Zack and Chloe
Chloe was in the pumpkin patch with Sassy and Misha taking inventory for the annual fall festival when a gentleman in a black suit and a top hat approached.
“I say, can any of you lovely ladies point me in the direction of town?”
“What?” Sassy asked.
“Town, my lady. I hitched my buggy there and seem to have lost my way.”
Chloe tipped her head, studying the dapper visitor. “Clarence, is that you?”
The man stared at Chloe. “Well I’ll be, it’s Mary! How are you, my lovely bird lady?”
Chloe giggled. “It’s Chloe, not Mary. She was my great-great- grandmommy. You came through the hole in the space-time continuum again, kind sir.”
“Did I?” he gasped. “Well, beg my pardon. The twenty first century is no place for a person like me.”
“Not a problem,” Misha said. “The dimensional porthole is due west, half a mile. Go back the way you came, and you should find your way back to 1914 directly.”
“Thank you, kind ladies!” he exclaimed, tipping his hat and bowing to kiss each of them on the head. “And I wish you a good day.”
“See you tomorrow!” Chloe said, as he headed back toward the woods, whistling a jolly tune.
“So I just finished inventory of the east fields and WHAT IS THAT?” Quarky Bird asked, staring after Clarence as he tapped a dance along the path into the woods.
“That’s Clarence. He fell through the dimensional porthole in the woods again,” Misha said.
“He’s my human mommy’s great-granddaddy,” Chloe said. “They had anipals back then too, and he thinks I’m his bird, Mary.”
“You talk like it’s normal for people from 1914 to walk around here,” Quarkey Bird said. “Can you explain how that happened?”
“There’s a hole in the space-time continuum in those woods,” Sassy said. “Sometimes, people or things get through. Mostly it’s stuff we thought we lost that turns up there, but every now and then a person or an anipal from the past or the future comes through.”
Quarky Bird’s eyes grew large in a beautiful blue face. “I didn’t know this! How often does it happen?”
“More often lately,” Chloe said. “Halloween is coming, and the spirit world is drawing closer to our world.”
“Plus, we’ve had the blood moons and the alignment of the planets will happen on Halloween,” Misha said, “so strange things are happening more often.”
“Do we need to worry?” Quarky Bird asked.
“No,” Chloe said. “It’s mostly silly stuff like that. If somebody from a different time comes by, just send them back. The porthole will take them where they came from.”
“It’s alright,” Sassy said. “I think it’s weird.”
“I’ll say,” Sir Jinx said as he and his keet army came from the fields, covered in slime. “Well ladies, good news. We not only won, but we saved the fall crops as well.”
“Won what?” Quarky Bird asked.
“The wrestling match with the octopus army that overtook the fields,” Sir Jinx said, puffing up and fluffing off slime. “Eight legs is a challenge to fight off, but it wasn’t as bad as the company of starfish that swarmed the lakes last week. Cut off the head, and two more grow in it’s place.” His eyes widened. “It sounds like the storyline Marvel is running on their movies and TV shows now.”
Chloe grunted. “It’s more interesting when they have to fight it. Any idea why the sudden onslaught of sea creatures on anipal land?”
“Funky planet alignment. You got me. Maybe Astronaut Katz will have something more to report when on his weekly check-in.” Jinx preened some seaweed off his wing. “This whole dimensional porthole-planet alignment-funky moon- Halloween thing has me thinking the bears have a good idea. Maybe we should hibernate until it’s all over!”
“What, and miss all the fun?” Misha said. “You have to admit that it’s the most excitement we’ve had since the Queen of Bavaria invasion last summer.”
“That was fun,” Georgie Boy said, cackling.
Just then Zack came walking in from the fields, soaky wet.
“What happened?” Chloe asked.
Zack growled. “I’ll tell you what happened. Samson, Delilah, and Petesy dropped water balloons on me while I was pulling weeds in the plowed fields.”
“What?” Chloe asked. “Mommy’s parakeets that went over the rainbow bridge in 1996?”
“That’s right; they stood on the bridge and dropped water balloons on me until Ollie made them stop!” He puffed and shook the water off his feathers. “I’m with Jinx. Forget fall festivals. We should hibernate and be done with it. When ghost birds from 18 years ago are dropping water balloons on you, the world’s gone crazy!”
“At least you didn’t wrestle away an octopus army,” Georgie Boy said.
“True,” Zack said. “I know its silly season, but is there anything we can do to make things, you know, more normal around here?”
“Oh sure, why don’t we ladies go out there and sew up that dimensional porthole with the thumbs we don’t have,” Chloe said. “Zack, you know the only way to win is to fight it with happy energy! We have to have this festival. We need the positive energy to balance all the silliness going around.”
“I know,” Zack said. “It’s just that ghosts are scary and having them play pranks on you – you don’t know whether to be scared, mad, or laugh!”
“You might want to be concerned,” Ninja Harine said as he approached the group from the fields bordering the outer regions. “I just consulted with the Queen of Bavarias in the outskirts. They say they’re reading strange signs in the sky.”
“I didn’t know Queen Beak and her people were astronomers,” Chloe said.
“They aren’t,” Ninja Harine said. “I mean, they really are reading strange signs in the sky.” He pulled out a telescope, pointing it toward the moon starting to rise in the east. “Take a look.”
Chloe peeked in the telescope. To her surprise, she saw a banner staked on the moon that read:
EARTH, HAND OVER YOUR ANIPALS OR YOU’RE DOOMED.
“Oh no!” Chloe said, as the rest of the anipals took turns looking at the sign.
“What does it mean?” Quarky Bird asked.
“It means somebody’s taking this whole Halloween thing way too seriously,” Chloe said.
“What will we do?” Sassy and Misha asked, squeezing between Zack and Jinx.
“Don’t worry,” Zack said. “We’ll visit Sammy the Beta and Jeff Musk in the library. They’ll know what this means.”
“And what to do, I hope,” Jinx said. He looked toward the sky. “Come on. I feel we’re being watched. Keet army assemble!” he shouted.
The keets assembled in lines in front of Jinx, with Georgie Boy leading them.
“Yes sir, Jinx sir!”
“Let’s get everybody in the castle until we know who’s up there and what they want. Round them up to safety and spread the word. We may be under attack again.”