The sidewalks of North Avenue were covered in broken, rotting pumpkins, though October had just started. I had always told my friends that it wasn’t pumpkin season until the end of the first week of October, whether it be food or otherwise.
I kicked a piece of pumpkin out of my way as I stood at the corner, waiting for the light to turn red and the walk light to come on. I guess it was a sort of North Avenue epidemic; the pumpkins were smashed when I crossed Maple, too. It was almost as if Devil’s Night came early.
The smashed pumpkin trail continued all the way to the school, leading past the gate and into the front lobby. Either that meant someone in the school was to blame, or the school hadn’t followed the rules of October.
I was going to go with the latter.
“Mister Komai, is there any way that we can explain this travesty to the students without them being angry?”
Of course there wasn’t. Those kids were the reason for the mess, with either of my own theories. I shuffled past the receptionist in the office window and followed the trail down the hall.
“Apparently it doesn’t end in the lobby, huh?”
That voice, I knew all too well. I stopped and spotted Samhain, the resident Trickster, in the doorway of Room 37. Samhain wasn’t just a Trickster, but also the host of Halloween, the one that made sure the rules were enforced.
“Don’t look at me that way, Komai. You knew what would happen if they broke the rules. Why else would this have happened? I certainly wasn’t here,” Samhain said before he smiled, pushing his long black hair from his eyes. Large as they were, I never thought he would need to push his own hair out of the way. Force of habit from his Live days, I suppose.
“I don’t have any issues with it. I’m not the one that told them it was okay. In fact, I told them to wait another week,” I said, leaning against the glass wall that overlooked the courtyard. It, too, was covered in broken pumpkins. “Besides… You’re the one that ratted them out.”
“It’s my job,” Samhain said, a dark look crossing his face. “Why would I give up my job just because I have to baby-sit?”
Even though Samhain was my favorite of anyone in this place, he still got on my last nerve a majority of the time. Who in their right mind would allow themselves to be the messenger boy to the Greater One? He died a few hundred years ago, so why would he waste his afterlife on something as meaningless as making sure Halloween wasn’t too early or too late?
Humans had been attempting to make it happen for the last decade.
“You didn’t have to take either of your jobs. You wouldn’t have done anything to piss off the students, too,” I said, pushing my hands into my pockets.
“I don’t care how angry those little brats get. Halloween is October 31st, not September 1st. It is the October holiday, no earlier. If they want a reason to act like fools, just give them alcohol.”
That had been my cue to leave. Pushing away from the wall, I continued my way to my office, hoping that there wasn’t any pumpkin mess there. I passed numerous students who glared back at me, their red eyes glinting dangerously. Obviously, ignoring them was the best route; they already knew I knew who did it. For that, I didn’t want to have them come after me. I wasn’t in the mood.
A clawed hand grabbed onto my tie the moment I was reaching for the knob of my door. Was I not allowed to do anything, today?
“Komai! Why didn’t you tell me that the pumpkins were going to be destroyed?! They’re all over North Avenue!”
Turning, as well as prying the claws off of my tie, I saw our very own imp staring at me. She was grinning at me with her wide mouth of onyx teeth, her lips wet with mischievous intent. Sadly, she was also an ex-girlfriend of mine, and one I didn’t particularly enjoy seeing.
“What do you want?”
Looking abashed, she wrapped her long arms around my waist and stared at me. “Well, fine. I’ll just tell everyone that you told.”
“Go ahead. Being friends with Samhain was going to get me in trouble anyway,” I said, opening my office and stopping in my tracks. There was pumpkin all over the room and I heard laughing coming from the window. “Why am I not surprised that you’re the distraction?”
“It’s all about who you know, Komai. And they know that you know me. Bye bye!”
When I closed the door in her face, I nearly screamed at what was done to my office. It looked like a pumpkin gut cyclone hit and destroyed everything, including the box of Halloween items I brought from home. That almost made me want to have Samhain cancel it all together. Almost.
I wouldn’t know until days later that Samhain had ordered he attack on my office. In his own way, he didn’t enjoy the fact that Halloween was so late, either, and took it out on me. That was only because I was his predecessor until I got into a fight with the Great One, forcing him into the post. He was even one of the students that hated me for being the rule keeper to begin with. I guess he wasn’t over the fact.
When it was the third week of October, Samhain was finally in a better mood and the students were cheerfully passing around small pumpkins and cards. No one paid any attention to me and I was glad of that. Why would I want any of them trying to get on my good side after they ruined my room?
On the 31st, I saw Samhain leaning against his doorway again, dressed in his custom made black suit with a red sheen. This was his usual Halloween outfit, escorting students across the Live world to their second set of teachers. His route was always the reason for Lives to think that the things that go bump in the night always roam on Halloween, when the veils between the Live world and Other world were lifted. One of these days, he was going to mess up. I had never been so careless.
“Happy Halloween, Komai!” he called to me as I walked passed. I glanced at him and shook my head, my hair falling in my face. “Are you coming with us this year?”
“No. You’re going to screw up one of these days and I don’t want to get caught by Lives,” I said as I continued down the hall.
“You’re no fun. Nothing will happen!”
I only smirked and turned. “And if something does, you know what will happen. I didn’t get this position for going against my word.”
Samhain nodded slightly and looked at the floor. “Yes, Komai.”
“Good. Now get to work,” I said before I went to my office. When I closed the door, I fell into my chair and put my feet up onto the desk. Nothing was destroyed this time. I guess someone let it slip that the New Great One didn’t like his things being ruined, and would destroy more pumpkins if it happened again. It’s a good thing, too. I ruined a perfectly good pair of shoes with pumpkin guts that night, and I didn’t want to have to repeat my judgment again. Besides, I liked Halloween, too.
The school went silent as Samhain started his job. It would be a fine night to create chaos.