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The Knights of Halloween
Author's note: I think this book embodies the whimsical, magic side of Halloween, with a bit of darkness to keep it interesting.
Halloween Part One
All Hallows Eve, Halloween, October 31 has many names. It can be a night of fun and candy, but there is a darker side to Halloween as well. And I know first-hand what it’s like. So I feel the need to warn you about it before you go off in the dark tonight.
I had just received a dare to knock on the door of the old Jameson mansion. It had been abandoned for years on account of the previous inhabitants. They had scrawled chalk marks and runes all over the floor.
“Mom,” I called “I’m going out!” I rushed out the door hoping she wouldn’t have time to bring it. But I was too late! She came bustling down the stairs holding an old-fashioned knight’s helmet. She had made me wear it every year on Halloween.
“David, wait!” She yelled “You almost forgot this!” She held out the old helmet. I took it from her not wanting to hurt her feelings.
“Thanks Mom.” I said “Bye.” I walked down the driveway and started heading in the direction of the Jameson mansion.
“Be safe,” My Mom said quietly from the doorway. If only she knew how unsafe things would get.
I walked for a few minutes before I reached the iron-barred gate that marked the entrance to the Jameson mansion. I pushed it open, hinges screeching noisily. A short dirt path led the way to the door. The house sat in silence, dark with cracked wood and peeling paint. I walked up to the door and banged the steel knocker. The door creaked open. I heard the floorboards creak from upstairs. “That’s odd.” I thought “The mansion should be empty.” Call it recklessness but I went inside.
All the furniture was coated in a thick layer of dust. Cobwebs hung like drapes on the walls. I slowly walked up the stairs. About half way up I heard someone. “Vino unul mare. Vino la tărâmul vostru de rău. Pe această noapte, când luna de toamna este mare, iar stelele se alinieze să-ți spun patra! Întoarceți-vă la această sferă și licitați comanda mea.” I could not understand what they were saying. More intrigued than ever I crawled up the rest of the steps, and slowly walked down the hall.
One of the doors was ajar, with red light seeping through the bottom. I crept up and peered through the crack. A man knelt in front of a glowing red circle on the floor, surrounded by incomprehensible runes. The man’s back was towards me so I could not see his face. He repeatedly chanted the same words. The glow of the circle grew brighter, shedding sparks. When the chanting reached its climax the circle erupted in flames.
Out of it came something that looked like it was pulled straight from a nightmare. It was seven feet tall, covered with black scales and two wings folded against its back. It had glowing green eyes and fangs. “Great One!” Cried the man as he knelt before the creature.
“What is your command?” Asked the monster bending its head to look at the man. The man stood up and brushed off his clothes.
“I want you to destroy the last Knight.” He said “Mark Jameson!” But that didn't make any sense! The Jamesons had left this house years ago. “He is at the graveyard now. GO!” Said the man. And the monster vanished in a puff of black smoke. I stumble backwards the helmet slipping from my fingers. It banged against the floor, shattering the silence. “What!” said the man, “Who’s there?”
I grabbed the helmet and raced down the stairs. I didn't hear the man give chase. I ran down the path and past the gate. I just knew I had to get away. After a while I stopped leaning against a wall. What had just happened? What was that thing? Who was that man? I looked around and saw I was near the cemetery. The man had told the monster to kill Mr. Jameson in there!
I raced across the street and looked over the area quickly. There were chipped tombstones and small bundles of flowers. I didn't see him anywhere. But then I spotted someone under a willow tree. I ran towards him looking around in case that monster thing was around. “Mr. Jameson! Mr. Jameson!” I called. He looked over at me befuddled.
“What are you talking about?” He asked “You need to get out of here before-” I was cut off by the appearance of the monster.
“Before I arrive.” It finished.
End of Part 1...
Halloween Part Two
“You!” Cried Mr. Jameson, as he lunged aside narrowly avoiding the claws of the monster. He was about to get up but the monster was too fast. It pounced and held Mr. Jameson to the ground with its foot.
