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Visions of Purple
There is a place, where the pumpkins are always ripe; where the ghosts are more than just sheets with eye holes.
There is a place, where the streets are always alive with the hustle and bustle of children on sugar highs.
This is the place that I had been going to for Halloween every year of my life since I was three. Since I am now seventeen, that’s about fourteen years. The first time that I heard about Halloween Lane I was over my grandparents house helping my grandmother make apple pie. My Grandfather, who passed away six years ago, was unlike a lot of other Grandfathers that I knew; he remembered everything. Whenever I was over there he always told stories of what he did when he was a child and just the past in general. Today's story was about halloween, 1951. "Listen closely Pipkin; this is a juicy one" he began. As usual, the story floated out of his mouth with such care and style that it made me sit perfectly still and be perfectly silent. He told me of the road between Crescent and Berkeley that had attracted spirits, and monsters from miles around for years. This place was not documented, not marked, and only known by a few chosen people.
If I told any of my casual acquaintances about what I did on Halloween, they would say I was mad. My parents as well, knew not of where I went, or who I went with every year, but somehow, the questions never came up. When I left for the evening, about five after seven, I used the same tired explanation that I always used "I'm going to help out at the foodbank, be back in a few hours.” The crisp autumn air greeted me with a smile as I stepped out the door, and walked down the street. My usual costume, a witch, was stuffed into my backpack along with a pillowcase. I rounded the corner at the end of my street, and turned onto Griffon Street. Every kid, and parent was out and about, knocking on doors, sneaking candy, and adjusting costumes while running down the sidewalk. A three year-old slammed into my legs and smiled up at me. I smiled back, and continued down the street towards my destination.
I rounded two more corners until I came to the two street signs: Crescent, and Berkley. In between the two streets stood a long driveway, and an overflowing wooden mailbox. I opened the mailbox, and reached inside for a stamp, then proceeded to open my bag, and take out my special passbook. I placed the stamp on the next free page, and walked up the long driveway to the small cabin with its old fashioned log beams and dark windows. My hand shook with anticipation as I lifted the latch on the front door, and walked inside. The house hadn't changed, it seemed as if it were free from even time itself. The furniture still managed to not have any dust on it, and it still smelled faintly of freshly picked apples. Nostalgia stopped me for a few moments, and then I continued to the basement door. I opened the latch, and walked down the spiral staircase into the second entry way below. I quickly took my costume out of my army green backpack, and slipped it over my clothes. Before the great purple door that glowed with magic, there was the scanner for my passcard. I slid my card through the scanner, and the door swung open.
There it was, the most beautiful sight I had ever seen; Halloween lane in all of its glory; I was home. A wide smile formed on my face as I looked around at the fabulous decorations, and the big bowls of every type of candy you could ever imagine. There was a certain freeness that came from being the only human. I walked down to the second house on the left, and knocked on the wooden door. “Pipkin!”, screamed a small, pale female vampire. “Hey Lynn!” I responded. Lynn had been my friend for years, but she was not just my friend, she was my best friend. She and I got out our pillow cases, and headed out for the best part of the night; trick or treating. Trick or treating on Halloween lane, is unlike anything else in the world.
The jack o'lanterns glisten on the doorsteps, standing guard against the evil spirits lurking in the night.
Every child spirit, and monster, prowled the streets ringing doorbells, and fill their bags to the brim with every candy that you could ever dream of.
Bats fly through the sky, witches cackle on broomsticks, evil spirits sit in wait in the alleyways, vampires come out to play in the dark of night.
Lynn and I started with the neighbor’s house, and grabbed a full size chocolate bar. We both knew the lane like the back of our hands, and planned out our night to make sure that we had the most amount of candy that we could possibly have. Trick or treating is just the first half of the celebration however. There is an elegant bonfire, and party in the middle of the cemetery to honor the dead. For three hours, Lynn and I ran throughout the long, winding lane, taking short cuts through alleyways, encountering a demon or two. They tend to lurk around the trash cans; I always feel sorry for all of the unfortunate souls who are misinformed about them. In nature, they are comparable to dogs, and if you give them a piece of candy, they’ll leave you alone. Demons don’t scare me, in fact, nothing scares me anymore. After meeting every evil, and possibly threatening creature there is, I can nonchalantly go about my way.
