied. "Thank you."

 

As they resumed their trek Michael found that Anne was an easy and pleasant

conversationalist. He learned that her family moved from the city to

Chesterfield when her mother was promoted. To his surprise he discovered she

had transferred to Chesterfield College and was only two homerooms away from

his own.

"Really?" Michael asked. "I just finished my two-year scholarship from

them."

"That’s terrific, Mike," Anne replied. "So, I’ll be seeing you for the next

two years?"

"Maybe. Hopefully, if I can get the money together."

"Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. It’d be nice to have a friendly face there for

the next two years."

Anne slipped her arm through his and gave it a squeeze. Her gesture made

Michael’s heart skip a beat. In her Alice costume she looked younger than

college age. He felt his attraction to his new neighbor become stronger and

stronger.

"You’re such a geek!" Carrie suddenly shouted. Both Michael and Anne turned

to see the two children standing face to face. Carrie’s expression was one of

pure juvenile rage while Peter looked utterly dejected. Michael thought he

could see the little boy’s lower lip start to tremble.

"What’s going on, Carrie," he said. Carrie stuck out her lip rebelliously

and jabbed a gloved finger at her companion.

"I told him not to grab my hand!" she shouted. Michael saw the little boy

start to fold in on himself.

"I was jus’ trying to be friends," he said. His voice began to choke as he

spoke. Michael felt himself redden again, this time in embarrassment.

"I’m sorry, Anne," he said softly. "I’m afraid my sister can be hell on

wheels when she wants to be." He turned to face Carrie directly and his voice

rose steadily in volume. "She keeps acting like she’s still two years old."

Carrie looked outraged, but she quieted under Michael’s gaze as he and Anne

came up to them.

"I’m sure Carrie would like to be friends with you, Peter," he continued,

turning to the boy. Carrie’s outrage returned and she opened her mouth to

protest. Michael jabbed his thumb into her ribs.

"Ow! Will you stop doing that? It hurts!" Carrie said. Michael fixed his

most authoritative glare on the girl but she still looked rebellious and hurt.

"It’s all right, Mike," Anne said. She was rubbing Peter’s back gently. Her

face had fallen into a pensive frown but her voice was warm and sympathetic.

"It’s always hard for us when we have to move to another place, isn’t it,

Petey?"

"Your family moved a lot?" Michael asked. Anne nodded.

"Four times since I was born." She shrugged. "Mom has to go where the work

is."

Michael nodded. He found himself liking this new neighbor more and more.

Anne looked up from comforting her brother and peered over Michael’s shoulder.

"Who lives there?" she asked. Michael turned around. They had gone around

the corner of their block and were walking up a side street into a cul-de-sac.

The next house in line was a tall structure whose jagged outline was sharp

against the darkening sky. The house was unlit and looked deserted.

"That? Oh, that’s the home of the Prowler," Carrie said brightly.

"The Prowler?" Anne asked, puzzled.

"Yeah, that’s there the Prowler lives," Carrie continued. "There’s more

than one of them, but they only come out one at a time. Only at night, too."

"The Prowler?" Peter asked. In the light of the nearby homes Michael could

see his eyes widen.

"Oh stop, Carrie," Michael interjected. He turned to Peter and Anne.

"It’s the Smiths," he continued. "They’re the oldest residents in the town.

They’ve been here for years."

"Oh, an urban legend?" Anne asked, grinning.

"They prowl around at night? Have you seen them?" Peter asked, turning from

Carrie to Michael and back again.

"No, they don’t prowl—that’ a story meant to frighten small

children," Michael replied, giving his sister a meaningful glance. "No, I

haven’t actually seen them. My Mom did, though. Said they were nice people."

"Look, their porch light came on," Peter said. Michael turned. Sure enough,

two lamps now shone brightly on the porch, illuminating a broad, dark door

between them.

"Now that’s a surprise," Michael said.

"Why?" Anne stepped up beside him.

"Usually they don’t turn their lights on at night," Michael replied. Little

Peter’s eyes grew wider and he saw Anne’s questioning look. He shrugged.

"Maybe they’re offering treats tonight," he continued.

"Well, let’s go and see," Anne said. She slipped her arm around Michael’s

again.

"No way," Carrie yelled. "I’m not going up there. They’ll grab us and chain

us up in their basement and eat us, or something."

"Will you choke it off?" Michael snapped. He nodded to Anne. She smiled in

return, then rubbed her little brother on the back once more and pushed him in

the direction of the house.

 

The porch deck creaked dramatically under their feet with every step. Both

Anne and Michael stopped at the first wooden groan and looked at one another.

Anne giggled.

"Great sound effect. Just right for tonight," Michael said, looking around.

Close up the house looked even older and more dilapidated then at a distance.

Bubbles and flakes of peeling paint decorated the wooden clapboards fronting

the house. The two front windows also showed similar signs of age. The front

door was a massive, two-leaved structure that lacked windows or any other

means of seeing outside. Michael stepped back and looked from side to side.

Dark, heavy curtains covered every window he could see.

"I don’t like this," Carrie whined.

"I’ll admit it certainly looks right for the season," Michael said. He

looked at Anne and the two kids, then shrugged and rapped his knuckles on the

door.

