The Sugar Quill
Author: purplequill  Story: Luna's Hallowe'en  Chapter: Default
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Little Timothy ambled along, trying his best to keep from tripping in his costume; the fur around his head was making him hot

Little Timothy ambled along, trying his best to keep from tripping in his costume; the fur around his head was making his face hot, while his fingers and toes were cold. His eyeholes were a bit small, so that he would sometimes stumble into things unseen, once hitting his foot painfully against a large rock along the side of the road.

 

But, none of that mattered. It was Halloween!

 

His favourite holiday of the year. Almost. Well, next to Christmas, anyway.

 

The moon was shining brightly, dried leaves were being carried by the breeze everywhere he went, a black cat had crossed his path and he was sure he’d heard an owl hooting ominously just a short time ago. Perfect!

 

And it had been a great haul this time, much better than last year’s. Timothy had been nervous initially, having moved here with his folks from Surrey only a few short months ago. He was thankful his face was completely obscured; it gave him some comfort when facing so many strangers on this night.

 

He felt he was on a roll; he’d hit several good houses in a row and was now walking with a lively spring in his step. His father, following a discreet distance behind him, had to walk briskly to keep up.

 

“Not too fast there, Timmy,” his father called out. “You’re going to trip again if you’re not careful.”

 

Grown-ups, Timothy thought.

 

He caught sight of a lonely old house up on a low rise in the distance, overlooking the village. A narrow, well-worn trail lead up to it, and although it was quite a distance from the main road, Timothy was having the time of his life and didn’t want the night to end.

 

So, abruptly, he turned left and made a beeline for the rustic dwelling that was set so far apart from its brightly lit brethren down below in the village.(Awesome line, I love it!)

 

“Timmy!” his father called out again. “Where are you going? That house is a good kilometre away, there are plenty right here – ”

 

“The far ones are the best!” Timothy called back eagerly, his stroll turning into a gleeful jog. “All the kids pass ‘em by, so they’ll have loads left!”

 

Timothy giggled as he could hear his Dad huffing along behind him.

 

He could make out sections of old wooden fences along the path, wondering why anyone would bother to build one and leave so many gaps in it. Didn’t make much sense to him; it couldn’t hold anything in or keep anything out.

 

Well, so long as they had lots of treats, that’s all that mattered.

 

He slowed to a walk as he neared the house, coming within sight of the rickety front porch.

 

Ow!” Timothy cried, hitting his foot against something hard, sending it tumbling through the flattened grass.

 

“You okay?” his Dad called out breathlessly from somewhere behind him.

 

“Yeah,” said Timothy, gazing at some sort of toy on the ground near his foot. At least, it looked like a toy; with only moonlight to see by, it was hard to tell. It looked to be some sort of sculpted wooden rabbit, though someone had stuck a long crooked stick right in the middle of its forehead.

 

Rabbits don’t have horns, he thought to himself. Some people are so stupid –

 

He climbed up on the porch, and began looking around for the front door. The darkness combined with the small eyeholes to limit his visibility, so that he walked along the porch a second time in case he’d missed it.

 

A third walkabout finally convinced him there was no door to be found here. What kind of stupid house is this, he wondered. He turned and looked back at his Dad, who had by then reached the front yard and was sitting on an old overturned tin bucket and catching his breath.

 

“There’s no door,” Timothy whined.

 

“Try...the sides...” Dad added helpfully in between heaving breaths.

 

Timothy clambered down the three creaky wooden steps and circled around to the left of the house, where he found not one, but two doors...and so close together that he wondered why anyone would bother building two.

 

He took a step closer when he was scared out of his wits by a sudden loud flapping sound just overhead.  He instinctively ducked and looked up, the moonlit sky silhouetting a dark bird that flew right through a small open window up on the second floor.

 

That’s an owl!! Timothy realized with glee. Oh that’s funny, they’re gonna find a big owl in their house –

 

He approached the two doors, and was about to ring the one at the right when he noticed, painted in big white letters, the word ‘OUT’. He glanced over at the door on the left, which was similarly labelled ‘IN’.

 

He hesitated. What did that mean? He didn’t want to go inside the house, but figured the one called ‘IN’ would be the best choice, since he did want the treats that were waiting inside, after all. He looked for the doorbell.

 

Oh, what kind of place is this, he told himself in frustration. He looked to the door on the right. No doorbell there, either.

 

I’m getting my treats, doorbell or not, he resolved as he rapped loudly on the left side door.

 

Silence ensued. Timothy knew there was someone home from the lights upstairs and the warm glow emanating from the windows overlooking the porch. He’d been about to knock again when the door opened with a long, ominous creak. At the same time, a sudden gust of wind picked up and blew some of his costume’s long tufts of fur across his eyes, blinding him momentarily.

 

When his eyeholes cleared of fur, he witnessed a girl standing in the open doorway. She was a few years older than he, though her large silver eyes and surprised expression gave her a very childlike appearance. She was wearing a black robe, brown carpet slippers and had a softly glowing stick tucked behind her left ear. Her right hand held a large magazine.

 

Her long dirty-blonde hair looked as though she’d just risen from bed, and for a moment Timothy felt a bit embarrassed, thinking he’d awoken her. But then he noticed she was in costume too, and was either about to go trick-or-treating herself or had just returned from it.

