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The Misty Valley
by Margo Fallis
Volume 1 Chapter 2

     Poe rapped on Prysm’s front door. When she opened it, her cat, Bella, darted out the door. “Oh no! She’s escaped. Come here, Bella.” Prysm called for her cat, but the feline ignored her owner and ran across the street. “We’ve got to catch her before we go to school. I don’t want her running around all day.”

     “Uh, not this month you don’t. We’d better find her before one of those ravens sees her.” Poe handed Prysm his backpack and she dropped it inside the door. “She went that way, over to Mr. Hex’s house.”

     “I hope nothing happens to her. Bella was sitting right at the door, just waiting for an opportunity to get out. Sneaky cat. There will be no catnip for her tonight.” Prysm and Poe ran into Mr. Hex’s backyard, looking behind every rose bush and tree.

     “Look at these roses. These ones are black and those are blood red.” Poe was careful not to prick his fingers on the thorns.

     “I like these orange ones though. They don’t smell like roses. Ugh. They smell like,” Prysm sniffed, “like blood.”

     “There she is. Bella just hopped over the wall into Mrs. Hally’s yard. This is just great. We’re going to be really late for school. My mom will not be happy.” Poe shook his head.

     “But we can’t go. I have to find her. I saw five huge crows flying overhead. If one of them sees Bella, it will eat her. Oh, Bella. Where are you?” Prysm was on the verge of crying.

     Poe noticed. “Don’t cry. We’ll find her, even if we have to miss a whole day of school.”

     They chased the gray-blue cat from yard to yard, climbing over stone walls, wooden fences and sprinted through fields of ruby red poppies with black stems and leaves. “We’re getting further and further away from home. What time is it anyway? It feels like we’ve been out for hours. I’m hungry and tired and angry. Bella! Bella! Come to Prysm, Bella, please?”

     After walking for hours, exhaustion set in. The two children sat on a boulder next to a flowing river of blood. “I’m pooped and I’m starving. I’m past starving. I’m famished.” Poe patted his tummy. “Can you hear it growl?”

     “No. I can’t hear anything except my own tummy growling.”

     “We need to get home. Look how low the sun is. My mom will be worried about me and wonder where I am and why I didn’t go to school. So will your mom. It will take us a while to get home and we half to be home before the sun sets.” Poe threw a pebble into the blood river. It splashed, sending a drop of blood through the air and landing on Prysm’s face.

     “Stop it! The last thing I want is blood on me. Remember, there are piranhas in there. What if there’s a vampire nearby? Let’s head for home. Poor Bella. I hope she’ll come home by herself safely.” Both of them jumped from the boulder and were about to leave when they heard Bella’s meow. “It’s Bella!” Prysm took off after her cat. “Wait, Bella.”

     Poe chased Prysm, calling after her. “Wait for me.” Prysm kept running, seeing glimpses of Bella ahead. By the time Poe caught up the sun was about to set. He found her at the bottom of a flight of worn wooden steps. “Oh no. It will be dark in five minutes and look where we are.” They tipped their heads backwards. “It’s a candy corn mountain and home of Witch Lilith. Great. Not only do we have to hide from monsters and vampires and werewolves, but your cat is going up the stairs right to Witch Lilith’s haunted house.”

     “I’m going after her. I don’t care if you come with me or not. I’m not letting anything bad happen to my cat. Besides, it’s probably safer up there than it is down here.” Prysm climbed the steps, being careful not to trip on them.

     “Ew! What is all over these steps? It’s sticky and slimy. Maybe I don’t want to know.” Poe kicked his shoe and some dark green slime flew off, landing on a dead tree. He leaned over and sniffed it. “Yuck. It stinks like dead people.”

     “How would you know what a dead person smells like? Just ignore it and hurry up.” Prysm nearly fell backwards when a loud moan floated towards them from the haunted house.


“What was that? I heard that same noise last night.” Prysm’s eyes bulged with fear.

     “Let’s hope it’s not Bella.” Poe turned and looked down. Misty Valley was full of dark shadows, moving through the streets. “Don’t look now, Prysm, but we’re dead meat. All I can see are vampires and bats and ravens and crows and tons of black cats. That Frankenstein monster is walking up and down in front of our houses. You can see everything from up here.”


     “There it is again. What is it, Poe?”

     “Dunno. We’re about half way up the mountain. Have you seen Bella lately, or is it too dark now?”

     “The last time I saw her she was running up the stairs towards the haunted house. There is nowhere else for her to go.” Prysm saw the full moon reflecting off a pool of water. “Is that blood or water over there?”

     “Blood. Why?”

     “I saw something in it. What if it’s Bella? Let’s go and see.” Prysm jumped off the stairs and landed on dry ground. Clouds of dust flew up into her face. She coughed and waved her hand back and forth to blow the dirt away and then stepped over to the pool of blood. “What is that in there? It’s too small to be Bella.”

     Poe stood next to her and gazed down. “Wait until that cloud passes in front of the moon and then we’ll be able to see.”  They waited patiently until the cloud disappeared. Poe gulped. “Eyeballs. Those are eyeballs bobbing up and down. Look at that one.”

     Prysm squatted. “They are eyeballs. Gross. Sicko. Who would put eyeballs in there?”

     “Duh, Prysm. Who do you think? We’re right by the haunted house. A witch lives there. She probably keeps them fresh in this pool so she can use them in her spells.”

     “Spells? Do you think she has a cauldron and a broomstick and magic wand? What about a black candle?” Prysm headed back for the stairs.

     “She’s a witch. Of course she does.” Poe turned in a circle. “Watch out!” He pushed Prysm to the ground.  A bat flew past them, swirling above their heads.

