Friday, October 14, 2016
A Tale of Two Sisters: Part Two
FINN didn't like it when Lily called her chicken. Or 'yella,' like the people in her mom's favorite black-and-white movies would say.
Thinking about her mom while standing on the veranda of the spook house made something pinch inside of her, like a toothache in her chest. When the door to the house opened, she ventured one step forward, called out, "Hello?"
Lily shouted her name. Finn scowled and defiantly set one foot into the house. The lamp in the hall was joined by a galaxy of others further in, revealing a parlor with a domed ceiling and wall-to-wall cubby shelves. Each cubby housed a small bottle, each a different color and shape. And each bottle glowed.
Enchanted, Finn moved into the parlor. The stained-glass lamps resembled twisting flowers and columns of swirly-haired ladies rose toward the ceiling. On a little round table circled by old-fashioned chairs and a red velvet sofa was a tea set of pink porcelain. The colors in the parlor were disorienting--deep reds, pale yellows, and vein blues. Verdigris green crusted some of the metal frames of the pictures and mirrors on the walls. There was a rich scent in the air, like the dust inside of an old church.
A rustling sound from the shadowy hallway on the other side of the parlor made her next breath a tiny hiccough of fear.
Turning her head, she saw that the front door had closed without her having heard it do so.
"Hello?" The new voice seemed to echo her earlier inquiry, to mock it.
A girl emerged from the hallway. She wore a plastic owl mask and tattered pink finery that made Finn think of a ball gown a dead prom queen might wear. The wig of silver curls piled on her head was decorated with twigs and leaves and wilted flowers. The girl asked, "Are you here for one of my perfumes?"
Even as Finn wondered why she didn't hear Lily knocking at the door or ringing the bell, she glanced at the decorative bottles in the cubbies. Each bottle looked as if it held a glimmering potion. Some had labels hanging from ribbons; others had the labels pasted on. Finn looked back at the girl. "I'm just here for trick-or-treat."
"Trick?" The girl glided forward and tilted her masked head to one side. "Treat? Do I get a trick? or a treat?"
This was getting weird. Finn began back toward the door. "I'm the one who gets the treat."
"I think"--The strange girl moved to the middle of the parlor--"I would like to see a trick first."
"You're wearing a costume. Don't you want a treat instead?" Finn delved a hand into her plastic pumpkin and drew out her most prized candy of the night.
The girl sat on the red velvet sofa shaped like a heart, her pink ballgown netting over it like gossamer. She looked own at herself, then up at Finn. The eye holes in her owl mask were black. "Yes. I suppose we do wear costumes. And this night is for tricks."