Chapter 5 Surprise Encounter
~Jack O’Lantern’s POV~
It’s been days after Halloween and the trees were losing their leaves. The air was getting colder and colder to the point of freezing. Even I was finding it unbearably chilly since the graveyard didn’t really have a shelter that I can warm myself up. For the past few months, I’ve been sleeping in a tree in the graveyard with my lantern beside me to keep me warm.
Like what Sandy told me before, I could feel my powers becoming more stable. I didn’t have that burning feeling inside of me anymore, so it was a good sign. It was getting annoying. I had to keep using my powers to release some of those energy or the buzzing feeling won’t go away.
Also, after the Halloween festival, I got myself a souvenir, a pumpkin mask! It’s the same mask I wore to scare the wisps at the souvenir shop. The mask was made to look like a Jack O’Lantern and covered only half my face so my mouth and lower was shown. The eyes also had this sinister look, but I liked it. When I wear it, it makes me feel scary. Besides, my name is Jack O. Laternson, or Jack O’Lantern, so having a pumpkin mask seemed appropriate.
So the plan right now was to find shelter for winter. My wisps and I were looking for some shelter in the woods near the graveyard. While we were wandering through the trees, I found a small cliff with an old oak tree at the top. There was also a hole at the side of the cliff. The hole was big enough for me to bend over a bit, so I looked inside and saw a tunnel leading into darkness.
My wisps looked in curiously as well. They whispered something to me that sounded like a question. I assumed they wanted to know if they could explore inside. I wasn’t very keen about small dark places. I get kinda nervous sometimes, because dark underground places reminded me too much of the mine. I can’t remember everything that happened before I died, but I just know that I didn’t favor places like these.
But since I’m looking for shelter, places like these would make a nice home.
“Let’s check it out and see where it leads us to,” I suggested.
The wisps giggled excitedly and flew inside, lighting up the small dark space. We went down the tunnel, which was only a few feet down, and came upon a larger space inside. The space was the size of a small bedroom and the ceiling had small streams of light coming in. It was enough to let us see the whole place. I knew right away that we were right under the oak tree, because I could see its roots spread out across the walls. There were some rocks and boulders here and there, but it shouldn’t be hard to redecorate the place.
“It’s perfect,” I said to myself, scanning the whole place in awe. “Guys! This is going to be our new home!” I announced cheerfully.
My wisps cheered happily and bounced all over the place.
“No partying yet. We still need to make this place livable first,” I explained.
The wisps whined. I guess it’s like telling them to do their chores. Very understandable.
So we cleaned up the place like moving some of the rocks and boulders to make some furnitures like a table and chairs. I cleaned out twigs, dry leaves, and small rocks. I even swept and dusted down the place a bit with a bunch of long dry grass.
“We need to make a bed,” I thought. “Or at least something for me to sleep on.” I tried to come up with what I should find to make the bed. Maybe pine needles? Though it’s not really a nice soft cushiony bed, it beats sleeping on a tree. “Does anybody want to join me to gather pine leaves to make the bed?” I asked the wisps.
Then all the wisps bounced around and chattered happily. That would be a ‘yes.’
So we went outside to find pine trees, which wasn’t hard since there were many pine trees in this forest. We examined each tree for good soft pine needles with easy-to-break branches. Within half an hour, we managed to gather a nice pile of pine needles.
“Alrighty! Time to bring them all back to our new home,” I announced happily. I’m not sure why, but I was having fun with making my new home. Even the wisps seemed to enjoy it as much as I do.
Suddenly, we heard a Snap!
We all froze in surprise. It sounded like a twig was snapped. Where was it coming from? Was it an animal? We looked around, but didn’t see any creatures at all.
Suddenly, there was rustling in the bushes nearby.
My wisps gasped and hid behind me, shaking in fear.
“Maybe it’s a squirrel?” I whispered to my wisps, not very sure myself. We were in the middle of a forest, so who knows what kind of animal lived here.
The bushes rustled again.
I walked up closer to check it out. My wisps followed closely behind.
