Chapter One

"Poor Little Monster"

When you're a monster you can't go where people are. They yell and run and call the cops. They chase you with torches and pitchforks. And guns. A few monsters can't be hurt by those things but most can.

I know all about that kind of thing. I'm a monster. A gargoyle. My name's Lee'tok. My skin's green and my eyes are red and my hair is orange and I'm all scaly. I've got horns and wings and a tail and fangs and big claws on my hands and feet. I look really scary. But I'm really nice. Really! I like flowers and dancing and singing and swimming. But most of the time I can't go where people are. They'd think I was going to eat them or something and try to hurt me. Maybe kill me. Or put me in a zoo. Even though all I want is to make friends.

But there's one day I can be with people and they don't get scared of me. They call it Halloween. It's the best day in the world for me. Cause not only can I play with humans on this one day all year, and even get candy, but it's special for another reason. It's my birthday! Is that weird? Cause I was born on Halloween? Well maybe. But like I said I'm a gargoyle. Everything about me is weird.

Anyway, every birthday since I was five, this older monster girl took me to the human world to trick or treat. I love it so much, most of all because humans only do it on my birthday! My friend's name is Ga'nac. She's an orc. She's green too. And she's also got red eyes. She has a nose almost like a pig and she's got tusks too. Every year she'd come and tell my mom she was taking me for a long long walk on my birthday. She'd say that cause my mom didn't want me going to the human world. It's dangerous for monsters you know.

We met human children and they became our friends, even if we only got to see them one day a year. Ga'nac told them we lived a long long ways away but we'd come to their town on Halloween to meet with relatives. She said she was my big sister. I'm an only child so it was nice having a big sister, even if it wasn't true.

But last year people kept asking Ga'nac "Aren't you a little old to go trick or treating dear?" And she got embarrassed about it and said she wouldn't go again. I was really sad cause that meant I couldn't go neither.

But I wanted to! I wanted to so much! I begged and I begged Ga'nac to take me. But she just said, "No, Lee'tok! I'm too old! It's no fun anymore for me! Besides I'm seeing Za'kor now. So sorry but you can't go anymore either!"

But she's wrong! I'm ten today! I can go by myself! And I will! I will! So went to my mom and I said, "Mom, I'm going for my birthday walk, okay?"

"Is Ga'nac here?" she asked me. "I didn't hear her."

"She's…she's going to meet me at the old hollow tree," I lied. We don't have telephones or tv sets or nothing here in monster world. I only found out about them from my human friends. Unless Ga'nac came to see me today my mom wouldn't know I was going alone.

My mother looked at me for a long time. Then she gave me a hug. "My baby's growing up!" she said. "You be a good girl and behave for Ga'nac when you see her, won't you?"

"Of course I will, Mom," I said. I felt bad about lying to her. But I'd do something nice for her tomorrow to make up for it. That's what I thought anyway.

I left home and started walking. The sun was still up so I was brave. I know you'll laugh because I'm a monster, but I'm scared of the dark. I knew I'd be scared, going home all along in the dark, but I didn't let myself think about that then. I was eager to meet my human friends again. And of course I'd have to tell them my "big sister" wasn't coming any more.

I got bored walking and flapped my wings. I flew to the magic portal that leads from the monster world to the human world. I landed and walked through it. Ga'nac had told me five years ago to never fly in the human world. Humans can't fly, so they'd know I was a real gargoyle and not a little human girl in a gargoyle costume.

The sun was just starting to set when I got to the park where my human friends always met before trick or treating. When they were through they'd meet there again and talk about the candy they got and the different costumes they'd seen and the way Mrs. Gruder would look at me and Ga'nac over her granny glasses and say, "Those are sure real costumes. But why do you wear the same ones every year?" Ga'nac just shrugged and said we liked them and it was easier to "let them out" every year instead of make a new costume. Whatever that meant.

I saw my friends and ran over to them.

"Lee!" my best human friend yelled, running to me. She had been a princess last year and was a wearing a long dress with lots of ruffles and lace and had stitches on her face and her stockings, but I could still tell it was her from her long blond pig tails and blue eyes. I wished I had blue eyes and blond hair.

I threw my arms around her. "Hi, Angie!" I said. She was two months older than me. I always wished I could come to her birthday parties. She had them at the beach because she was born in the Summer. But how could I?

She hugged me back. "Happy birthday, Lee!" she said. Ga'nac had told them her name was Jen and mine was Lee. They were close enough to our real names. "I decided to be a monster this year cause you always are. I'm a dead princess brought back to life by a mad scientist!"

"Cool!" I said. That was a word I'd learned from my human friends. It didn't mean the weather was cool it meant something was good or fun and you liked it.

"Where's Jen?" Nancy asked, looking around. She was twelve and dressed like a witch.

"She didn't want to come," I said really sad. "She says she's too old to trick or treat and she got a boyfriend." I stuck my tongue out.

"Oh," Nancy said. She was really more Ga'nac's friend. I knew she felt bad Ga'nac didn't want to see her when she only came one night a year. I felt so sad for her. I would tell Ga'nac how mean she was when I got home.

"I know how she feels," Tracy said. "This is my last year." Tracy was our leader. She was thirteen and dressed like what Ga'nac had told me one year was a pirate.

"Then let's go!" Angie said, taking my hand. "You sure have funny feeling gloves." I didn't have gloves on. That was my hand. But I didn't tell her that. They thought I was wearing a costume that completely covered me. I was really just wearing a dress and shoes.

And so we went trick or treating. It was a night none of us would ever forget. I know I sure won't.

To be continued