After the marathon of trick or treating, Lynn and I ran over to the graveyard for the party. Pure adrenaline kept us going throughout the half mile run. As we approached the gate, a familiar figure greeted us,“Hey Orion!” I yelled waving him down. Orion is a spirit who lives in one of the houses closest to the entrance. “Hey guys, I was wondering when you were going to get here!” he said smiling. Orion had come to live here for his own protection. In another chapter in his life, he was one of many spirits of the Amazon river. Once the area was inhabited by humans, he was forced to leave. He ran into trouble with a forest spirit, and fled. He does not talk about his old life that often, it seems to be a memory slowly disappearing with the slow decay of time. Orion always smiles, and is always kind, yet I feel as if his heart is elsewhere. He walked over, and put his arms around our shoulders; Together, we walked into the cemetery.
All manner of supernatural beings were already present. The large bonfire had already been lit, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. After a good number of people had arrived, Everyone gathered around the bonfire for one of my my absolute favorite traditions: wake of the dead. We held hands, and as we chanted the fire transformed from a scarlet, to a lime green. As our voices grew louder, the lime green fire rose higher, and higher still. Suddenly, the headstones began to glow the same lime green as the fire. Almost immediately, the ghosts of people who had passed rose from the ground. People young and old, rose to join the world above ground for one night. After the ceremony, everyone cheered, and the party was underway.
For hours on end it seemed, a certain kind of happiness filled the air, that only came about once a year. Nothing else really mattered except having a good time, not tests, not responsibilities, just celebrating. All of a sudden, I saw a lime green ghost smoking a cigar, “Grandpa!” “Hello Pipkin, fancy seeing you here.” We shared a few memories of the past year that we had not spent together. I told him about how I always managed to embarrass myself when I raised my hand in class, and he told me of a witch that he had met that tried to turn him into a cat. “Pipkin, have you seen your Grandma at all today?” “Why what’s wrong?” I asked, sensing the sudden urgency in his tone. “It’s your Grandma, I think that she’s in terrible. danger.” “Why?” I asked. “Have you heard of the shadow demons before?” he whispered. I had seen demons many times before, so I responded “yes, they live in the alleyways.” “Not those kinds of demons”. He went on to tell me another one of his stories, yet this one was a little more unsettling than the ones that I used to hear when he was alive. “The shadow demons are a gang of ruthless, highly intelligent demons. Their short tempered nature makes them especially dangerous, they reside in the deepest, darkest part of the spirit world. They can take the form of anything, and possess anyone, or anything, yet in their natural forms, they appear as shadows. They kill all who they possess, by torturing them with their worst fears.” I stood dumbfounded for a moment, not knowing how to respond to what I had just heard. Finally, I said “so… what do they have to do with Grandma.” “Their leader and I have been butting heads for years. I was the first human to ever come here, he feels like I have threatened this world in some way. Once he found out that you have also been coming here, he decided that the best way to retaliate, was to kill your Grandma.” “What do we do?” I asked, my heart beating in my throat. “We have to go warn her” he answered. I hurried along side Grandpa to the edge of the cemetery, I felt a hand on my shoulder. When I turned around, Orion and Lynn stood, I knew that I couldn’t leave them there, so I said, “Okay then, let’s go.”
It had been years since any of them had been in the human world, and I could sense their hesitation when I pulled the wooden door open. Everyone on the streets was in costume, so they had no problem blending in. Unlike many of the other people on the streets that night, we ran with a purpose. My Grandmother’s house was only a couple of streets away from my own, so it didn’t take very long to get there. As we approached the house Grandpa stopped in his tracks. “It hasn’t changed; not one bit”, he remarked, “she wanted to keep it the same as it was when you died; she thought that it was what you would have wanted” I responded. I ushered him inside, and we ran to the kitchen. “Grandma!”, I yelled with my hands around my mouth like a megaphone, no answer. I called again, no answer. I was about to call again, when Orion found something, it was a letter. I couldn’t decipher the message, it was written in a language unlike any I had ever seen. Grandpa came over, and looked over my shoulder at the letter. “If you wish to see Grace again, she is where no soul would enter unless looking for trouble.” I turned around to look at my comrades as they tried to figure out what the letter meant. Finally, Grandpa said “I know where she is, follow me.”
