“Next year seems like a long time to wait,” you tell her. “Why don’t we trade numbers and do something earlier.”
“Asking out one of the daughters of All Hallows, and in front of her father,” Doctor Willowbrook notes. “This one has guts.” From the way he says he that last word, you have a sickening feeling that he’s wondering what they look like.
“Guts indeed, if not brains to go with them,” Victoria replies. “Still, I suppose it would be nice to have a few friends around town that actually knew the truth of my lineage.” She pulls out a small card and scribbles a few digits across it. “Don’t go getting any big ideas. There is no chance of romance between us.”
“Of course,” you say, accepting the card. You’re too stupid to entirely believe her, which puts you in the same category as capital-grade morons and legendary romantics. Only time will tell which you prove to be. The dumbfounded grin on your face does provide some clue, however.
“Let’s get going,” Jim says. “I am hungry like a dolphin.”
“See you soon,” Doctor Willowbrook says.
You try not to let the certainty with which he utter those words unnerve you. You fail, miserably.
* * *
As you and Jim walk back toward your apartment building, the sun has fully emerged and the day has begun. The two of you have bags stuffed with fast-food burritos, a pitiful attempt to fend off both the hunger and impending hangovers you are destined to begin November with. Still, given how things could have gone, this actually seems like something of a best-case scenario.
“Hell of a night,” you say, looking up at the sunrise. The other denizens of your complex are giving you funny looks as you walk the parking lot dressed only in a wrecked wizard costume. Jim’s outfit, at least, is still functional. He shifts his bag of food from claw to claw, moving things around so he can grab another sip of beer.
“Not bad,” Jim says.
“Not bad? How was that ‘not bad’ in your book?”
“I mean, it was cool and all, but remember last Arbor Day? Now that shit was insane,” Jim reminds you.
He makes a valid point, this was actually pretty tame compared to last Arbor Day. You reach for your keys just as Jim takes another awkward sip and spills beer on his costume, not that a few more stains will matter. As he angles the cup back up, you notice it’s full to the brim.
“Jim, is that the magic cup I enchanted?”
“Yeah. You didn’t think I’d forget this beauty, did you?” Jim looks at you like you’ve just suggested taking a shit on the Guinness factory’s lawn.
You stick your keys in the lock, juggling your own food to a free hand. “No, it’s just… the sun’s up. Shouldn’t it have stopped refilling by now?”
“Beats me,” Jim replies, taking another glug. “Maybe it was just your magic that died at dawn, but the stuff you put spells on stay enchanted.”
“Damn, makes me wish I’d cast a spell on more than just the cup,” you say, turning the key and twisting the knob.
The door opens to reveal your nice, cozy apartment living room, illuminated by sunshine and the television you forgot to turn off. This picturesque scene is somewhat marred by the seven-foot tall stone statue of a giant skeleton sitting on your couch, watching a cooking show with exceptional interest.
“Ahhhh!” You yell loudly, dropping the bag of burritos to the ground. This gets the skeleton’s attention, who looks over at you.
“Morning,” he says, giving a polite wave. “Hope you don’t mind, but since you brought me to life Doctor Willowbrook says you’re responsible for food and lodgings.”
You are too stunned to move, however Jim is stricken by no such predicament.
“Scoot over,” he says, setting his food and beer cup on the coffee table. “Is this Good Eats? Shit yeah, Alton Brown is my jam.”
Slowly, ever so slowly, you reach down, grab the now busted bag from the ground, and pull your door closed. Looks like Halloween has resulted in more lingering effects that just a hangover in…