Charmed: Part 7 of 11, A Disney-Like Halloween Story (Without the Singing)

Chapter 7

Cinnamon sat quietly on Jessica’s shoulder until they came to a place where the forest began to thin. The path they walked on petered out as the ways opened up and the forest kindly let them walk around any number of trees. Jake looked back, curious. There was no sign of the wall or the cemetery and he wondered how it might have vanished so instantly and completely. Jessica did not notice. Cinnamon began to talk quietly in her ear.

“Are you and Jake loving each other?” Jessica looked. Jake had his hand on the cutlass, to keep it from swinging wildly in the woods. He kept looking all around, a wise precaution since this place was so full of surprises.hween cinnamon 6

“I don’t know,” Jessica said. “We might be. We could be, I think, but it is complicated.”

“Why is it complicated? That is a big word so it must be a big reason.”

“Not really complicated. I had a boyfriend before. But Jake is different. I don’t know. I think he is real nice, but I don’t know what he thinks. He hardly talks to me, and I don’t know what to say to him, either. I don’t know what to think?”

“That’s the problem. You are using your thinker instead of your thumper.”

“What do you mean?”

“For fairies it is easy. We don’t have room in our little brains for all of that foolish human stuff. When a fairy likes another fairy, she simply says, “I am liking you.” Then he says, “I am liking you, too,” and they become friends. When a fairy falls in love, she goes right up to him and says, “I am loving you,” and he says, “I am loving you too,” and they become lovers.

“But what if he isn’t loving her?”

“That is very sad, and the fairy goes away and cries, sometimes for a whole day, before she can have fun again.” Cinnamon adjusted her seat to whisper very soft. “When a fairy truly falls in love, she says, “You are my heart.” That is when the thumper takes over and the thinker can’t think of anything or anyone else. And if she is his heart, they become a family.”

hween night forest 2“That sounds so simple.”

“Why shouldn’t it be simple?”

“But what if she isn’t his heart?”

“Very saddest of all. We don’t like to think about that. But then, when a fairy says someone is her heart, it can be a father or mother or sister or brother or best friend forever, so it means lots of things.”

“I wish people were that easy. Human people, I mean.”

“Aha!” Cinnamon jumped up and Jessica felt the breeze from the fairy’s wings. They tickled her ear. “I know where Greely Putterwig lives from here.” She got excited, lifted into the air and spun around several times until she almost made herself dizzy.

Jessica looked where Jake was looking. A lovely cottage sat some ways off, down in a hollow in the woods. It had a warm and cozy glow about it in the night, and smoke rising from the chimney. There appeared to be roses out front, and a stone walkway that ended at the front door. Cinnamon ruined the lovely vision with what she said.

“The witch’s house. Wait here this time. I’ll be right back.” The fairy flitted off, again with such speed neither Jake not Jessica had a chance to protest.

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Jake looked at Jessica and she smiled. He did not know what to say. “Some Halloween, huh?” It sounded stupid to his ears.

“I know.” Jessica took it well. “A real fairy.”

“And goblins.” He could go with this for a while.

“Real Pirates.” She pointed to the cutlass.

“Zombie Pirates,” he corrected her.

“And Indians.”

“And skeletons.”

“Oh, and an ogre.”

“And a real live ghost.”

“A real dead ghost,” Jessica offered a correction. “I feel sorry for Thackery.”hween spider 1

Jake nodded in agreement, but then he ran out of things to say. Jessica merely looked at him until he felt a little uncomfortable. He looked away, and this time, it was his turn to scream first. Jessica turned from her own thoughts to join him in the scream. Spiders came over the horizon. They looked big, at least two feet long not counting the eight hairy legs. There appeared to be plenty of them. Jake and Jessica got surrounded.

Jake carefully pulled out the cutlass, though he almost cut himself. “Put your back to the tree,” he yelled. Jessica just screamed again. Jake began to swing the cutlass, wildly. The spiders did not care or seem to notice until the one in the lead got cut through the head. Blood and guts squirted, and then dribbled out.

