I lost my parents five years ago. I’ve been stuck in this miserable orphanage ever since. I’m fifteen years old. My odds of getting adopted are really low. Most people want a baby or a little kid. For five years I’ve been watching the other girls get adopted one by one. “Jean, hurry up and get ready.” Miss. Anderson told me. Miss. Anderson is in charge of the girls half of the orphanage. She was standing to the doorway of my room. “This time you might be the one who gets adopted.” I leaned against the wall and crossed my arms. “No one wants to adopt a teenager.” I replied. “You never know.” Miss. Anderson said. I sighed. “Alright, I’ll be down in a bit.” I told her. She smiled and left the room, closing the door behind her. I changed into my best dress and went downstairs to wait with the other girls. I’m the oldest girl here. In fact, I’m the only teenager here. The next oldest girl is Ann, and she’s ten. We’re close friends. “I wonder who’ll get adopted this time.” Ann said. I could see in her eyes she was hopeful. I remember when I was like Ann. Hopeful that I’d be adopted. Now days I’m just hoping Ann doesn’t end up like me, stuck in this place as a teenager. Given my odds of being adopted, I’ll probably be stuck here until I’m and adult. I’ll always be an orphan. Miss. Anderson led the couple into the room. We all stood up strait and smiled, just like we’re supposed to. “We’re looking for someone older, but not too old.” The husband said. Not too old. That rules me out. “Ann here is ten years old.” Miss. Anderson said. “Why don’t you tell the Coring’s a little about yourself, Ann?” Ann was nervous. Everyone gets nervous at this part. This is when you find out if they like you or not. Ann told the Corings about her hobbies, grades, and skills. “Oh, she’s perfect!” The wife exclaimed. It was settled. Ann would be adopted. All the girls congratulated her. “I’m really glad you’re being adopted.” I told Ann. I helped her pack while her new parents signed the paperwork. Ann had the biggest smile on her face. “Thanks, Jean.” She didn’t have many things, none of us do. It didn’t take long to pack. “I’ll write to you.” Ann promised. I walked her down stairs. Her new mom gave her a hug. Ann followed her new parents outside and got into their car. We waved goodbye until we lost sight of each other.
Ann wrote to me a week after she left. The letter read:
“My new parents are amazing! They bought me new school supplies and even a new teddy bear! I get to paint my room any color I want, so of course it’ll be pink. They’re taking me to a family reunion next month. I can’t wait! I really like it here. We live on the outskirts of town, so dad drives me to school on his way to work. He’s the top relater in town! Anyways, how are you doing? Don’t give up on being adopted. I’m sure someone will come for you soon.
Your friend, Ann.”
So how am I doing? Not well. I’m bored without Ann, so I’ve been helping Miss. Anderson with the younger girls. You wouldn’t believe how many times they want to have the same story read to them. With Ann gone, the next oldest girl here is only seven. I feel like a giant around them. Oh well, I’m glad Ann likes her new family. “Hey, Jean!” One of the girls ran into my room. No locks, no privacy. “There’s a woman here! You should come down.” She said. I put the letter down. “Just a woman? Not a couple?” I asked. The girl nodded her head. “Come down with us!” She called, running down the hall. A single parent would likely want a kid who can take care of themselves. I might have a chance. I changed into my best dress again and went down with the other girls. I was the last one down. Miss. Anderson had already led the woman into the room. “My daughter’s twelve.” The woman said. It’s rare for someone who already had a child to adopt. “I’m a widow, so I won’t be having any more children of my own, but Ivy’s always wanted a sister.” The woman said. “Especially an older sister.” Miss. Anderson smiled and looked at me as I came into the room. “Jean’s the only teenager here.” She said. “And she’d make a wonderful big sister; she’s been helping me take care of the younger girls for the past week.” Miss. Anderson motioned for me to come over. “How old are you, dear?” The woman asked me. “I’m fifteen years old.” I replied. “Only three years older then Ivy.” The woman said. “You’re perfect.” I can’t believe my ears! “Jean, why don’t you pack your things?” Miss. Anderson suggested. “Miss. Hexin has some paperwork to fill out.” I raced to my room. “You’re little sis is lucky you’re such a good story teller.” One of the girls said. I’m going to be the best big sister ever, I promised myself. I made sure I had everything packed before going back downstairs. “I’m so happy you’ve finally been adopted, Jean.” Miss. Anderson told me. “But I’m going to miss you so much.” My new mom led me out to her car, which almost looked like a Hearse. I got in the backseat while mom put my stuff in the trunk. Everything but my doll, Laura; she sat on my lap. “You’ll love Ghoulberg.” Mom said.
