This is my first Halloween special… Heck, my first special of anything, I think. Don’t judge too much if it is not to your liking. =3
‘And as soon as they did, the children in front of them started to change form,’ Ciel said, creepily lighting his face up with the lantern. ‘Their eyes turned bright purple, fangs came out of their mouth and they grabbed the poor girl, eating her alive! RAAAAH!’
He roared, drawing a startled squeal from Ceci and Tori, who were sitting closest to him. His other brother and sisters sat in a circle around Ciel, listening to his story.
Raven, the youngest of the lot, snorted. She had just transitioned into a child, and this was her first Halloween, but she was surprisingly skeptic for her age.
‘How can someone’s eyes go purple? That’s stupid! And only animals have fangs.’
‘Of course humans can’t have fangs,’ Tori said to her. ‘It’s just a story. But you shouldn’t ruin the vibe like that, Raven. Ciel’s finally telling stories.’
‘But it’s not real!’ Raven persisted. ‘It’s not real, so I don’t believe it.’
‘Oh, you bet it’s real,’ Ivan suddenly said, staring straight at Raven. ‘They’re real every year, just for Halloween… and they won’t be happy to hear you denying them. It’s kids like you that they come for at night…’
As soon as Ivan joined the conversation as well, the image of twin demon children suddenly became a lot scarier. Ceci gulped, briefly looking at the darkness behind her. They were safe in the living room, and yet… To make it even worse, a chilly wind had started to howl around the house.
Suddenly, the nearest door opened. No one had expected that, and they all jumped in the air, looking to their right with frightened faces. But it was just Micah – their mother.
‘You’re still telling stories?’ she said, with a disapproving tone in her voice. ‘Do you have any idea what time it is? To bed, all of you!’
‘But it’s Halloween-‘
‘Not until tomorrow, young man,’ she interrupted Ciel. ‘Tomorrow you can dress up and go trick-or-treating outside until dawn. But tonight, you all still have a bedtime. Especially you, Raven. Off with you, now!’
Tori and Ivan let out a few more protests, but Micah’s face was unforgiving. With angry mumblings, her children scuffled off into their own respective bedrooms. Raven’s new bed had just arrived, and until her own space was ready, it had been placed in between Tori’s and Ceci’s, briefly placing their desks in the storage room.
Still sulking, Raven changed into her pajamas. She crawled unto her bed, raising a single eyebrow as Ceci came into the room as well and stopped next to her bedside, quickly checking the dark space underneath.
‘Sis? What are you doing?’
‘Just making sure,’ Ceci answered, with a slight blush on her cheeks. ‘Don’t you dare say a word to Ciel, Raven. I’ll kick you out of the room and let you sleep on the couch.’
‘Tell him what? That you’re checking for monsters under your bed?’
Raven smirked, looking away from her sister. Even though she was the oldest, Ceci remained the scaridy cat of the lot. A bad horror story alone was enough to make her afraid at night. In a way, she was more of a kid then Raven, the black-haired girl thought. She puffed up her chest, proud of the fact that she was the youngest and not afraid of anything. The next moment, Micah’s head appeared around the corner of their bedroom.
‘Under the blankets, you,’ she commanded, but with a much softer voice than before. Raven quickly obeyed. She drew out the blanket from under her, shoving her legs underneath.
‘Good night, mum.’
‘Good night, my dears,’ she smiled, as Tori too entered the room in her pajamas. The second-oldest coursed straight for her bed, mumbling a short “night” to her sisters. As soon as all three of them were tucked in, Micah turned off the lights.
It took Raven a while to fall asleep. Slowly she turned to the window, her eyes wide open. It was almost a full moon tonight. Tomorrow night it would be completely round, and she could scare Ceci with stories about werewolves. The thought alone made a smile appear on her face. Staring at the moon, Raven could feel herself getting drowsy. She allowed her eyes to fall shut, soon drifting off to dreamland.
…Rise and shine, little shorty…
Raven was the first to awaken to those words. She grunted, turning her head in order to get more comfortable against her pillow. But the substance behind her was rock-hard, and slowly, she realized that she was sitting against something. And it was definitely not her bedside. With another groan, Raven opened her eyes.
She was outside… in a place that she’d never been to before. And she wasn’t alone. Around her, in a rough circle, four other children lay. They all seemed to be of the same age, and all of them were still unconscious. There was something… familiar about them. Looking at their faces made Raven’s head tingle… as if she was supposed to know them somehow.
