Chapter 1: A Tale As Old As Time
Purgatory, one of the most delightful cities in all of western Canada. Well, delightful if you happened to be among the few not touched by the demonic. It was one of the smallest cities in its province, though its name traveled far and wide. Folks came from all over, reaching as far as Salem, Massachusetts to the south and parts of northern Canada. They were searching for a story, a reason to believe something as sinister as demon possessions and witches brews were running rampant in the city so poorly named.
The story begins long ago, when those touched by Satan’s mistress, witches and those who conjured up black magic, ran amuck across the town without even the slightest of consequences. It was just like any other normal night. Doc Holliday was finally managing to catch some well deserved sleep after a long day of plowing his fields and tending to his horses while the oldest of the Holliday’s, Doc’s sister Martha, slept in the bed next to his.
The small window of the room remained open, the cool fall air chilling the room. Leaves skirted around the ground, falling from branches and blowing into open windows across the town. The full moon shone brightly in the sky, casting an angelic-like glow across the city, bekining unwelcome visitors to make their appearance as they did this same time every year. They flew on their broomsticks and rode on their horses, waiting to put their plan into action.
Doc shivered when a large gust of wind blew in from the window and he pulled the thin blanket covering his long frame up to his chin in a fruitless attempt to gain warmth. He settled back into the uncomfortable mattress, and was beginning to drift off once more, when there was a loud swoosh! at the window, followed by another gust of wind. Doc sat straight up, his hand immediately finding the pistol he kept beside the bed. Dazed and confused in his sleepy state, Doc scanned the room for any impending danger before getting up and slamming the window shut.
“My sincere apologies, Martha, for you were right. We should have closed the damn window,” he grumbled through a thick southern accent. “Martha?” He called once more when no reply came. “Oh, for God’s sake,” he grumbled again and grabbed his coat.
Doc ran out of the small house, pistol and hat in hand, and stood in the middle of his front yard, searching for Martha. When he found no sign of her, he took off toward the neighbors. As he neared the house, Doc saw his business partner and closest friend, Robert Svane, standing on the front porch.
“Robert,” Doc drawled as he ascended the steps, “have you cast your eyes upon my sister, Martha as of recent? I cannot seem to find her and I fear something may be terribly wrong.”
“I’ve not,” Robert shook his head and grabbed Doc’s shoulder. “But look! They conjur…” Following his outstretched finger, Doc shifted his eyes to the north, where a cloud of pink smoke rose high above the trees.
“ Thunderation ,” Doc muttered. “The woods!” He yelled before taking off toward a clearing in the trees, following the path paved there. Robert followed and the two made it to the edge of their village.
There they saw, out in the vast field, Martha Holliday running toward the luscious forested area several yards away. She was chasing after a woman in black, with a veil that cloaked her entire face.
“Martha!” Doc yelled, but it was no use. She couldn’t hear him.
“She’s done for, Holliday,” Robert slapped a hand on Doc’s shoulder.
“Oh not yet, my friend. Go and wake my father! Summon the Father Juan Carlos and the elders!”
Robert nodded and ran back into town as Doc continued forward, following the woman in black and his sister. He crossed the large field and entered the shadowy woods, carefully watching his step and constantly checking over his shoulders. He kept his steps quiet, avoiding as many leaves and twigs as he could. He hoped over tree roots and avoided branches sticking out at odd angles, eventually coming to another clearing in the trees where the ground descended into a slight hill. A crow called in the distance, startling Doc and causing him to trip over a pile of large branches and tumble down the incline at a rapid pace.
Doc kept his screams to a minimum, not wanting to alert the witches of his presence. Once landing with a thump! and a grunt at the bottom of the hill, Doc slowly stood and dusted himself off. He bent down to retrieve his hat and sat it atop his head, sighing when he didn’t see his pistol anywhere around. Deciding it probably best to not waste time searching for a gun, he took off in the direction of a small house just across the way.
The cottage was surrounded by a small body of water, most likely an irrigation system. Doc made his way across the small stepping stones in the middle of the water and crouched just below a small window. He gently pried one of the shutters open and peered inside. What he saw was unbelievable.
Three figures, all cloaked in black stood around a table. On the table sat a large book with its pages exposed, presenting the recipe for some sort of spell. A few feet over, Doc’s eyes found Martha in a chair, ropes binding her hands and feet in place. The three figures moved to surround her, all muttering things about how ‘it’s time’ and ‘we have starved for long enough.’ In that moment, Martha’s eyes landed on Doc.
“Martha,” he whispered.
The seeming leader of the group, a tall bald man who wore a long, black cape, snapped his head in the direction of the window. His accomplices, two women shrouded in black dresses, followed suit.
“What was that?” The man asked.
The three of them approached the window and Doc ducked and hid, crawling around to the other side of the house. The man who nearly caught him threw the window open while the other two women emerged onto the front porch. Looking around and seeing no sign of Doc, the man sighed.
“Would you look at that. Another glorious morning,” he said sarcastically to the early morning sun rising just above the distant village’s rooftops.
“Widows!” The man yelled after shutting the window.
“Oh! Yes, coming!” One of the women, the shorter of the two, yelled.
“We’re sorry, Bulshar!” The other replied as they returned inside.
“It was only just the wind,” Bulshar concluded before walking back to the small table in the corner of the room. “Now where were we?”
“The spell,” Beth said.
“The girl,” Mercedes added.
“Ah, yes. We can continue working on our spell since our guest of honor has arrived,” Bulshar smiled as he faced Martha. “My book,” he continued and faced the old spell book, bound in withering leather.
“It is time to wake up. We have work to do and not a lot of time to do it,” Bulshar brushed his fingers along the cover of the book, a malicious smile growing on his face when the eye guarding the lock near the edge of the cover opened. “Mercedes!”
