- List of names of whom entered the contest -
- Story titles in Random Order -
"Spooks of Halloween Town"
CLASSIC: The Condemned Mini-Expansion
Sleepy Hollow: The Midnight Moon
There are no Strings on Me
Creepy Pasta [Rated Mature]
TMI: Venturing out on Halloween
The Parisian skyline looms overhead, with the Gothic architecture lurking in near-darkness among the inhuman, modern structures. The echoes of clip-clop and the rolling of wheels on the cobblestone-paved roads echo of your first experience of la nuit à Paris, an arm locked with your lover’s, as you parade across the dimly lit bridge crossing the Seine.
You and your dashing lover stop on this chilly October night to watch a lone mime perform. He’s dressed in a sinful black outfit, white gloves, and the atypical beret – matching the rest of the attire, and around the norm of five foot eight, and slightly muscular.
Upon further inspection, you notice the mime’s facial makeup illustrating a pale, white face, with grey bits painted onto pink lips, which look as if the mime’s mouth was stapled shut, or something similar to your assumption, and a beautiful red outlining of the mime’s eyes and lips– the edges of the latter look a ruddy brown, as if it dried oddly. With a premade sign, the mime introduces himself as Néma Mosol – it sounds familiar to your ears, though you can’t quite place it.
His routine is flawless, you notice, though he goes through several which are rather unusual, though you disregard the odd movements and pantomimes. Also, you notice his eyes never divert themselves from you, and when the mute show ends, he bows, and as you hand him a few Euros in appreciation of his performance, he grabs your hand, yanking you from your lover, throwing you off-balance, and onto the cobblestone paving of the bridge. As your lover moves to stop him, the pure white gloves move to the mime’s strangely-painted lips.
A terrifying, blood-curdling howl of pain erupts as the mime pulls vertically at his upper and bottom lips, the staples that had kept them shut tearing chunks of flesh off with their semi-removal, as blood begins to flow in thin, red streams down the lower half of his face. Néma Mosol then leaps onto your lover, and you see the flash of pure, pearl-white fangs implanting into his neck, as the vampire-mime proceeds to feed. You’re terror-stricken, and start clamber up - to run and scream for help, as Mosol rises, and with inhuman swiftness, catches up and clenches your forearm in an iron grip.
“Don’t you remember, my sweet? You left me all alone, to die in the pits of Budapest. You forgot me as soon as you thought my life ended, didn’t you, dearest?” Fiery tears threatened to surface, as Mosol unveils a switchblade knife from his person, holding it in his free hand, pressing the button and bringing the edge closer to your throat.
“But I arose. . .” His breaths became labored, almost, as if he was reliving a tortured segment of the past. “I arose from your betrayal, and now, you will pay the price, sweetest. You, I will give the pleasure of a quick death, if only for your radiant beauty. Au revoir.” A bloody, gruesome smile, erupted, as the blade comes closer, slicing through your fair skin – you try to breathe, to scream, and you only begin to choke on your own blood in almost bestial, dying gurgles. The last thing you see is the mime’s face, torn in his passion, the terrifying visage sending you that much further to the grave.
The news later reports the following morning of two bodies found in the Seine, both brutally murdered by an unknown assailant. A few weeks later, Néma Mosol performs his routine at the same spot, his mouth once again shut to the world. Such a silent smile indeed.
CLASSIC: The Condemned Mini-Expansion
When this light is on, light levels are insufficient and cannot prevent possession. Never enter the Valley of the Lost in poor lighting under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
A blue traffic sign stood beside a set of concrete stairs leading down to a sandy ravine that looked long abandoned. Atop the sign, a yellow light shone brightly through the dusk.
Can you hear me, Birdbrain?
“Get out of my head, you harpy.” I said aloud. “Bryer might be cool with your weird psycho spells, but I sure ain't.” There was a moment of silence where I sighed. “I know the doohicky is in this spooky valley, but couldn't we wait until tomorrow to pick it up?”
Absolutely, Chive. I could feel the sarcasm in my mind as Alice's voice rang through my head, Please, feel free to spend the next fourteen hours out there. In the middle of no where. Alone. I would love to see you do it.
“Alright alright, I'm going.” I yelled out to the empty air.
It's your own fault. We had a schedule, but you decided to skip over it and do things your own way.
“Yeah yeah yeah. This'll be easy anyway.” I walked towards the sign and tapped it twice as I passed it, heading down the stairs leading to the valley. When I made it to the bottom, I felt the temperature drop by a small amount. I need to find that box and get out as soon I could. I wasn't a fan of magic, and I was pretty sure it wasn't a fan of me. I walked calmly for a bit before breaking into a steady jog.
“Where am I going?” I asked aloud.
Straight ahead for five meters, then turn west. I nodded to myself in acknowledgment, knowing that she couldn't see me, hoping my lack of response would annoy her. My footsteps rang out dully as they hit the sand underfoot. I blinked and, in an instant, my surroundings changed. Gone was the empty valley, replaced instead with a dark dankly lit room. A single swinging light bulb hung above me, and as I stopped to consider what was happening, I noticed a drain at the center of the room, along with a dried red liquid.
“What.” I tapped at the drain to make sure it was real and not just some sort of illusion, and sure enough the metal drain clanged against my foot. “Alice? What's the deal?”
“I'm not in the valley anymore, I'm in some kinda room.” I turned my head to the side and saw a humanoid figure slumped against the wall, its arms chained to a pipe. “A torture room.” I added as I inspected the body. “Looks like some poor chump was chained up here until--” Did he just twitch? ...Nah, of course not. “until he died.” walked towards the opposite wall and tapped the concrete in front of me. “This place is real. No tricks or anything here.”
I think you were somehow teleported. Look around, you might find a way out. Sure enough, as soon as I turned around to face where I came, I found a wooden door that looked as if it had rotten away.
“I see it, yeah.” I told her as I walked up to it and easily pushed it open. I was about to walk through it when I heard a soft jiggling noise behind me. I turned once again and found the body twisting around on the floor, it's arms shaking violently. “Zombie.” I breathed. “Dude's a zombie.”
What are you going to do? Alice asked, surprisingly concerned.
“The same thing I do with everything made of magic.” I walked into the door and closed it behind me as the undead man began to cry out and bang his cuffs against the pipe. “I leave it alone.” The zombie was chained up, so the chances of it escaping where pretty slim. Plus, if that zombie taught me anything, it was the paranormal was becoming active. I didn't have much time to waste. The door lead me into hallway, and as I ran through it, I became aware of spirits observing me. Mostly wisps floating around. Any one of them could decide to manifest themselves into a physical form in order to possess me. Gotta keep going. I bashed through a door, though as soon as I did, I felt a sick lurching sensation in my stomach as the floor gave way beneath me. I crashed into the room below, only to crash through the floor of that room as well. Before I hit the next floor, I steeled myself and rolled against the hard floor. As I did so, I heard the foundation of the rooms above me begin to give out completely, and I ran forward, once again bashing through another wooden door. To my surprise, I found myself outside, back in The Valley. I turned around just in time to see the building collapse.
“Who the hell builds a torture room on the third floor?!” I whispered angrily to myself.
After a quick internal talk with Alice, I righted my location in The Valley and began making my way towards the item I was looking for. I dashed across the sand as the setting sun caused my shadow to race ahead of me. I could still see some spirits stationed all around me, and as time passed, some materialized in front of me. People of an age gone by surrounded me, wearing clothing that reminded me of the Victorian era. I wagered that since they were transparent, I could run right through them, so I ignored them. As I ran passed an elderly looking man, he held his arm out and sent a fist at me. I felt the cold flesh-like projection smack me on the cheek, knocking me to the ground. I slapped the sand in frustration as I bounced back, unsheathing my knife. It's kill or be killed out here, and some of us are already dead. I swiped at the man's throat, only to have it pass right through him.
“What the hell.” I said as the man gave me a straight poker face as threw another punch. This time I managed to keep my wits about me and dodged under it, running passed the ghoul. “They can hit me, but I can't hit them?!”
They're GHOSTS. Alice yelled at me, They choose what material plane effects them and when. Of course you wouldn't be able to hurt them.
“That's...” I jumped over a ghost child who was looking at me funny, “...just...” side stepped passed a ghastly woman who swiped at me with a parasol, “...great.” I kept running, unable to properly defend myself against these grim monsters. Maybe it was just that area that had a ghost infection, because after a bit more dodging and weaving, the area was completely ghost-free. Despite this, I knew I was far from safe and Hastened my step. I felt something small collide against my forehead as a trickle of blood softly flowed down to my nose. Before I could make out what was happening, I saw a rock float off the ground and burst towards me. I managed to duck underneath it but as soon as I did, another rock flew at me. Then another, and another. “Poltergeist.” I groaned as I dove behind a boulder. “I hate poltergeists so damn much.” I wiped the blood off my face while leaning against the large rock. To my surprise, the rock itself began to float upwards, causing me to fall on my back. I quickly realized what was happening and jumped to my feet, running as fast as I could. Behind me, I could hear the loud thud of the boulder slamming back down to the ground. Just ahead of me was another set of stairs leading into a darkened room, of which I suspected was my prize. I literally dove inside and into safety. Candles lit the room, revealing to me four walls made of human skulls. In the center of the room stood a circular wooden table with a very small box sitting on top of it. “This feels like a trap. I can practically smell it.”
Most likely, but that box has what we're after. I nodded again as I walked towards the table. The skulls seemed to rumble slightly as I reached it, and I wasted no time opening the box, revealing a small ring with a gen engraved in it. As soon as I did, the skulls popped out from the walls, gaining skeletal bodies.
“Skeletons!” I yelled, “A billion and one of them!” They slowly began walking towards me, their bones rattling with every step. “Alice, extraction! Now!” Nothing happened. I pocketed the ring and pulled out my knife, swinging at the nearest zombie, knocking it aside. “HARPY, GET ME OUTTA HERE WITH YOUR FREAKING MAGIC.”
Say 'please.' Oh for the love of...
“PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE YOU WENCH.” In an instant, darkness surrounded me and I found myself sitting against a wall with Alice Reyes standing over me with a small smile.
SPOOKS OF HALLOWEEN TOWN
"You remember the plan, right?"
"We go in, seal the Keyhole, then leave, okay?"
"And nothing else!"
The night was dark – black and bleak. The only speck of light in the sky, drifting behind the clouds, was a full, yellow moon. It cast its light down upon the dark, silent world below, shining into an alley on the edge of town.
Within this alley were pumpkin lamps and a crooked path. Yet, beneath one of the lanterns laid an odd sight: two shadows, a pair of children, arguing. Bickering.
"Is that all you're thinking about?!" quipped the black-haired boy. He squirmed uncomfortably in his costume.
"Yes!" beamed the girl, rocking back and forth on her heels. "I've never done it before! It sounds fun!"
A sigh slipped past the boy's lips as he pinched the bridge of his nose.
"We're not going trick-or-treating, we can't go trick-or-treating! We have super important hero business to attend to. We gotta keep the worlds safe!"
The girl's bright, cheery attitude started to dampen. Stomping her foot down, she threw her fists at her sides.
"But, Aex! It's Halloween!"
The boy scoffed, "Don't care!"
"Don't. Care!" he threw his arms over his chest, giving a huff, "We've meddled in the affairs of other worlds too much already. We can't keep doing that."
"But why is that a bad thing?" the girl turned her head to the side.
"You know why! If people know that other worlds are out there, who knows what'll happen? We gotta keep it secret!"
"Thennnnn..." she grinned, "we pretend like we're from here and go trick-or-treating!"
"No, Rena!" Aex threw his foot down, "We seal the Keyhole and leave. That's that, end of discussion!"
Turning his back, the boy charged down the dark path, heading towards a large, iron gate presumably leading into the rest of the world. However, as he moved forward, something slithered through his ears.
A mutter. A whisper. He could have just ignored it, but that would've been way too easy.
The boy wrinkled his brow. He turned and looked back.
For one moment, Rena's arms were folded, her frown twisted in annoyance. Then, she stopped, realized that Aex was staring back at her, and gave a yelp, throwing her arms behind her back.
"You called me a scaredy cat, didn't you?"
"Oh nooooooo," she shook her head, rocking back and forth on her heels, "I didn't say nothin', nope! Maybe it was a ghost that said it!"
Aex's face flushed.
"D-don't you dare say that!"
Rena blinked. "Umm... what?"
"Ghost!" he spat the word, disgusted.
"What's the big deal 'bout that--?"
"You know why!!"
His eyes started to shift side to side, looking up and around. His hands fidgeted, and he looked like he was about to run away screaming.
Turning her head to the side, the girl frowned. "Are you okay?"
"Perfectly fine, don't ask!" exclaimed the boy, throwing his back to her. He raised his hand to scratch his forehead.
"C'mon, let's go-- AHH!"
The boy stumbled back, nearly ripping the mask off of his forehead.
He stopped, staring up at the mask. A grumbling sigh escaped him.
"Great! It just had to be a ghost, didn't it?! Stupid costume!" he exclaimed with a whimper, throwing his arms across his chest, "Gah, I freakin' hate this place!"
Rena skipped up behind him, grinning, "I like your costume!"
He grumbled, not looking at the girl. He surveyed the creepy, suit-and-bowtie-like costume. "Your opinion doesn't count. I mean... you're a freakin' Heartless!"
The girl's grin grew bigger and brighter. She spun around, showing off her costume complete with a dark, hooded t-shirt, capris, and black-and-grey striped sleeves and tights; there was even a Shadow Heartless mask on her forehead!
"But look! If I put on the hood thingy, then I gots antenna! See?"
She threw the hood over her head, giggling as the antenna fell down and tickled her nose. Aex, however, groaned, crossing his arms tighter.
"L-let's just find the Keyhole. Now. The sooner we get outta here, the better."
Without another word, he stormed for the gate. With a yelp, Rena followed behind him.
As they headed towards the gates, the iron bars, with a loud groan, rose from the floor and up to a crooked frame overhead. Slipping through, the pair came upon their next destination: a courtyard.
Rena was intrigued by all of the fun sights: a fountain spewing green liquid, a strange building that almost looked like a cat, and the full moon off in the distance... It was all so new and fascinating!
Aex however, being the stick-in-the-mud that he was, was focused on something else. As if ignoring the world, he focused on an electronic device in his hand, the blue glow of the screen lighting up his darkened features.
"The biggest spikes of energy are further in the town, maybe on the outskirts," he said, "If we head out there, we'll probably find the Keyhole."
Rena smiled hopefully, "Then we can go trick-or-treating?"
The boy sighed, "How many times do I have to say it? No trick-or-treating--!"
A gasp and a scream came from the pair, and their gaze shot out into the courtyard.
"What was that?!" Aex squeaked, hands shaking. "A ghost? Vampire? Zombies?!"
Rena scratched the back of her head, "I think it's just somebody tryin' to be scary..." She gasped, grinning, "Or what if it's 'cause of someone trick-or-treating! Let's go find out!!"
She grabbed Aex's hand, he screamed in response.
"Stop bein' such a guppy fish!"
"I'm not scared!"
"Yes, you are!"
He grumbled, wiggling his hand out of Rena's vice grip.
"I'm not scared, I'm not scared of anything, but we have more important things to worry 'bout besides begging for candy--!"
He whirled around, whimpered. "Why does it sound like it's getting closer?!"
Rena sighed, "It's not! It's just somebody playing a trick or somethin'!"
"It's a great trick!" he said, laughing, "You can stop! We got it now, monster thing!!"
He screamed, stumbling back.
"It is getting closer!"
"No, it's not--!"
"Stop lying to me, Rena!"
"I'm not lying--!"
"HA! Are you scared of me, ol' boy?!"
Aex's gaze drifted across the courtyard. He could've sworn he saw something moving down the sidewalk.
"I'm not scared!" he exclaimed, tightening his shaking fists. "I am never scared!!"
"Ha, I think so! Let's find out!"
His eyes bugged, staring at the sidewalk. The walkway was completely empty, there was nothing there.
"I-I saw something there," he said as he stumbled back. He stabbed a finger at the walkway, "Rena, there was something there!!"
She grumbled, "You're crazy..."
"I am not crazy!!" he said, whimpering, "You saw it, too, right? Tell me you saw it, too!"
His eyes darted around the courtyard. He looked left, right, and left again, determined to prove that he wasn't just seeing things.
But he wasn't. No, he couldn't make up the shadow standing over him, its amber, glowing orbs looking down on him. The monster smiled. Then, it attacked.
A shriek burst from the boy. He stumbled back, scrambling to get away.
Something hit his sneakers. His eyes bugged.
The last thing he heard was a thud on the concrete, the wind rushing past him. A heavy pain shot through his head. Then, the world went black.
A sharp throb shot through his head, sending the boy shooting forward into a sitting position. He hissed, grabbing the sides of his skull.
He felt drugged, dizzy... Disconnected from the world. Lowering his hands, he fought to push himself into a stand, but couldn't quite keep his feet on the ground. Stumbling, he blinked, rubbing his eyes to bring the world back into focus.
He looked around, trying to make sense of what just occurred. What did just happen, anyway? The scene was fuzzy, even though it should've been fresh in his mind. Had it been a long time since anything happened, or was this something else entirely? All he knew was that his head hurt, as if it had been struck; perhaps it had to do something to do with his suddenly fuzzy memory.
Whatever it was, he managed to string together the chain of events, even if he could only hazily remember the events themselves.
Something had attacked him. Considering what the place was, he gave his best guess, assuming it was a monster. He cringed at the thought, though he was glad that he was unscathed by the encounter.
Groaning, the boy finally managed pushed himself to a stand. After wobbling and regaining his balance, he looked around the courtyard.
