Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What Big Teeth You Have

This whole thing started two days before Halloween. I was biking home from my paper route when I heard this terrible howling.

AAAAAAAAAHHHOOOOOOOOO! I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. This was definitely NOT a dog howling. It was a weird sound that rose and fell in the twilight. It made the yellow aspen leaves quiver and sent shivers down my spine.

I glanced over my shoulder at the late October moon. It was full and bright, like a huge eye. I took off, pedaling like a maniac.

The horrible howl came again–closer this time. I was passing my grandmother’s new house. She had just moved here last month. I made a gravel-splattering turn into the driveway. I dumped my bike and ran for the porch. “GRANDMA!” I hollered, pounding on the door. “Let me in!”

The howling stopped abruptly. The sudden quiet was worse than the noise! I could almost feel something sneaking up on me, closing in for the kill. I squeezed myself between the screen and the front door.

“Grandma! It’s me, Tooz, “I called and knocked again.

“Tuesday?’” Grandma said. “Is that you?” She sounded strange.

“Yeah! Let me in!”

There was a long pause. “Uhm, I’m not feeling very well tonight, dear. You can visit some other time.”

The street was empty and quiet. But how long could that Last?

“Well…OK, Grandma. Gotta run!” I grabbed my bike and raced home. I mentioned the noise at dinner that night. “Did you hear that weird howling earlier?” I asked.

“Howling?” Morn said. She and Dad exchanged glances.

“Just a stray dog, I’m sure,” Dad said.

“Right.” Mom quickly agreed. “A stray dog.”

Mom and Dad didn’t seem to give it much thought, I changed the subject.

“I still don’t have a Halloween costume,” I reminded them. “I was thinking of something creepy. Maybe a vampire or a werewolf.”

There was a long silence. “I don’t think that’s such a–” my Father started.

“‘Good idea!” Mom jumped in. “You would make a terrific vampire. We’ll dress you in black and buy you some plastic fangs!”

We finished the costume on Halloween day. It turned out great–especially when I dribbled fake blood down my chin. As night fell, Morn helped me with my makeup–pale white cheeks and bright red lips.

“I’m going to bike over and show Grandma Rose my costume,” I said.

“No,” Mom said. “You can’t go. Grandma is…uh…she isn’t home. She’ll be gone until late. Very late. Yes. That’s it.”

That’s odd, I thought. Grandma Rose never goes anywhere.

I suppose I should have asked why my parents were acting weird. Later it all made sense. At the time, however, I just grabbed a pillow-case and zipped out the door.

My best friend Margaret and I had fun trick-or-treating. My pillowcase bulged by the time I said good-bye to Margaret. The full moon lit up the streets like a spotlight as I walked home.

When I passed Grandma Rose’s house. I was surprised to see a light on.

So she IS home! I thought. Suddenly I got a great idea. I’d give Grandma a little scare! I crept around the edge of the house, flitting from shadow to shadow in my best vampire style. I draped my cape below my eyes and leapt in front of the patio door..

“BOOOOO–AAAAAA–RRRRRGGGH!” My boo turned into a scream as I stared into the house. There sitting in my grandmother’s chair, was a gigantic gray wolf! Its eyes glowed yellow. Drool! fell from its fanged mouth. It was hideous! It Was…it was…

It was watching TV and knitting something out of pink yarn. Knitting?!

Those hypnotic eyes locked on mine. I couldn’t move. The creature came closer…closer. I tried to run, but a furry paw grabbed my wrist and pulled me inside, Trapped! Would I become this foul creature’s midnight snack?

The wolf made a peculiar sound I looked up into a mouthful of sharp teeth. It was choking! No, not choking. It was…laughing!

“What’s so funny?” I shouted.

“Sit down, dear.” the wolf said. “You don’t have to shout. I’m not completely, deaf, you know.”

Strange, I thought. That voice sounds just like my…my…

“…Grandma,” I finished aloud. “What big teeth you have.”

“That’s hardly original,” she remarked, picking up the yam again. She looked at me over her glasses. “You make a nice vampire.”

“You make a nice…werewolf,” I replied lamely. “That is a costume…isn’t it’?”

She grinned toothily. “No, but it only lasts until the moon goes down.”

My mind was numb. 1 tried to sound casual as if this were the most ordinary thing in the world. “Have you, uh, been a werewolf for very long?”

“Since I was about your age,” Grandma answered. “Actually, I’m retired. I leave the big howling to the young wolves now.”

Suddenly my parents’ odd behavior made sense. They must have known all along that Grandma was a…you know.

“This is a lot to think about,” she said. “You go home and get some sleep.”

I grabbed my pillowcase. “OK. See you later…uh, Grandma,” I said.

I walked home like one of those zombies from the old movies. I was almost to my house when suddenly I stopped. You know, I inherited my red hair and funny laugh from my mother. I got my green eyes and long nose from my lather.

I wonder…what exactly did I inherit from my grandma?

The full moon slipped behind the trees as a furry shiver ran up my spine.

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