Brent Hutton had lived in Norman Court for most of his life. It was a collection of grey tower blocks that cast a long shadow across the town, and was avoided by most of the surrounding townspeople.
Norman Court had a rough, and in Brent’s mind unearned reputation. There was crime on the council estate that he called home, but there was crime everywhere, and for every difficult incident, there was twice as much community spirit, so Brent had never considered himself unlucky to live in Norman Court, except, of course, during October.
October was a rough time for the residents of Norman Court, but nobody had it quite as bad as Brent, and as he counted down the days on the calendar, watching the worst month of the year creep closer, he couldn’t help but feel anxious.
The Baxter family were impossible to avoid for the residents of Norman Court, but they had a particular fascination with Brent, and he’d never been able to figure out why.
It always started with a knock at the door on the first of October. Brent had stopped answering, knowing that nothing would be there, except a reminder that the Baxter’s had returned for another year to torment him. They’d knock again and again and he’d cower behind the couch, watching the front door with frightened eyes, praying for the noise to stop for the night.
For the first nine days, all that they’d do is knock on the door, travelling up and down the rows of flats to pay each one a visit, but on the tenth day of October, they began to pay special attention to Brent.
On the tenth of October, it was little William Baxter’s birthday, and he’d always pay a visit to Brent’s flat to celebrate. The small boy would stand by the front window, his hands and face pressed up against the glass, glaring with glassy, dark eyes into the living room.
He wouldn’t move, or speak, he’d just stare from the moment the sun rose, until it set, and then he’d give Brent a little wave before turning, heading down the stairs and vanishing into the night.
He wouldn’t be gone long. As the night wore on, the boy called out Brent’s name, his cries creeping closer and closer as the hours ticked by.
On the eleventh of October, the whole family would begin to visit Brent, knocking on his windows and howling into the air as the hours slipped by.
They would visit him every day until sundown on October 30th, and as the sun fell on the day before Halloween, Brent would dread the dawn that approached the next day.
Today, we find Brent in his bedroom, staring at his alarm clock as Halloween creeps closer. In a few hours, the true terror of the Baxter family will be unleashed, and it will start with one more knock at the door.
All of Brent’s neighbours were gathered by his front door, the Baxter family leant against the bannisters of the stairway with the same sinister smile.
The minutes melted into hours and the clock echoed through his bedroom as little William Baxter raised a fist to the front door and knocked.
“Come on out Brent!” Brent burrowed his head under his pillow to avoid the voice of his next door neighbour Elizabeth. “You know they won’t go away until you do.” Brent shook his head, throwing his duvet across his body and shuddering beneath it, his body chilled by fear.
“We’re not doing this for another year Brent!” The neighbours began to bang on the door, their hurried screams setting Brent on edge. “Just let them in and it will be over.” Brent lifted the duvet, glancing around the room gingerly. “They’ve got our children.”
Brent felt guilt wash over him, his throat pinched by the memories he had made a great effort to forget. Truthfully, he did know why the Baxter family would visit, and why he was always top of the list for their torment, and now, it was time for him to make amends.
Brent was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of smashing glass filling his small flat. He sat up with a start, jumping from his bed and rushing towards his bedroom door. There was another crash, and as he poked his head round the door, he could see a crowd of his neighbours forcing their way through his broken living room window, the Baxter family stood behind them, in smiling silence.
“Okay!” He called out, throwing open the bedroom door and walking towards them. “I’ll let them in.” The crowd froze and Brent weaved through them, his heart heavier with each step as he advanced towards the front door.
“Where’s my daughter?” Mrs Baxter stepped forward as Brent opened the door, the lights of his flat showing the true horror of the matriarch, her flesh falling from her bones, and her eyes, nothing but empty sockets.
“I didn’t think anyone would mind, because it was so old and…” Brent began, but her bare stare made him fall silent. She pushed past him, barging into the flat, followed by the elder son, Samuel, his skin, sallow as his bones jutted through and shone in the moonlight. “I kept meaning to put it back, but…” The smallest of the Baxters, little William followed his older brother into the flat, staring up at Brent with empty eyes and a mouth full of worms and maggots.
“Her.” He whispered. Brent stared back at the small boy, shuddering as the child raised a skeletal finger, the last remains of skin hanging from the tip. “I want my sister back.”
Brent gulped, nodding as the family stepped closer.
“Okay, I’ll just go and get it.” The family glared at him, stepping ever closer and he smiled nervously. “I mean, her. I’ll go and get her.” He sprinted back towards his bedroom, diving under the bed, frantically searching until his hands came upon a small black box. He scrambled out from under the bed, lifting the lid and staring down at the small skull, all that remained of little Wendy Baxter.
“Bring her to me!” Her mother cried as Brent rushed back towards the living room, thrusting the box at her and stepping back out of her reach. Mrs Baxter sighed, cradling the skull in her arms, the box it had lay in discarded on the floor. “Now my baby can rest.” Tears fell from her empty eyes as a small girl, transparent and timid emerged behind her mother’s skirt, embraced in an instant by the twin who had missed her for an eternity.
“Wendy!” William exclaimed, clutching the sister that had been stolen from him. The two children shared a smile, before linking hands and motioning to the surrounding crowd who began to follow them to the front door.
“You take these nice people to their children, little ones.” Mrs Baxter said, waving at her youngest children as the crowd trailed after them into the dark night. “Mummy has something to take care off.” She rounded on Brent, Samuel crossing the room and slamming the front door with a wicked smile.
“Look, it was an accident, okay?” Brent whispered, stumbling back as the undead mother and son advanced on him with wrathful stares. “I just wanted something cool as a decoration, and it was just lying on the cemetery floor…” He tripped, clattering to the floor, helpless as they got closer.
“Liar!” Samuel snarled, pinning Brent to the floor. “You dug her up.” Brent tried to fight back, but he was powerless, watching in terror as Mrs Baxter knelt beside his body and wrapped her flayed hands around his neck.
“You’re coming with us.” She spat with a smirk as the world faded to darkness around Brent.
The people of Norman Court moved on, happy that October was now just another month, and the Baxter family rested happily in their graves, reunited once more.
As for Brent, he was never seen again. Nobody mentioned his name. His flat was let out again, and was taken on by a nice couple who had no idea of Norman Court’s reputation. It was as if he had never existed, except on Halloween.
Some say that when night falls on October 31st, you can see Brent Hutton wandering the halls and stairways of Norman Court, watching his neighbours from the balcony with a frenzied, seething stare, never able to forget how they helped the Baxter’s to take their revenge.