Snow wakes up shivering the next morning. She doesn’t know why; she feels hot. She pushes off the blanket so she can get up and see Jack and ask him about it, but as soon as she does she has to pull the blanket back on. Either she’s too hot or too cold. She’s too focused on the blanket and what she should do with it to notice the black and white blurs coming down the stairs. She also doesn’t notice the white speck making its way across the top of the couch towards her.
She does notice the sudden hand on her shoulder. She looks up and gasps. “Is everything alright, Snow?” Jack asks, already dressed.
“I’m too hot,” she says, “but when I kick this off I’m too cold.”
He puts his hand on her forehead. “You feel very warm. I think being out last night might have gotten you sick. You’re lucky Zero woke me up when he did, or you may be worse off.”
Snow moans. She happens to look down at the blanket and sees Frost finishing up another one of his messages on the blanket. This one reads: “Get better.”
She smiles weakly. “Thanks, Frost.”
He runs in one circle.
“I’ll make you some soup.” Jack walks into the kitchen.
Snow can hear pots, pans, and cauldrons rattling around in there, along with some boxes and containers filled with ingredients of sorts. She’s lying back down – when she remembers what she decided last night before going to sleep. Wrapping the blanket around her under her arms, with Frost and the spider web on the outside, Snow slowly rises and pads into the kitchen. Jack’s setting a bowl of dog food down for Zero (who nearly inhales it down) and returns to a couple cauldrons surrounded by boxes and jars. “Jack?” He turns to look at her. She takes a deep breath. “I was at Town Hall last night, to decorate it for the wedding.”
He stares at her. “You went outside, in the middle of the night…just to decorate Town Hall?”
Hearing it come from Jack makes it all sound completely ridiculous. Even so, she goes on, “It’s just that you and Sally are really nice people and you deserve a nice wedding, and the Mayor was worried yesterday that the wedding wouldn’t be ready in time. So I thought I could, um, do something to help?” Zero flies over and pants, a little bit of dog food on his pumpkin nose. She smiles. “And Zero was very helpful, too. He showed me the way to Lock and Shock’s tree house, and-”
“What were you doing at the Tree House?” he asks, holding a cauldron with one arm and stirring with a wooden spoon with the other hand.
She tells him everything that happened last night, from Lock and Shock’s belief that she was a ghost to getting their help to nearly being locked outside. After telling the whole story, she starts coughing. Snow tries to stop, but she can’t. A gray cup with a silver web design is thrust into her hands. “Drink that,” Jack says.
“What’s this?” she asks after a sip.
“Water from the stone fountain in the middle of the Plaza.
“It’s magic water. That’s why it’s green. It can heal anyone who’s been hurt somehow. I don’t know about sickness, but maybe it could help.” He sets the cauldron on the stove and heats it up.
Jack goes over to the door. It’s not even open all the way when Snow hears the Mayor’s voice. He shouts, “Someone’s done something to Town Hall!” Snow winces. They’ve already found out. “It’s, it’s-”
“It was really late at night, okay?” Snow figures that she’d better start defending herself now.
“Snow? Is that you? What do you mean?”
“I’ll explain later, Mayor,” Jack says. “Is that it?”
“No, uh, Lock and Shock arrived bright and early, saying how they wanted to help. Something about a promise.”
‘They came,’ Snow thinks with a smile. Zero grins back at her. Frost creates a thin, silvery thread and jumps into the air, using the thread to steer him toward the table. He quickly weaves another message: “Good job.” She’s beaming when she feels another hand on her shoulder. She gasps and looks up at Jack’s grinning face.
“The Mayor left, but he said get well.” There’s a bubbling noise, and Jack returns to the cauldron on the stove. He picks up a bowl that looks like it’s carved from a metal gourd and ladles something into it. He sets it in front of Snow, along with a silver spoon.
“What’s in this?” Chunks of gray and green flakes bob around in a purple liquid.
“Chicken meat and dried herbs in a potion broth,” he answers, ladling some for himself in his own bowl.
“Huh.” Ever so lightly dipping the spoon into the soup, Snow lifts it to her lips and takes the tiniest sip. “Hmm.” She dips her spoon again and takes a bigger sip. “Not bad.” She smiles, eating more. Zero starts sniffing close to the bowl, but after Jack tells him to go, he whines and floats off.
Halfway through her soup, she looks up and sees yet another message from Frost: “Food?”
“Aw, poor Frost.”
“What is it?” Jack asks from where he’s leaning against the counter, eating his soup.
“He’s hungry.” She looks at the skeleton. “Do you have anything for spiders to eat?”
“Hmmm…” He sets the bowl down and rummages through his pantry, pulling out a gray canister with a paler gray label. “Would he like some rat feet?”
Frost scurries to the side of the table furthest from Jack.
“Guess not.” He rummages again, this time pulling out a black canister. “How about pumpkin pulp?”
Jack reaches in one more time. “Since he’s from Christmas Town, does he eat berries?”
Frost crawls back into the center of the table.
Jack grins and pulls out a pale gray jar with a berry-red label. “I have some holly berries. Does Frost like those?”
Frost scurries all over the table.
