(A Kitty Little Lanes original story)
At the corner of Ramshackle Boulevard and Rickety Road, The Old Rundown Place stands amid overgrown weeds almost as tall as a man. The house has been empty for 50 years, abandoned when its old owners moved away suddenly in the middle of the night. No one knew why.
The sudden disappearance of its owners gave the place its eerie history and gave rise to its reputation as haunted. Few people dared to visit the old house anymore. The Mayor had wanted to convert it into a children’s park, but since the property was still in the Rundown Family’s name, her hands were tied. And so, the house stood empty and lonely, a desolate, ugly shadow looming darkly in the brightness of Kitty Little Lanes.
On the eve of Halloween this year, the house was as it was many years past. Dark. Strange. Unearthly.
And it was on a night like this that four friends found themselves right in front of the old place. It was Buster Slydale’s idea, as usual. Buster was always the one that got them into trouble. Mark Maces, Buster’s best friend, always egged him on. He thought each one of Buster’s ideas the greatest thing in the world since peanut butter. The girls, Andromeda Petite and Tiffany Golightly, just wanted to go home.
“Why’d we go here, anyway?” Tiffany whined. “I’m scared,” she moaned, as she pulled Andromeda away.
” Wait, I just wanted to see,” Buster complained, looking over his shoulder.
“See what?”Andromeda asked.
“The Witch! The Witch! Don’t tell me you haven’t heard of the Witch who lives there! ” Buster said.
“I’ve an idea,” he continued. “Wanna go trick or treating there tomorrow night?’
“What?” Andromeda shouted. “No way!”
“You’d be crazy to do it, Buster!” Tiffany interjected.
“You’re not scared of the Witch? Huh! I bet you can’t do it, Buster. Let me see you try,” Mark easily goaded Buster.
Buster was suddenly at a loss for words. He was still thinking of how to get out of it when Mark said the magic words: “I DARE YOU!”
Now, few words ever have the same effect on Buster as the word DARE did. He has never ever, ever backed down from one. Even when he had to lick his shoes once to win a bet, he did it without a second thought and won a ratty Star Wars t-shirt that was three sizes too large for him. But, this, well, this one was different. He was suddenly afraid.
“Now you’ve done it, Buster!” Tiffany cried out loud. “You’ll die for sure and then your mum will kill you!”
“I have faith in you, brother! Besides, promise me I’ll inherit your Gameboy when you get eaten by the witch tomorrow!” Mark joked, rather in bad taste, if I may so so myself.
“Please don’t,” Andromeda pleaded. “There is no shame in being a coward.”
“Co-co-coward? I most certainly am not!”Buster shouted back suddenly. “DARE!”
And with that, Buster’s fate was sealed. His friends said goodbye, certain that this was going to be the last time they will ever see him again.
“I’m in trouble now!” he whispered to himself, as he took one last look at the Old Rundown Place. The rustling of the bats’ wings frightened him so much he ran all the way home without looking back.
The next night: Halloween
The full moon came out early that night. Buster, as usual- again, had forgotten his terror from last night and had decided to finish his dare early. Buster wasn’t thinking too clearly as he stomped and made a racket. He was still grumpy over the Halloween costume he had this year. It was a hand-me-down from his dad’s, a twenty-year-old sailor suit his parents found charming. He could still hear his parents saying “Waste not, want not, son” in his ears as they extolled the virtues of re-using “vintage” costumes.
“Charming… yuck!” he thought to himself. “I’d much rather be a mummy,” he complained loudly.
A little too loudly, perhaps, as he stopped suddenly in his tracks. Did he hear a soft giggle?
“Who…who…who… goes….there?” Buster said softly. He couldn’t breathe. He could feel his heart pounding on his chest.
“Is your name Hansel? Heeheeheeheeheee!” a raspy voice called to him from the dark.
“No… it…it’s… Bu-bu-bu-buster,” he replied, fear making him stutter.
“Ar…are…you…the-the-the-the…. wi-wi-wi-witch?” he asked.
“Why, yes, I am, little boy! I am looking for Hansel,” the witch said, turning around.
It was so dark that all Buster could see were giant ears, or maybe they were horns, he couldn’t tell. The witch’s breath stank like a foul sewer, or maybe a cauldron of icky, green stuff. He was certain he could see the claws at the end of her long, bony fingers. As she reached out to Buster, he shouted with a burst of energy, “I … I am not Hansel! My ne-ne-name is Bu-bu-BUSTER!
“I haven’t tried eating a Buster before,” the witch said. “Maybe Busters are just as yummy, heeheeheehee!”
That did it! Buster’s paralysis broke. He closed his eyes, turned away, and prepared to run for his life!
“Freya Chocolate! What do you think you are doing, young lady?” a stern voice came from nowhere. “Wait! Wait, little boy! Freya was just joking!”
Buster almost didn’t look back again, so afraid he was that the witch would hypnotize him into submission. But something in the woman’s voice sounded so warm and soothing that his muscles relaxed on impulse.
Besides, he did hear a baby cooing too. Didn’t he?
“Coo! Coo! Hghgerklk’f’dasadslfklsdslkd boy! Boy! Boy!” a small voice squeaked.
He opened his eyes to see a pumpkin baby and a woman smiling warmly at him. The Witch was scowling.
