Thanks to Halloween being just around the corner, the party had to be pushed back a while. Sammi and Alsa were disappointed, but Will assured them that the preparations would remain intact. It was in everyone's best interest to trust her on this one.

Echo was thrilled. She loved Halloween, with all its craziness, tricking, sugar, and autumn. She could go on forever. But one thing she wasn't good at was decorating. Or coming up with a costume idea until the last second. It was a shame, but her pets were determined to whip her into shape.

"You could go as a witch!" Cute insisted.

"Or a princess!" Kelly shouted.

"OMG, that would be just like Rapunzel from Tangled!" Alivia squealed.

Whateva just watched amusedly, she had already thought of her costume idea. And, honestly? This looked hilarious.

Echo shook her head. "Nah. I wanna be something badass."

"Of course you do." Fire rolled her eyes, amused by her owner's predictability. She turned back to the book she'd been reading.

Will, meanwhile, was hammering holes in a wall. No one bothered to ask why or stop her.

Shadow shifted in her seat. "Can we get the pumpkins now?" she asked. She'd been so excited when the others told her that she could plan the look for the faces on the jack-o-lanterns. She made a few plans in advance, and the others all agreed that they looked very good. But Shadow didn't want to be around for the pumpkin carving itself, because of her secret fear of sharp objects.

"What the hell do you consider badass?" Belle demanded. "You fucking planning to go as Freddy Krueger, or something?"

Echo just sat there and thought. "No," she replied seriously. "I'm just considering my options now."

"Guys? Pumpkins?"

"Can we get the candy too?"

"Costume ideas?"

"What are you going as, Whateva?" Kelly suddenly took notice of her owner's presence.

"Guess." The brunette replied.

Will stopped hammering and asked, "Slenderman?"

"No."

"Pinocchio?" Lahetta guessed.

"Lie to me, bro."

"Mulan?" Belle tried.

"No."

"Leo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?" Gracie tried.

"No." Whateva was starting to get annoyed.

"Mike from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?" Gracie tried again.

"No."

"Don from the Teena-"

"I'M NOT GOING AS A BLOODFUCKING TURTLE!"

"Splinter-" Gracie attempted.

"No."

"Sandy Ch-" Pie started.

"No!"

"Misa Amane fr-" Belle questioned.

"NO- Wait. Yes, actually." Whateva sighed, relieved that the guessing was over.

"Wow, you're actually going as a blonde twit?" Lahetta asked mouthily.

"I haven't seen anybody else doing it. I actually think it'll fun." Whateva admitted.

"Actually, Misa's a very popular cosplay option for Death Note fangirls," Echo informed the group.

This statement was met with silence for a while. "Why do you know that?" Dusty asked.

"Once you get sucked into these fandoms, you learn a lot of stuff you don't need or want to know," Echo replied. "So, pumpkins anyone?"

"Hell yeah!" Belle agreed. She loved carving things...

Tawni was a little disturbed by the expression on her sister's face.

"TO THE BUS... CAR THING!" Kelly shouted.

"We should really call it something else," Shadow said as she slid off her seat.

"Like what?" Tawni asked, looking away from Belle with a shudder.

"The Mystery Machine!" Gracie shouted.

"No, that's taken..." Belle informed her, in a seemingly dream-like state; that creepy expression still on her face.

"...The Batmobile!" Gracie obviously wasn't understanding the concept.

"Just name it Cara and get it over with," Sun said with an eye-roll.

"Why Cara?" Pie asked.

"Either that or Carl," Sun said.

"Why?" Pie repeated her question.

"'Cause it has 'car' in the name."

"But what about 'bus'?" Cloud asked.

"Adolf?" Gracie was terrible with names, apparently.

"Nope." Lily dismissed.

"Why?!"

"We would be mistaken for Nazis."

"What's a Nazi?"

"Someone silence Gracie before we all get arrested," Belle suggested.

Will held up a roll of duct-tape.

"Where'd you get that from?" Fire asked.

"Ixi powers," Will replied.

"But you're not an Ixi."

"But there are Ixis in this room."

"Will, did you just use logic?" Lahetta asked.