“Here you go.” Jack opens the jar and pours three red berries into his hand. He brings them over and places them in front of the ice spider. “Bon appétit.”
‘Bone appétit?’ Snow thinks. ‘What the heck does that mean?’
When they’re all done eating, Snow goes into the other room to get her bag. “What are you doing, Snow?” Jack asks.
“I was gonna get dressed then-”
“You’re not going out. You’re sick.”
Snow pouts. “But I wanna help.” She coughs a couple of times.
Jack lays her down on the couch. “You did plenty last night, I’m sure. But now, you should rest.” After seeing the expression on her face, he adds, “I’ll come back later in the day and see how you’re feeling. Then maybe you can come back out.”
“Okay. Oh, can you bring Frost to Town Hall?” She motions to the spider, who’s riding on Zero’s head.
“Um, I had an idea that he could do some spider web designs on the curtains I hung.”
“You hung curtains?” He looks very surprised; Snow feels her pointed ears get hot. “How did you do that?”
Instead of reprimanding her for doing something as reckless flying, he smiles at her. “Impressive! Well, get some rest-” he ruffles her hair, “-and I’ll be back to check on you later.” He reaches out and Frost crawls onto his hand. “Zero, stay here with Snow.” Bringing Frost with him, he leaves the house for Town Hall.
Snow can’t help but yawn. Zero flies over, circles the air above her twice, and floats down next to her, closing his eyes. She smiles and hugs him as she drifts off to sleep.
“This has never happened before!” Alan is telling Ned.
“Who could’ve done this?” he asks.
“Everyone, please! Settle down!” Jack shouts over the chatters of the crowd outside Town Hall.
All voices silence as every eye turns to the Pumpkin King. “It wasn’t us!” Lock and Shock, who are standing in the middle of the crowd, say in defense.
“I know it wasn’t you.”
Everyone stares at him. “How do you know we didn’t do it?” Lock asks, stunned.
Jack gives one of his trademark grins. “I’ve had a little chat with the real mastermind.” The crowd parts as he walks up to the door. Pushing it open, he sticks his skull inside. “Whoa!” He thought Snow just hung up one or two curtains up on the stage; what she did so far is amazing!
He opens the door wide enough to walk through, and the citizens follow behind him. “Who could’ve snuck in and done all this?” the Vampire Brothers ask.
“Sorry, Jack,” the Mayor moans, walking to the front of the crowd with his worried face. “I know we’re not supposed to do anything without your approval, but-”
“I love it!” Jack cries, much to everyone’s surprise. “This is a good start!”
Murmurs fill the chilly air as citizen after citizen enters, some still admiring the late night work, some sharing ideas in little groups. Jack turns to say something to them – he spots Lock and Shock sneaking off to the side, talking in hushed tones. He sneaks closer. “We should go back now,” Lock whispers.
“We can’t, you idiot!” Shock hisses. “We promised that ghost!”
“Who cares about one ghost?”
“Do you wanna be haunted the rest of your life?”
“There’s gotta be another way to make up for burying the crown box in the ghost’s grave!”
“You did what?” Jack asks, eerily quiet, but loud enough to make both kids jump and stare at him in fear.
“It was her idea,” Lock says, pointing at his sister.
“Was not!” she snaps, glaring at her brother and raising her hands threateningly.
“Both of you, knock it off!” Jack picks up both of them and moves them far away from each other. When they both stop struggling, he lets them go. With a blood-curling glare, he demands, “Why would you do that to a grave?”
“We didn’t mean to!” Shock says.
“We thought people would search the Tree House for it,” Lock adds. “We didn’t want people snooping around our home, so we went to the dirt patch by Spiral Hill.”
“There were a lot of open graves there,” Shock continues, “and we picked one and…” Her voice trails off, not wanting to admit to her crime.
“What did the ghost tell you to do to make up for it?” Jack asks, crossing his thin arms. Even though he knows the answer, he wants to hear it from them.
They mumble their response.
“What was that?”
“Help with the wedding,” they repeat a little louder.
“The ghost said I could shrink some pumpkins,” Shock says. “A dozen, I think she said.”
“And I’m just supposed to help somehow,” Lock grumbles, crossing his arms and glaring at the ground.
Jack turns around and looks at the place. A dozen pumpkins would cover all the aisle seats. He feels something tickling his hand. Looking down, he sees Frost weaving another web. He turns away from the two groveling kids and watches as Frost weaves another message: “Party.”
“Of course!” He turns to the kids (who snap to attention), and tells them, “Both of you, go to the pumpkin patch. Ask Behemoth first if you can shrink the pumpkins to a smaller size, otherwise bring back twelve small pumpkins. After that, I’ll have you help plan the food for the reception, along with Barrel. All three of you are, after all, Halloween’s finest trick-or-treaters. Who else better to ask for help with the desserts?”
Lock and Shock are trying not to show it, but Jack can tell they’re excited about their dessert job. “Okay,” they moan, but as they’re leaving Town Hall, he sees their faces light up.
“Jack!” the Mayor says, coming up behind him. “What are we going to do now?”
The king looks at the little ice spider riding on his left shoulder. “I think we’re going to need some help from a little person.”