Chapter 30

Halloween Night

Ezmiralda and Mr Su stood in the Wildamere forest looking at the gravestone. It had only been a minute ago that Ezmiralda had spilt the Purple potion into the big iron cauldron nestled at the edge of the forest and then with her expert wand-waving had sent the scroll onwards into the ghostly void. After a final moments contemplation, she sank onto the moss-covered log, a feeling that now felt comfortable and familiar and watched Mr Su still standing, staring without expression at the gravestone where the scroll had been only moments before. He began to slowly nod and then became still and turned back to Ezmiralda with a placid face she could not read. She looked directly at him and gave him a mild wispish grin and noted the twitch in the corners of his mouth. He then walked over to her and she was taken completely by surprise when he leant forward and gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. Stepping back he then made a slight bow and then without another word turned soldier-like and went on back down the forest path leaving Ezmiralda alone. She sat there open-mouthed as she listened to his footsteps crunching in the leaves and watched him wave his arm to her in farewell. She smiled and raised a hand to say goodbye as she saw him disappear into the dark tangled branches of the woods.

Ezmiralda leaned against a convenient tree with thoughts of Mr Su lingering. Yes, perhaps she would drop in unannounced on the pretense of a little Halloween get together, yes, just perhaps and gave herself a churlish grin. For the moment she wistfully sat watching the branches waving in the breeze above in the early afternoon sun and decided she would wait in the forest for Brumhilda's hopeful return.

One hour had slipped by and she harumphed to herself, 'No, it wouldn't be three hours; the time Mr Su had stipulated to Brumhilda in the recipe, 'Mirrors' she thought. 'She knew and felt that everything was still well out of sync, but hopefully, soon all the glitches would fade away and everything would then be restored without causing any more incidents...' As she waited there sitting on the log she thought, 'It couldn't be too much longer, but then Brumhilda wasn't exactly the most talented witch she had ever known,' and Ezmiralda laughed at the thought only to stop abruptly with a worried frown.

'Would Brumhilda even be able to make the potion in the time that was now left to her? Her frown increased on her forehead. What would happen to Brumhilda if her time ran out? Ezmiralda began to wave her head. Brumhilda had often made her curse and worry during the times she had tried to be her mentor and help her... well to be honest, with her somewhat inept spell making efforts. Ezmiralda's brows knitted together at the worrying thoughts, 'And then there was, of course, Brumhilda's long-suffering somewhat mixed up anxiety issues that could prove a little trying at times; and waved her head side to side as she tried to make herself comfortable in the cool forest on the old log with its's green tinges of moss. Those thoughts had now given her not a little bit of anxiety herself... 'But what else could she do now but wait...'

She sat back and let out a sighing breath into the sun-dappled still forest air.

It wasn't long before Ezmiralda had fallen asleep on the log and it seemed to have only been a moment later when she was woken with a start by a touch upon her shoulder. Half asleep she lazily swiped at whatever insect was bothering her, but then she heard a voice. It seemed to be whispering to her from a very long way away, "Ezzy, Ezzy, wake up, we're back." Her eyes sprang open and she blinked them rapidly several times and saw Brumhilda's full face right in front of her. With a wide smile and tearing eyes, she excitedly exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, it worked! We really made it work!"

Ezmiralda twisted about and she was glad to see Brumhilda's lost friends Ralph, Lisa and of course Ivan were standing seemingly none the worse beside her and she couldn't help but grin at them as they stood there in their odd and extremely old fashioned clothes. Brumhilda paused for a moment in front of her friend. She wasn't exactly sure what Ezmiralda had meant by 'we', as it was clear there was no one else with her here in the forest. A misty image suddenly entered her mind's eye, she glimpsed a ghostly bat, the same one she had seen that morning in the frosty air at Oscar's doorstep. 'What the?' she was mystified why it had come back to her at this moment and shook her head and with a final swish it faded away from her thoughts. It must have been some of her old friend's half-asleep magical ramblings that had caused the lingering memories, 'Yes of course!' she thought, 'that must be it and tried to calm herself. After a moment she gathered her wits but saw Ezmiralda was looking at her a little worried, "You okay dear?" "Yes, yes of course, why wouldn't I be?" She gave her a smile and then offered Ezmiralda a hand to help her up back onto her feet, "Come on Ezzy I'd better get this lot back home before someone suspects they've gone missing." 'Gone missing!' thought Ralph and waved his head thinking, 'It was more like their names were on milk cartons by now.'

