by Myles Abroad
Sometimes a favor can turn into a lot more.
A Small Favour
I knew trouble was brewing when Darlene showed up on my porch, dragging her drunken husband. I shouldn't have opened the door, but I did. Once she pushed Daryl onto the porch swing, he belched, and his eyes rolled into his head. His wife folded her arms and gasped, "You gotta help me, Agnes. He's gone and drunk all the money again."
"Well, what the hell can I do?"
She wrung her hands, dropping her eyes. "I thought you could turn him into somethin'-you know-scare him some."
Shaking my head, I tried to close the door. Too late. Darlene's size nine blocked it. "You owe me," she hissed. "Besides, I can spill your dirty secret."
Butterflies erupted in my belly, and I caved. Of course, she turned sweet and her eyes ballooned when I suggested he join the marrow species for a bit. "You mean a pumpkin?" I nodded, and the vixen chuckled when I turned my gaze on her dearest. Holding Daryl's balding head, I keened the ancient verses. Darlene gulped as the air shimmered, and the rumpled man shrunk into a ball, turning green, yellow, and finally a grooved orange. The swing creaked under its enormous weight. Boasting a green stalk, Daryl excelled as a vegetable, a county fair winner.
"No! I'm a witch, not a monster. The spell lasts twelve hours. That's it!"
Leaving Daryl on his perch, a subdued Darlene followed me inside for coffee. While she updated me on the town's gossip, my son's excited outburst carried from the driveway. Halloween, such an exciting time for kids: trick-or-treating, jack-o'-lanterns...
A cold sweat washed over me as I rushed outside. My knife-wielding boy beamed at me, his arm, shoulder-deep in pumpkin guts.