“Yes, Bulshar. I’m here, Bulshar,” the redhead quickly made her way over to her husband but he brushed her off and motioned to the black cauldron hanging from a chain attached to the ceiling. Mercedes nodded and bent down to ignite the logs beneath it.
The fire roared to life with green flames and Mercedes giggled.
“I notice sister Beth is not helping,” she pointed out as she began stirring the contents of the cauldron.
“I lured the child here,” Beth sneered from across the room.
“Leave her be, she has done her chore. Now you do yours,” Bulshar replied.
“You’re right, I’m wrong,” Mercedes rolled her eyes and growled at Beth, glaring at her.
“All right, ‘tis time!” Bulshar threw his hands in the air and laughed. Martha winced and closed her eyes.
Dragging a long, wrinkled finger down the old pages of the book, Bulshar read aloud the recipe for the spell, “Bring to a full rolling bubble. Add two drops oil of boil,” he turned to grab a bottle from a shelf behind him, but Mercedes stopped his hand.
“I’ve got it, my lord. It is heavy. I’ll do this, you keep tending to the spell,” she giggled ferociously as Bulshar released the bottle.
Bulshar continued to read the recipe, while both Mercedes and Beth competed to see who could add more of the ingredients into the cauldron. Adding the last of the ingredients, Mercedes began chasing Beth around the small room, giggles and laughs coming from both of their mouths. Mercedes cornered beth against a table and a metal candlestick clattered to the floor causing Bulshar to tear his attention away from the book. He slowly turned to face the sisters who were staring at him with wide eyes.
“Will you two stop that! I am trying to concentrate!” He yelled.
Beth began giggling again causing Mercedes to elbow her side. There was another faint noise that came from above them and Mercedes’ nose began to twitch as her head snapped toward the sound. She tip-toed around the floor, using her ability to sniff out any child within the area as it was going off like an alarm in her head.
“I-I smell a child,” she said and approached Bulshar.
“Praytell, what do you call that?” He asked and motioned toward Martha.
“A...a child,” Mercedes answered.
“Right then, problem solved. Now gather ‘round, my wives. One thing more and this spell shall be done. One small bit of thine own tongue,” the three circled the cauldron and grinned at each other before completing the spell and biting off a piece of their tongues, just as the recipe called for. They spat into the cauldron and gave it one final stir.
Beth squealed and clapped her hands together. “Is it time for tasting?”
“It is indeed,” Bulshar nodded. “One drop of this and her life will be ours.”
The three laughed maliciously, turning to face Martha. Bulshar held a wooden ladle in his hand, a drop of the potion in its bowl. They were huddled together, eerily grinning in unison at the girl. Martha’s eyes were wide, her mouth clamped shut, as the witches approached her.
“All right, my dear child. Open up your mouth,” Bulshar towered over Martha, extending the ladle towards her. Beth placed a hand on top of Martha’s head, tilting it back and causing her mouth to open as Bulshar tipped the potion toward her mouth.
“No!” Doc yelled. Bulshar and his wives turned to look toward the ceiling where Doc knelt on a platform overlooking the room.
“A boy!” Beth cried.
“He must have crawled in from the window!” Mercedes added.
Doc jumped down from above and held his fists out, ready to fight. He stood with the cauldron in between himself and the three witches, shuffling from side to side so as to avoid their hands.
“Get him!” Bulshar yelled.
“I knew I smelled a boy!” Mercedes lunged toward Doc, but he pushed the cauldron in her direction, causing both Beth and herself to backpedal.
Doc grinned and looked down at the swinging cauldron. He gripped the lip of the top, pulling it back to gain momentum before releasing the black pot causing it to swing back toward the sisters. It hit them hard, swinging too fast for them to stop it with their hands, and they were knocked off of their feet. Mercedes flew back into a nearby table while Beth knocked over various candles. They fell to the ground with matching grunts and called out to their demon husband. Doc shook his head and tipped the cauldron over while Bulshar was distracted, emptying its contents onto the wooden floor beneath them.
“No! My potion!” Bulshar yelled, turning in an instant to face Doc and the now empty pot. “What have you done boy?!”
“I am saving my sister, sir. I find it to be quite obvious,” Doc raised an eyebrow at the taller man before fixing his hat and running toward the chair in which Martha sat.
“Not on my watch,” Bulshar lifted an outstretched hand toward Doc and a pulse of magic shot from his palm, hitting the cowboy.
Doc fell to the ground with a groan, clutching his side. Bulshar stared at his hand, then back at Doc before shrugging and straightening his cape. Mercedes slowly sat up and fixed her hair before looking around and nearly growling at the sight of Doc on the floor mere feet from her. She scanned the room and gasped softly when her eyes fell upon Martha.
“Oh, Bulshar, look!”
Bulshar slowly turned toward Martha and sighed happily. “Come now, my wives, prepare thyselves, for the potion worked!” He motioned for the two to approach. Beth struggled to stand, but managed to gain her balance by using Mercedes for support.
“Take my hands, my loves,” Bulshar instructed. “Her life force is ours and we shall share her together.”
“Oh how generous you are, Bulshar,” Beth sighed and clung to his hand, as Mercedes took the other.
Doc slowly came to, reaching out towards a stool in front of him to pull himself halfway into a sitting position. His eyes adjusted to the low light once more and he watched as Bulshar, Mercedes, and Beth began to suck the life out of Martha...literally. He watched as their skin became clear, their hair regaining its color and their posture correcting itself in the slightest bit. Doc finally managed to pull himself to his feet and he leaned back against a pole supporting the structure of the house.
“We are young!” Bulshar exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air as Martha’s head slumped down against her chest, the life now completely drained from her body.
“Well, young er ,” Beth said.
“Fear not, for this is only the beginning. Just imagine how much younger we will be once we suck the life out of every child in Purgatory!”