“Mr. Jameson!” I yelled, and flung the helmet at the monster. It flew through the air, and just as it reached the monster flashed harshly. The monster was blown back, a charred mark on its shoulder. Mr. Jameson got up and dove for the helmet. He grabbed it and put it on. As soon as he did light flared and his clothes changed into steel armor. A glowing sword hung at his side. He charged the monster and drew the sword.
As he drew near the monster vanished in a blaze of fire. Mr. Jameson lowered his sword and took off the helmet, armor vanishing and being replaced by his normal clothes. I ran towards him. “What just happened?” I yelled, completely confused. He looked around as if to see if we were being watched.
“Do you know what this is?” He asked holding up the helmet.
“Yeah,” I said “Its just a old helmet.” I had worn it before and it never did that.
“This is a relic from a past order of knights who defended the world from demons like that.” He gestured towards the black mark on the ground from the monster’s fire. “This helmet is charged with the magic needed to fight them. Where did you get it?” I had to think for a moment.
“I think my Mom got it a garage sale.” I said. Mr. Jameson looked somber for a moment. “It must have belonged to a Knight who was killed.” “But I've worn it before!” I sputtered “And it never did that!” This couldn’t be happening!
“It will only give you the armor if you are a Knight. But back to the point, we need to stop the demon.”
“I’m sorry,” I said “Did you just say ‘we’?” I couldn’t do this. I was supposed to be back home!
“Yes ‘we’ have to finish this.” Said Mr. Jameson “You need to come with me.” He walked up to the willow, looking around the trunk for something.
“What are you doing?” I asked, confused.
“This is an emergency entrance to a Knight base.” Said Mr. Jameson, not looking up. He searched for a few minutes, “Aha!” He said at last, pressing a small knot on the tree.
There was a creaking noise and suddenly a hatch opened in the tree near the bottom, large enough for a person to fit through. Mr. Jameson climbed inside holding the helmet under his arm and started descending a ladder. “Well?” He asked, already out of sight.
“Coming?” I started climbing down the latter.
When I reached the bottom I saw a room much larger than expected. It had a dirt floor and walls with roots coming through at places. But it had fresh air and was clean. Filling the space where many crates and chests.
“Wow.” Was all that I could manage, for the place was certainly ‘wow’.
“Come on.” Said Mr. Jameson “Help me with this.” He was struggling to lift a heavy lid from a stone chest. I ran over and pushed it up. After a few more minutes of grueling extortion the lid finally hit the ground. Inside the chest were many rolled up pieces of paper, some with grips at the ends. Mr. Jameson began rifling through the piles, apparently looking for one in particular.
“What are you looking for?” I asked, Mr. Jameson was now bent over searching the bottom of the chest.
“A rather thick scroll with golden grips and silver ink.” He said, finding this and adequate description, I began searching as well. I pushed aside multiple rolls of paper, some as big as toilet paper rolls, some longer and thicker than my arm. I moved aside a few other scrolls and saw a thick roll of paper with golden end grips.
“I think I found it.” I said, pulling it out of the box. Mr. Jameson came over and looked at it.
“Yes.” He said, “That is definitely it.” He took the scroll and placed it in a small pack, which he gave to me.
“What is is for?” I asked,
“This scroll contains the only spell of sufficient power to banish the demon.” He said.
“Why are you doing this? Why do you care so much?” As soon as I asked the question I regretted it. Mr. Jameson expressed such pain, such a terrible loss, he looked away.
“My family was killed by the demon.” He said sadly, “So I have devoted my life to tracking it down and killing it.” He sounded so sad I didn't say anything else. “We need to get a move on.” He said, “I'm going to read this back at the graveyard where we last saw the demon. But for the spell to work it needs to be present. Thats why I brought these.” He held up a vial of red liquid and a stick of white chalk. “I’m going to summon the demon while you wait on the other side of the graveyard.”
“What!” I exclaimed, “I want to help!” Mr. Jameson thought for a moment.
“Fine,” He said, “You can wait a couple of yards away, but you must stay out of sight.”
