Halloween was probably my favorite holiday. When I was little it was because of the free candy. Now, it's probably because it's fun to be scared. A person is who they truly are when they're scared out of their minds. There's no mask to hide behind, the brave face falls away and it shows that you truly are human.
My parents go all out for Halloween, there's no question about that. The Brahmani household was notorious for having the best yard in the neighborhood. We had plastic skeletons hanging from trees, strobe lights in the front yard, recordings of groaning ghouls and rattling chains playing in the yard, even a motion-censored witch that ran on a zip-line between the two trees on our lawn. When they would least expect it the cackling witch would swoop out of nowhere on her broom and scare innocent trick-or-treaters to death.
Normally on Halloween I'd be at my best friend, Erik Knightley's house at his birthday party. It was the Halloween event that everybody in my class talked about months before hand. Not this year.
You see, I had made a big mistake and kissed Erik's girlfriend a couple of weeks ago...okay, she kissed me—but that's not the point. The point is that Erik walked into the room, caught us smooching, promptly decked me in the eye and kicked me out of his house.
Again, it wasn't. My. Fault.
It wasn't my fault because his girlfriend possesses the ability to get what ever she wants by just batting her blonde eyelashes and smiling at you. I didn't even know what I was doing until Eric punched me in the face. Then, he didn't even get mad at her, because she gave him this innocent look. She is the devil in disguise.
His girlfriend, Claire Stodds isn't exactly known for her unwavering loyalty. She's made out with more than one guy since they've been dating over the course of two years. He just refuses to believe what we've been telling him for the past nine months.
So, this year on Halloween I was stuck at my house listening to little kids scream as the witch assaults them and passing out candy. Yay me.
When there was a knock on my door I didn't think anything weird about it. I just stood up, grabbed the bowl of assorted candies and opened the door. I raised a brown eyebrow, "Aren't you a little old for trick-or-treating?"
The girl in front of the group had long, curly, deep red hair. She was dressed in tights and had a bow and quiver on her back like a girl version of Robin Hood. Her dark blue eyes were sharp. They held an intense wisdom and her ears were...pointed? Okay, that was taking it her costume a little too far.
She pushed past me and stood in the foyer, her eyes taking in the sights. Two guys followed behind her and the one had a large dog that looked like a German Shepard with long white hair instead of the tan.
"Are you Jacob Brahmani?" She asked looking at me. I swear, her eyes stared right through me.
I wasn't sure of how to react. I mean, her and her friends just walked into my house like they owned the place! "Uh...yeah? And you have to leave. My parents are going to be home soon and they're going to be mad if—"
A older guy with long dark hair and lighter blue-gray eyes interrupted me, "Your parents are the least of our worries, Master Brahmani."
"Master, it's the term for a man who is not married. If you were married you'd be a Mister." Another kid, this one was around my age, said. He wasn't looking at me while he was talking. He was looking to the left of me...staring in the direction of the back of the couch.
I looked to see what he was staring at. When my search proved to be pointless I set the candy down and crossed my tan arms. "Who are you guys anyway?"
"Forgive us," The first guy said, "I am Flynt, Son of Bartholomew."
The girl looked up at me, "I am Fallyn, General of the Shelduren army."
"I am Hahn." The guy with the shorter dark-blonde hair said...to my wall. Seriously, he was nose-to-nose with the wall.
"Forgive Hahn," Fallyn said, "for he is blind." The she reached out a pale hand and faced him towards me. "Your mutt is failing to do his duty."
Hahn scowled and touched the dog's head. "He's a wolf, Fallyn. That's a dignified title."
I ran my hand through my short, dark hair. It was a habit I got from my dad when I was anxious or confused and right now I was both. "What are you guys talking about."
"We'll explain more later." Flynt said. "For now you must pack. Bring the bare essentials we are wasting time."
"What? No! I'm not leaving! This is my house!" I protested, crossing my arms over my chest. I'm sure my brown eyes betrayed me and showed my fear. These freaks were here to kidnap me. Before I could argue or say another word the tip of an arrow was at my throat.
"We will take you by force." Fallyn said her sapphire eyes steely. "Either way, you're coming with us."
"Okay, fine!" I snapped. "Just give me a few minutes to pack my things."
