|The Baaaarbaric Halloween I |
A few months had passed after the Harena reconstruction, Professor
Agatha Ng finally had her resting time. Granted, most of her time was occupied with researching the Harenian tablet as to what was inscribed onto the stone, but that was her only priority, and she loved the simplicity of her new routine. However, she was not at all ignorant of
Cruithne’s demented sense of humor. It seemed Settlement One was a
magnet for strange behavior; last year, the Wickletts savagely trashed
the settlement, not to mention the deadly plague that swept the entire
asteroid years before, taking many lives and plunging the asteroid into
an era of violence and insanity.
Yes, Professor Ng was taking advantage of her time off, but she was
sure something would come up. ”Something always happens on
Halloween specifically…,” Ng often stated. And this Halloween,
like all the others before, would not be any different.
One thing that would break from the ordinary Halloween tradition was
the planned arrival of Brandhardt and several of his Harenian friends.
So, with the knowledge of their new visitors arrival, settlers arranged
and decorated the area with orange and purple lights, and other
Halloween flair. Costumes and candy also sat prepared for the big night.
Usually Halloween at Settlement One was not so large of a celebration,
but due to the Harenian visitors, Ng and the other settlers felt it only
acceptable to provide the guests with the best experience possible.
With the thoughts of discovering more about the tablet, and Halloween
swirling around in her mind, Ng asked herself if she needed to prepare
an emergency pack for the dozens of settlers, or if a fire extinguisher
would be suitable. She had a feeling they would be needing them.
Suddenly, two knocks came from the lab door. Broken from her thoughts,
Ng walked to see her visitor. With a quick glance in the paned window
on the left of the laboratory door – as she opened the door - she
realized it was Callie. The professor greeted her friend, and offered
her a seat inside, but Callie declined.
“No, but thank you Agatha. I won’t be long.” With a deep breath, she
continued. “I was expecting to arrive tomorrow, but I thought I would
come early to help set things up.”
The professor smiled. “I’m sure the others will be excited to know
they have an extra set of hands.” With an arm resting against the frame
of the door, Ng felt that things could actually be calm for once at the
settlement. However, things took an unexpected turn when a piercing
scream sounded from the center of the village.
Nothing needed to be said between the two. Ng grabbed her whacking club, and with Callie, rushed to find what was wrong.
It was not difficult to find the screamer, as a crowd of settlers
surrounded Kouren’s food shop. The professor and Callie pushed past the
crowd to find Kouren with her head to the ground. Scattered about the
floor were dozens and dozens of candy wrappers.
“Kouren what happened?” Ng asked, running to help Kouren stand. “Are you hurt?”
Through the sobs, Kouren finally spoke. “Oh it’s just horrible, Aggie.” She sniffled. “The candy is all gone!”
A few muffled giggles erupted from the crowd standing at the entrance
to the shop. “Candy? Gone?” Ng even had difficulty maintaining a
straight face. Kouren was taking whatever had happened very seriously.
“You don’t understand. None of you do! Someone ate all my candy! The
candy I’ve been preparing for the past week for tomorrow. And it’s all
gone! All those ingredients wasted!” Kouren buried her head in the half
eaten candy wrappers. “It doesn’t make it any better that the thief
didn’t even care to remove the packages, before devouring the sweets.
See..?” Kouren handed Callie a handful of wrappers.
“She’s right,” Callie stated, observing the plastic candy wrappers.
“Many of the candies weren’t even eaten completely. Some of the candy
still is in the wrapper. It was as if an animal…”
Ng, trying to make sense of the strange crime, said, “Kouren, you didn’t happen to catch a glimpse of…?”
Kouren interrupted with a firm, “No.” Then, “I was facing the ovens in the back.”
“I don’t think a settler could’ve done this, no matter how savage some
of them tend to be,” Ng said, picking up one of the wrappers. “Look.”
Both Callie and Kouren looked at the wrapper, but despite the fact
that it was half missing, they noticed nothing. “What are we supposed to
be looking for?”
“The soot on this, is what I meant; the soot on the floor. They’re prints, and small ones at that.”
“But what kind of animal would want Kouren’s candy?” Callie asked, patting Kouren on the back.
“Well, the question is, who wouldn’t?! My candy’s fabulous!” Kouren shouted, boohooing directly afterwards.
The crowd diminished at last, from boredom most likely, and Callie and Ng were left chuckling at Kouren’s previous statement.
“Don’t worry, Kouren,” Ng assured her. “We’ll find the culprit.”
“I know I’ve seen these prints before, but I can’t quite pin it down,”
Callie whispered to herself, carefully looking at the prints on the
“I know of someone who may know what we’re dealing with here, Callie. Go get Io. I’m sure he could identify these prints.”
Within seconds of Io’s arrival at Kouren’s shop, he recognized the prints. “Well this is unfortunate,” he said.
“What is it?” Kouren, Callie, and Ng asked in unison.
“Sheeple. Those are Sheeple tracks. I see them all the time as they’re grazing in the field.”
“But that’s just it. They graze. They have no business taking my delightful sweets!”
A grin was plastered on Ng’s face. She just couldn’t take the situation seriously. “Kouren, please. We need to think.”
“You’re right. Besides, I have some cakes to bake.” With that, Kouren walked solemnly to her cooking room.
“Okay, so I assume you haven’t noticed any strange behavior from the Sheeple lately?” Ng asked Io, again scanning the ground.
Callie and Ng sat in silence waiting for Io’s response. He was hiding
something. “Well, I guess I did notice something…” Kouren began humming
in the back. “You see, the Sheeple are sort of… missing. They
disappeared a few hours ago. That’s when I noticed them gone at least.”
Smugly, Callie said, “Well, it adds up.”
“How many Sheeple are missing? One, maybe two?”
“Sixty-three.” Io smirked.
Both Callie and Ng were in shock, their mouths agape. “Sixty-three Sheeple?!” They shouted.
“What can I say? Sheeple are by far my favorite breed of Lunas.
They’re such… Collected creatures.” And even Io found that hard to
“So we have sixty-three individual Sheeple running amok, and nobody’s even seen them?” Callie asked, flabbergasted.
“Well, Cruithnean Sheeple typically graze in groups of a dozen or so. They’re strange but fascinating creatures.”
“Io… Io, we really have a problem on our hands. I need you to tell me
why the Sheeple are eating candy. What else do they have a craving for?”
Asked Ng. What was a more humorous situation flipped to a grim one in
Io cleared his throat, and explained. “I may have dropped a few Frost
Mints on the ground the other day, and a Sheeple or two happened to eat
them, before I picked them up. These Sheeple literally can eat anything,
but I think they’re only after the candy.”
“Io, you’ve done enough.” Ng paused for a breath. “Please just go back
to your shop. Make sure every Luna is secured this
After Io left, Callie and Ng stood silently in the middle of Kouren’s trashed shop.
Callie was the first to break the silence. “How are we going to fix this, Agatha? Those Sheeple could be anywhere by now.”
Suddenly, another scream sounded in the village, followed by a loud
crash. “We have to move!” Ng grabbed Callie and together they ran