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Tales From Cabin Eight: The Halloween Away From Home


by dan4884

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It is recommended that you read the other Tales from Cabin Eight stories in Issues 225 and 237.

Halloween was just around the corner, and Camp Scary was putting the finishing touches on the decorations for its favorite holiday. There was to be a special bonfire and festival, with a prize going out for the Best Costume. The Mess Hall had been given a fresh coat of festive orange paint, with black accents. Pumpkins littered the tables, displaying both terrifying and cheerful expressions that the campers themselves had carved. Black Kadoaties hid in the alleys between the cabins; even the trees seemed to be becoming more gnarled for the occasion.

     A white Kougra named Hank grinned while making his way to the Mess Hall for breakfast on the day before Halloween. It was nice seeing the spooky camp come alive for something, even if every day felt like Halloween at Camp Scary. Nevertheless, Hank was determined to have fun tomorrow. It would be a change from the boredom that the camp usually had to offer.

     Entering the mess hall, he found his cabin mates huddled at a table near the windows and went over to meet them. Sara, a red Zafara, was pointing at a small sheet of paper on the table between a Shadow Draik and a Faerie Shoyru. Hank sat down next to the Draik, named Marcus.

     "Morning, guys," he said cheerfully.

     "Morning! It's nearly afternoon!" Sara said, rolling her eyes. "You really are a deep sleeper, you know that?"

     "What can I say? I have to get my beauty rest," Hank said, grinning.

     The Shoyru, named Haley, giggled. "Hank, what are you dressing up as tomorrow?"

     "I don't know yet. What're you going to be?"

     "I'm going to be Fyora! She's the most beautiful Faerie of them all!" Haley sighed dreamily.

     "Pah," Marcus muttered. "That's boring. I'm gonna be Judge Hog! He's amazing!" he shouted, while swinging his arms around in various punches and blocks.

     Hank glanced at Sara. "And what are you going to be? Something to reflect your annoying tendencies?"

     Sara stuck her tongue out. "For your information, I plan to be Lisha."

     The Kougra grinned. "Like I said, someone annoying."

     "At least I have a costume planned out. You better get a move on, Hank," she warned.

     Hank sighed. "I know, I know, I just don't know what I want to be. I've got a few ideas, but... I just don't know," he muttered.

     "We can help you!" Marcus said cheerfully.

     "You'd do that for me?" Hank said, smiling half-heartedly.

     "Of course! We couldn't go trick-or-treating without you," Haley said.

     "Thanks, guys," Hank said.

     "Now, let's see, do you want to be someone scary, or someone famous? Or both?" Sara asked.

     "Well, I kinda wanted to be the Brain Tree, but I had no idea how to make it," he told his friends.

     "Perfect! Together, we can create an awesome Brain Tree costume!" Marcus said.

     The group left the mess hall chatting animatedly, hurrying to the craft tent to gather supplies. As they made their way between the gnarled trees, they didn't notice the cloaked figure hurrying away from beneath the open windows of the mess hall.

     The sun was setting between the trees as the quartet was unceremoniously kicked out of the craft tent. They carried assorted fabrics and paints in their hands and wore smiles on their faces as they strolled to their cabin. When they entered, they immediately began to work on Hank's costume, and continued working on it throughout the night. It was nearly one in the morning when they finally went to bed.

     Hank grinned as he got into bed. It had taken a long time, but his costume looked great. The brains looked so realistic Hank could've sworn he saw some of it pulse slightly. And the trunk was so detailed. It even had a hollowed out gap so Hank could see out, but no one could see in. It was perfect.

     "Thanks for helping me, guys," he said as he drifted into sleep.

     "That's what friends do..." Marcus replied between yawns.

     Hank fell asleep amid dreams of giggling friends, the Brain Tree, and candy rain.

     ***

     "It's Halloween!" Hank shouted, arousing the other three pets.

     "Whu-?" Marcus mumbled.

     "Wake up! It's Halloween! We have to get ready!" the Kougra yelled excitedly.

     "But it's early, Hank," Sara said groggily. "Halloween isn't until nighttime. Go back to sleep."

     "I can't! I'm too excited to sleep," he confessed.

     "Then go take a walk or something. Let us get sleep," Sara ordered.

     Hank sighed. Why weren't they as excited as he was? Didn't they realize it was Halloween? He pulled on some clothes and tramped out of the cabin, making sure to slam the door on the way out.

     He decided to get some early breakfast. As he entered the mess hall, he realized he was the first one awake. It was completely empty in the room, except for the cook in the kitchen, a grouchy old Moehog. He grabbed a bowl of porridge and sat down at the same table the group had sat at the day before, next to the slightly open windows. He ate his breakfast silently and thought about that night excitedly.