We ran back up to the log cabin in the middle of Crescent and Berkley, and back through the door with the purple glow. “We need to get to the end of Halloween Lane; that’s where the entrance to the spirit world is” said my grandfather. Halloween lane was incredibly long, I had never been to the very end before, so I was morbidly excited. The entire street was miles long, with many twists and sharp turns. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we came to another door. It looked like it was embedded in an invisible wall, and was large wooden, but had no frame. Orion pulled up the latch, and the great door creaked open revealing a swirling purple vortex. Clutching Lynn’s hand, we jumped in closely followed by Orion and Grandpa.
I woke up, and thought that I had just fallen asleep on the couch, and this was somehow just a cruel nightmare. Once I opened my eyes however, I saw my friends laying on the ground next to me, just waking up as well. I saw what looked like some magical city, with floating trains moving at light speed, houses and buildings built into the side of a mountain hanging at awkward angles, and about eight large spiral staircases leading to the various parts of the city. It was absolutely breathtaking, I stopped for a moment to let it all sink in. “So...where do we go now?” asked Orion. “Follow me, and Pipkin, give no indication whatsoever that you are human, if they find out that you are human, it wouldn’t be good” Grandpa added. I nodded and assumed the role of a witch. It was hard to hide the look of disbelief, and joy on my face as we traveled through the city. Noticing this, Grandpa stood next to me, and started to tell me about what I was seeing:“This is the capital of the spirit world, where all of the important things are, including a few ordinary folk who were given homes here. The trains are used for around the world transport, here we do not have planes, or cars, just trains. There’s my house right on the top level of the stairs, right there, no, not that one, the one hanging off of, yep. There’s the magical international trade center, where witches, wizards, warlocks, and conjurors trade potions, rare magical herbs, and objects from all over the world. Oh, and there’s the registration building for the newly deceased, where they are given the whole spheal. There’s the archives building, where all information is held.” This was a very strangely awesome place, it was almost overwhelming. We walked over to the closest train station, and up to the booth. “Four tickets to Booshka”, said Grandpa, the salesman raised an eyebrow at our request, but gave us four tickets.
The train was long and thin, with seats that looked like they belonged in an airplane. The whistle blew, and the train lurched forward. As the minutes went by, the train began moving faster, and faster still, I didn’t know how fast we were going, but I didn’t really want to know. We had gotten our own train car, which gave us time to strategize, “so when we get to Booshka, we will walk through the slums, and make our way over to the entrance to the Shadow Demon castle. Once we get there, we will figure out what to do next, because security changes everyday”.
When the train came to a halt for the third time, we made our way towards the exit. As we got off at the stop, the train station was rough looking, with a wooden exterior that looked like it hadn’t been mended in years, and the sky was dark. The strange place sent shivers up my spine. We quickly walked off of the platform, and into the town below. Lynn grasped my hand as we walked down a road marked Clemont. There were several run-down houses leaning at various angles on either side of the street, if it could even be considered a street. The roads were not paved, and there were puddles in the dirt from past rain storms. Whispering into my ear, Lynn said, “this is where all of the worst of the worst are assigned housing; where all of the most evil creatures live.” I could hear faint screams in the distance, along with a loud, sudden gunshot.
The entrance to the Shadow Demon castle was hidden in the back of a rundown warehouse. As we walked in, we were greeted by a few sunken faces in rags. A thin woman with a bandana covering the top of her head walked towards Grandpa. “Just what do you think you’re doing here?” she asked in a raspy voice. “Marney, I don’t want any trouble today, I don’t have time”, he responded, “Then leave”, Marney hissed. He held out a small brown sack, and dropped it in her hand, “what’s this” she asked, “a bribe” Grandpa answered with a sly smile. She opened the bag to reveal several pieces of gold and silver, I shivered a little wondering what she was going to say next. “You can go right in, Charlie”, said Marney tucking the brown bag into her jacket pocket. I was relieved to say the least, we had gotten through to our destination. The remaining men stepped aside to reveal a black door built into the floor. Orion opened the door to reveal black stairs leading down to a tunnel made of jade. He stepped on the first step, and then instantly recoiled, I didn’t see what was wrong until the light from a couple candles revealed a clear pool of water. Everyone looked towards me, the only human, the only one not able to hold my breath underwater for very long. I had a slight moment of panic, and then Orion spoke up, “i’m a water spirit, if I hold my hand over your mouth while you swim, you can hold your breath for as long as you want.” “Why can’t she breathe under water, can’t she use magic to hold her breath under water? She is a witch after all”, asked Marney. I shot a worried look at Grandpa, and he said “she’s out of that certain potion right now, bad timing I know, but it happens.” “Okay, then” said Marney looking at me skeptically. Grandpa glided down to the tunnel, closely followed by Lynn. Orion put his arms around me, and his right hand over my mouth, and together we jumped in. It was hard to tell that we were swimming in water, it was so clear, that it felt like we were floating in air.