"Yep." Will seemed unbothered.

"Technically that in itself is illogical," Echo pointed out.

"CAN WE JUST GET TO THE GODDAMN PUMPKIN PATCH ALREADY?"

"But I wanna name the car... bus thing!" Alsa protested.

"I'm sick of this!" Whateva responded.

"Think of names as we go there," Echo said tiredly, aging herself up to twenty-three years. As they all piled up into the bus-car, people gave their opinions.

"It should be something girly but awesome!"

"No, name it after a kind of monster."

"Or a Greek or Roman god!" Whateva and Echo, being descended from said gods, quickly said no to that option. They didn't want to anger their fathers.

"How about Eve?" Gracie suggested.

"Some of us aren't religious." Lily told her sister.

"What's a 'religious'?"

"Name it Asswaffle," Tawni suggested out of nowhere, an immature grin forming on her face.

Everyone stared at her. "Asswaffle?" Lahetta repeated.

"It sounds a little vulgar," Cloud pointed out delicately.

"Why Asswaffle?" Shadow asked.

"Because," Tawni explained, "none of us will like it much, but we won't be able to think up anything better, and the name will stick. Every time we talk about it, we'll think back to the time when we couldn't make a decision on what to name our bus-car." The last part sounded increasingly sarcastic.

"...I don't like that name," Cute huffed.

"I like that name." Belle glared at everybody, daring them to disagree.

"Me too!" Alivia squeaked, obviously nervous.

"Same here." Whateva agreed, somehow missing Belle's silent threat to the others.

"All aboard the Asswaffle," Echo said, not even attempting to hide her amusement with this new name. Cute, Alivia and Cloud weren't thrilled with the idea. Gracie, however, still seemed to think that it needed a name.

"Maria?"

"Asswaffle."

"How about Tarzan?"

"Asswaffle."

As they filed in, she just kept saying random names until everyone made a silent agreement to ignore her. Gracie was offended, even though this happened often.

A while after, Pie complained of needing to use a bathroom. Everyone was prepared to ignore that, until Whateva said that she also needed to. Terrified of what the outcome may be if both of them were ignored, everyone began to argue over where the nearest bathroom was.

"I think it's too far away! What shall we do?!" Pie was, which she rarely did, panicking.

Echo was driving as usual, and Gracie's stupid comments combined with everyone panicking had put her in a bad mood. "Just ask one of the resident Ixis to conjure you up some funnels and bottles," she snapped. Of course, she wasn't really expecting them to follow through with her advice to piss in a bottle.

Whateva was prepared to push Echo out, and drive to a park herself. Pie, meanwhile, was ready to break Asswaffle into pieces; occupants included. Gracie, however, looked terrified; everyone was acting horrible.

But then, Will sneezed, and everything turned out fine. No one bothered to wonder why. When they finally got to the pumpkin patch, there were a few squabbles over which pumpkins to get which were quickly resolved, although in a very unorthodox way. Namely, including tin foil, a plastic Negg, and fifteen seconds of unbelievably loud techno music.

Needless to say, it was one of their less crazy outings.

Much later, they had ended up picking one medium-sized pumpkin for each person. Gracie chose a tilted one, go figure. Belle's pumpkin had a sharp stem. Whateva's looked ordinary, but somehow adorable. Lily had a typical-looking one, like expected. Dusty claimed that her pumpkin looked vaguely like a celebrity. Elva had doused hers in glitter.

Needless to say, they still had the carving to do. This will be interesting.

Shadow did her designing once they had gotten back home. Once everyone was satisfied, Will took out a black marker and re-created the designs on each pumpkin. Then, it was up to the ones most adept at using knives (see: Echo, Whateva, Belle...) to do the carving and gutting. The others set about the house, hanging cobwebs and installing bright red lights and even letting a few Haunted Woods-based petpets run free.

Fire lit all the little candles that would be put into the pumpkins. For once, she just decided to go along with her stereotype. Meanwhile Cloud scooped up all the pumpkin innards, which served well as fake guts splatters across the front yard.

"OMG! I have an idea!" Cute suddenly shouted.

