Chapter 4 Up for a Little Adventure?
In the safety and shelter of the mansion, Lock was helping re-plant the fallen plant Rosie with Violet at the dining table. Marco, Gisele, and CJ were quietly seated around them. The plant rooted in the new soil quickly and seemed to be fine. Violet petted a leaf quietly, all traces of the tears she had shed long gone.
“You set that up, didn’t you?” Lock asked her, she stared at the floor, “Why?’
Violet gave him a defiant look, “We hear him call Shock a bad word.”
With her peers nodding in serious agreement, Lock couldn’t help but laugh, “Well at least it was for a good cause. Might I ask how you did it?”
“Mr. Snaky and I ding-dong ditched his house to distract him,” Gisele patted her pocket where Mr. Snaky was sleeping.
“I removed a gear from his alarm clock so it would go super slow,” Marco said proudly, “It made him late.”
“We replaced his toaster with an exact replica we found at the junkyard last week so his breakfast burned,” Violet continued.
“His car lost a wheel with the pot hole we dug,” CJ joined in, “So when he finished running to the Town Hall he was too wrapped up in looking for more traps that he didn’t notice me sneaking up behind him, stealing his sandwich, and taking what I think is a curfew law.”
CJ slipped his hand into his hat without taking it off and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He handed it over to Lock. It indeed was a law against people under the age of eighteen being out at a certain time. Lock thought about the aging thing Shock was trying to tell him about, if this had gone through he didn’t think it would have been much of a problem.
“So you set up him getting angry with you and loosing his temper like that?”
“Yep,” Violet said, “We even thought that he might loose it so Rosie volunteered to be the plant to get smashed. She wanted a bigger pot anyway.”
“Crocodile tears?” Lock was both stunned and highly amused.
“Tool of the trade,” satisfaction was written all over Violet’s face.
Their conversation was interrupted by the clanking of the cage elevator, signaling the arrival of Barrel and Kevin.
“Do you think he’ll actually make us leave?” Kevin was asking Barrel.
“Nah, he’s said stuff like this before and we’re still here. I think he’s just being a jerk, like always.”
CJ turned nervously to Lock and asked, “Are we in trouble?”
Lock smiled, “With me, no. With Shock… I’ll put in a good word for you guys.”
The little deviants cheered and tackle-hugged the devil to the ground. Barrel and Kevin awed teasingly and started giggling simultaneously. Soon enough the kids had turned their attack on the skeleton brothers and soon everyone was laughing. This was the scene Shock walked in on. A warm smile creased her face; she hoped that this would last. She remembered the warning that her grandmother had given her and prayed that when this next adventure was through all the laughing faces before her would still be there.
“Story time!” “Yay!” “Which one are you going to tell us?” “Is it a new one?”
Not many seven year olds would get this excited over a bed time story. Then again only these four seven year olds could say they had Shock for a storyteller. Shock had a way with stories, mostly because the stories she usually told were true events of her antics as a young delinquent.
Shock was tired, she and Lock had traveled to Elder Gutknecht’s Tower to accept the offer, made a few requests, and set up a time for their departure. But she didn’t let her tiredness show; she smiled as she sunk into the center of the big couch. Marco and CJ to the right, Gisele and Violet to the left. Usually Lock, Barrel, and Kevin would have stuck around to listen and sometimes argue about how things really went, but Barrel and Kevin were busy packing and Lock was busy with the ‘special surprise’ for tomorrow.
“Ok guys,” Shock started, “This is a real story and at the end I have something important to tell you. So no interrupting, Ok?” The kids nodded eagerly so she continued. “There once was a human scientist who wanted to find a way for people who were in a coma to wake up again. He worked and worked and worked until he finally found a way to wake them up.
“After waking a few patients, people were so amazed they gave him everything he needed to perfect the process and make it so that other doctors could do it too. But before he could do that, he discovered the Sleepers. People like you and me that were supposed to come to Halloween Town, but accidentally got stuck in comas in hospitals. Since the Sleepers weren’t meant to wake up, they didn’t. He was furious that they went on sleeping, so he worked and worked and worked some more, finding all the Sleepers he could until at last he made the Sleepers wake up.
“But this is a bad thing. The Sleepers aren’t supposed to be awake in that world; they’re supposed to be a part of this one. The Grim Reapers can’t find them, which is bad too, because if they can’t find them then they can’t ever come to this world. That’s why my friend Medusa came over last night from another world, The Land of the Dead. She said that she needed Lock, Barrel, Kevin, and me to help her. She wants us to go to the Mortal World for a while find out where the Sleepers he woke up went, look for the Sleepers the scientist didn’t find, and then bring them back here. We talked about it, and decided to accept.”