Immediately the door flew open. Light streamed out, dazzling everyone.

Carrie squealed in fright and jumped into the air. Peter, encouraged by

Carrie’s antics, let out a cry of his own and Anne’s grip on Michael’s arm

tightened in surprise.

"Oh, I’m so sorry, dear. I didn’t mean to startle you."

Michael blinked the dazzle out of his eyes. Looking straight ahead he saw a

bald head surrounded by a halo of neat, graying hair. He looked down. A small

man wearing round eyeglasses and a smile was standing at the threshold, his

head cocked to look up at the visitors. Michael blinked again. The man looked

nearly as round as he was tall. He was dressed in a white shirt buttoned to

the neck and voluminous slacks held up by broad suspenders. A paisley bow tie

topped his attire. He nodded to Michael, then looked at Anne and the two

children.

"Trick-or-treaters?" he asked. His voice was high and throaty and his smile

broadened until it looked like it would meet behind his head. "We have

trick-or-treaters? This is wonderful!" He turned his head.

"Dear? Dear, we have visitors! Trick-or-treaters!" he called out. Another

figure appeared behind him, an elderly woman who was a near-duplicate of the

man.

"I hope my abrupt entrance didn’t scare you," Smith went on, looking

directly at Carrie. He angled one arm before his chest and bowed deeply.

"Excalibur Smith at your service. This is my wife, Adelaide. Would you like to

come in?"

"Yes, please come in, and be welcome," the old woman said. In stark

contrast to the reedy hoarseness of her husband Adelaide Smith’s voice was

clear and bell-like. "We get so few visitors. Oh, look at the wonderful

costumes they’re wearing, dear!"

"Yes! Yes, indeed. Of course, do come in—wait a minute." Smith looked at

Care and Peter, who were staring at them openmouthed, their candy buckets held

limply in their hands. "Did you two say the magic words?"

"Uh—magic words?" Carrie asked in a small voice. Smith brightened even

more.

"Yes, of course. Trick-or-treat!" Smith replied. He began to chuckle. At

the two children’s dumfounded expressions his laughter grew until his entire

body wobbled and shook. Despite himself Michael felt an echoing grin crease

his face.

"Thank you. We can come in for a little while," he replied. He felt a tug

at his sleeve. Carrie was at his elbow, shaking her head violently.

"Be nice," Michael growled under his breath. Smith waved his hands

excitedly.

"Wonderful! Wonderful! To have guests! Come in, come in, come in!"

Carrie made a break for it. Michael grabbed at her elbow as he led the way

into the home. He looked behind him to see Peter clinging to Anne’s hand, his

eyes round with fright.

"There’s nothing to be afraid of," Michael began. "They seem very nice—"

Michael’s voice died away as he got his first glimpse inside the home. The

walls were a riot of colors. Velvet wallpaper in alternating shades of red

competed with ornate, gilded picture frames bordering brilliantly lit

still-life paintings. A polished wood settee stood against one wall, its top

covered by a rich white tablecloth and adorned by a sea of photos in glinting

metal frames between shining accent lamps with cut-glass shades. A broad

mirror further down the hall was similarly framed, reflecting the light of the

crystal chandelier hung overhead. The floor under their feet was covered in

thick pile carpet over which an intricate woven rug had been carefully placed.

The difference between the dingy exterior of the home and what he was seeing

now bewildered Michael. He caught sight of the other’s faces and realized they

were thinking the same thing.

"Come in, come in," Smith said, waving his arms expansively. "Of course,

our home is yours. It’s so nice to meet such nice young people. Where did you

go, dear? Ah, there you are. You brought the cider? Excellent. Please, please,

come in. Of course, find yourselves a seat anywhere."

The hallway debauched into a living room whose opulence made the hallway

pale in comparison. Michael had just managed to squelch his open shock at the

richness of the furnishings and wall hangings when he found Mrs. Smith by his

elbow, carrying four crystal mugs filled with cider on a silver tray. He was

quickly ushered to a seat on a massive couch covered in dark green brocade.

Anne took the seat beside him. Carrie shook herself out of her own bemusement

long enough to claim a chair for herself. Peter squeezed himself between the

arm of the couch and Anne.

"Good," Smith said as he waddled into view, another silver tray in his

hands. "Everyone comfortable? Try the cider. My wife presses it herself. Of

course, it’s special."

Michael stared into the mug he held. He could see flakes of cinnamon or

nutmeg floating on top of the pale cider in the glass. He sniffed at it. The

aroma was pleasantly spicy. He took a sip. It was delicious, but different

from the store-bought cider he was accustomed to drinking—lighter, fruitier.

"You made this yourself?" he asked Mrs. Smith. She smiled brightly. Michael

noticed for the first time that despite her apparent age her hair was a solid

chestnut color without a hint of gray.

"Yes, indeed. We grow the apples in our orchard out back. Do you like it?"

Michael nodded. "Yes, it’s very good."

"Of course, you haven’t lost your touch, dear," Smith said. He extended his

burden towards them. Michael saw it was covered by a mass of petit fours.

"You must try some of my small treats," Smith announced. "Adelaide and I

used to do this for a living, right, dear?"

