Disclaimer: I own nothing but myself. This is just a Halloween crackfic, written just for fun, and I hope you guys enjoy! Happy Halloween!
It was a dark and chilly night, and for some inexplicable reason, the authoress Sensara was driving a car down a long, deserted road. The trees were swaying, the wind was moaning, and shifty, cold full moon drenched the world below in its light. But that's not the inexplicable part. The people riding in the car, however, were.
Her passengers, though bundled up with hats, scarves and coats against the unpleasant weather, gave off the distinct impression of being...not human. Indded, the three men in the car with Sensara were NOT human, but rather hailed from a planet in the 40 Eridani-A system. Her passengers, you see, were Vulcan.
In the passenger seat (a prestigious position, as it had the advantage of not making its occupant carsick) was Administrator V'Las, an older man ever for his long-lived species. His ears tapered to a delicate point, now shrouded by a knitted cap, and his bright blue eyes roamed over the landscape, his expression dour, displeased.
Sensara had found the administrator struggling to use a payphone outside a grimy, backwater gas station. When asked how on Earth he had gotten to such a God-forsaken place, the Vulcan could come up with no logical explanation for the authoress.
"I woke up approximately ten minutes ago over there," he nodded toward the dumpsters and wrinkled his bulbous nose in disgust. "I've been trying to operate your primitive technology ever since."
"Well," the authoress offered. "One, you don't have the currency required to operate this device...not surprising, since it isn't circulated anymore. And secondly..."
V'Las was holding the phone in front of his face as one would hold a communicator, and Sensara could not help but smile. "All right, how about I give you a ride to the nearest town...we'll find some not so primitive technology and call for some transportation for you."
He narrowed his eyes at her at first, but after glancing around at the grimy station, then looking back at her and eying her kind expression, he nodded and followed her to the car.
Behind the driver's seat in the small vehicle was one Minister Kuvak, a quiet man with a sincere and good-natured face, and round, blue-gray eyes. He also was gazing out at the landscape as they passed legion upon legion of trees. Like some ancient standing army, they whizzed past the window, silent guardians in the windy, bellicose darkness.
Sensara and V'Las had spied Kuvak walking along the side of the road, not two miles from the abandoned gas station. She had slowed and offered him a ride, and upon seeing his colleague also in the car, Kuvak climbed in and buckled his seatbelt (as per Sensara's orders [safety first, kids!]).
"I have no logical explanation for how I arrived in the bushes beside the road," Kuvak said from the backseat. "But I thought it was logical to walk to the nearest town, or search for a residence to call for help and transportation."
"Quite logical," Sensara chimed approvingly. "Found this cat outside a gas station two miles back."
"I am not a feline," V'Las groused with ire. Sensara only giggled and told him to never include himself in the same sentence as 'feline' again, as the comparison was taking her mind down a strange path.
V'Las stared at her in bemusement, but when she offered him a cheeky grin, she spied something darker in his piercing gaze, and she shook her head in silent amusement.
Also in the backseat, behind V'Las, was Ambassador Soval. A glance back at him via the rear-view mirror told Sensara that he was the most placid of her passengers. Considering his line of work, perhaps he felt the most comfortable among humans out of the three Vulcans, or perhaps of the three, he found the situation the least unusual. Riding in a car with a human driver in the middle of the woods on Earth, that was. Not arriving here of all places.
Sensara and her other two Vulcan passengers had found Soval outside a ghost town on the highway; he was staring up at the sky with an exasperated expression, as if he had fallen from the starry dome and was now blaming it for his predicament.
He hadn't said a word since greeting them and climbing in the backseat with Kuvak. Sensara sneaked another peek back at him, and like his colleagues, he was staring out the window, contemplative and silent.
"Ambassador, you really need to stop talking," she teased him lightly. He gave her an incredulous glance. "I can hardly hear myself think."
She spied Kuvak's tiny, sly smile before focusing on the road again.
"How long until we reach our destination?" Soval grumbled with a sigh, his ire obvious.
"Perhaps forty-five minutes. I've driven through here a lot, and I know a shortcut a few miles up the road that will save us about fifteen minutes."
Soval nodded in satisfaction and turned back to his contemplation of the landscape.
"Funny that we're taking this shortcut," Sensara said with a wicked smile. "And on this night of all nights."
V'Las turned to her with a bemused expression, his blue eyes narrowed with suspicion. "What is so significant about tonight?"
Sensara's smile widened. "Ambassador? Care to tell him why?"
Soval sighed. "Most humans celebrate this night as a time to scare each other and revel in fear. Human children go door to door and receive candy, and they dress in costumes."
"Funny that you should mention the fear first, ambassador. Very astute. I commend you for that."
Soval's eyes flashed with pleasure for a moment, then his expression returned to something more neutral. "What is so significant about this shortcut? I suppose it has something to do with Halloween?"
"Halloween?" Kuvak muttered to Soval.
"The name of this night. October 31st on the Earth calendar."
"Ah," the minister said, directing his attention back to Sensara. She smiled.
"Indeed it does, ambassador. You see...there's some interesting things about the woods we're going to cut through."
Soval sighed again. "If you are attempting to retell one of those so-called 'ghost stories', I believe your objective will fail. Vulcans do not feel fear."
"Do not give me that, ambassador. You feel fear, but you shove it away. You'll probably need to do that, because personally, I find the tale rather frightening myself. Disturbing at the very least."
"I still think this is useless," Soval protested.
"Now, ambassador, let the young lady tell her story," V'Las countered, surprisingly coming to Sensara's aid. She smiled appreciatively at him, and he nodded politely. Kuvak looked interested as well, but Soval simply shook his head and stared out the window.