“Over here,” Jessica yelled and Jake went to stand in front of her, while the spiders slipped into the long, moon-made shadows of the trees. They could hear the click-click of their jaws all around. Jake cut two more when they came close, but there were too many of them.

Jessica felt something drip on her shoulder and looked up. She screamed again. One hovered in the tree, over their heads, and drooled. Jake could not reach it with the cutlass. Jessica tore off her orange hween spider 2vest and tried to slap it out of the tree, She could not reach it either, but a green light came from just down in the hallow. It struck the spider, and the spider fell to the side, rolled to its back and curled up dead. Jessica screamed again before they heard a woman’s voice.

“I heard ye the first time.” The woman sounded annoyed. She had gray hair, looked a bit plump from age, and lifted her plain brown dress and apron as she struggled up the hill. She had a stick of some sort in her hand, and the green light was emanating from the stick. Three more spiders got zapped, like with green lightning, and the spiders decided to retreat. When the old woman came to stand in front of Jake and Jessica, she took a deep breath, like she was winded from the climb. Then she raised her arms and shouted something unintelligible. The green light formed in a circle around the three of them and their tree before it shot out like a wave made by a pebble in a still pond. No telling how many spiders suddenly keeled over and curled up.

“Okay. They won’t be back this Halloween night, but you don’t belong out here. You better come inside.” Neither Jake nor Jessica had to say “this is the witch from the cottage.” The circumstantial evidence made that crystal clear. Jake tried to wipe the cutlass clean and put it back in his belt. Jessica ventured a small question.

“Your house wouldn’t happen to be made of gingerbread, would it?”hween cat 2

The witch laughed, a healthy human laugh and not the cackle they expected. What is more, the witch showed a kind little twinkle in her eyes that helped them relax. “Wrong season for gingerbread.” The witch almost stumbled on a root, but Jessica reached out to steady the old woman. “My name is Mary,” the witch said.

“I’m Jessica and that is Jake.”

“Don’t tell me, you are following a little girl named Elizabeth.”

“My sister,” Jake perked up. “Do you know where she is?”

“Up on the mountainside with Greely Putterwig, the hobgob. Don’t worry, she should probably be just fine. I’ll take you there, but after I catch my breath if you don’t mind.”

“Are you psychic?” Jessica wondered how the witch knew all this.

“No. Tom the cat came by and told me. Please, come in and have some tea. I don’t do much magic these days, at my age. It takes so much out of you.”

hween jack 1Jessica caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. It was a perfectly black cat, sitting on the lawn, washing a paw. Jake had his eyes focused on the jack-o-lantern on the front stoop. He was just admiring the intricately, beautifully carved features of a very frightening goblin-like face when the face moved.

“Boo!” The pumpkin face crossed its eyes and stuck its tongue out. Jake, and Jessica, attracted by the movement, both let out a shriek. “Did I scare ya?” the pumpkin asked. Jake and Jessica nodded. “Good, cause the old witch put me here to guard the front door, but if I had a body I could guard it so much BETTER.”hween Jack 3

“Oh, Jack. You are just fine the way you are,” the witch said with a kind smile as she opened the thick oak door,. The inside of the house let out a warm light and inviting smell. “Come in,” she said. “Chamomile tea I think for this time of night,” and the entered the house, together.

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Charmed is either a very small book or a long story offered in eleven parts over this October, 2015, leading up to Halloween. The posts will be put up on the blog on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5, 6 and 7; 12, 13, and 14; 19, 20, and 21; 26, 27, and an extra note on the 28th. If you miss a post, or want to go back to the beginning, they are easy enough to find. Just click on the archives and hween scarecrow 2select October 2015. Charmed is the only posting for the month … So after the 28th, I say to you all, Happy Halloween, you know, like scarecrows coming to life.

