accidental fright

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"Do you think they'll notice?" I whispered to Chet, grabbing his arm in the shadows. Just around the corner, I heard the muffled voices of ghost-enshrouded children. Happy, young, and just pretty enough to receive free candy.

"Nah," my best friend replied, his lazily unshaved face hidden behind a jack o' lantern mask. "You're short enough, and my acting skills are superb."

"Superbly awful," I corrected and shivered. Trick-or-treating becomes a bit too eccentric once you hit a certain age, and I suspected Chet and I were well past that cut-off mark. And though we may be outside our country, we still didn't necessarily want to make fools of ourselves.

Not collecting free candy, however, was not an option.

"Ready?" I whispered.

"Always," Chet replied jovially, sounding a bit snarky from behind that plastic mask. We slipped out of the shadows and jumped back as the flock of child-ghosts screamed. We'd popped right out in front of them, I guess. An oversized pumpkin and Hermione Granger's doppleganger were perhaps a smidgen frightening materializing out of the shadows.

"Sorry," I hissed frantically to the ghosts. "So sorry."

Chet rolled his head around in such an inhuman way that even I grew queasy, and the ghosts vanished down the well-lit British street.

"Good going, pumpkin head," I said sarcastically. "Way to blow our cover."

"It's Halloween, Viv," he snorted.

We approached the candle-lit step calmly, and I sprang forward to knock. "Trick or treat!" I trilled. I had years of experience.

The door opened slowly. Eerily, almost.

"Hello," a greasy voice oozed, and my heart leapt to my throat.

It wasn't the little old witches that had answered the door to the ghosts. It was a vampire. Blood trickled down the handsome man's lips, glowing in the dim light. His eyes were rimmed with red, and there was a positively wild expression on his face.

"Come in, come in," he wheezed, and he reached out his cold, slimy hand. I screamed as he grabbed my wrist, forcefully dragging me inside.

Thump.

The next thing I knew, the vampire was blinking dizzily from the ground. I stared in shock. Someone grabbed my shoulders, and I jumped, but it was only Chet, breathing heavily. He had slugged him. He had slugged the vampire with his empty bucket.

"You alright?" he muttered in my ear.

"Y-yeah," I warbled. "B-but... what did you..."

"Let's get out of here," Chet said, grabbing my hand with his familiarly warm one. He ripped off his mask, turning one last time to the dark house. "Try messing with my girl again."

The vampire glowered at him, but didn't so much as whine as we left.

"What happened to the little old witches?" I whispered, leaning heavily on his arm as we marched off down the street.

"You chose the wrong house, Genevieve," Chet said, laughing at me. "The witches were across the street."

And due to the unforeseen scare, we decided to go to the supermarket and safely purchase candy instead.

september snippets

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My tapping stopped. I bit my lip, feeling the rush of embarrassment wash over my hot cheeks. Refusing to look up, I opened my mouth to give a feeble retort when someone interrupted me.

“Knock it off, Jim. She meant no harm.”

My head darted up in astonishment. Charlie Lawson stood behind Jimmy, and as he spoke, he clapped his hand on Jimmy's shoulder. He looked at me and smiled. “Hi, Miss Lennon.”

- little red kites

Our school was one of the largest in the county. Forty-five graduating seniors, and I managed to be the smartest out of all of them. I didn't pride myself on it, though. I only took the honor out occasionally to polish it. Admire it.

Now I had to embrace it.

- little red kites

June was always a beautiful month in New York. The apple trees blossomed and smelled like heaven. Lavender and lilac and wild daisies and Queen Anne's Lace bloomed absolutely everywhere. You didn't need to wear perfume on days like these. With a stylish hat and white dress, you could just walk down Kenzington Lane to church and show up smelling like you came from the upper end of New York City. Richness. Boys avoided Kenzington Lane like the plague this time of year.
 
 - little red kites

Abe loudly sang Fred Astaire's “Cheek to Cheek” as we flew down Main Street, oblivious to both his offkey notes and the alarmed expressions of those on the sidewalks. Laughing loudly, Charlie poked fun at Abe's every line, his calloused fingers lightly gripping the wheel. I couldn't keep a straight face
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the entire ride, often bursting out into laughter and nearly choking on the brown curls that blew in my face.

- little red kites

[Joe] swung me into an upbeat dance, stepping on my toes the entire time. I managed to keep my face from contorting from the pain, but as soon as the dance had finished, I found the need to sit for a moment on the sofa where Mira Gates had already secluded herself. She was eagerly eating a slice of cake, and while I admired her ability to pack in so much food, the sight made me rather queasy.

- little red kites

“You're going to sing to me?” Charlie teased, raising his eyebrows.

I flushed. “No, no, no.” I shook my head, playing along. “You're going to sing to me.”

Charlie's eyes twinkled. He leaned his face toward me, his cheek nearly brushing against mine. Then he softly sang in my ear with Fred Astaire's crackled voice.

- little red kites