"Oh, yes." Mrs. Smith bent to offer a mug of cider to Carrie, who accepted

gingerly. Michael quickly drank half the contents of his own mug. The cider

was wonderful. Anne sipped at hers and smiled appreciatively. Peter was

staring at his mug like it contained toxic waste. Anne had to press him to

drink it.

"Yes, we used to have the only confectionery store in the town. Made all

our own sweets and drinks, we did," Mrs. Smith continued. "My Cal made the

very finest cakes and candies in the town, and I made the other refreshments."

"Oh, I can’t take all the credit, dear," Smith announced. "Your special

touch made my candies and cookies unique from anyone else’s. Of course, they

were much, much better than the stuff you get in the store nowadays."

 

Michael found himself relaxing as the two Smiths bustled and gossiped. He

had to stifle a grin at the two old folk’s antics, they were so excited to

have company. Another round of cider made its appearance along with a massive

plate of cookies whose warmth indicated they were only recently removed from

the oven. Michael noticed that Carrie attacked the cookies with considerably

more enthusiasm than she had paid to the petit fours. Both she and Peter

grabbed at the cookies simultaneously and their hands touched. He was mildly

surprised that she did not jerk her hand away immediately. Even more

surprising was the small, shy smile she bestowed on the boy. Michael felt

himself relaxing into the overstuffed comfort of the couch. It seemed that

every item in the livingroom had a story, and the Smiths were all too happy to

relate each tale to them. Soon both kids were relaxed and giggling at Mr.

Smith’s jokes as Mrs. Smith continued to ply them with what seemed to be an

endless supply of treats.

"Mr. Smith?" he asked. Smith leaned forward in his chair as much as his

bulk would allow and turned fully to face the boy.

"Yes, Peter?"

"Why do they call you the Prowler?"

Michael choked on the half-chewed cookie in his mouth. He felt himself

flush to his hairline. Anne did the same. Even Carrie turned red with

embarrassment. To Michael’s amazement she not only refrained from making a

tart comment about Peter’s indiscretion but reached out to pat him

sympathetically on the wrist.

"The Prowler?" Smith replied. His eyebrows rose, then fell. "The Prowler?"

"Uh-huh," Peter replied. Michael saw Anne use her thumb in Peter’s back.

"Peter, that’s a terrible thing to say," she said softly. She turned to

Smith. "Mr. Smith, I’m terribly sorry—"

"Excalibur, dear. Please call me Excalibur. Of course, so they call me the

Prowler? Well, well."

From her seat beside him Mrs. Smith tittered. Her husband joined in, slowly

at first, then more loudly.

"Oh, my," he whispered, wiping a laugh-tear from his eye. "That is the

funniest thing I’ve ever heard." He turned to his wife, who reached out and

took his hand. "I guess we do keep too much to ourselves, dear."

"Mr. Smith—" Anne said.

"Of course, call me Excalibur, Miss Anne."

"I’m really sorry," Anne continued. "My little brother heard this silly

story about you two—"

"Think nothing of it, think nothing of it. I remember when I was a lad we

had a tale about an old man who lived in a shack atop Red Mill Road." He

lowered his voice. "We knew he was an axe murderer ‘cause everyone said so.

Turned out he had retired from the Army after the Great War and just wanted to

live by himself. Of course, this is too funny. Never thought we’d be the

source of a neighborhood myth, eh, dear?"

Anne looked extremely distraught at her brother’s indiscretion. Michael

found himself embarrassed for Anne’s sake. He looked at his wristwatch as a

distraction and saw the time.

"Look, we’d better get going if you two are going to finish your

trick-or-treating," he said. The two Smiths’ expressions betrayed their

immediate disappointment at his announcement.

"What, you have to leave already? Oh, that’s too bad. Of course, we

shouldn’t interrupt your trick-or-treating," Smith said.

"It is a shame, though," Mrs. Smith added. "We get so few visitors."

"We’ll come back to visit. We promise," Anne offered. The two elderly

residents brightened.

"Wonderful! Wonderful!" Mr. Smith said, rubbing his hands together. He

paused, and a twinkle came into his eye. "Of course, we must have treats for

the trick-or-treaters."

"Yes, definitely. We insist," Mrs. Smith added. She turned to her husband.

"I think some special treats are appropriate for our guests, don’t you, dear?"

"Of course," Smith replied. He popped out of his chair. "Be right back."

"Mrs. Smith, Peter is sorry about what he said—" Anne began.

"Have no concern, dear. Cal, where have you got to—ah, here you are."

Mr. Smith suddenly reappeared with several small, very shiny parcels in his

hands.

"Now, these are very special," he said as he held out one of the parcels in

his hand. "Adelaide and I occasionally make these specially for people who

deserve them. Here’s one for you, Peter, and for you, Carrie. Take them home

and enjoy them."

Michael looked at the parcel in Carrie’s hand. It was as big as her palm

and wrapped in brilliant plastic wrapping. There was writing on it but he

couldn’t make out what it said.

"And now, for Alice here," Smith continued, winking at Anne, "the golden

treat, and for Michael—or should I say, James Dean?" Smith’s eyes positively

twinkled with an inner amusement—"silver. Now, you will promise to come back?

We would love to have you over for dinner."

