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Unmasked

It was Halloween when the curse struck.

Everyone was out and having fun. Laughter echoed through the streets, and wrappers littered the sidewalks. Nobody was expecting it. When all the trick-or-treating was over, everyone started to go home. To count out their treasure. To argue with their parents about how much they got to keep, and to hide the remainder. To undress and – wait.

None of the masks would come off! No matter how many times they tried to rip them off, or how hard they pulled, it felt like someone superglued them to their faces. Parents tried to help pry them off, but the children wailed with pain.

“Stop, stop!”

Not one person in the town could pull off their masks, or wipe off their face paint. Parents called the hospitals and the mayor called a town meeting in the square. Kids cried and babies wailed. Mothers panicked and fathers made frantic calls and sent texts, while others stood in the streets talking to the neighbors. Word traveled quickly, and soon the whole town knew everything.

Widespread panic swept through the people, and the kids either freaked out or were quiet and thoughtful. Only the ones who didn’t dress up were untouched.

Soon, the joy and revelry of the holiday turned to terror and confusion. What would they all do?

Joey smiled at his friend’s intrigued expressions as they leaned toward him.

“What happened next?” Amy asked, her bat ears seeming to perk up with the question.

The kids all sat in the Pearsons’ driveway, eyes wide and curious. It was Halloween, and they were all telling stories while they waited for the parents to stop talking so they could go home. Ben was already eating a Tootsie Roll.

Joey scratched his side where the Superman costume was itching.

“Well, that’s it. They just had to live like that, I guess,” he responded. He hadn’t quite gotten that far yet. Will snorted.

Finally, the parents emerged, laughing, and split off with the kids to their respective homes.

When Joey got home, he reached for his mask and pulled …

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