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The Misty Valley
by Margo Fallis
Volume 3 Chapter 2

     Shayde heard the waterfalls long before they reached them. Even though the rivers normally slowed down in the fall, for some reason this one stayed full and flowed as heavily as it did in spring. They were far enough out of town that the water wasn’t blood, but pure, clean and refreshing. “There’s Lake Misty. It’s nice to see real water, isn’t it?” Shayde side-kicked Conri, who ran to the edge of the lake and put the boys down. “I hope we didn’t squish Prysm and Poe when we rode on your back.” Shayde stuck his face into Conri’s fur. “You okay in there, Prysm? Poe? Old geezer?”

“You look ridiculous talking to Conri’s butt.” Drake roared with laughter.

“I was not his butt. Never mind. I’ve got the shampoo. Let’s get to Misty Falls. It will only take us a minute or two.” Shayde ran ahead of the others. “Come on. We’re here.” They could hardly hear each other over the roar of the falls. Conri, you and Leeloo will have to get into the water. You’re not afraid of water, are you?”

The two shook their heads no and dove under, popping up and allowing the water to cascade on top of them. Shayde threw the shampoo to Conri. “Catch.”

“I hope this works and the fleas turn back into people. I’d feel bad if they drowned.” Drake’s eyebrows arched as he frowned.

The two werewolves covered themselves with shampoo and rubbed it into their filthy fur. Drake and Shayde watched as the fleas jumped off the two once they started foaming up. Three of the fleas flew through the air and landed on top of Shayde’s head. “Oh great. Is that you, Prysm?”

A flea hopped next to Shayde’s ear and whispered. “It’s us. Get us back to Witch Lilith. Water won’t work; nothing else will work.”

“So much for that idea. Try not to bite me, okay?” Shayde sighed. “Conri, Leeloo, rinse yourselves off. The fleas are gone. Most of them drowned. Poe, Prysm and Mr. Death are still fleas though, so we’ve got to get back to Witch Lilith. Mr. Death better not give us guff this time or I’ll squish his tiny body between my fingernails and make him explode.”

“It’s too bad he never got married and had kids. He’s the end of the family line. But, come to think of it, who’d want to marry him. He’s too mean and cranky.” Drake sniggered and spoke to Shayde’s hair. “Isn’t that true, Mr. Death?”

“Knock it off, Drake.” Shayde waited until the two werewolves had shaken all the water off and then he poured the flea powder on them. “Rub it into your fur. There, that’ll do you. No more fleas.” He could tell they were relieved and happy to be clean. “You’re actually fluffy. Don’t werewolves take baths? You look better and smell better than you did before.” Conri growled at the boy. “No insult meant. I was being nice.” This time Leeloo snarled. “Okay. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“We’ve got to go all the way back to the haunted house? I’m getting tired and hungry.” Drake rubbed his belly.

“Remember when we were there last year? We ate some of the candy corn mountain. We’ll do that again. We’ve already eaten all the snacks I brought in my pack.”

After riding on the werewolves’ backs for what seemed like hours, they finally reached Misty Valley. Sensing their exhaustion, Conri and Leeloo carried the boys all the way to the mountain where the witch lived. “Thanks, guys,” Drake said as he slid to the ground.

“Yeh, thanks.” Shayde rubbed his backside. “My butt is so sore. I can hardly walk, but at least it was softer than the ride to the lake, thanks to your puffy hair.”  He used a rock to break off a piece of the candy corn mountain. “Here’s some for you, Drake. Do you want some Conri? It’s pretty good.”

Drake put the sweet to his mouth. “Wait, aren’t werewolves carnivores?”

“What? What is a carnivore?” Shayde still hammered away at the mountain.

“Meat eaters. They probably don’t want candy corn. They’d rather eat a raccoon.” Drake shrugged his shoulders and bit into his sugary treat.

