*What's this place, the bloody Village of the Dwarves?* wondered Spike, as he crouched down behind a bush. Every brat he'd seen was the smallest child the vampire had ever come across, just barely up to his knees. Moreover, one of the kiddies Spike had earlier witnessed putting on his many-holed white bedsheet had been totally bald, except for a single tuft of hair just above his forehead.
*Must be something in the water,* mused the demon. Shrugging his shoulders while awaiting his prey, Spike sent out a fiendish grin to the world at large on this Halloween night. *Just as long as their blood's nice and warm, that's all I care about.* His ears pricked, as he listened to light footsteps approaching, at least several yummy meals coming nearer.
Hardly believing his luck, Spike heard the small group of children stop right in front of his bush. Just barely restraining a cackle, the vampire changed into game face and stood up, and as the Halloween-costumed kids checked their bags and pillowcases, behind them, an unseen monster loomed, about to show those impending innocent victims the real meaning of All Hallow's Night.
In the next instant, Pig-Pen's dust cloud engulfed Spike.
Faster than he could react, a crust of dirt formed over the vampire's entire body, a grimy shell so thick and strong that it held him frozen in place, helpless despite all his demonic strength. The only part of Spike's body not affected by the cloud were his eyes, as they bulged in desperation over a wide-open fanged mouth that felt as if a shovelful of dirt had been poured down his gullet.
Still not noticing anything, the children compared their haul for the night. Schroeder asked the question that everyone knew the answer to, but wanted to hear anyway, "Hey, Charlie Brown, what'd you get at the last house?"
Pulling his prize out of his otherwise-empty sack, that named boy glumly replied, "Another rock."
Various sniggers arose from the group, who then moved off down the sidewalk, leaving Charlie Brown behind, dolefully examining what he was holding. Finally, the boy got rid of his unwanted Halloween gift, tossing it hard over his shoulder into the bush behind him, and rushed off to rejoin his friends, without even bothering to see where the rock went.
Strange things have a habit of happening on Halloween night, but few stranger than when at this specific moment, one of the worst pitchers in the entire history of baseball now threw a perfect strike, right into the ol' goolies.
An immobile Spike promptly had his eyes sink deeper into their sockets, and then these orbs slowly crossed, as the vampire reacted in utter agony to what had just happened to his lower regions.
His travails weren't over yet. That strike had shifted his fragile balance, so that Spike's frozen body now slowly toppled over backwards, with his head traveling in an inescapable arc aimed directly at an anthill.
The boy in the bedsheet with dozens of holes cut into hit stopped short at the muffled thud coming from the bush behind him, and he turned around to watch curiously at seeing this plant then shake, with leaves and twigs flying up into the air, as something frantically clawed its way through the foliage away from Charlie Brown.
Who just shrugged, and hurried off to join the others at the front door of the next house. Maybe his luck would change this time….
A short time later, a hard-faced Spike stood under a leafy tree showing off its fall foliage in the middle of a park, carefully taking out his last fag from the packet and sticking this cigarette into his mouth. Tossing away the little box, his hand started to dip into his trench coat pocket for his lighter, until Spike changed his mind. Instead, he grimly gave himself another good scratching, using both hands all over his body.
Once he was done, Spike moodily sucked on his unlit cigarette for a few seconds, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and wondering if he could catch that little bastard later, the one who rang his chimes. *Be an interesting challenge, with that big head, seein' if I could really shove it up his arsehole.*
In the middle of considering an unique bodily atrocity, Spike heard a faint crunch! coming from under his right foot. Bending down from idle curiosity, and also to take his mind off the fact that his mouth still tasted like he'd licked ten miles of a dirt road, the vampire picked up something from the ground. Straightening up, Spike looked with puzzlement at what he had in his hand, a long stick with a large patch of paper glued to the edges of the stick. A few inches of loose string trailed from its knot around one end of the stick.
The kite-eating tree had been greedily eyeing for a while the delicious morsel on the ground from its last meal that had fallen from the tree while it had been consuming that round-headed kid's latest attempt to successfully launch a kite. Since it didn't seem likely that another kite-flying attempt would be made until spring, that appetizing bit of a child's toy on the ground under it had been tantalizing the tree for days. Unfortunately, the scrap of the kite had been well out of range, until just now, it had been picked up to be inspected by an unsuspecting vampire…..