After driving most of the day, we finally pulled up to the house. It looked like one of those old houses you see in horror movies. “Welcome to your new home.” Mom said. “Go on inside; I’ll bring your things in.” There was a girl waiting on the stairs for me. “Are you my new sister?” She asked. “Yeah, my name’s Jean.” I replied. “I’m Ivy.” The girl said. “It’s nice to meat you, sis.” I guess she’s shy, because she talks in a low voice. Ivy had a creepy looking doll in her arms. “I see you like dolls.” I said. She’s my sister now, so I figured I’d start a conversation with her. “Yes, this is Thorn.” Ivy said. “My dolls name is Laura.” I said. Mom came inside, but I didn’t see my bags with her. “I see you two have met.” Mom said. “I hope you’re getting along.” Ivy took my hand. “I’ll show you to your room, sis.” She said. She led me up to the second floor. She opened to door to a big bedroom. “This is your room.” Ivy said. I couldn’t believe it. I had a big bed, a nightstand, dresser, a bookshelf, a desk and chair, and a nice closet. Maybe I’ve lived in an orphanage too long, but I didn’t think a bedroom could have so much. And it’s all mine. I don’t even have to share my room with another girl. Then I noticed something strange; my bags where in the middle of the room. How’d my mom get them up here without me noticing? Maybe there’s another stair case that leads up here. “I’ll help you unpack, if you’d like.” Ivy offered. “Thank you, but I don’t have much.” I replied. I set Laura down on my bed. I put my clothes away in my new dresser. I had a few books, which I put on the bookshelf. I put my piggy bank on my nightstand and put my diary and the letter from Ann in the drawer. I put my school backpack in my closet, where it’d be out of the way. Aside from my doll, I don’t have any toys. I’d outgrown them all and given them to the younger girls in the orphanage. “There, I’m all unpacked.” Suddenly I heard a cat purring. I turned around and saw Ivy holding a black cat. “Dinner’s ready.” Ivy said. “Mom’s made a special dinner tonight, to welcome you into the family.” I followed Ivy downstairs. For dinner mom garlic, onion, and turnip stew. For dessert she made pumpkin pie. We drank apple juice. “It’s really good.” I said. “The best meal I’ve had in a long time.” It’s not like Miss. Anderson can’t cook, the orphanage just couldn’t afford much. “I’m glad you like it.” Mom said. “And welcome to the Hexin family.”