Everything was the same as it had been before. But, with a "Huh?," he spotted something off in the distance.
A few paces away, a figure was collapsed against a wall. He narrowed his eyes, looking closer.
Rena? Rena was collapsed... Sleeping!
His reaction? He scoffed, chuckling.
In any other situation, he would've run to Rena's aid, begging to know if she was alright. However, this time was different. He couldn't help but laugh. It wasn't in a bad or malicious way; it was only because, after everything that happened, it seemed, well, ironic.
"Rena, Rena, Rena..." He said with his fists on his sides, chuckling to himself, "What? Did you get so scared that you passed out? You should've listened to me but noooooo, you said I was making it up! You said I was crazy! Well, joke's on you 'cause you're the one who got scared and fell asleep!"
Clicking his tongue, he looked up at the clouded sky. A pensive moment passed by, the boy flipping through his thoughts. A sigh escaped him, then he closed his eyes.
"Better go wake her up..." He tensed up then lowered his shoulders. He looked back at Rena, "The sooner we leave... the better..."
The boy then headed on his way to aid his dozing comrade. A layer of fog was beginning to settle onto the surroundings, making it a bit difficult to see what was ahead. However, as he approached, the pumpkin lantern on the wall above her brought her features more into view. He looked closer and wrinkled his brow.
He picked up his pace, speeding closer. Her features became more and more clear. Just steps away, he could see it all.
Her breathing was slow, shallow. There were scuffs and scratches across her face, tears in her clothes. It was like she was fighting to hang on, that she couldn't wake up.
His voice quivered. He raced forward and leapt to her side, kneeling down. He shook her shoulder.
"Rena! Are you okay?"
She wheezed in response, never stirring.
"No, no, no..."
Aex ripped a potion out of his pocket, delivering the healing elixir. Yet, moments after the potion sunk in, nothing changed. Rena didn't wake up.
"No... No!" he hissed, grabbing the girl's arm. "Rena! Wake up! Please wake up!!"
Something grabbed his arm, ripping him back! He was thrown to the ground.
Pain shot across his back. He hissed, looking up through a cringe. A figure stood over him.
Red eyes. Blue skin. Claws... The creature looked down on him, seething and hissing.
Eyes bugged, he stared up at the ragdoll creature. It looked as if it had been real once, human even, but something had changed it... Like it had become some sort of undead monster...
A shriek sliced into the air. Aex reeled back, leaping away from the ragdoll's claws. He leapt to his feet, stumbling back and ripping his weapon off of his belt.
"Hang on, Rena!" he said, voice quivering.
He looked up, watching the ragdoll swaying as it stared at him. It snapped its jaws at him, hissing, yet didn't move closer to apprehend him. It wasn't going to fight him: it was going to stand between him and his friend.
The sound of footsteps welled in the boy's ears. He whirled around, eyes wide.
Off in the distance, a horde was coming. Monsters, creatures of all sorts, were approaching, their red eyes set on him. They were gaining on their prey, and Aex was in the crossfire!
"Ahh!" he squeaked. He threw his hand out impulsively, stumbling forward to get to Rena. The ragdoll got in his face, snapping its jaws and pushing him back.
He stumbled to the side, staring at the creature. His eyes shot to the stampeding monsters.
He looked at Rena. He turned to the monsters. Then, he made his decision.
With a "Nngh!," he dashed out of the courtyard, taking the first sight of sanctuary that he could find. The monsters crowded around their prey, leaving the boy to escape.
Bursting through the gate, he slammed the doors behind him and tumbled down a set of stairs, collapsing on the ground.
The sound of hisses and inhuman screams filled his ears, screeching off in the distance. They begun to fade out and disappear, but it still left the boy shaking. Eyes wide, he fought to catch his breath and collapsed back in the dirt.
He was safe. Safe... But Rena...
"Rena..." he mumbled, voice quivering, "Rena... those... things... Holy shit..."
Pushing himself to a sit, he stared blankly at the ground. His mind raced, fighting to piece together what had happened.
"There's..." he stuttered, "There's... freakin'... zombies. And... and they got Rena, holy shit..."
The pieces finally came together. He shook his head, blinking and fighting to get back into reality.
And that's when he let go of the loudest, most frustrated groan he could muster.
"GAAAAH!" he screamed, slamming his fists to the ground, "Of course, there's zombies! Freakin' of course! I bet nothing like this ever, ever happens here normally! I mean, it seems like a pretty peaceful town, aside from the fact that, oh, it's a whole town based on Halloween shit! But the freakin' zombies just had to show up now! Of course! Of course! Why not just throw in some freakin' ghosts and vampires and skeletons and Frankenstein andandand maybe evil porcupines while we're at it?!"
He threw himself back down the dirt with a scream. His blue orbs focused up at the clouded sky, watching the clouds drift across the grey moon. A strange mix of a grumble and a whimper escaped him. He wasn't sure if he should be frustrated beyond belief or terrified beyond his wits.
"I hate this place," muttered the boy, whimpering. "I hate scary shit and monsters and especially this..."
If he could, he would've marched through that courtyard, gotten on his ship, and taken off. It would be far better than sticking around here!
But then what would happen to Rena? He could've said, screw it! Screw whatever happens to her! I'm too scared to be here, I can't face my fears and save you, too! Why even bother to try? He knew it wouldn't have worked.
"I could just leave," he said, narrowing his eyes, "I could just... abandon her or whatever.
"But then..." he sighed, "then, if Master Yeal and Luna were here... ugh, they'd knock some sense into me. 'cause that's a freakin' stupid and awful idea... That's not being a hero, that's being a damn coward..."
He sighed, sitting upright. Staring at his hands, he balled them into fists.
"But how'm I supp'sed to find her?! It's not like those things are gonna leave some clue or whatever to where she is--!"
His eyes bugged. He turned and looked up.
The world must've been listening to him, because it gave him exactly what he needed; at least, that's what he believed it to be.
Shooting up towards the sky, a beacon in the night, was a spire of purple energy, pulsating in waves through the clouds. It was almost like it was beaconing him closer.
"...oh." he blinked, turning his head to the side, "That's... well, kinda... convenient..."
Brushing the dirt of his clothes, the black-haired youth hopped to a stand, staring at the purple energy emanating in the distance.
He should've been running already. Abandon any second thoughts and just started running towards it. That's what heroes do: they jump right into action and save those in trouble.
Yet, he was standing there, feet turned inward and hands fidgeting. He couldn't move.
"I-it'll be fine, Aex," he said, "There's no way, no way, that... any of that stuff would happen. It'll... be easy! Yeah! I'll just swoop in, save Rena, then we'll get outta here! No monsters, no scary stuff, nothing bad!"
He grumbled, looking up at the energy spike.
"I have to be a hero," he said, "I can't be scared. I have to be a hero..."
Taking in a big gulp of air, he pushed down his fears, as much as he could, and started running.
He couldn't be scared. Because, if he was... he wouldn't be able to get Rena out of this.
"So, I follow this weird... light thing... And I find this."
After traversing through graveyard after graveyard, Aex came to his next destination: an old, wooden bridge. Stepping onto the platform, he headed deeper into the outskirts of town.
That's where he discovered what he needed to find. The boy's eyes looked to the skies, specifically to what was reaching for the skies. Just looking at it tore at his nerves. He balled his hands into fists, fighting to hold back the whimper that was crawling up his throat.
"It just had to be a creepy old mansion..."
True to scary story form, there was indeed a mansion – a haunted house – standing before him. It was crooked, built out of decaying, wooden planks. The monument twisted up towards the sky as if trying to reach out and take the full moon, to claim it as its own. Behind it was the familiar spire of purple energy, the thing that lead him to find this place. However, he was still having doubts.
"There's no way Rena's here," he scoffed, folding his arms, "No way! She's probably still in that... courtyard place with all the..." he gulped, "zombies..." A shudder slipped through him.
He coaxed himself to believe the truth – that Rena couldn't possibly be in this place... And it was right! It was impossible for Rena to be there, of all places. Far too convenient, far too sinister...
"I'll just... go back through the courtyard," he said, fumbling with his hands, "head back to the gummi ship, and maybe circle around to see if I can find her somewhere. Yeah, perfect, let's do that."
Turning his heel, he spun around and, with haste, headed the opposite way, back the way he came.
But that didn't last long.
Gasping, his gaze shot back towards the mansion. The high-pitched shriek rattled in his mind.
"That's..." he stared off, shaking, "That's Rena!"
No time to lose! He had to go!!
Dashing across the wooden platform, he headed towards the towering mansion.
"RENAAAAAA! I'm coming to get you!!"
He ripped a metal rod off of his belt, the rod telescoped out into his reverse-grip sword on command. He charged up to the door, kicked the gates open, and looked into the mansion.
It was dark. Pitch black, zero light, dark. His vice grip on his sword slacked. Any heroism he had left was gone.
He stared down at his stretched out shadow on the floor, watching it look back at him. He could've sworn he saw it motion for him to move forward, coaxing him and showing him that it was alright. Yet, he still stood in the doorway, shaking from cold feet.
"Rena?" he called out, adjusting the mask over his face. "Renaaaaa? Y-you okay...?"
No sound, no answer. Looking down at the light across the floor, he slid one foot pass the doorway, as if testing the waters before he jumped in. His hand gripped the sword tighter, the metal ratting in his grip, as he slid the rest of his body into the room.
He stood in the doorway, a few steps away from the gates.
At first, he chuckled, grinning.
"T-that was easy!" he said, sighing, "See? Nothin' to be afraid of--"
He stumbled around, screaming. He nearly dropped his weapon, too!
The doors had shut. The light was gone. He was on his own.
"Oh shit..." he mumbled, eyes shifting around the ceiling, "U-uh... it's okay, Aex, c'mon!"
His mind was beginning to race, heart slamming against his ribcage. He glanced around frantically, mumbling curses under his breath.
"Get ahold of yourself," said his quivering voice, "Nothin's here... nothing's here..."
He turned to his palm, focusing on it as best as he could. He imagined the spell that he need – a Fire spell to light the way through the dark – but his eyes couldn't focus. He hissed, pushing himself harder. It had to work! It had to!
The boy's eyes bugged. It sounded as if something, or someone, was stepping on shards of glass. He gasped, stumbling back.
Was someone really there? Wincing and terrified to find out, he pinched his eyelids shut.
"Which one should we do next?"
"Oh, tell the one about--!"
"No! No more scary stories!!"
Blinking, the boy peeled his eyelids apart, looking out in the room.
But... it wasn't a room anymore. It was the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night. He could see figures off in the distance, shadowed in the darkness where the only source of light was a roaring campfire. Curious, he approached.
"F**k, kid, when did you get to be such a scaredy cat?" piqued one voice, belonging to an older figure who wore goggles and a smirk.
"I-I'm not scared!" said a younger, more frazzled voice, "I-I just think we should tell other stories! I mean, there's plenty of other stories, why does it always have to be scary ones?"
The girl beside him scoffed, her blonde hair looking orange from the fire's light.
"You're a chicken and you know it! That's why!"
"I-I am not, Luna!!"
"C'mon, Master Yeal, tell another one! Aex can take it!"
"Ha! Alright, let's see..."
The boy's gaze transfixed on the flames, watching them dance around as Master Yeal begun the story.
"So, I heard 'bout this one story a while back..."
"Well, ya see..."
The flames started crackle. They started to climb higher, the edges fighting to lick the sky. Yet, these were no longer flames...
Aex stumbled back, watching as the flames drew intricate shapes. The world was growing darker, closing in around the group up ahead. Soon, the only thing left were these flames.
"I know! Creepy, right?"
"I-I don't wanna hear this!!"
"Aex, lighten up! It's just a story!"
The boy watched as the flames turned white, tracing shapes on the ceiling. But, they weren't shapes. They were faces.
"I-it's not just a story!"
Skeletons, ghosts, zombies, monsters of all shapes and sizes... Anything and everything that was straight out of a horror story was now looking down on him and crawling closer.
Aex stumbled back, breathing fast. He blinked, fighting to push the images away, but no avail. They were only beginning to crowd him.
"It's real..." he choked, staring at the monsters before him.
He was outnumbered, outmatched... He couldn't escape them.
Suddenly, the faces burst into laughter, cackling at the tiny boy before them. They grinned.
"We'Re JuSt StOrIeS, aEx!"
He slammed his hands against his eyes, pressing his palms against his eye sockets.
He could hear them laughing. Cackling. Mocking him. Just like Master Yeal and Luna had...
"You're made up! You're not real!"
"WhAt ArE yOu So AfRaiD oF?! hAhAhAhA!!"
They were right... They weren't just stories. No. In his head, they were just as real as he was.
"N-No... I gotta run," he hissed, doubling over. Their laughter rattled his thoughts, consuming his mind. "I have to run!"
Pinching his eyes shut, he dashed forward, heading away from the door and deeper into the mansion. He had no idea where he was going, but anywhere was better than there! He had to get out; he had to find Rena!!
The boy collapsed to the ground, his eyes bursting open. He stared ahead.
Out of impulse, he turned and looked back. The monsters, the faces, were gone... He breathed a sigh of relief. Safe. Good. With the comfort of knowing that he was, for now, safe, he tried to figure out what he had run into.
Hopping up to a stand, he focused on his palm, beaconing for the light he needed so desperately right now.
"Fire," he whispered, coaxing the spell to work. This time, fortunately, it did, giving him the chance to see what was ahead.
Glass. Wait... it was glass? He looked closer, watching streaks of red and yellow dance across the smooth pane. He could see his reflection, the fire's reflection, and parts of the dimly lit room around him, but what he was most curious about was what was on the other side of the window.
On the opposite side, there was a room. And he could've sworn someone was hiding in it.
"Hello?" he piqued up, looking around anxiously, "Anyone there?"
Silence. Of course. Perhaps he really was just looking into the other side of an empty room. He sighed, shrugging.
"Rena's gotta be here somewhere," the boy turned, looking around. He went to rise up and walk off, but something caught his attention.
A sob. A cry. Then, a voice.
"I just wanna go home..." said a distant, muffled voice, quietly sobbing, "I'm scared, I wanna go home..."
Aex leaned in, looking through the window.
Huddled in the very back corner of the tiny room was a figure, looking very small and minuscule as they pulled their knees to their chest and curled up in a ball.
The boy gasped. He slammed the side of his fist against the glass.
The figure's eyes shot up, their entire figure leaping upright. Suddenly, they dashed to the window, slamming their hands against the glass.
Rena was now standing before him, looking just like before. Clothes tattered, her skin covered in scratches. The light was fading from her eyes, but she was fighting so hard to hang onto any hope she could find, hope that was slowly slipping away.
But she didn't need hope anymore. Because Aex was going to save her.
The boy didn't miss a beat. He ripped the sword off of his belt.
"I'm gonna get you out!"
He raised the sword over his shoulder, now up to bat, then he struck.
One strike. Nothing.
Another. Nothing. He hissed.
Another strike. Another. Another!
"No! I have to save you!!"
He slammed and slammed his weapon against the glass, each hit echoing through the room around him. But, no matter how much he fought, the glass wouldn't yield.
Dropping the sword, he hissed, fighting to catch his breath. He looked at his work.
Unfortunately, nothing had changed. No scratches, no scuffs, nothing. The glass was untouched.
Rena's big eyes looked so dull, as if all of the light had been sucked out of her. She hung her head, looking up at him.
"I-I couldn't break it, too..."
Her voice was muffled in his ears from behind the glass. He froze.
"No..." he hissed, "No! There's gotta be some way to get you outta there!"
She shook her head, hugging her arms.
"I-I dunno..." Twisting her frown, she refused to look up, "I'm... scared..."
Aex focused on the girl before him, his eyes wide.
He had been scared, terrified even, of this place and all that it held within it. But it was all in his head. None of it was real.
But Rena... Rena's situation was real. And her only ticket out of this horrible mess was standing on the other side of the glass.
Knitting his frown, the boy raised a gloved hand, placing it against the glass.
"It's okay," he said, wearing a genuine smile, "Don't be scared, okay?"
Rena focused on him, her eyes bright.
"No matter what," he said, "I will save you."
The girl knit her brow.
He nodded, grinning. "Pinky promise, even."
A warm smile spread across the girl's features. She grinned, placing her hand in the outline of the boy's own.
Light burst into the room. Rena's dim eyes bugged.
The boy leapt forward, slamming his hands against the glass.
He slammed his fists over and over against the pane, pleading to the glass to just yield and let him through.
His blue orbs focused on the ground beside Rena. For a split second, he saw something: a figure, their shadow stretching across the floor. That's when his blood started to boil.
"No! Leave her alone!!"
The girl shrieked. Then... silence. The room was pitch black again.
Rena was gone...
The boy collapsed, his fists against the glass. He hissed, grinding his teeth.
"No..." he shook his head. "No..."
"Ha! You wanna find her again, don't you?"
The boy's eyes shot for the skies. He snarled.
"What'd you do to her?!"
The voice cackled.
"You'll just have to find out! Unless you're too scared to!"
The boy growled, balling his hands into fists.
"What? You think I'm gonna be afraid of a coward like you? Screw that!"
The boy didn't waste a second. He scooped his sword off of the ground, cast another Fire spell to light his way, and dashed forward.
No matter what, he was going to find Rena. He was going to save her. He was going to be the hero!
The long, winding halls of the twisted mansion guided him further and further into the bowels of the beast. He dashed forward, following the fire light as it guided him onwards.
The scream made him lurch to a stop, sending him stumbling into another room. He hissed, regaining his composure.
"Where is she?!" he screamed to the heavens, snarling.
Nothing. The voice just kept laughing, cackling.