“You’re going away!?!” Marco grabbed her arm tightly, almost painfully, “Is it because we made The Mayor mad? We’ll apologize! We’ll say we’re-”
“Coming with us!” Shock interrupted, smiling. Making sure not to wince as the claws lightly digging into her skin let go, Shock looked at Marco and the others reassuringly, “There’s no way we would go that long without you guys, and The Mayor can huff and puff all he wants but we’re not going to let him hurt us. We’re going to the Mortal World together. That’s why tomorrow morning we have a surprise for you guys, a special way we can all go together without being noticed. We even have a way to go walking around without anyone knowing we’re nightmares.”
“Even me?” Marco flapped his wings a little to show what he meant.
“Even you,” Shock smiled, she then adopted a voice that would make movie trailers proud, “Be warned young creatures, this journey may be dangerous. Only the cleverest, bravest, and greatest can accomplish this mission. So you guys up for a little adventure?”
“Yes!” “Where are we going?” “Let’s go!” “When do we leave?”
“We leave tomorrow morning. So get all the stuff you want to bring along packed tonight. Bring as much as you want, it’s a part of the surprise. Well what are you waiting for? Go get packed!”
The kids jumped up and off the couch, heading for their respective rooms. All except Marco. He hung back looking a mixture between embarrassed and apologetic.
“I… I’m sorry. For scratching you and getting scared for no reason. I thought you wouldn’t want us going with you. Because… because… I… um…”
“It’s ok Marco,” Shock stood and put a supportive hand on his shoulder, “You’re still getting used to the fact that someone cares. I don’t want you to be scared that we’re going to leave you. So I talked with Lock and we made a little something for you to help remind yourself.”
She reached into her pocket and handed him a silver chain, attached to it was a circular case, the same shape and size of a compass or a pocket watch. Nestled inside the case was a folded piece of paper. Marco reached out and carefully unfolded it, to his delight the paper was actually a kind of old-fashioned parchment that didn’t tear under his claws. Once he unfolded it all the way he was staring at an ink drawing of his family. They were standing together, smiling, like if they were posing for a picture. He was in the center; in between Lock and shock, he looked happy. Before he even knew it himself, he was hugging Shock.
“I’m glad you like it Marco, this way, we’ll never leave you. Ever.”
“Oh no, not again.”
Kevin’s body rose from his bed without Kevin telling it to. Looking around he saw the hazy outline of Barrel sleeping soundly. Dreams were always hazy. Turning his head he noticed that the door that had been left open a crack was now wide open. Klondike was missing from his bed in the corner.
His body was on the move again. Kevin let it go where it wanted, his body usually took good care of itself during dreams so he just relaxed and let it do what it needed to do. Out the door and down the hall the skeleton stumbled sleepily. Then, just before he reached the family room, he turned and opened the door to the weapon room. Only once he had his baseball bat in hand did he continue.
‘Outside,’ his body told him.
So down the elevator and out the front door he went. The night was unusually dark, howling wind rushed around him. It was cold, Kevin wistfully thought of taking control and going back to his warm bed when his body started moving forward again. Holding the baseball bat ready to strike, his body quietly crept forward into the empty field across the road from the mansion.
With the haziness of the dream and the dark night, Kevin was almost completely blind. He had no idea where he was going and what the hell his body was going to do with the baseball bat but he knew it was too late to stop himself.
It was then did he begin to hear the growling; primal, animalistic, threatening growls of two creatures crouching before they attacked each other with intent to kill. Climbing up a small bluff and looking down he could almost see them. Below him two shadows circling each other, looking for an opening that would give it an upper hand.
Kevin felt his body crouch down, watching intently. Suddenly, without any warning, his body leapt down and landed squarely on the back of one of the figures. Before he could grasp what was happening, Kevin’s body had already swung the baseball bat and hit the creature squarely on the back of the neck. The creature howled in pain and threw Kevin off.
Landing painfully on his back, Kevin just had time to see the creature spin around, fangs bared and ready for the kill.
Kevin jumped up in his bed, his heart thumping wildly. He was covered in sweat and his legs were tied up in the sheets. His heart was still pounding… wait a minute, that was just the door.
“Get up you lazy lumps!” Shock commanded through the door that she was surely pounding her fist against, “We got a house to pack up and if you aren’t helping in five minutes we’re leaving you behind!”
Looking around frantically he saw that Barrel had somehow turned himself around while sleeping again. Klondike growled slightly as he stretched himself awake. He then turned to Kevin and eyed him curiously. With a sniff at his fellow pack member, Klondike waddled over to bother Barrel into waking up. This usually involved licking his ear until he woke up.