Mom let me sleep in, since I won’t be starting my new school for a few more days. When I went downstairs, my mom was washing dishes. “Good morning, mom.” I said. “Good morning, Jean.” Mom replied. “How about I show you around town today?” It’d be nice to spend some time with my new mom. “That’d be great.” I said. “Ghoulberg’s a small town.” Mom said. “But I’m sure you’ll like it.” We ate breakfast before heading out to the car. Ivy was at school. The whole town was decorated for Halloween. All the houses looked old. Even the stores looked old. It’s not surprising that the town’s decorated for Halloween. After all, it is October. It’s a little strange that there aren’t any new buildings. “That’s Frozen Fear, the ice cream shop.” Mom pointed out. “It’s near Graveyard Park.” The park looks creepy, and it’s right next to a cemetery. I guess that’s how it got its name. “Up there is Little Monsters, the toy store.” Mom said. “And there’s Spooky Sweets, the candy store.” I don’t know what’s up with the spooky names. “Here’s The Iron Cauldron, it’s a nice restaurant.” Mom told me. “And here’s Screamers, the book store.” Mom said. “They sell school supplies too.” I was expecting mom to keep driving, but she pulled into the parking lot. “While we’re out, let’s get you new school supplies.” She said. I’ve been using the same backpack since I was orphaned and I have to make everything last a whole year. No new pencils, even when mine are down to just an inch. No new notebooks, I have to use both sides of every page. No new folders, they’re always taped. It’s been this way for five years, there’s no way I’d turn down new stuff. I walked with my mom into Screamers. Everyone in the store seamed to be wearing costumes. I’ve been seeing people walking around in costume too. Mom seemed to know where she was going. I guess she’s taken Ivy here before. “Pick out what you’d like.” Mom said. I haven’t been able to choose what I want in a long time, so I might have gone a little crazy. My new backpack is dark gray with green slime. My lunch box is shaped like a cauldron. My notebooks are brown with spider webs. My folders are dark green with pumpkins. My pencils are black with erasers shaped like bats. My pencil case is shaped like a jack-o-lantern. Mom bought them for me and put them in the trunk. “Spider Thread, the clothes store, isn’t far from here.” Mom told me. “Would you like some new clothes for school? I know you need a new jacket.” My jacket is too small and my clothes are worn out. My shoes didn’t fit anymore either. “Yes, and a new pair of shoes.” I replied. “If that’s alright.” Mom smiled. “Of course it’s all right.” She said. I got some new outfits, even a nice dress. Mom got me a pair of shoes for school, and a nice pair for special occasions. I got a jacket and a warm coat. “Thanks, mom.” I said as we got back into the car. “You’re welcome, Jean.” Mom said. “Anytime you need something, just let me know.” We drove around for a little while longer. Mom showed me the post office and the schools. We picked up Ivy before heading home. “How do you like Ghoulberg?” Mom asked me. “It’s starting to feel like home.” I replied.
Today’s my first day at Ghoulberg High. I’m nervous. In my old school I didn’t get along with the other kids. Moth of them just thought of me as the orphan girl. “I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new school.” My mom said. She dropped me off before Ivy. There were gargoyles on the school roof. “Have a good day!” Mom called as she drove away. I walked up the broken stone stairs. The lockers are shaped like grave stones. Now that’s weird. I put my books, which all had creepy covers, in my locker. “Hello.” The girl next to me said. “Are you new here?” Her skin was really pale. Not surprising, considering it’s always cloudy here. What’s surprising is her were red eyes. Her teeth looked like fangs. I guess she’s dressed as a vampire. “Yeah, I’m Jean Hexin.” I introduced myself. “I’m Mercy Alarucd” The girl said. “Welcome to Ghoulberg High.” Mercy and I walked to class together. The desks where shaped like spiders, and the chairs like pumpkins. Talk about creepy. Then one of the girls in my class floated to her desk. How did she do that? “Oh, are you new here?” She asked me. “Yeah, I just moved into town.” I replied. “My name’s Jean.” The girl looked at me like she was trying to figure out what costume I’m supposed to be wearing. “I’m Alma.” She said. “Alma Haunt.” The teacher came into the room. “We have a new student joining us today.” She announced. “Everyone, please welcome Jean Hexin.” The whole class looked at me. I seem to be the only one in town who’s not wearing a costume. I guess it must be a Ghoulberg tradition or something. Some of the kids were talking about me. “So, she’s a Hexin.” “That’s why she looks human.” “Why isn’t she dressed like a witch?” “I heard some witches are switching to just wearing dark clothes.” “Well, her outfit is black.” “Not quite; it’s dark purple.” “I thought the Hexin daughter was in middle school?” “She is; my little brother goes to school with her, and her name’s Ivy.” “Is Jean a cousin?” Finally the teacher stepped in. “Alright class, settle down!” She said. “Now, open your text books to page thirteen.” I couldn’t pay attention. I was trying to figure out why the kids were saying such weird things. It’s like they think I’m a witch.