I was a few feet away. My wisps were silent as they held their breath. Actually, can fire breathe? Like seriously, not figuratively.
Then something jumped out of the bush and cried...
My wisps screamed as something small came jumping out of the bush. It was a little girl! And not just any little girl. It was a little girl I knew very well.
“Abby?!!” What was she doing here?!
“Pwetty wights!” She cried out as she ran around me to catch the wisps, which were already on the run, screaming.
Wait a minute... did she just ran around me?
They were running around in circles around me, so I felt like something was odd. And when in doubt, try it out.
“Abigail?” I tried calling her.
She stopped and looked at me.
Oh mother of Halloween! She heard me!
“Um... Abby? Can you see me?” I asked to make sure.
“Uh huh,” she nodded.
I went silent from shock. How did this happened? She couldn’t see me before, but why can she see me now?
Suddenly, I remembered what Sandy told me several nights ago. I asked if it was possible for people to see and hear me and he told me something about if a person believes in me, they would be able to see me. Does that mean Abby believes in me? But how? She didn’t even know me! I was already dead before she was born!
And more importantly, what was she doing here in the first place?!
“Abby, why are you here in the forest? It’s dangerous here. You should go back home,” I told her as I kneeled down to get an eye level with her.
“I wan’ to pway wiff pwetty wights,” she answered in a poor pronunciation. She was a little kid after all. “An’ find bwother.”
Find brother? Me? She knew she has a brother?
“Wait, who told you that you have a brother?” I asked.
“Mommy,” She replied
So it was my mom who told her. I didn’t think she wouldn’t tell Abby about me yet. Especially, not until she was old enough to understand more.
“Mommy swaid dat bwother watch owa me and hes in woods,” she continued to explain excitedly.
Mom said that?
“Then do you know his name?” I asked curiously.
“Jack!” She answered proudly. Strangely, I felt this warmth spread inside my chest and it wasn’t from my powers.
The reason why she can see me was because she believed in her brother. She believed in me!
“Well, you’re in luck!” I smiled widely. “I’m Jack.”
She stared at me with wide eyes. “Weeeeeaaaaaally?”
I nodded. “Yep! I’m Jack. Jack Lanternson. Your one and only older brother!”
Her eyes brightened up and she had this big grin on her face. “Yay! I found big bwother!” She jumped up and down happily. Then all of a sudden, she pounced on me and hugged me tightly.
I was speechless and shocked at the same time. I didn’t expect to get a hug. Actually, I didn’t know she can even touch me! I could feel her small and warm body. It was such a long time since I had any body contact like this with anybody at all. Without realizing it, my arms wrapped around her and embraced her in a hug as well.
Never have I felt so happy to get a hug from someone. I hugged my mom a lot, but never have I felt a hug could be so precious.
“You see that, guys? I can touch her,” I turned to the wisps.
The wisps cheered happily.
“Wet’s pway! Wet’s pway!” Abby cried out excitedly.
“Wait a minute, Abby. You should go home now. It’s getting too dark,” I told her, in slight serious tone. The sky was already turning red and the sun was already half way down the horizon.
“Noooooo,” she protested.
“It’s going to be too dark to play and mom would be worried sick again,” I tried to reasoned with her.
Abby looked down in disappointment.
“We can play another time, alright?” I was bothered by her sad look so I just had to do something to make her feel better.
“Weally?” She asked hopefully.
“Of course,” I promised her. “I’ll even visit you at home.”
“Yay! Okie-dokie!” She agreed.
So I brought her back home by carrying her in my arms while flying. She was ecstatic throughout the flight. It was probably like a dream for her to be able to fly in the sky like this. Seeing the twinkle in her eyes made my heart soar. I guess this was what it felt like to have and love a younger sibling.
Once I dropped her off in the backyard and bid her farewell. Abby ran back into the house and that’s when my mom hugged her in relief. She probably noticed her disappearance and was about to call the police again. I didn’t know what mom said to Abby, but knowing that she was safe at home now, I flew back to the forest to collect my pine needles for the bed before it gets too dark. The idea of sleeping on a cold hard ground didn’t sound comfortable.