They walked back down the path through the forest, swishing through the dry leaves when Ivan eyed Ezmiralda, and said, "Umm... your Ezmiralda aren't you?" "Yess, that's right I am..." "Umm... Do you know what day this is? She stopped suddenly and eyed Ivan. "What day it is!" She then gave him a waspish grin, "Hmmm... well now... let me see..." "Now, now, play nice," said Brumhilda and gave her friend a stern smile as she then asked her herself, "Actually Ezzy what day is it?" Ezmiralda 'harumphed' back at her, "How would I know, you do know who your asking don't you?" Brumhilda kept staring at her for a moment and then with a huff Ezmiralda said, "Oh alright, I think it's sometime late Sunday afternoon I think... or thereabouts."

Ivan said, "But what Sunday?" Ezmiralda stopped walking and looked at him again. "What Sunday! How long do you think you've been gone?" "I dunno a month maybe," said Ivan with a shrug. "Two weeks I think," Lisa chimed in, "I mean it has only been two weeks hasn't it?" "Two weeks...!" said Ezmiralda and she laughed hysterically and waved her head, "I have to tell you lot that, you only left here two days ago, on the Friday I think it was," and glanced at Brumhilda who nodded back at her. "What! How can it only be two days?" said Ralph, "That's impossible!" Ezmiralda looked at them all then with a grinning face, smiled, and then nodded saying, "The times between then and now don't flow the same, especially with the stuff... Oscar wasn't it?" Brumhilda nodded," "Well whatever this Oscar person was mucking about with." Brumhilda then said, "You know I think Oscar just might have tweaked things a little when he was waving his wand." "This Oscar, he was a wizard then?" "Yes, it was 'Oscar the Great'." "What! You don't say! Really! You went as far back as that? Well well, well, that must have really been something to have met up with the likes of im'." "Yes, yes I spose it was," said Brumhilda, feeling suddenly a little forlorn.

"Well that's just fantastic!" said Ralph. Everyone turned to him, "No I mean, it really is absolutely fantastic. I really wasn't look'in forward to explaining to my parents any of the stuff we did. In fact, I couldn't think of a single plausible explanation they were gonna believe. I was think'in of say'in... well, that maybe we was kidnapped, or umm... maybe we ran into some gypsies... or even..." he laughed, "Maybe we all got a knock on the head. " Brumhilda gave him a laughing grin when he then said, "Well... I mean if you knew my parents you would know how impossible it would be to make them believe any of that stuff that really happened to us... I'm still not really sure if I believe it myself," and waved his head about, "No, I defiantly don't," he said, and kept waving his head as hey continued on down the forest path.

Ralph, Lisa and Ivan chattered as they strolled along reminding each other about the weird, wonderful and the often strange things that had happened to them in the old world they had travelled through in it's past weeks. Finally, they came out of the forest into the afternoon's sunshine and went across the fields to Brumhilda's cottage in the distance. Lisa said, "It's sad to think Oscar is now long gone though." Ivan said with a grin, "Well he's not really gone I mean you just spent a week, I mean two weeks with him." She nodded back "Yeah I spose..." and then she made a determined grin, albeit still with a slightly confused face, "Yes, of course, yes I guess your right!"

