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The pumpkins sang. The flickering lampposts cast the streets of Territum in a dull glow, but with the illumination of the bonfire within them, the residents could do without it. Vampires, princesses, and fairies flitted about, baskets swinging from their hands. Superheroes chatted idly with creepy clowns holding balloons, and skeletons warmed their bones by the satisfying heat.

All were dancing to the song of the night, smoke curling up toward the full moon like greedy claws to a pearl. Pirates and demons worked in tandem to keep the fire roaring. Bats and black cats mingled on the side, while jack-o-lanterns smiled on in barely-contained excitement. Little werewolves eagerly galloped through the fields, squealing and devouring candies from their bursting sacks. In the hollow of Territum, all was jubilant. The town celebrated in harmony.

On the verge of the festivities, a young witch felt a tug on her cloak. She peered under the wide brim of her hat, turning her attention to a small ghost at her side.

“Do you know where my mommy is?” it asked, in a small, scared voice.

Immediately, the witch took pity on the poor thing. It was covered in white, draped all the way to the ground, with two, tear-filled eyes that met hers.

“I haven’t, sweetheart,” she cooed, her long, black nails clenching her broomstick for balance as she stooped down to meet its gaze more evenly, “but I’d be happy to come look for her with you. What’s your name, little one? Where did you last see your mommy?”

“By the Jensen’s house.” The ghost sniffled, shifting anxiously. “I’m Liam.”

The witch paused. She didn’t recognize any of those names. “Sorry, dear, I don’t know them,” she said, her voice calm and kind, “but come—let’s search together.”

The specter nodded, and the witch straightened up. She didn’t offer it her hand, as the little ghost seemingly had none; but then, suddenly, from underneath the veil of white, a long, skinny, pale arm emerged and stretched toward her.

The witch screamed, and everything stopped. The music, now interrupted, screeched to a halt. Heads turned in all directions, trying to find the source of the commotion. The bats squeaked and flapped their wings, and the cats’ fur bristled in agitation. The ghost began to cry, and the sheet slipped from his head, fluttering like a useless tissue to the ground below.

Almost in unison, Territum gasped. The werewolf children howled in alarm. Zombies’ jaws dropped to the floor. Jack-o-lanterns’ chiseled grins shifted into little ‘o’s of surprise. All eyes were turned upon the sobbing child and the witch, who’d recoiled backward in shock.

After a few seconds of utter silence, the witch finally composed herself. She dropped her broomstick to the ground and knelt beside the child, taking him into her arms. “Oh, I’m so sorry, darling. We just don’t get many visitors like you here,” she murmured, stroking his hair as he whimpered and shook. “Everything’s perfectly alright; you’re just turned around, that’s all.”

She withdrew from his little body again, using her black cape to dry his blotchy, red eyes. “Would you like to join our party until your mother comes to fetch you, Liam?”

The child stared at the crowd, hesitating. The residents waited with bated breath.

When he gave a little nod, the group cheered and released. The werewolf children, eager to introduce themselves to a new friend, rushed forward to show him their games. The witch smiled as she watched his sad eyes brighten, his sheet forgotten as he was dragged into the fun. The party continued itself, and the bonfire burst back to life. The pumpkins resumed their song.



Written by SpiritVoices
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