Quietness surrounded them.
They all stood there with their eyes not leaving the rubble mess. They couldn’t believe that it was gone. The one who was most heartbroken was Phoebe.
Phoebe walked over to the pile of wood and rock as tears begin to form in her eyes. Her tears were blurred her vision. She slowly fell to her knees and stared, touching and smoothing the rock with her hand.
She sadly whispered every name of her friends.
Matthew knew this was really upsetting her so he goes to her side and patted her back. He deeply sighed, “Phoebe…I’m sorry.”
Phoebe didn’t look him in the eyes. She buried her face in her hands, crying.
Phoebe lets her brother hug her, letting her cry on his shoulder. Zoom-Zoom also came over to his masters, trying his best to comfort them by nuzzling them with his head. Mr. Hoyurpants was also in distress, he knew that the task was going to be dangerous but he never expected something like this to happen.
With all that dirt sinking into the hole it could take days to dig up again. The tunnel was so old it would probably collapse on them anyway; still, it was the monster’s fault that he had to make a choice.
Phoebe soon stopped crying when she heard voices, her brother and old man heard them as well.
“Hello? Anyone out there?” someone called out.
Zoom-Zoom the fox instantly recognized the voices and started to bark out. The kids turned around only to see two people coming closer to them. They both got up and ran to them.
“Mommy! Daddy!” shouted Phoebe.
“We miss you!” cried Matthew.
Henry and Kathrin hugged their children tightly, overcome with joy. They thought they would never see their children again.
“Oh thank god you’re all right,” cried Kathrin.
“Where were you, we looked everywhere for you,” said Henry with joy that he found his kids.
Matthew and Phoebe looked up at Mr. Hoyurpants. The old man only nodded, “It’s time to put things back as they were.”
The family looked at Mr. Hoyurpants with odd looks. He tells Phoebe and Matthew to cover their ears and close their eyes. Even Zoom-Zoom sense something was going on, the fox lowered his ears and covers his eyes with his paws. Mr. Hoyurpants raised his arm up and in three seconds he snapped his fingers. A colorful wave of yellow swept the lands around them, in the forest and through the town. Everyone has forgotten the days of Matthew and Phoebe’s disappearance. Kathrin and Henry had forgotten as well, looking around and looking at their children.
“Honey, what happened and why are we out here?” said Kathrin.
“I don’t know,” Henry said with all honesty.
Phoebe and Matthew opened their eyes watching their parents looking around. They looked up at Mr. Hoyurpants, the old man tries to push down his sad feelings as he smiles to the confused parents.
“Mr. Hollow, it’s good to see you again.”
“Yes, and I have some news,” said Mr. Hoyurpants, “I have dug up more information and found that Edgar did want you to be mayor of our town. He forgot to put it in his will.”
“Wait, really?” asked Henry.
“Don’t you remember? We talk about this from our last meeting.”
“That’s a right dad” Matthew spoke up, “That would be a cool job for you. When your mayor you can do whatever you want and help many people.”
Kathrin was surprised that Mr. Hoyurpants was giving them this offer. It did run in the family but could it be that easy she wondered.
“Mr. Hoyurpants, are you sure about this? I know it’s in the family’s name but how can we handle this task?” she asked.
The old man simply chuckled, “There’s no need of worry, I’ll show your husband how, if he wants to learn that’s his choice.”
Henry stood and started at Mr. Hoyurpants, smiled and shook the old man’s hand.
“Mr. Hoyurpants, “he said, “I want to honor my grandfather’s name. I don’t know much about this small town but I would like to. So yes, I’ll be your mayor.”
And with that the family walked back to their victorian home, inviting Mr. Hoyurpants for a happy celebration dinner. Matthew’s father is going to be mayor; there’s going to be more changes now that his father got a bigger job.
He looked at his mother, who was carrying Phoebe all the way back home. She fell asleep in her mother’s arm. Her crying took a lot of her and Matthew didn’t blame her, those spirits were her friends and she was really close to them.
Weeks slowly passed by and every week the seasons were getting colder and colder. The Hollow family mostly stayed indoors in those few weeks. Henry was mostly out of the house learning how to be mayor by Mr. Hoyurpants. Kathrin found a new job in Hollow Springs as a librarian. She was staying home for now helping her kids to get ready for the upcoming school year.
Matthew was up in his room thinking about the adventure he had in the underground. They still haven’t heard or saw any signs that the spirits were okay. Phoebe was taking it really hard.