Michael nodded as he looked at the prize Smith had put in it hand. It was

covered in a shiny plastic paper. The words E. & A. SMITH’S FABULOUS MAGIC

CANDY were printed—hand-printed, it looked like—across the wrapper. The candy

was so large it filled his palm.

"Now, Of course you understand these are our very finest confections,"

Smith said as portentiously as his hoarse, reedy voice would allow. "They

should be savored and not gobbled down right away. My Adelaide worked hard to

make them special. Now, enjoy. Of course, you should be on your way now. We

were very glad to meet you all. Please come back again—we have lots more

treats we’d like you to try."

 

Michael led the way outside. He found himself smiling at the obvious relief

of the old couple when he promised to return for another visit. To his shock

Carrie added her voice, cheerfully offering to visit the Smiths at any time.

Both Excalibur and Adelaide insisted on shaking their hands as they left the

residence. The last thing Michael saw was their pleased smiles as they stood

at the threshold of their home before shutting the door.

"Wow," he breathed.

"It was a little overwhelming," Anne agreed.

"I really didn’t wanna go," Carrie piped up. "They were so nice."

"Yes, they were very nice folks," Peter added. "It’s nice to see such nice

people in our new neighborhood, isn’t it, sis?"

Michael felt his mouth drop open in shock. Carrie’s reaction was so unusual

he was dumfounded. Anne however was obviously happy with her brother’s obvious

pleasure at meeting the old couple. If she noticed Michael’s bemusement she

made no mention of it. Michael shook off his surprise. They had spent more

time than he thought at the Smith house—the sky was now fully dark. They could

see other kids garbed in costumes moving from light to shadow and back again

as they mobbed the sidewalks. Soft calls and whispers of laughter were carried

on the air towards them. Michael looked around. The porch lights were still on

at the Smith house—presumably they were hoping for more visitors. He grinned

and shook his head again.

"Well, it’s getting dark," he said. "We’d better go back."

"Do we have to?" Carrie asked. "We’re just starting to have fun. Can’t we

stay out a little longer?"

"We can go to my house. I got a Playstation," Peter offered.

"Hey, that’s great," Carrie replied. "What kind of games you got?"

"I got all kinds. Would you like to play some?"

"Sure," she replied. Both she and Peter turned on their heels.

"Hold it," Michael snapped. "Where do you think you’re going?"

"Oh, Mike, can I go to Pete’s house? Please? I promise I’ll be home before

Mom and Dad get in. It’ll be all right. Please?"

Michael could not imagine his shock getting any stronger than it was. Where

had his snappy, Peter-hating sister gone to? The new Carrie looked utterly

downcast as she pleaded. He turned to Anne.

"Is it okay with you if Carrie goes with Peter?" he asked. Anne shrugged

and grinned.

"Sure, why not. Mom’ll be home by now. Everything will be fine."

"Please, Mike?" she said. Michael surrendered to his bewilderment and

nodded.

"Yahoo," Carrie shouted. "C’mon, Pete, I’ll race ya."

"Take it easy," Michael called out as the two children broke into a run.

They continued to race around the corner and back up the block. Michael felt

so confused he debated sitting down on the curb to gather his thoughts.

"What’s wrong, Mike?" Anne asked. "You looked concerned there."

"I—nothing, I guess," he replied uncertainly. He shook his head once more,

violently enough to cause a few hairs to fall in front of his eyes. He brushed

his hair back and stared down the way Carrie and Peter had gone.

"I dunno," he muttered. "Carrie surprised me. It must be a sugar buzz or

something."

Anne giggled. "She’s very nice. I’m glad Peter made a friend so

quickly—moving was really hard on him." She took Michael’s arm in her own

again and used it to turn him in the direction the two kids had gone. She

smiled up at him. "I’m glad to have made a friend so quickly, too."

Michael’s concerns about his sister’s inexplicable change in behavior were

quickly placed on the back burner. Memories of Sandra quickly faded away and

he felt a real smile cross his face. They walked slowly together, following

the path blazed by the two smaller kids.

"Strange," Michael murmured.

"What was strange?" Anne asked. She gave his arm a meaningful squeeze.

"Oh, just Mr. Smith’s joke. It’s funny that he exactly what you did—I was

dressed like James Dean. Maybe I should slap on some of my Dad’s Vitalis and

go for it."

Anne laughed, a full, pleasant laugh that seemed to enrich the air around

them. Michael thought about putting his hand on top of Anne’s, but restrained

himself—he did not want to risk being too forward and spoiling his new

friendship with this attractive, beautiful girl. Without realizing it he had

slowed their pace. As they approached a nearby streetlight Anne looked up at

him again. Even in the harsh glare of the lamp she looked wonderful.

"I think you look fine," she replied. She did not look away. As Michael

smiled back at her he felt her press her hip against his thigh. Her hand

caressed his upper arm and her eyes half-closed as if she were expecting a

kiss. His heart thumped so hard he thought it would leap out of his chest. He

leaned closer to her, his side pressing against her elbow as he accepted her

unspoken invitation to kiss her. A lump in his jacket pocket distracted him.

Michael muttered a soft apology and dug his hand into his pocket to retrieve

Excalibur Smith’s parting gift.