After spending so many hours, we finally had the place nice and tidied up, which I have to say I did a pretty good job myself since I rarely clean my own room. My mom used to nag at me all the time about leaving my laundry on the floor or to put away my stuff.
The pine needles were all neatly piled up in a corner that seemed the coziest spot in the room. The pine needles were kinda poky, but it didn’t hurt. More like ticklish. But at least I can sleep on it.
Over the week, I also gathered some pretty neat stuff that people were throwing away. I got some torn cloths, worn out blankets, and old pillows to put on my bed as beddings. I also placed a dusty red curtain that came with a rusty bar over the entrance on the inside of the tunnel. I can’t put curtains outside or any wandering stranger would notice it and wonder why it’s there. The curtain was to act like the door and keep the cold air outside. It’s not fool proof, but it’ll do for now.
And luckily too, because it wasn’t long for a blizzard to hit my neighborhood. The wind was blowing wildly and the snow was making it hard to see. I was sitting on my bed while I listened to the strong wind blowing outside. There was a small campfire in the center of the room, which I conjured up myself, to make the room warmer.
The wisps were playing among themselves since they couldn’t go outside due to the harsh weather. They would fly around playing tag or throw a small rock around so it didn’t fall to the ground. I also conjured some figures with my fire. I got the idea from Sandy’s sand figures, though I can only make a few things right now. I’m still in the middle of practice. Creating figures took quite a lot of concentration and imagination. For now, I was able to make small creatures like birds, bats, snakes, and mice.
The wisps were enjoying themselves a lot with the animal shape flames. It was fascinating to watch as well when the creatures move around while their fiery bodies were blazing brightly as if they were alive.
While the wisps were have a daring battle of who can outwit my fire snake, I created two more from behind.
The wisps looked behind them and froze in shock. A second later...
They immediately scattered in terror. I laughed so hard at their terrified expression. I wondered if they forgot that those fire snakes were made by me, so they were pretty harmless and tamed as a bunny unless I tell them to be otherwise.
The blizzard was horrendous and long. It blew all day and up until the next morning. I popped out of the hole of my underground home to see what it was like outside.
Snow! A whole bunch of snow! The whole forest was covered in thick blanket of snow!
“It’s snow day!” I yelled and quickly jumped out of the hole. I stepped into the thick white snow and my whole feet disappeared into it. “Cold!” I exclaimed and I quickly made my foot warmer by surrounding my whole body in heat. It’s another trick I discovered and it’s pretty convenient in cold weather like this.
As I walked around, I observed the surrounding areas and it was a beautiful snow white scenery. It was like it came out of a famous landscape photo. I remembered that when I was still alive, my friends and I would run out of the house and dive into the snow. We would throw snowballs, make igloos, and have a contest of who made the best snowman. It was so much fun back in those days.
The wisps were also amazed at the snowy environment. It was their very first snow, too. They were going Ooooooooo and Aaaaaaaaah as they looked around. Then they all scattered to check out the snow. Unfortunately, when they tried to touch the snow, it would melt, but that didn’t stop them from finding ways to have fun with it.
Some of them would be hopping in the snow, making holes in the white soft covered ground. It almost looked like strange foot prints. Another group of wisps would be drawing in the snow, making weird drawings that I can barely make out. Others were jumping off branches and diving into a pile of snow with a loud Thump!
The wisp that jumped off the branch disappeared into the pile of snow. The other wisps that were watching from the bottom laughed like crazy, but then...
Another pile of snow fell onto the laughing wisps, burying them. The snow came from the branch that the wisp was jumping off of when it bounced on it, causing the snow to shake and fall off.
Then the wisps popped out of the snow, stared at each other, and then laughed even harder than before.
They were loving it!
I was happy that they were enjoying themselves, but I wanted to check out the town first.
“Let’s go, guys. We’ll play later,” I told them.
They gave me a sad look and made an Awwwwww sound.
