That Old Halloween Magic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   When walking alone on a night in October, listen to the whispering winds of the Autumn air. You may discover that you're not the only soul (maybe the only one alive) roaming around. You just might also be able to hear faint cries of the spirits that are wandering aimlessly in the darkened sky, sending chills up your spine, trying to frighten you. Be watchful of glowing eyes within the branches of lifeless trees, or in shady corners, peering out at you. It could mean that a black cat belonging to a nearby witch is on the prowl, and is keeping goblins and other unnatural creatures from the fire pit well informed of all the happenings. It was because of a young boy named Hal, and his little sister, Aveen, that this air of spookiness came to be born.

The events of which I speak took place in a part of Ireland that was then called Goudublin, the name long since changed with the hundreds of centuries passed. Goudublin was just a speck of a village with a population of only fifty. On a small farm there lived a young boy by the name of Hal, who was sixteen, and his little sister, Aveen, only seven years of age. Even though their education was limited, their minds profited from the teachings of their parents, Morgana and Banyon O'Darc, who had the jobs of healer and peace-maker in Goudublin and far off lands. Being good parents, they made the powers and the knowledge of their skills known to Hal and Aveen. They encouraged their children to use the talents they had, to grow with their talents, and never to give up or give in. Hal and Aveen were taught wisely, and all the knowledge they accumulated from their mother and father would help them in a task that neither Morgana nor Banyon perceived coming.

"I must be off on my journey. I've got a long way ahead of me," Banyon's deep voice boomed to his family. Banyon was preparing for his trip to the Druids. Two men lingered at the doorway to bring him to the troubled lands of the Druid clan. For it was Banyon O'Darc's mission to try and bring about peace whenever warring factions arose. This sudden outburst of battle cries was a shock to Banyon and the rest of the Celtic tribe. It had been so many years since even one tiff had sprouted between the two different clans. There wasn't any logical reason for this irrational behavior. Leaving Morgana, Hal, and Aveen with his love, Banyon O'Darc left with the two Celtic men. The most disturbing thought circulating in his mind was why did bad feelings explode out of nowhere, with no warnings? And for what reason did things get edgy on the thirteenth of October? Sniffing an odious stench in the frigid autumn air and feeling the harshness of the winds, Banyon began to have the idea that this sudden mayhem wasn't really the Druido' doing. There had to be some other force behind everything!

With Banyon gone, Morgana decided to do something to put her mind at ease. "Aveen, come and help me take the baskets of sheep's wool to Shadow Creek so we can wash them, and Hal, I want you to make sure the animals are all secured in the barn with plenty of food." Hal and Aveen looked at their mother protestingly. Hal was concerned because the winds had picked up and he feared evil spirits were afoot in the land. His mother told him to have no fear, she and his sister would be fine and they would be back before very long. But Hal could not shake the feeling that something very bad was about to happen.

And Hal was right. While at the creek, Morgana was set upon by a pack of goblins led by the wicked Drucilla, witch of the Banshee wind, and sister of the evil Malachi, wizard, and mortal enemy of Banyon O'Darc. Under the direction of her brother, Drucilla abducted Morgana, and trapped her in the voluminous pockets of her orange and black robe where she imprisoned the spirits of the utmost good.

Aveen valiantly tried to defend her mother but was no match for the evil hoard. Running like a flash of lightning, Aveen, with her long black hair whipping her eyes and her slender legs moving, set off to get help. "Fools!" cried Drucilla. "Go after that wretched little brat!" She shrieked in her rasping voice. Fearing the witch, the goblins stumbled after Morgana's daughter, but Aveen was too quick for them.

Exhausted, Aveen was stopped in her flight when she ran right into the village drunk, an older man named Jacko, and his little black cat. Jacko quickly understood the situation. He had been carrying a small, carved pumpkin, which somewhat resembled the face of a goblin. Quick as a wink, he hurled it to the ground in front of the goblins, while his cat howled in fury. Thinking one of their own had been destroyed, the goblins turned and fled in terror. "Ha,ha," Jacko laughed, "It works every time. Those evil creatures are so stupid!"

"Oh, Mr. McLantern, you must help me!" Aveen exclaimed. Breathlessly, she told Jacko about the kidnapping of her mother.

Jacko was silent for a moment. "I think I can help. But we must first fetch your brother. Those goblins and that misbegotten banshee, Drucilla, are bad. But it's Malachi who's behind this dreadful scheme, I'll wager!"

An anxious Hal met Jacko and Aveen as they approached. Telling Hal the tale of what had occurred, Jacko directed him to gather the townspeople quickly and to tell them to bring pumpkins and sheets, and noisemakers of all kinds. The townspeople, though confused, had great respect for Hal and his family, and so came quickly.

"We must dress ourselves to appear like the demons and goblins of Malachi to put fear in them and set them off in confusion," Jacko shouted. "Prepare yourselves for a mighty battle with the evil pair who would destroy our good land!"

And so, with their pumpkin lanterns and ghoulish attire, they set off for the hellish forest where Malachi worked his evil magic. Howling blood-curdling screams, the townspeople, led by Jacko, Hal, and Aveen, fell upon the demons. A great battle ensued amidst Drucilla's wild and angry winds. Victory was theirs when Hal, Aveen, and Jacko's black cat attacked Drucilla. With claws and nails, they tore Drucilla's huge pockets, freeing Morgana and the spirits of the utmost good.

The spirits banished Malachi and Drucilla, and peace once again reigned. In celebration of the victory, there was much merrymaking with good food and sweet treats. And Banyon O'Darc returned, exhausted and bewildered, but pleased to see so much happiness throughout the land.

Now Malachi was banished, but keep in mind this thought:

October thirty-first, as

everybody knows

Malachi might return

His evil power grows

So carve your pumpkins

And disguise

And make a joyful noise

Evil will run

And there'll be fun

And treats for girls

and boys n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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