Disclaimer:  The boys don’t belong to me.  Wish they did, but they don’t.  More’s the pity.





Or  Of Men and Mice


By:  Vanessa Sgroi




“Take a right at the next light,” instructed Johnny Gage, “It should be just up the block on the left.”


It was 11:45 p.m. on Halloween night, and they were responding to a call for an injured woman.  A full moon hung low in the pitch black sky and the barest chill shimmied along a slight breeze.


Roy DeSoto turned as instructed and quickly located 66 Soul Lane.  The old house was dark and set back from the road a good distance.  A long rutted driveway snaked its way up to the house.  Parking near the front porch, the paramedics exited the vehicle, grabbed supplies, and approached the door.  A couple of knocks elicited no response.  The front door when they tried it was locked.


“Let’s see if there’s a back door,” suggested the blond paramedic.


As they rounded the corner of the house, a somewhat distant call could be heard.


“I’m back here!  Hello!  I’m back here!”


“Following the voice, both men moved into a stand of trees behind the house.  Within a couple of minutes, they came upon a woman in a small clearing.  She sat on the ground near an enormous tree stump.  The dark-haired beauty was dressed in a filmy black-hooded robe.  A variety of candles were arranged around the clearing, their flames flickering to and fro.


Reaching her, Roy and Johnny knelt.


“Ma’am?  I’m Roy DeSoto with the LA County Fire Department.  This is my partner, Johnny.”


“Hello.  I’m Lyre Blackstone.”


“Can you tell me what’s wrong?”


“It’s my ankle.  And, well, this,” the striking brunette held up her left hand to reveal a nasty looking cut, welling with ruby blood.


“Here, let me look at this.”  Roy took her hand and began examining the wound.  Johnny passed him some sterile water, a pad, and a roll of gauze.


“This doesn’t look too bad.  Doesn’t need stitches,” DeSoto began as he bandaged the cut, “Just try to keep it clean and dry.”


Johnny, who had been probing her ankle, stopped and glanced around the clearing.


“So how did all this happen?”


“Oh, it was the dumbest thing.  I twisted it while I was charging my instruments.”


Johnny gave the woman a quizzical look.  “Charging your instruments?”


Lyre smiled.  “Yes, charging my instruments.  I’m a witch.”


Gage glanced at his partner.  “Uh . . . okay.  You . . . uh . . . didn’t hit your head or anything, did you?  You know, when you fell?”


“No, no.  Nothing like that.  I really am a witch.  These items here on this stump are all my instruments.”  She made a sweeping gesture with her hand.  “They need to be recharged during a full moon.  But a full moon on Halloween is even better.”


Curiosity got the best of Johnny and he stood up to check out what was laid out on the tree stump.


“I was holding my dagger in my hand and dancing a ritual when I stepped in a hole and twisted my ankle.  I cut my hand when I fell.”


Roy nodded.  “Have you had a tetanus shot recently?”


“Just last year.”


“Good.  Well, your ankle’s not broken, just sprained.  It should be okay if we wrap it.”  DeSoto grabbed an elastic bandage from the case and started wrapping Lyre’s ankle.


From his left, he heard Johnny call, “Hey—how’d you call us anyway?”


“I sent my familiar, of course.”


“Your familiar?”  He looked at Lyre in disbelief.


“Yes, I sent Circa.”  Lyre wiggled the fingers of her uninjured hand and a soot black cat appeared from behind a tree.  Its huge golden eyes were fixed on Johnny.


“Circa, these are the gentlemen you summoned for help.”


The cat tilted its head as if acknowledging her statement.


The woman suddenly tittered.  “Yes, I know they’re not doctors, Circa.  They’re firemen.  Paramedics, I believe they’re called.”


With a slow blink and a swish of its tail, the cat turned and sauntered away, disappearing in the darkness.


“Poor Circa, he worries about me so.”


A slender stick-like item caught Johnny’s eye.  He reached out and picked it up.


“Hey, Roy, look at this . . .”


“Oh, no!  Don’t touch th—”


Lyre’s cry coincided with a tremendously brilliant flash of light and deafening clap of thunder.


“Wow!  Roy, what was that?”


“Don’t know.”


Johnny turned toward his partner and gasped.


“Roy!  You’re . . . you’re . . . you’re . . .”


“C’mon, spit it out already.”


“You’re . . . you’re a mouse!”


“Hate to tell you this, Johnny, but . . . so are you.”


“What?  No!”  Yet a quick look confirmed Roy’s statement.


“Ahhh, man.”  Then Gage snickered.


“What’s so funny?”


“You . . . you make a funny looking mouse.”


Roy sniffed.  “Well, don’t look now, Junior, but you’d never make an issue of Playmouse yourself.”


**Playmouse?**  “Hey!”


“Listen, what are we gonna do?”


“I dunno.  What should we do abou—”


Another burst of light and rocking thunder rent the night.


The two paramedics found themselves restored to their human forms.  It took a split second for them to realize they were stark naked before, in the blink of an eye, they suddenly weren’t anymore.  Their uniforms were again snugly in place.


Disoriented, they looked around and saw their patient, Lyre, precariously balanced on one foot near the stump.  In her hand was the intricately carved stick Johnny had picked up.  Her cat, Circa, sat next to her wearing a rather smug look.


“I’m so sorry!  I should have warned you that my instruments, particularly my magic wand, are extremely powerful when they’re first charged.  Especially when they’re charged under a Halloween moon.”


Shaking his head, DeSoto muttered gruffly, “Since a trip to Rampart isn’t necessary, how about we get you into the house?”


Lyre nodded in agreement.


The paramedics picked up their supplies and then moved to flank Lyre and help her into the house.


She looked over her shoulder.  “Come along, Circa.  We’ll collect the rest of the instruments in the morning.”


The cat issued a loud meow.


“No, no.  Circa, they’re not going to steal them.  Neither will anyone else.”


The trek to the back door of the house took a good ten minutes.  Once inside, Johnny and Roy helped Lyre get comfortable on the couch.  Johnny propped her foot on an ottoman.  After assuring them she would be fine, the paramedics headed for the squad.


“Hey, Roy . . .”




“Did that really . . .”




“Rooooy, I just want to know if . . .”


“No.  I don’t want to talk about it.”


“But . . . but . . .”




“Okay, fine!”


They stowed the equipment and hopped in the cab of the squad in silence.  Roy started the squad and made a u-turn to head back down the serpentine driveway.


“Hey, Roy?”


The other paramedic sighed.  “What?”


“Do you think we have any cheese back at the station?  I suddenly have a craving for a giant cheese sandwich.”


DeSoto grunted.  “I dunno.  But maybe we better stop and get some.”



* * *  The End  * * *




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Happy Halloween!



Stories by Vanessa          Halloween Stories