The tunnel finally ended revealing a deeply cut channel, the water got darker and darker towards the bottom, and I stiffened up a little as the increasing pressure started to feel like it was crushing my skull. Deeper, and deeper we went, so deep that the weak sunlight could not reach. Finally, we came to a large underwater cave opening. I saw a faint light in the distance that got brighter as we drew near. Suddenly, we broke the surface, Orion took his hand off my mouth, and I took a large gulp of air. Looming above us was something unlike anything I had ever seen before, a large black and gold castle, with candles in every window. The great structure sat upon a rocky island in the middle of the cave, and had several towers jutting out from the roof. We swam over to the island, and I felt overjoyed when my feet touched the ground. “Follow me, and do exactly as I say, I don’t want anything to go wrong, okay” said Grandpa. We nodded in agreement. From what I could see, there were several entrances to the castle, yet all of them were heavily guarded.
Grandpa took us around the left side of the castle, we had to make sure that we didn’t make any sudden movements; one wrong move, and we were dead. He swam back down, and we followed; the island that the castle was built on had a very deep base, I was very surprised. We swam to another opening to another tunnel, it was smaller than the first one, and seemed to be made entirely out of onix. At the end of the tunnel, we surfaced again, this time inside a small cave with a ledge on the other side. We got up onto the ledge, and Grandpa floated through the thick steel door. I didn’t know what he was doing until I heard the latch open, and the door lurched open shortly after. We ran inside, past cells with mangled hands reaching for ours. I’ve never seen a more depressing sight, it seemed as if they were trying to grasp onto the hope that still resided in our souls like parasites. I shed a tear or two, but kept on moving, this is just our first obstacle on the road to Grandma. We looked for a way out of the dungeon, and found a hole in the ceiling where food was thrown down from, the stone walls made it easy to climb up to the hole. As we shimmied up the small opening, I began to hear voices, “oh no” I thought. They spoke in a strange language that I could not understand. We all froze, and then a steady stream of slop came raining down on us, I cringed from the smell, and gripped the wall until it stopped. Lynn let out a small cough, and Orion instantly covered her mouth. We didn’t begin moving again until we heard the hatch lurch shut, and when we reached the top, Grandpa floated up through the hatch and opened it for us. We ran through the halls, dashing behind statues, and columns trying to stay out of sight; my heart raced, I had never felt so alive. Some of the statues moved, and tried to grab us, but we were too quick. There was no way of telling which statues were guards, and which ones were inanimate, for they stood so still, and at attention.
Grandpa had led us down a twisting maze of hallways that looked almost identical to one another; we had come to the intersection of four hallways, when the circle in the middle of the floor started to glow and turn. Faster and faster it turned, the halls too spun; the whole thing looked like a fan. I closed my eyes so that I would not pass out, as the structure continued to spin. As suddenly as it had started, it stopped; the change in pace was so abrupt that it made us fall to the floor. When I opened my eyes, a cage formed around me. I gripped the bars, and tried to reach for Lynn, but she was just out of reach. The guards that responded to the trigger grabbed Lynn and Orion, and threw magical chains around Grandpa to restrain him. I pressed my body up against the bars, and called out their names, but they couldn’t respond; for the guards had started to take them away. I slid down in the small cage, and put my face in my knees. “How could this happen?” I thought to myself, everything was going so smoothly so far, that it was hard to imagine that this was even possible.
After a few very long minutes, another guard had come to get me. She was not much taller than me, with short, jet black hair, and wore a long black leather jacket over a tight fitted blue shirt and jeans.
She opened the cage with a key hanging from a chain in one of her coat pockets. She stared into my eyes, I stared back, but neither of us said anything.