He got out of bed to check on her, only to find that she wasn’t in her room. He only found Zoom-Zoom sleeping in his new dog bed next to hers. He deeply sighed he knew where she is. He climbed the stairs that lead to the attic, it was becoming a thinking spot for Phoebe.
He opened the door and was welcomed by a small light from the small window. The attic was clean now, every box was organized and the floor was clean, the only things that stayed was the broken grandfather clock and of course the trunk.
Matthew saw his sister lying on top of the trunk. He smiled to himself as he walked to his sister. “You doing okay?” he asked.
Phoebe looked up at Matthew, sniffling and wiping her eyes.
“I don’t know.”
She sat up so Matthew could sit by her on the trunk. They didn’t say anything to each other for a moment; they enjoyed the quietness until Matthew spoke up, “Were you thinking about them?”
Phoebe just stared at her hands, swinging her feet slowly, “I just wish I could’ve helped them.”
“There was nothing we could have done,” said Matthew, “Benny and the others only wanted to protect us and that’s what they did.”
Phoebe sighed, that was true but she still felt really empty inside like a piece of her heart was lost. She decided to change the subject.
“So where did you find the spell to stop Jasper?” she asked.
“Oh, we went to get help from Edgar,” said Matthew.
Phoebe blinked her wide eyes, “You talked to our great grandfather?”
Matthew smiled, “Yeah, but he looked really dead.”
She giggled, “Did he smell funny?”
“He didn’t smell that bad, he also gave me a key that opens anything.”
“Did he say anything?”
“Yeah he did, he even said something about looking through the trunk or something?”
This got Phoebe’s attention. She looked down at trunk she was sitting on and turned back at her brother. “Is there something in there?”
“Just some old junk but we can look inside if you want.”
They open the trunk and looked through it. They looked at the old newspapers, took out the clothes and dust them off and read some old postcards. None of the newspapers or postcard made sense mostly because the printing was fading but at least they read some good articles. As Phoebe looked for more old things she felt something, something was sticking out in the trunk. When she looked more closely her eyes widen.
“Matt look at this!” she cried.
Matthew looked inside the trunk and couldn’t believe what he saw.
“A doorknob?” he thought.
They took everything out of the trunk and found there was a small door inside. Phoebe touched it, it was cold and rusty. A small written note was tied to the door that read: to find the way back, use the door.
“Why is there a door in the trunk?” Phoebe asked herself. She had witnessed many magical things but she knew this was some things that couldn’t be possible.
“Wait a minute”, Matthew realizing, “Let’s try the key.”
He took the key out of his pocket and put the key into the keyhole. He had a difficult time opening it at first, but hearing a loud click meant that he opened it. The two worked together to lift the door since it was built inside a box but it seemed to open itself up. Phoebe and Matthew looked inside and saw nothing but darkness. It was so dark that it was like looking at a black hole from outer space. They could smell a very strong scent of earthly dirt.
“I don’t know how but I think Edgar knew something was going to happen. This must be an emergency door” said Matthew.
Phoebe couldn’t help but hopped up and down in happiness. With a big smile, she looked up at her brother and asked a question that was spinning in her head.
“Does that mean we can see our friends from underground?”
Matthew wasn’t sure if it leads to the underground but he didn’t want to let his sister down. He wanted to go find them more then Phoebe, the spirits helped him change into a better brother. They made him realize what was really important to him. He wanted to thank them for that. Instead of doubting he proudly smiled with Phoebe.
“Let’s go and find out.”
He goes into the trunk first, as he sets his leg down his foot hits something solid. He climbed down realizing that it was a staircase. Matthew waved his hand for Phoebe to follow. Phoebe carefully climbed in following her brother all the way down. It was a little scary for her since they couldn’t really see a thing.
There was dirt on the walls, which meant they weren’t in the house anymore. The door somehow transported them back to the undergrounds, but they weren’t sure if they were in a room or a cave
They walked down a long way of dirt walls. Neither one of them said a word as they explored the hallway. It was more like a silent journey to them as their shoes echoed. Then they saw a faint light. As they got closer the light grew bigger. Phoebe and Matthew now found themselves in a forest, the pretty glowing neon forest.
“Matt...” whispers Phoebe, “This is it.”
Matthew looked around their surroundings, it was the forest but it didn’t look familiar to him. “Which way do we go? We could be anywhere” he said.
Before Phoebe could say anything, they heard a noise from a distance. Something small and bright was flying their way; its light was more yellowish than the trees. It got closer to the kids and then even more bright lights showed, it was a group of danifiles.
One of them flew up to Phoebe and Matthew.
