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Halloween Story

It was a crisp Autumn morning and we were walking to school just like every morning. Birds were chirping, leaves were crunching under our feet. Nothing special. Jadari held my hand like she always did and I liked it. We didn't talk much. I was just happy walking beside her. I miss her.

Jadari and I walked along the banks of the river till we stood at the mouth of a waterfall. We stopped and peered into the water looking for the talking fish that lived there. It would give us the password we needed to enter the door hidden beneath the waterfall, but today the fish wasn't there. Jadari and I looked at each other puzzled. She knelt and tapped the water with her hand. A few moments later the talking fish appeared.

"Run!" the fish said. "You shouldn't be here. Run!"

That wasn't the password. ???

Suddenly we heard a low guttural sound like a wolf growling, but not a wolf, and turned to see a small boy standing behind us. His eyes were the color of faded blueberries. His hair had been a deep purple but was now dull and matted. It was clear to us that he was dead.

The boy stood motionless for a moment as if waiting for one of us to..

"Run!"‌ Screamed Jadari as she kicked the boy square in the chest.
I turned and ran then stopped and turned to look to see if Jadari was following. She turned towards me and screamed ‌"Run!" again. She shouldn't have turned.‌ I shouldn't have turned.‌ I ran away as fast as I could, away from anything that might come after me. I had never felt so scared. I couldn't stop running.

I ran out of the forest and out into the open and stood there panting and watching the tree line for any signs of Jadari. She was still alive, I could hear her screams coming from between the darkness of the trees. It was the only sound I‌ could hear for a very long time.

But I was too small, too weak. I didn't have a weapon.‌ There was nothing I could do.‌ These are the things I tell myself now when I look back on that terrible day.

I don't know how I‌ made it back home, but I‌ remember it was the first time I ever walked through the Forest of Dubious Return alone. I know it like the back of my hand now.

Things are better now.‌‌ I'm 17 and almost a man. Jadari is back home and safe.‌ I'm making her lunch now. She begins to gnaw on my shoulder when I sit down next to her at the table.

"Are you hungry?"‌ I ask. She's always hungry.

"Brains?"‌ She asks.

"Brains"‌ I say, and begin cracking open a bowl of fish heads for her. When I'm done I put the pieces into a small wooden bowl and slide them over to her.

She looks up at me with a twinkle in her eye and smiles her toothless smile. "Braaains" She says.
I know what she means. She wants to tell me I'm a good boy. A good grandson.
"Brains grandma."‌ I say as I wipe her saliva from my shoulder.
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