For What Might Be in Store
Rob spotted it as he passed the window of a dilapidated store.
Intrigued, he entered the shop and a bell tinkled. A few seconds later an old man hobbled out from a back office to greet him.
Once the storekeeper realised Rob wasn’t interested in anything else he grumbled, but held the item out for Rob’s inspection.
“Stitched leather, full head mask”, the man said. “Used to belong to a coven. These here,” he pointed at the mask’s stained, open mouth, “are real teeth, filed sharp, sown into the leather. Sure as night, you’ll scare the youngsters with this.” He tapped his nose and winked. “Mind, you must never wear it on the stroke of Halloween midnight.”
Rob bought it for fifteen bucks, imaginary curse and all. His wife would probably have a fit, but it was really freaky.
His kids loved it, his wife less so, especially when she realised he could clack its teeth together by opening and closing his mouth. All the visiting trick or treaters were spooked.
By nine o’clock things were winding down. He pulled the mask off, helped his excited children to bed and then slumped onto the sofa with his wife, clutching a bottle of wine and two glasses.
Nearing midnight, his wife got ready to go upstairs. Rob spied the discarded mask, yanked it on, and sprang out at her. She yelped in fright.
“Take that horrible thing off and come to bed!” she said. “How on earth did you get the eyes to look like that?”
“Like what?” he asked, but she was already halfway up the stairs and didn’t answer.
He tugged at the mask, it didn’t budge. Heart thudding, he wrestled with it again. It was vice-like, the pain unrelenting. It wouldn’t give. He moaned, and staggered to the stairs, hands clasped to his head.
He took a first faltering step up and then another, and another after that, each footstep more confident than the last. The pain started to ease.
He opened his mouth, tongue flicking over his sharpened teeth. A dark hunger grew in his belly.