"Oh," he said. Anne looked at the candy in his hand. Their coming together

had pressed it out of shape. She laughed apologetically and Michael stifled a

chuckle of his own.

"Your treat got squished," she said. Michael grinned.

"That’s okay." Michael squeezed the candy back into a rough approximation

of its former shape. Anne dug into her dress pocket and retrieved her own

treat. The golden wrapping glinted in the light of a nearby lamppost.

"I wonder what it is," she said as she turned the confection over in her

hands. An impish grin appeared on her face. "I think I’ll open it up and take

a look."

Michael smiled in return as she swiftly broke the wrapper and unfolded it

from around the candy.

"Michael, look," she said. He looked down at her hands. It didn’t look like

a candy at all. Rather, it looked like a small cake frosted with pink icing

and gaily decorated with white and red sugar striping. Printed across the top

in bold sugar candy letters were the words EAT ME. Michael began to laugh.

"Now, that’s amazing," he said. "You’d think they made that especially for

you tonight."

Anne was surprised, and it showed. "I guess you’re right. They must have

made it for me. I think I’ll try just a little bite."

Anne bit delicately at the treat. She chewed for a second, then swallowed.

"Oh, Mike, this is terrific!" she exclaimed. "It’s melt-in-your-mouth

good."

She took a full bite of the cake, leaving a little less than half of it in

her hand. She murmured in pleasure as it went down. "That is good." She

quickly crammed the rest of the cake in her mouth.

"I hope mine tastes as good as yours," Michael said as he watched her

finish the cake.

"Hmmm, that was really good," Anne said. "You should try yours, Mike."

"I’ll have it for a snack later. Anne, I had a very nice time tonight."

"I did, too, Mike." Anne squeezed his arm again. She looked about. "Looks

like we went past my house."

Michael turned his head and saw that they had indeed gone past the her

home.

"Yes, we did," he agreed. He looked down the street. "There’s my home. I’d

like to stay out a little longer, though." He looked into Anne’s eyes. "I

really like the company."

Anne grinned, then her grin faded. She stopped abruptly, pulling Michael to

a halt as well.

"What’s wrong?" Michael asked. Anne had bent forward to look past her skirt

at her shoes. She straightened at Michael’s question, a peculiar expression on

her face.

"I don’t know. My shoes—they suddenly feel tight for some reason."

He watched Anne blink. She patted her chest with her free hand, then shook

her head and began to walk again.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"No, I’m not. My shoes—they’re killing me. Wait a minute Mike—ouch!—I have

to get these off my feet."

Anne’s gait had dropped from a slow walk to a hobble. Michael saw her face

was etched with pain. She stopped and seated herself quickly on the sidewalk,

her hands grabbing for her shoes. Anne grunted with effort and pain as she

slowly tugged off one shoe, then the other. Michael stood beside her, puzzled.

With both her shoes off Anne breathed a loud sigh of relief. She looked up at

Michael, grinning in embarrassment as she patted with her hand at her chest

again and wiggled her toes.

"Whew, that’s better," she said. She continued to thump her chest. Her

motion drew Michael’s eyes. He couldn’t help notice just how curvy she looked

in her simple Alice costume. It was strange, but it seemed that there was more

of her under her dress than he remembered. Anne picked up her shoes by their

straps. She looked up and saw him staring. She grinned again. Michael offered

his hand and helped her to her feet. Anne brushed at her backside.

"Oh, that feels better—" she began, then stopped again. Something made her

stop patting her chest and look down. Michael began t feel real concern now.

"You sure you’re all right?" he asked. Now it was his turn to stop.

Something seemed different about Anne. She looked—bigger? Michael straightened

his frame. Even in the half-darkness he could see that her dress and blouse

were pressing tightly into her body. With every breath Anne took he could see

the bulge of her cleavage push against the cloth of her top. He forced his

eyes away from her front. Anne began to look concerned, even frightened. She

sipped one finger under her collar and tugged at it.

"Mike? Mike, something’s happening," she said. "I-my clothes feel so tight

all of a sudden. What’s going on? I-I feel funny. What’s happening to me?"

 

Before Michael could form a coherent reply a small, ripping noise suddenly

came from Anne’s dress. Her hands instinctively grabbed at the seam at her

waist. Another popping noise heralded the failure of another seam, then

another. Michael’s eyes felt like they were going to pop out of his head. Anne

was definitely bigger now than she was a few moments before. As he watched he

saw her head slowly, steadily rising up into the air before his eyes. He

looked down. The hem of her skirt had been down to her shins. Now he could see

her knees pressing into the stretched, sheer fabric of her white stockings. A

small, panicked sound escaped her, drawing his attention. Anne looked

mystified and afraid—and she now stood eye-to-eye with him.

"Anne? Anne, I think—I think you’re growing. Getting bigger," he blurted

out. Anne tugged at the collar of her blouse again. This time the top button

snapped off, rolling down her front to fall on the sidewalk. Michael felt his

mouth drop open as he saw the gaps between her buttons steadily widening.

"Mike? Mike, what’s happening to me? Why is everything shrinking on me?