"Amuse me." Whateva was already amused, since she got to carve and gut ("One of my favorite pastimes."), she had said, earning a shudder from Tawni) pumpkins. Despite her terror of knives, she was still going for it. Yet, she was in a good enough mood for more amusement.

"We could totally still have Sammi and Alsa's party! And make this place a haunted house! OMG!" she shouted once more. "I've already thought of everything!" and proceeded to shoot her ideas at everybody.

Lily wasn't too fond of this kind of work (Cute had made her in charge of being the "scary tour guide"), and she was definitely letting the others know. She would still continue, as she did not want to ruin the other's fun.

"Are you sure that you want to do this?" Lily asked. To her, it seemed like lots of work.

"C'mon, Lilith. Live a little! When you're older, you won't have stories to tell if you keep being such a goody-goody." Belle knew exactly how Lily felt about this, and said it anyway.

Lily whipped around to stare at her sister, but said nothing for a while. She didn't even hiss about Belle calling her 'Lilith'.

Echo, having already silently agreed, was holding everyone to the idea. She'd already gotten a bucket and was splashing red liquid all over the walls.
"Echo." Shadow feigned calmness. "What is that?"

"Blood." Such nonchalance. She might as well have said water.

"And where did it come from?" Shadow urged.

"Butcher's." And with that, Shadow relaxed. Echo rolled her eyes. "C'mon Shad, you know how much I hate killing people."

"But you do anyway," Shadow finished the conversation that they'd had several times before. "And don't call me that!"

"Okay. I won't call you 'that'. But I'll still call you Shad." Echo suddenly appeared to be nine years of age, making her the youngest of the group. Shadow shuddered. No nine year old girl should ever have a grin like the one Echo had now.

Will walked by, looked at the blood, poked the wall and continued her walk.

Whateva looked up. She had been distracted by the carving, and had apparently not noticed the walls being drenched in blood. "Why does it smell like raw meat?"

"Use your eyes, genius." Lahetta was not a fan of animal blood, obviously.

Kelly skipped towards them, having been in her room. She stopped dead in her tracks when she spotted the blood. "...I promise not to tell anybody, as long as I'm not the one who has to hide the body."

This caused Lily to do a Facepalm of Doom.

Little Echo rolled her eyes. "Silly Kelly, what person would have that much blood?" She giggled.

Fire shook her head. "Forget a costume. All Echo has to do is be a creepy nine year old."

"OMG, THAT'D BE PERFECT FOR THE PARTY!" Cute gushed.

Cue Lily's Epic Facepalm of Doom #2.

Belle, getting bored, swirled the blood on the wall around with her fingers, making irregular lines and giving it an artistic effect. It managed to be pleasing to the eye as well as downright scary.

"Classy," Fire complemented.

Belle licked her fingers, and flashed a bloody smile at Fire. She then proceeded to get more blood buckets, she was creepy like that.

"Sometimes, I wonder if she's on drugs." Kelly voiced her thoughts.

"But she's just fourteen," Echo said in confusion. "Don't only grown-ups do drugs?" Everyone stared.

"Does she, like, get stupider as she ages down?" Alivia wondered.

"I was thinking that, too." Cute agreed.

"Maybe she keeps drugs in her closet." Kelly wondered.

"Belle or Echo?" Lily questioned.

"Both."

"Holy crap, we should go look." And out came Whateva's creepy smile.

"Nobody is looking in my closet!" Belle snapped without thinking.

"My closet's got landmines," Echo reminded them. "I only got one thing to wear."

"Hey, everyone!" Lily said with a giant, completely fake smile plastered across her face. "How 'bout we get this haunted house thing done?"

Downstairs, Elva was trying to explain to Gracie that paper snowflakes weren't a Halloween decoration.

"But they're so cute!" Gracie protested.

Lahetta was trying to be entertained by their "conversation", but she couldn't concentrate on them. What Belle said, it kept nagging at her. She'd never seen the Shoyru react about something like that. What was she hiding?

"Is everything almost finished? Or do we still have much to do?" Lily still had her fake smile on.

"You're insane if you think that someone took the time to plan everything out," Will commented, causing Lily to jump.