‘Hey,’ she mumbled, shaking the shoulder of the boy lying closest to her. ‘Wake up.’
Groaning, he started to move. Raven moved on to the girl behind him, and the one next to her. She… knew these faces… Raven was sure of it.
When she reached the curly-haired girl, though, her eyes were already open. Startled and confused, she looked right at Raven. And as soon as their eyes made contact, Raven suddenly knew her name.
‘Raven?’ Micah whispered, slowly picking herself up from the floor. ‘You’re… here? How… how can you be here?’
‘That’s my line,’ the only boy in the group said, frowning at the both of them. Chase. His name… was Chase. ‘How the hell’d I get here? Did you guys take me? Who áre you? And how the fudge do I know your names?’
The white, blond-haired girl- Cathy , looked at us with big, round eyes. An eye color that repeated itself on three other faces in the group. The tingling in Raven’s head got worse, and she knew that the answer was lying at the tip of her tongue. Cathy’s… daughter… and granddaughter?
‘Guys,’ Raven whispered softly. ‘I… I think we’re related…’
‘Oh, you’ve finally figured it out?’ A strange voice sounded behind them, instantly giving Raven the chills. All five children rapidly spun around, looking for the source-
There. Right on top of the wall. Resting her arms on the leafy stone was a little girl, with golden locks and bright, pale blue eyes. Maybe it was because of the lantern next to her, but her skin seemed to be glowing… With a content smile, she looked down on the lot of them.
‘Well, that took you long enough!’ the girl giggled, aiming her bright blue eyes at Raven.
‘Who are you?!’ Chase yelled, snapping at her. ‘Did you take us here? What do you want?!’
‘To play,’ another voice sounded, from the wall right opposite of the one with the girl. Raven could have sworn that there had been nothing there three seconds ago. But now a boy sat on top of the wall, swaying his pale legs back and forth rhythmically. His face was almost identical to that of the girl, save for the pumpkin on his face. There was a single, paper crown resting on top his head, the one that – Chase realized with a shock – was identical to the one that had been resting on hís head on his milestone birthday.
The next moment, both of them jumped down the stone wall. They moved faster than both Raven and Chase could follow with their eyes and before any of them could blink, they’d closed in on Natalia. The girl visibly shrunk when she noticed that their attention was aimed at her.
‘Don’t be scared,’ the golden-haired boy sung. ‘We just want to play with you. We can only play once a year, you know. And only with the people that she sends us. But there’s so many of you this year! We’re really happy to have this many of you, you know.’
‘Play with us,’ the girl chimed in. ‘Just for tonight. You’ll all love it, we promise. You won’t let us be lonely on Halloween… will you, Natalia?’
For a girl for whom the word “lonely” had been a daily thing for years, a plea like that was impossible to resist. She backed away from the two and hid her hands behind her back, but not without a smile on her face. The golden-haired girl’s glow reflected in Natalia’s eyes when she shyly opened her mouth.
‘Where… do you want to play?’
The grins on their faces got wider at the exact same moment, something that gave Chase the creeps. Something was off about these two. Something was… wrong. The next moment, however, he completely forgot about that thought as the scenery in front of him sunk in.
It was a playground.
But not just any playground. A path lead straight up to the center of the room, and along the path were more toys and Halloween decorations than any of the children could take in at once. Colorful orange Halloween sheets lay across the many tables and Raven could spot a mini ice cone machine next to a plush toy slot, a dozen arcade games, festival events that she had never been able to try before- it was all there. Everything that the five children could dream of.
‘That’s… all for us?’ Micah said, her eyes wide and sparkling with anticipation. The pale twins nodded, their smiles still very large on their faces.
‘Of course… if you want to play. We’ve got lots more, too. Will you play with us, Micah?’
‘Yeah!’ she said, completely enthralled by the scene in front of her. She grabbed Natalia and Cathy by their wrists, enthusiastically dragging them along with her.
‘Come on! This is amazing!’
The three of them ran along, accompanied by the pale boy. Raven and Chase weren’t as eager as them. They stayed behind, frowning at each other. Both of them had troubles focusing their thoughts. The sparkles and excitement ahead kept getting in the way, insisting on being the only thing on their mind.
‘Where… are we?’ Raven finally muttered, after an insane amount of effort. Chase slowly shook his head, not knowing the answer.
‘This… is this real?’