“Deal.” I said, and we climbed out of the bunker.
End of part 2...
Halloween Part Three
After the short climb up the ladder we reached the surface. Night had fallen shrouding the graveyard in pockets of darkness. I tried not to think of the demon lurking behind them. We made our way to the place where we saw the demon. “This part is very important.” said Mr. Jameson, “We need to be quick and precise.”
“What do we have to do?” I asked as he took out the scroll and the vial of liquid and the chalk.
“I’m going to draw the runes to summon, bind, and banish the demon.” he said, holding up the chalk. “And then I will strengthen it with this.” he held up the red vial. “And you will hide behind the tree until the demon is bound. Okay?”
“Okay.” I agreed.
He put on the helmet and, after the accompanying flash of light, was clad in steel armor. I walked over to the tree and crouched behind the trunk, keeping Mr. Jameson in sight. He rolled out the scroll and began reading.
As he chanted the night seemed to quiet down. Insects stopped humming, birds stopped calling. A heavy atmosphere of dread fell over the area, strengthened by the cloud that had just covered the moon. Mr. Jameson let go of the scroll to make the chalk runes, amazingly it stayed where it was, floating in mid-air. Mr. Jameson bent down and began scrawling the chalk marks. The first was a large red circle like the one the cloaked man at the house had drawn. The secondd was a green ring sitting inside the red circle. The last rune was a white cross that rested above the other circles. As the chanting increased flames licked the edges of the red circle, the green circle began to steam.
An inky black cloud escaped from the center of the cryptic light display, slowly coalescing into the demon. The moment it appeared the green circle rapidly spun, rising slowly. In a few moments the demon was enveloped in a swirling emerald vortex, which quickly dispersed. The demon made no move to attack.. I noticed a faint green sheen on its skin. The only marks left were the red circle and the white cross.
The cross slowly spun, steadily gaining speed. The demon started sinking into the ground, being swallowed by the white whirlpool the cross created. The red circle began to shrink. Forlorn wails escaped the slowly shrinking whirlpool, so sad I almost felt sorry for the demon. Almost.
The circle was about two feet wide when Mr. Jameson stopped reading. I looked up just in time to see him crumple to the ground. The magician stood behind him clutching a silver knife, the edge stained red. “Mr. Jameson!” I yelled racing over. As I neared him I saw the gaping wound across his chest. The magician held the knife over the scroll and allowed one drop of blood the fall from its tip onto the scroll.
The anguished cries of the demon stopped. The swirling whirlpool slowed, and the red circle began to grow! “Yes!” cried the magician. “You thought you stopped me boy! You thought you were so clever. But in the end you actually worked to my advantage. I decide to have the demon follow you to the graveyard so he could kill you both. But I had no idea you were in possession of a Helmet! So I let you believe you won and could seal the demon away. But now with a few minor alterations I’ll be able to free him! There is just only one problem, I need someone to take his place.”
He looked at me, an evil grin spreading across his face. “And I believe I’ll chose... Ahhh!” I looked down and saw Mr. Jameson drive his knife into the magician’s foot. “You insufferable old man!” cried the magician, “I think you will make a much better candidate than the boy!” he pointed at Mr. Jameson and blasted him with red lightning. He flew towards the portal, rolling to a stop at the edge. A flash I noticed out of the corner of my eye told me his helmet had been knocked off.
“NO!” I cried, diving towards the helmet. I managed to narrowly avoid the magician’s secondd onslaught of lightning. I reached the helmet and put it on.
“Noooo!” screamed the magician. I looked down, my clothes were still the same. There was no flash of light, I wasn't wearing steel armor, no glowing sword hung at my side. Then I remembered what Mr. Jameson had said. It will only transform you if you were a Knight! The helmet’s magic was useless!
There I was, facing a powerful wizard and an ancient demon. My only protection being an old knight helmet.
End of part 3...
