Bernadette Russell: Trick or Treat


Trick or Treat

By darkheartblackink on October 31, 2016

 

To skip straight to the story, please scroll down. (Most of the rest of this post is photos! I hope they speak for themselves….)

I’ve had a very busy five weeks, up the creek in Deptford with Creekside Discovery (collecting stories of Victorian Deptford)…

…up the river on a boat with the good folk of Meet Me At The Albany (collecting stories of holidays and river trips) revisiting Marlowe’s grave in St Nicks (collecting urban legends), kicking through the leaves in Deptford Park, Greenwich Park, Folkstone Gardens, Oxleas Woods (visiting the foxes)… basically trying to make the very most of this the best and most beautiful season of all.

I’ve been to a ghost story event at The Last Tuesday Society conducted over a sarcophagus

and tonight I am going to see Horatio Blood’s toy theatre production of The Vampire.Horatio lives in Deptford and works in Greenwich and is a well-known and loved local historian.

Every year I make a big deal of decorating the house so that trick or treaters know that they are welcome.Butthis year I am going to be out so I made this sign. I wonder how long the sweets and oranges will last….

Anyway, Happy Halloween all, here’s the story (I imagined for 5/6 year olds).

The Visa Versa

There was once a girl called Natalie. She had bright green eyes and straight black hair and a cat called Miffy. Natalie loved stories about ghosts and witches and unexplained mysteries, so her favourite day of the year was, of course, Halloween. However Natalie did NOT take after her mum and dad. Her mum and dad were scared of EVERYTHING. If they saw a spider they would both jump up onto the settee and stay there, until Natalie carefully caught the spider under a glass and let it out into the garden. If they saw a mouse they would shriek and run in circles until Natalie and Miffy chased the mouse out of the house. They slept with a nightlight on, because although they were grown ups and really very old, they were still afraid of the dark, and any talk of ghosts was not allowed as Natalie’s dad said “ Oo no Nat, they give me the heebeegeebies*.”

Because of this Natalie was totally forbidden from going to Hallowe’en parties OR trick or treating. Her mum said, “Everyone’s costumes are so scary, last year I saw a man dressed as Donald Trump, I didn’t sleep a wink for a week”.

Natalie took after her grandmother, Nana Bean. Nana Bean also had bright green eyes and loved  stories about unexplained mysteries . Nana Bean said not to worry, even though neither of them were allowed out trick or treating, they could still have fun.

Halloween arrived at last.  Natalie and Nana Bean made a pumpkin costume for Miffy to wear, and they each dressed as witches, with home-made black pointy hats and black painted fingernails. They played a version of trick or treat with Miffy by giving him bits of cheese and a sardine. But it wasn’t quite the same… Natalie could hear kids laughing outside as they traipsed from house to house shouting “TRICK OR TREAT!”, and when she peeked through the curtain she could see them dressed as zombies and ghosts and monsters. Nana Bean said “Don’t worry Nat, come on, drink this,” and handed Natalie a lovely mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. Natalie snuggled into bed. Nana Bean said “I found this old magic book in a charity shop in Deptford, so maybe I could read to you from that? What do you think?”

Natalie said she thought that was a very good idea. They opened the book, and on the inside cover in black spidery handwriting it said:

“Dear Reader, so glad you have found this book, and visa versa. Enjoy”

They turned the page.

“Listen to this Nat,” said Nana Bean, “this sounds good:

Hee hee, ho ho, it’s Halloween night,

When ghoulies abound to give us fright,

And skeletons tap dance on their own graves,

And monsters creep from out their caves,

The sky is full of vampire bats,

It is no time for scaredy cats,

And if you like to trick or treat,

And you’re not afraid of who you’ll meet,

Repeat three times before midnight strikes,

belladonna fandango macaroni zazazike….

 

“Shall we say it?”asked Nana Bean

And just for fun and because they were both feeling naughty, Natalie and Nana Bean said “belladonna fandango macaroni zazazike….belladonna fandango macaroni zazazike….belladonna fandango macaroni zazazike….”

and after that last time there was a big flash of light then….. the next thing Natalie knew she woke up to Miffy licking her face. She must’ve fallen asleep. Nana Bean was nowhere to be seen, and the room was freezing and quiet. At the bottom of her bed stood the twins who lived next door. They were both wearing matching blue dresses with white aprons and their hair was plaited and their eyes were perfectly round and shiny and black and unblinking, like liquorice. They never wore matching clothes and they were always on skateboards and normally their eyes were brown so they looked odd. Natalie was very surprised, and just as she was about to say “How did you get here?” and “why do you look so wierd?”- they began to speak in unison, something else they had never done before.