“You won’t have the chance to know. Not if I have anything to do with it,” Doc spat. The three turned to face him, Bulshar’s face growing serious.
“Ah, the boy. He’s still alive,” Bulshar said, disappointment lacing his words.
“Let us brew another batch, shall we?” Mercedes offered.
“No, no, his punishment must be more fulsome,” Bulshar shook his head as he approached the spell book across the room. “More...lingering.”
“Oh! Amnesia!” Beth yelled.
“Let’s make him vanish!” Mercedes suggested.
“No, my sisters, his punishment shall not be to die,” Bulshar replied as he flipped through the pages of the book.
“Then what shall it be, my lord?” Beth asked.
“To live forever with his guilt,” Bulshar stated simply.
“As what, Bulshar?” Mercedes and Beth asked simultaneously.
“Stand back,” Bulshar instructed before he began murmuring a spell under his breath, stretching his hands out again and shooting a burst of magic in Doc’s direction.
Doc fell to the ground with a grunt, screaming in agony as he contorted in pain. His bones shrank and his hands turned to paws as black fur began growing over every inch of his body. His screams were turned to hisses and whiny growls as whiskers appeared near his nose. Bulshar laughed and looked down at the defeated boy before him.
“Say goodbye to life as a mortal human, my boy. I hope you can enjoy fish and mice, as that will be what you eat for the rest of eternity,” Bulshar laughed once more.
Doc hissed at the three figures towering over him as they all laughed. Beth leaned down to pet between his ears, but Doc swatted at her with a paw. She only laughed harder and turned to Mercedes, admiring her no longer rotting face.
“We are beautiful again, sister. And now we can feed on all of the children without anyone stopping us!” Beth exclaimed.
“Open the door!” A man’s voice came from outside. He banged on the door repeatedly with his fist and Mercedes and Beth gasped in unison.
The faint glow of burning torches seeped in through the window and the sound of distant shouting could be heard. A mob of angry villagers, armed with pitchforks and torches, surrounded the small cottage demanding the witches to show themselves.
“Possessors of darkness, show yourselves!” Another man exclaimed. The incessant banging only grew louder.
“Hide the girl!” Bulshar instructed. Mercedes and Beth covered Martha’s corpse with a blanket and stood in front of it.
“There are no witches here!” Mercedes called, trying to disguise her voice. “You can continue on your journey now!”
“We are but three elders trying to enjoy a nice evening at home,” Bulshar said through the door.
“Yes, we were just...cooking a soup to enjoy!” Beth added.
“And sucking the souls of children!” Mercedes yelled. Both Bulshar and Beth turned to face Mercedes with wide eyes.
The momentary distraction allowed for the villagers to push the door open. Martha’s body was discovered and the three witches were seized and brought back to the town’s center. They were tied to wooden posts in the ground, stacks of wood surrounding their feet, ready to burn its victim at the stake. The village priest, Juan Carlos, stood at the front of the crowd with Henry Holliday, Doc’s father.
“Bulshar Clootie, I shall ask you one last time. What did you do with my son John Henry?” Henry asked, his arm tight around his wife Alice’s shoulders.
“John Henry?” Bulshar echoed and the villagers yelled. “Oh, I’m not sure. The cat has got my tongue,” he chortled at his own pun.
In the distance, Doc stood on top of a rock and meowed and hissed, trying to gain the attention of someone – anyone – who could help. It was too loud and too dark, and Doc was left on his own. A large clap of thunder shook the ground and the three witches laughed again in unison. Composing himself, Bulshar cleared his throat and looked down at Henry.
“He is probably dead for all I know,” he chided and everyone around them gasped.
“Do not listen to these fools!” Juan Carlos said as the three of them continued to shout vulgar things into the crowd.
Fish, a young boy holding the spell book locked eyes with Bulshar and immediately dropped the book to the ground, covering his eyes. The book fell on its spine causing it to open and expose the pages to another spell. Bulshar grinned and widened his eyes as he rose his voice above the crowd.
“Fools! All of you! My ungodly book speaks to you!” He exclaimed. “On All Hallows Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin will summon us from under the ground! We shall be back, and the lives of all the children shall be mine!”
Juan Carlos motioned to the executor to ignite the logs and he watched as the three witches burned, laughing as their bodies were consumed by flames. The villagers swiftly exited the area, yelling and conversing among one another as they went. Henry Holliday turned to look back one last time and Doc took the chance to run over to him. He meowed and rubbed between his father’s legs, attempting to gain his attention, but it was to no avail. He couldn’t speak so no one could understand him.
“Away, beast!” Henry instructed and Doc took off, taking his place atop the rock once more, watching as his father and mother walked back to their home without him.
“Poor John Henry Holliday. Neither his father, his mother, nor anyone else ever knew what became of him those three hundred and twenty-seven years ago.” Jeannie Lucado, English teacher at Purgatory High School, concluded her story with a mysterious wave of her hand to the half-sleeping class in front of her.
“And, so, the Clooties were burned at the stake by the townsfolk of Purgatory,” Lucado began walking down the aisles between the rows of desks as she continued. “Now, there are those who say that on Halloween night, a black cat still guards the old Clootie house, warning off any who might make the witches come back to life!”
Lucado banged her fists on the desk of a sleeping student, startling them and causing the rest of her class to laugh and clap. Nicole Haught glanced up from the paper she had been mindlessly doodling on for the entirety of class and rolled her eyes.
“Oh give me a break,” she muttered and returned to her drawings.
“I see we apparently have a sceptic in our presence,” Lucado raised an eyebrow and tilted her head in Nicole’s direction. “Miss Haught, would you like to share your Texas, small-town, country point of view on the Clooties?”
“Okay,” Nicole nodded and sat up straight. “Granted that you here in Purgatory are all into these black cats and witches and stuff.” She spoke, a slight twang to her accent.