"Time is short." Hahn said as I hurried up the stairs, Flynt at my heels.
"I can handle this on my own." I assured him as I turned on my bedroom light.
"I'm just here to make sure you aren't harmed." He said, meeting my gaze in the mirror.
I looked really freaked out. My dark brown hair was standing on end, my usually tan face looked pale and my brown eyes were wide.
"We don't have much time." Flynt reminded me like he was afraid I was going to snap at him.
I snapped out of it. "Oh, yeah." I grabbed handfuls of clothing and stuffed it into a drawstring bag, when it was bulging with its contents I pulled it shut. Then, I slipped on my sneakers and looked at the strange young man in front of me. "Okay, I'm ready."
When we got back downstairs Hahn was eating out of the candy bowl like it was the best thing he had ever tasted. "Jacob, what do you call this?" He asked holding up a half-eaten Butterfinger.
"Er, it's a Butterfinger."
He immediately dropped it. "I was eating a buttered finger?"
"Candy?" His clouded eyes were full of curiosity.
"Hahn, we must leave." Fallyn pressed urgently.
"Right." The blind kid said, then he started taking handfuls of candy and stuffing them in his pockets.
His wolf yelped at him anxiously, gently nipping his hand as if to tell him to hurry.
"Come Jacob." Flynt pressed as he ushered me out the front door. "The sooner we arrive in the Old Realm the safer we will be."
"The Old Realm?"
"Now is not the time for questions, boy."
I scowled down at him. He was maybe four years older than me!
As we headed down the sidewalk and the witch swooped down at us she had an arrow through her head and her cackling sounded more like sick static.
I stared at Fallyn in exasperation. "That was my mom's favorite decoration!"
She frowned at me, but ignored me.
I silently wondered if I'd ever see my house again. If I'd ever see my family, if they'd miss me while I was gone. I gritted my teeth against the tears that were starting to pool in my eyes. If I was going somewhere against my will I wasn't going to be a baby about it.
At the edge of the sidewalk the group stopped and with Hahn's wolf behind me I wasn't going to try and run back to my house so I could hide in a closet and cry until my parents got home.
Fallyn let out a shrill whistle, ignoring the weird looks she was getting from the trick-or-treaters.
"Where are they?" Flynt demanded looking anxiously up and down the road after a tense minute or two.
"They're coming." She said, a hint of annoyance in her voice.
"I thought you told them not to go far."
"I hear them!" Hahn said suddenly. "They're galloping down the road...to the left."
A minute later two horses galloped up the road toward us, sparks coming off of one's shoes as they trotted to a stop in front of us.
A little girl dressed as a witch said, "Whoa! Cool!" from across the street. I'm sure she wouldn't forget this Halloween.
"Come along, Hahn." Flynt said.
Hahn walked up to the second horse and climbed on. How he did it without being able to see was beyond me.
Flynt climbed on the black horse in front of him.
The horse Fallyn was riding didn't have a saddle, or a bridle. She walked up to it, whispered something to it and then lithely climbed on. Then, she looked down at me and held out her hand. "Come, Jacob."
"I can't ride a horse!" I argued. "I've never done it before in my life."
"All you need to do is hold on." Then, she grabbed me by the hand and yanked me off the ground and sat me behind her. "Keep your nose off of my quiver."
She spurred her horse in the sides and we took off at a full speed gallop down the dark street.
I watched as houses with their porch lights on and people blurred by, and at a glance behind me Flynt's horse was quite a few strides behind. I also noticed that we were heading towards the center of town, galloping by cars, across intersections and blowing by people.
I can't deny that I screamed when Fallyn's horse jumped over the hood of a car. I managed to whack my face off of her quiver when we landed, it made me see stars. I blinked blood out of my eye When I was finally able to tell where we were, we were jumping over the banks of the Jackson River. I screamed again.
It really wasn't manly and I figured I shouldn't make it habit.
The water splashed up and soaked my jeans. It was freezing. October isn't exactly the warmest part of the year and my feet were going numb from being in the black water that sprayed from the horse's hooves.
It didn't seem to bother anybody else and Hahn's wolf was swimming alongside Flynt's horse without a problem.
I couldn't see because it was so dark, but I felt the horse jump up onto the other side of the bank...and then I was blinded by light.
And then I think I passed out.