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As ye Samhain
by Wanderer
Wanderer -- all rights reserved
 

Dropping my book, I leapt from my seat and broke into a run for the door. As I stopped myself with my right shoulder against the door, my left hand scooped up the old yellow ceramic bowl that held the candy. Flipping the doorknob lock to the open position, I yanked open the stiff door to find ...

"Trick or Treat."

... Raven. My shoulders slumped.

"Now", she continued, "I know why Jack said you never come to the bar on Halloween." She looked me over. "Going for the cliche, huh?"

I almost blushed beneath my fur, and my tail dipped toward my legs. Standing there in torn jeans and a ripped plaid shirt, I was the perfect image of a movie werewolf, and I knew it.

And, I decided a moment later, I didn't care. My tail rose back to its original position. "I wasn't planning on having visitors", I smiled. "What brings you here?"

"Oh", she replied, "I just thought I'd stop by and see if you were coming to the bar." She looked again at my torn pants. "I guess not, huh?"

I laughed. "Come in, come in", I chortled. "Give me a minute, and I'll get you something to eat."

She stepped inside with a smile. "No food for me, thanks. The bar's annual Halloween party is going on. That's why I came over." She looked around. "Where's Lady Death?"

I shrugged. "She's probably at the party. We're not joined at the hip, after all."

"What, no accent tonight?"

My smirk matched her own. "Not appropriate to the character."

"American Werewolf?"

"Howling."

"Oh."

"Um, Raven", I hesitated, "could you move over by the piano?"

"Sure", she said, stepping down into the semi-sunken living room. "Why?" Then her ears flicked back. "Oh."

I tensed, aiming myself at the door.

*DING DONG*

I yanked open the door.

"Trick or Treat!", cried a gaggle of kids on the doorstep.

"Here you go", I almost cooed ... well, as close to a coo as my growl gets. I scooped at the candy bowl and grabbed two pieces. "That's two for you ... and you ... and, oops", I flinched as I separated two stuck-together foil wraps, "for you ... Happy Halloween!", I called at their retreating shapes.

"Thank you!", floated back the reply. I closed the door and put down the bowl on the end table I'd retrieved it from.

"You're really into this, aren't you?"

I turned to see Raven smiling curiously at me.

I shrugged. "I always have been. There's just something about Halloween I've always loved." I began to walk toward the den. "I mean, it's wonderful. I get to hand out candy, dress up in costumes, and watch some of the weirdest holiday specials ever created." I grinned like a madman. "I still remember the first time they ever showed, 'The Monster's Christmas' on commercial TV."

"I'm surprised you even get trick-or-treaters", Raven smirked behind me as she followed, "what with all the scare stories about SCABS out there."

"Oh, those", I snorted. "I consider those a little less believable than the old poisoned-candy legends."

"You mean those were just stories?"

I turned. She looked serious. "Well, yes", I replied as lightly as I could. "Oh, there have been a few candy poisonings down through the years, of course, but it wasn't done by anyone handing out candy." I turned around, hoping she wouldn't ask ...

"But then, who did it?"

I sighed, my head bowed. "Their family", I rasped. "A father one time, the mother's boyfriend another ... poison's usually a personal weapon." I shuddered, my hackles rising. I turned. "I assume the SCABS stories are the usual?"

She nodded, appreciating the change of subject and its necessity. "Pretty much. Kid-eating SCABS, candy filled with Martian Flu Virus, the usual."

I snorted again. "Son of the AIDS club stories, no doubt. Anyway, I get a pretty good turnout around here ... even if", I added, "a few of my trick-or-treaters are old enough to be in high school."

"So, no-"

*DING DONG*

I sprinted for the door, grabbing the candy bowl, and yanked open the door.

"Trick or Treat!", the kids all piped, except for one nervous one that hung back until his mother(?) nudged him into a whispered "Trick or Treat". "Here you go", I grinned, scooping up candy. "Two for the bride ... two for Batman ... two for the pirate ... " One by one, they ran back into the shadows before I could say, "Happy Halloween". Finally, it was the shy one's turn. "And two", I said, "for the little lion."

"Are you a SCAB?"

I chuckled, even as his mother looked horrified. "Yep, I am."

"My daddy says ... " But what his daddy said, I shall never know, for his mother, absolutely aghast, grabbed him by the arm and began half-dragging him down the walk.

I shook my head. "Happy Halloween!", I called after them, though I got no reply. I shut the door ...

... and broke down laughing. After a moment, I was laughing so hard, tears rolling down my face, I had to lean against the wall, the candy bowl cradled in my arms as I shook with each guffaw. As I slowed and quieted, I noticed Raven looking at me from the den.

"I'm surprised you took that so well", she smiled.

"Oh, Lawsey", I panted, "that was priceless. That poor kid's gonna hear from her for the next three blocks, at least. 'We don't say things like that' ", I gasped in the precise diction of every correcting mother I'd ever known, and burst out laughing again. After a moment, I heard Raven giggle a little as well.

"Oh, Raven", I sighed happily. "Have you ever had a moment when the whole world seems funny, and you're in on the joke?"

"Can't say that I have", she grinned back at me. "But I'm glad you do sometimes."

I smiled toothily and began to sing:

"Ghosts and goblins ev-e-ry-where, Life's no fun with-out a good scare. That's our job, but we're no-ot mean, In this tow-own of Hal-lo-we-en ..."

I sighed contentedly as I leaned back against the wall.

"What's that from?", Raven asked. "It sounds familiar."

"Old movie", I sighed again, smiling in a way that the bar's herbivores would've found troubling. "I just always think of it when I'm in Halloween." I closed my eyes and leaned back against the wall as I sat down on the tile. "It's just so beautiful, Raven", I breathed. "Handing out candy to all those wonderful people, all those boys and girls ... " I fell silent as my heart overflowed, at a loss for words.

For a long moment, all was silent.

"Well", said Raven at last, "I guess I'd better be getting back to the party."

"Oh", I blinked as I opened my eyes, "give my regards to everyone, won't you?"

"Oh, I will", she replied, an odd grin on her face, "I will."

*DING DONG*

I vaulted to my feet, only to fall back against the foyer wall. Sometimes I miss my heels being able to touch the floor ... I pushed off with my right hand and swung the candy bowl into position with my left as I yanked open the door.

"SURPRISE!"

I almost dropped the candy. There in the doorway stood the Lupine Boys, accompanied by Jack and ... of all people ... Phil! I stood flabbergasted in the doorway until the rabbit piped up:

"Trick or Treat!"

As the others laughed, I could feel my mouth smiling so hard that it hurt. I reached for Phil ...

"Oops", I chuckled as he ducked behind Jack. "Sorry, Phil. Lost my head for a minute there. What are you all doing here?", I asked of the group at large.

"We came to say Happy Halloween", answered Wolfshead with a grin that made a small part of my mind suspicious. "We know how much you like it, after all."

"We even brought a present", brayed Jack, and stepped aside to reveal ...

Lady Death. In a torn pantsuit, her face shifted to almost a mirror- image of my own, she stepped forward and hugged me. "Happy Halloween, Eddie."

I flushed at the murmurs among those gathered. "Old nickname", I explained, and turned back to her. "You came up with all this?"

"Well", drawled Raven, "I helped a little. Aren't you going to invite them in?"

I blinked as my mind struggled to its metaphorical feet, having been not-so-metaphorically blown off them. "Uffer ... al ... bleah! Of course! Come in, come in!" I shooed them all inside, closing the door behind them. Then, as an afterthought, I turned off the porch light. It promised to be a long night, and I didn't want any interruptions.

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