It wasn’t even very late on All Hallows Eve, but the trick-or-treaters had all but evacuated the streets. Only the goth kids remained outside, bleeding themselves silly in the cemetery, pretending they were celestial enough for otherworldly attentions. Tiny, make-up-encrusted goblins and zombies were sweat-soaked and sleepy, spreading their sugary booties on their living room floors, checking for razorblades, chucking out toothbrushes.
I’d been hoping for a few more little witches to clutter my unwelcome mat, their bubbling warts, hairy moles, and blacked out eyes askew. I could never figure out if they were mocking or paying homage to me, either way, I stuck recipes for bad-luck cat-eye stew in their buckets, along with frankenstein lollies and chocolate bats.
Instead of trick-or-treaters, I got one big trick. A tall, lanky skeleton-boy—nothing but black and bones—knocked on my door, right at midnight. I was taken aback, a shiver of excitement wriggled my spine. Witches generally only use boy-bones for ingredients in their brews, but this one looked different, alluring even. His eye sockets so deep and empty, there could have been whole galaxies inside.
His lip-bones were stained pop-rocks-blue and his finger-bones were covered in chocolate trails. He didn’t have to speak, the tantalizing emptiness is what beckoned. The smell of sugar wafted from his bones, he was empty and intoxicating and I wanted in. I tend to refrain from partaking in any foodstuffs that witches in fairytales used to build their houses; it just seems tacky. Besides, I prefer the emptiest of calories, things like frog’s breath and will-o’-the-wisp blood keep me clear-headed and astute, adept at the intricacies of the darkest arts. But something about this strange boy bewitched the witch right out of me. I was a suddenly a slovenly, piggish, human-like girl, drooling for his sweet-meats, teeth aching with the vehemence of spider-snakes.
Trying him on for size can’t hurt, I thought hungrily. There’s enough candy in there for both of us. I pushed my head firmly against his skinny chest while wiggling my rear. Abracadabra-ing my way inside, I burrowed as diligently as a musk-mole. His ribcage shifted to accommodate my girth. Like a walnut he snapped; I plunked myself inside.
I found candy hearts in place of a real one. They practically spelled out or wedding vows. Sticky, gummy critters conglomerated in the intestinal cavity, while his kidneys and liver were made simply of cotton-spun sugar. I gobbled greedily, I couldn’t help myself. I’d forgotten how addicting sweets can be. He hit the spot. And then hit it again.
Unfortunately, my picky system quickly went into shock. The sugars and starches swelled my skin. I bloated in places I didn’t know could bloat. His chest cavity was getting tighter and tighter; I felt like nothing but a mealy sausage in the most unfortunate of prickly sausage casings. It was cutting off my circulation, cutting off my breath.
Magic works best on an empty stomach, my stomach being overstuffed, my spell-work went kaput. I caved into a candy-coma, sugar-drunk spinning on his pelvic floor.
“Are you alright in there?” he thundered. “It feels like you’ve fallen asleep.”
“Ughghllgh” I guttered in response; unable to form words.
“Do you want me to sing you to sleep?” he asked. His voice earthquaked around me, he sounded like a god.
I’m not sure how long I slept, but I awoke with an achey start. “Dude,” I squeaked, finally getting some of my voice back. “Help! It’s time for me to get out now. Your ribs are about to gouge out my eyeballs and I need them to see stuff and stuff.” I was having a hard time articulating. Witches aren’t good with headaches and hangovers without at-hand elixirs.
“But you feel so good inside me, Girlfriend. I’ve never been this close to anyone before,” he almost-moaned. Girlfriend? He was starting to skeeze me out. I’d only meant our interaction to be a quick romp—an hour at most. Then I’d gone and slept inside of him. Shame on you, you hungry hag! I chided myself. Of course he was already in love.
“Really though, if you don’t let me out now, I might explode or get stuck in here forever. This is ridiculous.” I was trying to be rational. He pretended not to hear.
“Pretty please with salt on top?” No more sugar for me ever again. “Please please please?”
He resisted my begging, keeping his bones staunchly in place, not flexible like they had been to let me in.
“Mule-brained skeleton boy with your stupid, stubborn ribs,” I squealed. “If you don’t let me out this minute, you will regret it forever.” I was trying to sound terrifying and mean, but the echo of his chest cavity turned my voice Disney-witch. The only strategy I had left was a little heart-string plucking: “Boyfriend…”I cringed, “I’m scared I’ll die in here. Let me out so I can kiss you. On the lips.” I felt his insides shift for a second, contemplating.
“Just a few more minutes, Pretty. I had no idea you’d feel this good.” I waited a few minutes, but he didn’t move. I was prodded and poked, I felt like dinner. I kept whimpering and begging, but he played mute. Silently savoring my presence, he was practically in heaven.
“Boyfriend,” I yelped, in the most damsel-in-distress voice I could muster, “I’m suffocating...I can’t breathe...If you really love me…Aaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!” I figured if he thought I was going to die, he would have no other option but to set me free. Nobody wants a girl rotting inside of them. No matter how pretty.
He remained firm, so I decided to chew. Bone against bone, I gnawed. My teeth are strong and cavity-free; good genes and magic can do wonders for oral health. His sternum was weakened, having cracked open a few hours ago to let me in. Plus, it was soggy with love and kinda scrawny to boot. Even still, it felt like it might take days, like starting a fire with nothing but sticks. But, I was adamant, this boy was kindling and would not get the best of me.
Once I had freed up a little space with my teeth, I could use my feet and legs to pummel and kick. Finally, there was a sharp crack, and I hit the floor like a seed. Sticky and sick, I threw up in my hair; globules of undigested sugar stuck to my lips and cheeks.
“Baby,” he purred, “please don’t leave me.” He sounded like the kind of bad country song that could melt a chocolate heart. He clutched my fingers too tightly.
“Oh, don’t worry, we’ll be together for a long time still,” I said, my eyes glinting with a devilry that he didn’t even notice. Outside of his cranky cavity, I had my powers back, with the sugar out of my system, my voodoo was renewed. In less than a second flat, I had hocus-pocused his silly, stubborn skeleton into an ashy pile of soot, swept him up with my favorite hand-braided, birch broom, and put him in a glass jar next to my cauldron. The label reads: Boy Bones (nothing special after all).