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Charmed: Part 6 of 11, A Disney-Like Halloween Story (Without the Singing)

Chapter 6

Greely Putterwig hushed Elizabeth. Elizabeth hushed but looked up in the old man’s face and wondered what she was hushing for. They were once again among the trees, but this was more of a mixed forest of deciduous trees, firs and pines. The trees were more spaced over the land than in the old growth forest, and the ground cover remained minimal. It was like the old forest was thinning out. It became a pleasant walk up and down little hills, rises in the ground, where the golden moonlight and innumerable stars were able to keep the world bright. Elizabeth thought that even the shadows were not too bad, as long as the shadows did not move.hween cottage 4

When they came to the top of a little rise, they looked down into the next dip in the land and saw a quaint cottage nestled among the trees. with roses out front and a vegetable garden in the back. Elizabeth saw pumpkins growing, and squash, and she was not sure what else. The cottage looked lit, and smoke billowed from the chimney which gave the whole picture a very warm and inviting glow. Elizabeth very much wanted to go there, and tugged on Mister Putterwig’s hand, but the old man said no.

“That home belongs to a terrible, wicked witch,” Mister Putterwig whispered. “Mary Procter has lived here for about three hundred and fifty years. Her father, John Procter and his third wife, Elizabeth were condemned in old Salem Town for witchery, though there was no witchery in them. It was Mary, daughter of Proctor’s second wife that was the witch. She escaped to the wilds of New Hampshire when she was twenty three, but the people were after her, and would have caught her if she had not come here.” Mister Putterwig stopped babbling and wondered why Mary Procter should even matter to him.

Elizabeth tugged again to go toward the cottage, but Mister Putterwig was adamant. “We can’t go there If we do, she will take you away,” and he took her up the next rise in the land.

It was not much further befohween greely 2re it became evident that the thinning forest was because the ground was becoming too rocky for the trees. They were generally and gradually going uphill by then, like they were coming to high ground, and after a short way, Elizabeth saw the big, dark mountain loom up before her and block all of the stars behind those heights.

“Where are we going?” Elizabeth yawned.

Mister Putterwig stopped at the top of a little hill. He waved his hand at the distance. “The eternal mountain. There is a great and craggy cliff, full of all sorts of interesting caves and tunnels. The dwarfs mine there and shape the iron into useful things. The goblins live deep in the recesses of the mountain where they work in metals, gold and jewels. The elves of the grove live not far up the way where they spin and weave the cloth that is shared all over Avalon. There are others who live in and around the mountain, but…” Mister Putterwig became quiet and they stopped walking. “Stay here,” he said.

“Wait. Don’t leave me, alone in the dark.” Elizabeth clutched at Mister Putterwig’s hand. She tried not to cry at the prospect of being left in the dark woods.

Mister Putterwig got down on one knee, then looked once around to be sure no one was watching. He reached out and gave Elizabeth a big hug and said, “Don’t worry, child. There is a light up ahead, and I want to be sure it isn’t dangerous. You are safe here. Can you count the stars? No? Well, why don’t you try. See how many you can count before I come right back. Okay?” He stood and walked backwards for several yards before he turned and scooted up a well worn path.Teti Bast 3

Elizabeth fretted, but turned her eyes to the infinite stars in the dark sky. She turned her back on the bright moon, which was full and seemed determined to stay big and low in the sky, a bright golden-orange globe with a smiling face. But she fretted, because overhead there were too many stars to count. She tried Jake’s counting method. “One, two, skip a few. Ninety-nine, a hundred.” It did not help. All it did was make her sad. She missed her brother. She missed her mom and dad. She had never been out so late in her life, or so far away from home. She felt afraid and imagined she would be in big trouble when she finally got home.

Elizabeth jumped. Something rustled in the leaves. Her eyes got big and focused on that one place, but she held her tongue and dared not move. She heard a soft “meow,” and a pitch black cat came out from the trees to sit out of reach in the moonlight. Elizabeth caught her breath and bent down with a smile. “Kitty, kitty,” she said and held out her hand. The cat came when invited. She got to pet the cat, and the cat purred and rubbed up against her leg. “You are a nice kitty. Do you live around here? My name is Elizabeth. I live a long way from here, and I don’t know the way home.”

