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Literature
Halloween Trick AND Treat!
Entry Two: Trick AND Treat!
Natsumi flipped a trailing lock back with one free hand.  Her other, of course, occupied with a shopping cart.  Shopping carts were not a normal part of her everyday life, as things went.  But today, Natsumi was a Girl With a Plan.
Or perhaps, one of a group of girls with a collective plan.  It had all started a couple weeks ago, at the end of a track team practice session.  One of her fellow team members, Lyssa Minelli, looked up and around at the girls around her.  Studied them thoughtfully, waited a moment, then studied again.  It looked like she was waiting for something.  Sure enough, as soon as their faculty advisor exited the room for a moment, she spoke up.  "So girls," she said, "something has occurred to me.  We have a day coming up in a couple weeks.  Specifically, Halloween.  So what exactly are we going to do with it?"
"Uh, strive to win the campus-wide costume contest?" Cho Feng
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Literature
A Halloween Treat
Entry One: Treat Time!
Opal Tenmore had never been much of a one for "participating".  Oh, Halloween had been an event her peers got excited about, growing up.  But after a few years, Opal had largely drifted away.  Banging on doors begging for candy ceased to appeal after due time, and Opal was never much of one for parties and games.  She had attempted going to a Halloween dance once, the first time she had been deemed old enough to attend one.  It had alternately bored and frustrated her.  She had also visited a haunted house a few years later, and had been distinctly unimpressed with the whole experience.  The decor was cheesy, the costumes clearly made out of polyester nylon, the make-up and prosthetics clearly artificial, and Opal herself distinctly disinclined to scream, jump, or run in circles like a ninnyhammer.  She suspected the staff had found her rather frustrating, in her lack of responsiveness.  No, that sort of event w
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Entry Two: Trick AND Treat!

Natsumi flipped a trailing lock back with one free hand.  Her other, of course, occupied with a shopping cart.  Shopping carts were not a normal part of her everyday life, as things went.  But today, Natsumi was a Girl With a Plan.

Or perhaps, one of a group of girls with a collective plan.  It had all started a couple weeks ago, at the end of a track team practice session.  One of her fellow team members, Lyssa Minelli, looked up and around at the girls around her.  Studied them thoughtfully, waited a moment, then studied again.  It looked like she was waiting for something.  Sure enough, as soon as their faculty advisor exited the room for a moment, she spoke up.  "So girls," she said, "something has occurred to me.  We have a day coming up in a couple weeks.  Specifically, Halloween.  So what exactly are we going to do with it?"

"Uh, strive to win the campus-wide costume contest?" Cho Feng suggested.

"Eat candy until we explode!" Sakura Tomoji, she of the blast-furnace metabolism that even rivaled Natsumi's declared with all enthusiasm.

"Marathon all the horror movies," Kiwara Parsilon espoused.

Lyssa waved a hand.  "Yeah, okay, all of those," she admitted.  "But there is another Halloween tradition we're forgetting.  The all-important tricks!"

A little mischief sense started tingling in the back of Natsumi's mind.  "You're going somewhere with this.  Did you have an idea?...."

Lyssa grinned at her.  "Not specifically.  But that's where all you come in.  Why don't the bunch of us all team up together and come up with some sort of grand scheme?  The prank to end all pranks!"

Oh, it was crazy.  It was dangerous.  If they were caught they'd probably be in a lot of trouble.  But if they weren't....  "I'm in," Natsumi declared immediately.

One positive agreement was all it took to get the rest of the girls in ear shot to chime up in an impish chorus of agreement.  "I knew I could count on you!" Lyssa said.  "Now it's time to come up with a plan...."

Thus it was, over a week later, that Natsumi found herself in one of the big "box" stores, pushing a shopping cart.  Being the team member with the biggest monetary budget at her disposal, Natsumi had been the one dispatched to collect the bulk of the supplies that needed paid for.  Cho and Sakura were scrounging old cardboard boxes, while Kiwara was cunningly making anything that called for fabric.  But they did need other materials, as well, both festive and general.

Natsumi surveyed the contents of her cart.  All needed colors of paint- check.  Foam pumpkins- check.  Sticks of a variety of length and thickness- check.  An assortment of seasonal masks- check.  And of course the coup de gras (should Natsumi successfully persuade the management, anyway)- the cart itself.  Oh, if they wouldn't let her buy a shopping cart they'd improvise somehow, but it would make the rest of things a lot more efficient- not to mention exciting- if she could.