The boy stomped his foot, growling louder.
"What'd you do to her?! Tell me!!"
He slammed his sneaker to the floor, sending the sword slamming down after it. When it did, it sent a shockwave across the room.
It slammed into the wall.
And the door started to disintegrate...
"Huh?" the boy knit his brow, watching pieces of wood collapse to the floor. He looked deeper into the doorway.
Someone was there... Aex's fingers twitched, his sword rattling in his grip.
A shadowed figure had come into view, standing at the end of the hallway. A weak light streamed into the room and traced their outline, giving a clue to who, or what, they were. Hunched forward, the figure begun to move closer, taking slow, almost-stumbling steps.
The figure's form soon became revealed. He stared.
The figure's stance was very strange, almost zombie-like or even uncoordinated. A pair of glowing red eyes peered from underneath stray pieces of hair. Their skin seemed greyed, dulled but not from the light. And, in their clawed grip, was a very familiar weapon...
It was Rena. The child had been twisted, distorted by whatever had happened in this place. He ran up to her, grabbing her by the shoulders. He couldn't comprehend what he saw; he only stared at the child.
"Rena..." his voice shook. He gripped the girl's shoulders tighter, watching as she stared blankly at the space in front of her, "I'm so sorry..."
"There's gotta be some way to fix this," he muttered, "I promised -- I have to find a way to save you..."
She looked up at him, her red eyes twitching.
He nodded, gulping, "I am..."
But how was he supposed to save her when he couldn't even save himself?
Stumbling back, he reeled away from the slice of the Keyblade, watching the metal glisten in the darkness. Rena reeled back, snarling with a very animalistic sound. With a "ha!," she dove in for the next attack.
Ripping his weapon off of the ground, he blocked the attack, throwing the girl back.
"Wake up, Rena! I know you're still in there!"
She hissed, diving in for another attack. A slice across Aex's torso, a slam of her foot into his chest, and a dive against him. She slammed him to the ground, kicking the weapon out of his grip. It spiraled away, leaving Aex defenseless.
He hissed, trying to push the girl off of him; but to no avail -- something had made her ridiculously stronger, filling her head with animal-like instincts. He couldn't beat that!
"You're not a monster, Rena!" he hissed, trying to push the girl off of him, "Snap out of it!"
He slammed his hand against the girl's head, shoving her back. She leapt back with a loud hiss, stumbling across the floor. Eyes bugged, Aex shot to his feet.
The girl had collapsed, breathing heavy, shallow breaths. A bright red stain was beginning to well up under her greyed, decaying skin. She hunched over the ground, her Keyblade some distance away. Aex watched, trying to figure out what happened.
"Rena?" he gulped, cautiously stepping closer, "I-it's okay... I'm gonna help you..."
The girl's blood-shot eyes tilted up. They stared back at him. The girl slowly rose to her feet, regaining her composure. She cocked her head back.
And then she started to laugh.
"Help me?" she giggled, "You're a little late for that."
The boy's wide eyes stared at his torso. He stared at the malicious blade ripping a hole straight through his chest.
Static broke through the darkness, shooting across his eyes. His hands shook. He stared at the horror.
"N-No..." he hissed, grabbing the blade. His grip was slipping. He was starting to fall.
"I-I'm supposed to save you, Rena," he muttered. His hands were slipping away. "I'm supposed to be the hero..."
The world was turning black. The blade was disappearing from his eyes, and so was the red-eyed monster starting back at him.
All he heard was a sickeningly sweet giggle.
"Oh, Aex," said the girl with a smile, "How can you save me when you can't even save yourself?"
His eyes burst open. He stared up at the gallery of twisted faces staring back at him.
"Ahh!" he screamed, fighting to stumble back. But no avail – he couldn't move!
"WaKe Up, AeX!!" cackled the faces, crawling closer.
The boy hissed, tugging at the bonds holding him back. He was trapped in a web of chains, a sitting duck in a spider's web. He whimpered, closing his eyes tight.
"It's just a dream," he muttered, laughter filling his ears. "It's just a dream, it's gotta just be a dream! This can't really happen!"
"WaKe Up, AeX!!"
"None of this is real..."
"It's all in my head..."
He pinched his eyelids together tight.
"This is all in my head! It's not real!!"
"Aex, I think you're talkin' in your sleep again..."
The boy's eyes burst open. Staring back at him was a familiar face: Rena. His eyes bugged.
"R-Rena?" he grinned, "Holy shit, you're okay!"
The girl knit her brow, sitting upright.
"Yeah, 'course I'm okay-- Bwah!"
Blinking, she stared off into space for a moment. Then she looked down at the boy clinging to her torso; it looked like some sort of hug or something...
"Are you... okay?" she laughed hesitantly.
"I was so worried!" he said, shaking. "I thought you had turned into one of those monster... things!"
The girl held up her arm, letting it fall limp. She gazed at it curiously.
"I don't think I'm a monster..."
The boy sat upright, crossing his legs. He gave a great, big sigh of relief. He paused, looking up at Rena who was staring at him sideways.
"Wait..." he knit his brow, the wheels in his head turning. "That was a dream, right?"
The girl shrugged absent-mindedly.
"I dunno, I was kinda just sitting here and watching you talk in your sleep..."
The boy frowned, suddenly looking a little panicked.
"Then... how'd I fall asleep?"
"Ohoh! I know that!" she grinned brightly, bouncing a little as she raised her hand, "We were walkin' into the town 'n stuff, remember?" she waved her hands as she talked, "But someone started laughing or whatever, and then you kinda screamed and got all panicky 'n stuff and I was like 'why're you goin' crazy, Aex, you're being kinda weird' and thennnnn... you fell backwards and hit your head and fall asleep!"
Aex's eyes bugged. He blinked.
"U-uhh... so... I was the one who got scared and passed out?"
Rena grinned, "Yup! You were screaming a lot, too!"
The sweat started to drip down Aex's face. He wore a swiggly, panicked frown.
"O-oh..." He looked to the side frantically, sweating nervously.
"Ohoh! And then, after you fell asleep, this skeleton guy named Jack showed up annnnd we fought this big scary guy named Oogie Boogie--!"
"W-well, that's all over! No need to stay here anymore!" he scrambled to his feet, looking around. He mumbled a question, wondering where they were, then quickly grabbed Rena's hand as soon as she hopped to a stand.
"C'mon, let's go," he said, heading for a door to the side of the room. (Was this place a laboratory or something? There were big metal doors everywhere...) "No need to stick around this creepy place, so let's go!"
The girl stumbled behind him.
"Ahh, Aex, wait--!"
As Aex raced for the door, he realized he was basically sliding across the floor in place, not going anywhere. Something was pulling him back, dragging him to a halt. He blinked, knitting his brows.
"What's wrong?" he looked back at the girl, who was dragging her heels into the steel floor.
She stared at him blankly for a moment. Then, with that absent-minded moment gone, she grinned sheepishly.
"I... kinda did something..."
The boy wrinkled his brow.
He knew he shouldn't have asked. Because, moments later, he was doing the one thing he vowed he would never do. The one thing that he made a pinky promise and a swear to never, ever do!
Trick-or-treating. It was trick-or-treating. And Rena (almost) literally had to drag him along.
"No!! I'm not going!"
"C'mon! Don't be a guppy fish, Jack said it'll be lots of fun!"
"Noooooooo!" he cried, "I hate this freakin' place!!"
Dante felt like he was going to be sick.He curled up in the corner of his room, hiding his face in his knees as he took a deep, shuddering breath. He tried to ignore the ice in his veins, and he tried to block out the reminder that his bastard friends had locked him in his f.ucking room. But at the same time…
That’s what you do with a monster, right?
Dante felt the cold spreading through him like wildfire. He hated it when this happened; he despised it when his bastard of an old man tried to take over. While there were a few perks to being cambion, the half demon offspring of a human woman, no way were they worth the rest of the shit he had to deal with, especially since he had the dubious honor of being the son of Moloch, archdemon of wrath. Avoid becoming that sonuvabitch’s gate, yeah, sure; how the hell was Dante supposed to keep his damned temper all the time and keep the Prince of Wrath from descending on the world? It wasn’t humanly possible, even if you had the patience of a saint!
Which Dante didn’t.
Desperately, his hand scrambled across his desk, trying to find his pack of smokes. Maybe, if he could get his nerves calmed down, he could think enough to find a way out of this and get some comeuppance. Yeah, he just needed to calm his nerves…
Did you miss me?
Dante’s eyes widened as the words whispered around in his mind, their jade and gold shade taking up nearly all the space as his pupils contracted to small pinpricks. No way, no way in hell. That little f.ucker could just piss off. Dante didn’t have time to deal with this shit right now!
Come on. I know you’re bored.
The cigarette pack was empty. Dante’s fingers curled, crumpling the empty pack into a tight ball as he gasped, a cold sweat slowly breaking out on his brow; he shivered, goose bumps creeping up and down the flesh of his arms. This was nuts, this whole damn plan was insane. What the hell had he been thinking? He wasn’t going to get off the Demon’s Bane and detox this way; he was going to lose his damned mind, he was gonna get possessed, Moloch would wear his meat suit like a whore’s dress to the prom, and by then, Dante was gonna be dead.
I’m still here…
“Go the f.uck away!” Dante’s voice was hoarse as he screamed, trying to get that whisper of Moloch’s to shut up and leave him alone. Dropping the empty pack, Dante’s hands scrabbled at his head, tugging at his hair and scratching along his face and throat, leaving bloody furrows in their wake as his nails slowly grew longer.
I’m haunting youu! Moloch said in a sing-song, breaking into a cackling taunt right at the end.
Dante bellowed, clambering to his feet as he flew across the room and pounded on the door. Screw this shit, Dante was going to demand Lucas let him the hell out of his room now! Dante’d clean up later. Maybe he’d try shooting the Demon’s Bane this time instead of smoking it, though. The cigarettes didn’t seem to be working as well as they used to; Moloch’s all too intense presence in Dante’s brain was more than enough evidence for that fact. Feeling a prick at his lips as his canines lengthened, the cambion drew a shaky breath trying to will his head into a semblance of order so he could get out of his room and get a more refined hit of the Demon’s Bane; maybe he needed the shit in a more potent liquid form to finally send the demon in his head packing.
Dante? Mor’du’s deep rumble sounded in the young man’s head, alarm in the usually unshakable bear’s voice. Dante, block him out!
But even as Dante tried to listen to Mor’du, the bear’s presence faded from his mind, light as a web of spider silk, as Moloch pushed him out.
Right. I don’t think so. Time for some fun, kiddo…
“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing, here, Lucas?”
Lucas didn’t answer Christa right away. He had his violet eyes trained on his hands, studying long, thin fingers as he lost himself in thought. Finally, the words floated out of him as he said slowly, “I don’t know, Christa, but it’s better than the alternative. Dante’s got too much of that Demon’s Bane in his system. He needs it out, before he takes too much of it to get the results he’s looking for. We just need to be patient…”
Both of them fell silent for a moment, the implications of what Lucas had and hadn’t said hanging between them. Lucas and Christa used the Demon’s Bane too; so did Eric, Delilah, Angie, and Jason, for that matter. Demon’s Bane was a plant that was exactly what its name implied: It blocked demons and diminished their power, or just down and out killed them if the demon was incredibly weak. As cambion that were sired by the Big Seven, Lucas and his group of Hunters needed every edge they could get in the war at times, especially when their sires tried to use them as their Gates into the mortal realm. The half-demon Hunters needed the Demon’s Bane when they felt their grip on the darker side of their heritage slip when they gave into their vices.
But even though it helped them control the demonic urges, Demon’s Bane was dangerous, potent stuff. It killed nearly all mortals that ingested it, and the few that survived were driven completely out of their minds, dependent on the stuff after just one hit. As hybrids, Lucas and the others didn’t have to worry about the side effect too much, but they were still half-human, so they had to be cautious of how much they used in any given period of time. Too much Demon’s Bane in as short a span as two weeks and they could suppress their demon’s blood to the point that the plant became poisonous to their human side, killing them after a few doses; on the other side, though, it could weaken their resistance to their demon sires, making the Big Seven’s task easier as they searched for entrance into this world.
Lucas was worried for Dante because of how much of the Demon’s Bane Dante used. The plant was supposed to be a holding tactic; it wasn’t meant to suppress things forever. But Dante had been using it more and more recently, and Lucas could see that his best friend was falling into addiction, becoming more unstable as he became more reliant on the stuff. Seeing the darkness creep into Dante’s eyes, the shadows that followed his every move... Lucas couldn’t deny it. He was scared. They’d been as close as brothers for over twelve years, but…
Lucas felt like he was losing him.
A mighty crash sounded from one of the upstairs rooms, shocking the two talking into silence. Lucas faced Christa, his look of horror mirrored in her icy blue eyes. Without a word, they both raced for the stairs, Lucas moving slightly faster than Christa so that he bolted up the steps first.
Lucas barreled down the hall, slamming into the door to Dante’s room full force. For the barest instant, he thought he was going to bounce right off the solid wood plank; but that thought hadn’t even finished forming in his head before he crashed through the door, the old oak paneling screaming as it tore itself apart.
Lucas blinked, trying to clear the stars from his vision. He got his head under control just enough to scream hoarsely, “Get the others, Christa, and tell them we’ve got a Code Ira. He’s gone!”
The girl didn’t say anything, she just bolted away, rousing the others from sleep. Slowly, Lucas climbed to his feet, his head still spotty, as he looked at the shattered glass that still hung in the window frame; upon closer inspection, Lucas could see streaks of red smeared across the shards. Outside, he could hear the wind howl, the bite of the late night air slowly creeping into the room. The man felt a knot forming on his head, and a lump in his stomach. He swore softly.
They were so boned.
And the Devil Makes Three
It wasn’t long before Christa had the others out of bed. It took even less time for the living room to become overcrowded as the cambion and their partners pushed in. Even with the familiars taking the smallest forms they could and with how big the room was, there were still twelve bodies in the area, so of course it was a tight fit.
“Are you sure about this?”
Christa turned to look at Eric as he snarled the words, Merlin just visible on his shoulder as the frog watched the room from the curtain of the teen’s blonde hair. While he sounded mad, Christa knew it was just concern for his twin driving his anger; any hint that Delilah could be facing danger, and Eric was instantly watchful and filled with aggressive energy. Christa found her eyes instinctively drawn to Delilah, her arms crossed across her chest, the hell hound Sonnet sitting at her heel.
“What, you think this is some kind of Halloween prank, Elric? Get your head out of your ass and think, stupid,” Jason snapped, his usually unflappable demeanor fraying as his eyes snapped hazel fire. Jezebel’s feathers puffed out slowly as she shifted her weight on Jace’s shoulder, her eyes trained on Eric as the hawk hissed softly.
Before things could escalate further, Lucas said tersely, “Enough, both of you. The point is that we need to find Dante before things get even further out of hand. We need to cover a lot of ground, and we need to do it fast, understood? So pick a better time to finish up you’re little skirmish, cause that time sure as hell isn’t right now.”
“Lucas is right,” Angie piped in, bringing a feminine voice of reason into the discussion to defuse the last of the tension between Eric and Jace. Turning to face Lucas, the petit young woman asked, “So, what do we do, Thorne?”
“We’ll split up into pairs, and cover as much ground as possible,” Lucas said, his long legged stride carrying him across the room. Twila, the hell horse in her small filly form, trotted at his heels, her eyes catching on to Dallas’ for a moment where he lay curled up in Christa’s arms, the black cat’s gold eyes reflecting Christa’s rare moment of intensity. The moment passed quickly as Twila and Lucas moved past them, and Lucas continued with his orders as he looked to the twins. “Elric, I want the two of you to comb Central Park from top to bottom; monsters of both demon and human blood are going to be out in force tonight in the rougher parts of the park, so be sure you two watch each other’s backs and don’t stray too far from either Sonnet or Merlin, okay? Angie, you and Nightshade are coming with me and Twila to Staten Island; the little sense of direction I was able to pick up from the blood upstairs suggests Mor’du was on patrol there tonight, so Dante might go to him so he can get the bear’s help in driving Moloch out of his head. Christa, Jace, I want you two taking Dallas and Jezebel and scour Brooklyn.
“If anyone’s able to get a twenty on Dante’s location, send out the message and wait for backup. If he seems like he’s mostly himself, try to talk him down, but if he seems off, do not engage, or even approach him. We’re not dealing with vampires, werewolves, or even zombies tonight; Dante could be dangerous at the moment, and we need to take the necessary precautions. Keep an eye on him and wait for the rest of us to get there; if he seems especially bad, include that in the message, and we’ll use Corridors to get there. Is everyone clear? If so, move out!”
Nods echoed around the room as everyone paired off, some heading up to their rooms momentarily to collect weapons, others heading right out the door. Within ten minutes, the brownstone apartment was a ghost town.
Two hours past midnight, and Brooklyn was surprisingly quiet, the trick-or-treaters long gone, and only a very few drunks were brave enough to face the Halloween streets so late at night. Before the demons rose out of Hell, it was different story; after the kids had finished their night of masquerading as princesses, Frankenstein, witches and masked superheroes and had brought home their prize of candy and quarters, the adults would head out for some grown up parties, or the older teens would find the scariest haunted houses they could and jeer and ridicule their friends until they all got the courage to go and scare themselves shitless. Halloween was a time for spooky tales and ghastly fun when the stuff of nightmares and legends stayed out of the real world.