It’s cutting off my air," Anne gasped. First one strap of her dress, then the

other suddenly popped free, snapping back over her shoulders, dropping her bib

front down to her waistline. One of her shirt buttons popped free, doubling a

gap in her shirt, leaving the pale skin of her breasts in plain view. Anne

grabbed at the two front panels of her blouse and tried to pull them back

together. Her effort only broke off two more buttons, opening her shirt from

her collar to her bra—a bra which was filled to overflowing and then some. As

Michael watched her beasts slipped out of her cups completely—and they were

still growing.

"Oh, what is happening to me," Anne moaned. "My clothes are crushing me."

Michael tore his eyes from the wealth of her engorging bosom and looked up

to meet her eyes—and up, and up. Anne now stood a full head taller than he.

Another ripping sound told of the starting of another seam in her dress.

Anne’s hands suddenly went from trying to keep her blouse closed to her waist

and hips. She began to pinch at the now-tight cloth of her skirt. Michael

realized she was trying to grab her panties through her dress. She began to

wriggle, shaking her hips up and down. A staccato series of popping noises

filled he air as the side seams of her dress gave way completely. Her white

blouse had pulled free from the waistband of her dress, and Michael saw the

skin of her belly suddenly press out of the gap in her skirt. The gap popped

wider, revealing more of her skin.

"Ouch! Ow! My clothes are digging into me!" she cried out. The waistband of

her dress gave way completely. The ripping sound was astonishingly loud.

Michael found his eyes running from her ankles up to her head and back again.

Anne had to be over eight feet tall now and if anything she looked like she

was growing faster. She whimpered in fear and amazement as she continued to

rise higher into the sky, her hands clutching at her disintegrating clothing.

Michael tried to moisten his mouth and failed. He choked as he heard a

twanging noise and saw the sudden jerking under the cloth of her blouse—her

bra must have finally surrendered. As if it were a signal, her breasts finally

tore away the last button of her top and sprung out into view, exposing her

nipples. And they looked like they were swelling out even faster than before.

Another sound, and her pantyhose suddenly slipped down her legs. Michael saw a

small bundle of twisted white cloth mixed with the distorted nylon—her

pantyhose must have pulled her panties off when they slipped down her thighs.

He gulped again.

"No! No! Stop! Oh, please stop!" she cried. Michael winced at the sheer

volume of her voice—it was growing along with the rest of her. He heard a

nearby door slam. As he spun on his, orienting on the noise, he saw porch

lights coming on around the neighborhood. Anne’s cry must have drawn the

attention of the entire block. He turned and looked back up at Anne. She had

heard the door slam, too.

"Mike, what—what am I going to do?" she panted as she looked down at him.

Michael watched as she grabbed at the shredding fabric of her dress in an

effort to keep herself covered. "It’s not stopping. I’m getting bigger."

Michael stared. Anne had to be over ten feet tall and she was still rising

up. He dropped his eyes and tried to think of what to do. Another ripping

sound announced that Anne’s costume had split from around her burgeoning body.

She squeaked in surprise and grabbed at the fabric that still covered her

private places. Michael tore his eyes away from the spectacle and looked

around wildly, seeking inspiration. Another door slammed nearby. He heard loud

adult voices calling to one another. Anne was still growing. She was already

so big she must be visible to anyone who happens to look this way.

"Anne, come on," he called up to her. "Let’s get out of the light. Quick,

this way."

He darted around her onto the property bordering the sidewalk. He ducked

into the deep shadows of a tall, thick hedge. Anne followed, her steps small

and uncertain. Michael suddenly found his footing more difficult—it felt like

the ground under his feet had been plowed or disturbed. Anne tried taking a

bigger step. Her foot found the loose plowed soil and she slipped. With a very

loud cry she fell sideways into the hedge, then face forward. Michael turned

on his heel at the sound. Out of the light all he could see of her was a big,

dark shadow moving on the dark ground. A flash of light caught his eye. Some

of the neighbors had come outside with flashlights and were looking around. He

saw one light jolting in their direction and more voices.

"We’ve got to get out of here," he said. He saw Anne’s shadow rise up and

heard her gasping for breath. She must be levering herself up on her elbows.

He felt a shiver run down his spine as his eyes told him just how big her

shadow was. A strange, muted zipper-like sound made itself heard nearby. The

sound repeated itself, then he heard Anne sigh in relief. It occurred to him

that he had just heard her pantyhose ripping from around her legs. She still

must be growing.

"I know where we can hide," Michael said. He extended his arm. "Here, give

me your hand. Let’s get away from the street."

Anne’s shadow stretched towards him. A massive hand clamped down across his

palm and down his wrist, gripping him painfully. Michael exclaimed in pain and

the pressure lessened, then a new weight pressed down strongly on his arm,

almost throwing him off balance. Anne collected herself, rising first to her

knees, then her feet. Michael felt the weight on his arm cease, then he was

suddenly jerked off his feet into the air—Anne was lifting him as she rose

upright. He sucked in his breath at the jolt of pain, then he was abruptly

released, losing his foot as he dropped back to the ground.

"Oh, Mike, I’m-I’m sorry," Anne said. Her voice was loud, almost

reverberating off the walls of the nearby homes. Michael looked up. His mouth

fell open as he beheld her, standing beside the tall hedge high above him.