“When I said later, I meant in town,” I explained.
Then they babbled excitedly.
I took out my new pumpkin mask I got from the Halloween festival and put it over my face. Then I put my hood over my head to make it feel more mysterious.
“How do I look? Mysterious?” I asked my wisps with the best mysterious tone I could make.
Ooooo! Uh huh!
They all nodded.
“Good! I was planning to wear this next time we meet Sandy. I always wanted to try and scare him,” I explained. I may have pulled tricks on him a few times, but never have I ever scared him. The guy had nerves of steel!
“And maybe Abby. A little though,” I added. Wondering what kind of face Abby would make when she sees me in this mask.
So we flew out of the forest towards my neighborhood. The view from the sky, looking down upon the snowy town, was amazing. The whole place was covered in pure white snow. We flew across the snow covered houses and trees. People were walking about, clearing the snow, brushing off their cars, or admiring the winter scenery.
We continued to fly around until we came upon the park where kids were running about, playing in the snow. They were throwing snow balls, making snowmen, riding on a slay down a large pile of snow, and making snow angels. The whole park was full of shouts and laughters.
I planned on visiting Abby in the afternoon later, since I wanted to check on other places first. Maybe I could play a few little pranks here before that time comes. I landed on a thick branch of a tall pine tree, so I could get a good view of the whole park. The view up here was great! You can see everything from here! I started to search who I should mess around with first when I spotted something unusual.
Not too far away, I spotted a guy playing with the kids. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a guy playing with a bunch of kids. There were some adults, teenagers, and old seniors here as well. But what made me feel like this guy was strange was because of his snow white hair. I first thought he might be some very old man, but this guy was much too active and agile for an old guy. He was also holding some kind of wooden hook staff.
When I watched closely, I was sure the guy was a teenager around my age. How many teenagers have their whole head snow white?!! Maybe he dyed it? But why white? Or maybe he was an albino. So I continued to watch this guy further out of curiosity and it wasn’t long before I discovered something about him. Something a normal human shouldn’t be able to do.
He was flying...
~Jack Frost’s POV~
Winter was coming and that meant it’s snow making time! It was my job to bring snow and winter to cities and towns. I’ve been to many places so far, bringing snow days and fun time with me.
Kids loved the snow. It felt great watching the kids enjoy themselves with something I made. What was even better was playing with the kids!
It’s been more than a year since the first child believed in me and I became an official Guardian. It was great to be believed in, because now the kids can finally see me and hear me. It was much better than playing around, but not being seen or heard. It was very lonely actually.
But after that battle with Pitch Black and his Nightmares, not only am I a Guardian, kids can now see me! It was a tough battle, but one where I will never forget.
Now, I’m playing with some kids in the park of some town in Virginia that I just brought snow to. I created snowballs so the kids can throw them at each other. It was a great snowball fight. The kids were getting hit and covered in snow. I had to fly around to dodge all those snowballs that were targeting me, but I was much too fast for them.
“Ha! Missed me!” I shouted and threw a snowball at a boy. It smacked him right on the head.
“Hey! No fair! You’re flying!” A girl cried angrily.
“Well yeah. I don’t want to get hit, do I?” I replied.
“Fine then. Everyone get him!” Ordered the girl, so every snowball came flying towards me.
“Oh boy!” I immediately darted around like crazy, trying to dodge the snowballs. “Is that all you guys got?”
Then I felt something strange. It was like I was being watched. I turned and looked around, trying to find who was spying on me. That’s when I noticed something hiding in a tree. I couldn’t see very well because of all the pine needles and branches. But I was able to make out a dark figure hidden within its shadow. The dark figure was watching me, I could feel it. I also noticed several lights floating around the figure.
“What is that?” I whispered to myself unconsciously.
Then I spotted two bright and glowing yellow eyes, which even I could see from all the way here.
A Nightmare? Or maybe...PITCH!?!
Out of instinct, I quickly aimed my staff at the figure and shot out a bright blue bolt of lightning at it.
