Jillian opened the bedroom window, poked her head outside, and peered at the sky. The sun warmed her face.
Clear, clear, clear. Better stay like this until my Halloween party.
October brought cooler temperatures, rumbling thunder, and dark gray clouds, earlier this year than others. Today’s blue sky, however, gave Jillian hope. She shut her window but not before one last glance up.
Jillian walked around the white-bleached canopy bed, her bare feet sinking into the matching plush area rug. She opened her closet and stared at last year’s costume hanging in the far corner, a witch’s long-sleeved dress and matching hat.
A smile flittered across her lips before turning into a pout. Only thing needed is a new robe, she thought, poking her fingers through torn slits on the right sleeve.
“Jillian, Barbara’s here,” called her mother from downstairs.
She pulled on a pair of socks and dashed out the door.
“Hey,” Barbara said, a smile pasted on her face.
Jillian jumped the last couple of stairs, landing right in front of her lanky friend.
“Where’s your costume?” Jillian stared at Barbara’s empty hands. “I always get a sneak preview of what you’re wearing before Halloween.”
“Mom’s not finished sewing it yet. But it’ll be ready before Friday’s party.”
Barbara’s hazel eyes sparkled with amusement.
“It’s not ready, or you don’t want me to see it yet?” Jillian planted her hands on her hips waiting for a response.
Barbara giggled and shrugged her shoulders. “Let’s just say it’s not ready to be unwrapped.”
“Hmm.” Jillian was definitely intrigued now.
Daisy appeared out of nowhere, barking loudly, and startling the girls. She jumped from one to the other, sniffed, and pawed the girls for their attention.
“Daisy, quiet.” Jillian reached down and grabbed the rambunctious Shi Tzu, scooping her in her arms.
“You’re lucky she’s not a Chihuahua. My aunt’s dog barks nonstop.” Barbara leaned over and patted Daisy on the head. “You dressing her up?” She giggled when the pup licked her hand like a Popsicle.
“Yep, a witch needs a ghost dog.”
Daisy’s black and white face shook as she looked around, eying both girls. She wiggled to get free, flapping her puffy pom-pom tail in Jillian’s face.
“Okay, okay, hold on.” Jillian placed the puppy on the floor and then rummaged through her back pocket taking out a scrunchie. She tied her long hair in a ponytail.
“Why don’t you ever wear a black wig to cover up your tomato hair?” Barbara asked.
“And be the same like every other witch?”
The pup rolled over, exposing her pink belly. Barbara laughed, petting her softly. Within seconds, Daisy scurried across the hallway straight into the kitchen. The scent of cinnamon with a hint of honey tickled the air around them.
“Smells good whatever your mom’s cooking.”
“Goodies for the party, but that’s just the beginning. Want to see the decorations in the backyard?”
Nodding, Barbara followed Jillian through the country-style kitchen. Copper pots hung over the wood beam ceiling. Along the wall beside the patio doors, wooden shelves housed decorative plates with artists’ signatures. As they passed the philodendron, Jillian reached out to slide the door when…
“Jillian! Put on shoes, please. I don’t want you dragging leaves all over the house with your socks when you come back in!”
“Busted,” Barbara whispered. She smiled and pointed down to her shoes to show Mrs. Waylan.
Jillian ran from the room, and within seconds, she returned sporting running shoes.
“Don’t be cheeky,” Mrs. Waylan answered.
The girls giggled and scooted out the backdoor.
A huge black tent covered half the yard on the right side. Gaming booths in different sizes were set up on the other side.
“Wow.” Barbara’s gaze flitted back and forth taking it all in, her stringy blond hair bouncing with every head turn.
“Dad’s going to blow up the balloons Thursday night. And I told him we’d set up the garland.”
“Neat.” Barbara gave two thumbs up.
Suddenly, a bright flash lit the inside of the tent. A wind moaned and breezed past them, shaking the big Maple tree branches.
“Oh no!” Jillian rushed inside the tent followed by Barbara. Catching her breath, she turned on the light, and inched forward, inspecting all around. Everything appeared in perfect working order. When her jangled nerves relaxed, she let out a deep sigh.
“Looked like lightning.”
“Probably a malfunction. I’ll tell my dad to check the wiring again. But I sure didn’t like that sudden wind.”
“They’re calling for warm weather this week.”
“I hope so. All we need is a storm, and everything will be ruined.” Jillian pouted.
As she was about to leave, Jillian noticed something at the far end of the tent. She walked to the front of a stand with an old and tattered black book resting on it.
“Cool. Look, Barb. My parents must have placed this prop here.” Gently touching the gold-etched lettering on the front cover, she read, ‘Witch’s Spell Book.’ “Now this is
Halloween—a witch and her magical spell book.”
“This is going to be one spooky party, Jillian.”
The girls left the tent and headed back inside the house.
The wind picked up once again.
The branches swayed.
And a glowing orange halo slithered inside the tent.