It hit the floor with a thud. She watched in horror as the pumpkin basket bounced merrily off the floor of the patio scattering her treats everywhere. Fear rooted her to the spot, even though she willed her legs to take her as far away as possible from what was in front of her. When she had decided to do her routine Halloween trick or treating this was most definitely not the worst-case scenario, she had envisioned herself in. Her heavy handmade costume did not make it any easier for her. The person, no, the creature in front of her was like none other she had ever encountered.
It stood there, holding it’s furry clawed hand towards her. It’s red piercing eyes devoured her from head to toe, savoring every moment of her fear. Although his face appeared human, it had some semblance of lupine features. He was attired in a vintage vest with trousers and old fashioned loafers. She wanted to scream and turn away but he pulled her into his cottage. The musty smell coupled with overtones of pumpkin, saffron and argan was the first thing that hit her senses before she noticed the various animal trophies on the wall all of them watching her every move.
Even though they were dead, every single one of them seemed to have their empty eyes fixed on her. She could hear a faucet dripping from somewhere in the cottage, perhaps from upstairs.
‘Tea?’, he asked her. She jumped, not expecting him to be able to communicate with a human voice. She eyed him warily. Not receiving any response from her, he prepared tea and an assortment of snacks laying them on the table, each arranged meticulously and in order. He came closer to her. The dimming light peering in through a window cast a warm glow over her in contrast to the cold dread she felt ever since she had been pulled in to the creature’s home.
‘Come and eat’, he offered. She stood transfixed to the spot, unsure of her next move. He pulled her to the table.
‘You don’t realize it but I have been waiting for you for a long time’. Her fear was replaced with confusion.
He gave her a gnarly grin which made him even more terrifying, his long canines protruding out and revealing their true appearance.
‘No one told you? Well it seems befitting since they would not want you escaping your destiny.’ He inched closer to her and twisted a ringlet of her hair around his finger. The cold contact made her shudder.
‘You were promised to me long before you were even born. I protected your mother from the attack of a werewolf on a Halloween night and although she escaped unharmed, I bore the brunt of the attack.’ He paused to let it sink in. He then continued.
‘I was young and naïve. Although the werewolf had not transformed due to it not being a full moon night, I became a permanently transformed being.’
‘Out of guilt for saving their daughter, your mother, your grandparents promised that their first grand daughter would be my bride.’
She looked at the creature in front of her in distaste. In her twenty years no one had ever mentioned this predetermined betrothal. Now abruptly, she was just expected to comply and be with a strange creature whose existence she had been completely unaware of? He pulled her hand to his lips and gave her a quick kiss on her fingertips. She recoiled immediately almost tripping over herself.
‘Stay away from me! I don’t want anything to do with you.’ She pushed him away from her. He grabbed her hand and pulled her closer, his eyes staring at her intensely.
‘That’s the thing my dear, I want everything and anything to to do with you,’ he sneered, all formal subtleties gone. She looked at him in determined defiance.
She needed to escape. It was the only thing on her mind.
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