Brumhilda and Ezmiralda had fallen behind and Ezmiralda said to her when she thought they were out of earshot, "Hey there's something else I don't understand, why does the gravestone in your woods say, 'Ivan Brumhilda?' Shouldn't it be Oscar Brumhilda that's written on there?" Brumhilda shrugged her shoulders, "You know I never thought to ask Oscar about that. Actually, you know his real surname is not Brumhilda." "Really?" "Yes, you see what he told me was, is that it was the locals who only called him that because of the name given to the property where he lived, which is called 'Brumhilda.' They just got into the habit of calling him Brumhilda the wizard." "Oh, I see." "Yes, and you see it was the rulers of the old world realms who often called on him to help to solve all manner of problems, who gave him the title of 'Oscar the Great.'" Ezmiralda nodded as she looked down for a moment to see where she was stepping. "Who knows," said Brumhilda, "Maybe a relative of mine owned the land before he did." "Yeah maybe," said Ezmiralda a little dubiously, a tone in Ezmiralda's voice that Brumhilda completely missed. "Truth is I have no idea who's the gravestone really is and I can only think the name 'Ivan' being on it is a complete coincidence, you know a lost relative or something. You see there have never been any records I could ever find." Ezmiralda eyed her for a moment, "Has the name 'Ivan' always been on there?" Brumhilda looked at her with a quizzical frown" "Of course it ha..., Oh...! You don't think... do you?" Ezmiralda said, "You never looked to see what name was on there in the past did you?" "No, I never really wanted too. It always seemed a bit too well... scary to get too close to it." Ezmiralda shrugged at her friend's idea of scary and almost began to wave her head from side to side but caught her self and said instead, "Well we may never know for sure why the name 'Ivan' is on there, but stranger things have happened you know dear." Brumhilda looked at her with wide worried eyes, "No, surely not, I would've found records, wouldn't I?" "Well, just maybe some one's hidden them." Brumhilda shrugged again, "No, I don't think so, I mean why...?" They walked on silent for some moments, when finally Brumhilda, shrugged and said, "Well anyway, I don't care who's ever name is on there. We're all safe now and I'm just glad to be back and be in my own real-time again," she laughed and gave Ezzy a hug.

Ezmiralda smiled at her as they walked along and then said,
"Ezzy and Brummy together again hey!"
Brumhilda wrapped her arm around her old friend and gave her an even bigger hug. They had reached the cottage door, "Come on I'll put the kettle on," she said and Ezmiralda nodded back at her, "Yeah I could do with a good stiff coffee about now!" And laughed out loud as they all went inside".

It was Halloween night and Ivan was sitting back at home on his front porch with Ralph. A large bowl of candy was on the doorstep between them as they watched young ghosts run about the neighbourhood under sheets with flashlights joined by all manner of Goblins with green plastic faces. Of course there were more than a few witches too in black pointy paper hats atop black sheets all roaming about in the street together knocking on neighbour's doors. Orange pumpkins glowed and waved in the air swinging all around them. Their orange glares sent shivers up and down both Ralph and Ivan's spine as they sat there on the front porch doorstep, but neither felt like talking about the frightening memories they elicited as they surveyed the general mayhem that was walking and running up and down the street in front of them.

Ivan said, "I wonder what will happen next time?" "Next time what?" "You know when she shows up again." "You mean Brumhilda?" "Yeah of course, who else?" "Well... whatever happens, 'next time,' my answer will be nope, no way never again, If Brumhilda ever gets any more knocks on her door, I'm not answering, tell her I've left the country!" Ivan turned to his friend and grinned at Ralph's serious face staring straight ahead and idly nodded himself. Suddenly Ivan's eyes lit up, "You know I just realized something." "What?" "She has only one name!" "Yeah well, she's a witch she can call her self anything she want's." "Yeah, but its a bit odd though, don't you think? And her and Oscar have the same name too... And it's on that gravestone as well." Ralph turned to him and said, "Yeah and your name's on it too. I mean what's with that?" And gave his friend a studied look then said, "I mean you don't think she magicked it like that on purpose do you?" "What? Why would she do that!" "I dunno, I'm just say'in, you know girls, who know's, what there think'in... sometimes." "Better not let Lisa know you said that," and they both laughed.