Anne’s blond hair was in disarray, partially draped across her forehead to

hang in front of her eyes. Michael’s eyes gravitated to her huge naked body.

Anne’s skin was pale under the patchwork of stains and dirt she had acquired

in her fall. Her breasts were gargantuan, rounding out from just below her

shoulders to near the bottom of her ribs, her long, long arms pressing their

flesh together to create a canyon of cleavage. Her broad, flat belly bulged in

and out as she sucked in air. His eyes continued down her frame, following the

broad curve of her hips. Only the shadow cast by the tall hedge beside her

kept him from seeing her most private place. As Michael watched, a hint of her

blond pubic hair appeared in the light as her body stretched further into the

air. God, she was still growing! Anne looked at Michael, then down at herself.

Squeaking in surprise and embarrassment, she quickly wrapped one forearm

across her nipples while her other hand stabbed at her crotch.

"Mike! Mike, help me," she pleaded. "Don’t look at me. Please, please help

me."

Michael shook his arm experimentally, then rose to his feet and dusted

himself off, his eyes never leaving Anne as she continued to grow before him.

She had to be over twenty feet tall—and she was visible to anyone standing in

the street. Voices suddenly made themselves heard, louder than before.

"What’s that?" a bass voice shouted. Anne looked over her shoulder. Michael

saw her eyes widen, and she ducked down, trying to get back in the shadow cast

by the hedge. The effort was futile—she was already too big to hide there, and

he could see her naked back rising slowly into the light.

"Anne, listen," he called. "Follow me. I know a place where you won’t be

seen."

He quickly oriented himself towards the rear of the property they stood on.

There was another tall hedge, but he dashed for it without hesitation. He

dropped to his hands and knees, searching for a gap in the plants. To his

relief he found one and squirmed through. Once clear through to the other side

he jumped up and turned around. His breath caught in his throat as he saw

first one of Anne’s immense legs, then the other swing over the top of the

hedge—she was able to step over an eight-foot planting like it was a small

bush. She had put out her arms to help her balance on the uneven ground. She

saw Michael looking at her and her hands stabbed back to cover her private

parts.

"Will you stop looking at me?" she shouted. Her voice made his ears hurt.

Michael waved his hand defensively.

"I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Anne. Don’t shout like that, you’ll draw the

attention of everybody in the entire neighborhood."

Anne seemed to realize the same thing simultaneously—she had clapped her

own hand over her mouth for a moment, then jerked it back down between her

legs.

"I’m sorry, Mike," she replied in a softer voice. "Please, help me. I’ve

got to hide. I don’t want people to see me."

"Follow me," he said.

 

With only memory to guide him Michael slowly made his way into the dense,

wild woods of the empty lot behind their block. In the total darkness he found

himself stumbling and falling repeatedly as roots and branches found their way

under his feet or on top of his head. Behind him he heard Anne utter a very

unladylike curse as she stepped on something that cracked loudly.

"You all right," he called back over his shoulder.

"I-I guess so," Anne’s voice replied from high over him. "Something stuck

me in the foot."

"We’re almost there," Michael replied. He took another step. A tree root

slipped over his boot with all the evil ingenuity of its tribe, tripping him.

He crashed face down onto the ground. The impact was painful and he cursed

fiercely.

"Mike? Are you okay?" Anne asked. Michael groaned as he rose to his elbows.

"Fuck me," he grunted. "Ah, that hurt. Yeah, yeah, I’m okay. Just let me

get back on my feet." He hissed in pain as he tried to put weight on his

knees. "But then again, maybe not. Just give me a minute."

"Let-let me help you," Anne said. Michael suddenly felt a broad, warm

surface slip around his chest and belly.

"Hey!" he called out in surprise as he felt himself first turned upright

and then lifted into the air.

"Did I hurt you, Mike? I’m sorry," Anne said. Michael’s heart suddenly

tried to pound its way out of his chest as his feet left the ground. He sucked

in air to ease the discomfort.

"Mike?" Anne asked. He shook his head to clear it.

"Yeah. Yeah, I’m okay," he said. He turned around to face her. "Ah, thanks

for the assist—"

"Don’t look at me!" she exclaimed. Michael ducked at the sound of her voice

and looked away.

"I’m sorry," he said. He felt the warmth wrapped around his middle tighten

slightly. Over his head he heard Anne sigh, softly and long.

"I’m sorry, too, Mike. Thank you for trying to help me with this—this thing

that’s happened to me. God, I can’t believe it. So, where to now?"

Michael looked around. It was hard to tell where they were but the dense

mass of limbs and branches at his eye level told him they were well within the

empty lot he had been searching for. As he tried to make out his surroundings

a pale light grew around him. He looked up and saw that the moon had come out

from behind a cloud. It was a full moon, radiantly bright. With its light he

could see better. He nodded to himself.

"We’re okay. This is the undeveloped part of the town. Nobody should see

you now."

He looked down. Anne’s hands completely encircled his torso, holding him

neatly. He looked down. He hand to be almost two stories off the ground. He

touched the soft warmth of Anne’s gigantic fingers. Above him she made a small

noise in her throat. Automatically, he looked up.