     “Get away! Is it a vampire bat or a regular bat?” Prysm tried to swat it with her hand. “Go away! I hate bats.”


     Poe picked up a dead branch that had fallen off a nearby tree. He swatted the bat, chasing it away. “It’s gone now. We’d better hurry before it goes and tells the other bats. I do not want to have my neck sucked on by a vampire. I wish I was home. I could hide under my bed.”

     “You hide under your bed?” Prysm giggled.

     “Only when I’m really scared. Don’t you?”

     “Never, but I’m scared now. If there was a bed, I’d hide under it with you.” A cold breeze blew down the mountainside, chilling Prysm. She rubbed her arms. “Bella! Bella!”

     “Shh. Do you want Witch Lilith to hear you and know we’re here?” Poe put his hand over Prysm’s mouth. “Shh.” They climbed to the top step.

     “Now what?”

     “I don’t know. It’s dark in there. She doesn’t have any lights on. Maybe she’s not here?” Poe thought for a few moments. “You run around to the back and hide. I’m going to knock on the door and run. I hope I don’t slip with all this slime on the bottoms of my shoes.”

     “Are you nuts? What if she answers?”

     “I don’t think she’s here right now. Go and hide. I’ll be there in a few minutes. Keep still and very quiet.” Poe pushed Prysm gently, showing her which direction to go. He stepped onto the front porch. The board creaked. Poe was sure everyone in the valley had heard. He turned and looked down. The shadows were still wandering about Misty Valley. He took another step and then another until he stood in front of the rotting wood door. His fist inched its way toward the rusted door-knocker. With one last gasp of breath he lifted it, knocked it as hard as he could, and then jumped off the porch, slipping and sliding all the way around to the back. He joined Prysm behind a pile of tumbleweeds.

     “Did you do it? Did you knock?” Prysm’s curiosity blurted from her mouth. “Did she answer? She didn’t see you, did she?”

     “Shh.” After a few minutes had passed, Poe stood. “I don’t think she’s here. Stay right here and I’ll go and peek through the window.”

     “Poe, I’m scared.”

     “Me too, but it’s kind of fun. Nobody else is brave enough to come out at night and nobody would dare come to Witch Lilith’s haunted house, except Shayde and Drake. I wouldn’t be here either if I wasn’t desperate to help you find Bella.” Poe tiptoed to the window and stood on a broken piece of wood jutting out from the old house. He twisted his head to the left and then to the right. When he’d seen enough, he jumped down and ran over to Prysm. “It’s empty. Nobody is here.”


     “Oh yeah? Then what is that noise? It’s coming from inside the house.”

     “Maybe there’s something in the basement. Do you want to go inside?” Poe pulled Prysm up.

     “Are you nuts? Go in there with a moaning monster? No way.” The girl yanked her arm free from Poe’s grip.

     “It’s too bad we’re both such chickens.”

     “Look, Poe! Bella’s in there. She just looked at me from inside on that ledge. Let’s get her and go home before some zombie gets us.” Prysm ran to the door, but hesitated. “You go first.”

     “Me? Nuh uh! It’s your cat.”

     “Oh, all right. I’ll go first” Prysm turned the knob and pushed the door open. It creaked and rattled as the rusty hinges moved. “Noisy door. I hope nothing heard that.” She stepped inside. “Great. The floorboards squeak too. Bella! Bella! I know you’re in here. Come to Prysm. Come on, Bella. I’ve got some cat treats for you.”

     “Your cat is much smarter than Bruja. Bella knows you don’t have anything and she isn’t going to come. We’re going to have to find her. Close the door so she can’t get out. If she’s still in here, we’ll catch her.” Poe moved across the wooden floor, each step echoing throughout the empty building. “I wish I’d brought a flashlight.”

     “You don’t need one. Look right here; it’s a candle and there are matches next to it.” Prysm lit the match and touched it to the wick of the candle. It burst into flame.

     “At least it’s not a black candle. Wow. Look at this room. It’s full of spider webs and moths. Bring the candle over here, Prysm. I want to see what this is.” Poe waited patiently while his friend walked over to him. “It’s a cauldron; a witches’ cauldron and it’s got something green inside. It’s the same stuff that is all over the steps.”

     “But there’s no fire?”

     “Maybe Witch Lilith took what she needed and this is extra. I wonder what it does.”

     Prysm shook with fear. “Maybe it turns people into toads, or makes people grow three eyes, or turn into zombies.”

     “What a drama queen you are, Prysm. It’s probably her dinner. It stinks.” Poe sniffed the thick mixture. “It smells like rotten rutabagas mixed with leeks, cinnamon and old eggs.”

     “Why don’t we go and look in another room. Bella’s not in here.” Prysm moved in a circle so she could see the entire room.


     “Okay. That came from below us. Whatever it is hears us moving around. I say we stay out of the basement and go up those stairs.” Poe blew his bangs off his forehead.

     At the top of the steps was a hallway with four closed doors. “Now what, Poe? Which door do we pick?”

     “I say we start with number one.” He moved to the closest door. The rusty knob left reddish-brown marks on his hands. He turned it a teeny bit at a time until he heard it click. “Here goes.” He pushed it open. “Let me have your candle.” Holding the flame in front of him, Poe stepped into the room. 

     “What’s in there?”

     “Skeletons. Tons of them. Some have heads and some don’t and they’re all covered with cobwebs.”

     From off in the distance they heard a loud cackle. “Uh oh. It’s Witch Lilith and she’s coming back here.” Prysm pushed Poe into the room of skeletons.

     “Hey, what are you doing?” Poe tripped and the candle fell, rolling across the floor. The flame went out.

     “We have to hide so she can’t find us. I hope Bella hides too. I’d hate for her to become part of that icky stuff in the cauldron.”

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