“Stuff?” Lucado gasped, the rest of the class murmuring under their breath in disbelief.
“Fine, okay, I apologize,” Nicole held her hands up in mock surrender. “But everyone knows that Halloween was invented by the candy companies. It’s a conspiracy to steal all of your money.”
“ Actually , it just so happens that Halloween is based on the ancient feast of All Hallows Eve,” Nicole turned to look at the brunette behind her, immediately noticing how beautiful she was. “It’s the one night of the year when the spirits of the dead can freely return to Earth.”
The class cheered and applauded, laughing at the doubtful look Nicole still wore on her face. The redhead looked down at the piece of paper on her desk and glanced back to the brunette before scribbling something down on it.
“Well said, Waverly,” Lucado smiled and nodded. Waverly grinned and winked at her best friend, Chrissy Nedley, on the other side of the room.
Nicole folded the piece of paper and stood up from her seat, walking over to where Waverly sat, piece of paper in hand. Waverly looked up at her as she towered over her desk.
“Well, in case Jimi Hendrix shows up tonight, here’s my number,” Nicole handed Waverly the paper with a wink. Waverly unfolded it and read Nicole’s name at the top, followed by her phone number. The class oohed and some of the guys whistled behind them. The bell rang, indicating the end of the school day, and students began filing out of the room.
Waverly stood up and noticed she was a good few inches shorter than Nicole as she was still slightly looking up to her. Waverly offered her a smile and Nicole popped a dimpled grin in reply before the brunette gathered her things and left the classroom. Champ Hardy, a boy not much taller than Nicole stood from the desk behind Waverly’s and stepped up to the redhead. His blue and white letterman jacket hung open over a white t-shirt and he reeked of cologne. Nicole assumed he was a football player.
“Haught. Fat chance,” he said before following Waverly out of the room. Nicole rolled her eyes and gathered her things before making her way out to the front of the school and to her bike.
Nicole looked around for Waverly, hoping to spot the beautiful brunette somewhere still on campus. When she didn’t find her, Nicole unlocked her bike from the rack and swung one leg over to straddle the seat. She took off on the bike and rode slowly down the sidewalk, avoiding pedestrians. Out of the corner of her eye, Nicole spotted Waverly in her red coat, walking ahead of where she was. Nicole sped up before breaking just beside Waverly.
“Waverly,” she called and the brunette stopped walking, facing Nicole.
“Hi,” Waverly replied.
“Hey. Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you in class,” Nicole apologized, over-exaggerating her accent just the slightest.
“You didn’t,” Waverly scoffed quietly.
Nicole chuckled quietly and held her hand out. “My name is Nicole. Nicole Haught.”
“Yeah, I know. You just moved here, right?” Waverly asked as she shook Nicole’s hand.
“Yeah, last week,” Nicole shrugged and sighed after dropping Waverly’s hand.
“It must be a big change for you. Moving from city life in the states to a small town in the middle of nowhere in Canada.”
“That’s for sure,” Nicole shook her head. “Major changes have happened.”
“You don’t like it here?” Waverly questioned.
“Well, the leaves are great and all, but I don’t know. Just all of this Halloween stuff,” Nicole shrugged, glancing around.
“You don’t believe in it?”
“What, do you mean the Clooties? No way,” Nicole scoffed and shook her head.
“Not even on Halloween?” Waverly raised an eyebrow.
“ Especially not on Halloween,” Nicole chucked.
“Well, then...I guess I’ll have to make you believe,” Waverly grinned and held her hand up, holding a folded piece of paper between her index and middle fingers. “Trick or treat.”
Nicole took the paper without breaking eye contact with Waverly and watched as the brunette walked off. She grinned when Waverly tightened the scarf around her neck and sat up straight on her bike. She unfolded the paper and groaned when she saw her own name and number staring back at her.
Chapter 2: Howdy Padna
“Who are you?” The girl asked.
“Nicole. I just moved here,” Nicole replied slowly.
The raven haired girl glanced over at her friend, and they both stared at her. Nicole rolled her eyes.
“The Lone Star State? In America?”
“Oh! Sweet, dude!” The leather jacket exclaimed.
“Howdy, padna,” the other tipped an imaginary hat.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Nicole stared at the paper in her hand, her own name and number mocking her and her ignorance. She was a new kid who copped an attitude toward the first pretty girl she met, and expected her to fall for her charm and cockiness. Things were definitely different in Purgatory than they were in Texas. The girls were different. Nicole had met Shae and had her wrapped around her finger in minutes, whereas Waverly...well, Waverly might just be the bane of her existence. What, with her luscious hair and her smile and wave and her stupid smartness. Nicole huffed and shoved the paper into her back pocket before starting on her way home.
It was a Friday, and the weather was nice, so Nicole decided to take a scenic route home. She cut through the middle of town, passing the police station and a bar called Shorty’s. She saw a man in uniform lounging outside of the bar with a mustache and a cowboy hat to match who, Nicole assumed to be, was the town’s Sheriff; he tossed her a wave and she returned a smile. Nicole crossed railroad tracks and sped down narrow sidewalks, avoiding children and adults wandering around town. She found a small cafe and bookstore, places she could easily see herself spending time.
As she rode on, Nicole starting seeing less buildings and more open fields, bringing her back to the rural areas of Texas for a moment. She saw a cemetery near the road she needed to take to get home, so she decided to cut through it and see where it would take her. She passed by several tombstones, riding in between rows of graves, and shivered. The air was cool, but Nicole knew the chill she felt came from somewhere else. Somewhere supernatural , perhaps. Nicole shook her head as she slowed to a stop at the bottom of a slight incline.
“Hey, Carrot Top!” Someone yelled. Nicole planted both feet firmly on the ground, steadying herself, and turned to face the voice.