I ate lunch with Mercy and Alma. “So, how are you related to Ivy?” Alma asked. “She’s my little sister.” I replied. I didn’t want to admit that I’m adopted. The kids in my last school teased me for being an orphan. I figure I’d get teased for being adopted. “I could have sworn Miss. Hexin only had one daughter.” A girl said as she walked over to our table. “My name’s Luna Nightmoon.” She said. Luna looked normal, but her clothes are torn. “You don’t smell like a witch.” Luna said. “Actually, you smell like a human.” Something’s not right in this town. “I-I just moved to this town.” I stuttered. Maybe they’ll explain this strange tradition to me. “You lived with humans?” Luna asked. “Very few places have witch hunts now days.” Mercy said. “Since witches look like humans, it’s not that hard for them to blend in.” I kept telling myself that monsters aren’t real. “Sorry to intrude.” Another girl said. She looked like a demon; she had claws, wings, a tail, and sharp teeth. “But I heard rumors that Miss. Hexin recently adopted a child.” She said. “Oh, this is Demona Nightmare.” Mercy told me. “Jean, are you adopted?” Demona asked me. I swallowed hard. “Yes.” I answered. They all looked at me. “I knew you smelled like a human!” Luna cried. “Are you carrying a silver bullet?” She looked angry. “A human? In Ghoulberg? ”As if!” Alma said. “Humans can’t find Ghoulberg, remember?” I stood up and looked for the exit. This town is full of monsters! “Stay away from me!” I cried. I ran out of the lunchroom. Should I run home? What if mom really is a witch? But I have to go home. I’ll send a letter to Ann. She can send help. I ran out of the school. I tripped on the stone steps. “Meow.” I looked up to see a black cat. The same black cat I’d seen at home. I got up and brushed myself off. I held the cat like Ivy had. I have a plan.
“Why did you run off?” Mercy asked me. We were walking to out next class. “I guess I just freaked out.” I replied. I still had the cat in my arms. My plan is to convince everyone I’m a witch. I should just leave town, but this cat reminded me of something important. I have a family here. They may be witches, but they’re my family. I’ll go home after school. I’ll tell mom I know the truth; that Ghoulberg is a town of monsters. Maybe she can help me. She is my mom after all. “Are you really a human?” Alma asked. “No.” I lied. “I’m just not a strong witch.” My friends smiled. “I knew it!” Alma exclaimed. “A human would never be brought to Ghoulberg.” I can do this. I used to play pretend with Ann all the time. I feel bad about lying to my friends, but let’s face it; if they find out I’m human, I’m dead. At least, I think I’d be. I defiantly can’t let Luna or Demona find out. “Do you hate humans?” I asked my friends. Alma giggled. “My parents were humans before they died.” She said. “So no, I don’t hate humans.” “I don’t hate them.” Mercy said. “I just don’t want to meet one.” “Why do you ask?” Alma asked. I really wanted to know if I should tell them the truth, eventually. “I noticed you two didn’t freak out when Luna accused me of being a human.” I said. “Not all humans are bad.” Mercy said. “There’s just no way to know which humans will stake you, and which ones will leave you be.” “That’s why monsters from all over the world move to Ghoulberg.” Alma said. “It’s a small town, but we don’t have to worry about humans here.” “Anyways, you want to hang out tonight?” Mercy asked me. “Frozen Fear just added a new flavor.” I couldn’t help smiling. “I’d like that.” I said. “Great.” Mercy said. “Let’s meat up at Graveyard Park.” “How about eight?” Alma suggested. “Sound good to me.” Mercy said. “I’ll see you there.” I said. Don’t ask why, but I really want to stay friends with Mercy and Alma.