“Do you want to try some of this, Conri? Leeloo?” Shayde held a piece up. Both growled with approval. “See, they want some. They’re also sweetivores.” Shayde laughed as he watched the two werewolves take their first bite. Conri’s eyes brightened as he chewed. Leeloo actually smiled. “You like it, don’t you?” Conri gobbled his piece and then used his sharp claws to tear off another for himself. They sat near the base of the mountain and ate until they were full.

“Whoa! Look what they did?” Drake jumped up and ran over to the missing section. “They dug a huge piece of the mountain out. I guess you guys really did enjoy it.” Both werewolves patted their full tummies. Drake roared with laughter. “Look how fat their bellies are. You guys ate too much.”

“So did I and now I feel sick now. I will never eat candy corn again.” Shayde felt the bile rising in his throat. “Ugh.”

“I guess we’d better get going. The sun will be up in a couple of hours.” Drake pulled Shayde up. “Come on, fatso. Let’s get going.”

They climbed the staircase to the top. “I guess it’s my turn, eh?” Shayde eyeballed the others. “No volunteers? Okay. I’ll do it.”  Shayde moved toward the door and pounded on the wood. A few slivers dug into his palm. “Witch Lilith. Old hag? Are you there? Open up. It’s us again.”

The door yanked open from inside. “You’re bothering me. I’m in the middle of making a secret potion. What do you want?” Witch Lilith wasn’t in the mood for visitors.

Shayde tried to dig some of the splinters out of his hand before making eye contact with the witch. “You turned my sister and Poe into fleas. Mr. Death has had enough and is ready to make a real apology.” Shayde stared at the woman’s glowing red eyes. He reached into his pocket and pulled something out. “Would you like a piece of candy corn?”

“You’ve been eating my mountain? Disgusting children. Where are the fleas? I don’t see them. Where is Mr. Death?” The witch glanced at the werewolves. “You’re not itching. What has happened?”

“We gave them a bath and the fleas are now in my hair. You haven’t forgotten that you turned them into fleas, have you?” Shayde reached up and plucked the three fleas from a strand of his hair and tapped them onto the palm of his hand. “You’re ready to apologize, aren’t you Mr. Death?”

The witch sighed. “I’ve got to hear this.” She waved her wand and the three fleas turned back into humans. Mr. Death was about to start complaining when he turned to Witch Lilith, who stood in a beam of light from the moon. He stared at her in silence. “What’s his problem?” Witch Lilith slid her wand back into her cape.

“You’re beautiful.” Mr. Death muttered. “I have never seen you in the right light before. The last time we were here you were hidden in the darkness. You’re the most ravishing creature I’ve ever seen in my life. A flower as beautiful as you should never be kept in the darkness, but in the radiance of the sun.”

Witch Lilith felt herself blush. Poe and the other boys wanted to throw up. Prysm thought it was adorable. “That’s a very nice thing to say, Mr. Death, but don’t you have something else you want to say to Witch Lilith?”

“Is this guy for real?” Poe nearly gagged.

Mr. Death took the witch’s long, bony fingers in his, careful not to cut himself on the pointed nails. “My dear, Lilith. I apologize for any unkind words my dreadful ancestor may have said to yours. He must have been off his head. If she was as lovely as you are, then my ancestor must have been blind.” He leaned over and kissed her hand.

“I am going to hurl,” Shayde said.

“Shut up, Shayde. At least he’s apologizing.” Prysm nudged her brother in the ribs.

Witch Lilith batted her eyelashes and smiled. “Why thank you, dear Mr. Death. I accept your apology on behalf of my ancestors.” She leaned closer to the codger. “Would you like to come in and join me for supper? I’ve got a nice love potion brewing in my cauldron.”

“Why of course, my lady, but I need no potion to love you. You already have my heart. It would be an honor and a privilege to dine with you.” Mr. Death followed the witch into her haunted house.

“Wait,” Poe called. “What about the spell on Misty Valley? Is it over? Can things be like they should be and have Halloween only one night in October?”

The witch stuck her head out. “The spell is broken. Now scram, before I turn you all into toads.”

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