Nicole eyed the two people before her up and down. They looked to be her same age, but definitely not the kind of people she wanted to hang around. One wore a leather jacket and the other, a dark-skinned guy, wore a flannel with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows.
“Who are you?” The girl asked.
“Nicole. I just moved here,” Nicole replied slowly.
The raven haired girl glanced over at her friend, and they both stared at her. Nicole rolled her eyes.
“The Lone Star State? In America?”
“Oh! Sweet, dude!” The leather jacket exclaimed.
“Howdy, padna,” the other tipped an imaginary hat.
“I’m Wynonna. This is Xavier,” Wynonna introduced herself and extended a hand. Dolls grabbed Wynonna’s arm and turned her to face him.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to call me Xavier anymore. It’s Dolls,” he whispered.
“Oh! Right,” Wynonna nodded and turned back to face Nicole. “This is Dolls.”
Nicole offered a sarcastic smile and nodded.
“So, Ginger Spice,” Wynonna jumped down from the raised grave she had been standing on, “let’s have a drink.”
“I don’t drink,” Nicole replied as Wynonna fished a flask out of her jacket pocket.
“I see they’re very health conscious in the States, eh?” Dolls said and Wynonna snorted before taking a swig from the flask.
“Nah, they’re just boring as fuck down there in the great state of Texas,” Wynonna said with a terrible fake southern accent.
“Alright, look-” Nicole started but her words were silenced when Dolls smiled at her.
“Hey, Nicole is it? You got any cash?” He asked.
“Um, no,” Nicole shook her head.
Wynonna sighed and gripped the handlebars of Nicole’s bike, leaning forward until their faces were close. Nicole could smell the whiskey on her breath and it took everything out of her to not pull away.
“So, you won’t drink with us and you don’t have any cash. What am I supposed to do with my afternoon now?”
“Maybe learn some basic geography? It’s kind of scary you didn’t know where Texas was,” Nicole snapped.
Dolls laughed, loud and hard, but stopped when Wynonna kicked her foot in his direction. He cleared his throat and tried to compose himself.
“Hey,” he said with a grin. “Those are some nice Red Wings you got there.”
“Let me try them on,” Wynonna said.
“What? No way,” Nicole rolled her eyes and kicked up the stand to her bike, trying to take off.
“Whoa there, Red,” Dolls pushed Nicole’s shoulder, stopping her from leaving. “When Wynonna says she wants something, you better give it to her.”
“Look, Dolls , I’m not trying to start a fight,” Nicole said, voice rising in anger and accent thickening.
“Great!” Wynonna smiled. “Now give Earp your shoes.”
Nicole looked between Wynonna and Dolls and sighed. She clearly wasn’t getting out of the situation without losing either her dignity or her shoes, so she decided the most logical thing to do was give up her boots. Nicole bent down and unlaced the left, then the right, and kicked them both off. Dolls whooped and bent down to pick them up.
“Thank you for your service, Nicole,” Wynonna grinned.
“Screw off,” Nicole spat before pedaling away.
As she rode home, Nicole’s thoughts mingled between the pain she was feeling from the plastic of the bike pedals pressing into her socked feet, and how Wynonna looked somewhat familiar to her. Which was impossible considering she’s not met anyone in town until that day. It was in the structure of her face, or maybe it was her eyes. Whatever it was, Nicole knew she didn’t like her.
When she got home, Nicole locked her bike up on the rack in the garage and stormed into the house. She threw the door open and slammed it shut, quickly cutting through the dining room where her parents were unpacking the last of the boxes from their move. Nathan, Nicole’s father, stood up from where he was kneeling on the ground and smiled at his daughter.
“Hey, kid. How was school? And where are your shoes?”
“It sucked,” Nicole replied flatly and made her way toward the stairs.
“Nicole, watch your tone,” her mother warned.
“I can’t believe you made me move here!” Nicole yelled as she stomped up the stairs.
She got to her bedroom and leaned her forehead against the closed door, letting the cool surface ground her and bring her back to the present. Nicole turned the knob and pushed the door open, stepping inside and slamming it shut. She threw her bag onto her desk chair and tore the jacket from her body, throwing it onto the desk. She sighed and sat down on the edge of her bed and was met by a fuzzy beast rubbing against her leg.
“Hey, CJ,” Nicole smiled at the tabby and pet her between her eats. Calamity Jane began purring immediately and jumped onto the bed. Nicole laid down on her back, resting her hands on her stomach, and closed her eyes.
“Oh, Waverly,” Nicole sighed. “You’re so smart and cute and...way out of my league, but-”
“Boo!” Nicole jumped and sat up, startled. She groaned and covered her face, falling back onto the mattress.
“Caitlin! what are you doing in here? I told you to stay out of my room.”
“I was hiding in your closet to scare you, which I did.”
“You didn’t scare me,” Nicole rolled her eyes.
“I did! And you should have seen the look on your face!” Caitlin laughed and jumped onto the bed next to her sister. “Who’s Waverly?” She asked.
“No one you know and no one of importance.”
“I’m Waverly,” Caitlin giggled and leaned back against Nicole’s pillows. “Waverly. Kiss me, Nicole. I’m Waverly!”
“Mom and Dad told you to stay out of my room, and so did I, so why are you still here?” Nicole exclaimed and stood up from the bed.
“Oh, come on , Nicole! Don’t be such a crab!” Caitlin stood up and started jumping on the bed, laughing. “Guess who’s gonna take me trick-or-treating tonight?” She sang in a sing-song tone.
“Not this year, Caitlin,” Nicole shook her head.
“Okay, well, Mom said you have to so…” Caitlin jumped off of the bed, landing right in front of Nicole and smiled up at her.
“Well, she can take you then. I’m not doing this Halloween crap this year.”
