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Boogie's Boys

Death and Bitter Root

© Trevor Serrure

Chapter: 1 2

That summer, Trevor, Amber, and I were stuck together as if we were superglued together. The camp director, Erik Abus, even asked if they had superglue or duct tape at the camp... that's how close of friends we had become. If you couldn't find Trevor, he was most likely with Amber, who would be with me. We even asked old Mr. Abus if Trevor and Amber could be in the same cabin as me. He said yes, which added to our joy.

Leaning back on his bunk, Trevor sighed. "Man, this is so awesome! Mr. Abus let us be in the same cabin and everything!" He sat up quickly. "Oh no!"

Amber looked up at him. "Don't fall off the top bunk again!" she warned.

Trevor glared at her. "It's not that! Tomorrow is the last day of camp!"

My eyes widened. "NO! It can't be true! My only friends are going to be taken away from me and we'll probably never see each other again and my life will be so miserable as I get passed from house to house-"

Amber slapped me, interrupting my run-on sentence. "Calm down, Zeke!" she snarled. "Look, I'm not happy either!" She suddenly grinned. "When's your birthday, Zeke? Mine's April first, and Trevor's is November twenty-second. We're almost ten years old."

I gaped at her. "Almost ten!? I'm only seven! Oh, my birthday? My birthday is October thirty-first, Halloween!" I said with a small smile.

Trevor nearly fell of the top bunk in his excitement, even after Amber warned him. "HALLOWEEN!? YOUR BIRTHDAY IS ON HALLOWEEN!?" he shrieked.

"Don't kill yourself, stupid!" Amber yelled. "Mr. Abus would have our heads!"

I raised my head and sniffed the air. "Hey, do you guys smell that?" I asked. "That kind of smoky smell?"

Trevor and Amber stopped fighting and also sniffed the air, confused looks on their faces. Suddenly, Amber's eyes widened.

Being the genius she is, well, at least she's a genius compared to Trevor and me, Amber exclaimed, "IT'S A FIRE!" She ran to the door and frantically shoved at it. "It's stuck!" she moaned.

With one glance at the windows, I realized that they weren't able to be used for escape. Someone had blocked them with branches and logs. Listening, trying to hear something besides the crackle of flames, I heard faint laughter. "It's Mr. Abus!" I choked out, the air quickly thickening with smoke. "He's the one who... set the fire..."

Trevor and Amber stared at me, wide-eyed. "Mr. Abus? But he-" Amber began, then started coughing.

Trevor finished the sentence for her. "He was so nice to us! Why should he set the fire?"

My eyes watering from the smoke, I was barely able to make out the blurred shapes of Amber and Trevor. "It doesn't matter who started it, we're gonna die anyways!" I gasped.

Amber finally stopped coughing. "Then we die as friends. Three of a kind!"

"Birds of a feather!" Trevor added.

"Now and forever?" I asked, taking a deep, shuddering breath. I could feel my mind starting to shut down. "Goodbye Trevor and Amber..." I mumbled. With a sudden burst of heat, the fire burned through the door and slowly crept towards us. The last thing I saw as my mind went blank was Amber and Trevor lying on the floor, motionless. I took in one last lungful of hot, dry, smoky air and went limp.

I awoke what seemed like a few minutes later, but must have really been quite a while. There were cheers coming from what sounded like a large group of people... I didn't know, so I sat up stiffly and glanced around. Amber and Trevor were still asleep, so I took the opportunity to examine them more closely. Frowning, I realized that they had changed. Trevor had become even paler, if that was even possible, and he had a long-sleeve red shirt on, reaching halfway down his thighs. He was also wearing red pants and boots; I could've sworn that he had a tail. His bangs were curled up into what appeared to be devil horns and his teeth had sharpened slightly, which I could tell because he was snoring softly. I turned to Amber. Her dark hair had become wiry and slightly wavy, and she had a really tall purple hat on her head. She was wearing a purple dress which reached down to her knees, and black pants and shoes. He skin was a light greenish color. Having a sudden thought, I looked down at myself. I was wearing a long black shirt, also long-sleeved, which reached down a little past my knees. It had this really cool skeleton bone design on it, and so did my pants. I gasped when I saw my feet, which had become greenish-bluish, like my hands. And... my feet had only three toes. Hmm. How odd. I immediately fell in love with my costume, especially my awesome-looking shirt. It wasn't too loose, but it also wasn't too tight; it was perfect. I mean, I wasn't exactly fat, I was just slightly pudgier than Trevor and Amber, but not much.

A sudden movement behind me made me jump. I looked up... and had to tilt my head back as far as it would go, just to see the face of whoever was standing behind me. Oh. It's just a skeleton. ...wait! A SKELETON!? Obviously realizing my intentions, the freakishly-tall skeleton grabbed me by the back of my shirt, before I could escape. A quick glance told me that Amber and Trevor were now awake.

The skeleton gave me a quick glare, which scared me. I sat still, not moving a muscle, in case I should get the glare again. The skeleton turned to the crowd. "Citizens of Halloweentown," he began, "we have three new additions to our town. Please welcome..." he hesitated, glancing at us.

Trevor cleared his throat. "Lock," he said.

Amber spoke up next. "I'm Shock."

Finally working up the nerve to speak, I said in my whispery voice (as Trevor called it), "And my name is Barrel."

The skeleton smiled, satisfied. "Please welcome Lock, Shock, and Barrel to Halloweentown." The assembled citizens clapped their hands, claws, tentacles... whatever they had. The skeleton laughed quietly as one of the citizens walked up to us.