     Suddenly, he heard voices from outside the window. Hank glanced out the windows and saw Mrs. Feign, the camp director. Making sure he couldn't be seen, he crept closer to the window and watched the Mutant Ixi. There was something weird about her, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

     She was fiddling with a small brown square of some sort, though what it was Hank couldn't tell. The Ixi mumbled slowly while her finger was on the square, and then traced a shape in the air. She did it twice more, and then pulled out a square of purple that was roughly the same size as the brown one. Hank realized they were squares of fabric. She did the same peculiar procedure and then procured a square of yellow, and finally blue. The Ixi then replaced all the squares in a pocket, and mumbled a few more words. Glancing around, she then hurried off towards the director's office.

     Hank was mystified. What in the world was she doing? It seemed like black magic, or something like it. Whatever it was, Hank was sure it was something bad. The Ixi's actions made sure of that.

     ***

     "And you say she was tracing the air?" Sara asked again. She, Marcus, and Haley had arrived at the mess hall a little before eleven o'clock to eat the last of the porridge.

     Hank nodded and mimed her procedure. "Just like that."

     "That's so strange. Wonder what it could mean," Sara said.

     "Maybe it was to prepare something for Halloween?" Haley considered thoughtfully.

     "No, it was more like magic," Hank concluded. "I'm sure of it. But nothing happened! No shimmer in the air, nothing."

     "Maybe it was invisible," Marcus guessed. "It's possible, isn't it?"

     "Maybe," Hank replied. "I just don't know. It's all so confusing."

     "Well, let's not dwell on it," Sara said forcefully. "We should put the finishing touches on our costumes now. Make sure they fit, and we have all the accessories. Ready to go?"

     ***

     It was time. The group had just finished dinner, and they hurried to Cabin Eight to slip on their costumes. The entire camp would meet at the fire pit in the middle of the camp grounds, where there'd be assorted attractions including a costume contest.

     Haley's Fyora costume was beautiful; the purples in her gown accented her Faerie color perfectly. Sara's Lisha costume was complete with a blue and white dress and oversized glasses. The yellow, red, and black Judge Hog suit that Marcus wore fit his personality wonderfully. And finally, Hank's Brain Tree costume was the ultimate outfit. The brains were the right shade of pink, and the trunk the color of coffee fit him perfectly.

     The foursome made their way out of the cabin (Hank taking care not to scrape the ceiling with his brains) and arrived at the fire pit just as the pit erupted into flame. Around them, assorted Neopets wore their costumes and happily awaited the start of the festival. Nearly everyone was in awe of Hank's costume; no one else had been resourceful enough to take on such a feat. He smiled inwardly; he had the award in the bag.

     Suddenly, a crash shook the area. Many Neopets tumbled to the ground, screaming. Another crash rattled the ground. Then another, and another. They were getting bigger in magnitude, as if something humongous was making its way to the fire pit.

     And in fact, something was. Gasps were heard abruptly, Hank turned to where they were pointing. He could faintly make out a figure moving through the trees. Hank gasped. It was the Brain Tree. But something was off about it. It had strange shapes protruding in places on the Tree.

     As the Tree got nearer to the fire, he realized that the Tree was wearing a long, flowing purple gown, almost identical to Haley's. Its arms, rather than branches, were muscular gloved hands, just like Marcus's idol, Judge Hog. And it wore oversized glasses just like Lisha's.

     The screaming stopped, only to be replaced with laughs. The creature looked so ridiculous that it was hard not to laugh. Silently, it stared at the Neopets in Halloween costumes.

     "What is it?" Haley wondered out loud. "Who sent it?"

     "I did!" a voice screeched through the laughs. From behind the Tree, a figure emerged. She was wrapped in cloaks which billowed as she walked, and the fire cast strange shadows over her face. Nevertheless, Hank recognized her as-

     "The witch!" he shouted. It had only been a few weeks ago when he was captured by the Acara witch, and it still stung to think that Sara had been the one to rescue him. The others soon recognized her and had similar reactions.

     "What's she doing here?" Sara asked, glaring at the figure.

     "I've come to stop you four!" she shouted. "You've defeated me twice and I won't let it happen again!"

     Marcus, who had been laughing just seconds before, was confined to whimpering behind Hank, who rolled his eyes and concentrated on the Acara.

     "So you create a Brain Tree replica with Fyora's gown?" Sara sneered. "Real scary."

     "Oh, you won't be saying that when it gets finished with you! But it is not just a Brain Tree replica, oh no. It is the FyLis Brain Hog!" she cackled.