“She can’t, Nicole. She and Dad are going to a party at the Wainwright Hotel,” Caitlin grabbed onto the sleeve of Nicole’s Rush 1984 Grace Under Pressure Tour shirt as she turned to walk away.
“Well, you’re thirteen. Go by yourself,” Nicole said and walked over to her desk. She sat down and grabbed the acoustic guitar from its stand next to her desk and put it in her lap. She began strumming and played a random set of chords, testing to see if it was still in tune.
“No way, this is my first time here and I’ll get lost!” Caitlin followed Nicole across the room. “Besides, it’s a full moon tonight! All of the weirdos are out!” She reached out and gripped the neck of the guitar, interrupting Nicole’s chords.
“Come on, Nicky. Couldn’t you just forget about being an annoying high schooler and hang out with your super cool little sister for just one night? We used to have so much fun trick-or-treating together. Remember? It’ll be like old times.”
“We went with Shae and her little brother,” Nicole corrected. “We broke up and now we’re here in Canada so...the old days are dead,” she said and started strumming the intro to Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive.
“Well...it doesn’t matter what you say, because you’re taking me,” Caitlin raised her voice over the guitar.
Nicole stopped strumming and looked at Caitlin. “Wanna bet?” She said and stood up, setting the guitar back on the stand. She turned around and saw Caitlin staring at her, grin on her face. “What...Caitlin, no.”
“ Mom! Nicole won’t take me trick-or-treating! ” The younger Haught screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Caitlin! Nicole! Hurry up! The bewitching hour is about to begin!” Nathan yelled up the stairs.
Caitlin came bounding down the stairs giggling, dressed to the nines as a witch. She ran over to her father and jumped in front of him, screaming and causing the both of them to laugh. Natalie, Nicole’s mother, appeared from the kitchn clutching her phone and smiling. Nathan and Caitlin continued to laugh and Natalie snapped a couple of pictures.
“You look very scary, Caitlin!” Natalie exclaimed. “Where’s your sister?”
Nicole descended the staircase and leaned against the living room wall, folding her arms over her chest and closing her eyes. She had changed into a pair of jeans and a red flannel, pairing it with a pair of older combat boots she had and her trusty Stetson. Nathan smiled at her and tilted his head.
“What are you supposed to be, Nic?” He asked.
“A cowboy,” Nicole replied flatly.
“Huh, well maybe you should try using a thicker accent. You know, to really sell it,” Nathan winked at her and clamped a hand on her shoulder. Nicole opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by Natalie ushering them together for a picture.
“Everyone say…’Halloween!’” She said and took several pictures.
Nicole sighed and looked at Caitlin. She nodded her head towards the door and opened it. “Let’s get going.”
The set out to the east side of town, hitting all of the houses along the way. Nicole stood by and waited for Caitlin to get her candy for the most of it, but every now and then they would stumble upon a house willing enough to give her some candy of her own. Nicole graciously took it all with a smile and nod and, occasionally, a tip of her hat. After an hour or so of going door-to-door, Nicole was was beginning to get tired. Her feet ached and she was sweating more than she thought she would be despite to cool air. As Caitlin climbed the front porch steps of a small house on the corner of a street, Nicole took advantage of the large group of kids huddled at the door and sat down on the edge of the top step. She sighed and checked her phone for the time, groaning when it read 8:30. It was still too early to go back home, but that wasn’t about to stop her from trying.
“Gee, Nicole, why do you look so sad? Lighten up,” Caitlin said as she came up next to her sister.
“Look, we’ve been out for a few hours now. you ‘ve got a lot of candy. Can we go home now?”
“No, we still have the other half of the neighborhood to hit!” Caitlin said as the two of them walked down the steps.
Nicole stopped dead in her tracks when her feet hit the ground and grabbed Caitlin’s arm, stopping her as well. Ahead of them, at the end of the driveway, Wynonna and Dolls were laughing and shoving each other around with, what Niccole guessed was, their group of friends. They were taking candy from kids and smashing pumpkins in the street, high-fiving after every hit. Nicole looked around and started to pull Caitlin across the yard, to the other side of the house.
“Let’s go this way,” she said and continued walking.
“Why? We have to go this way,” Caitlin replied and walked down the driveway. Nicole sighed and rubbed her face.
“Whoa there, kid,” Dolls said as he came to stand in front of Caitlin. “Stop and pay the toll.”
“Ten chocolate bars. No licorice,” Wynonna bent down so she met Caitlin’s eyes. “Dump out your sack.”
“Drop dead. Moron,” Caitlin sneered.
“Oh no, I think you should listen to her, Earp. She seems vicious ,” a tanned-skinned girl from their group said.
“I don’t know, Rosie. I think you may be right,” Wynonna stood up and wrapped an arm around Rosita’s waist. “Witches are...totally terrifying. Especially when they’re thirteen.”
“Maybe you should ease up on her, yeah?” Rosita whispered in Wynonna’s ear. “I mean...she is just a kid, babe.”
“No way. Don’t let Rosita talk into your ear again, Earp,” Dolls said and looked back down at Caitlin. “Everybody pays the toll.”
“He’ll take it from you by force,” Rosita said.
“I’d like to see you try, because it just so happens that I’ve got my big sister with me,” Caitlin smirked and crossed her arms.
Both Wynonna and Dolls looked past Caitlin and at Nicole, laughing in unison.
“Red!” Wynonna’s eyes widened as she feigned fear.
“Oh no!” Dolls held his hands up in mock surrender. “We’ve crossed into the wrong territory.”
“This town ain’t big enough fer the two of us,” Wynonna drawled as Nicole walked up to them. “I see you’re doing a little trick-or-treating, eh? A little old for that, don’t you think?”
“I’m taking my little sister around,” Nicole replied, stepping up into Wynonna’s space.