Meanwhile, Kevin was seriously disturbed by last night’s dream. Usually his dream just took him here and there around the house. He had never done anything as crazy as last night before. After he had gotten up and grabbed a cardboard box he made his way to the weapons room. When he got there he immediately went for his baseball bat. Picking it up, he didn’t see anything wrong with it, it was the same as he had left it yesterday when Medusa had come over.
The skeleton corpse sighed and began to put it back down. Only to notice that this wasn’t his usual baseball bat, it was his spare. The handle was not as worn down; it was also too glossy to be the one he used all the time. If this was his spare, where was his real one, and who put this one here? Going to put it down again he noticed a small ball of fluff on the floor. Picking it up he realized it was not dust, but fur. It was coarse, grey, and the tips of the end were stained red from where they had been yanked out of the skin.
Kevin remembered the snarling, vicious face that had pinned him to the ground. He didn’t want to believe it, none of this made sense. But here in his hand was the connection between his dream and reality, and his dreams never lied to him.
The creature that had been attacking him had been Klondike.
“Where’s my sparkly scarf?”
“Has anyone seen my book on monsters?”
“Does anyone know where I put my extra tool set?”
“Klondike! Stop digging up the yard! One bone is enough!”
“Does the ‘bring anything’ thing mean my trampoline too?”
“Tree house, you’re in charge until we get back. Ok?”
After an anxious night’s sleep and an early wake up, the house was buzzing with energy and anticipation. Piles of luggage and boxes started piling up in the foyer of the house, just in front of the front doors. Barrel and Kevin were kept busy by both the heavy lifting and the pestering questions of the younger kids. Ultimately the little monsters had them cornered against the mass of belongings and were continuing their bombardment when the sudden disappearance of the elevator into the basement made them stop. Medusa was coming.
As the gorgon arrived it was clear to all that Medusa was back to being the embodiment of imposing power, the kids didn’t know what to do with that. They were used to suckering gullible people and she definitely wasn’t gullible. She held a burlap sack in her fist tightly and gave them suspicious looks. Thankfully they were spared a prolonged awkward moment by the arrival of Lock and Shock, who had been outside setting up the surprise.
“Hi Medusa,” Shock said casually, “Thanks for helping me with this. Kids this is Medusa, the one I told you about. She’s here to help with the surprise.”
“So who’s ready to see it?” Lock motioned outside the door; screams of excitement met his ears as the kids rushed out the door to meet their surprise.
Outside sitting on the road was an old rusty 1970 Ford truck with a small, musty camper attachment taking up its flat bed. A collective ‘Huh?’ was heard from the top of the stairs, making Shock giggle.
“Oh, don’t look so disappointed. Old Junker here has been around for ages. We would go to the junkyard to play in it when we were little. Besides, the surprise isn’t over.”
Violet felt a hand take hers as Shock pulled her over to the front of the car, “Ok Violet, time for you to learn your first spell. The Motion spell, just focus on the car and say ‘Motion to the motionless, action to the action less, object be free of stillness’ got it?”
“Got it!” Violet repeated, “Motion to the motionless, action to the action less, object be free of stillness!”
The engine of the antique car sputtered a bit before roaring to life. Headlights flashed on and off and the windshield wipers began working. With a great shake resembling a wet dog, the car ridded itself of as much dust as it could before settling down with two honk of its horn.
“Good job Violet!” Shock praised, “When I first learned that spell I had cast it on our bathtub and we use to ride around in that. I think this is a little better.”
Shock went around to the back and Medusa joined her. They positioned themselves outside the tiny open door that led inside the camper. With a singular fluid motion, Medusa called up a strange green light and it shot forward into the miniature house. She waited until the light’s intensity faded a bit then nodded to Shock. With a few papers in hand she stepped inside and vanished for a whole five minutes. When those five minutes were up she reappeared with a satisfied smile.
“Ok! Everyone grab what you can carry and come on in!” She got out and began to thank Medusa.
Confused beyond belief, the kids nevertheless obeyed. They ran back and grabbed some of their stuff before returning to the car. Medusa had handed Shock the burlap sack and said goodbye before returning to the elevator.
“You three start loading too!” Shock called to Lock, Barrel, and Kevin, “Alright kids, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze at first but just keep following me.”
With that she entered the camper again. Violet was the first one after her, noticing that the cramped inside was just as musty on the inside as it looked on the outside. While she could stand up perfectly, Shock had to crouch a little. There was a tiny musty mattress under a tiny musty window to the left and to the right a cabinet with a door as tall as she was. Shock crouched down a little more, opened it, and stepped inside. With a light whooshing sound she was completely gone.
Violet was stunned, “Shock?”
“What?” Shock stuck her head out of the closet door, half of her body gone, “Don’t just stand around, we have to get going.”
