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The Misty Valley
by Margo Fallis
Volume 1 Chapter 7

     “You know that Witch Lilith is going to be looking for us every night this month, don’t you?” Poe turned and looked behind them. “I don’t think she’ll stop until she finds us.”

     “I’m sure she has more than one broom. I don’t know about you, Poe, but I’m not ever going out again at night. Even though we’ve gone through all of this horrible stuff, I still am going home without Bella. I have no idea where she is and I’m too tired to care right now.” Prysm yawned.  “It’s about 4 AM isn’t it? Two hours. We’ve got two hours to get home before the sun comes up. I’m not sure what will happen to Candi, so we need to hurry.”

     “I can’t hurry any faster. We’re not that far from the cemetery. If we cut through it, we can be home in fifteen minutes. If we go around it, we’ll be home in an hour. It’s surrounded by this river and lots of thick, thorny bushes and trees.”

     Prysm rolled her eyes. “Duh, Poe. Do you really think I’m going to go into the cemetery? I would rather take the long way, thank you.”

     “But it’s so much faster.” Poe stopped and handed Candi to Prysm. “Your turn.” He pulled out his candy corn and nibbled on it. “Come on. Let’s just get home. We’ll be careful.”

     “All right, but let’s hurry and stay on the paved path.” Prysm gave in.

     They came to the cemetery gates. Poe peered through the iron bars. “Looks kind of spooky, doesn’t it?”

     “Yes it does. Where do all these monsters come from? When it’s not October, where do all these creatures live? I guess some of them come from these graves. Maybe there are some caves in the mountains and they all hibernate.”

     “Another one of those questions we may never know the answer to. Are you ready? Let’s get this over with. Have you got a good grip on Candi, just in case we have to make a run for it?” Poe noticed the sky was getting a little lighter in the eastern sky.

     “I’m fine. Open the gate please.”

     Poe lifted the latch and pushed the gate open. As they walked down the path he noticed that many of the headstones were either broken or tipped to the side and most of the graves had been dug up, leaving empty coffins.

     “What was that?” Prysm nodded in the direction of the opposite gate.

     “What was what? I didn’t see anything.”

     “Something moved; something big and dark and I’m sure scary.”

     “It might be a zombie coming back to its coffin.”

     “Poe, look to your left. Is that an arm crawling across the grass?” Prysm gulped.

     “Ew. It is an arm, or part of one. Look at the guts and bones hanging out of the end. There’s a foot right next to it; a foot with an ankle attacked and it’s moving by using its toes to pull it along.” Poe cringed at the sight.

     They saw heads rolling across the black grass by themselves, torsos thumping up and down and all sorts and shapes of thighs and shoulders. If that wasn’t bad enough, the rats came out and started attacking the body parts, ripping chunks off with their sharp teeth. “I hate rats,” Prysm sobbed. “I hate rats! I hate body parts that move by themselves and I hate cemeteries!” Candi whimpered now and then, letting Prysm know she too was afraid.

     “There’s a zombie. It’s behind that huge headstone.” Poe whispered, fighting back tears. “Duck!”

     The dead man’s arms were out in front of him as he plodded through the cemetery in search of his coffin.

     “They’re coming back to the cemetery. The sun will be up in about ten or fifteen minutes.” Poe wiped his forehead. “Let’s cut through the grassy part. It’s faster.”

     “Okay. Whatever you say. Just get me out of here.” Prysm stayed close to Poe, nearly stepping on the back of his heels. They were watching for zombies and turning at this headstone and that to avoid being seen. Poe tripped and fell into an open coffin. “Ew. There are maggots and worms in here. They’re all over me.” He jumped out of the old wooden casket and brushed them out of his hair.

     Prysm sighed with relief that she hadn’t fallen in the coffin. “There’s the gate. Hurry, Poe.”

     They reached the gate and just as they went through a dark figure stepped out in front of them. “Oh no!” It was more a sigh of weariness than fear when they were confronted by the vampire. His black cloak draped over his shoulders. Dark greasy hair came to a point in the center of his forehead. He smiled, exposing his long fangs. Poe noticed blood dripping from the pointed teeth. He gulped and gagged and then took a deep breath. “That’s it. I’ve had enough!” Poe ran to the street and picked up the nearest jack-o-lantern. “Ick. It’s mushy.” He held it high above his head and tossed it at the vampire. It splattered into a mushy goo, covering the blood-sucking creature with orange slime. Not waiting to see what happened next, Poe shouted, “Run, Prysm.”