“Ba ba,ba ba” it said.
“Hi there,” said Phoebe, “Can you guys show us the village?”
The danifiles flew away showing them the way. Matthew and Phoebe followed them. They had to run because they were flying fast, as they ran they noticed a fog was lifting up. The Danifiles glowed really bright and the kids were able to still see them till they disappeared.
As the fog slowly cleared they came across the path that leads to the bridge. Phoebe ran faster than Matthew and walked on the bridge.
“Hey, big guy! We’re on your bridge!” shouted Phoebe.
The ground shook and a pair of tentacles rose up from the water. Tiny hands grabbed Phoebe and Matthew and they were pulled up in the air. A monster face greeted them, he smiled at them.
“YOU! YOU’RE ALIVE!” he cheered, “ME THOUGHT MONSTER GOT YOU!”
“What happened?” asked Phoebe, “Where’s are the others?”
“THE TUNNEL FELL ON WITCH AND IT GOT AWAY. BENNY AND FRIENDS HURT BUT OKAY NOW, AT HOME NOW FIXING HOUSES.”
“Can we see them?” asked Matthew.
Big Guy climbed out of the river and stomped his way to the village. This surprised Phoebe since she never saw Big Guy come out of his river. As the big monster walked Matthew and Phoebe followed not too far behind. They made it to the village, but they’re no one in sight.
“EVERYONE COME OUT! LOOK WHO’S HERE” Big Guy hollered.
Soon all the lights in homes and outside lit up. All the spirits creatures came outside and greeted the children with warm smiles. Matthew and Phoebe were given hugs and handshakes. They soon saw a familiar group walking to them.
Phoebe cried out to them and hugged each one of them. Benny was still tall and bony, Gilbert’s tail was healed, Toodles was still crazy, the twins were happy as ever, Olivia and Grandpa Joe’s wings were not broken, and Juju didn’t hide her face anymore. She was the last person Phoebe hugged.
“I thought I would never see you again,” said Phoebe.
“I thought the same thing,” said Juju holding Phoebe’s hands, “But how did you find your way back?”
“It was Edgar,” said Matthew, “He gave me a hint and we found a door inside the trunk.”
“A door in a trunk, that’s too zany but I’m still happy!” cheered Toodles.
“That’s because you’re always happy,” said Gilbert who rolled his eyes.
“It was a magical trunk,” said Phoebe.
“I see,” said Olivia, “Looks like Edgar kept some magic at his place. How’s your family?”
“Is everything back to normal up there?” asked Benny.
“Yup, our dad is the new mayor now,” said Matthew.
“He is?! We should congratulate him” said Roxy.
“No we should throw a party for him,” said Loxy.
“No it’s okay,” said Matthew, “He doesn’t know about you guys.
“So how are you guys and where’s the boy?” asked Phoebe looking up at Benny.
“Well, the boy we saved went back to his grave to be with his family. He wanted us to thank you if we ever saw you again. We got the mess cleaned up and now we have to rebuild everything” said Benny with a chuckle.
“Plus, we’re building one just for us,” said Olivia as she gave Benny a small kiss to the check. The skeleton blinked and looked away bashfully. Phoebe and Juju giggled.
“Looks like you two are finally a couple,” said Phoebe.
The others laughed; they’ve always known the two loved each other.
“Oh Phoebe before I forget you left these,” Olivia handed the girl’s backpack and her stuff animal.
Phoebe took them and smiled at fairy lady as she hugged her crooked rabbit.
“You know we can help out if you want” suggested Matthew.
“That would be a splendid idea but first we want to thank you,” said Grandpa Joe.
“For what?” asked Phoebe.
“What do you think sillies” giggled Roxy and Loxy.
“If it weren’t for you we would have never gotten rid of that man that started it this mess,” said Juju, her voice wasn’t sad or quiet anymore.
“Your great grandfather would be proud,” said Benny warmly.
The two children both smiled at their friends. They’ve never done anything that was dangerous but the thought that they actually did something to help others really meant something to them.
Matthew hugged his sister, causing her to laugh.
“We want to thank you too, this adventure really changed us and now we don’t fight anymore.”
“Maybe for the TV remote” Phoebe added, causing everyone to look at them curiously.
“Wait what’s a TV remote?” asked Toodles.
“As for that other monster, we’re not sure where it could be,” Oivila said with worry.
“Hey as long as it doesn’t come to find us, we’re cool said Matthew.
“Now it’s time for music and singing!” cried Toodles and he looked at Gilbert with wide exciting eyes.
