The leaves on the trees had turned from green to orange and brown. The last of the soybeans and cotton was being harvest and the air was starting to become cooler. Pumpkins where starting to appear in the produce department of Sunflower, and sweaters, long skirts and leggings where starting to replace tank tops, sundresses and bikini bottoms.
Autumn was upon us. And with its coming, so too was Halloween. All around town, rumors where starting to crop up about ghost stories and ghostly sightings. Benton, like any small town in deep south had its fair share of ghost stories and urban legends. From a whaling ghost that jumped from the towns water tower at the stroke of midnight. To a phantom civil war ironclad sailing down the muddy waters of the Big Black on moonless nights. And even reports of a young women, dressed in all red strolling down the long hallways of "Cutters Hall."
Yes, Benton is filled with ghost stories. But this story is not about a ghost story. This story is about a certain event that took place one Halloween night in the year two thousand and eighteen.
School had been in session now for some weeks. Everybody was pretty much wedded to there ebb and flow of classes. And with Halloween coming up, everybody was talking about who would be throwing parties and who would be stuck at home giving out candy. Some where even forming groups to go out and do a little legend tripping. Others where focusing on the yearly safe Halloween celebration held at Bran Park, a sixteen acre section of land, located a few blocks from main street.
Safe Halloween was something like a big deal, All the main downtown Merchants would have there own booth and would of course be giving out candy and sweets to the children. And there would be fun and games too of course. One of the main attractions was stated to be a vintage dunking stool! Or so said the flyer pinned in the board in the hallway.
But back to the story. I was standing in front of the door of Mrs. Fox's office. She was the one putting on the whole dunking stool attraction. We'll she was one of the three teachers you could come too to sigh up for the event. I felt a little better coming to, because of all my teachers she seemed to be coolest. I took her for Home Economics, and she had won me over one day when she spotted me reading a old cosplay manual, vintage two thousand and four. Instead of scolding me for reading instead of doing my lesson she offered some pointers. Seems that manual was way out of date, having been written in the stone age. She did let me off with a warning though.
Another thing that sounds out, was the way she allowed me to work on a cosplay.. See are first project was making a skirt or something. But I wanted to make a simple sailor fuku cause I think there cute and lets face it, the boys love them. She oddly enough agreed and even allowed me to stay late a few times to finish the project.. I was reward with a solid 'A+' for my efforts. Plus by now boyfriend thought it was cute, so double bonuses.
All that came to mind as I brought my hand down upon the door and knocked. Thirty beats of the heart passed before the door open and there in the doorway dressed in a cream colored button down blouse, a black pencil skirt, white stocking and black heel shoes stood Mrs. Fox. A flaming, red hair reached down to her shoulders and her green eyes seemed to twinkle.
"Oh, Hello Ms. Brewer." She said leaning into the frame of the door, she leveled those eyes at me and folded her arms under her breast. "What can I do for you today?" She said as a small smile formed on the bow of her lips.
Taking a deep breach, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a slip of paper. Slowly I unfolded the paper and placed it into her hands. The slip of paper was the fly the Safe Halloween Council had set been passing out. I had circled with a bright red marker the area where volunteers where needed to take turns being dunked on the dunking stool. Once the paper was in her hand, she smiled and chuckled a little.
"So you want to be dunked?" She asked, "Is that it?"
"Yes ma'am." I said taking a deep breath as I looked down.
She chuckled again. "Why don't step inside my office and have a little." She said as she stepped aside and motioned for me to enter into her private world. I always thought that going into somebody's office was like going into there room.
So bowling my head, I entered into small square space. In front of there could be seen a small wooden chair, a desk and behind the desk another chair, one of those rolling chairs. Tucked into the corner was a another desk with a PC sitting on it. On the walls behind the desk, I could see what I thought was a diploma for finishing high school, followed by a degree. Both where framed.
Beside the framed diploma's where several high quality pieces of anime inspired artwork, all drawn in a vintage style and framed as well. And finally draped along the walls was the Irish tricolor.
"So." She said sitting down upon the surface of the desk. "You want to get dunked for charity is that correct? And you want to do this at your own free will, nobody twisting you arm? No lost a bet, no late night game of truth or dare?" She said as she folded her arms again at peered at me.
"Yes ma'am." I said taking a deep breath. I can't believe it, I'm really going through with this.
"Okay." She said smiling once more. "I'll add you to the list. With you taking the last open spot, I'll say where booked full, we have two boys and two girls. So where balanced right now." She paused. "So given any thought on.. What your going as? Since you've been reading a lot of those cosplay manual's and spending most of your break in the Library reading manga. I take it your going to be a anime character of some kind?"
I folded my arms across my chest and took a deep breath. It was a valid question.. One I felt like I had to give a valid answer too. Halloween was as my sister once said. 'The only time a good girl can dress like a total slut and get away with it. Go big or go broke Maddie' Blunt advice from a city girl gone country.
"I was thinking about one of the Sailor Senshi.. I watched a lot of Sailor Moon while I was in hospital." I had developed two loves while spending six weeks in rehab in Hospital, was anime, the second was reading.
"That could be nice." She said smiling toward me. "Lets see where going to have a Zombie, a Vampire and a Demon nurse.. What character where you thinking about cosplaying as?"
"I don't know.. I was thinking about Sailor Mercury. Cause she like me, a book worm.. Kind of dull and boring and bland. Plus blue is my favorite color." I said blushing as I played with my skirt.
She raised a eyebrow and peered toward me for a few minutes. And finally she spoke with a careful measured tone of voice.
"Cosplaying is a hard game to break into. Back in the late nineties and early two thousands, you saw a lot of Sailor Moon cosplayers. I think you want to become a cosplayers.. A series one.. If so, I expect when you show up for this event. You will have the best Sailor Mercury Costume you can make. Or else.." She said her voice trailing.
".." I blinked and she kept going on.
"Or else I'm afraid I'll have to crack down on you. So far, I've let you slide with your reading those Cosplay manuals in my class. When instead you should be taking notes or maybe doing your free time to do some catch-up on the homework you have missed. You have two weeks young lady, fourteen days.. You also have a teacher willing to help you, and a room full of government brought supplies." She paused and then said. "Do you understand me Ms. Brewer?"
I opened my mouth to say something but the sharp ringing of the school bell cut me off. I blinked and surly I was blushing as I tried to get my tongue to work. Another shrill ring of the bell filled my ears.
"That was the warning bell, I suggest you get to class. I'll hate to have my favorite student get another tardy. If remember correctly, you have already landed in Saturday detention for being tardy." She said showing me to the door.
And with that are meeting ended. And there this episode ends.