A wide array of candies were on display on a table surrounded with pumpkin lanterns. There were piles of candy canes, popsicles, licorice and gummies in rainbow colours. The children taking part in the Halloween party were asked to announce which animal they wanted to be by choosing the corresponding animal chocolate. They ate the chocolate and were led inside the marquee.

“Wow your makeup looks so realistic, especially your whiskers.”

“Yes I am loving my foxy tail too, though I don’t remember them pinning it to my back.” They both burst out laughing and went to join their friend Rob dressed as a spider.

A skeleton fell from the ceiling; all of them jumped and Rob raised his forearm in defence. A thick gooey liquid emerged from his forearm.

“Hey spiderman huh!”

“Yuck!” He said removing the sticky liquid “I didn’t ask for this!”

A few steps ahead, their friend Josh roared loudly as a fake witch whizzed past him.

“Haha what a roar!”

The tent reverberated with echoes of shrieks and screams while the parents enjoyed cocktails outside. Suddenly they spotted a group of organisers fleeing from the tent.

“Hey where are you going? You are not supposed to leave the kids unattended!”

“I think something is wrong – the organisers are fleeing.”

“Let’s go inside. Maybe the kids are in danger.”

An army of parents went inside only to be chased by their own kids minutes later. They had transformed into monstrous animal-hybrids! One had grown a mane and roared angrily as he was trapped with a web by another kid who had grown spider legs. Another who had grown elephant legs charged towards them.

One of the parents stumbled upon an iPad outside the tent showing a blinking red message – ABORT STUDY.

“I guess the organisers left this behind!”

He scrolled above to read its contents and gasped:

Study group – children aged between 10 -15
Subject: super children with animal power
Criteria: high glucose level in body prior to ingestion of genetically modified vector
Progess: Development of animal parts
Remarks: Excessive aggressiveness noted


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Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

Terrifying! Great build up, Leena, it had me on the edge of my seat and the ending… perfect! Although perhaps not for the parents and children 🙁

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

Hi Leena
A trickle of sweat ran down my spine after reading your story. Awesome!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

This is an excellent story Leena, Well paced and the fear of the parents at the end is palpable. Very well done, great writing.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I’m too scared. As also a parent, when your children are involved, you really have to save your child. Very well done.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Leena Auckel
1 year ago

You’re most welcome, Leena.

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