But the last time things had been like that was when Christa had been a baby. In the last twenty years, Draculas, goblins, and Grim Reapers would still prowl the streets in search of their sweets, but it was obvious that it was the braver members of the human population that were trying to carry on old traditions to spite the fear the demons had pressed onto them. Even so, parents wouldn’t let their kids go begging after dark, and only someone with a death wish went out without their pockets full of salt and a flask of Holy Water, and everyone knew the routes to safe havens lined with devil’s traps by heart. Needless to say, the costumes of ghouls were few and far between, and no one had had the gall to dress as a demon in fifteen years. Graveyards were sanctified and circled in traps, but even then, most folk stayed away from them because demon magic still found a way to reanimate the dead from time to time. On Halloween, the modern incarnation of Samhain? No one went near cemeteries, and barely a soul stayed out past midnight. The veil between worlds, already thin, became practically non-existent, allowing the spirits of the damned to rise along with the demons to feed on the souls of those foolish enough to go out unprepared. Other than the occasional drunk, just about the only people out at this time were Hunters on the prowl for the supernatural.
It was in this kind of atmosphere that Christa and Jace approached the house. Despite the quiet of the night and the cheery pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns lining the walk to the house, the two of them were on edge, an eerie sense of foreboding enveloping them both. Truth be told, it was too quiet; the two of them hadn’t run into a single demon or ghoul in the hour they’d been out. It was just dead silence, not even the sound of late fall insects are cars to break the stillness. Neither of the cambion liked it when things were this quiet; even though they didn’t relish a battle like Dante, when nothing tries to jump out at you it meant that even the low demons were hiding, nervous of some stronger power lurking in the shadows. The absence of demons in the neighborhood could be a possible indicator that Dante was here; though cambion, he was the son of one of the Big Seven, and Moloch’s Gate into this realm. Christa and the others had to find Dante and get him calmed down, before he gave into a fear fueled rage and let Moloch in. But just the fact that there were no demons around, merely because of the possibility of a powerful half-demon?
It was a chilling thought.
Carefully, Jace opened the door, allowing Christa to go in before him. Opening her senses, Christa let herself be led through the house, her demon’s blood calling out to and seeking other cambion or demons that might be lurking in the halls. It was a risky move, advertising herself as Belphegor’s daughter; demons looking to get in favor with the archdemon of Sloth might try to capture her, or Belphegor himself could try to worm his way into her head. But Jace and Christa had agreed that it was the best course of action they had available. Demon blood called out to its kin, leading half-demons and full blooded alike to each other much quicker than searching the truly mortal way.
“Do you hear that?”
Jace’s whisper was soft, but it still broke through Christa’s reverie after the two of them hadn’t spoken a word since they’d left Lucas’ apartment. Looking up at Jace’s raised arm, she saw him pointing up the stairs; having caught her attention, Christa could hear it now too. It was muffled, but it sounded like someone was in one of the upstairs rooms. Giving Jace a nod, Christa started up the stairs, her footsteps silenced by a spell.
Reaching the landing, Christa crept along the wall, trying to avoid the mirror on the wall so her reflection didn’t have a chance to give her away. As she walked, the soft voice grew louder, a certain rhythm and pitch that almost sounded like a woman singing a lullaby. Christa drew closer, until she was outside of the room, and she caught a snatch of the woman’s song.
Everybody’s gone in the cotton and the corn; didn’t leave nobody but the baby…
Carefully, Christa stepped into the room, her eyes drifting over her surroundings. She was in a baby’s nursery; moonlight filtering in through the window showed walls painted in soft pastels, and a canopy hung over a crib in the corner, a mobile of ducks and ponies hung over it. There was a toy chest overflowing with blocks and dolls along one wall, and a rocking horse near the chest and in front of a changing table.
Honey and the rock and the sugar don’t stop; gonna bring a bottle to the baby…
Christa turned her attention to the rocking chair just to the left of the windows, and the soft creaking of the chair moving underscored the woman as she continued with her song. Her face was shadowed, so Christa couldn’t make out her features, but her voice was low, with a strange quality to it, almost like the rustling of leaves across the bark of trees. In her arms, the woman held a small, blanket wrapped bundle, one that stirred gently in time to the woman’s rocking. Feeling guilty of a sudden, Christa stepped forward, saying, “Our apologies, ma’am; we didn’t mean to intrude…”
Come lay your bones on the alabasters stones; and be my ever loving baby…
“Christa, get down!”
Christa’s body reacted to the bark from Jace before her brain had the chance to process what was happening. She dropped to the floor, instinctively reaching out to Dallas with her mind even as her hands reached for her throwing knives. Looking up, she was already scrambling to her feet as Jace went flying across the room, throwing his rope spear so that it wrapped tight around the woman’s figure.
Except it wasn’t a woman; not anymore. The figure that had been seated in the rocking chair was in fact a skeleton, a few scraps of flesh and gore still clinging to her bones, the dress she’d been buried in barely more than a few tatters of cloth. Even as Jace sent a jolt of electricity along the rope to sizzle the bag of bones, the skeleton’s jaw hung open slightly in a gruesome pantomime of a grin, a soft, breathy hiss issuing across her teeth as she laughed, still singing the lullaby as her voice whispered out like dry, rustling leaves and dead things once again.
You and me, and the devil makes three; don’t need no other loving baby…
Christa had just enough time at this point to get a throwing knife in front of her before she was attacked; it was also at this time that her brain finally caught up with the fact that the bundle the skeleton woman had been holding was in fact a demon child. The child stopped just short of Christa’s face, a grin twisting across its face made gruesome by the fangs poking around its blood red lips and the cat eye pupils it had. Its clawed fingers tested Christa’s grip on her knife for a moment, a surprising amount of force behind the gesture for how small the beast’s body was; then, with a grunt and a twist of her wrist, Christa knocked the demon to the side, her free hand balled into a fist as she sought out the water in both the demon child’s body and what water remained in the skeletal woman.
Dallas and Jezebel both burst into the nursery then, Jezebel swooping in on the skeleton to help Jace while Dallas leaped at the child. A puddle of water formed under both monsters as Christa slowly leached the moisture from them, providing benefits to both embattled parties. Orange shooting through Jace’s iris’, he laid a heavier jolt along the line, charring the dried out skeleton into a black husk. The demon child’s skin grew taught and leathery, it’s flesh stretching across its face to form a ghastly mask as it was turned into a pseudo-mummy right in front of the cambion’s eyes.
Dallas didn’t waste a moment; snarling, the tom dove at the demon, turning from a house cat into a black panther mid leap. Christa could have sworn she heard the soft snick as his claws slid from their sheaths, right before she did hear the sound of tearing flesh as the hell cat tore through the demon child. The thing screamed, a high, thready sound made all the more terrible because it sounded like the cry of a wounded child, not a monster; but still, the thing fell, the light going out of its eyes as the demon sunk back to Hell.
“You two okay?”
Christa turned to Dallas as the panther butted his head against her side; rubbing his head, the girl took a shuddering breath, trying to calm her nerves. On the other side of the room, she saw Jace trying to do the same, the orange of his demon power slowly fading from his eyes as he ran his fingers through Jezebel’s feathers, trying to smooth them down. Christa couldn’t help but grin slightly as she eyed Jace’s hair; though it was probably her imagination, she couldn’t help but feel that his hair was ruffled just like the hawk’s feathers were.
“Yeah, we’re good. Thanks Dallas, Jez. You guys were awesome, like always. Wish they’d give us a warning though. Even with feeling something was here, I hate having my guard down; couldn’t they have at least said ‘Boo’ or something?” Christa said as she bent down to draw a devil’s trap around the body of the child, determined to keep the demon from entering it again.
“Better yet, how about give us a movie warning with the revving of a chainsaw? That’s nice and noisy,” Jace said, taking one last look around.
Jezebel cut Jace a look and a quick squeeze of her talons to show what she thought of the comment, but the hawk let it slide as she said, “That’s beside the point. Dante’s not here, so we need to keep searching.”
“No kidding,” Christa said, fishing in her pocket for a tablet and her water bottle. She always craved fresh orange juice after a fight, but the best she got was an awful tasting potion with the tablets. After they found Dante, she promised herself; then, she’d indulge in an orange juice and amaretto instead; she’d earned it.
Yo, you guys got anything?
“Nothing,” Christa said, both mentally and verbally, in response to the question from Eric. She felt Jace come to stand closer to her, even though it wasn’t necessary; Eric was projecting so they could both hear him, it was just a force of habit that made Jace do it. “How about you and Delilah?”
Other than the usual crazies dancing around cauldrons waving wands and broom sticks in the air? Not much is happening in Central Park tonight, surprisingly. You guys sure you don’t have anything?
“Just a skeleton and a child’s body puppeteered by a demon. I think I’d have preferred meeting up with Jack and Sally, honestly. I like them!”
Christa heard Eric laugh at her, a sound that didn’t reflect any real mirth, before he said, What, you’d even take Oogie Boogie over what you got? Sorry, Clear, not the best time to be…
Elric, Jace, Christa! Haul ass to the corn maze on Staten Island; we need you guys here ASAP!
The hell? Concern went through Eric’s tone at the same time it shivered through Christa upon hearing the distress in Angie’s voice. Catching Jace’s eye, Christa saw him give a shallow nod as he called the portal. Jezebel squeezed his shoulder as Dallas leaned in tighter against Christa’s leg. Christa felt Eric cut the connection just as he called up a portal on his end for him and Delilah to hop through to Staten Island.
Jace’s face set in a hardline, he said to, “Be there in a sec, Ang. Hang in there!” Then both he and Christa were through the portal.
Looked like their night wasn’t over yet.
"What on God's green Earth are those people wearing..?" I heard the former Revolutionary War veteran and part of the Two Witnesses foretold in the Bible, Ichabod Crane as he spoke in shock. I stopped myself from laughing out loud but managed to give out a small smile to my friend and one of the other Witness Abbie Mills while giving her the knowing look.
It has been a strange time for me, considering I'm part of a supernatural team to defeat evil from rising and stopping the apocalypse by making sure the Horseman and his boss Moloch doesn't come to power. On the team, there's the time-traveler/Captain America, Abbie and Jenny Mills, her captain Irving, and me; sure, we're an oddball but we do the best at what we do, even it meant having to face some win-lose situation.
Still holding my smile, I walked up to Crane's side and did my best to explain to him what the children were wearing. Despite his knowledge of the supernatural, he can be totally clueless when it came to modern times. "Those clothes the kids are wearing are called 'costumes'," I spoke to him as I peeked back over my shoulder to see Abbie stiffing her laughter. "After all, it is Halloween time.. The time of where the kids dress up as their favorite monsters."
I stopped to let it sink for him while awestruck by the irony of it. I looked up to the tall man as he spoke in confusing tone. "I see.. Yet as I recall, this 'Halloween' was meant for adults, not for children. And we didn't have to wear some ridiculous clothing to go out in the public!" He scoffed quietly as we both turned around, walking back to Abbie who were getting over her chucking at Crane's amazement of seeing the children.
I also chucked as well then spoke to both Crane and Abbie when we got inside the Ford Explorer that belongs to the lieutenant and set off on another patrol before ending our shift. "Uh-huh.." I sniffed. "Beside your shocking moment at seeing them, I'm stroked for the midnight celebration!" I nearly scream out-loud at the top of my lungs. It always has been my thing to do when it came to having a spooky time on this certain eve.
Abbie stared at me through the mirror lens and I shut my mouth before I could go any more further. Crane just stared ahead but I knew he was laughing on the inside. I could feel the heat rushing upon to my cheeks, mortified that I got scolded by my partner right next to an absolute hottie! Before I could fire back, the radio squawked to life and Abbie grabbed it before anyone could take the case, whatever it was. "Dispatch, this is Lieutenant Mills and Deputy Pierce. What do you got for me?" She asked as I inched closer to hear what was going on. I could hear the old lady drone on about 'a problem at the Taven's Farm' citing there could be some pranksters in the area.
I rolled my eyes, lending back against the seat as Abbie finished up conversing with the lady and drove up to the scene. "I'm getting sick of pranksters.. I want an awesome case for once!" I complained, but again I got the stare from Abbie. I sharply turned my head to the left, looking out at the window.
We arrived at the scene if there was one anyway. As we stepped outside, I closed the door and inhaled the fresh cool Fall air, walking alongside with Abbie and Crane to the owner's door. Once we got up to the door, Abbie knocked on the door to let the owner know we're here but as she knock one time, the door creaked open. I knew by my training if there were a door unlocked, it usually meant there could be an intruder on the premises as I got my gun out, letting Abbie go first then me and Crane behind me.
I swept the entire ground floor but not finding anything then went upstairs. I checked the bathroom, the master room and the children rooms. No intruder, but something darted by as I turned to the storage room and made my way to the room, my gun raised in my right hand as did the flashlight in my left.
Once I reached the door, I could hear growling sounds that vaguely resembles a bulldog; Gripping my gun and taking a deep breath, I slowly opened the door and behold did I see the dog's back and boy, was it huge!
I could feel some sort of evil aura giving off from it as I silently walked my way to it. I was wondering if the Tavens' had a dog at some point and stopped in my track when the black dog turned its head at me, revealing to have three heads.
Shocked to see such monstrous dog in its form, I barely had time to shoot it when it used its aura to raise me in the air then tossed sideways to the wall as I screamed and landed on my side. The last thing I saw as my head told me to go to sleep was the creature howling and heading out then down the stairs.
Then I lost myself into peaceful sleep as my eyes closed.
(cues the theme and opening of Sleepy Hollow)
I woke up with a start then slowly groaning, my eyes fluttering in and out, as I got up, looking around to see where I was. I realized I was back at home base close to the police station. Smiling a thin smile, I heard familiar footsteps and looked up to see Jenny heading my way.
I gave her my hellos while she checked me out. "Hey, Jen." I spoke to her.
"Hey back," Jenny said to me curtly. I frowned at this; I knew Jenny could only be like this if she was worried or in a foul mood. I couldn't decide if it was either one, but turns out it was both as I gave out a cry when she gave me the noggin to the head.
"Idiot! You could have just shot the damn dog!" She barked at me while I got up from the couch and strugging to get her off my head.
I finally got out of her headlock and pouted at her. "Yeah well, you didn't see what I saw back there." I quipped at her, my hand rubbing my head from that attack of Jenny's.
Jenny snorted. "You're just lucky you didn't get killed. Now come on; Abs and Crane found something while you were daydreaming." Still rubbing, I followed her to the main area where I could tell there were books spiriling everywhere from table to table.
I frowned at this fact. Normally, it takes just a few books to find whatever we were facing from case to case but to see so many books out in the open indicated this foe must be older and before Ichabod's time. Looking up from one of the table and to the faces of the trio's, I gave out a wave which Abbie and Crane well recieved graciously while Jenny just ignored me.
"So," I spoke out to the others. "What'd I miss while I was taking my beauty sleep?
It was Crane that answered my question as he told me that the creature that the three of us saw turned out to be Cerberus, Guardian of the Underworld and sometimes partner of a witch called the Shifter. "You see, Miss Pierce," Crane continued. "At one point during the war, a good friend of mine was the first to tell the tale of a Shifter that was able to change soldiers from men to creatures of horrible kind just moments before midnight under the moon."
I stood there, unaware that I had my mouth open as Crane proceeded to tell more of his friend's story until Abbie's cell chimed. I gazed into her eyes as she picked up her phone. "Mills here." She spoke to whoever it was she was talking to.
I turned back to Crane and asked him if they found out where the owners were. "No, madam. We haven't yet I suspect there is something more to this story than it appears." He replied to me as Abbie hung up with some worse news.
"Bad news, guys." Abbie spoke to us as she tucked her phone back into her clipper. "There has been some kind of report of a woman taking people and changing them to something else." She announced to us as we looked at each other.
It was Jenny's turn to speak. "Seriously? I mean, who would want to kidnap people in broad daylight?" She inquired while clacking away on her laptop that laid on the table where she were sitting on a wooden chair.
"One that must be some sort of signifince to the Shifter." Crane answered as he set his hands on the high counter, gazing us with his eyes. "No doubt it must be part of my son's plan to rise Moloch from his dark grave to our world."
My eyebrows furrowed as I listen on, remembering my brief moment on the day I met Henry Parish aka Jermey Crane and his warning to me that I will be the one to join his side when the day was right. I ignored whatever converation they're talking about as I wondered if it was possible he was right. I heard someone clearing their voice and snapped back into reality, right into Abbie's face.
I shook my head and smiled to her. "What's up?" I spoke. She just took my arm and walked to the door. "We're going to the scene while Crane and Jenny work on a way to finding her and stopping whatever she's planning for good." Abbie said as we stepped outside, straight to the car.
Ichabod cleared his throat which caused Jenny to look up from her computer and motioned her to come to his side. "Miss Jenny, I believe I have found something that could aid us." He spoke to her as she made her way over to Crane's side.
"And what would that be..?" She questioned once she got over to Crane's left side and putting her elbows on the table, seeing the book that had a specific chapter in place.
Reaching to the sentence that Ichabod found as he spoke. "It says that once the spell is done on a person, the Shifter takes on a mortal form for a moment until she can replish her energy to create more of her creatures. Not only that, she was defeated by a weapon... the very same weapon we used during the war: the cannonball."
Jenny slowly looked at him, wondering if he was just jesting but rarely does Crane jest and realized something which she pointed out. "Well, that's good and dandy, but we haven't found how to find her." She rang out in her slighly interested tone. "However.." She continued as she picked up her phone to contact Pierce to inform the news. "While we may not have a cannonball, we do have a version of it and that's the shotgun which is down by the chamber where we held your former friend prisoner."
I stared at my phone screen where it says no bars available over and over again. With a small whining tone coming out to me as I made small talk with Abbie while putting my phone away, "Why does it have to be in the woods where my stinking phone doesn't work?"