The figure didn’t have time to react and the blue lightning hit its target with a loud zap! The figure fell off the tree from getting hit and landed onto the snow below.
“Bull’s eye!” I cried in victory.
Then I saw the figure got up and moving from side to side as if it was dizzy. When it spotted me, it quickly flew off into the sky.
I knew it was trying to get away, so I quickly flew after it. Whatever it was, hiding in the shadow of the trees was too suspicious, so I have to find out what it was.
~Jack O’Lantern’s POV~
Oh my god! Jesus Christ! He shot me! He freakin’ SHOT ME!
Whatever he shot me with almost turned my whole body into ice. Luckily, I was able to melt it with my powers fast enough to get away quickly.
That guy was definitely not human and right now, I din’t even know if he’s a friend or foe. But since he shot me, I’m getting my butt outta here!
I quickly jetted into the sky, away from that guy as fast as possible, with the wisps following beside me. My whole body was going through a rush of adrenaline. I was gasping for oxygen while my blood rushed like crazy throughout my body. The wisps also looked scared. Never have they met anything that would attack them.
Then the wisps made loud sharp panicked chatter that caught my attention. I looked back to see the white hair guy was following behind me. He was flying after me with a scary look on his face.
If you have someone scary following you, naturally, you’ll want to defend yourself. So out of instinct and fear, I created five large fireballs the size of basketballs and shot at him while still trying to fly away.
The guy just dodged and blasted a few of them with his bright blue bolts of light. Then he shot some of his weird blue lightning at me, trying to take me out of the sky. Some of my wisps almost got hit in the process as well.
Something inside my chest squeezed tightly. “Get into the lantern NOW!” I yelled at them in panic. The situation was getting dangerous and I have to get the wisps in a safe place. The wisps didn’t argue and quickly went into the lantern for safety.
I quickly dodged the ice beams as best as I could and sent a large flock of birds made of fire at him, hoping it would slow him down. It worked!
While he was distracted by the fire birds, I flew as fast as possible until I spotted the forest. I quickly dived into the trees, hoping he won’t be able to find me here.
I was dead wrong.
The ice guy followed me not long after I went in. He must’ve gotten rid of the fire birds I sent at him pretty quickly. I darted in every direction while dodging trees that were in my way, trying to lose him. Yet, the guy was still on my tail ten feet away.
“So persistent!” I complained. If he’s not going to leave me alone, then I’m going to have to fight back! I sent streams of flames at him that slithered through the air and flew at the white hair guy from different direction.
Then the guy made a large blast of bright blue light, blowing out the flames.
Before he had time to ready himself for his next attack, I concentrated hard to make two large fire wolves. I wasn’t used to making large animals yet but I was desperate right now. Then I sent them darting at the guy.
The guy tried to blast them like he did before, but this time, the wolves dodged them. Then they tried to pounce on him with their jaws wide open, trying to bite his head off. The guy just ducked in time and slid below it. Unfortunately, he had to deal with the second one. The second fiery wolf swiped its paw and sent the guy flying into a tree with a loud ‘crash!’
Some of the snow came falling down from the tree due to the impact and buried the guy underneath.
The wolves slowly stalked up the snow, ready to attack if the guy came out. Then there was a loud ‘bang!’ and a large flash of bright blue light exploded from the snow pile. The blast sent a strong wind in every direction. I had to cover my face as a strong cold wind hit me. I opened my eyes slightly so I cloud keep him in my sight. The wolves got blasted back and dispersed into thin air. Then I saw something shooting in my direction and I quickly held out my lantern pole in defense on instinct.
There was a loud ‘klank!’ as my pole and his staff hit. I pushed my pole upward as hard as possible as the guy tried to pushed his staff downward at me. Our eyes met as we glared at each other. Flashes of orange and blue sparks came spewing out at where the pole and staff collided.
“Who are you?!” He demanded.
I couldn’t speak as I tried to hold my ground so all I could do was gritted my teeth while I build up my energy as quickly as possible and blasted it back at him.
