In the entrance foyer, she turned on the front porch light and looked through one of the glass panels alongside the door. The porch light sparked like a firecracker, then went out. It did that sometimes in bad weather. She kept meaning to have the wires looked at. She had expected to see a man standing respectfully on the doorstep in a driving cap. Instead she made out a group of dark figures standing under umbrellas, their flashlight beams darting about like a light show. She could not believe that people were still trick-or-treating. It was almost morning. And in this weather! It was unusual to see trick-or-treaters at their door, too. The drives in this part of Bedford were too long. By the time children walked from one house to the next, they could have mounted ten porches in Katonah. Perhaps that was why the people outside were still at it! They had yet to make their candy quota! No, more likely now that she thought of it seriously, this was a good family salvaging Halloween for their children who had not been able to trick-or-treat last night. She had heard of a family doing this before. She looked at the clock. It was just after five a.m. Many people rose that early around here, or earlier even to be in Manhattan by seven a.m. These people were likely neighbors. "Just a minute," she said, padding back to the kitchen to find treats for their buckets.

She pulled her wrap tighter and opened the door. A scattering of raindrops blew into her face. She started to hold out the bag of Kit Kats, but something was wrong. There were no children. The adults—men, all of them, she realized now, some half dozen—all wore the same costume: windbreakers over polyester suits. One had his jacket open.

She saw a gun in a holster. Everything about them seemed too real. She clutched her wrap tighter. The metallic taste of fear sat heavy in the back of her throat. She inched back inside the door. The men all stayed where they were. She noticed how tall and broad the man in front of them all was. It crossed her mind that he could snap her like a twig. She drew back further and, without moving her eyes, screamed in a shaky voice, "Evan!"
From The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb. Copyright © 2009 Karen Weinreb. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.


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