Jimmy was the only child that was not upset that it had been raining for the last two days before Halloween. He looked at it as an advantage. Surely, many of the kids in the neighborhood would find other things to do this year. Some of the parents had even got together to plan an indoor party for younger children. Yes, this was going to be a record haul year for Jimmy. He planned to get every last morsel of candy as he went out for his trick or treat adventures.
Having a sweet tooth had haunted Jimmy for most of his young life. He was at least twenty pounds heavier than other boys his age by second grade. Now, in the fourth grade, he found himself thirty to forty pounds heavier than all the other kids in his class. He constantly told himself that he didn’t care. He loved to eat and he loved to eat sweets. He had a special love for candy and he felt this love made up for anything else he might be missing.
Jimmy loved other things and even other people. He just didn’t love them as passionately as he loved candy. There was a girl in his class named Libby that he had a crush on since he moved to this neighborhood. Libby liked Jimmy but, he always seemed more interested in eating than going out to play. Libby even tried to get his attention once by bringing him a candy bar that he ate it so fast, she wasn’t sure he even noticed her. His love for candy ran deep.
The forecast for his area had not changed all week and this pleased Jimmy. His scuba diving outfit was going to be perfect for Halloween. There was only one thing that worried Jimmy. He wanted to be sure to get to the Hensel Candy Factory before anyone else. The Hensel Candy Factory had been advertising all week on local radio stations to announce that they would have an endless candy barrel at their corner location. Jimmy wanted to be there first.
This endless candy barrel had been tried before and rumor had it that it had cost the factory more than they had anticipated. It seemed that some parents drove up to the factory and filled boxes and bags till their cars were literally full of candy. The barrel never emptied and no one was certain of just how much the company had lost but, everyone was certain that it had to be a fortune.
Parents were shocked to hear that the factory was going to proceed with another endless barrel this year. It became the talk of the town and the only thing that was going to slow anyone down was this three day rainstorm. Jimmy was counting on the water filled roads and cold stinging rain to slow everyone down. He went on planning and stashing bags in the neighborhood. He was sure that he could work the factory for enough candy to last him till Easter. He even cleaned out his closet and drawers to make room for the candy he would be stashing there soon. His mouth would begin to water every time he thought about the candy to come.
The storm raged on and got even worse through the day on Halloween. Jimmy was so pleased. He got dressed up in his scuba diving outfit and kissed his mother before leaving a good hour early to trick or treat. He left carrying two normal sized bags and stopped at all his neighbors houses along the way.
Libby had phoned to ask him if he wanted to trick or treat with her before he left, and he managed to make excuses. He liked Libby but, he didn’t want anyone in the way of his candy plans. He walked along feeling half sorry for blowing her off. Little by little, he made his way up the street, filling his trick or treat bag. He knew this was a waste of his precious time but, it was necessary.
He didn’t want his mother looking out and seeing him dashing up the street for his other plans. It was torture to move so slow, telling jokes and visiting with each neighbor. Jimmy did his best to move the process along quickly. He kept remembering his mother warning him about how bad so much candy is for him. He knew that his time out trick or treating was limited and he would have to move fast to get all his candy and stash it properly so that his mother wouldn’t know how much he got.
The moment he finished with the last house on his block, he stashed his candy and took off running for the candy factory. It was barely dusk so he felt like he had nothing to worry about. His thoughts turned to things he had heard other people talking about from their visit to the candy factory last year. He knew from the others that he would have to walk past windows in the factory that had spooky things in them. Some were even rigged to have a head pop up or a scream just as you walked past. Jimmy wasn’t really afraid but, he did have a little tingle running through him that he couldn’t explain away.
He was beginning to get a little nervous as he approached the block where the factory begins. It was getting dark fast and he felt a bit anxious. He brushed off the fears and chalked them up in his mind to the Halloween holiday. He stepped up his pace a bit and held his head high as he started to walk the final block past all the factory windows.
The first scream startled him. It was just as everyone had said. There must have been sensors that sent it off and Jimmy nearly jumped out of his shoes when he set off the sensors for that window. The next several windows would be just as scary but Jimmy knew to expect something now so, he felt a little more sure of himself as he took the next few steps.
Each window had something new to frighten anyone that passed by. One window had a ghost with red flashing eyes. The next window had a very scary laugh that seemed to go on for at least a solid minute. It was all worth it to Jimmy. He didn’t mind getting scared and nervous as long as he was going to get his fill of candy. His mind was filled with dreams of spending days locked in his room with that candy. That thought kept him moving straight ahead till he reached the endless candy barrel.
He was the only one there. He had made it first. There was something wrong though. There was something sticky and red dripping out from the bottom of the barrel and running on to the sidewalk. Jimmy noticed it right away but he couldn’t focus on anything but the candy. He pulled his big bags out of his pockets and shook them open. He started scooping countless handfuls of candy into the bag.
It was true about the barrel. He wasn’t sure how it worked, but that barrel kept filling up to the top with candy no matter how many scoops he took out. It seemed like it must be filling from the bottom up because as he would take a scoop out the candy would rise to the top again. He wished that he knew how they did that.
As his bags filled up , he got more curious. He wanted to know how that barrel kept filling. He decided to pull himself up and slide his arm down to get a quick feel and figure out how they piped in that candy. His weight was an issue. He tried to pull himself up but it wasn’t easy. He put his feet flat on the side of the barrel and tried to get up that way. It didn’t work. He just slid down and got his feet all wet in that stuff leaking from the bottom of the barrel.
He just had to see how this thing worked. So, he got a good hold on the top of the barrel and used the wall to get some leverage. As he got up high enough, he pushed his arm down into the barrel of candy. He felt something that instantly registered in his mind as wrong. It felt like an arm and it was sticky and wet. The thought came too late as two hands popped up out of the barrel and wrapped around his chubby neck.
He tried to scream but the hands were too strong. He made only a muffled sound as those hands pulled his entire body down into the barrel. He felt the warm sticky liquid as he plunged down lower into the barrel and then he had one last thought before losing consciousness. His last thought was of his mother telling him how bad all that candy is for him.
There was only one loud sucking noise as Jimmy was pulled down into the barrel. Then the candy almost burped and several pieces popped up into the air. Jimmy was gone and the barrel filled up to the top again. The only thing left of Jimmy was one shoe and two huge bags of candy. A large group of costumed kids screamed when they saw the blood oozing out from the bottom of that candy barrel.
This Halloween wasn’t going to cost The Hensel Candy Factory very much. A little candy, a little cleaning up, and Mr Hensel would be smiling for the rest of the year. He’d also be licking his lips.