The La-Iin Series
“Night of Frights”
San-Kyung stared down at the palm of his hand. It was covered in scars. Many were recent, while others were more faded, but they were still evident no matter what way he looked at it.
‘I wonder how scarred I’ll be years into the future…’
He kept his eyes on it, mildly fascinated. ‘It’s been getting harder to draw blood….October’s really getting to the final stretch.’
He took his eyes off of it. ‘I need to take advantage of this time as much as I can.’
“So La-Iin, are you excited for Halloween?” Fer-Shi asked as she bounced onto La-Iin’s bed. After school that day, La-Iin had invited her to come over. Since then, Fer-Shi had seemed more cheerful than she had been recently.
“…a little bit.”
“I’m guessing they have nothing to do with dressing up though, huh…” Fer-Shi sighed. She sat down on the bed. “I guess I’m weird about that. I always get really excited about dressing up for Halloween, but everyone else around me doesn’t really care all that much…hey, La-Iin, do you wanna know what I’m going to dress up as?”
“Okay then, it’ll be a surprise!”
“…” La-Iin stared blankly at Fer-Shi.
“I always thought Halloween was really fun,” Fer-Shi said. “Just, you know, getting to dress up. My Mom and Dad looked into Halloween with me recently. We learned about some other things that happen on Halloween in other places in the world. I’m sure they happen in Vaelyn too. But they must not be all that common in Bledger…”
“Nothing’s common in Bledger except Birdmixes,” La-Iin said.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of Birdmixes here, aren’t there?” Fer-Shi started to roll around on the bed. “But I heard that in some places of the world you can go around dressed up and take a bag with you and knock on people’s doors and get candy. And there are places that have all sorts of fun events. I heard in some places of the world, they have a ceremony for the transformations of Animated Pumpkins…hey La-Iin, what do you know about Animated Pumpkins and Halloween? I’ve heard about a transformation, but I don’t really get it…”
“San-Kyung told me it’s the only day he gets to be in his true form,” she said. “Don’t tell him I told you, because I really want to see it.”
“I wonder what that means…like, does he transform into a regular-looking Animated Pumpkin, or something else?”
“You’ll probably get to see him transformed at school,” La-Iin said. “…Halloween is a school day, right?”
“Yeah, I think so. It would be nice to have the day off for it though…but I know that’s just wishful thinking. Anyway, some places like to dedicate Halloween to trying to scare people. They dress up in scary costumes and set up haunted houses…that sounded more like something you’d like instead of me,” Fer-Shi giggled.
“Being scared isn’t really fun, so why would anyone want to scare themselves? Unless they’re trying to get over their fears or something.”
“Imagination would be perfect for Halloween. She’s already claiming she’s a ghost.”
“Yeah, she would be! Maybe we should talk to her about it soon. Unless she left the graveyard and we can’t find her…” Fer-Shi started to fidget. “Can I use your toilet, La-Iin?”
“Flush it or die,” La-Iin said, glaring at Fer-Shi from over her shoulder.
“Of course I’ll flush it!” Fer-Shi said. “I’ll be right back!” She hopped off the bed and ran out La-Iin’s bedroom, slamming the door behind her.
La-Iin stared where she had left for a few moments, then hurled Bes-Isa in her direction.
“…the sudden rude awakening was for…?”
“You said you would help me with ideas and I need one, right away,” La-Iin said.
“I want to scare Fer-Shi.”
“She was talking about how excited she was for Halloween and how she learned about all these things they do in other parts of the world…and maybe Vaelyn, but not Bledger. One of those was scaring people, and that was the only one that sounded interesting.”
“It sounds like it could be fun, but it isn’t exactly Halloween.”
“You’re right. But if I get my way on Halloween, I’m sticking with San-Kyung so I can see his powers and his true form. I won’t be able to scare Fer-Shi except at school, and then I might get in trouble and not be able to go with San-Kyung. So I want to scare her now while I have the chance! She’s only going to the bathroom and she’ll be back soon. I need something with a quick setup.”
“You’ve mastered your transformation. There might be something you can do with that. You used to go crazy when you activated it, right? Maybe hide in the closet and pretend it’s making you go crazy again, like you lost control. And put on a red dress for effect. Smear a little blood on your face…and though I hate to suggest it, maybe a little nick in my fabric to complete the effect.”