“How was school?” Mom asked me. We were sitting in the living room. “I made a couple of friends.” I said. “Mercy and Alma.” “I’m glad.” Mom said. “Are you three planning anything fun?” “They invited me to go to Frozen Fear with them tonight.” I said. “That’s wonderful!” Mom exclaimed. “You’ve only lived here for a week and you’ve already got friends.” I took a deep breath. “This is a town for monster, isn’t it?” I asked mom. There was an eerie silence. “Yes.” Mom answered. “But you adopted me from a human orphanage.” I said. “You must know I’m human.” “Yes, I know.” Mom said. “That’s why I sent Sabrina to look after you.” The black cat was sitting on my lap. “And I see you two get along well.” Mom said. So the cat’s name is Sabrina. “Do the kids at school think you’re a witch?” Ivy asked me. I told her and mom about Luna and Demona; how they’d treated me during lunch. “I want them to think I’m a witch.” I said. “Can you help me?” Mom smiled. “I think I can.” She said. A pendant appeared on my lap. It was a pentagram. “Try it on.” Mom said. I put the pendant around my neck. Suddenly I felt dizzy. My body went numb. I was so cold, I could see my breath. It felt like the room was spinning. Mom and Ivy were smiling at me. “Just relax.” Mom said. I could barely hear her. Ivy was holding Sabrina now. I closed my eyes. It felt like I was floating. Maybe I was. Slowly, my body warmed up. I could feel again. I opened my eyes. I was laying on the sofa now. Mom was looking over me. “What happened?” I muttered. “That pentagram is enchanted.” Mom explained. “As long as you wear it, you’re a witch.”
I met my friends at Graveyard Park. “Oh, I like you necklace.” Alma said. “Thanks.” I replied. “My mom just gave it to me.” We walked over the Frozen Fear. Mercy ordered a blood flavored ice cream cone, Alma ordered a pumpkin shake, and I ordered a witches brew sundae. Well, I am a witch now. We went back to the park to eat. “I’ve been wondering why Luna thought you smelled like a human.” Alma said. “Are you only half witch?” Thank you, Alma. Thank you for giving me the perfect cover story. “Yeah, that’s why I was in a human orphanage.” I replied. “That explains it.” Alma said. “Luna’s a werewolf, so she has a really good sense of smell.” “I heard witches often have kids with humans.” Mercy said. I wonder how many witches adopt humans. My guess, not many. So why did my mom? “What are your plans for this weekend, Jean?” Alma asked me. “Mercy and I are going to get some new clothes at Spider Thread.” “I figured I’d spend some time with Ivy.” I replied. I promised myself I’d be a good big sister. The best big sister. “What’s it like having a sister?” Alma asked me. “I’m an only child.” “I’ll let you know when I get used to it.” I said jokingly. “I hope it’s easier then looking after the younger orphans.” We talked for what seemed like hours. We talked about everything from our favorite outfits to our favorite movie. They had to explain some things they like to me, and I had to explain some things to them. When it was time to go home, we went our separate ways. I walked back home on my own. It’s a good thing Ghoulberg’s a small town, or I probably wouldn’t remember the way around town. I’m bad with directions. I remember landmarks. Sabrina was waiting for me when I got home. “Did you have fun?” she seemed to say. The voice was coming from her, and it sounded like her. “Yeah.” I replied, not sure if I was really talking to my cat. “I hope I didn’t come home to late.” “It’s ten.” Sabrina said. “You came home right at bedtime.” Her mouth isn’t moving, but I’m sure she’s talking to me. “Don’t be alarmed.” Sabrina said. “All witches can talk to familiars.”