The smile abruptly disappeared from the pale girl’s face, and she walked over to the two. Grabbing their shoulders, she spoke to them.
‘Don’t worry about the little things. Play with us, please…’
She stared straight into Raven’s eyes, and suddenly all her previous worry was gone. Raven was captured by those blue eyes, automatically returning the grin that had reappeared on the girl’s face. Her head fell into a deep, thick fog, clearing out all other thoughts but the want to play. The girl let Raven go, whispering to Chase instead as Raven staggered over to the playground.
From that moment onward, everything turned into a blur. Time came to a standstill as the world around the five children slowly disappeared, leaving only the clearing with all the toys to play with. It filled their every thought, and any step they took led them to a new arcade game, a new toy, a new piece of candy. The glowing twins were never far away. The more the children indulged themselves in their playing, the wider their smiles got.
‘Get them! Get them!’ Chase cheered the girls on, as they tried their hardest to grab apples from the water with their teeth. Cathy was on a winning streak; she’d already fished out one, where the other were still gobbling up water.
‘This is fun, isn’t it?’ the boy next to Chase sung. ‘More fun than anything else, isn’t it?’
‘Yeah!’ Chase replied enthusiastically, his eyes fixed on the game in front of him. His heart was beating fast with excitement. The pale boy beamed at his answer, moving closer to him and opening his mouth again.
‘Then stay with us.’
‘Of course I… wait…’
Somewhere in the back of Chase’s head, a tiny alarm started to ring. A chill ran down his spine, and he quickly caught himself before he could finish that sentence.
Just what were they doing here?
His head was… in a fog. He couldn’t think. The urge to say yes to the boy was so strong that Chase had to bite his lip to keep the words from coming out. He tasted blood; the sharp pain briefly brought him back to reality.
‘Uuuuughhhhhh,’ Chase moaned, placing his hands on his face after roughly shaking his head a few times. The fog in his head became a little clearer. He looked at the group in front of him again, trying his hardest to focus his mind.
‘What… what are we doing… here?’
The pale boy immediately moved away from him, and next to Natalia. The smiles on their faces seemed… wrong, somehow. There was something not right about them, about all of this. But… why? And why couldn’t he think straight?
‘Guys, don’t… don’t eat those…’
‘They’re tasty,’ the pale girl smiled at Raven and Cathy, who both managed to sink their teeth into one and proudly held up their prize. ‘Take a bite…’
‘Guys, stop, no-‘
Chase’s words were lost as the glowing twins led Micah, Cathy and Natalia away from the apple booth and to the nearest table. The three girls cheered, their eyes filled with the twins’ radiance. They could no longer look at anything else. As he looked upon them, Chase could feel the fog in his own head getting thicker and thicker. Soon he wouldn’t be able to look away anymore-
A sharp tug at his sleeve drew him away from the two. Raven was standing next to him, her eyes barely focused. As they stared at each other, Chase could see a tiny spark reappear in her eyes.
‘Chase… it’s not… good,’ she muttered, her face changing into a frightened expression. ‘This is… not right… I can’t see anything outside.’
That caught him off-guard. Chase slowly moved his gaze towards the edge of the lot, where the outside world was supposed to be. But no matter how much he squinted his eyes, he couldn’t see anything but darkness. No stars. No streetlights. Nothing.
Were they in a dream?
No, that couldn’t be it. But then what was going on?
‘We have to get out,’ Raven whispered, her gaze suddenly razor sharp. She stared straight into her future son’s eyes, lifting the last bits of slowness that their time here had cast them into. ‘We can’t stay. I don’t know why, but… something bad is going to happen if we don’t leave.’
‘I feel it, too,’ Chase whispered. ‘They’re… keeping us here. We have to get out, before-‘
‘Stay,’ the pale girl’s voice sounded, directed at the three children in front of her. Just that one word made both Raven’s and Chase’s heart rate pick up, and a second chill ran down their spine. The glowing boy chimed in right away, spreading his arms out wide.
‘Say you’ll stay with us,’ he whispered, his eyes staring straight into Natalia’s. A horrible feeling of dread overcame both Raven and Chase and they dashed towards the group as fast as they could, but before they reached the child, Natalia had already opened her mouth.
Time came to a standstill. For two incredibly long heartbeats, absolutely nothing moved. The colourful Halloween lights and sparkles vanished, leaving nothing but a creeping darkness. Natalia’s grin disappeared from her face, simultaneously with Cathy and Micah’s. The next moment, a ream of flames shot up just behind the table, once again showing the twins.