“I’ll have to do that all really quick, but your idea sounds good. Especially since Fer-Shi’s easy for everything.”
She bit into Bes-Isa’s arm. Bes-Isa shrieked. La-Iin threw Bes-Isa to the ground, then ran over to her closet. She looked for a red dress.
‘Wait….that’ll just make it obvious that I’m faking it.’ She decided against changing her dress and instead hid inside the closet. She bit into her arm and sucked some of the blood. While her body ached and she began the transformation, she dipped her finger in the blood and wiped it on her face. She hoped not being able to see where she was smearing it only heightened the effect.
She began to wait patiently inside the closet.
Not long after the setup, Fer-Shi returned to La-Iin’s bedroom. She was surprised when she realized that La-Iin was nowhere in sight.
“Did she go downstairs?” Fer-Shi sighed. “I still wanted to talk to her…”
“Fer-Shi, get away!”
Fer-Shi flinched. She walked to the center of the room. Bes-Isa lay on the ground, laying there as though she had been discarded. Fer-Shi was quick to notice the two holes in her arm.
“Just get away…hurry, before she gets out the closet…”
La-Iin took that as a cue and came flying out the closet with a crazed yell. In an instant, Fer-Shi turned to face her, and when their eyes met, Fer-Shi screamed and terror overtook her expression.
La-Iin felt triumphant as she chased Fer-Shi across the upstairs hallway and down the stairs. Fer-Shi kept screaming no matter how close she and La-Iin were, though her screams only got louder the more La-Iin closed in on her.
Fer-Shi had not realized it was a ruse and was genuinely terrified. She wanted to get as far away from La-Iin as possible. If La-Iin caught her, she would be vulnerable both towards her power and towards her insanity.
She needed to outrun her and either get Mit-Sun, or leave the house altogether.
When Fer-Shi tried to run to the kitchen, La-Iin blocked her way. Fer-Shi dashed back up the stairs, her screams quickly weakening and giving way to silence. La-Iin chased her back up the stairs, and noticing the bathroom door was still open, tried to chase her into there.
Fer-Shi crawled into the bathtub and peeked over it. La-Iin turned out the lights and stared to walk slowly towards her, closing the door behind herself and locking it before closing in on Fer-Shi.
Fer-Shi broke into blubbering and began to speak gibberish. Once she was standing right in front of the bathtub, La-Iin broke into uncontrollable laughter.
Fer-Shi stopped crying for a moment as the situation clicked in her head. Then, she gave a growl that was quickly muted by a sob. Even now knowing the situation had been a ruse, she was still terrified–too terrified to leave the bathtub.
“You used to say…I was no fun on Halloween because I didn’t wanna dress up,” La-Iin panted, trying to catch her breath. “Now…now, you’re paying for that. This is October, Fer-Shi! Be prepared for nights full of fright! For I am not the only one who will play such a prank on you! I–”
The bathroom door opened and the lights turned on. Mit-Sun was greeted by a grey La-Iin, her eyes wide and excited, and Fer-Shi, whose eyes were red around the edges and still leaking tears, a mixture of terror and frustration on her face.
“What was all that screaming for?”
A sudden impulse overtook La-Iin, and she leapt at Mit-Sun, who caught her.
“You’re not going to suck my blood that easily,” Mit-Sun said, an edge to her tone. La-Iin’s triumph melted away, quickly replaced by frustration.
‘Fer-Shi was too easy,’ she thought. ‘My next goal should be Mama…’
“That was mean,” Fer-Shi whined.
“Well, scaring you sounded like more fun than dressing up with you or sharing candy with you.”
“I’m gonna get you back,” she sniffled. “I’m going to find your fear and I’m going to scare you until your hair goes white!”
“Here’s a tip for you then,” Bes-Isa said, strips of white cloth now covering the bite marks, “if you intend on scaring someone, don’t tell them in advance.”
“No, you can still try,” La-Iin said. “I’d love to see what you come up with, even though it’ll probably be bad.”
“Just you wait, La-Iin…I’ll show you,” Fer-Shi mumbled.