The cat jumped back at the sound of a twig. It ran off when Mister Putterwig came into view. “It’s all right.” Mister Putterwig called before he arrived. “It was just Nuggets the dwarf going up to the upper clearing. He says they are having a Halloween party. I said we might come, but it is kind of late for little girls to be out at night.” He reached for Elizabeth’s hand, and she gave it, but not without a word.

hween elizabeth 4“I should be home. I miss my mom and dad. I miss my brother Jacob. I am getting sleepy.” She punctuated her words with a big yawn.

“Child,” Mister Putterwig said in his kindest voice. “I am taking you home. Soon, you will forget all about that other place, and you will stay with me and care for me in my old age, and I won’t have to be alone.”

“Home?” Elizabeth asked through another yawn. She said no more. She simply walked and began to climb the hill until Mister Putterwig stopped and looked up. Elizabeth heard it too, a high pitch squeak. Mister Putterwig made Elizabeth crouch down and he threw his body over hers. Elizabeth heard the squeaking and then the sharp flap of leathery wings. Mister Putterwig muttered something she did not want to hear.

“Vampire bats,” and the bats headed straight toward them. Putterwig, the hobgoblin, was able to put up a magical shield of force around himself and his little charge. The bats could not reach them, but Putterwig knew he could not hold out for long. The bats, and they were big, made leathery snapping sounds with their wings, and clicking sounds with their teeth and claws as they tried to get at the tasty morsels, full of fresh blood. They rammed into Putterwig’s shield over and over. Every time they struck, Putterwig let out a groan, like a man being punched in the stomach, and Elizabeth cried out, giving voice to her fear.hween bats 3

The bats circled round and round, looking for a way in until suddenly they flew off. Elizabeth heard a different sound, more like a deep screech than a high squeak. Mister Putterwig slowly looked around as he lifted his head. Elizabeth heard leathery wings that were much bigger than bat wings, and she hid her face once again in Mister Putterwig’s belly, afraid it might be a dragon.

One set of great wings landed nearby, and Elizabeth ventured a peek. The creature stood about three feet tall, with legs, and arms as well as wings, and the arms and legs ended in claws. It had two little horns on its head, and sharp, pointed ears to match its sharp pointed teeth, and it was all greenish-gray looking in the moonlight, and it talked.

hween pixieGreely, is this the tike? Don’t you know what the penalty is for stealing children? I pity you when Lady Alice finds out.”

“I don’t care. I don’t care.” Mister Putterwig shouted back and held tight to Elizabeth, like she was his protector rather than the other way around. “We used to always take the discarded little girls to raise in their own community until they were old enough.”

“Yeah, six thousand years ago, and only babies.”

“I don’t care. I am keeping Elizabeth. She is my friend.”

The creature shrugged, but said nothing more as it took to wing. Mister Putterwig started them walking again and muttered some more while they went. “What do pixies know? They live in caves and hunt bats to eat raw. I would not expect them to understand.” Elizabeth tugged on Mister Putterwig’s arm. “What?” He faced her and said it too loud and in much too rough a manner, which he immediately regretted. Elizabeth temporarily shrank back, but at last pulled up the courage to ask.

“Are we friends?”hween greely 8

Old Putterwig’s face almost broke. “Yes,” he said, without a doubt, and they walked, his face held high so the little girl could not see the tear that formed in the old man’s eye.

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Charmed is either a very, very small book or a long story offered in eleven parts over this October, 2015, leading up to Halloween. The posts will be put up on the blog on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 5, 6 and 7; 12, 13, and 14; 19, 20, and 21; 26, 27, and an extra note on the 28th. If you miss a post, or want to go back to the beginning, they are easy enough to find. Just click on the archives and select October 2015. Charmed is the only posting for the month … So after the 28th, I say to you all, Happy Halloween, you know, black cats and all that.

Teti Bast 4