I'm so sorry for the extra-long hiatus- I promise I am not doing this on purpose. But tonight it was thundering and I had a kitkat bar, so I was like, "HALLOWEENTOWN. NOW,"
After Marnie had yanked the spellbooks from his hands, Cal had disappeared, taking his thorny black vines with him. The resultant blaze of golden light had knocked Marnie backwards, and she laid sprawled on the gym floor, purple robes and silky hair puddling around her, the spellbooks clutched to her chest. "We got them. He's gone. We won," she panted, breathing heavily as she ran her fingers down the thick spines of the spellbooks, chocolate brown eyes still wide with shock that she had actually vanquished a warlock with a considerably prodigious skills set that far outranked her own, and with the cathartic rush that accompanied using so much power.
Though the circle of Cromwells- Aggie and Sophie helping Marnie up and depositing the spellbooks in her grandmothers waiting arms, Dylan looking on somewhat awkwardly- was relatively calm, the rest of the gymnasium was bedlam. Though people were no longer creatures (and Marnie was fairly willing to bet that Halloweentown had been restored to all of its colorful, eccentric glory) they were beyond astonished that they had been turned into some, for however brief a time. Panic quickly followed suit as the enormity of what had occurred settled in.
Grandma Aggie grandly waved her arm, smiling jubilantly as she crooned to the older copy of her book, holding it tenderly in the crook of her arm. Everything and everyone slowed down, as though they were moving through molasses. Only Gwen, shoving her way through the crowd to her children, was unaffected. She grabbed Sophie into a tight hug, until Sophie complained that she was being squished, then she moved on to Dylan, and finally, she faced Marnie. "We're going to have a very serious discussion about this when we get home, young lady," her mother said, like she always did, but her eyes were shining with pride-filled tears and she cupped Marnie's cheeks between her palms.
Grandma Aggie checked to make sure that Kals' spell that shut and locked all the doors and windows in the gym was still functioning properly, and then serenely mounted the stage, tapping the microphone. "Excuse me, is this thing on?" she asked. After the subsequent squeal of feedback, she cleared her throat and continued, "I need you all to remain calm, and follow my instructions," The slowing spell melted away, but panic did not resume. The people all stood frozen where they were, transfixed by the elderly woman on the stage. She motioned for her family to join her. "If you could all sit down on the floor, right where you are . . . ." Aggie trailed off. Spellbound, the people sat. "Now I want you all to close your eyes and listen to the sound of my voice as I count backwards from ten," she said, reaching out for Gwens' hand. Marnie eagerly offered hers to fill in the third part of the triumvirate of power for Aggie to draw on, but Aggie shook her head kindly and took Sophie's hand instead.
The entire school did exactly as they were told for the first and probably the last time in the history of high schools and listened, enraptured, as Aggie counted soothingly from ten. After she said one, she intoned, "You have no recollection of the past fifteen minutes. They are a blur. You had a good time. The party continued as usual. Carl Edwards got nominated Halloween King, and Halloween Queen has not yet been selected. Stand up now. Wake up now," She commanded, voice droning softly. The spell wore off as they climbed down from the stage. Everything continued as though Kal had never even been there.
"Grandma, how did you do that?" Marnie asked excitedly. "Well, your human 'psychics' weren't that far off base with all their hocus-pocus about hypnotizing others. It's mostly just the power of suggestion," She replied, a twinkle in her eyes as she shared this tidbit of information with her granddaughter. "I'm very proud of you, darling," she said, voice pitched a little lower despite the loudness of the partygoers as they nominated Halloween Queen.
". . . Does this mean we have to move again?" Sophie asked. They all laughed as they quietly slipped out the back door and headed home to sleep off a Halloween none of them would forget in a good long while.
I think Grandma Aggie earns lots of win points for hypnotizing an entire high school like that. Wrote this one to explain how they got away with that whole "showdown" thing, because that always baffled me as well. And to answer Sophies' question, in my own head-canon, that IS the reason they had to move. Hope you guys liked it, more coming soon!