"Don’t look," she warned. Michael ducked back down. He felt his heart start

hammering inside his chest again. Anne must be holding him close to her belly

just under her ribs. He had caught a glimpse of two huge, round breasts

immediately over his head, rising and falling as she breathed. Each of them

looked as big as his entire body was wide. He swallowed hard. Something told

him that Anne had stopped growing, but the sheer size of her hand showed she

had to be some thirty feet tall. He then caught a whiff of something very

unpleasant. It came from a broad dark stain on Anne’s skin right behind his

head. There was another stain on the back of her hand. He brushed it with his

fingers. It felt slimy and the smell was stronger.

"I know," Anne suddenly said. Mike started to look up, then stopped

himself. He felt her sigh again. "I’m a mess."

Michael thought for a moment. He tried to remember where they were when

Anne first started growing. As he turned over his memory of those few moments

(how long ago did it happen? He couldn’t be sure), he suddenly realized

exactly what they had both fallen into.

"Anne," he began, "I, ah, don’t know how to tell you this, but…"

"But what?"

"I know what we fell in. That was Mr. Lundeen’s house. He, ah, just put in

a new septic system, and I think it wasn’t done right."

"What?! Oh, no," Anne moaned. Michael exclaimed as her grip on him loosened

suddenly, then tightened again—she nearly dropped him in her surprise. "Sorry.

Oh, this is awful! I’ve got to get this stuff off me. What am I going to do?"

"Wait. I’ve got an idea. Anne, can you lift me higher?"

Michael suddenly rocketed upwards. The motion made him dizzy enough to

protest.

"Sorry. I’ve never a guy in my hands like this before," Anne apologized.

Something in her voice almost made Michael disobey her injunction and turn to

look at her. Was there a subtle hint of excitement in her tone? A brief return

of the smell on her hand called him back to the present. He looked around.

"There," he said. Anne turned herself to face in the direction his arm

pointed to. "Go that way."

"What’s there?" she asked.

"The Sherwins," he replied. "They live in an estate up the road. They

always take a trip to Europe this time of year so nobody should be around.

There’s a swimming pool on the property."

 

Anne kept Michael in her hands as she made her way through the lot. With

the moon out the traveling was much easier, but not smoother—Anne kept finding

sharp objects with her feet and her jerky, mincing gait jostled him

repeatedly. Michael found himself curiously relaxed in the grip of her hands.

The septic smell notwithstanding, there was a strange, exciting allure to be

held by Anne in this way. Her grip around his middle was strong enough to hold

him firmly yet not so strong as to cut off his air. He touched the smooth

warmth of her skin with both his hands. It was amazing, to see and feel such a

massive hand under his palms. He heard Anne sigh again. Her other hand

suddenly came up under his rear end, supporting his weight, while the hand

around his middle loosened and slipped down into his lap.

"Better?" Anne’s voice asked over his head.

"It’s—it’s fine. It really is," Michael replied. "Thanks."

"Don’t mention it," she replied. Again he heard a curious excitement in her

voice. Despite himself he felt his attraction for Anne return in full force,

and then some—suddenly his manhood began to assert itself against the

restraint of his denims. Inside of a minute he found himself trying to wriggle

as little as possible in her palm to improve his comfort against the surging

erection in his pants. To his total embarrassment he felt Anne’s palm press

down into his lap momentarily, then lift up again. It was a relief to see the

tall wrought-iron fence that bordered the Sherwin estate come into view.

 

"Promise me you won’t peek," Anne’s voice said.

Michael tried to squelch the sense of awe he felt as Anne had carried him

onto the estate. He could remember how the ten-foot tall fence around the

property had represented an impossible challenge to him when he was a small

child trying to sneak onto the property for a surreptitious dip in the

pool—but it had only come up to just over Anne’s knees. She had crept along

the grassy border until they found the pool by the moonlight. She had bent

down to put him on the ground—moving much more deliberately this time, so as

not to make him dizzy—and now held him in her hands, pointing him away from

the pool.

"I promise," he replied. Her gentle grasp eased from around him. Out of the

corner of his eye he saw her huge, bare foot move as she turned about to step

into the pool. Michael could not help himself. He looked quickly up to see if

she was watching him. Her head was turned away. In the light of the moon he

could see that her hair had grown more than the rest of her—it now fell almost

to her buttocks. His eyes followed her hair down and he stifled a gasp. Her

derrière was round and perfect and huge, looking like two huge balloons

pressed together behind her broad, curvy hips. She took one broad step into

the pool. Michael’s eyes darted between her legs. He felt himself flush to his

hairline at what her spread legs revealed there. His erection surged even more

strongly, pushing painfully against his jeans. He turned away from the sight

of Anne’s huge, curvaceous body, wriggling in an effort to relieve the tension

between his legs.

The sound of slopping water interrupted him.

"Oh, wonderful. It’s even heated," He heard Anne sighed. "Okay, you can

turn around now."

Michael stopped jiggling his leg and turned. Anne filled the pool from one

end to the other. She had sunk herself fully into the pool, her hair dripping

from a ducking. Even in the deep end Michael could see the two small round

islands that were her breasts above where her chest must be. She moved her

feet, splashing water out of the pool. Each of her feet had to be almost as

long as Michael was tall—they half-stuck out of t


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