Each of the three teenagers were trying to pretend the other two didn't exist. Except maybe Bee, but they would do it to please their families, and to get out of that Halloween party where embarrassing baby stories would inevitably be told.
And it wasn't like any of them didn't like each other. But to be seen in public with their cousins wasn't exactly good for any of their image.(each thought the other two's costumes rather tacky.)
Bee was twelve, and dressed as Velma from Scooby Do. She definitely counted as a teenager and nobody could tell her otherwise ever.
Maisy was fourteen, and the vampire getup she wore wasn't even unlike her normal outfit. She was a goth, and proud of it.
Earl was thirteen,and perhaps wearing the stupidest costume of the lot, which of course, he thought was the best. He was dressed as Data from Star Trek, complete with pale makeup he had snatched from his cousin's arsenal of edgy-on-purpose makeup.
The made quite the scene walking down Mays avenue that unseasonably chilly evening.
But the moon was bright, the candy was good, and the town's annual block party had Monster Mash playing, so the three humored each other for the time being.
"I'd say we've hit about every house uptown, ay?" Maisy said.
"Uptown hasn't got a thing on downtown! It's the Bee's knees down there any old evening, and tonight is a holiday!" Bee said enthusiastically, while the other two concealed laughter.
"Bee's knees?" Earl laughed, and Bee punched his arm.
"Why do I even try with you two. Anyway, now that we're done making fun of people's vernacular, we're happen to be in one of the most scenic places in all of America! Its been years since I'vegiven A tour, and the night is young!"
Maisy and Earl were from out of town, and Bee was full to bursting with hometown pride.
"Follow me!" She said, waving them over to her. Mays avenue was mostly covered by huge oaks, giving it a tunnely vibe, which the hanging paper lanterns only helped, but only a short way down the road where Bee stood the trees ended. There was a large drop off and you could see the entire town stretched out below you like a miniture. It glittered yellows, oranges and purples, enhanced by the almost faded sunset, still lingering with cotton candy shades. Earl pulled out the Polaroid camera he had in his pillowcase and snapped the three millionth picture of the night.
The three stood watching for a minute, before Bee decided the tour must go on.
"Harbor Park awaits us!" She proclaimed, and lead her cousins on down the road. The Rhode island bay was visible almost everywhere downtown. The steep incline forcing the houses and shops' roofs into patterns like stairways, the puddles and eddies of mist still everywhere from the recent showers, and the trolly rolling along its track all felt so fantastical, it was hard to believe they were actually there in front of them and not in a painting. The Polaroid clicked again.
The three took the trolly into downtown as the last rays of daylight faded from view and the golden moon seemed to glow brighter. All the lights in the shops were on, and people hustled and bustled through the steep streets, making use of the temporary regulation on car traffic.
Bee took them to the Jupiter Cafe, a little place tucked into the last tiny vertical building before the boardwalk, and ordered them all a drink called the Cup of Dreams.
"Why's it called that?" Maisy asked.
"Same reason the McNugget is called the McNugget, I guess." Earl said.
"Just you wait. You'll find out." Bee said mischeviously.
The drinks were hot cocoa, but were almost as thick as soft served icecream, with swirls of different colors in each cup, revealing different flavors to each. Mocha, peanut butter, caramel, mint. The whipped cream on top was covered in what looked like star dust and tasted like a dentist's nightmare.
" As much as I hate to admit it, this is pretty darn cool," Maisy said, sipping her drink. "But not as Halloweeny as I expected."
"This town is pretty much aestheticville, we don't really do scary." Bee admitted.
"Sounds like I'm going to have to fix that," Maisy said, "how do you all feel about Ouija boards?"
The other two looked at her like she had just asked them to help her commit A felony. Maisy put up her hands in surrender.
"Only kidding. We'll do something a little more tame. Scary movies?"
"Lame, but it'll have to do," Earl said, finishing off his drink. The trio spent another couple hours downtown, and the girls ended up practically dragging Earl through the boutique street as they looked at the latest trends. It was getting on towards 11 when they tramped back up the sidewalk towards Bee's house.
Maisy stopped in front of the house two doors down, though. She hadn't noticed it when they began trick or treating, probably because it didn't have any lights on.
"What's in there?" She asked.
"Nothing that I know of," Bee said, "or at least, nothing of any of our concern. It's just an old house in need of some TCL that it probably will never get. Its been around longer thanany of us have."
Earl stepped onto the winding stone pathway that lead to the overshadowed door. The unnatural colored lights from the trees and houses around them rendered the house a strange color.
"Wanna go inside?" He said, pointing his thumb in the direction of the door.
"Aww yes." Maisy joined him, looking up into the fogged windows of the ancient building.
Bee stood on the sidewalk looking like a disappointed kindergarten teacher.
"No. We are not going in there. This is the oldest trope in the book. Kids find an old house, probably with a curse on it, they go in, release some sort of monster that they have to defeat before sunrise or something terrible will happen."
"Oh please. Name 3 stories where that happens." Maisy said, crossing her arms and smirking.
"Hocus Pocus, Ernest scared stupid, jumanji." Bee listed them off on her fingers.
" dunno, the last two seem like sorta a stretch." Maisy said, raising her eyebrows.
"Whatever! You get my point! Besides, its private property, and we could get in trouble."
"We're not gonna make you go in... But it's haunted house or auntie Melanie's Halloween extravaganza, so..."
Bee looked at her feet, pondering. She had never been one for scary stuff, but this felt like the sorta thing that just dropped in on you and you couldn't say no to. There would be adventure tonight, she could feel it in the air. Besides, in all the stories, the kids end up breaking the curse by sun up, right? How bad could it be?
"Eh, somebody's gotta make sure you doofuses are still in one piece, I might as well. But I must insist we change out of our costumes first."
The two older kids shrugged, and followed her back to her house. Fifteen minutes saw them standing in front of the door, in their normal clothing. Maisy was wearing essentially the same thing, black dress pants with a navy blue sweater emblazoned with small purple skulls, but with her normal glasses, and she had ditched the black wig revealing her normal copper colored hair. Earl wore blue jeans and a Red Hot Chilly Peppers shirt, with a flannel to fight the dropping temperatures. Bee wore a scarf covering her hair, a white t-shirt and a floor length skirt striped with blue and purple. Upon further consideration, a skirt may not have been the best option, but whatever.
Maisy stepped onto the porch, which, remarkably, didn't make a sound. The other two followed her. She put her Hand carefully onto the brass knob, and turned it. The door opened inward, revealing a long hallway lit by candles glowing pink and green. They filed into the entryway, and the door snapped shut behind them.
The room opened up on either side before becoming the narrow hallway. Spiderwebs hung from the wallpapered ceiling fifteen feet above, drops of multicolored dew glistening from every available space on the delicate threads.
"Whoa..." Earl said, dazzled.
"It's... So beautiful." Bee whispered.
The tile floor was cool enough to seep through their shoes, making them step onto the dark red rug at the beginning of the hall. where their Feet touched thick rug, it shimmered yellow, forming a large arrow, which took off down the long carpet. Each candle flickered a little when the arrow passed it. Once it was out of sight, another flew down the shag surface.
"I... Think we should provably go that way..." Maisy said, voice quivering only a tiny bit.