The week past faster then I expected. It’s Friday now. I haven’t taken the pentagram off since mom gave it to me. Not even when I sleep. “Would you like to learn witchcraft?” Mom asked me over dinner. I thought about it for a moment. “Yes.” I said. “If it won’t be to much trouble.” “It’s no trouble at all.” Mom said. “I’d be happy to teach you.” Then I’ll really be a witch. I don’t think I’ll tell Ann though. I wrote to her yesterday. “Can I walk down to the post office?” I asked after dinner. “I want to mail a letter to Ann.” “Do you remember the way?” Mom asked. I nodded my head. “Then go ahead, but don’t go gone to long.” Mom said. I put on my jacket and headed to the post office. I wonder how they get mail to other towns. Do they have someone working with the human post offices? Well, as long as Ann gets my letter. I mailed the letter no problem, but then I ran into Demona. “Where’s you familiar?” She asked me in a rude tone. “At home.” I replied. I tried to just walk away, but Demona grabbed my arm. “If you expect me to believe that you’re a witch, work some magic for me.” She said. I swallowed hard. “I-I’m not that strong.” I said. “I’m sure you can perform a simple spell.” Demona said. “I’ve done my research, and even you should be able to make things levitate.” She held up an envelope. “Prove to me that you’re not human.” She demanded. Why does this have to happen now? Why couldn’t she wait until mom started teaching me? “If you can’t do it, I’ll tell everyone in school that you’re a human.” Demona threatened. “Luna’s sense of smell has yet to be wrong.” I took a deep breath. I can do this. I’m a witch, aren’t I? I focused on the envelope. Demons smirked. She knew I wouldn’t be able to do it. Then the envelope flew out of her hand. It hovered about two feet off the ground. I’m doing it! I stayed focused on the envelope. “No way!” Demona cried. “You’re really a witch?” The envelope slowly fell to the ground. “I guess you are a witch.” Demona said. “A half-witch. There’s no other reason Luan would mistake you for a human.” She stormed off. I guess she really wanted to expose me as a human. But did I really just do magic?
I told mom what happened as soon as I got home. “Well, well, you’re a natural at this.” Mom said. “Spells are quite simple; you just make them happen.” I think I get it. By focusing so hard, and wanting it so bad, I made the envelope levitate. “If that girl is mean to you again, try levitating her.” Ivy suggested. “Demons are vicious. She’ll keep picking on you until you fight back.” Miss. Anderson used to tell me to tell the principle when kids are mean to me, but that never worked. Besides, Miss. Anderson didn’t know I’d have a demon picking on me. I looked at my mom. “There’s nothing wrong with self-defense.” Mom said. “Just don’t go starting a fight.” Well, mother knows best. Next time Demona picks on me, I’ll levitate her in front of everyone. Then no one will think I’m human. “When can I start leaning witchcraft?” I asked mom. “Right now, if you’d like.” Mom replied. “That’d be great.” I said. Mom took me out to the backyard. She handed me a broom. “Get on, and I’ll teach you how to fly.” Mom said. She showed me how to hold the broom. I sat down on it, but it didn’t fly. I was still standing on the ground. “Now, kick off from the ground.” Mom said. “Just like casting a spell, you have to focus on making the broom fly.” I closed my eyes. I focused as hard as I could. “Relax.” Mom said. “Don’t try to hard.” I imagined myself lifting off from the ground. Suddenly, I could feel wind under me. I opened my eyes. I was three feet off the ground! “I’m doing it!” I exclaimed. “See? Flying is easy.” Mom said. I angled the broom up, and I went higher. Flying really is easy. All I have to do is angle the broom in the direction I want to go. I flew laps around the yard. It felt great to be in the air like this. I landed slowly in front of my mom. “This is easy.” I said. “Of course it is.” Mom replied. “Flying, casting spells, making potions; it’s all easy for a witch.” She gave me a hug. “All it takes is a little practice.” Mom told me. “You’ll be a great witch someday.”