We were sitting in the Exporler driving up to the crime scene that laid set in the woods when Abbie took glances at me, her mouth making form of a small smirk on her face. "Because it's where people, mostly killers, likes to dump their victims." She empatically stated. "Beside, it's Sleepy Hollow... you of all people should know that." She continued on as she glanced at me.
I rolled my eyes but nodded my head to that fact as I sighed in resignation. Within an hour or so, we finally reached the gate that leads into the crime scene. It was chilly as we both stepped out of the jeep and closing the doors then walked on to the gate. Abbie opened the gate and I walked on, giving her my thanks and closing it as well. "Thanks, pal!" I teased to her as we walked on to the scene which took quite a while to reach, thanks to the limbs that sprawled everywhere and the snapping sounds whenever we stepped on one.
She elbowed me in a friendly gesture, but when we reached the scene all friendly banter that went on was turned off in an instant, for there that laid on the ground was the two bodies, one female and the other that seemed to be male, or so I thought as I took a few steps then bended down to the body of the supposed form of a male.
"Strange.." I said to myself. After closer inspection, I realized it was actually a male, but his skin appeared to be cold to me when I touched it with my glove hands. Not to mention the clothes he were wearing reminded me of that movie with Taylor that every girls like, me included, of course. Not only that, it appeared to be an vampire costume for tonight's party.
I held my breath when it hit me. This was an actual vampire laying in front of me! "Hey, Abbie.. Come here." I said as she made her way to me. "Tell me what you see and hope it isn't what I think it is." When she reached to me and taking a good long look at the body, she turned her head to me and nodded which pretty much confirmed my thoughts. "You think it's the Shifter?" She asked me.
I shrugged my shoulders and told her it's the only way this man could have been transformed. "But why kill him when you got a perfect fighter?" I wondered outloud to Abbie as we got up and made way for the other body. She pointed to the woman as she spoke out. "I'm thinking she stumbled upon the scene and saw the creature putting this guy into a spell and changed him." We looked past each other to the bodies and back to each other.
"You think?" I questioned to her. Abbie gazed at me with a slight crook smile on her face. I suddenly realized why she told me the reason that made me understand that normal people couldn't. "Right.. Sleepy Hollow, I remember." I admitted to her as we left the scene to allow the M.E to take the bodies away to be cutted up to find the cause of death. Once we reached the jeep and got inside, I grabbed my phone to check if there was bars and to my great annoyance, no such thing until we get back into the main road. It even showed in my voice when I asked my partner how long it takes to get back. "I mean, I get that when in a far away place like the woods that there is no bars," I rang out. "But this is ricidulous; what if Crane or Jenny found something and we don't even know it all because of a damn tree!"
"Still no response from Abby or Alex.." Jenny grumped to Crane as they made their way through the tunnels that resided below Sleepy Hollow to get the shotgun that hid within the chamber where they once held the Headless Horseman prisoner and questioned for information on how to find more of what Moloch's intentions are for Earth.
Ichabod Crane took a moment to get his bearing of the tunnels that appeared to be changing each moment and glanced at her cynical partner which, Crane presumed, needed to be comforted. "I wouldn't worry about those two, Miss Mills." He said to her as they walked on. "Wherever they are, their hand-held devices must be out of range for them to not be able to receive your message."
Even Jenny could tell Crane was trying his best to get her to accept that those two could handle themselves, it didn't help to know that it should have been her with Abbie to handle whatever they face, not the newbie, she thought to herself as they reached the chamber after going through few twists and turns.
Within twenty minutes did they finally got the chamber, which Crane unlocked the door and both he and Jenny did enter the large room as Crane made sure to close the door while Jenny walked on to the locker room area where every weapon you could imagine from swords to giant yet heavy gatling guns were on display and grabbing a large bag enough to hold her weapons, her sister's and Crane's as well then zipping it up.
While Jenny were stuffing their weapons along with the powerful shot-gun that was needed to slay the dangerous creature that is still causing chaos within the town of Sleepy Hollow, Crane was keeping watch for anything when all of a sudden he heard the popping sounds of a demon appearing to his left.
He turned to see dozens of blue-skinned demons and called out to Jenny while walking backward away from Moloch's bodyguards. "Jennifier, we have incoming!" He shouted out to her. Jenny snapped up to the sound of Crane's yelling and turned to her right side, reaching the two set of pistols as she ran out of the room and starting shooting at them. As she made sure to keep those things focused on her and not on Crane, she hollered at him to get the bag. "Everything's inside it, so just grab it so we can get the hell out of here!"
Ichabod started to run toward ahead for the locker room to grab the heavy duffel bag that held their precious cargo only to be stopped by one blue-skinned creature. Roaring, the creature tried to punch Crane but missing at the last minute when he ducked under his arm and twisting around then using his right leg and feet, kicked the demon in the chest hard. Staggering a few feet away, the demon spoke to him that caused Crane to shiver from the message. "We shall have the Disciple for our father Moloch!!" It screamed at him before being shot in the head by Jenny's pistol.
Looking around, they sighed a deep relief from stopping these creatures to taking their lives but for Crane, he didn't feel so safe after hearing the words from the blue monster. He repeated to Jenny what the creature said to him before she killed him and that made the head-strong woman to cause herself to become pale like of a white sheet.
But that fear soon became anger as she walked to the locker room then came back out with the bag in her hand, the strapping hooked up on her shoulder and walked out of the chamber, Crane quickly following behind her as she picked her phone and dialed her sister.
"Come on, pick your phone girl!" She spoke into her phone as it attempted to reach the number of Abby Mills.
Two hours later, we finally made it out of the dirt road and on the main road that led back into Sleepy Hollow. I became excited at the fact that once we reach town, my phone will have bars again finally! I turned my head to give Abbie my happy look when her phone rang. She reached her phone and set it on speaker after looking at the number which belonged to Jenny.
"Hey Jen." She answered to her sister, expecting her usual shtick while giving me my favorite smile. But that smile of hers changed as well mine when we heard the news of Crane's findings and the creatures attacking them in the chamber.
"Not only that, but Alex's in danger." Jenny warned to us as I became confused at this. I asked her what she meant by that. "What could they possibly wa-" I questioned before being cut off as something loud hit the jeep, causing it to fly up then rolling downward before stopping on its side.
My eyes opened slowly and with a groan, I made sure to check if anything were broken but after checking my body for broken bones, I sighed in relief for that kind of news. I looked to the driver's side to see if Abbie was all right, but after looking at her for a moment it became apparent she was knocked out when she hit the steering wheel.
I pursed my lips and turned back then using my elbow of my right arm, I managed to break through of my window and crawling out of the damaged jeep. Once out of that mess, I slowly got up on my feet, my hand on the side of the upside down jeep's door and when I look to the side of it, I became shocked when I saw the damage caused by a shotgun.. A shotgun that belonged to the Horseman as I look ahead at the road in front of me to see him standing in the middle of the road knowing that both of us just got into deep trouble.
Even after being tossed around like a piece of paper, I became aware of my situation and knew this wouldn't end well if I didn't do something to save Abbie and myself. This became evident as I watched and heard him reloading and aimed at me.
"Oh, merda..!" I cursed to myself as I jumped down to the ground with a loud thud when he fired again. I was lucky enough to be out of the way but I knew it wasn't over. Still on the ground, I quickly moved some of the debris trying to find my damn gun all the while as the Horseman continuing to fire his Moss 500 shotgun at the jeep where I used it for cover and hearing the footstep of his approching to me.
After some fleeting moments of searching, I finally felt the grip of my gun and dug it out of the mess and checked to see if it was still full of bullets; it was and I knew I would have to time it right to at least push him away until help arrived. I turned my head just slightly to my left and peeked out but quicky pulled back when he fired at me, the bullet of his narrowly missing me by inches.
Taking a deep but long breath and griping my gun then cocked it, I waited until he fired his fifth shot. I listened very closely and when I heard the opening of his Moss to reload, I knew this was my chance. With amazing speed and markswomanship, I fired three times at his chest as the Hessian stumbled backward. If he had his head on, I would have heard him groaning in pain but it was enough for me to see by his body signal that my shots were at least causing him temporatly pain as I kept on firing.
I wondered if I could even handle this, but for the sake of Abbie and my lives, I knew I had to hold out until someone came, even hoping it would be Jenny and Crane. I hid again to reload but I also knew the Horseman would come again.
I groaned in despair, hoping for anyone to come as I reloaded and cocked my gun and as before, fired again.
Crane and Jenny jumped when they heard the loud boom of a shotgun and the crashing of Abbie's jeep. He knew by the sound of the shotgun that the Headless Horseman, better known as Death, has attacked his allies and hoped they were all right.
Jenny nearly threw her phone away when she tried to redial the number but to her rotten luck it was disconnected. Letting out a low growl that Crane possibly could have heard her, she ran fast as she could through the tunnels and once they reached the end of one exit that led outside, she opened the door that took them outside then took out her keys which unlocked her ancient yet useful Toyoa Jeep and threw the bag in the trunk.
Ichabod quickly opened his door and got in as did Jenny in the driver's side. With both doors shut as well the trunk, she started the jeep and they were on their way to where their allies were, wherever they were with the hope they were all right and alive as well.
Spent, I ended up firing every single bullet into the chest of the Hessian but knew my gun was empty for it was light. I pulled back behind the broken jeep and checking to see if Abby was all right; I listened for her breathing and glad to see she was but when I look back, my eyes were set upon on the shoes of the Horseman.
I slowly lifted my head and for all horror that I have faced before, this was the closest I ever got to being near to the First Horseman of the Apocalypse despite his status of being headless. The Hessain had put up his shotgun and now wield his mighty battle ax in his right hand, the blade heated up to, my estimate, 500 degrees and ready to end me.
I watched him lift it and when I thought it was over for me, I heard one loud boom coming from the depth of the woods. I stared agape to see the Horseman moved backward at least a good fraction of where he was before he walked toward me then to the woods where I saw a brown horse coming, the rider atop of it, his hand holding another shotgun but this time, it was the Moss 550.
I realized it was the Kindred, the creature that had saved Abbie and Crane's life some few weeks ago when they had attempted to save his wife, Katrina, from the hands of the Hessian. I watched him as he delivered another shot to the Horseman, Kindred jumping down and making sure that his enemy was away from his ally.
I got up on my feet and right into the face of Kindred as he grunted to me, asking if I was all right through his body language. "Yeah, I'm fine. Thank you for saving my life, buddy." I smiled to him but that changed when I remembered we were still in danger. I turned around to see the Horseman coming up, ax still in his hand and coming for me.
"Hey.." I said to my savior as I pointed to the Hessian. "Think you can keep him busy long enough to get my partner out and call for help?" He nodded his head along with a grunt as he put up his gun and pulling out his halberd, his main weapon when facing his nemesis then started walking toward his formable foe.
I became amazed as I watched the two powerful warriors from different sides fighting each other, one for evil and the other for good. I snapped out of it, knowing only Kindred could hold out so much, so I went around to the driver's side and managed to pull Abbie out while being careful not to wound her anymore further.
I was able to get Abbie to a upward postion and started to reach for her cell that appeared to be all right, despite the ride it took when I heard a mute boom behind me. I grabbed the gun that was in Abbie's holster and gripped it then spun around to see who it was. To my horror once again, I saw the form of a woman and I knew it was the Shifter that caused so much trouble lately. I could see her face, for it was like the mask you'd wear during Day of the Dead; only this was the real deal and there was no eyes in its socket and she wore a dark dress and was black everywhere you could see.
For the first time of our meeting, she spoke her first words to me. "You shall be my victim, Disciple, and you will enjoy being my pet." She sang out to me. I simply gave her the middle finger and fired at her. At first I thought I had her, but to my shock the bullets went through her and then I remembered what Crane found and told both me and Abbie before the crash.
I uttered my disbelief and before I could fire again, the dangerous monster uttered her spell and sent it upon me. Without thinking, I jumped out of the way and down to the ground then turned around to my side and saw the spell hitting Abbie. I cursed to myself for not moving her to a safe postion as I watched my poor friend being transformed to a dangerous bear.
Abbie, now a bear of the creature's making, stood on her hind legs and roared loud which caused me to cover my ears. Snickering, the ancient Shifter called for her pet to come and to her partner, the Horseman, to come and take their leave. "I have come for what I claim and it is time for the beginning of enslaving the town people in their own making!" She cried out and with Abbie on her side did they disappear in smoke as I got up on my feet to see the Hessian pushing away his foe and getting on his white horse and left.
I groaned at this mess and I knew I would have to answer for it once Jenny discovers what has happened to her sister as I turned to see Kindred walking to my aid. Once he got close and asked me again if I was all right, I nodded my answer and looked away for a moment. When I looked up again into the eyes of my ally, he was gone... back to wherever he resided, waiting for another day of battling his darkest foe.
That was when I heard the roaring of Jenny's truck coming up behind me and the footsteps of both Jenny and Crane approaching as I turned around to face them. I could tell I was such a mess when they had seen my clothes all tattered around in pieces, but when Jenny asked me where her sister was as well did Crane, I knew I couldn't hold it in and told them what happened throughout the whole thing.
Once I completed my tale, I started to give my apology to Jenny but recieved a slap to the face from Jenny pretty hard as I could feel the redding of my cheek blistering. I didn't say anything when we left the wreck before the real cops showed up and head back to HQ to prepare a plan to finally defeat this S.O.B for good.
After getting some rest from the major battle of my life, the three of us were able to review what I had told them and the information that Crane found in one of those books that held vial information how to defeat the Shifter. I told both Jenny and Crane what the Shifter had said before she took her timely disappearing. "I mean, it's like she needs to show off for her own ego." I said to them as we tried to figure out a plan. "I feel like we're missing something that should be easy to find out where she is."
Jenny didn't say anything as I expected, but Crane wanted to clear up on something that he thought would be pertain to this case. "You said she had came for what she seek and I'm sure it was meant to be you," Ichabod said as he paced back and forth. "However, I am under the impression her mission is not complete just yet, for you see, this creature works for Moloch and he needs an army.. Where would you get an army before the end of this eve?"
I told him we have military for that as an army, but it would take her years just to do it. "I mean, come on!" I shook my head as I went on. "The only place I can think of is that midnight event that's supposed to be starting soon." I nearly smacked my forehead for not recogizing it. "Oh... Right."
Within hours of arriving to the town square, the three of us came up with the plan that if there are any civilians, Jenny and Crane will take them to safety while I take care of the damn monster.
I glanced at my watch and I quicked my tempo after seeing my watch to know in an hour, midnight will be upon us and this town will be gone; taken possession of a gang of different supernatural beings.
As soon as we reached the place where the countdown would begin, I looked around for any sign that Shifter was here. Slowly gazing with my eyes, I forgot to keep my ears open and it nearly cost my life when I turned to see the s.o.b standing in front of me.
I became so mad at her for taking my best friend and rightly told that to her, all the while as she smiled her wicked smile. "You know what?" I spat at her, my gun at the ready. "I think it's high time you recevied your reward, which I'm glad to give, and that reward is returing back to the hole you came out and dumping animal crap all over it!"
I started to shoot at her when I felt myself flying backward and landing on my back. I shook my head and realized that my shotgun wasn't in my hand. I started looking for it when I heard the hiss sound of her magic coming at me. Rolling out of the way, I managed to avoid the dangerous spell and started running for my gun.
I almost had it in my grasp when Bear Abbie stood in front of me and roared loud. I gasped and jumped backward to narrowly miss the giant paws of Abbie's. I tried to get Abbie to remember me, Jenny and Crane while avoiding her deadly attacks.
"Abbie.." I pleaded to her. "Abbie, this isn't you! Remember us!" I cried out to her when I felt someone pushing me out of the way and landing on the ground again. I turned to see Jenny changing before my eyes to a lady-like bat.
"Oh, come on!" I sighed in annoyance and respect for Jenny to save my freaking life. But it was the opening I needed when I realized that the Shifter had changed to her mortal form. I ran as fast as I could to reach my gun, but was quickly stopped by Bear Abbie and Bat Jenny.
I thought it was over when they got me, but a loud horn caused both of them to fall in pain as well the Shifter. I turned my head to see Crane blowing the horn of Jenny's truck. I gave him my thanks with a wave and while they were trying to get rid of the horrible sound, I picked up my shotgun and with a smile alongside a word of my own choosing, aimed at Shifter.
"Good-bye and tell Moloch that he ain't having my friends or me for his army, you evil son of a gun!" I then fired my gun and for a moment I felt like I was partaking in a movie where you would see the bullet moving in slow motion as it hit her in the chest, right into the heart.
I watched her glowing a white glow and bursted in the air while howling her final howl. I turned my head to see the giant black dog that attacked me at the Tavens' Farm slowly reversing itself to the three members of the family that everyone felt was missing and well both Jenny and Abbie back to human beings.
It took almost all night past midnight and it was approaching daylight to deal with everybody asking questions of what happened, but thanks to the new boss of mine and Abbie's, she managed to make everyone go home and relax.
I let out a loud deep sigh that rang out of me as I sat on the back of the truck, the trunk laid open, coffee in my hands. I took a sip when I felt all three of my friends coming to me. I looked up and asked both Jenny and Abbie if they're still all right. "I mean, you two got changed to those things and one of them should had been me." I said to them while the three of them sat beside me.
"I know." Abbie spoke to me as it was Crane that explained what happened to her during her time as a bear. "It wasn't your fault and you know what? I think you finally had your awesome case, am I right?" she continued, teasing me.
