“Y’all have gotta be kidding,” said Bertha, staring wide-eyed at the baker’s half-dozen of werewolves frothing and growling in the middle of the street before her.
“We don’t have time for this!” shouted Mabel.
“Make time, Hagatha Christie!” barked one of the werewolves.
“Hagatha Christie?” muttered George, lifting his mask.
“What is with you guys and the terrible insults?” asked Lisa, shaking her be-lioned head.
“We’re here for Suzette Donovan!” Brian demanded, ignoring his siblings and stepping forward from the pack of lycanthropes. “Hand her over!”
“That’s not happening, Rover,” replied Mabel. “Ladies!”
At once, the witches flanked Mabel on both sides. Some hovered on their brooms, some stayed on the street. Their long, dark dresses began to thrash and snap behind them; their hair danced wildly in the night. Hands lit up with fireballs or glowed with the sickening light of unfathomable hexes, scotching dark shadows across the faces of the enchantresses.
The werewolves, though, would not be cowed. They dropped to all fours, snarling, tensed and ready to pounce. Brian howled, long and deep and savage, a guttural, primeval cry that could loosen even the most backed up of bowels. The six wolfmen behind him followed suit.
Blocks away, the old man in his bathrobe secretly thanked the teenagers and ran to his bathroom with an urgency he had long since forgotten.
“This will only end badly for you boys,” Mabel stated matter-of-factly. “Leave now and we might think about sparing you. Or at least your tiny entourage.”
“Maybe,” said Sarah.
“Prob’ly not,” added Bertha.
Lisa, George, and Tommy — suddenly feeling very foolish, and very, very mortal — began stepping slowly out of the street.
As the trio of Oz-ian refugees disappeared onto the sidewalks surrounding the standoff, trick-or-treaters began to slow and stop. Most gawked, some hid. Many a mobile phone was whipped out.
“We’re going to eat all of your hearts,” roared Brian, “just to be sure.”
“Eat our hearts?” asked Suzette. “That seems like an unwarranted escalation.”
“Oh, oh!” yipped Sarah. “That’s how a werewolf cures his curse! I just read about it the other day!”
“Nerd,” mumbled Bertha.
“What?” continued Suzette. “I’ve never even seen any of these dog-boys before!”
“You cursed the gypsy that cursed the werewolf that bit the werewolf that bit the werewolf that bit the werewolf that bit them!” shouted George, popping out from behind — and then immediately again diving behind — a nearby oak tree.
“Gypsy?” said Suzette quietly, the flame in her hand extinguishing. “OK, yeah, that was probably me. I messed up a lot of gypsies over the years.”
“Damn it, Susie,” grumbled Mabel. “I’m beginning to think you’re a liability to this coven.”
“Oh, please, like everything you did two hundred years ago never came back to bite you.”
“Bad pun,” said Bertha, shaking her head. “Bad, bad pun.”