I held my sharp gaze as she placed the metal chains around my hands, only when she turned around did I break my gaze. We walked through a series of halls in complete silence, avoiding traps, and going through doors that didn’t look like doors. Then we approached a set of jade double doors, she pushed them open with little to no effort, and we entered into a chamber with a large throne, guards all around, and a ragged looking man standing in the middle of the room. “Welcome, Pipkin”, he said in a raspy voice. I didn’t respond, and then “Mae, would you be so kind as to bring our guest forward” he addressed the girl who had brought me in. She yanked me forward giving me a quick half smile.“Okay, now that she is here, can you release Grace?” said Grandpa, avoiding my questioning gaze. “wait, what?” I stammered. I didn’t know what was going on, was I some kind of sacrifice? What did he mean by that? What’s going on?! “Your dear old Grandpa loves his wife more than you” said the man. I turned to face Grandpa waiting for a response, “That is not true, Pipkin, you are the only one who can lift the shadow demon curse”. “The what?”. “Is that why you brought her here harold, to try and expel me” cackled the man. All of a sudden, Mae leaned over and uncuffed me, “what are you doing!?” exclaimed the man. “I’m tired of being your punching bag!” responded Mae; turning towards me, she said “run towards the book!”. She was pointing toward a book sitting on top of a pedestal, grabbed my hand, and together we ran towards the pedestal. “Open the book to page 157 and say the enchantment i’ll cover you!” I quickly tore through the pages, my heart racing, beads of sweat forming on my forehead. Mae had taken out two black swords, and sliced through all of the guards like they were deli meat. She was such a graceful, yet powerful fighter, it was incredible. I finally found the page and stumbled through the enchantment; I looked around, nothing was happening. “Louder and clearer!” yelled Mae. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, then, I screamed the enchantment as loud as I could, sounding so confident, that I surprised myself. My hands started to glow purple, and I began to float. All of a sudden, the man let out a horrible scream and dropped to his knees. A black cloud drifted out of his gaping mouth and his face turned pale. “What just happened?” I asked as I drifted back down to the ground. Mae looked towards me for a moment and then bounded towards the unconscious man. “Logan?” she whispered into his ear. The man opened his eyes and looked up at Mae, “what just happened?”. She let out tears of joy and hugged him.
The black cloud had drifted out of the cracks of a nearby window, hopefully to never return. I looked over at my bewildered travel companions, “I always knew you could do it!” said Grandpa. “Grandpa, what am I?” I asked anxiously waiting for a reply. “You are an Enchantress. Your father is a warlock who never wanted anything to do with all of this.” It was a rather blunt statement, but it made sense to me for some reason. “I knew it! I knew it as soon as I saw you!” exclaimed Mae. “This is the girl who is supposed to help us”, she said turning to Logan. “Yes it is” he agreed looking me up and down. “Welcome to the team” he said shaking my hand. I looked at him inquisitively and thought about what he
might have met. “What do you mean welcome to the team?”. “Charlie, I thought you told her” he said turning to Grandpa. “I might have missed that part.” “Oh, Mae can you take Charlie to where that evil shadow demon put Grace, and bring these keys with you”, she agreed and led Grandpa with Lynn and Orion in tow away from the room.
“You are the chosen one, the one who is destined to help us defeat the Shadow Demons” said Logan. At the time I had no idea what he was talking about, I had waken up in the mortal world, and fallen asleep in the spirit world. It was quite a perplexing thought; so much so that I refrained from thinking about it too much for fear that I would go mad. So I just went with it, and hoped for the best.
That was two months ago. It still amazes me how much happened in that one day, and how much the whole ordeal changed my life for the good. To make a long story short, Grandpa took Grandma home that night, Lynn and Orion, who had nothing better to do stayed with me in the castle. After I banished the King of the Shadow Demons with my awesome enchantress powers, he rallied his Shadow Demon kin and moved to yet another part of the Spirit World that they could corrupt. Booshka slowly came back to life, more businesses came there because there was no longer any major threat. Mae, Lynn, Orion, Logan, myself, and all of the other all-powerful Knights now were in charge of keeping the peace as the organization had once done before the Shadow Demons came to power. As for my old life, I have no regrets in leaving it behind.