I spent the weekend making potions and casting spells. I was getting the hang of it. Mom wasn’t dropping me off at school today. Today I’m flying to school. Sabrina was sitting next to my broom. “Your mother asked me to go with you.” She said. “She’s worried about you flying unsupervised.” So Sabina sat on the front of my broom. My own broom. Mom gave me my very own broom. I looked down at all the kids walking to school. I hope Demona sees me flying. Mercy and Alma waved to me as I got near the school. “You’re flying!” Mercy exclaimed. I landed by my friends. I held my broom with the bristles over my shoulder. Sabrina walked next to me up the stone steps. Luna walked up to me in the hallway. “I guess you do smell like a witch.” She admitted. “But you still smell human.” “I’m a half-witch.” I said. That might not even be a lie. I’m a witch, and yet not a witch. Luna subbed me. “That’s hardly better then being a human.” She said as she walked away. Sabrina hissed at her before following me to class. Right in the middle of the lesson, Demona stood up. “Jean is half human!” She announced. “The Hexin family only adopted her!” Everyone turned to look at me. Demona smirked. She wanted the other kids to hate me. “That doesn’t give you the right to pick on her!” Mercy yelled. This is the first time I’ve seen my friends angry. “I’m so sick of your attitude!” Alma told Demona. “Jean hasn’t done a thing to you.” The teacher tried to settle the class down, but no one was listening. They were all arguing. My friends stood up for me. Everyone else wants me to leave town. No, really. They’re all saying that I don’t belong here. I guess they’re right. I’m only a witch while I’m wearing the pentagram. Finally the teacher got everyone settled down. “Please remember that Jean if also half witch.” The teachers said. “And for interrupting class, Demona, you’ll stay after school in detention.” Justice. The look on Demona’s face was priceless. She was pouting all day. She was telling everyone “it’s not fair” at lunch. “Serves her right.” Mercy said. “I’m sorry everyone knows you’re a half-witch.” Alma said. “Don’t worry about it.” I said. “Being half human doesn’t bother me.” After all, it’s better then being all human.
Time sure flies. I can’t believe it’s already Halloween. By now I’m just as skilled with witchcraft as Ivy. We’ve really bonded as sisters. “Do kids here go trick-or-treating?” I asked mom. “Not in town.” Mom replied. “Kids go to human towns for the night.” That gives me an idea. “Could we go trick-or-treating in my hometown?” I asked. Mom smiled. “Of course you can.” Ivy and I dressed in traditional witch clothes. “Your friends are coming with, right?” Ivy asked me. I nodded my head. I invited Mercy and Alma to go trick-or-treating with me and Ivy. “Would you mind if one more person joined us?” I asked Ivy. She looked confused. “Who?” Ivy asked. “My human friend, Ann.” I replied. Ivy smiled. “Sound like fun.” She said. Mom dropped us off in my hometown, but we’ll be flying home. Mercy was wearing a traditional vampire dress and Alma was wearing the same dress her mother had been buried in. I rang the doorbell at Ann’s house. It was only sunset, so kids weren’t out trick-or-treating just yet. Ann answered the door. “Surprise!” I said. Ann jumped up and down before hugging me. “Oh, Jean!” She exclaimed. “I’ve missed you so much!” I introduced everyone. They got along right away. Ann was dressed as a black cat. I wore that costume when I was her age. I outgrew it a long time ago, so I gave it to her. We trick-or-treated until houses started turning off their lights. “I know a creepy old house we can go.” Ann said. “My dad’s trying to sell it, but it’s been abandoned for years.” She led us to an old, run down house. We made ourselves at home in the basement. Our bags were full of candy. So of course, we dumped them out. We started trading candy with each other until no one wanted to trade anymore. “Let’s see who can eat the most candy.” Ann suggested. We ate as much candy as we could. In the end, Alma ate the most. “You ate half your candy!” Mercy exclaimed. “You win, Alma.” Ann said “I don’t know how you ate so much, but you win.” I summoned a small bag behind my back, so it would look like I brought it with me. I handed every one a caramel apple. “From my mom.” I explained. “I propose a toast.” Ivy said. “To Halloween.” We all held up caramel apples. We put them together and said “Happy Halloween!”