     She pushed her way past the angry vampire, nearly knocking him to the ground and didn’t stop running until she was at Poe’s front door. He threw it open and pulled her and Candi inside.

     “We made it! We made it! Wait! What about my Bella? What if she’s dead?” Prysm fell to the soft carpet and cried. Her body shook with each sob.

      A light came on in the kitchen. “Poe! You’re safe. Prysm? What is that thing? It looks like a baby werewolf.”

     “Mom, you scared me! Please don’t be mad. I can explain everything.” Poe ran to her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

     “Poe! Your father and I have been up all night worrying sick about you and so have Prysm’s parents. I just sent your father up to his bed. He’s got to go to work. You just disappeared and didn’t come to school this morning. I was upset all day. You’d better have a good explanation.” Mrs. Merlin sat on the couch. “Go on then. Explain.”

     Prysm wiped her eyes and scooted closer to Candi. “This is a baby werewolf. We named her Candi because she’s so sweet. We found her locked in Witch Lilith’s basement in a cage.”

     “What?  You two went inside the haunted house?”

     “We saw Bella run inside. You see, Mrs. Merlin, Bella got away when Poe came to pick me up for school. We thought we could catch her and bring her home and get to school a little late, but we ended up on an adventure. Look at Candi’s paw. It’s broken. Witch Lilith did it. Can you fix it?”

     Mrs. Merlin sat on the carpet next to Candi. “Let me look at your paw little one.” Ever so gently she took the paw in her hands. “It is broken. I’ve got a splint we can use on her. Don’t move, any of you.”

     Poe’s mother came back down and bandaged up Candi’s paw. She stroked her fur with a brush that she used on Bruja, who was hiding upstairs, away from the werewolf. “Poe, I’d like you to finish the story.” Mrs. Merlin sat and listened to a detailed description of every moment of their adventure, including Candi’s ability to heal them simply by licking. He even pulled out his piece of the candy corn mountain. “I see. That was very brave of you both. The first thing we’re going to do is call Prysm’s parents and let them know she’s safe and then I’m going to feed you and you too, Candi. When you’ve all eaten, we’ll have a talk with your father and decide what to do.”

     Mrs. Merlin made the phone call while Poe and Prysm feasted on pancakes and eggs and whole wheat toast smothered in apricot jam. They both devoured bowls of fresh, sliced peaches and pears and drank three glasses of orange juice. Candi ate six cans of Bruja’s cat food and a huge bowl of water. Mrs. Merlin put a soft blanket on the floor and the werewolf curled up in a ball and fell asleep.

     The sun burst over the horizon, warming Misty Valley. All of the creatures had gone back to their secret hiding places. For a while, their town would be safe.” She hasn’t turned into a human. Candi must be a werewolf all of the time. I didn’t know they had that type of werewolf, but what do I know.” When Prysm went home, she found Bella waiting for her on the front porch. She picked up the cat and took her to bed with her, both sleeping for the next three hours.

     That late afternoon there was a strange scratching on the Merlin’s front room window. Poe ran to see what it was. There stood two werewolves. Both had dared to come out in the dusky daylight to find their baby. Poe ran into the kitchen, picked Candi up and took her outside. “You smelled her, didn’t you.” He smiled at the creatures. They stared at him for a few minutes then the werewolf parents took their baby and disappeared, leaving Poe on the porch, feeling sad and abandoned. He didn’t dare admit to anyone that he would miss Candi.

     That night, after the sun set, the beasts came out. Poe looked out the window and watched the bats flying by and the zombies heading into town. He wasn’t afraid when a Frankenstein monster stopped to look in his bedroom window. The loud angry cackles of Witch Lilith in the distance brought a smile to Poe’s lips. He knew she would fly around all night looking for him and Prysm.

     Someone knocked on the door. Poe’s parents were watching television so he answered it. There was a package with his name written with red berries on a square tag made of tree bark. Poe opened it and found a stuffed werewolf inside. He hugged the little animal and took it in the house to show his parents. “I’m naming her Candi, after the real werewolf.” His mother smiled at the sweet gesture.

     From that night on, Poe never hid under the bed again. Candi lay on his pillow night and day and when Poe went to bed, he held the stuffed werewolf close to him. Both he and Prysm made sure their cats never got out again during the month of October and never, ever again was Poe afraid of monsters!

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