Eury triumphantly pulled her magic wand from the trailer and showed it to Cy, who seemed quite impressed. Meanwhile, Jason showed up, startling everyone who hadn’t seen him arrive.
“Hey,” was all he said.
As everyone got their gear on at the mailbox, Eury wandered over to Benjamin. “Where’s that other girl you said would be here?”
Benjamin looked up and down the highway. “No idea.” He wondered if he’d told her the wrong time. She showed up last a Saturday ago, and it looked like she’d be repeating that today.
If she was coming. If her sanity hadn’t reasserted itself and she’d fully retreated back to her world of student council and dance committees and who knew what else. All stuff that was too much like embracing adulthood for Benjamin’s tastes.
Being an adult came whether you wanted it to or not. Why rush it?
Ah, well. He supposed it was too much to hope for that she’d become a regular. She’d dipped her toe into the weird side of things, and now it was time to go back to the Mundanes…
“Andi, six o’ clock,” Cy called. Benjamin turned and saw her biking along the shoulder toward them.
How could he have ever doubted her?
“Hey, y’all!” She waved at them as she drew close. Her costume bag sat perched between the handlebars. “Nice house, Randall,” she said as she rolled to a stop.
Randall blushed a little as he thanked her.
“Are your brothers –?” she started to say, but then caught sight of Eury, who had gravitated over to Benjamin’s side since Andi’s arrival.
“Hi,” Andi said, kick-standing her bike and walking over. Benjamin felt Eury press a little closer to him and take his hand, and realized he bore witness to something that had never before happened in all of recorded human history: Eury being shy.
“I’m Andi.” The redhead got down on one knee and held her hand out for Eury to shake. Benjamin’s sister did so, hesitantly. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“I’m Eury,” her voice so soft it sounded like something murmured in sleep.
“I heard you were going to play with us today,” Andi said. “You ready to kick some butt?”
Eury giggled at what was, for her, an unfathomably ‘adult’ word, and nodded. “I’m Queen of the Kitties!” she announced, making a show of displaying the stuffed-sock tail safety-pinned to her jeans.
“I’m a banshee,” Andi said, just as proud. “That’s a kind of ghost.”
Eury nodded again. “Ben told me.”
Andi raised an eyebrow. “Oh, he did, did he?” Even though she was looking at Eury, Benjamin had the feeling Andi’s eyes rested squarely upon him. “What else did he tell you about me?”
“So!” Benjamin said, in much more of a panicky shout than he’d planned, “Are we ready to get started?”
“Sure are, ‘Ben’,” Andi said, standing up and shooting Eury a wink. She grabbed her changing bag from her bike as Benjamin turned away and pretended to fiddle with something crucial in the trailer until the heat of his blush subsided.
The other players sounded off in the affirmative, and once Cy had finished the last smears of his face paint, they began their march up the long driveway to the Hart House.
Eddie sidled up beside Benjamin at the rear of the group. Andi and Eury led the group, hand in hand, arms swinging, chatting away. Eddie opened his mouth to speak.
“If you call me ‘Ben,'” Benjamin said to him, “I’m sneaking into your house and super-gluing that Frankenstein mask to your head.”
“I wasn’t going to,” Eddie said, Mr. False Sincerity himself. He looked at Andi, then over at Benjamin. “Just thinking about those armadillos I saw. They were hilarious.”
Benjamin sighed, tuned out his friend, and started finalizing today’s plans for Randall’s house. He’d been there a couple of times — a stiff, formal place with crosses and pictures of Jesus on every wall. But the rooms…! Large, open areas with plenty of staging zones for a full group of players. Plus, there was the small farm out back, which afforded even more room for action.
As they neared the house, the screen door squeaked open, and Randall’s twin little brothers stepped out in chorus-line unison onto the front porch. One (Caleb?) wore a red T-shirt, and the other (Carter?) wore blue. Everything else about them matched, including their dubious frowns.
“You didn’t say there was going to be this many people,” said Red.
“There’s too many people,” said Blue.
They both crossed their arms.
“I didn’t say how many people I was inviting over,” Randall said, his voice filled with the groan of the long-suffering. “Just said I was having some friends come.” He pointed at Red. “This is Carter, y’all,” and then at Blue, “and Caleb.” He held up a hand as the twins started to speak. “They’ll try and pretend otherwise to mess with y’all, but trust me. I got a secret way of telling them apart.” He beamed at his brothers.
“Hi, I’m Andi, and this is Eury.” The two girls stepped up on the porch as the twins stared at them, awestruck. Andi feigned confusion. “Are you sure you’re Caleb?” she asked Blue.
“Are you a cat?” Carter asked Eury, oblivious to anything else. Eury spun to show her tail. “Can I be a cat?” Carter asked Randall.
“I thought you were going to be Joseph,” Randall said. “Didn’t Momma make you that coat-of-many-colors for the Fall Festival?”
“I changed my mind. Stuff me up one of Daddy’s dress socks!”
“I’m the Queen of Kitties,” Eury told Carter. “That means you have to do what I say!” She waved her magic wand in a commanding manner.
The rest of the group had reached the bottom of the porch steps and watched the unfolding drama.
Carter seemed to be fine assuming the role of Eury’s subordinate, and Caleb, after asking Andi what she was dressing up as, demanded to be a ghost, too.
“Neither one of y’all wants to be like me?” asked Jason.
The twins looked him over. “Hockey is lame,” Caleb said.
Today’s Words: 1027
Total Words: 16907
Notes: The four of you who have been reading these posts will notice this one is three days late. Well spotted!
I’m attempting to write a Halloween-themed horror novel in October! Visit Day Zero for more information or Day One to read from the beginning, and check out Countdown to Halloween for more blogging that’s altogether ooky!
(And the cat is Valentine — I figured the presence of a black cat would make things that much more Halloween-y!)