Halloween Short Story: Night Fright

Oct 8, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Terrific Tales

by Guy Belleranti

Night Fright was originally published in an anthology put out by Freaky Frights in 2004. This is the second of several Halloween short stories that will be going up this month. You can find them all in our Terrific Tales section!

“I don’t go out nights no more,” Ernie insisted.

“Come on,” Charlie said. “It’s a sure thing. If anyone sees us outside the place it won’t be a problem. It’s Halloween night and I got spooky costumes for us to wear. We’ll blend in with all the freaks.”

costume“No. I—”

“We need your safe cracking,” Marvin cut in. “Charlie and I can handle old lady Compton’s alarms no problem, but the safe, hey, that’s your area.”

“No, not anymore. I’m out of the game now and staying straight.”

“You’re turning chicken,” Marvin said, “that’s what you’re doing.”

“No.” Ernie shook his head. “No. I don’t go out nights anymore. The werewolf…” Ernie broke off, his face paling.

“Where what?” Charlie laughed, and elbowed Marvin who also laughed. “Are we hearing him right, Marvin? Did Ernie say he can’t help us on this job because of werewolves?”

“Sure sounded like it to me,” Marvin said. A mean sneer twisted his scarred face. “But I think he’s making excuses.” He wrapped one of his huge arms around Ernie’s neck and squeezed. “Is that what you’re doing, Ernie?” Marvin increased the pressure. “Huh? Is it? You making excuses ‘cause you don’t want to be partners with us?”

“Please,” Ernie gasped. You’re…hurting…me.

“Should I break the wimp’s neck, Charlie?” Marvin asked. “Should I?”

“Nah, at least not ‘til later.”

Marvin gave one final squeeze then let Ernie go.

Ernie fell to the sagging couch, gasping for air. “You guys gonna leave me alone now?” he whispered at last. “You gonna go and leave me alone, please?”

“Sure, Ernie,” Charlie said. “Until tonight.”

Ernie looked up. ”No, don’t come. Don’t!”

“If Charlie says we’re coming, we’re coming,” Marvin said. “And you better be ready. Werewolves! Ha!” He laughed, spat in Ernie’s face, and followed Charlie out the door of Ernie’s dilapidated trailer.

“Told you we should have never tried bringing him into it,” Marvin complained as he settled in on the passenger side of Charlie’s pick-up.

“He didn’t used to be such a wuss,” Charlie said, jamming the key into the ignition and starting the engine. “In the old days…”

“The old days are gone, Charlie. And I bet Ernie goes to the cops after we pull the job. The pansy!”

“Oh, he won’t do that,” Charlie said.

“How can you be so sure?”

woodsCharlie didn’t reply, just steered the truck away from the trailer and along the wooded road.

“Hey, Charlie,” Marvin said. “Didn’t you hear me? How can you be sure he won’t cross us?”

Charlie pointed at a rutted track leading off into a copse of trees. “Because we’re gonna park there tonight, then go and give him the scare of his life.”

“Huh?” Marvin stared. “How?”

Charlie slowed for a cattle guard, swung the pick-up onto the main highway, and glanced across the seat.

“I got some costumes, remember. And they just happen to be werewolves. We’ll put ‘em on and pay Ernie a
little visit.”

“If you say so, but what’s the point?”

“The point? Scaring him, that’s what. Or are you afraid to come back tonight, afraid of Ernie’s werewolves, too?”

“Who me?” Marvin glowered. “I ain’t afraid of nothin’.”
#

pick upAt 10:30 that night they parked Charlie’s truck, and started down the road, Marvin carrying a crowbar, Charlie a gun and flashlight.

“Moon’s full,” Charlie said. “Perfect for a little werewolf fun.” He laughed.

“It is sort of spooky out here, though,” Marvin said after a moment. “All these tree branches hanging down, and—”

“Huh? You serious? You turning into an Ernie?”

“No, of course not. I’m just—”

“Hey, if Ernie was really scared of werewolves would he live in the middle of nowhere?”

Marvin thought that over with a deepening scowl. “Huh? Yeah, that don’t make sense.”

“Of course it doesn’t. There’s gotta be something else going on with Ernie. Maybe he’s got his own little business going, something he doesn’t want to share.”

“What sort of business?”

Charlie shrugged. “Drugs maybe. If so, I say we cut in on it.”

“Yeah, good idea, Marvin said, “but what about old lady Compton’s place? If we’re gonna do the job we’ve got to do it before she gets back from her trip.”

“And we will. First, let’s take care of business with Ernie. We need his safecracking, remember?”

A minute later Ernie’s trailer came into view.

“Looks like his lights are out,” Marvin said.

“At least in front they are,” Charlie agreed. “Come on, let’s put on our masks and start the fun.”

The two men darted across the clearing, Charlie in the lead.

Marvin wedged the crowbar against the flimsy door lock, then froze. “I thought I heard something,” he whispered.

“I didn’t hear nothing.” Charlie snapped, but he pulled his gun from his waistband just the same. “All
right,” he whispered. “Do it.”gun

Marvin twisted the bar, the lock snapped, and Charlie plunged into the trailer, flashlight on, gun ready.
Marvin hesitated, then stepped over the threshold to follow.

“Ahhh—Oh God!” Charlie screamed. His gun—or somebody’s—exploded once, then a terrible growling sound pierced Marvin’s ears.

“W-what?” Marvin cried. “What is—” The sentence died in his throat as the growling repeated; Charlie fell back against him, a sudden dead weight. Marvin stumbled backwards, losing his balance as he fell out the trailer door, Charlie on top of him.

“Charlie, what’s—” Marvin broke off as the moon lit Charlie’s face. The werewolf mask had been ripped away and—Charlie’s face had been ripped away, too, and his throat torn open!

Marvin shoved free of Charlie’s still form as a voice half-growled, half-screamed, “I told you not to come! I told you!”

Then Ernie was upon him. Ernie, all covered with hair, and with teeth like daggers.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode perfect for Halloween listening went up this week.

Guy Belleranti lives in Tucson, Arizona. He writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, puzzles and humor for both adults and children. His work has been published in over 230 different publications including Woman’s World, Highlights for Children, Short Edition, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Humpty Dumpty, Scifaikuest, parABnormal Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post. He also writes children’s material for many educational sites. He worked for many years in school libraries and has been a volunteer docent educator at the local zoo for many years. His author’s website is www.guybelleranti.com/

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