As sometimes happens, I couldn't write just one story. Here are my two contest entries, at a max of 100 words and using the key words slither, treat, and scare. And because I'm me, they rhyme (of course). Enjoy!
The weeds were thick. The branches, slick.
But Howard vowed to play a trick
by sneaking up behind Doreen
to frighten her on Halloween.
He’d slither near, unseen, unheard--
a streak of color, faintly blurred--
using stealthy camouflage,
then shock her with a “BOO!” barrage.
He scurried, on his tree-top chore,
high above the valley floor
and spied her on a banyan trunk.
A terrify-your-friend slam dunk!
What a treat! That very night
he gave Doreen a spooky fright.
Yes, Howard the chameleon
scared sweet Doreen the gecko.
But after Howard hollered “BOO!!!”
—he fainted, from the echo.
On Snail-o-ween, the snails and slugs
all slither out to greet you.
They don’t intend to spooky-scare.
They only want to treat you--
to tasty leaves and tender sprouts,
a mollusk’s favorite meal.
So if you’re slightly frightened
by the slimy way they feel,
or by the tiny pointed hats
and vampire teeth they’re wearing,
remember gastropods are great
at grossing out…and sharing.
Step outside on Snail-o-ween!
We dare you! Take the trail
of silver slime that dead-ends
at a plot of crispy kale.
The gastropods are singing
their most slick-y-icky songs...
Join the snail-a-bration!
(Don’t forget your salad tongs.)