The cat couldn’t help but chuckle, his friend may drive him crazy but he was still his friend. “All right, you can sing your songs.”
Toodles cried out crazy and used his magic to summons all the interments that were fixed and they started to play a jazzy tune. Everyone started to dance and sing along, enjoying themselves, for now. They may be spirits but they could now live as living spirits peacefully.
Grandpa Joe flew around and watched from afar with a smile, “Sometimes when two troubles collided together, they create possible solutions till everything is set and done”, he said wisely to himself.
On a snowy Christmas day, the Hollows family returned home from the town Christmas party. Matthew and Phoebe made new friends at school and played with them while the adults danced at the Christmas party. It had been a long day for them.
They sat around their Christmas tree and passed their presents to one to another. Zoom-Zoom has a new chew toy, Phoebe was given a toy doll and Matthew has a brand new video game.
“Thanks, mom and dad,” said Phoebe and Matthew in unison.
“Your very welcome sweeties,” said Kathrin who hugged and kissed her children.
“Now let’s get dinner ready”, said Henry, “I have some eggnog to share with you Kathrin.”
“We already had some honey,” said Kathrin rolling her eyes and smiled.
“I didn’t like that drink, I think it had too much rum.”
As the parents talked in the kitchen, Zoom-Zoom noticed something near the window. He started to bark which got the kids attention; they all looked up and saw something tall and shadowy. With its bony finger pointed up and flew up. Matthew and Phoebe left their stuff behind and went upstairs, they went in Phoebe’s room and opened the window.
The cold wind blew in and little snowflakes flew in as well. They gasp when they saw Benny in front of them.
“Hello, children” he greeted.
“Whoa Benny, you can fly now?” said Phoebe in amazement.
The skeleton chuckled, “Well I’m still learning how. We made some new spells that could help us rebuild the town. I learned a spell to fly through things, that’s how I got out from the undergrounds.”
“So you’re learning how to be a real ghost huh?” said Matthew with amusement, “Just don’t go around scaring people.”
Benny smiled at the boy, “No, I would not do such things, Matthew.”
“Oh that reminds me, Zoom-Zoom can you go get my present,” said Phoebe.
The fox goes to the closet and pulls a hat out of a box. The fox dropped it by Phoebe.
“Here Benny I made a new hat for you,” said Phoebe as she gave him his present. The hat was a dark purple color with a green stripe around it.
“Thank you, Phoebe,” said Benny touched by the present as he hugged her and puts it on, “I’ve needed a new hat.”
“So how’s your Christmas?” asked Matthew.
“It’s good, the Danifiles put up a great show, and you should have seen it. By the way, I have some gifts for you.”
Benny took out two necklaces out from his pocket and handed to Phoebe. “Juju found them and fixed them for you.”
Phoebe thought she had lost them but was grateful she has them back, “Tell her thanks for finding them.”
Benny nodded and turned his attention to Matthew. “Now I’m not sure what you boys are into these days but I hope you like it, Matthew.”
He gave the boy a small pocket watch. It was a gold watch with a long chain. Matthew clicked it open and saw a clock and compass inside. He had never seen a beautiful watch that was made out of real gold.
“My father gave me that watch when I was your age and now I’m giving it to you. Do families still do that?”
Matthew smiled at him, “Not all of them but I’ll keep it safe, promise.”
Benny thanked him. He suddenly but slowly flies down to the ground, “Looks like I need more practices with the flying.”
The kids laughed and said their goodbyes. Phoebe held Zoom-Zoom up so the fox could say his goodbye, he barked happily at the spirit.
“Oh, one more thing” called out Benny, “The Golden Peach is back in business so if you ever want to grab a bite come to visit.”
“We will,” called out Phoebe, “Bye-bye Benny.”
“See ya” called Matthew.
They closed the window and went back downstairs for dinner.
Benny still stood there, watching the family and smiling to himself.
Benny folded his arms to his back and walked back to the buried tunnel that leads to his home, he never thought of it as a home but since time passed it made him feel safe in some ways. It made him feel close to friends and Olivia, the love of his life. He walked through the forest of snow. A thick fog was slowly rising up, little stars of snowflakes gently fall around him. He smiled to himself as he walked through the fog, disappearing as if he became part of the grayish mist.
What Benny didn’t know was something small and fluffy was following him all this time. It can be mistaken as a snowflake; the only difference was its glow. The beautifully orange light of a danifly flew into the mist, whispering in a childlike voice.
“Bye bye, Bye bye,” it said.
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