I simply started at her and everybody and told them my true feelings about it. "Yeah, you're right." I said as I smiled to them. "But never again do I hope to have to deal with this crap alone, you guys." I teased as we looked forward to having a full break weekend without having to deal with this crap.
Octavia Grey's Personal Blog
“I can barely write, man, my body is so fidgety. It's been a year since my sixteen-year-old sister, Jordan died. I don't miss her any bit. I am also glad that my two older sisters: Victoria and Teresa are now out of the house. I am just stuck sharing the same bedroom with my insipid three sisters: Nika, Pastel and Maggie.”
“I'll tell you a little about myself. I am 5'4", so I am basically the shortest person in both my extended and immediate family. I feel so light-headed right now, but having a weak constitution sure has it's pros. I get to hack into the family computer through my cellphone. All of my six sisters are really stupid, because they make their passwords, usernames and security questions way too easy. Plus, I have a lot of time on my hands.”
“Dad is always at work and mom is too ditzy to know how handle her girls. She is always driving my older sisters to games, school, clubs, and anything outside the home. I am lucky that I am the only one that is homeschooled. Mom and dad think I am too weak to go to school, so they pretty much spoil me, because they believe I might have a seizure at any moment.”
“I think I have a frog in my throat. Stupid cold, why did Nika have to come home from her football game with a dreaded cold. I barely can type this as my eyes keep going out of focus and my hands burning up. I still have bad memories about Kayla Reed, Mally Koward, and my lousy, older sister, Jordan. I don't miss her diary, but I just wish these night terrors would end. Maybe, this is God punishing me as usual. Heh, only a moron believes in God.”
“My five sisters managed to get up earlier than I did and they were hogging our bedroom's bathroom as normal. Why did mom and dad think it was a good idea for me to share a room with these morons?! I mean, they didn't even bother to use a condom when they brought all of us into this absurd world. I abhor them for that. My parents just like my sisters are all careless, braindead buffoons when it comes to caring for a single one of our's feelings. Great, what was I talking about diary. I don't remember. I gotta go!”
“I managed to copy down that blog from my sister's diary. She is so paranoid that I'll hack into her private blog, which she has good reason too. Jordan keeps a red diary hidden underneath a floorboard beneath her bed. She didn't know that I feigned sickness, so Kayla and Mally could sneak back into my house. The gullible fool!”
“We talked for what seemed like an eternity. The three of us spoke about getting rid of annoying Jordan. You should have seen the looks on their faces when I showed them my sister's blog. They were both irate and joyful.”
“We strategized and they left just before anybody returned home.”
“I sat in front of my Apple’s computer tonight or rather July 14th at 12:31 am and I read through one of my sister’s blogs.
She wrote, “I can't believe my little sister. What a freak! How could she invite those bitches over to our house?! I didn't even know that Koward and Reed knew where I lived. My sisters and me all go to different schools, so I thought there was no way that they would know where I lived. I'm scared shitless, especially since both of them put on their usual 'angel' act. Mom and dad just totally bought it; I am glad that Octavia was asleep upstairs and my other sisters were out. I don't need those other dunces making things worst.”
The date that the blog was published just a little after five in the afternoon of yesterday. I continued reading through her silly blog, “I'm sorry diary, but I have to go. Mom is calling and if I don't reply she'll flip. Dad already went to work his night shift at his other job. Those bitches already left, their excuse for leaving was pretty unbelievable.”
I released a quiet chuckle as to not disturb my sleeping sisters. I turned my phone off as I recalled mom yelling for Jordan to hurry up. She hastily logged off the computer and ran down the stairs.
I just read another of my sister’s blogs from July 15th, which was posted at 6:25 pm. This one was quite comical. She wrote, “I've always been a loser. I've always been the worst in academics. I've always been the worst in athletics. I've always been the worst in looks. Heck, I've even been the worst in personal situations.”
“My sisters always tell me, 'Oh, look there comes the ugly duckling.' I am really tired of their teasing, but what I am about to write is not about those bitches. Yeah, I called them that. Gosh, I am just so mad right now that I wish I could punch a wall. However, one of my sisters might tattle on me if I do. So, that's why I won't risk it.”
“What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, now I remember. Those two popular girls at school: Kayla Reed and Mally Koward. Gosh, I hate those devils. Everybody thinks they are angels, but I know the truth about them.”
“I am going to tell a little information I dug up on them. Kayla and Mally are actually serial killers. How do I know this, you are probably asking. It's quite simple, they killed my best friend. I'll start from the beginning since I have a hard time keeping things in order due to how stupid I am. Hopefully, my younger sister, Octavia doesn't hack into my private blog again. Why am I so easily distracted?!”
“Mally Koward and Kayla Reed are pretty much your stereotypical popular snobs. Mally has long, wavy, burgundy hair and baby blue eyes. She has such a dark tan that she loves to show off, everybody thinks she's hot, because of it, but I just think she looks like an Oompa Loompa. She always pretends to be nice to us, dorks, but whenever there is trouble; she is quick to blame us. Oh, did I forget to mention that her father is a wealthy bachelor and running for mayor in this decrepit city?”
“Silly me, I forget quite easily. I guess, if Leah were here. She would probably cheer me up. Those stupid jerks, why did they have to choke her like that?! Worst off, why did they have to post this on their stupid website?! I tried getting the cops to take it down, but Kayla's deranged father is the chief of police, so it is nearly impossible. Kayla Reed is pretty much the school genius.”
“She has emerald-green eyes that she got from the prescription contacts her eye doctor gave her. Her hair is very thin and very straight that she loves running her comb through it everyday in class. Her skin is always flawless, not even a single blemish tarnishes it. And, she dates the principal's son.”
“I thought they were just bullies until I checked out their website, thanks to Octavia's hacking. I don't know what to say. I am speechless. I'm thinking about getting back at those bitches today after I finish this blog. I hate those girls!”
“Leah Baxter was my best friend and she was only targeted, because Kayla's boyfriend talked to her in the halls of our high school one day. That day I’ll never forget, because Kayla leapt from behind one of the lockers and tackled Leah to the the ground. I had to literally drag that beast off of my friend. I got a bloody nose due to her elbowing me in the face as she tried so desperately to attack my lavender-haired, Leah Baxter again.”
“After that damn day, Leah was so scared to walk home alone. She asked me to walk her home constantly, which I gladly did. I didn't want those freaks beating her up again.”
“A silver Honda drove passed us with several drunk athletes from our school. They howled and whistled at my friend. I told them to buzz off.”
“I just seemed to anger them as they stopped their car and threw beer bottles at us. Thankfully, none of those glass bottles hit us.Other than the drunk football players, everything was okay. Me and Leah parted ways that one day once we arrived at her house. She complained about all the homework she had to do. Gosh, how she could carry those many textbooks in her itty-bitty, beige backpack is beyond me. I left her house, stomped upstairs to my bedroom that I share with my six annoying sisters and started on my homework.”
I continued on reading my sister’s last blog that was posted on July 16th at 3:14 pm. She had wrote, “It wasn't until today that I found out that Leah didn't come to class today. It wasn't until after lunch that the principal announced that my friend, Leah had drowned in her own bathtub that day. We had a moment of silence, but I could hear Kayla s******ing.”
“I tried tackling those girls in the school, but the teachers got involved. The teachers always take their side. So, I ended up getting detention. Man, my mom is going to kill me!“
“I am glad that I at least did some harm. Maybe, she would be afraid of me now. Nope, that wasn't the case at all. In fact, after I discovered my friend's murder on their website, they made a separate video where they said, "Hey Jordan, if you are watching this. We have three words for you: 'you are next.'”
Jordan kept updating her blog as she trudged through the murky puddles to Kayla Reed’s mansion. This is what my arrogant sibling had written, “I don't care if it is raining. I don't care if I am not wearing a rain coat or carrying an umbrella. Kayla Reed and Mally Koward have gone to far. I managed to break into my dad's gun safe. It was really hard and I don't remember how I managed it.”
“Those girls are as good as dead, now! Hahahaha, hey Leah, if you're listening. I am gonna avenge you, I promise.”
“That memory of Leah’s last dying breaths flashed through my head as Kayla's dad shot that small handgun through my skull. I fell backwards on the staircase for what seemed like forever.”
‘"No, stop!” I shrieked as he shot more bullets through my forehead.”
“I fell to the floor and watched as blood turned into a puddle beneath my injured forehead. Kayla snorted as her father descended the staircase that I laid in front of and shot me several times more. That was when I blacked out.”’
“I decided to check out Kayla’s blog before watching the video.”
Kayla had written, “That loser thought she could just waltz on in to my mansion. Boy, that loser, Jordan Grey sure had a lot coming to her. She tried pointing that awful handgun at me, but daddy saved me. Daddy put several bullets through that loser's head. Daddy got ready for his speech at the town hall, he left me alone with that loser.”
“Good thing, Mally is coming over. She is going to be so thrilled about the video we have planned. Our website is going to be a hit. I can't wait to pull daddy's tie around that loser's throat and Mally to record it. Mally is pretty nifty with technology. So,
I am sure our viewers are going to get a kink out of our latest video. I am glad Jordan's sister, Octavia told us about what her loser sister was up too.”
“Octavia is going to be so happy about having one less loser sister to worry about.”
She pretty much ended with her usual catchphrase, Ciao for now, losers!”
“I watched the video that Kayla and Mally posted on their website. It was very comical.
I watched the video while my sisters were away school and my parents were at work. My family is too naive to take away my phone. Even if they did take it away from me, they wouldn't be able to get into my personal blog.”
“I'm still seeing Kayla and Mally today. I can't wait till we get rid of my entire family in a housefire. I already plotted my escape from the house. Now, I just need Mally and Kayla not to turn traitor on me. If they do, I have ways of making them pay.”
"Hey, Avrel! Did you hear about it at school today?" My friend Chase pesters me on our walk home, clinging to my backpack and hanging from it like a koala. I guess he didn't feel like walking today.
"Hear about what?" I try to shake him off but we just end up sprawled on the sidewalk trying to either attach ourselves to one another or - in my case - fend off the affection of a very limber monster. Chase was always clingy; it was just part of his personality and a running prank to cheer people up. He would even try to chomp down on my hair sometimes, short as it was.
He sits down on the ground and lolls his tongue out like my denying his game caused him to suffer a horrible death. "I don't pity you," I smiled down at him. "Now, what was it you were saying before?"
"Dude!" Chase shot up, blue eyes gleaming in excitement. "Do you remember that traveling circus that swings by around Halloween every year?" He grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me like a rag doll.
"Y-yes!" I yelled, head bobbing. He sure was pretty pleased about something.
Stopping to clap me on the back and steer us on course for home once more he went on, "Well, the science club I'm in gave us all free tickets to go this year! I managed to trick the teacher into thinking that I didn't get one when she passed them out at first, so I scored two!" He flourishes a paper from the pocket of his orange hoodie and passes it to me. "Now we can both go! I know how much you love spooky stuff, and I wanna see if I can debunk some of their witches' supposed 'spells' with my crazy science skills. Whaddya say?"
I really did love the macabre. I hadn't been able to go to the show because tickets always sold out so quickly, but I'd heard all the eerie tales about the monsters they kept in cages and the way some of their performers could speak with the dead. Sure, it was all smoke and mirrors, but creepy thrills always excited me. Halloween was in just a few days, and we were all raring to don our costumes and head out from door-to-door with pillowcases demanding candy late at night. This was my favorite time of year. A little morbid curiosity goes a long way, especially at a freak show circus.
I held out my ticket to get a look. It wasn't really bigger than a bookmark, but it was decorated with the classic silhouette of the spooky black cat against the backdrop of a moon encased in spiders' web. The headline read like this:
Join us - Demons both large and small - at the annual Black Cat Carnivale Circus!
On October 28th, be prepared to be amazed as you witness spectacles preformed by creatures from your worst nightmares!
Our lineup includes:
-Charismatic Jason, the chainsaw juggler!
-Madame LeFaye the witch and her familiar, Roux!
-Jace the beast tamer and his Werewolf!
-Embry the Giant who can move mountains!
-Cardamom, the gravity-defying vampire!
-And so much more!
Music provided by: Vesivus and his band, 'The Reapers!'
Please purchase your tickets in advance¹ and remember that this is a REAL freak show! The things you see will amaze you, so be sure you're old enough before you buy!²
Come and join us for scares, thrills, and chills on this October night!
¹Tickets are limited and non-refundable
²Minimum age 16 with ID
"Whoa, Chase! Way to go, man!" I gave him a stiff punch in the shoulder. "The headline is so cheesy, but that just makes it even more interesting, hunh?" I held it up to the afternoon sun. "Black Cat Carnivale," I murmured.
Interrupting my thoughts, Chase gave me a tug on my jacket in warning. "Avrel. Thine goon squad doth approacheth."
I turned to look down the path. Sauntering down the way towards us were Kain and his crew of serfs. Or at least the two seemed to owe something to the bully. They followed his orders to the letter and helped administer his particular brand of justice to all the kids at school. No one was about to say no to a senior, let alone Kain Bradford. The guy was some kind of genetic monster with the eyes of a hawk and the strength of a bear...but with the brain of an ostrich. Seriously, the thing must've at the absolute most been the size of a peanut. But for all the spiderwebs in his empty head, he still ruled the roost. And this rooster was strutting right for us.
"Well, lookie here," he smiled down at us with contempt. "Seems to me like the Weasel and Pinocchio got their mitts on something nice." He held out a huge, rough palm. "Care to share?"
I cringed at the nickname. Kain was never happy until you were designated as something he thought was below him. One of his clever friends said I was a sort've 'wooden' person who lied like a dog to avoid trouble. There was also a more obvious reason, but...Regardless, Kain pounced on it several years back and here we are. I may not have been an extrovert, but I hardly considered myself to be wooden. And I wasn't a liar.
"Who're you callin Weasel, ya colossal-" Chase ground to a halt when I simply handed him my ticket. "Avrel!" he glared at me.
"It's fine, man," I shot him a look. Don't worry,that's MY ticket, I tried to convey.
"Black Cat Carnival?" Kain seemed lost in thought for a moment. His face was screwed up like he smelled something truly ghastly. I had no idea he was capable of such advanced mental process, but hey; more power to him.
"Carnivale," the boy next to him corrected. This earned a glare and the poor thing practically sunk down scared into his shoes.
"Wait, you guys aren't planning on going to this?" He frowned at us. "Don't you remember that kid Beck DuMonte? Ya know...the one that disappeared a few years back?"
I was surprised that Kain did, actually. Beck was the son of a close friend of my father, and had vanished in October around eight years ago. Our small town had moved trick-or-treat to early November because his parents had gone wild with grief at losing their only son. They petitioned against the kids going out at all that night because of how unsafe it was. The local police agreed to enforce a curfew the last week of October for those under eighteen. Things eventually died down, but Beck was never found. Nobody has ever heard from him, either.
"You talkin about the curfew?" Chase smiled. "Breaking rules is what we do, Bradford. It's what I do. And why bring that up? That was years ago, man."
Kain held out my ticket, which I gladly retrieved. He was acting pretty strange today. "Knock yourselves out, Weasel. It's not the police that keep me from goin." He sneered suddenly, getting right in my face.
"It's the freaks."
"Don't let him get to ya, Avrel. He may be built like a pro wrestler, but he's got half the IQ and twice the ego. Besides, we're already here, aren't we? I can't believe you let what Bradford said bug you so much!"
Chase was just trying to get my attention as we neared the big top, but even a week later and I couldn't stop thinking about Beck DuMonte's disappearance. I mean, the Carnivale was an annual event, and no one went missing last year. But the last place he was seen had been during the show. I'd researched any information that they might've had on the Web or in any accessible police database, but the only clue I had found so far was that a length of fine string was found with his DNA on it snarled in a bush outside. Not exactly something one can use in a missing persons case to create a scenario. "I'm not letting it get to me," I said flatly.
Chase rolled his eyes. We stalked across the parking lot carefully, trying to avoid being seen by anyone who might send us home. Chase and I were only seventeen, but at least we were old enough to get into the show. I was distracted by the conversation I'd had with my dad before I left. Chase shushed me as I kicked up gravel noisily trying not to trip in the dark, but I felt like I'd let dad down somehow and ignored my friend in favor of trying to order my thoughts to a scenario that would make me feel less guilty.
Earlier that day my father had confronted me. He found the ticket somewhere in the house and stormed to meet me in my room. I got an earful about the curfew, but also another reminder of Beck, whom I hadn't thought about all week. I didn't want to lie to him, but before I could even answer he'd held up his hand to silence me. I was given a warning not to go, but he also told me that, "Some things you just have to learn for yourself." Then he used the phrase he always told me when there were consequences: "I trust you'll make the right choice." He left the ticket on my desk and departed the room with a strange look on his face. He'd seemed almost...sad. I'd been thinking about it all night.
Dad wasn't one to be sentimental. I'd never even known my mom because he said she died when I was born, but he never fussed nor blamed me. He was a stern man: a hard-working carpenter that was constantly using his talents to build things for others. His calloused hands were always more occupied with jobs and splinters, so I'd grown to be more independent than most kids in our small town. But I was more than a little lonely at times. Chase was my only real friend, and whenever he really wanted something I was more than happy to want it with him. He put up with my silent thoughts and I tolerated his boisterous nature. We were quite the pair: the brains and the muscle, the idea and the execution, the prank and the prankster.
So here we were sneaking into a freak show and possibly disappointing the man I'd come to owe the most respect. I'll apologize later, I promised myself.