"But... But you left... How did you... Nevermind." Lily shudder.

Will inspected the hallway, then a few of the rooms. Shaking her head, she muttered, "Nowhere near done."

"Fuck." Lily groaned. She hated things like this. It was fun afterwards, but all the planning...

"I've never seen you swear before. I like it." Belle commented. Looking around, she was satisfied by how bloody everything was.

Shadow sighed. Someone's got to do it..."Okay everyone, here's a plan."


"Awesome."

That one word breathed by an excited Pie summed up what everyone was thinking very well. They'd all managed to get the house done, and it was a goddamn fucking masterpiece, in the words of Lahetta.

"I actually like this." Lily realized, in awe.

"We are totally taking pictures!" Whateva squealed.

"This was so worth it!" Alivia grinned.

"Guys... The party isn't until tomorrow," Dusty pointed out.

"And?" Sun was still beaming up at the house.

"We have to sleep in there."

A silence. Then: "Craaaaaaaaaap."


By nightfall, Lahetta was tossing and turning in her bed. This disturbed her roommate's sleep.

"What the?! What's that noise?"

"Sorry, I can't sleep..."

"Are you okay?"

"Bitch, just go back to sleep..."

"I can't if you keep talking..."

"...Fuck it," Lahetta groaned as she got out of bed.

Pacing outside her room, she couldn't get what had happened earlier with Belle acting all secretive about her closet. Just what exactly could be so bad that even Belle felt like it had to be hidden? Was Belle secretly an undercover agent and she kept her equipment hidden in her closet? Was she secretly a pervert and stashed dirty things away? Was she a mass murderer who kept the bodies hidden in her own room?

Lahetta disregarded that last one. Belle wouldn't hide something like that from them. Actually, she would flaunt it in front of them for all it was worth. She could already imagine Belle chasing Cloud around with a severed arm in her grasp. Then what?

I'll just have to find out...

She had to be extremely careful. One wrong move, and her photo could be on a 'Missing!' poster. Walking quietly, she pressed her ear against Belle's door. Hearing nothing, she slowly opened the door, mentally swearing as it creaked. Luckily, Belle appeared to still be asleep. Lahetta tiptoed across the room, thankfully managing to be quiet. Eyes scanning the walls, she quickly located Belle's closet and inched toward it.

A hand outstretched. A doorknob turned. A quiet gasp. An Acara girl stared at the sight before her.

Blood. It was everywhere, adorning everything except for her clothes. Tools of torture, packets of blood, bloody fingernails, scratch marks decorating the walls. Lahetta's eyes scaled the closet, horrified. There appeared to be something hidden under her clothes, the ends of Lahetta's mouth quirked as she pulled the artwork out and gazed at it. So, her little sister was an artist? Quickly, her mood darkened again as she heard footsteps and the sound of the closet door closing.

"Found something you like?" came a sarcastic whisper. "Sorry, no sale."

Lahetta shut her eyes tight. "Belle," she began, wanting to say something to calm her sister down, but she wasn't able to think of anything else. She opened her eyes again and looked around.

Her sister was there, dark eyes narrowed and a frown on her rather stunning face. Black and red hairs fell every which way around her head and shoulders, and even straight up, making her seem taller than usual. Her arms were crossed, stretching out her shoulders, giving her a more broad look that made her seem very strong and tough.

Femme fatale. A deadly beauty. Lahetta feared for her life... until she realised that Belle wouldn't hurt her. Not now, at least. Belle lived off of fear, like it was a drug. The blood and guts were just for effect. No, if the victim didn't show fear, Belle got nothing out of it.

So Lahetta smiled childishly at her sister and said, "Couldn't reach a spot on my back. Wanted to see if I could use one of those arms to help out with it. It really itched, you know." A pause for a light, calm laugh. "Nice picture by the way. Considered the Art Gallery?"
Belle opened her mouth to answer, but Lahetta beat her to the punch. "Well, it's late isn't it? I'd best be getting to bed. Nighty night." With that, the Acara walked out of Belle's room and closed the door behind her without so much as a scratch on her.