“Have fun, kids!” Verina’s mom shouts as you leave the community center to join one of the groups of children forming out front. “I can’t believe you talked me into this,” you mutter to Verina while tugging at your tights. You hate tights. You wouldn’t have chosen Peter Pan if you had any say in the matter, but Veronica had you stripped and stuffed into the costume before you even knew what was happening. That wouldn’t have been so bad if Verina hadn’t been standing there watching the whole thing, listening to her mom comment on how cute your age-regressed equipment was. Watching Verina get the same treatment afterward did make you feel a little better, though. “Don’t be uptight, Anon. It’ll be fun.” Verina’s Tinkerbell costume was made as part of a set with your Peter Pan costume from the look of it; same material, same style. The big, glittery fairy wings even flutter as she walks. You wonder how that works at first, until you see they’re taped to her real wings. “If we were going to make your mom come we could have done this on our own, you know.” “It’s more fun as a group.” “What’s she going to do, sit around with the other parents the whole time? I feel bad for her.” “Don’t worry, she enjoys it. She likes chatting.” “Wait,” you ask suspiciously. “Do you do this every year?” “…of course not, that would be childish. Come on, there’s only 1 group left.” She grabs your hand and pulls you to the last group of children. You can’t help but tense up. You and Verina both look about 8 years old right now so there shouldn’t be any problem, but you still feel like you’re doing something wrong. When you get to the group the community paladin leading it greets you. “Oh my, those are impressive costumes! Peter Pan and Tinkerbell?” “Yep!” Verina answers in a cheerful and childish voice. You frown at her suspiciously; she has definitely done this before. “I’m Brother Micheal and I’ll be your escort for trick or treating tonight. It looks like this is everybody - are you kids all ready to set out?” Mixed response. There are 3 little Wurm girls in the group that look like sisters. They’re wearing a hydra combination costume. The center head/tail has to pee. The paladin helps the Wurm slip out of the costume and takes her to the bathroom. While you wait with the others you look them over. The first you notice is the Ushi-Oni in the Spiderman costume. She’s…big. From her face you’d say she’s 11 or 12 but she’s huge for her age, and already getting kind of curvy. She almost looks full grown. No seal, though, and she seems timid, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Next is a Kraken. An adult Kraken. You thought she was a second escort at first but she’s standing with the kids and responded with them when the paladin asked if they were ready. She’s also wearing a costume. She’s dressed like a pirate and has a bunch of little glowing lights stuck to her skin all over her body. She notices you looking at her and smiles. “Hi! I’m Kara, who are you?” “Uh, I’m Anon.” She grabs your hand with one of her tentacles and shakes it. “Nice to meet you, Anon! What are you dressed as? I’m a pirate! Not a space pirate, the water kind!” Her bubbly attitude catches you off guard. The way she talks makes her sound much younger than she looks. You have to give a brief explanation of Peter Pan since she’s never heard of the character. Once she’s satisfied with you she goes after the Ushi. She’s never heard of Spiderman either. Verina whispers to you while frowning at Kara, “She might be doing to opposite of what we are. For her costume, maybe?” That makes sense. The last two in the group are an older boy dressed as cyclops from x-men, and a little Hellhound holding his hand. She’s wearing a witch hat and robe. “Is that your little sister? She’s sooo cuuute!” Kara tries to pick up the little Hellhound and nearly gets one of her tentacles bitten off in the process. “Yikes!” She yanks it back as the pup’s jaws slam shut with a surprisingly loud clank. “Ah, sorry!” the boy says. He pulls the little hound away from the Kraken and picks her up. “My, uh, sister is a bit shy.” “Oh, that’s alright. My name is Kara, what’s yo- youch!” The little thing got a bite of finger there. The Kraken keeps trying to introduce herself to the boy but the Hellhound growls at her whenever she gets close. It has turned into a very amusing standoff by the time the paladin returns with the third Wurm. “Alrighty, let’s try this again,” he says. “Are we all ready to go now?” All positive responses this time and the group sets out for a fun night of trick or treating.