Halloween Part Four
“Muahaha!” cried the magician in a perfect evil laugh. “You failed boy! No matter what you do, that helmet is no better than a piece of junk at a garage sale.” and he was right, I was going to die from his lightning or be trapped in an interdimensional prison forever. I was about to let go and accept my fate when I heard Mr. Jameson’s voice, inside my head.
“No time to explain,” he said “do you by solemn covenant swear to serve the Light and fight the Darkness?”
“I do.” I said finding I truly believed the words.
“Can you accept the responsibilities of the Knight?”
“Will you come to the call of the Knights?”
“By the power of Light this pact is sealed!” thundered Mr. Jameson’s voice. As soon as the last word ended a brilliant light flared around me. My clothes seemed to become heavier, much heavier. I looked down and saw the shining silver armor that had appeared on Mr. Jameson. I gripped the handle of the sword at my side.
“WHAT?” screamed the magician in complete disbelief. “I am the master of the demon! Keeper of the secret scrolls. I am-” he was cut short by the presence of my sword against his throat.
“Going to sleep.” I finished for him, bashing the flat of my blade against his head. He crumpled to the ground. “That’s one problem down.” I said, then turning to the half escaped demon, “And one to go.” I looked at the scroll floating in the air, the characters that had seemed so complex now looked like normal English.
“Please.” whimpered the demon as I picked up the chant where Mr. Jameson had left off, “I will serve you for a thousand years, I will share with you the secrets of magic much more powerful than the helmet, I can make you immortal.”
I paused for a moment, looking down at the demon. I saw a faint smile tug against its lips. I knew then it would never deliver on its promises. A heart that black could only be controlled by an equally dark master. “Thanks,” I said, “But no thanks.” I chanted the last line of the spell, making the incarceration of the demon permanent, but with one small alteration. I left room for one person to join him.
As the portal closed I pushed the magician into the space that would float around dimensions forever. A fitting punishment, eternity with the demon. The red circle closed with a thundering boom and a flash of light. All that was left was a small white cross seared into the ground.
I rushed over to Mr. Jameson, who lay quietly on the ground. “Don't worry.” I said a bit hysterically. “I’ll use the helmet and-”
“No David, the knife... had some of the demon’s blood on it... nasty stuff... it’s spread too far already.” And he wasn't wrong. He looked haggard, his skin was pale and he was breathing shallowly. I tried to find a way to help but Mr. Jameson was right, I had no idea what to do.
I just knelt there for a moment as he drew one last ragged breath and died. I knelt there for a moment, staring at the person who didn't know I had existed a few hours ago and had just sacrificed his life to save me. “No.” I said to myself, “It won't end like this!”
I concentrated on the power in the helmet, harder that anything I had ever done in my life. I stood up and traced a thin, gold circle with the tip of my sword around Mr. Jameson’s body. I stepped back as I finished the circle. I don't know how I did it, but I started thinking of some words. They entered my mind not unlike the way Mr. Jameson’s voice had a few moments ago.
“Your life on this world is at an end, but the fatal wound I mend. I call upon the power’s of Light to help this poor soul win its fight. You will return from the endless black, from there I command you to come back!” A thunderclap shook the graveyard at the final word. I stood there, not daring to breath, as the golden light from the circle escaped into Mr. Jameson. One breath, two. He gasped and sat up, hand on the wound, but it was gone!
“What happened?” he asked, “I remember you and... the magician!” He jumped up and looked around. “Its okay,” I said “I took care of him.” “The demon?” He asked, “Same.”
At first I thought Mr. Jameson would be mad. He had devoted his whole life to destroying the demon. But then his face broke into a grin. He started laughing, a joyful laugh of relief. I pulled him to his feet and we descended back to the bunkhouse.
On the winter solstice there was a meeting of Knights at some old manor in Michigan. There was a special group of younger Knights there that Mr. Jameson had persuaded me to join. He said I should meet some other Knights my age. He also hinted that there was a special assignment for the younger Knights.
I was really excited to go. But the solstice was some way off. Mr. Jameson said that he could tutor me about Knights until it came. I suppose thats it for now, hopefully I’ll have something even more awesome to tell you about later.
The End... For Now