By AB Plum
Late, late morning after Halloween, the doorbell rings.
You’re still recovering from handing out candy to eleven-ninety kids (including teenagers who should’ve been too embarrassed to show up with their hands out). You shamble to the door. Despite repeated vows last night, you sneaked a chocolate treat here and there. Fog encircles your brain. Bracing yourself, you crack the door open and peer out.
No one yells, “Trick or Treat!”
Not a single Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump plasticized mask in sight. No Star Wars Jedis with drawn light sabers that cost $100 and up. No Cinderellas in gowns rivalling Disney’s creations with tiaras sparkling more brightly than many diamond engagement rings.
“Take this.” Your neighbor, dressed for jogging in the light mist, shoves a paper bag at you and pivots away, calling over her shoulder, “I bought way too much Halloween candy. Save me from myself.”
She speeds away before you can protest.
You close the door and open the bag. It’s brimming with the good stuff: M&Ms, Kit Kats, Snickers and Reese’s miniatures. Small means you can eat more, right?
The mist pings off the window. Fortunately, you aren’t working today. Jogging’s a drag. What a great day to crawl back into bed. You’re an adult. You don’t need permission.
You succumb to temptation, candy sack on your chest, and open your ereader to the psychological thriller you downloaded last night as your own treat.
|But you didn't count on the doorbell interrupting—|
from dusk right up until your bedtime.
An eleven-year-old prodigy morphs into a monster far scarier than any vampire or zombie or other paranormal misfit. Bullied by his older brother, rejected by his icy mother, and ignored by his absent father, Michael Romanov retaliates with the canniness of a budding psychopath.
You nod and fish around in the paper bag and read the first page . . . lost for the day.
In case you missed downloading your own Halloween treat? The Early Years is free now through November 3 at
Coming next Tuesday: A sneak peek from my late-November release of Book 2, The Lost Years, in The MisFit Series.
AB claims scary comic books ruined her for reading Dick and Jane. (She started reading at age four). Lots of other authors have left their imprint as well. She lives in Silicon Valley, where in 2016, she read at least one novel by Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Rachel Abbott, Kimberley McCreight, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, Chelsea Cain, MJ Rose, Scott Nicholson, AB Plum, Jenny Shortridge, Katherine Howe, Jodi Picoult, Garth Stein, Emma Donoghue, C.B. Kline, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Paula Hawkins, and Dot Hutchison, M.L. Stedman among other great reads.