They sat and watched the street for a while, when they saw a bunch of witches and wizards appear coming down along the road hand in hand grabbing their attention as they swung lanterns and danced a jig down the middle of the street. Ivan looked at Ralph, and said, "Must be the local dance club." He shrugged and they both laughed. 'Dancing' thought Ivan, remembering only too well where and what he and Brumhilda had been doing last Halloween. 'She was hell on wheels sometimes, that's for sure, but sometimes he missed her frolicking behaviour, although this Halloween he was now only too glad to be sitting back at home being entertained rather than being the entertainment. He then noticed as the group of dancing little witches and wizards went past them and disappeared up the road that they seemed to have left someone behind. There was a little person wearing a black cape and a pointy hat sitting on the grass at the curb. Just then another group of Goblins; actually he had no idea what they were really meant to be, probably some tv show he had missed he thought, went on past the little girl almost as if she didn't exist. Ivan then turned to see some more ghosts playing about running from one side of the street to the other. They had dashed down the path of a neighbours house in their white sheets almost tripping over themselves and had then ran past the little witch girl, but she didn't seem to want to join in as she sat there quietly on the grass. He watched as they swished by her with their white sheets sweeping over her knees and milled together further on down the street. Ivan then noticed she had a glowing orange pumpkin lantern sitting beside her. He stared at it and it made him feel a little strange. It was spooky, sitting and glowing there with it's triangle eyes staring at him. He squinted his eyes and thought it didn't seem at all like the other shop-bought or homemade lanterns he had seen about the street tonight. In fact, he couldn't quite get it out of his head that the pumpkin that was sitting there beside her was the real thing, a real part of this Halloween night, although he had no idea or how or why he supposed he should know that. He couldn't keep his eyes away from that orange glare seeming to flow right into him. He then took a sudden indrawn breath as a thrilling shock went through him when the glowing mouth suddenly opened in a wide tooth gaped grin. It's life-like grin got even wider and Ivan felt it was all but ready to engulf him into the Halloween night...

He suddenly shook his head to wake himself from his wildly imagined disbelief's, wondering, 'What on earth had he been thinking!'

He calmed, feeling his pulse finally slow and took another nervous glance back over to her... and thought, 'What! Was she smiling at him...?'

She suddenly put her head down as Ivan watched her sitting there still and all alone. There was no one around her now. He thought maybe she wanted to be alone. He thought to tell Ralph sitting there with him, but somehow he couldn't quite bring himself to say anything, and just watched as she sat on the kerb not bothering to join in with another group of goblins and ghosts as they drifted on past right in front of her. Suddenly she then looked up, and Ivan thought for a moment their eyes had met, but quickly she looked away. Ivan scrunched his eyebrows, "Hold on a moment, was he the only one who could see her? Of course!' he thought, and almost hit the palm of his hand on his forehead. It had to be her! Ralph was sitting idly untwisting a lolly wrapper about to pop the sweet in his mouth when he looked up and saw Ivan smiling, 'What are you smiling at?" said Ralph. Ivan suddenly looked down, "Oh nothing." Ralph looked down across the street where he thought Ivan had been staring but didn't see anything that would warrant the big wide grin on his friends face.

The screen door creaked open behind them and Ivan's mum leaned out, "Okay you two. Time to come in Ivan, and time for you to go home, Ralph. Ralph got up and waved his hand wildly as he took off at a run down the street. "Bye Ralph..." thought Ivan watching his friend go, and glanced back across the road to where he thought he had seen her; to where he was sure Brumhilda had been sitting in the dark on the nature strip across the road only moments before. But now she was nowhere. There was now only an empty gutter at the edge of a neat green lawn. Ivan's mum bent down and picked up the bowl and popped the last sweet into her mouth and saw Ivan still looking across the road. "Come on dear, there's always next year," He turned to her and said, "Sure mum, in a minute" and looked forlornly around the street with it's Halloween crowd now almost all gone home. Something then made him look upwards at the glowing quarter moon, and he nearly fell over at the sight of what he saw. There she was a black-caped figure up there riding on a broomstick flowing past the white crescent of the moon... and... was she waving at him?

He smiled to her and was almost about to blow her a kiss when he suddenly jumped in fright at his mum's voice coming from behind his shoulder. "Come on blue eyes, time for bed," He looked back up at the moon, but there was now only the moon. Ivan sighed and went with his mum as she shepherded him through the screen door.

The front door clunked shut and a moment later the porch light went out.

The End.


~0~

The Brumhilda stories started as an excuse to write something spooky around Halloween time and this is the second story featuring the same characters and adding a few new ones.

Some stories seem to grow a life of there own causing all kinds of writing havoc.

This story produced lot of loose ends and lots of unused notes, so there should be more than enough for another story that I will try and get started ... well maybe when it's that time again in a few months... has it really been that long?