The first thing I noticed about the citizen was his hat. It had to be as tall as he was! Then, I noticed his badge that said "Mayor" on it. He frowned. "Jack, Jack! We need a guardian for these new citizens!"

Jack, the skeleton, called out over the applause, "WHO WANTS TO BE THE GUARDIAN FOR THESE THREE YOUNG ONES?"

Everyone went silent as a voice spoke up. "I will." I looked for the source of the voice, and finally found it. The voice belonged to what appeared to be a giant burlap bag.

Jack sighed. "Anyone else?" he asked, ignoring the mutterings of the crowd. "Anyone?" he asked, growing desperate.

The burlap sack grinned, well, kind of. "Looks like I get to care for the children!" he laughed.

Jack glared. "Oogie, I will take care of them before I'll let those kids fall into your grimy paws. I challenge you to a contest."

Oogie's grin grew wider. "Since you challenged me, I get to choose the contest!" he announced happily. "We will have a..."

Jack had his fingers crossed, muttering, "Please, no gambling contest!"

"-Snake and spider stew cooking contest!" Oogie finished. "You can go first, Jacky boy, if you want!"

Jack sighed. "You know as well as I do that I cannot cook..."

Oogie laughed. "Fine. I'll go first!" he said, turning and walking away.

Jack turned to us. "How old are you three?" he asked.

Trevor- no, his name was Lock now. Lock replied, "Me and A- uh, Shock are nine, almost ten."

I added, "And I'm seven."

The mayor had a bored look on his face. "Welcome to Halloweentown," he said again. "You three seem nice!"

Shock laughed. "Yup! We wouldn't harm a fly!" she admitted. "But how did we get here?"

Jack said, "You died."

"...oh," was the only thing Shock could think to say.

Oogie came back not long after. With a huge, fake smile, he said, "The snake and spider stew is ready! Here, try some!" He pushed a bowl at each of us.

Lock and Shock hesitated. I rolled my eyes. "We have to do this, guys!" I said, then swallowed a spoonful of the stew. It was better than I expected, even though I could see the bugs and pieces of snake floating around.

After watching me try it, Lock and Shock slurped their stew. If it didn't kill me, it wouldn't kill them, right? I also finished the stew and lay down, suddenly drowsy. Struggling to keep my eyes open, I heard Oogie's low laughter.

"They like it!" Oogie smirked.

Jack sighed. "Fine... they go with you... but I'm warning you: if you use them against me to try to become the Pumpkin King, you will be banished form Halloweentown." He picked us up one by one and silently passed us to Oogie.

As we slept, an ingredient that Oogie had slipped into the stew began to take hold. Bitterroot. As the days passed, we quickly shifted from nice, innocent children to mean, mischievous demons.

I woke up in a strange new place. I sat up and looked around sleepily, thinking that the other kids were playing tricks on the three of us. Then I remembered, and turned my head every possibly way, trying to memorize the details. Lock and Shock were beginning to stir as I slowly stood up, in what appeared to be the main room. There were bugs crawling everywhere, like a living carpet for the wooden floorboards. There were a few closed doors which I was practically dying to peek behind, but I didn't dare... At least, not until Lock and Shock were awake. Other than the doors of curiosity, there was a birdcage attached to a rope, which seemed to be like an elevator. Oh, yeah. There was also a chute leading to who-knows-where. Quickly growing bored, I poked Lock. "Wake up!" I whined, having an unexplainable urge to go out and play tricks on people. "Let's go prank someone!" Getting no reply, I pouted and kicked Shock. "WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP!!"

Immediately after I yelled, a very annoyed Lock tackled me. "YOU FAIL AT LIFE!" he shrieked, still half-asleep.

I giggled and began wrestling with him. "LET'S PRANK THE-" I closed my mouth and pushed Lock off me. Standing on tiptoe, I reached up into a nearby bookcase, grabbing a book on the top shelf. I flipped open the Prankster's Guide to Halloweentown Citizens. "Ah, here we go! WE PRANK THE CORPSE KID, MUMMY, AND WINGED DEMON!" I laughed, slamming the book shut and throwing it at Shock, who was just sitting up.

"BARREL!" Shock screeched, throwing the book aside and glaring at me.

I looked around nervously, then pointed to Lock. "He did it! I swear!"

Shock shifted her gaze from me to Lock. "LOCK!?"

Lock quickly changed the subject. "Let's go tell that sack dude what we're doing!"

Shock looked curious. "What are we doing?"

"If you weren't sleeping, you'd know!" Lock laughed. "But I'll tell you anyways. We're going to play a trick on-" He paused and looked at me. "Barrel?"

I grinned. "The Corpse Kid, Mummy, and Winged Demon," I finished for him.

We climbed into a bathtub (which I had not noticed since I was curious about what might lie behind the doors). To my surprise, the bathtub disconnected from the wall and began walking. Very slowly. I laughed as Lock began to sing off-key.

"We're going to play tricks! On the citizens!" he sang, making up a new tune. Shock's eyes lit up.

"Lock! Sing that again!" Shock ordered. Lock, with a confused look on his face, did as he was told. "Lock! Barrel! Remember that tune! It'll be like a password!" she said excitedly as the tub finally brought us into town.


Oogie listened to the metallic clanking of the tub's clawed feet. He grinned, rolling a pair of dice. "The Bitter Root is taking hold! They will be my henchmen! Soon..." He peered at the dice. "SNAKE EYES!?" he roared, blowing on the dice. Laughing, he exclaimed, "Eeeeeeee-LEVEN!"

Chapter: 1 2

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