“That’s nice,” Wynonna nodded. “I love your costume, partner!” She tipped Nicole’s Stetson down with her pointer finger.
“What are you supposed to be? A new kid on the block?” Dolls snickered, causing everyone else to laugh.
“If you must know, she’s a cowboy,” Caitlin spoke loud over their laughter.
“ Oh! A cowboy! Of course!” Dolls laughed again. “It’s very authentic.”
“Yeehaw!” Wynonna exclaimed and hopped onto an imaginary horse. “Everybody watch out! There’s a new sheriff in town!”
“Alright, that’s enough,” Nicole laughed sarcastically and grabbed Caitlin’s hand, pulling her out into the street.
“Whoa there, Clit Eastwood. I said everybody pays the toll.”
“Know what? Have at it. Pig out, guys,” Nicole said calmly and shoved her bag of candy at Dolls.
“Come on,” Nicole pulled Caitlin into the street.
“Oh, and Carrot Top! The boots fit great!” Wynonna called after her. Nicole turned back and flipped her off.
“You should have punched her,” Caitlin said as they neared their next house.
“Are you kidding me? She would have killed me.”
“You’re taller than her. And you play soccer.”
“Height has no advantage over rage, Cait,” Nicole grumbled.
“I’m just saying. You could have totally taken her if you actually tried.”
“Right, well it’s your fault all of that just happened. I was trying to avoid them, and then you went and embarrassed me in front of half the people in my class. Collect your candy and just...get out of my life,” Nicole grumbled and leaned against a post on the front porch of the house they had approached.
“Fine,” Caitlin stared at Nicole. “I want to go home,” she said and descended the stairs, candy long forgotten. She took off down the street and leaned against a light post, tears rolling down her cheeks. Nicole took off after her and stopped a few feet away.
“Caitlin, I’m sorry,” she said softly, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jeans. Caitlin stayed quiet, keeping her back to Nicole. Nicole sighed and plucked the Stetson from atop her head. “It’s just that I hate this place. I miss all my friends. I want to go home!”
“Well, this is your home now, so you might as well get used to it,” Caitlin said and wiped her eyes.
“Yeah,” Nicole sighed again and ran a hand through her hair. She looked around at all the kids around them, laughing and having a good time, before stepping closer to Caitlin. “Hey...Give me one more chance?”
“Why should I?” Caitlin mumbled.
“Because I’m your sister? And you love me, even if I’m mean sometimes?” Nicole knelt down and put her face close to Caitlin’s. “And because I’ll annoy you with a horrible fake southern accent until you give in.”
Caitlin giggled quietly and nodded slightly. Nicole sighed internally and relaxed her posture, pulling Caitlin into a hug and kissing her cheek. She looked toward and sky and gasped quietly.
“Whoa, did you see that?”
“See what?” Caitlin asked, following Nicole’s gaze.
“Something just flew across the moon and…” Nicole trailed off and poked Caitlin’s stomach. The smaller girl squealed and playfully hit Nicole. “Ha! I fooled ya!”
“Yeah, yeah. Come on, jerkface. Let’s go,” the small redhead laughed and pushed herself off of the post, facing Nicole.
The two sisters turned to face the house behind them and stopped in their tracks. Nicole slowly placed the Stetson back on her head and whistled lowly. Before them stood an old rustic looking house made almost entirely out of wood, it seemed. Nicole put her hands on her hips and hummed, taking in the quaint house that stood out among the others in line down the street. There was a small porch and a barn just a short distance behind it, and very few decorations.
“You think anyone is in there?” Nicole asked.
“The more important question is do you think they’re giving out candy?” Caitlin replied.
Nicole smiled and looked down at her sister with a shrug. “We’ll never know unless we try, right?”
Caitlin grinned and ran up the front steps of the porch, Nicole not far behind her. They rang the doorbell and knocked three times, Caitlin repeating the mantra of ‘trick or treat!’ in hopes of someone hearing them. A few seconds passed and Nicole gently squeezed Caitlin’s shoulder. Right as they were about to turn and leave, the thin brown door swung open and Wynonna stood on the other side, bottle of whiskey in hand. Her leather jacket hung loosely over her shoulders, her boots haphazardly untied. Nicole was sure she was drunk.
“Hey! Cowboy!” Wynonna exclaimed. “Come back for another ass kicking?”
“You never kicked my ass to begin with, so don’t even start with me, Earp,” Nicole replied.
“Well what else would you be standing on my doorstep for?” Wynonna asked, taking a long swig from the bottle in her hand.
“Well, it’s Halloween, so we were just continuing on down the street, as you do when taking your siblings trick or treating. We have to make up for all of that candy you stole from us,” Nicole said, her eyes lingering on Wynonna’s.
“First off, Red Riding Hood, you gave Dolls your candy. And second, we don’t have candy here to give. So why don’t you two just continue on your journey, eh?”
“Give me my boots back and then maybe I’ll consider that offer,” Nicole replied.
“Listen, Haught ,” Wynonna snapped, over-enunciating the ‘t’, “I’m not giving your boots back. What am I supposed to tell Dolls? I got soft?”
“I’d say you’re pretty soft, baby,” Rosita came up behind the raven haired girl and wrapped her arms around her waist. “I apologize for her attitude, she can be a bit hostile sometimes.”
“It’s...fine,” Nicole shook her head and raised an eyebrow.
“I’m Rosita, but you can call me Rosie. This is my girlfriend, Wynonna, though I take it you two have a bit of a past already?”
Nicole shook Rosita’s pro-offered hand and nodded. “She stole my boots earlier today.”
“Boots that she will be giving back,” another voice came from behind Rosita and Wynonna. The two girls stepped out of the way to reveal Waverly standing at the bottom of a small staircase, Nicole’s boots in hand.
“Oh come on, baby girl,” Wynonna whined. “Those are some bangin shoes!”