“Hello! We’re the Chocolates! We just moved in three days ago. My name is Mrs. Teri Chocolate. This is my daughter Freya. And this little one is Baby Breeze. Baby Kreme is still napping.” the woman rambled in an attempt to stop Buster from fleeing.
“Hello, Buster, heeheheeheheehee!” the little witch Freya said, still in character.
“Stop that, Freya! Would you like to stay a bit? We’re filling Halloween bags and we could sure use some help. The babies are such a handful and my husband is still in the city with the moving truck.” Mrs. Teri went on and on.
Buster could only nod his head in amazement.
Three hours later:
“Everyone, meet our new friend, Freya. Freya, this here is Andromeda, Tiffany and Mark, my best friends in school,” Buster said. “Hey, guys, check out Freya’s Halloween stuff! They’ve got everything!””
“Hi, Freya! I love your witch’s costume,” Andromeda said shyly.
“Hi, Freya! You have such wonderful Halloween decorations,” Tiffany complemented.
“Hi, Freya! I bet you scared Buster half to death! Did he pee his pants? Hahahaha!” Mark said jovially.
“I did scare him quite badly, heehee. But Buster is a good sport. He helped me and mum put everything up- in record time!” Freya winked at Buster. Buster could only smile back.
“Come on, everyone! We have plenty of candy for you!” Mrs. Teri shouted. The kids broke into a run as their eyes grew large at the sight of all that candy.
The gossip chain must have been working in full blast that night as kids far and wide came trooping to the Old Rundown Place. All the little kids dressed in their Halloween finest each got a huge bag of candy filled with chocolate covered sunflower nuts, heart-shaped sugar candies, doughy gummies, and more!
Mrs. Teri took a fancy to this little one and gave her extra candy! “My name is Laya Lopez, Mrs. Teri! We live two streets away. My momma and I sewed this rabbit costume from scratch. Do you like it?” Laya asked as she tried hopping on one foot.
“Why, yes, my dear! It’s so rabbity!” Mrs. Teri said nicely.
David Doughty and Dear Daniel had come from five streets away where the pickings were slim. The buzz and noise all over Ramshackle Boulevard drew them to the impromptu Halloween party at Old Rundown Place. They had never seen this place so alive before!
Buster introduced Freya to Kitty, the Mayor’s daughter. “Thank you for letting me have some candy, Freya and Buster,” Kitty said politely. “Your witch’s costume is cool,” she added.
Pretty soon, even the babies of Kitty Little Lanes started toddling around the corner. Kreme and Breeze showed off their new slide to Skitter Slydale, Buster’s baby brother, and Alyssa Walnut, the cutest little ghost in Kitty Little Lanes!
The street party was in full swing when Constable Roberts dropped by to check how things were going. He even brought his shiny new handcuffs to show off (he was itching to try them, really).
“Everything’s fine, Bobby,” Mrs. Teri said.
“It’s Police Constable Roberts, Teri,” he reminded her.
“Oh. you were Bobby when we were growing up and you’ll always be Bobby to me,” Mrs. Teri rebutted. “Here, have some candy!”
PC Bobby Roberts puffed his chest indignantly. None of of his police training ever worked on dear old Teri. He took his candy meekly and said “Does this have those chocolate sunflower seeds I love?”
Everywhere they looked, there were kids still coming for their candy. They laughed and sang, shouted and hooted, and just had a merry old time. Dressed in their Halloween costumes, it was difficult to recognize them right away.
But no one ever mistook the Mayor for anyone else. Kittymama came, well, ahrm, ehrm, she came in her Halloween costume too. And tonight, she was not only the Mayor, she was also “The Rapper formerly known as Kittymama.”
*Narrator faints from cheesiness* ‘Nuff said.
To remember this wonderful night, Mayor Kittymama had photos taken of some of the Trick or Treaters at the Old Rundown Place. There was a picture of the Chocolates, sans their father who missed out on this year’s Halloween. The Kitties- Kittymama as you-know-who, Kitty as a butterfly and Daniel as a football player. Buster’s gang gamely posed for a group picture too. There was Mark as a frog, Buster as a charming sailor, Andromeda as a cow, and Tiffany as a strawberry.
PC Bobby Roberts came dressed as himself (no imagination there, but he was on-duty). David Doughty came as a tiger, Laya Lopez as a pink rabbit, Karen Doughty as another pink rabbit. Baby Alyssa Walnut was a ghost and Baby Skitter Slydale was a charming sleeper. (Charming seems to be a big thing to the Slydale family.)
Baby Alfie Walnut was a bat, Nichole Maces could not decide if she was a bathing beauty or a turbanned fortune teller. Buster, ever the camera hog, posed again with The Animal Farm- a group of friends dressed as a lion (Benji), a frog (Polly), a rabbit (Cristy) and a duck (Simon)!
Before the night ended, new friendships were made.
Polly: I like frogs. *smiles*
Mark: I like frogs too. *smiles back*
Old ones were rediscovered and renewed.🙂
Benji: Hey, David! Cool tiger costume! Grrrowllll!
David: Yours isn’t half bad either, Benji! Meowr!!!
Gone were the terror and the fears of the Old Rundown Place- all because one crazy kid dared to face The Witch and one scary witch threatened to eat him.
“Thanks for a wonderful Halloween!” Buster suddenly kissed Freya on the cheek.
Freya said nothing but her smiled bewitched him.
“I can’t believe I kissed a witch!!!” Buster thought to himself. Happily.