Cautiously, Violet followed her sister, her friends right behind her. The back of the closet looked like very solid wood, but when she reached out and touched it she found that her fingers went right through it. One strange sensation of walking through a wall later, she found herself inside the upstairs living room, with a few changes. Along the walls were a few windows showing the outside world even though there was no windows that shape or size anywhere on the car. There also seemed to be a lack of furniture.
Shock was on the far side of the room where a wide staircase started, “Up the stairs are your rooms. We’ll have to share for now, girls in the room to the left boys in the room to the right. Get all the luggage inside before you go exploring. We need to get going.”
“Whoa, how did you do this?” CJ asked in awe.
“This is an advanced example of the permanent distortion of space. Medusa distorted space while I shaped it in here,” Shock held up the book Elder had given her; “It’s amazing what you can learn by reading.”
It took less than a half hour to get all of the luggage and the furniture. Shock astounded the younger nightmares by shrinking the big couch from the mansion to fit inside the car and then making it big again. She also told them it was the same spell that she would use to the car to fit it inside the portal. Once all the luggage was inside Shock pulled out a few things form the bag that Medusa had brought. Inside there were a few odd looking pendants, a wallet, a small notebook, and a strange little statue of a gargoyle.
Shock explained that the statue would let them use magic inside the house and near the car. Magic pendants like these would disguise them from humans. Lock and Shock took one each and said they would be the first ones to ‘drive’. Barrel and Kevin’s turn would come later. A couple hundred dollars in separate bills were in the wallet, it had some kind of trick to it but they would figure it out later. The notebook was the most important object in there; it held the name, birthday, would-have-been deathday, and last known location of each Sleeper.
The sun had just finished coming all the way up when the two exited the ‘mobile mansion’. Lock had intended to go straight to the driver’s door but had caught sight of the sign they posted on the front door of the mansion.
Do Not Enter
Mayor, feel free to ignore this sign and try to survive
the booby traps we have hidden throughout the house.
You’ve been warned.
“We didn’t really tell anyone where and why we were going, did we?” Lock said wistfully to Shock.
Shock tilted her head in thought, “Sally knows. She’ll probably tell someone. If not…” She gave her infamous grin of mischief, “We’ll give the town something to talk about.”
Lock started grinning too, “Wait until Tut hears about this!”
That night as the Mobile Mansion slightly swayed from the movement of the moving truck carrying it below; the younger nightmares were getting ready for bed. The rare sound of four monsters brushing their teeth simultaneously could be heard from down the staircase where Barrel and Kevin sat in the family room. Klondike lounged on the beat-up recliner that was brought specifically for him, perfectly content in the way only a wolf dog that was fed and warm and knew he wasn’t going to get rained on as he slept could be. Kevin looked dead splayed on the couch the way he always did when he was tired. Barrel looked at his brother with intent; he noticed that Kevin had looked off today in the way that meant he was going to tell him something soon. Eventually Kevin stirred and sat up as Violet appeared at the top of the stairs.
“Goodnight, Barrel. Goodnight, Kevin.” Violet yawned as she rubbed her eyes.
The yawn was highly contagious as the rest of her peers mumbled their goodnights and reported to their new rooms. Both skeletons called up their own goodnights and decided now was as good a time as any to get ready for sleep. As the brothers ascended the staircase, Kevin looked over hesitantly and watched as Klondike stretched out and followed them.
“Hey, Barrel. Can I tell you something?” Kevin asked his brother.
“Tell me what?”
“Well last night I had one of those weird dreams where-” Kevin was cut off as Klondike suddenly dashed off ahead of the two.
Kevin was right after him, last night’s scene replaying in his mind. The two reached the top of the stairs just in time to see Klondike dash off into the left side door, the girl’s bedroom. Swinging the door open wide, Kevin was just able to catch Klondike dropping the book in his mouth into Violet’s waiting hand.
“Thanks Klondike, good doggy.”
Violet patted his head and scratched his ear in that one spot that made his leg start thumping. Gisele could be heard giggling in the bunk above her. Klondike gave the young witch’s hand an affectionate lick before squeezing between Barrel and Kevin who were still standing in the doorway. Kevin called in goodnight to the two nightmares before closing the door. When they entered their own room they saw Klondike curled up in his own bed, blissfully drifting off into his own world of sleep.
“Kevin, were you going to tell me about that dream?” Barrel asked his brother.
Kevin took a second to think about it, “Nah, it was just a dream. No big deal.”
No big deal. Not yet anyway.
Wow. That yawn was so contagious I started yawning… weird. Anyway if anyone is still reading this I totally understand if you don't feel like reviewing. I just can't seem to find a way to write when I need to. Sigh... well I hope to see you guys again before next year. I hope. O_o