"Think of it this way, ambassador...just a little payback for giving you this ride."
"If you insist," he grumbled, folding his hands in his lap and leaning back in his seat. His eyes closed and he attempted to drift off into a meditative state.
"Go ahead and meditate now. I won't tell the story until we're in the woods proper."
The next ten minutes passed in silence, but the car rumbled on through the dark, cold night. The wind had picked up and was howling around the vehicle, making the trees rustle and sigh, and the leaves skittered along the ground, screeching and scratching enough to make one's skin crawl.
Soon the little car turned off the highway onto a narrow dirt road, and the trees encroached closer onto the rugged path than on the main road. Kuvak leaned forward as to hear her better, and V'Las looked at her expectantly. A wicked smile spread across her face, and she took a deep breath before speaking carefully in a low voice.
"Once upon a time," she recounted, "there was a young woman named Rosalie who lived on the other side of these woods." She pointed to the right, and V'Las and Kuvak gazed out at the half-hidden treeline. "She was a carefree thing...she loved to go out into the woods and run around, singing to herself and exploring the forest."
Soval opened one eye, then promptly closed it. Sensara continued.
"The woods were especially beautiful at sunset, and she loved to dance among the shadows and the dying light of the sun. She always took a lantern with her when she went out...this was a long time ago, I'm sure you'll note...and she always took a lantern to light her way when she went back home if she went out in the evening.
Well one day, when the moon was full, she decided to stay out later to watch it rise. Her parents weren't worried about her, considering the woods only covered a small area and there was less to worry about back then. But that night, Rosalie didn't come home. When dawn broke, her father and the neighbors all searched the woods, but couldn't find her.
Two weeks they searched, and on the last day before they were going to give up, they stumbled upon a clearing of yew trees. The tree bark was scarred, as if someone had slashed it with a knife...and the trunks were splattered with blood. A broken lamp was underneath one yew tree...
In the middle of the clearing, a stone jutted out of the ground. Her father noticed that someone had carved words onto the stone.
'Here be sleeping Rosalie, a maid with golden locks.
She liked to dance among the trees in pretty, lacy frocks.
But one ill night, when moon was full, she danced among the yews.
She tumbled to the forest floor and lost her pretty shoes.
The night was dark, the wind was cold, the lass began to cry.
The lantern on the forest floor was dim, about to die.
So crying in the dark, the lass heard not my steps behind her.
I raised my pretty knife and laughed when I thrust it deep inside her.'
Although they continued their search, looking everywhere in the clearing, Rosalie was never seen again. So they say she roams these woods, trying to find her way home. You can even see her lantern in the trees on nights when the moon is full. As for her killer...no one knows where he is either. Some say they've heard screams in these woods at night. Some say they've heard singing. But they all agree that Rosalie's spirit is haunting this place, until her soul finds peace."
The Vulcans were quiet for a few minutes afterward. "That's an interesting tale," V'Las said finally, breaking the silence. "Though I doubt it's true."
"Oh, don't count it out so fast. I doubt Rosalie's spirit is really haunting these woods, though how she was killed could be based on a true story."
Kuvak frowned and quickly looked out the wind to the right and sighed. He was reminded too much of a certain blonde with wintergreen eyes at the line "a maid with golden locks". The thought of her being killed in such a gruesome manner...he didn't even pay attention to V'Las' counterargument as he continued to stare out the window toward the treeline...if Tawny were out there, singing and dancing...the thought was far too real, so he put it out of his mind as best he could.
He did a double take. Out amongst the trees, right at the edge of the treeline, he thought he had seen a ghostly white face lit by a lantern held aloft at head height. But he blinked and looked harder and saw nothing. It was probably just a reflection off the window from the car's dashboard...
Kuvak leaned back into his seat and closed his eyes, eager to be out of the car and back amongst civilization. Soval didn't seem to be too pleased with this ride either, and the ambassador looked a tad pale.
"Ambassador?" Kuvak inquired in a quiet voice. Sensara and V'Las were still arguing.
Soval sighed. "My eyes are playing tricks on me."
Kuvak leaned forward. "In what manner, Soval? What did you think you saw?"
The ambassador looked reluctant to answer, but eventually he sighed again and responded. "During her story, I was looking out the window...for a moment...I thought I saw a light among the trees...like a lantern. But it is highly illogical to think such a thing."
"True," Kuvak conceded. "Though...just a minute ago...I thought I saw a woman standing at the edge of the treeline...she had a lantern..."
Soval shook his head. "We should not let fear and anxiety get the better of logic and reason."
Kuvak nodded solemnly. "True. However, I must admit a certain...uneasiness being in these woods."
"We're almost out of them, minister," Sensara said calmly. "It was just a story."
The minister nodded and closed his eyes, folding his hands for meditation.
Sensara drove on, and she knew they only had perhaps half a mile to go before they would meet up with another major highway and be on their way to a city for help. She glanced into the rear-view, then back at the road, then immediately back into the rear-view. Her heart was pounding, but she took a deep breath and carried on, increasing her speed a little.
"Is something wrong?" V'Las inquired politely.
She shook her head. "I'm fine...just thought I saw something back there."
"Looks like the story is getting to you too," he prodded, and she smiled grimly.
"Just what I get for telling it."
She sighed and continued on, but she couldn't quite shake the feeling that what she had glimpsed in her rear-view was reality. A woman had been standing in the middle of the road, clad in a long, white dress, holding a lantern high above her head...as if she were bidding them farewell.