There was a loud explosion when his power and mine clashed into each other and sent a large wave of energy all over the place. Both of us were blown in different directions from the powerful blast. I crashed in a tree and fell onto the soft snowy ground. My whole body was aching and in pain. Especially, my back since it hit the tree really hard. If I was still human, I would’ve broken my spine.
“Ugh...” I groaned from the pain. I almost got knocked out cold, but somehow I was still conscious. My head was spinning like crazy and I tried to get my mind straightened out. I also tried to get up, but the pain was making it very hard. I had to grit my teeth to push myself up. When I touched my head due to the pain, I realize something was missing. My pumpkin mask was gone. I looked at my hand and my lantern pole was gone as well.
Where’d they go!?!
I looked around and saw my lantern pole and mask scattered in the snow several feet away. I quickly got up, ignoring the screaming aches, and tried to grab my lantern pole. Then I was hit right in the chest by a freezing cold flash of bright blue energy and was knocked right into a tree again, but this time my whole body, except my head, was frozen to it. I tried to move, but I couldn’t even move a muscle. I was completely caught.
Then I heard the sound of footsteps in the snow, headed towards me. I looked up and saw the snow white hair guy glaring at me and breathing hard from exhaustion. His appearance also didn’t look good as well. He had a few bruises, cuts, and some burnt spots on his clothes. I probably didn’t look any better than him. He had his staff pointed at me, ready to strike if I do something funny.
“Who are you?” he demanded the same question again. “Do you work for Pitch?”
“Pitch?” Why does that name sounded familiar? Why do I feel like something was crawling up my body? And it wasn’t from the ice. “I don’t work for anybody! Now let me go!”
“Then why were you spying on me?” He came closer with his staff still aimed at me.
“Spying?! I was only watching the kids play around and you just happened to be there! I wasn’t planning on doing anything!” Okay, last part may be a bit of a lie, but I was gonna be turned into a popsicle here!
Now he was a couple of feet away from me and he pushed the hood off my face with his staff. He must’ve wanted to get a better look at me since I did had my mask and hood covering my head. Okay, I admit that my appearance might look a bit suspicious, but he didn’t need to freakin’ freeze me because of it!
The look on his face was obviously surprised and confused.
“What? Never saw a guy with glowing hair and eyes?” I snapped.
“You’re a kid,” he stated, still looking confused.
“Hey! I’m not a kid. I’m a teenager! You don’t look any older than I do, buddy!” I snapped again angrily.
“Well, I’m not going to say this again so who are... what the...!?!” Before he could asked the same question the third time, orbs of fire were surrounding him and crying out like crazy.
It was the wisps!
The white hair guy was swinging his staff around as if they were flies that were buzzing around him annoyingly.
“Get away from me!” He yelled out, swinging his staff around.
The wisps didn’t give up and kept attacking him. They were trying to keep him away from me as far as possible. I was both grateful and horrified at the same time.
“Guys! Get away from him! He’s too dangerous!” I shouted, but the wisps ignored me and continued to attack him with their little fiery bodies.
“Buzz off!” The white hair guy cried out and created a blast of wind around him, knocking my wisps out of the air. They all fell and disappeared into the snow.
Something inside of me snapped.
“How dare you hurt my wisps!” I yelled with all my anger. At the same time, I could feel my whole body burning up and melting the ice away in seconds.
Before the guy could react, I flew at him immediately once I was able to move and sent my foot into his stomach with all my anger in it. That sent him rolling onto the snowy ground hard. Then I quickly snatched my lantern pole and sent a large flame blast at him.
The guy saw the large fire flying towards him and he tried to block it with his staff, but unfortunately for him, the blast was so strong it knocked him backwards, knocking his staff out of his hand as well.
He did a few backflips before he landed on his back on the ground with a loud ‘thud!’
“Ow...” he cried as he grasped his head while he rolled onto his stomach and tried to get up.
I was about to send another flame thrower at him when there came a loud scream that echoed through the forest.
The scream sounded familiar. Very familiar. When I realized who it was, I felt my whole body froze.