They said “Come with us, we’re going trick or treating”

Natalie watched as the twins walked over to her bedroom window. Then she watched as they jumped straight out. Natalie thought “Oo, that is going to hurt!” but then she saw that they didn’t fall but they floated, then she knew she must be dreaming. Natalie remembered Nana Bean had always told her : once you’re absolutely sure  you’re having a dream you might as well enjoy yourself. So with Miffy held tightly under one arm, Natalie followed the twins and jumped out of the window.

The four of them flew and flew and flew and flew and flew. Past scudding dark clouds, through an inky night sky full of glittering stars, past a bone white full moon, until they reached the furthest darkest part of the galaxy, when they were sucked like water down a plughole…. and landed with a soft bump… somewhere. But where?

The twins got up, dusted themselves down, and said

“Welcome to the Visa Versa “

and she looked around and everything looked the same except… . Everything was black and white, like those old films you see on the telly. Everyone’s eyes were perfectly black and round, all the people and the animals too. But everyone was really friendly and every single person said “Happy Halloween!” even the cats and dogs. Natalie and Miffy followed the twins, and they knocked on the door of a very old house whose windows were lit with lanterns, and shouted “TRICK OR TREAT”. The door opened very slowly and a woman who looked very much like Frankenstein but also looked very much like Nana Bean with a bolt through her head and stitches everywhere said “We’re having a party! Do come in” and in they went. Inside there was the best Halloween party ever seen. There was a cauldron containing a chocolate fountain, and there were cats like Miffy, but bigger and walking on their hind legs and wearing top hats, there was a zombie family including the cutest zombie baby with its tiny sharp teeth, there were swarms of bats and the carpet was alive with spiders and mice and rats, there was a witch and a magician zapping wands at each other out of which popped tiny bolts of lightning, a giant so tall his head was in the clouds, puppets and clowns, gnomes and warlocks, ghosts and mummies, vampires and werewolves, all enjoying themselves and eating delicious food and dancing in their own very strange ways.

After a few hours Natalie settled down in front of the fire with the Frankenstein creature that sort of looked like Nana Bean and they ate roast chestnuts and told each other scary stories until Natalie fell asleep.

As she woke to daylight streaming in through the chink in her curtains, through sleepy eyes she saw the back-to-normal Nana Bean in the doorway smiling…

“Good morning Natalie” said Nana Bean.

“ Nana!” Said Natalie “I had the weirdest dream ever…”.

“Well,” said Nana Bean, “You can tell me all about it downstairs. What is that?” she asked and pointed at the bottom of Natalie’s bed, where there was a trick or treat bag, filled to the brim with chocolate, fudge, popcorn, lollipops, and sugared almonds. On the side was written in spiky black handwriting

“SWEET DREAMS from The Visa Versa”

Out of the window Natalie saw the twins next door, back in their normal skater clothes, and they saw her, and winked, and waved.

“I don’t even want to know how you got hold of that, so don’t tell me.” said Nana Bean, “Come to think of it, I must have slept funny myself,” she continued “my head feels like…”

“There’s a bolt through it?”

“Yes something like that,” said Nana Bean

“That’s the Visa Versa,” said Natalie

“The what the what the?” said Nana Bean

“Nothing” said Natalie “Can we have sweets for breakfast?”

“No I don’t think…. well just this once. “said Nana Bean, who loved sweets just as much as Natalie.

So they went downstairs to share the sweets, and the magic book, lying face down and forgotten in the middle of Natalie’s floor, closed itself and leapt out of the still-open window, to look for the next reader who needed some help on Halloween.

THE END

*heebeegeebies= the feeling of adrenalin rushing up your spine when scared.

Thanks for reading, if you’d like some grown up scary stories, there’s also a FREE podcast here. Next month it’s all about Give Me Back My Broken Night….