“Have fun, kids!” Veronica shouts to Anon and Verina as they leave. She hears a woman behind her say, “Oh how precious! Are they both yours?” Veronica shakes her head. “My little one and her sweetheart.” She turns to greet the other woman and finds herself facing an Echidna that could be her twin from the waist up. “My name’s Veronica, nice to meet you.” “I’m Aylith, but everybody just calls me Mom.” “Ahahaha, I know how that is. Which one is yours?” “The big fellow in the shiny outfit~ Oh, here he comes.” A moment later the paladin volunteer runs by carrying a Wurm under his arm. “Is something wrong, dear?” Aylith calls out to him. When she does a very curvy Hellhound sitting at a nearby table flinches and spills coffee on herself. “Bathroom,” is all he says before disappearing around a corner. “Oh my, let us help you with that, Sweetie,” Aylith says as she goes over to help the Hellhound with the spill. Veronica grabs some napkins and follows her. “It’s a good thing your skin isn’t bothered by heat, this could have given you a burn.” “Ah, thanks,” the Hellhound replies. “It’s fine, no burns.” She starts muttering under her breath while glancing at the door, “No burns. No burns, no fires, no riots, no manhunts. It’ll be fine. Everything is fine. Nothing to worry about.” Veronica chuckles to herself. “First time letting the little one go out without you? Don’t worry, I’m sure her big brother will take care of her.” “That’s what I’m…brother?” “The boy that was with the little witch puppy? They aren’t yours?” “Oh, him. Right, brother, that’s what I said. Anyways, that’s what I’m worried about. Either of them might be fine on their own but whenever I leave them alone together it always turns into a disaster somehow.” “I’ll keep an eye on them, Ma’am,” the paladin says as he runs by again, nearly causing a repeat of the coffee incident. “Have fun, Mikey!” Aylith calls after him. “Your son seems like a nice boy,” Veronica says. “Was that his girlfriend out there with him? The girl in the pirate getup?” “No, his girlfriend couldn’t make it today. She’s a nice girl, though.” Aylith frowns toward the door but the group is gone now. “I’m not sure who the Kraken is with, I don’t know her.” “Ah, she’s mine,” a blond serviceman sitting nearby says. He’s wearing a set of lived-in fatigues and watching a TV hung from the wall. “Your wife?” Veronica asks. “Daughter.” That catches everyone’s attention; he doesn’t look nearly old enough for that. The Hellhound pauses her nervous fidgeting to ask in a confused tone, “How old is she?” “Um…somewhere around -47?” “‘Minus…’” several voices repeat. “Yeah….it’s kind of complicated.” Conversation dies out after that so Veronica introduces herself to the young man who had been sitting at the table across from the Hellhound when they arrived. “Uh, nice to meet you too. I’m Anon.” “Oh my~ my daughter’s crush is named Anon as well, what a coincidence.” “Did you bring one of your siblings, Anon?” Aylith asks with a smile. Anon is the youngest person in the room so it’s unlikely he has a kid old enough to be trick or treating. “Ah, um, n-not exactly-“ “Ahhh~ I see, I see.” Aylith nods to herself. The other women are all giving him knowing looks. “So which one was your girlfriend?” His face reddens. “The Ushi.” “Uwah~ really?” The serviceman asks. “How old is she, dude?” “Hey, it’s not like I had a choice, okay!? And I haven’t touched her, I told her we had to wait till she was an adult for stuff like that!” “Hey, I’m not trying to criticize your lifestyle or anything. It just seems a little creepy to me, you know? I mean, going after somebody that young is almost like going after your own kid, isn’t it?” “She’s going after me. Really, I swear, I’m not doing any going.” “I get it, I understand. Can’t help these things some times, especially with a species like hers, right?” “Right,” anon sighs and leans back into his chair. Veronica notices her two female companions are looking away awkwardly. “Why’d you two go silent all the sudden?” At that moment a commotion rises in the staff room. One of the staff hears it and walks over to see what’s happening. “Brother Jeffery’s group knocked him unconscious and set fire to the police station.” A loud sound rings out as the serviceman slams his forehead into the table. “Do you know the kids in the group?” One of the staff ask. “NO! I do not know them!” After shouting that he mutters to himself, “It’s not my problem. I am so fucking glad I told her to go with a different group.”
You stand with your trick or treating group looking down the street toward a large, burning building. Several small figures can be seen chasing each-other around in the glow of the flames. There’s a tiny Apophis waving around what you guess is a stolen automatic rifle. The paladin turns to the group and says, “Kids, I’m going to teach you all a very valuable lesson now.” “You will encounter situations in your life where getting involved in any way will cause harm to come to you or those around you.” “Sometimes you have to get involved anyways, for principle or for the sake of others or something like that. But sometimes, it’s just not worth it.” “So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to turn around and go trick or treating on the other side of town. How does that sound?” Unanimous agreement. Well, except the Wurms, but they don’t get a vote.