Monday, October 18, 2010

"The Halloween Tree" Chapter 6

I apologize for posting this so late, but I had a long busy day.  However, I promise you the wait was worth it!

If you recall, yesterday's chapter ended with Pipkin showing up unexpectedly.  And when you hear what happens... oh boy, you're going to wish he had never showed up.

Ray Bradbury says it much better than I can:
His figure was small, small, small.  There were shadows mixed everywhere.  Bats flew.  Owls shrieked.  Night ravens clustered like black leaves in trees.
The small boy, running with his lit pumpkin, fell.
"Oh," gasped Moundshroud.
The pumpkin light went out.
"Oh," gasped everyone.
"Light your pumpkin, Pip, light it!" shrieked Tom.
 Tom thinks he sees Pipkin trying to light it, but then something dark blocks his view.  They all hear something.  Wings?  A beast?  And then suddenly the moon shines down on the spot where Pipkin was last seen.  But there is no Pipkin.

Something dark sneaks away, and a fading cry of "Help!" is heard.  Mr. Moundshroud expects something has taken the boy away.  I suppose that's obvious, but I think hearing an adult -- even a crazy one -- say it out loud somehow confirms what the boys all fear.
"You don't mean that Thing in the ravine, It, or Him, or whatever, that Something, was -- Death?  Did he grab Pipkin and -- run?!"
"Borrowed is more like it, perhaps to hold him for ransom," said Moundshroud.
"Can Death do that?"
"Sometimes, yes."
What a terrible thing!  To realize that Death has taken hold of your friend.  Pipkin, who is clearly sick, is on the verge of death ... and to see it played out so literally is quite stirring.  What can they do?

Mr. Moundshroud decides that it's all the more important now to fly into the night.  They can kill two birds with one stone.  They can discover the history of Halloween while searching for their lost friend.  The boys have even more resolve than they did before.  Now their quest has a purpose.  A life might be saved.

They hop a fence and come upon an old barn, covered with old circus posters.  Mr. Moundshroud commands them to build a kite, and that's where the chapter ends.  Why they need a kite, I do not know.  But I hope to find out tomorrow!

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