We cleared the last row of parked cars near the entrance, extremely pleased that there had been such a good turnout so we had cover. After tearing our tickets, we walked into the stuffy tent. The smell of baked bread, buttered popcorn, funnel cakes, cinnamon-coated elephant ears, and cotton candy permeated the warm and heavy air. The space was so vast as we stared down into it from the entryway. A few thousand people must've been in those seats curled in row upon row surrounding the ringmaster's pit. We were a little late, so the show had already started. A lithe young man with dark hair was having a panther leap through rings of fire and off high planks onto seesaws, which then launched him up onto a plank so they could be reversed. Both of them performed the tricks, which was really quite impressive.
"Let's find seats, Avrel!"
The show was quite long, and Chase fell asleep just as intermission was called. He'd probably tired himself out yammering about how they did certain things or how that wasn't really a werewolf and that upside-down tightrope walk by the supposed 'vampire' had something to do with mirrors. But no matter what he said, I know we both loved it. I stood up to go for a walk and left him to sleep with The Reapers playing loud metal in the circle.
Once I'd pushed past all the people I burst out into the cold night air. My breath swirled around me and I hugged my arms, looking up at the clear and starry night sky. The moon was full for the second time this month, making it a blue moon. The 'traitors' moon' was its original name because it tricked people into thinking they had an extra month in the year, even though they knew they didn't. It also messed with the harvest moon on occasion, fooling farmers into either harvesting their load too late or too early since they used to go by the last moon of Autumn for their crop roundup. But it wasn't fooling anyone tonight; the light cast from its white surface illuminated everything. Of course the same went for the couple making out in the corner.
Traitorous indeed. I smiled.
After a few moments, I finally realized that I felt eyes on me. I turned and saw a woman in the brightest corner of the grass, staring up at the sky. She wore a shimmering blue dress that sparkled like stars; her long platinum blonde hair - almost white in the light - fell in ringlets down her back. Perched on her shoulder was an odd-looking black cat with upright, rabbit-like ears. Its black eyes bore into me and it began to hiss softly. She turned towards me and smiled, walking over with nary a sound.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" the woman asked me. Her eyes were dark yet reflective.
"Y-yes," I stammered. Recovering, I inquired, "You're Madame LeFaye? But you don't look like a witch." A bit too harsh perhaps. Congratulations, Captain Airhead, I berated myself.
She laughed. It was a loud sound for someone so pristine, but it filled the space with a pleasant air. "Yes. While I'm here, I am a witch. But I prefer to be called a 'fairy.'"
"The show will resume in ten minutes! I repeat, the Black Cat Carnivale will officially resume its routine in ten minutes!" A loud voice was blaring from the speakers.
"I've gotta go, but I'm looking forward to seeing you on stage, Madame!" I threw the words over my shoulder as I pelted into the tent.
Back at my seat Chase was finally awake. His face was covered in creases from sleeping on that orange hoodie of his. "Where'd you go, Avrel?" he yawned.
"I just went out for a breath of air, man. The show's starting back up!"
Madame LeFaye was the first in the lineup for the second half. She had changed out of her blue dress (remarkably fast, though she was a performer after all) in favor of a traditional black gown rimmed with silvery lace and a sparkling black shawl. Her familiar - the rabbit-cat creature Roux - was perched on her shoulder once more, tail swishing to and fro. I wondered at first if he was agitated, but then I remembered his greeting had been an unpleasant hiss. I hoped he wouldn't shred LeFaye's shoulder with his claws.
"Welcome back to the show, honored guests!" her voice rang clearly throughout the tent, even without a visible microphone. And judging by the cut of her neckline...? I'd say it was safe to assume she didn't have one in her dress.
"I am Madame LeFaye, resident user of magicks in our Carnivale." Her eyes slowly sifted through the crowd. Suddenly, their dark gaze rested on me, as if she could somehow pick me out as that familiar stranger in the back. "I will need a volunteer."
Chase shot out of his seat like someone had tased him. "What are you doing?" I growled, grabbing his arm. Chase had an obvious love for beautiful women, but the blank look on his face when he'd stood...Why would he look like that? No one else in the entire crowd had risen to their feet but him. And didn't volunteers usually come from the staff closer to the ring so they could play a trick on you?
All eyes slowly turned to him as he shrugged off my grip and walked woodenly out into the aisle, slowly descending the popcorn and candy coated steps. When he reached the ring, he headed straight for the witch. She visibly smiled - even from this far away - and began tidying up his orange hoodie as if she were a mother preening him before picture day. I curled my fist. Pardon me if I didn't trust anyone who called themselves a 'witch,' even if they were beautiful and preferred to be labeled 'fairy.'
"My volunteer tonight is Chase Alastair! He's a local...perhaps seventeen in years? And no, ladies and gentlemen: he was not an intended part of my act. My volunteers always manage to choose themselves, as you see!" The crowd was watching with bated breath and waiting for what she'd do. More than a handful of them knew Chase and how he didn't believe there was magic that couldn't be solved with science. He was likely just chosen so he could give the Carnivale a good rep or something.
She pulled out a small, light-colored twig seemingly from thin air. Roux hopped off her shoulder and bounded over to a long yellow cord that hung from the ceiling. It was a tasseled rope, kind've like the drawstring to a set of fancy curtains...
Roux grasped it in his mouth and gave it a mighty pull, his feet kicking up dust from the dirt floor. The pinnacle of the big top opened easily, as if a simple curtain had been drawn. Blinding white light shone down from the full moon and bathed the area in shards of icy radiance. As I strained to let my eyes adjust, I thought I saw something shining in silvery flashes above me. It was like a spider's web hanging from the ceiling, but when I blinked it disappeared. Roux must've also pulled the cord again, because the light subsided. I was still confused, but the crowd was already applauding, so I turned my gaze towards the circle.
My friend was gone. In his place was a little donkey wearing an orange hoodie.
"Where is Chase?" I demanded. I had tracked down the witch immediately after her act was over. It's not that I believed she actually turned my best friend into a donkey, but he certainly hadn't returned yet.
She turned to me slowly in the moonlight. She was once again in her blue dress, and for a moment I thought I could see the gossamer outline of butterfly-like wings behind her before they were gone. My eyes had been playing pranks on me all night, and it was seriously not funny. "Why, your friend is in the stable, Avrel. The Carnivale takes the treatment of its animals very seriously. He will be looked after, I assure you." She had the nerve to smile.
I was practically shaking with frustration. "You can't expect me to believe you turned my best friend..." I glared at the ground trying to calm myself, "...into an ass." I was so angry about the absurdity of it all.
"Oh, my dear boy," she smiled at me, placing a delicate hand under my chin. I jerked away immediately, but her kind expression never changed. "This is just how it must be."
"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?" I raged. " I don't understand what's been going on, but you will let my friend go and then we're both going to go home!"
She flicked her fingers and there was suddenly a wooden object in her hands. It was maybe eight inches long made from a thin piece of wood with two shorter planks crossing it at even intervals. I recognized it from some of the toys my father used to make. The model was called an 'airplane.' It was a control bar for marionettes on strings. I shuddered inwardly. I'd always hated the puppets my dad used to make. The idea of making something like that simply to control its every move was appalling to me, even when I was little. Their sightless eyes and lopsided grins had given me nightmares more often than not, and even just seeing the controller made me feel like a helpless and scared child again. Father had stopped making puppets because of me, even though he loved to make toys. So he became a construction worker to better utilize his skill with wood.
"How do you know-" I began. She lifted the right side of the bar slightly and my arm shot up. I was speechless. Horrified, actually. "Wha..."
LeFaye leaned into my ear and hissed, "I gave you your freedom over two moons ago, Avrel Geppetto. Don't think I won't take it back just as easily." She was frowning as she pulled away.
My mind was racing. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about, but it was obvious to me that whatever influence she had on me was real. In any horror movie, the victim would remain unyielding in their denial until the very end. But let's just say that no real person was quite that stupid. I was still trying to muddle out what she meant by "two moons." A moon could be used to symbolize a month, but I had never met her; let alone two months ago. With my arm still sticking up I asked, "What do you want from me?" A start.
She actually laughed. "Avrel." She put the controller on the ground, handing it to Roux. Her familiar had been hiding just behind her and eagerly snatched it up, trotting proudly away. My arm was my own again, as well. "I only want to trust you to make the right choice."
Realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew I was being too accepting of what she said, but her words...
An echo of my father. With a heavy heart I realized that he'd known something was going to happen. He'd always told me that the choices I made were ones he was comfortable with simply because I had chosen them. I thought that meant he trusted me, but he was really just happy that I had been able to make my own choices. I thought about the story of the wooden boy, not for the first time in my life. And now I had to make another choice.
"What do I have to do to see my friend again? To see...my father?"
She sighed. "I'm sure by now you understand. At least a little. Blue moons occur around every eight years, and my powers take time to return. I give life, Avrel, but at a cost. In order to give life to another, I must first take it back."
I stared at her. "So my hands are tied?" I chuckled halfheartedly at my own joke.
"I never want to take it back, Avrel. But there are others out there with your curse, and I want them to have fathers and mothers of their own. At least for a time." She placed a hand on my shoulder, a tear running down her cheek. "I had to take Chase to make you see that you have a choice."
She straightened up, and I knew the light wasn't playing tricks on me anymore. Her wings were beautiful. Swirls like starlight adorned the inside in shifting patterns as they fluttered slowly behind her. If it had been a Halloween costume, children would've come from the world over to just see her. She really was a dream come true...but not for me. My father was probably at home thinking of meeting her and being given a gift that he couldn't tell another soul about. He always said that he was proud to have been given a son.
"Avrel? It must be Chase or you."
I thought of Beck DuMont who disappeared eight years ago. Probably around the time of the last blue moon's cycle. His parents had been devastated when they realized they couldn't have children. Around that time, my father had befriended them, if I recall. Beck was just like me...But he was also my brother, in a way. And he had made the choice. I couldn't let my father down like this, but...how could I deny another family that brief happiness? It might be cruel, but at least it would have the chance to be.
"Just...tell my dad that I love him, ok? I...made the right choice." My eyes filled with tears.
"He always knew you would, Avrel," she smiled kindly at me before swiping the air above me, leaving trailing strings bright in the moonlight.
I fell quietly to the ground.
When I was 8 years old, we recently moved to a new home, in the suburbs. Since I was little, I always went Trick-or-Treating and seeing it was a huge neighborhood, way more candy for grabs.
So my mother and I went on our way on Halloween Night. I was dressed as a witch, with a purple long dress and a black hat. I was having the time of my life, getting twice as much candy as I ever gotten back at the apartments. I kept going for an hour, until my mother told me it was getting late. So as we were going on our way home, I came to this house. It was decorated and the lights were on, which for a kid is the universal sign of “CANDY HERE!” As I got closer to the house, I saw the decorations were two man-sized dolls, sitting on a bench on the front of the lawn, cobwebs all over the house, tombstones and jack-o-lanterns on the front patio.
As I got closer, I wasn’t thinking about the decorations, more of what candy I was going to receive. As I was getting to the door, I felt something behind me. When I turned around, my eyes got big and my face went pale. In front of me were the two dolls that were sitting on the lawn, going after me. I screamed my butt off and ran towards my mother, crying my eyes out. As I ran, I heard the laughter of two teenage boys, congratulating each other for another successful prank.
Since then, each Halloween, as I go Trick-or-Treating with my niece and nephew, I always watch for the decorations, and if I see that it seems someone is going to scare the kids, I go first instead so I can get scared instead of them or can beat them up if they even so try to hurt them.
Okay Jacque, okay, There’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just a house. Which has been, just unlikely and unlucky enough to have basically all the deaths in our town. Ain’t nothing big. Nothing to entirely to bad to worry about right? You’re the pride of all athletes in your school. You’re going to be the last one to leave that house and you’re sure about it. You need the money to have the schools budget go in to the athletics department. The cheerleaders will be all over you for being so courageous. Especially Cheerise, who you’ve had a childhood crush on since the 4th grade and you’d love to take her out to the Halloween Ball afterward. I let out a sigh before falling back on to my bed closing my eyes. “Why does my bed feel so soft for once?” I exclaimed before looking back up at the clock seeing the hands move sluggishly move to midnight. “Just about 20 more minutes, I should probably get going fish food.” I said indirectly to my gold fish. I dropped my head down back on to my bed for a while. Should I even get dressed? Nah. I’ll just be a jock for Halloween this year, that'll be priceless.
Why does it feel like I'm just giving out expedition?
Maybe if I close my eyes just for a little longer..
Mmm. Wow, closing my eyes just for a few minutes felt amazing. I don't feel all that scared now. I should probably get—"SHARTZUWAH" my Germanic blood came out of me like when I see my moms schnitzel. Why does that sound wrong? I leapt out of bed and grabbed what felt like my football helmet for my costume then rushed out the door. I gotta hurry! Even if it's only twenty minutes past midnight I have to get there before mostly everyone else! Cheerise is there and I don't want her thinking I chickened out! I made longer strides and turned the corner on from Bram and Stoker. Just only a bit more to go, just need to go up the road just a little more. I looked around side to side and noticed that the trees were gradually getting deader and leafless. It didn't seem as scary as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because the adrenaline spewing out of my veins? I hope it stays like that.
I slowed down my sprint as I got closer to the abandoned house's front gate then made a complete stop just feet away from the rustic cold metal vertical bars. Man I sweated on this run. What a good work out I guess. Looks like they're already went in, as I noticed one side of the gate slightly opened enough to have a single person slide through. I might as well get in before it's too late I guess. I took my helmet by both hands and move it closer to my head. Odd, why did it feel like it was moving in some sort of momentum, causing it to push and pull? I was afraid to look down to see if a rat or something that's nesting at my house managed to make its new home in my helmet. I still remember having rat droppings squishing on my hair the last time I put it on. I slowly looked down hoping its not the same rodent, who's gonna bite and poison me like the Black Plague. I heard a glup noise, just before looking down. Oh. My. God. I brought my fish and his bowl with me. Explains why I'm wet. I raised fishfood up to the same level as my face. "Welp buddy. You're coming with me I guess." I see him with a faceless expression on his golden face swimming his troubles away, but I can imagine him wanting to express himself by giving me the middle fin...
We made our way and slid through the opening of the gate, sadly due to my thicker size and fishfood for being so fat I knocked on the cold metal I dreaded to feel against my skin and a sharp skuew noise and pained my ears. Smooth Jacque. Just smooth. I should probably took a flash light with me, as I looked around my pitch black surroundings, thankfully though the family's who lost someone to this house brought carved pumpkins and lighted them inside to dedicate their memory. "Let's see.." I murmured to my self. I scanned as many orange lights and scary faces they made. They were quite a few of them, but I don't wanna think about that just yet until I'm back home. A sudden harsh wind blew across my face, causing me to close my eyes from how strong it was. When it finished I looked back to see, nothing. The wind blew the lights off. "Okay I really want to go home now." My legs shaking after each step.
I finally managed to go up the few steps and faced the the houses doors. As I my hand was about to tease it's touch against the knob, it magically opened by its self creating the most extreme creak noise in my ears. Please don't kill me. Luckily for me it was. "Jacque!" Cheerise! I looked in her eyes as she hugged me, swishing the water in fishfood's bowl. "I thought you chickened out!" She said frightened with her hand close to her lips. I let out a smile seeing her pretty face and her blonde pig tails "oh no! I just took a nap and forgot about the time." I explained. She smiled but then tilted her head. "You brought your fish?" She asked confusingly. I nodded in embarrassment "It's better than what I wanted to take.." Fishfood greeted hello with a small glup noise and small bubbles going up from his mouth.
"So who else is here?" I asked. She walked back in to the house and I followed. Cheer replied back in a bored manner. "Everyone seemed to go in ahead before meeting up, but I did manage to see Pointdexter and Emone, other than that I think you were the last one to get here." I walked deeper in to the house and examined everything, it was really dark, I could see the outlines of the furniture thanks to the light from more pumpkins sheltered from that crazy wind earlier. "Oh that smart guy and depressive dude? They'll be running quicker than everyone else." I continued surveying what ever pointed my interest, seeing broken furniture and blankets covering them. Then they're was a tone that surprised me in what Cheer said. "Actually..Dramatica had left already, but I never saw him leave the door." "Really?" I questioned "Yeah, I stayed in the main room while everyone explored" I scoffed "Those idiots." As I grabbed one plate off a table to look at. Nice China. "Well at least they didn't take their fish with them." I dropped the plate I was holding seeing it shatter on the floor. "Right.." I softly said.
I turned back to Cheerise seeing her eyes sparkle from the Jack-o-lanterns light. "Do you know anyone else is here?" As I walked closer to her. She looked back at me and came closer as well. "I saw Fonzie and Happy too!" I laughed "haha Fonzie probably thinks he'll be okay with his switch blade, and happy with his weed" Cheer giggled and replied "Right?" It felt like time had stopped, everything just went quiet. No wind, noise, nothing. We both looked in our eyes and we were just inches from each other. Was this it? Cheerise took two fingers licked them and pinch the candle in the lantern out, and everything went dark. This was it, the day I was going to be a man, I'm going to kiss Cheerise! As our lips were about to touch, a loud bang came from another room that made us jump. "Fonzie! What are you doing?!" A voice came from the same room, and so did another. "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM YOU HIPPY DEVIL!"
What the hell is happening? More bangs came from them that sounded like someone had taken Fonzie's comb. I walked towards the door, and felt someone's skin touch mine. It made it crawl for a second but became warm. I looked back to see it Cheer holding on to my arm scared. "Come on" I smiled "Nothing bad is going to happen." She nodded and we walked to the door the bangs we're coming from. After we opened the door, we saw Fonzie and Happy on separate sides of the room. I hugged my fish bowl against my body and awkwardly said "what's..goin' on?"