 

She was staring at him, her large, unblinking eyes making him shift uncomfortably...

 

“My hat,” said the girl softly. She tilted her head slightly to one side, a bit like Timothy’s puppy back home did when it was confused. “That’s odd...how did you sprout a body and wander off?”

 

Timothy blinked. What was she talking about? He’d never even seen this girl in his life. And he wasn’t wearing anyone’s hat, either.

 

“I’m the Lion King!” said Timothy proudly.

 

She stared at him blankly for several moments.

 

“I’m Simba!!” he said exasperatingly, pointing at his head.

 

“Oh...well...hello, Simba,” the girl said gently. “I didn’t know you had a name.”

 

Timothy gave a huge sigh of frustration. Hasn’t she seen the Lion King?!?

 

More staring. And she never blinks?!?

 

He quickly thrust his nearly full treat bag at her, pulling the opening wide in anticipation of another load of treats.

 

“Trick or Treat!” he announced.

 

She continued to stare at him even more intently than before, if that was possible. He was beginning to have serious regrets about coming to this house now...this girl was creepy...he’d have to ask the kids at school who lived in this place come morning.

 

She never even glanced at the bag, but only continued to stare at him, her strange silver eyes boring into his right through his eyeholes; he felt strangely naked before this girl, the lion’s head offering him no psychological shelter from her gaze...

 

“It’s Halloween!” he finally cried out.

 

Finally, she blinked. Once.

 

“Oh,” said the girl, seeming to come to a realization. “Of course, it is the thirty-first today, isn’t it? I’d quite forgotten since they’d closed the school for the week to decontamin – well anyway, I always relied on the Old Hallow’s Eve feast to remind me, you know. I suppose I really should keep better track of these things.”

 

What’s she talking about? thought Timothy. Can’t she just give me the treats??

 

Just then his eye was drawn to the softly glowing stick tucked behind her ear; the misty silver light it was giving off was quite mysterious yet pretty to look at.

 

“Is that a flashlight?” he asked, intrigued. “It’s cool!”

 

A pale hand slowly reached up and withdrew the stick from its perch. She glanced at it and then back at him, a curious look on her face, as though she’d been caught with one hand in the cookie jar.

 

“Oh...this...” she said carefully, “This is...”

 

She screwed up her face in thought, as though trying to recall something.

 

“DADDY!” She suddenly called out loudly, making Timothy jump, “WHAT DO WE CALL THE HICKORY THINGY AGAIN? THERE’S A MUGGLE AT THE DOOR.”

 

“ ‘Battery-operated’, honey,” a faint voice answered from somewhere inside the house.

 

The girl smiled knowingly.

 

“It’s battery-operated,” she repeated, nodding vigorously and unnecessarily pointing to the stick.

 

“Hey, what’s a Muggle?” Timothy asked, wondering if she was making fun of him. It sounds like something stupid...

 

The girl bit her lip as she gazed at him. Muggle? Well...a Muggle is...”

 

She clasped her hands behind her back, crossed one knee over her leg, and drew her large silver eyes skywards. She took a deep breath. “...is someone who disguises himself as a lion on Old Hallow’s Eve.”

 

Timothy was just a kid, but he got the distinct impression this girl wasn’t really telling him what a Muggle was. This strange girl was quite probably the worst liar he’d ever seen in his life, but by now he was more anxious just to collect his loot and make his escape. He thrust his bag out further.

 

“Trick or Treat!” he repeated, growing impatient.

 

She glanced down at his treasure trove, and a light of comprehension finally seemed to dawn within her. “Oh! Yes of course, the Muggles do have that Old Hallow’s Eve tradition, don’t they?”

 

Er...uh-huh...”

 

“And...I have to choose which, don’t I? Between the trick and the treat?” The girl asked very seriously.

 

“...okay...” Timothy fervently hoped she didn’t choose the trick, as no one ever had before, and he frankly hadn’t a clue as to what he was supposed to do in such a circumstance.

 

The strange girl appeared thoughtful for several moments. “Well,” she said finally, “I think I’ll choose the treat.”

 

With that, she peered cautiously inside his bag of loot and delicately fished out a mini-bag of Jelly Bellies.

 

“Oh, these are pretty,” said the girl dreamily, turning over the bag in her hand and looking at it from all sides. “I think I’ll share these with my friends at Hog – at school next week. You know, I think this Old Hallow’s Eve tradition of yours is actually quite nice. Not at all like the stories I’ve read. That’s so sweet of you! ”

 

He gaped at her. “Huh?”

 

The girl leaned over so that they were face to face, the moon reflected in her large silvery eyes only inches from his. “Actually,” she whispered conspirationally, “you really shouldn’t have worried. Just between us, I would never have pulled a trick on you. I’m rather aware of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of those, you know. Anyway, thank you so much!”

 

With that, she leaned close and planted a kiss on his furry forehead before giving him a dreamy smile and drifting back inside.

 

Timothy was left to stare at the large painted letters on the left side door. He turned to look plaintively at his father, who was still sitting on the bucket out in the yard.

 

But instead of hurrying over to Timothy’s rescue, he was doubled over and laughing raucously, arms held across his midsection.

 

I’m NOT coming back here next year! Timothy resolved in frustration.

 

 

//
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