Waverly rolled her eyes at her sister and walked up to the door. “I believe these belong to you?” She asked, holding the Red Wings up.
“Yeah, but...she can keep them,” Nicole said, her eyes slowly trailing the length of the brunette, taking in her appearance.
“I’ll get them back to her at school, Waves,” Rosita assured the youngest Earp. “It was nice to meet you, Nicole. I’m sorry for any trouble we might have caused you,” she smiled and left the room with Wynonna after taking the shoes from Waverly.
“So, you get rejected one time and decide to show up at my house?” Waverly folded her arms over her chest and leaned against the door frame, raising an eyebrow at the redhead.
“I’m sorry, who are you? I’m not sure we’ve met. I don’t know any…” Nicole paused to check out Waverly’s clothes once more. “I don’t believe I know any wizards.”
“Ha-ha, very funny,” Waverly rolled her eyes and bit back a smile. “Well, cowboy , how can I help you?”
“We were hoping to get some candy,” Caitlin smiled from Nicole’s side, which in turn caused the elder Haught to lightly smack her arm.
“We just...saw the house and thought ‘it can’t hurt to see if they’ve got candy’ so...here we are, I guess,” Nicole drawled and leaned against the doorframe, on the side opposite Waverly.
“Oh, we have candy, but I don’t think my sister would be willing to give it up to you, considering how she was acting over a pair of stolen shoes,” Waverly bit her lip.
“Wynonna...She’s your...sister?” Nicole’s eyes went wide.
“Shocking, right?” Waverly smiled.
“You two are nothing alike, from what I’ve gathered,” Nicole scoffed and looked over in the general direction of where Wynonna and Rosita went.
“Oh, Nicole! Who is this?” Waverly smiled and looked down at Caitlin.
“This is my little sister, Caitlin,” Nicole stood up straight.
“She’s so cute! She looks just like you. Right down to the dimple and everything,” Waverly smiled at Caitlin. “Hi, I’m Waverly.”
Caitlin’s face lit up at the introduction and glanced at Nicole. “So this is Waverly? You’re right, Nicole, she is really pretty!”
Waverly clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle a giggle while Nicole removed the Stetson from her head, mostly using it to shield the heat slowly rising on her cheeks. Caitlin smiled proudly to herself and nudged Nicole’s leg with her foot.
“I...I really like your costume, Caitlin,” Waverly said after clearing her throat and composing herself.
“Thank you, I made it myself,” Caitlin smiled.
“Would you like come candy? Wynonna said no candy for Nicole, but she never said no candy for you,” Waverly smiled and winked at Caitlin.
“How could I say no to free candy?” Caitlin smiled.
“You know, I love wizards and Harry Potter and all that, but witches have always interested me more,” Waverly said as she grabbed a large bowl of candy from a table. “They’re super interesting to read about.”
“Yeah! We just learned about that guy and his wives today.”
“Oh, you mean the Clooties?” Waverly smiled. “I know all about them. My mom used to run the museum.”
“There’s a museum about them?” Caitlin raised her eyebrows.
“Oh yeah, but they shut it down because…” Waverly paused to look around and leaned toward Caitlin, “because a lot of spooky things have happened there.”
“Well, why don’t we go to this old Clootie house?” Nicole said. Caitlin’s eyes went wide and she vigorously shook her head. Waverly turned to face the tall redhead with a raised eyebrow. “Well, come on, make a believer out of me.”
“Yeah, alright,” Waverly said after a moment of consideration. “They won’t miss me here, especially because Wynonna’s insisting we all play spin the bottle. Let me just...go grab my robe,” she bit her lip and headed for the stairs, intentionally brushing her hand along Nicole’s arm as she passed.
Nicole made sure her fingers just barely brushed against Waverly’s as she fully passed, watching her shiver as she ascended the small staircase. Caitlin looked up at Nicole and gently slapped her arm.
“Nicole, I’m not going to that house. My friends at school have told me about it. It’s freaky!”
“Cait, this is the girl of my dreams,” Nicole said, eyes still trained on the stairs. “Please just do this one thing for me. I’ll do anything you say.”
“Next year, we go trick-or-treating as Steve and Robin from Stranger Things , with the hats. Or it’s no deal.”
“Fine!” Nicole exclaimed after a moment of intense silence. Caitlin smiled and Nicole turned back to the staircase just as Waverly was coming back down.
Nicole smirked slightly at the sight, finally noticing just what Waverly was dressed as. The black and blue combination of colors came as no shock to Nicole, as she had assumed this was the case from the moment she laid eyes on Waverly. The brunette descended the stairs, pulling in a long, black robe lined with a deep blue on the inside. She clutched a wand in one hand and her phone in the other. The white shirt, blue tie, and black skirt were finally making sense to Nicole and she leaned against the railing of the stairs.
“You know, I don’t think any Ravenclaw would go out with their wand exposed like that. Also, Converse? Really?” Nicole gave a small laugh.
“You have no room to talk, miss flannel and stetson. Though I’m not too surprised you dressed like that considering where you’re from.”
“I couldn’t say I’m surprised by your choice of attire either,” Nicole pushed herself off of the railing and stood in front of Waverly.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, Waverly, can’t you tell? You scream Ravenclaw. Your big brain says it all, really,” Nicole reached a hand up to tuck a loose strand of hair behind Waverly’s ear, resting her hand against Waverly’s cheek. “Though I’m not complaining about that. Not at all.”
Waverly opened her mouth to reply but, before she could, Nicole turned on her heel and walked out the door, placing the Stetson back on her head. She tossed a dimpled grin and a wink back at her before descending the porch steps.
“Oh...boy...this will be interesting,” Waverly mumbled to herself and followed the two Haught sisters out the door.
Come find me on Twitter! deputyydipshit