I looked at Happy, after he swept his hair across his eyes he terrifyingly said "l-look inside the pumpkin!" He then shuttered and looked away after he pointed at the gourd, but this time instead of orange glow, it was more red, darker, and it had these dark streaks from the holes that were carved in. I walked toward the pumpkin and noticed that Fonz had given me a mad dog stare. I smiled softly, and then took my attention to what was inside. I tipped toed over to get a better look, and was inside was flesh. Human flesh, organs, all slashed and cut open. With a candle made from an eye ball pierced through some organ. What bothered me the most was that there was a hand in there with its palm facing us. It had something engraved in those palm lines things. It read. "Dramatica". I covered my mouth. "Is that?" I asked. Fonzie said in cracked voice. "Y-yea."
"What's in it?!" Cheerise exclaimed. I took the the top cover stem thing and put it back on the pumpkin, and grievingly said. "You don't want to know." A few seconds later the light inside the pumpkin had somehow went out, and everything became pitch black. The winds I felt earlier howled louder and for longer. "WHAT THE HELL?!" Some one yelled, and a scream had shattered my ear drum. Nails on a chalk board eat your heart out. That really hurt. The winds softly became gentle before they came to a stop. "Is everyone okay?" I asked. "Yeah" Cheerise replied "Sorry for the scream.." Then followed by Fonz and Happy. "I'm good." "Like Zoinks! What was that?"
I grunted and moaned. "Seriously? At a time like this Happy?!" "Sorry, I always wanted to say that". Then somehow light emerged from behind me near where Happy was at. Then there were two uve' the same dreaded lights. "Were those two always there?" I asked. "N-no-no!" Horror shocked from Happy. I ran towards the two pumpkins and inside them were. "Dexter" and "Emone". Tears erupted from my voice as I held my fishbowl tighter. "Who is doing this?!" I yelled. Who would kill just innocent kids?! I turned to Happy, grabbed him by the shoulders and pinned him against the wall. I frantically said. "YOU MUST HAVE SEE SOMETHING! YOU'RE HIGH EVERYDAY YOU HAVE TO HAD SEEN SOMETHING!" I kept on shaking his body to answer, happy was in tears, he was braking down. Happy was. Sad.
A high pitched scream was pitched out again, I turned around and saw Fonzie. Stabbing Cheerise, slitting her throat. His face had this giant, devious grin and eyes were stained with red with tears falling down his cheeks. He started cackling like a lunatic, murmuring jinberish that sounded so off put it felt like those times when your blanket can't reach to your feet, no matter how hard you try you couldn't keep your blanket there. He started laughing louder and screamed out. "HAHAHA YOU IDIOTS CANT KILL ME NOW! I KNOW IT WAS ONE OF YOU WHO KILLED EVERYONE AND YOU'RE NOT GONNA GET ME! HAHA"
Fonzie was in a different world. I don't we can get him back. I don't know what rushed through my body, but I took my self and tackled Fonz with all my force that was probably enough to push a full grown Buffalo. He tried having his switch blade slice my arms but I held them tight enough to where he can't re-angle his wrist. "Stop! It wasn't us! Get that through your greasy head of yours!" I cried out. But it was to no avail. "HAHAHA YOU CAN'T KILL ME, AND I WON'T LET YOU! BUT I WILL!"
Then like that, he flipped the edge of his switch blade and let go of his pressure against me and sliced his own throat. His blood seeping through his hands and on to mine, some of the red liquid spewed out from the adrenaline, squirting on my face. "I killed him. No! No! No! It wasn't me! It was his fault!" I cried. Tears went down my cheeks, mixing in with his blood and dripping down back on to him. "I'm sorry Fonzie." I uttered.
I took a breath through my nose, and smelt something. It was smoke. I know it was smoke, and I heard the crackles from a fire. I turned around and saw that it was happy. Who had set fire to the room. "What are you doing happy!?" He started rubbing his eyes, before sobbing once more. "I'm sorry Jacque, I can't handle this." He then took his lighter and lit a joint, and consumed it in his mouth. Choking him self in the process. I legged it to him, trying to force the joint out of his system but it was to late, and everything around me was on fire. I need water, where can I get—FISH FOOD! I turned around to the table where I set him on, but he was missing. Where was he? Where did he go?! He couldn't of moved by himself! I gotta try and barge the door down, but just as soon I got close to the door, a beam from the ceiling fell and blocked the way. I guess this was it.
There was no way out. I started bursting out in tears. Why did it have to happen like this, this was supposed to be a contest of bravery! Not survival! I guess, I did last the longest, but what did this matter. I walked back to the corpse of Fonzie, grabbed the switchblade, and wrote his name on the palm of his hand. Why was I doing this? I couldn't stop my self from doing so, it was like something was controlling me. I went towards Cheerise. Seeing her slitted neck, blood escaping out to the carpet, and went along and wrote her name as well. I walked back toward Happy, seeing his neck turning black from the fire from the joint he swallowed, and wrote his name on his palm.
Now I guess it was my turn, but a shriek noise came out, it was soft, but it got louder and louder, like if a kettle was boiling and it just kept on getting louder, I looked all around me to see the noise, but I felt like it was behind me. I looked over, but nothing was there. When I took a moment to take a breath. Something grabbed my shoulder, it felt like claws and it shredding through my skin. When i turned around, I saw it. It was!—
A few moments later.
In the other parts of the house, it was roaring in raging flames, but near where Jacque had dropped the China earlier. Was now where Fishfood and his bowl were. With horribly scratched writing on the floor Something odd was rather in there with him. It looked like the water had rather a rustic red tone to it, like blood. Fishfood was swimming around something, it was a hand, and on the hand written on the palm and floor was.
The sound of laughter and chatter filled the air as a few children in halloween costumes ran past her with smiles on their faces, and pumpkin lanterns held firmly in the grips of their hands. The pumpkin lanterns swaying and overflowing with candy as the kids ventured to house to house for candy in the streets of Brooklyn. Clary shook her head with a smile as she inhaled the sweet smell of autumn weather and looked at her friends that were with her and on patrol for demons and anything supernatural.
“Is that suppose to be a fairy?” Jace asked, a puzzled expression on his face.
“I don’t think Merlion would be caught dead in a sparkly dress with plastic wings attached in the back and a tiara on his head, waving a glittery wand around.” Alec said, shaking his head.
“At least the mundanes have a better sense of fashion taste.” Magnus stated, looping his arm around Alec’s and nibbling on a sucker. “The Fair Folk could learn a thing or two from them.”
“I’m sure their queen would be delighted to hear you insult their outdated clothes, or lack of them.” Jace said, grinning.
“Haven’t you guys ever went trick or treating?” Simon asked, gazing fondly at the candy and remembering what a tootsie roll once tasted like. “Clary and I would
do it every year. We’d go home and order a pizza, stuffing ourselves full of candy by the time the pizza arrived and we’d be sick from eating so much candy.”
"We’re shadow hunters, vampire. We hunt demons,” Jace rolled his eyes, “We don’t dress up in frilly costumes and try to goad people into giving us candy. We don’t celebrate mundane holidays except for Christmas.”
“Jace.” Clary scowled, giving him a frown. “It’s halloween. We’re suppose to be having fun. Mundane or not, we get candy for free and we can be whoever we want.”
“Yeah Jace, don’t ruin the moment.” Izzy laughed, kissing Simon on the cheek. “I think it’s great we get to dress up tonight.”
“You dress up all of the time, Iz.” Alec pointed out.
Clary hid her smile as she looked at Izzy dressed up in a red boa, a tutu and a headband with a red feather sticking out of it. Her whip remained coiled around the length of her right arm; the mark of runes standing out in the moonlight as she held onto an empty knapsack with a gleam of her eye full of wonder. Clary knew she was doing this for Simon.
“Magnus, be a dear for me, will you?” Izzy said, stalking forward and dragging Simon along with her by the hand. “We’re going to get some candy.”
Magnus winked. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
In an instant, Alec’s clothes were transformed into a glittery suit that could rival Michael Jackson and Madonna. A pair of shades covered his blue eyes full of shock. “Magnus!” He cried in dismay, staring down at himself.
“It could be worse,” Magnus whispered into his ear, “Could of given you a cat costume with tights to go with it.”
Alec’s cheeks turned a flaming red color. “Fine.”
“Looks like we’ll be the only ones patrolling tonight, Clary.” Jace said, eyeing the costume with distaste. When no response came, he could see she was lost in thought, and squeezed her hand in his. “Clary?”
Clary watched Simon leave with Isabelle. A pang of guilt contracted inside of her heart as she gazed after Simon. When Simon wasn’t looking, Izzy gave Clary a reassuring smile as they disappeared around the bend of the street. After the Mortal War against Valentine, she knew it was hard for Simon to live as a vampire and have to drink blood. She was the reason he was one and couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of mundane food like she did.
“Biscuit, they’re fine. Isabelle will take good care of him.” Magnus said softly, pinching her on the cheek. “Stop thinking morbid thoughts, or you’ll get wrinkles.”
“Wrinkles or not, she’s still Clary.” Jace said fondly, kissing her on the temple. “She’ll always look beautiful to me.”
“And that’s our cue to go.” Alec groaned. “Let’s get away from the lovebirds.”
Jace childishly stuck his tongue out at his parabatai. “Don’t wait up for us. We’ll handle the demons while the rest of you go make out in a corner.”
Alec huffed, walking stiffly away in his glittery outfit and hunched his shoulders against the bitter cold, insulting Jace underneath his breathe. When he realized his warlock wasn’t hurrying after him he turned around and folded his arms underneath his chest. “You coming, Magnus?”
“I’ll try not to let him get too drunk.” Magnus laughed, taking his time to join Alec’s side. “Try to have some fun tonight. Demons aren’t going to be easy to find with so many mundanes running amok.”
“I heard that!” Alec protested, giving Magnus a pout.
Instead of apologizing, Magnus kissed him right on the lip and the tension in Alec’s body faded away as he responded to the kiss; his hands gripping the locks of black hair causing Magnus to growl and the both of them disappeared in a blink of an eye. Had any mundane seen this any other time of the year, they would of had to answer to the Clave.
Jace shook his head then smiled down at Clary and offered her his hand. “Ready to get going and kill some demons? I don’t think you’re dying to eat some candy and dress up like Izzy, right?”
Clary gave him a smile. “Someone has to kill some demons. Afterwards, we can go to Taki’s?”
Jace pulled her in by the arm and kissed her lightly on the lips. “And this is why I love you.”
“Why do they say trick or treat?” Izzy asked, eyeing the kids holding up their bags eagerly.
The adults smiling down at them as they held out a bowl of candy to the youngsters dressed up as mummies, vampires, and wolves. The kids hurried away down the steps and darted to the next house where some teenagers stood stock still with chainsaws in their hands.
“Uh oh.” Simon mumbled, watching the chainsaws roar to life that it sent the kids screaming. Well, almost all of the kids. The kid dressed up as a werewolf bit his lip with a determined expression on his face as he walked past the teengers dressed up like Jason and rang the doorbell.
“Simon?” Izzy inquired, watching his eyes glow red for a brief moment before returning to their usual brown color and looked in the direction he was; spotting the kid getting his candy while trying not to wet himself in fear. “Cute. He reminds me of Jace. Nerves of steel.”
From here, Simon could hear the kid’s heart pounding with adrenaline and see the beads of cold sweat on the temple of his forehead. A pang of hunger made his stomach growl as he spotted the veins full of blood hidden beneath creamy skin that he turned away; hiding the revulsion and self loathing from Iz. The sweet, metallic smell of blood made his fangsthrob and prick the bottom of his lip with a vengeance, making him wince.
“Iz!” Simon protested, seeing her wrist was cut open with her blood delicately dripping down in lazy patterns and falling from her fingertips.
Iz placed her hand on her other hip and gave him a scowl. “I can’t have you eating the mundanes. It’s just a little blood, Simon, and it’s halloween. Nobody will think twice of what you’re doing.”
“I don’t want to drink the blood of my friends.” Simon whispered, “You’re not food, Iz. I can wait until I get home to eat something.”
“Is it because I’m not Jace?” Iz asked jokingly, “Do you need me to call him, so you can have some sexy time?”
Simon laughed and took hold of her hand in his, gently cupping it between his own. “It’s a little sexy, when I drink from Jace, but my feelings for you Isabelle Lightwood go beyond that.” Then with a grace of a vampire, he licked up every drop of her blood from her fingers to her hand to her wrist with care; applying a piece of fabric from his pocket to stop the bleeding until she used her steele to put a iratze on above her wrist.
A piercing scream broke the moment the two of them were having. Sharing a knowing look Izzy broke into a run with Simon following closely behind, the speed of vampire easily matching a shadow hunter. Their feet pounding against the cement, turning the corner did they see beneath a street lamp were some children huddled together in fright.
A foot away stood three real vampires, making Izzy’s eye’s narrow as her hand clutched her whip. One of the vampires held a mundane in an embrace, an arm wrapped around the boy’s torso while a hand kept the struggling boy’s head in place as he drank from the vein in his neck as the kids cried out in fear for their friend and the vamps laughed in mockery.
In a flash, Isabelle’s whip sung in the air as it wrapped around one of the vampire’s ankles and jerking his feet up from under him. Simon rushed forward with his fangs bare, taking the girl vamp by the shoulders and slinging a punch into her outraged face that had her stumbling back with a broken fang.
The vamp withdrew his fangs from the nearly dead boy’s artery and smiled; his fangs glittering with blood in the glow of the street lamp. Izzy and Simon faced him. “You’re interrupting our fun, Nephilim.”
“Drinking the blood of a mundane is against the Accords.” Isabelle declared, coiling her hip and moving into a battle stance. “The Clave frowns upon killing the innocent. Run back to your leader and you can live for another day.”
Simon could see the vamp’s buddies brush off their wounds to flank the leader of the group. “Iz.” He hissed in warning, waiting for one of the vampires to pounce. “They’re not going to listen. They’re rogue.”
“I know, Simon.” Isabelle replied, launching her whip forward that it sliced the vampire on the right in two.
“You’ll pay for this, Shadow Hunter!” Immediately the female vampire retaliated by launching herself out at Izzy with her hands outstretched to kill her. Simon flashed in front of Izzy, tackling the vampire in midair and hit the ground hard on his shoulder; keeping the baring fangs from ripping his neck apart as he rolled around on the ground with her.
“Simon!” Izzy cried out.
A knife had stuck itself into the female vampire’s back. In an instant, her body was consumed by fire from the holy blade that the female vampire screeched and cried out in pain as her body went still, Simon pushed her away and stood up, smiling at Izzy.
The leader of the two fallen vampires stepped back in fear and pointed at the two of them. “I will kill you. Both of you.” Then as if remembering Simon was a fellow vampire and downworlder, he snarled in disgust, “How can one of our own work alongside one of the angel’s children?”
“I’m not a murderer like you.” Simon said, as he silently thought, “yet.”
An arrow shot through in the dark, piercing the leader in the heart and making him double over in pain; hitting the ground on his knees as he went up in flames. “You’ll kill someone someday and have the Nephilim turn their backs on you.”
“Looks like we made it in time.”
Izzy hugged her brother Alec as Magnus handled the frighten children, erasing their memories of the horror they witnessed. Another pair of footsteps made their way to the scene of the crime. Clary and Jace felt sick in their stomachs but pushed it down, helping the kids pick up their fallen candy and whisper, “Things are alright now. Just a bad dream.”
“We better get these kids somewhere more safe, so they can get home and have their candy.” Magnus said, tugging Alec by the back of his collar, “And you need to put a iratze on the child that lost too much blood. My magic can only do so much.”
“Shouldn’t take long.” Isabelle smiled.
Simon sat on a bench as he watched Clary help the last of the kids home. Her gear was covered in black ichor from the demon she fought together with Jace. The fallen dead vampire’s words continued to haunt his mind as she was joined by Jace, speaking in hush tones. A hand grasped his shoulder, making him look up to see beautiful Isabelle holding a piece of candy at him.
“You did good today, Simon. I had fun trick or treating.” Izzy said, plopping down next to him, and relaxing against the bench.
Simon took hold of the kit-kat bar and broke it in half. “You know I can’t eat this, Iz.” Simon offered her the other half and carefully took a small bite out of his own.
“Vampires can only be nourished by blood as Raphael often reminds me.”
"Raphael needs to go lay in a ditch somewhere,” Izzy said with a smile, “You’re a Daylighter, Simon. There’s no telling what you can or can’t do.”
Simon gazed down at his hands, feeling his dead heart contract. “You really mean that?”
“Simon,” Izzy whispered, taking hold of his chin and kissed him on the lips, “I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”
A whirl of emotions surged up in his heart as he kissed Izzy back, her lips tasting of chocolate and blood that he couldn’t help to smile, because this was Izzy. His Izzy. The light in the dark that could make all the difference in being a vampire; reminding him he got the girl of his dreams, can still feel the sunlight on his face, and be with his friends he trusted his life with.
Speaking of friends, Clary, Jace, Magnus, and Alec approached the pair of them. “You guys done kissing yet? We’re hungry and want to go to Taki’s. You can suck face later.”
“We’re coming.” Simon said, letting himself be pulled up by Clary’s tiny friends. “You guys know I love you, right?”
“Of course, Simon.” Clary said with a smile, listening to the rest of the guys groaned in protest.
“We’re too manly to talk about our feelings. Can we please save the heartfelt confessions another day.” Jace asked, “And if you’re about to serenade us, please warn us before you do.”
“Sure,” Simon said, “because you know deep down you like it when I do.”
In the middle of it all, Clary and Isabelle smiled after their friends and thought, “This was the best Halloween day ever.”