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Halloween Writting Contest Entry 12

The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer first annual Halloween Writing Contest.
The winner will be announced in the October 25, 2007 edition.
Stories will be posted on-line as they are available in print.

Maybe You Can Judge a Book By Its Cover

"You have to make the new family feel welcome. Remember to bring along the kids when you are trick-or-treating," said Mrs. Emerson to her children.

The Emersons were renting the open floor of their home in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard. Their diner was located on the first floor; they rented out the second floor and lived on the third floor. The Emersons house was the color of a yellow Labrador, cheery and welcoming. That being said, the restaurant was named the "Yellow Emerson." The third floor had a small balcony. The deep green shutters complimented the front door.

The new family, the Blocks, consisted of five children and their parents. Edward, being fifteen, was the oldest. The twins (who actually did not look a thing like anyone in their family) were Autumn and Acadia, who were thirteen. They were followed by Benjamin, six years old, and of course Baby Maxwell. They were arriving a couple of days before Halloween.

The Emerson kids were Alex, who was twelve, and Samantha, who was ten. They were planning on asking the Block kids to go trick-or -treating with them. All day they had been cleaning and preparing the Blocks' floor for their arrival.

There was a stiff, prompt knock on the large front door. "They're here!!" Samantha said, rushing to find her mother. She found her in the kitchen, finishing the cookies. "Let's go greet them!" exclaimed her mother, Alex walking into the room behind her. The three of them walked to the front door and their mother opened it to find a very serious looking family of seven.

Mrs. Block had natural red hair that spilled down her back in a mountain of curls. Mr. Block had deep blond hair, cut neatly short. Edward's red hair was like his mother's, super curly. Benjamin's straight blond hair was cut mushroom-style and baby Maxwell had just one brown curl on his rather pudgy head. But there was something different about the twins. They were identical and both had pure black hair pulled in tight buns. Thick straight bangs fells across their foreheads, and their eyes were an incredibly piercing light blue in color. Autumn was wearing a floor length black skirt and a very prim white long sleeved shirt. Acadia wore the same skirt but her shirt was gray and collared.

Alex and Samantha looked at each other and were obviously thinking the same thing ... something was wrong.

Their Mother hid her worried expression by placing a thin smile on her face.

"Um, welcome to our home. Please come in," said Mrs. Emerson in an unsure tone.

"Thank you very much. Children, follow." Mrs. Block said this in a demanding, serious, very thick voice.

Alex pulled Samantha around the corner into the diner. "Sam! These people are not what we call normal!" said Alex in a scared voice.

"I know, but at least give them a chance! They might turn out to be perfectly normal people. Don't judge a book by its cover, Alex."

"But ..."

"No Alex, I don't want to hear it!"

After they had given the Blocks a complete tour of their new house, and the diner, it had come time for dinner. Mrs. Emerson had prepared a special meal for the new family. Nobody could resist her food. There was a crackling, delicious chicken sitting in the oven, wanting to be eaten. There were butter biscuits, cranberry sauces, a fruit assortment, a leafy salad, and a scrumptious butter cream frosted cake for dessert.

Alex and Samantha's mouths were watering, as was young Benjamin's. The large wood table was set to perfection, each space occupied by a smooth white plate, a cloth napkin, shiny utensils, and a clear glass. The centerpiece was a large bouquet of flowers and vines, exploding beautifully over the middle of the long table. Everyone took a seat, and Mrs. Emerson broke the ice. She thanked the Blocks for moving in, and hoped that they would enjoy their new home.

Alex started passing around the food, but all the Blocks took was a small helping of leafy salad, and a piece of pear. Benjamin sliced off a piece of chicken, and Mrs. Emerson looked pleased, but then Mr. Block shot Benjamin a look, and he gingerly put the chicken back on the silver platter.

"Is my food not good?" asked Mrs. Emerson.

"We don't eat foods, except for salad," stated Autumn and Acadia at the same time in bendy voices. "They are bad for our system, for it must be pure."

Alex and Samantha exchanged looks of worry and confusion.

"Oh ok. Would you like some more salad?" said Mrs. Emerson.

After they had finished eating and did their homework, Alex and Samantha went up to their rooms. Samantha closed her oak door, and turned on the glowy soft pink light. Her eyes wandered around her room, as if she were really seeing it for the first time. She studied every detail of her room, starting with her pale yellow walls. She then changed into her white pajamas and went into her bed. She was just about to fall asleep when she heard her mother calling her name. She slowly lifted herself out of bed and walked down the long hallway to her mother's room.

"Oh good Samantha you're up!"

"Yeah, unfortunately," said Samantha, yawning.

"Could you be an angel and take this luggage to the Blocks floor? They left it in the diner."

"Um, ok."

"Thanks Sam."

Samantha carried the thick leather suitcase to the Blocks main room. The door was a crack open, so she peeked in. She was befuddled by what she saw.

The whole family, even the baby, was sitting on the hard wooden floor. They all had a piece of paper in front of them, and they were all staring at Benjamin. Samantha couldn't see anything special about Benjamin, except he was twirling a button on his jacket.

"Come on! Do it already!" said Edward, the oldest child, sounding impatient.

"There. I got it," said Benjamin holding the button in his hand.

What are they doing? Samantha thought to herself. Then Benjamin passed the button around, everyone looking totally natural, like they had done this a dozen times and didn't find it odd. Once it got back to Benjamin, he threw it in the air, and let it fall. The button was beginning to take shape of something else, but she couldn't see what. She was too confused and amazed. Once it came into shape, it had become a spotted cat, creepy and serious.

Samantha wanted to watch more, but she was so confused, she rubbed her eyes and walked back down the hall into her yellow room. She shut the door, and sat down on her bed, thinking about what she had just seen. She then opened her closet, and released the tiny door in the back that had been hidden by shoeboxes. Once she went through, she came out into Alex's closet, and into his dark, sleeping room. They had discovered this little door years ago. No one knew about it except them. She walked over to Alex's blue bed, and shook him awake.

"What is it Sam? I would appreciate it if I could return to my sleep."

"Alex, you were right. The Blocks aren't normal." Then she wearily told him the whole story, start to finish. He knew that she didn't, and never had lied. He didn't believe her at first, but as she went on, he started to gain interest.

"So they were just sitting there, on the floor, and Ben was twirling a button?"

"Yeah, but then it took shape of a cat -- a spotted cat. I was just so confused so I came to tell you," said Samantha.

"Well I can see why", stated Alex.

The next morning, everything seemed to be relatively normal in the newly-added Emerson/Block household -- at least until Alex and Samantha got home from school. The Blocks were home-schooled, so they had been home all day. When the Emerson kids were on the bus, they were discussing the whole cat ordeal. They were still confused, but were planning on confronting the Blocks when they got home. When they returned, they found out that their plan would have a problem. The Block's were gone.

There was not one of the Blocks belongings left, and no sign of where they had gone. Alex and Samantha had originally planned to ask them to go trick or treating with them that night, since it was Halloween, but that was obviously not going to happen after Samantha had seen them in the main room.

Besides, they were gone. None of the Emersons could figure out why they had left, but they had told her mother, who was working in the "Yellow Emerson" all day, about the incident. They were just plain puzzled. They had left an address book though. Alex skimmed it, and found an entry marked "Old House" and a number after that, so they decided to call.

Mrs. Emerson dialed the number on the worn paper. She recognized Mrs. Block's voice immediately.


"Yes, this is Marie Emerson. I have noticed that you have ..."

She couldn't finish her sentence, for the other line had gone dead.