But they were different. Their blue, playful eyes had changed shape and turned into a sickly purple, something that made all of Raven’s senses scream out at her. Long, sharp black nails rapidly grew out of their fingers, and when the girl spoke, it was with a devilish voice that made everyone flinch.
‘Did you hear that, Veros?’
‘The children want to stay.’
A high-pitched, unearthly giggle came out of her mouth. Micah’s eyes grew twice as large as normal and the scuffled backwards, trying to get away from the couple.
The boy soon chimed in, revealing rows full of sharp teeth. The look in his eyes was something that Raven only knew one word for – bloodlust.
‘They’ll stay, they’ll stay! We’ll keep them!’
All of them were completely back to their senses by now. Cathy and Natalia staggered backwards, holding on to each other as their mouths fell open in silent expressions of fear. Micah and Raven just stared, frozen in place, with their eyes fixed on the creatures in front of them.
‘It’s…late,’ Chase muttered, grabbing the side of Raven’s vest. ‘We’ll just… go now…’
‘Oh, but you’re not going anywhere,’ the girl chuckled. ‘Your playtime’s over-’ Her eyes glowed bright purple, at the same moment that another ream of fire rose up from the ground. The sight of it was so horrifying that Natalia and Micah started to scream-
‘And now it’s OUR turn!’
With another devilish laugh, the twins started to climb down from the table. Micah was the first one to regain her senses. She staggered backwards, away from their reach, but Cathy and Natalia seemed completely frozen in place. They stared, cowering in fear as the two came closer and closer-
‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! RUN!’
Simultaneously, Chase and Raven each grabbed one arm. They almost pulled their childlike ancestors on the ground as they yanked them away from the claws, dashing after Micah for a way out.
‘DON’T STOP!’ Micah screamed, leading the group. ‘WHERE’S THE WAY OUT?!’
One by one, the toys and machines that they had played with went up in flames. The heat from the fire followed them, chased them down throughout the playground. And nowhere, there was a way out. The flames passed them by as they ran around in a loop, ending up right in front of-
‘You’re not going anywhere,’ the girl said. She stepped out of the flames, cutting them off at the same moment that the boy appeared behind them.
‘You’re not running from our party, are you?’ he growled, with a truly demonic look in his eyes.
It happened before anyone could blink. The boy dashed forward, gripping his fingers into Raven’s black locks and pulling her back by the head. Raven screamed and kicked, but he was too strong. She was dragged away from the others and pushed to the ground. Chase tried to reach her, but a single slash from the girl sent him crashing down as well, with a bleeding shoulder.
‘No! RAVEN!’ Micah screamed.
‘I’m going to enjoy you,’ the girl laughed. She slowly crept closer and closer. Raven wiggled around as hard as she could, but the boy behind her had her in an iron grip. She was forced to watch helplessly as the girl stopped within inches from her-
Before buying her claws straight into her stomach.
With a jolt, Raven shot up from her pillow. She was completely out of breath and her legs were inches from falling out of bed. With sharp, pained gasps, she breathed in and out. It took her almost twenty seconds to figure out where she was- at home, in her sisters’ bedroom…
‘Ngghh… Raven?’ Tori mumbled from the bed behind her. She opened her eyes a little, still half asleep. ‘What are you doing?’
‘The twins! They’re real! They cut… they cut…!’
‘Go back to sleep. There’s nothing here, silly.’
‘There… there’s not?’
With a still groggy head, Raven looked around. Everything was normal. She was still in her pyjamas, and the wounds from the twins’ claws were nowhere in sight. Cold sweat was pouring down Raven’s back, but other than that there was nothing – nothing – that showed that anything had happened that night.
…So it really had been a dream.
Completely drained of energy, Raven looked back at the ground. There had been other children in the dream with her… Familiar children.
But what were their names again?
She couldn’t remember.
Raven sighed and lied back down on her pillow, pulling her blanket over her. It had just been a dream. Nothing more. And tomorrow, the real Halloween would begin. She’d dress up as a vampire. Ivan and Ciel had teased her for dressing up as something that didn’t exist… but she still wanted to.
With another sigh, Raven closed her eyes again.
Everything was all right. But she was sure of one thing.
She would never éver listen to one of Ciel’s horror stories again.