This is my Halloween oneshot for 2011! Compared to my last, The Night Under, it's...very, very weak. But I can't guess what I'd have to do to write a story that'd make me as proud as The Night Under.

Anyhow. This was actually written for an English assignment in my senior year of high school. We had to write a poem in the style of the age-old book, The Canterbury Tales. Our poem had to tell a story with a moral in it, and, like everything in The Canterbury Tales, you do NOT pause at the end of a line like you do in a normal poem; pause ONLY where there is punctuation, and this means you read it like any regular sentence/book/etc.

The story talks of Sakura and Naruto, and I wanted to use those names for the assignment, too, but I chickened out and changed them to Saara and Naato (pronounced "SAH-ruh" and "NAH-to"). I got nervous because my teacher said these assignments would be peer-reviewed, and I cringed at the thought of my classmates seeing those names and asking me how to pronounce them, or did I steal them from a TV show or something. So they were altered, but have been restored to the "original settings" for this fanfic. Everything else in the story is my original tale, which I liked a lot, and for which I received an A and extra credit to boot ;D

Happy Halloween, fanfiction friends! c:

This tale I now mean to tell began with two

Siblings who lived happily with their parents in a pleasant village

Where folk all smiled at each other and a warm wind blew.

The siblings, Sakura and Naruto, were similar in a few ways, in their bright hair and happy eyes

And long legs they put to use by frequently racing each other

For fun, though their parents told them they were too old for such sport.

The similarities ended there, though, for Naruto, the brother,

Often went to work in the fields and use his strength, and he was the sort

Who met challenges and stood up for things that were right

No matter what. The sister, Sakura, had kindness on her side,

And a desire to help others, but all else about her

Was uselessness and fear; arguments often had to end simply because she cried.

These two were walking in the woods one spring day, gathering firewood for

Supper and talking about buying a horse from their neighbor,

When all of a sudden the sun seemed to set and a strange darkness

Was upon them. The cold air was sharp as a saber

And Sakura immediately begged her brother to start home now.

But Naruto did not like shirking his chores and kept

Plucking sticks from the ground for a bit longer until they both stopped,

For they both saw a pair of green eyes looking at them like prey. Naruto stepped

Back and Sakura's body erupted in shivers. The eyes blinked only

Once and a thing that may have been hand or tail lashed out

And grasped the boy by his leg and pulled him into the dark.

He yelled for his sister to help, but she was already running the same route

Back home as fast as she could go, which was quite fast,

And before she knew it she was rushing inside her home in

A lightning-quick tangle of limbs, babbling through her

Tears that as soon as sundown had passed

A green-eyed monster had grabbed her brother and stolen him away.

The parents were naturally skeptical but their hearts grew dark when

Naruto did not appear soon after, and when Sakura's usually shallow tears

And horrified shivers did not stop for the whole night.

She wandered around town the next morning with sunken eyes and wary as a deer,

Lost without her other half, until she passed by a tavern window and heard a tale

The barmaid was telling, about a shapeshifting monster, a demon, who stole animals and

Children and even grown men, and turned them pale with fear and ate

Them up. While the tavern customers laughed, Sakura sped away with her head

Full of terrible images of her brother, images that simply couldn't be true,

Because stories from taverns had no merit and surely weren't worth

Anything. But with thoughts like that in her head, she found herself moving swift as a gale

Towards the woods again, till she found the spot where she had

Last seen her brother. She shook with horror again when she saw a trail

Of large footsteps, and broken branches where surely

Brave Naruto had struggled. Sakura wanted to cry and wail

With terror and perhaps she did; she was quite blinded by fear and could not

Remember how long it had been or how far into the woods she had gone.

The trail of footsteps became long, thin tracks like that of snakes moving through

Grass and then paw-shaped like a wolf's foot. Sakura felt weak as a newborn fawn

As the tavern stories returned fresh in her mind. But they disappeared when a cave mouth

Opened before her suddenly, swooping away into the dark. Now she noticed that

Any and all forest noises had completely quieted. She was alone in the world

With a mouth like a monster before her. With her pounding heart flat

Against her chest, she entered the silent lair and heard nothing but

Her breath for a long time. Eventually, the sound of scuffling feet

Met Sakura's ears, and an unseen source of light let her see into a large

Room of the cave, and heard a poor dog's wounded cry. From a fire somewhere, she felt heat

But inside was colder than she could describe, for she then saw a creature

Moving around the room that was shaped like a man but surely could not be.

She decided from the strange marks on his skin that no, he was not

A human being, and yes, yes, that thing lying in the corner was Naruto! He

Slept now, but he was still alive! She was so delighted to see him she drew in an

Excited breath, which was noise enough for the creature to turn and see her,

Acknowledge her, and then smile at her. It, its green eyes and its smile suddenly grew

And became a wolf of two heads. But Sakura's eyes were

Only for her sibling, and she resolved in that second to do whatever it took

To get to his side of the cave. So with her speedy legs

She dashed around the cave and dodged everything the creature did and became:

The two-headed wolf, a crimson spider, a horde of snakes, and that form seemed to stay.

At last Sakura spotted a spear on the cave floor, from some other poor soul

The demon had found. She picked it up and saw her way to her brother was blocked

By the biggest, blackest snake of them all. To clear the way to her

Goal, she hurled this spear and it plunged deep into the snake's green left eye. It locked

There and would not be removed by any efforts of the beast shaking its head

Or screeching. All the heads fell at once then, and Sakura dodged around the beast

Till she reached Naruto. She shook him till he woke up in a daze. The two freed

The dog, a saved treat for the monster which had moaned in the corner and at last ceased

Its pained noise. It wagged its tail now that it saw a friendly creature again.

The three of them left the cave and ran swift as birds back to the siblings' hometown

Where they were all greeted with joy and embraces and tears,

And Sakura especially with respect, for by her brave hand the beast had gone down

And would never come up again, and neither would her cowardice.

So Sakura was Naruto's equal in bravery, and valiantly confronted every

Challenge that came her way forever after. She, her family,

And their green-eyed dog lived happily together. For a while.

And thus ends my Halloween.

(Btw, the monster-man was supposed to be Kakuzu...though it does sound quite like Orochimaru.)

No, seriously, there's only nine minutes left till November. Sasori's birthday month! In fact, on his birthday a comet is supposed to pass by, between Earth and the moon. But I digress. And I confess:

In truth, I had wanted to post several things on Halloween. I had wanted to have finished my polishing/editing of Airborne so I could post the next chapter of it on Halloween. I also really, really wanted to post a sequel to The Night Under (on the anniversary of the first one, I thought that'd be pretty cool) but it's giving me such immense trouble I can't even tell you. What I can tell you is that it's actually a prequel to it I'm writing instead, which is a little easier. My "Halloween bash" was an epic fail, and I blame my first job on that, eating up my time in a way I'd never experienced. Curse the working world.

And I digress again. The point is, I meant to have a lot done by this time, but a job got in the way and I have nothing but this for you all, as well as my Halloween contest, to celebrate this spooky season. For what it's worth, I wish you all a happy and safe Halloween!