Thin tendrils shot down from the lower branches of the tree, to loop around the piece of the kite, and also around a very surprised Spike's hand, gripping so tightly around everything that when the tree yanked its meal upwards to be consumed, the demon came along with it.
A bystander well away from the action, just watching, would have seen an intensely shaking tree, its branches violently flailing as if blown by hurricane-force winds, until these woody limbs abruptly froze, and right after that, a very unusual sound resonated throughout the entire park.
As Spike was forcefully expelled from the top of the tree, sailing upwards to be outlined against the full moon, it was easy to understand why vampires were spoken of in myth and fable to have the ability to change into a bat. The thrashing limbs of Spike could almost have been the equivalent of the smooth swooping of a man-sized creature flying through the air to descend upon its prey. The vampire's tattered clothing could, in a dim light and with squinting, resemble the jagged wings of the famed creature of the night. Finally, every teenage girl having far too much liking for black lipstick and romantic dreams of a handsome, older (just three years, maybe five at the most -- anything more than that was just too icky) man with really great skin and hair, a tragic past, and absolutely adorable chin dimples, would have worshipfully sighed over Spike's foul language that lasted the entire time until that vampire's one-point landing onto his head.
Well, maybe not the latter.
Several minutes later, still having both hands clamped onto the top of his skull, a weaving Spike tottered down the middle of a deserted lane, having left all houses behind himself and passing by vacant lots and fields. Not paying all that much attention, the suffering vampire sidled over to the side of the street, stepping off the edge of the asphalt to walk a few steps into the field covered with its lumpy harvest. Having gone as far as he could, Spike at last collapsed, falling face forward onto the ground, and heaving a rattling sigh, as his eyes closed, achieving peace and quiet at last.
"HOW LONG, OH GREAT PUMPKIN?! HOW LONG?"
Spike's eyes popped open at that wail of despair coming from deeper in the field, over a ridge separating the vampire from whoever had howled. In the next instant, the demon was on his feet, eagerly sniffing the air, as he sought for his first meal this entire ridiculous night. Yes! Another kiddy, just ripe for the taking! The vampire shot off in a blur towards food, glorious food.
*Oh, no, this is not to be borne,* thought the other creature of the night, as it watched the demon proceed directly at a dead run towards the small child. Thoroughly testing the faith of its sole worshipper was one thing. Having a vampire eat him was entirely different. Concentrating, the being now began to manifest itself onto this plane of reality.
Blurring past a large clump of entangled vegetation covered with leaves and vines, Spike abruptly felt a presence behind himself, and skidded to a stop in his mad dash, whirling around, his now-demonic features a mask of absolute rage over having his meal interrupted, fangs bared and clawed hands blindly lashing out, to rip and tear into….vines and leaves?
Gaping at a solid column a yard thick of this material that had suddenly materialized from the ground, Spike watched with disbelief as the point where he'd slashed the vegetation healed itself, with tendrils and vines instantly growing back and leaving it fully solid again, right next to another column on its left, of the same size and thickness.
Spike's gaze slowly went up several feet to where the pair of plant columns merged into a single massive bushy trunk the width of the vampire's body from head to toe, and then another ten feet up, past enormous arms that reached almost to the ground, with their taloned hands held immobile, to finally reach the topmost part of this being.
A huge, orange head made of a gourd the size of a restaurant refrigerator stirred, looking down at the tiny vampire, and the true deity of Halloween now revealed his feelings at what had threatened Linus van Pelt. From inside the head, a blazing reddish light burst through the triangular eye-holes, with more hellish illumination shining through the mouth, as it opened to show jagged teeth in a rage-filled snarl as the Great Pumpkin leaned down, its fingers hooked into savage claws reaching out to shred and destroy….
Even long afterwards, Spike could never really remember just how he'd escaped. The vampire glumly acknowledged to himself that the phrase "running like a stripe-assed ape" was undoubtedly part of that whole bizarre episode.
In any case, the demon always considered his total loathing of Halloween to have begun starting at that point in time.
Along with a serious dislike of pumpkins.
Author's Note: Yes, yes, I know the kite-eating tree never appeared in that animated film. As for the other character…. Hey, there's nothing to say they couldn't have been off-stage then. Besides, it's always been a little odd to me just how Hellmouthy that strip was. For starters, you had a sentient school that dropped bricks onto insulting children's heads, a never-shown cat that could claw designer marks entirely through Snoopy's doghouse, and that structure itself seemingly bigger on the inside than the outside. It's worth thinking about.