     Hank began to say something, but stopped short. Did she just say FyLis Brain Hog? That made it seem even more absurd. He chuckled a bit.

     "Very creative," he said between laughs. "How'd you come up with that one?"

     The witch paused. "Well, I took a bit of all your costumes, and combined them to make a super creature. Then I combined the names to-"

     "Alright, I was being sarcastic," Hank interrupted. "I could've figured that out myself."

     "Enough mocking!" the Acara suddenly screamed. "Brain Hog! Go!"

     The creature creaked and stepped towards the quartet. It reached down and snatched a screaming Neopet in its Judge Hog arms.

     "You see," the witch said as the Tree attacked the Neopets, "the Brain Hog has the strength of Judge Hog-"

     The tree shot purple beams of light towards Marcus, who screamed and ran for cover.

     "-the magic of Queen Fyora-"

     Sara lobbed some stones at the Tree, but it caught them in its free hands.

     "-the intelligence of the Brain Tree-"

     The creature snapped a branch off from its head and shot it at Hank, who narrowly missed it.

     "-and the resourcefulness of Lisha!" she cackled.

     Hank's heart was pounding. Was there any way to outwit this thing?

     "Hank!" Sara shouted. "Got a plan?"

     "I'm working on it!" he shouted back as he dodged another branch attack. He heard Marcus whimpering behind the nearest cabin. Suddenly it hit him.

     "Marcus! Come here!" Hank yelled towards the sound of the whining.

     "I can't!" he cried. "It'll hurt me!"

     "It's just a magic trick! It won't do anything to you!"

     Timidly, the Draik stepped out from behind the cabin. Hank hurried over to him.

     "Alright, this is what I need you to do. The witch said that it's only a replica of us, right? So if we can confuse the Tree enough, we might be able to defeat it."

     Marcus nodded faintly. "Ok, but how do we confuse it?" he asked, watching the Brain Hog swipe at Sara. The witch cackled maliciously by the bonfire.

     "Give me your costume," Hank commanded. Marcus tearfully tore off the costume and handed it to Hank.

     "Now help me rip off the arms," he said, tearing at the fabric. Soon, Judge Hog's muscular arms now took the place of Hank's Brain Tree branches.

     "Quick, Marcus. Go to Sara and get her glasses. I'll go get Haley's gown. Hurry!"

     The duo split up and went to find their friends amidst the chaos. The Brain Hog was still rampaging through the camp, shooting purple beams and branches at the campers.

     The foursome quickly reunited and placed all of the assorted costume pieces on Hank. Although he was considerably smaller than the Brain Hog, they still looked similar. Hank moved slowly under the weight of all the extra items towards the real Brain Hog.

     "Hey you stupid tree!" he shouted when they were close enough. The creature stopped moving and turned towards the group. When it caught sight of Hank, it froze.

     "Yeah, that's right. I'm the FyLis Brain Hog!" It stared at Hank, genuinely confused.

     "What are you doing?" the witch's voice screeched from behind them. "Stop that!"

     Hank continued. "You're just a fake, a replica! I'm the real deal!"

     The creature couldn't move. It began to shimmer slightly. The witch howled as she neared the quartet.

     "Stop! The FyLis Brain Hog is smarter than you kids! You cannot defeat it!"

     Sara turned to the Acara. "Oh yeah? I'm not so sure about that," she shouted gleefully. In fact, the Brain Hog was shimmering even stronger now, and it moaned loudly, the confused look still plastered on his face.

     Suddenly, there was a loud "BOOM" and everyone was knocked to the ground. Where the creature had been seconds before, there were only some small bits of fabric. The witch too had disappeared. Hank, ego swelling, decided she was embarrassed a group of kids had defeated her for the third time.

     Hank pulled Marcus up from the ground. "Sorry about your costumes, guys," he said.

     Sara dusted herself off. "I can't believe you'd do this, Hank!" she said suddenly, putting her hands on her hips. "I didn't think you were selfish enough to get that witch to come and create a creature so you'd have to rip up our costumes, all to win that silly costume contest!"

     "I... what?" Hank spluttered. "You think I got that-"

     But Sara's frown changed into a smile. "Forget it. We're rooting for you."

     Hank grinned. "You had me going there for a second."

     The campers emerged out of their hiding places and Mrs. Feign and the other counselors appeared to restore order.

     "Funny how adults are never here to restore order when order is the one thing that's needed," Sara remarked. "Though I doubt they'd be able to maintain order if they tried."

     Marcus sighed. "C'mon, let's go get some candy."

     The group hurried towards the bonfire and finally began to celebrate Halloween.

The End

 
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