Oh, right, but she still needed the glow-in-the-dark marking pens.  Then it was time to check out and get back to the group for the next stage of planning.  Natsumi swung the cart around, wheels squeaking faintly.  Oh, that was cause for concern- a squeaky cart wouldn't do.  Not for what they had in mind.  She wondered idly if it would look weird to go up to the front of the store and test all the carts available to see which one moved the most quietly-

Oh, wait, what was that?  Natsumi slowed in her passage.  It was a small display set up at the end of an aisle, consisting of a wide variety of stuffed creatures.  It all seemed to be seasonal.  Bears in witch hats and skeleton costumes, cartoonish vampires and mummies, what looked to be an anthropomorphized piece of candy corn-

And a bat.  Just one left.  This bat was so round and chubby it was basically a sphere, about the same size and shape as a cantaloupe.  Stubby wings jutted out on either side, and stubbier feet poked up in the front, as if the creature had been caught just as it sat down somewhere.  Pointed ears poked up on either side of its head (if you could even say it had a head, what with it being so round and all), and wide eyes looked up at her with seeming hope.  It even had an adorably derpy little fang sticking out of its stitched-on mouth.  It was weird, and off-beat, and completely adorable.

And all Natsumi could think was, Kiyoko-chan would love this.  The mix of adorable with the spooky imagery would exactly appeal to her sweet-natured Goth friend.  Natsumi stared at the little bat for a moment, and then decisively tossed it in her cart with the other stuff.  Now, she just had to get those pens and get out the door.  As she did so, she idly thought she couldn't wait to see her friend's expression when she got her new toy....  It would be priceless, and make no mistake about it.  Everyone deserved a Halloween treat.  This one was just a bit more unique.
Entry One: Treat Time!

Opal Tenmore had never been much of a one for "participating".  Oh, Halloween had been an event her peers got excited about, growing up.  But after a few years, Opal had largely drifted away.  Banging on doors begging for candy ceased to appeal after due time, and Opal was never much of one for parties and games.  She had attempted going to a Halloween dance once, the first time she had been deemed old enough to attend one.  It had alternately bored and frustrated her.  She had also visited a haunted house a few years later, and had been distinctly unimpressed with the whole experience.  The decor was cheesy, the costumes clearly made out of polyester nylon, the make-up and prosthetics clearly artificial, and Opal herself distinctly disinclined to scream, jump, or run in circles like a ninnyhammer.  She suspected the staff had found her rather frustrating, in her lack of responsiveness.  No, that sort of event was not for her, all things considered.

However, Opal did have one autumnal ritual.  It was a quiet, understated one, but it suited her nicely.  Today seemed to be the day to implement- or rather, begin- it.  She finally had the room all to herself.  Oh, she could go to the library, she supposed, but as comfortable as that environment was, it wasn't the same thing as her own personal space.  It was just one of those small, preferred details.  Opal took her time, now that she had it; she arranged a seating space just so, with cushions and a cozy lap quilt.  She made sure she was dressed comfortably, donning a nice soft cozy sweater.  She made herself a cup of pleasing tea; this one was a cinnamon-spice flavor, suitable for the time of year.  The girl settled her mug in a secure location, then grabbed her music player in one hand and a book in the other.  Now all the pieces were in place, and it was time to begin.

Other people associate music with specific times of year, or television specials, or other forms of entertainment.  Opal at times did that with books.  There were some volumes one only read at certain times.  One would not read A Christmas Carol in July, for instance, or A Midsummer Night's Dream in February.  Opal's book of Halloween ritual was Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Rad Bradbury.  It was a slender volume, but that just meant it was easily consumed in a couple of sittings.  A deceptively simple story at first glance, it featured two young boys, both born around Halloween, just arriving in adolescence, and the strange carnival that comes to their town as their birthdays draw nigh, and the stranger-still carousel it offered that had the capacity to turn one's personal clock forward or back, depending on wishes, desires, or nefarious intent....  But beneath the trappings of the fantastical, it was ultimately a story of relationships with family and with friends and of self-discovery, not precisely of coming-of-age, but rather of beginning on the path toward that step in life's journey.  It was also a very "October" sort of book, particularly of Halloween itself.  Thus it was that Opal always re-read it when the season arrived.  It had to be a physical copy of the book, too, not a digital one.  The spine was old and much-cracked by now, but it sat better in her hands, evoking a feeling of timelessness.

Opal settled into her comfortable nest, arranging the lap quilt just-so.  She inserted her earbuds before turning on her music player, scrolling through the options before selecting a suitably quiet, even somber, selection of classical compositions.  Just enough to set the mood, but not enough to actively distract her.  There, that was perfect.  Opal picked up her mug and took a sip of her tea.  That, too, was perfect.  All was as it should be.  Settling into her nest more securely, Opal opened her book and began to read.
Ronin Samurai
"Um, you want to know about my costume?  Well, to be honest, there's not a lot to tell.  **sheepish look, rubbing the back of the neck a bit with one hand**  I admit I decided in part based on what I could put together quickly and readily.  I already had this shirt, and it was pretty easy to find everything else to make myself into a basic ronin, or a wandering samurai.  It's not detailed or exciting, but it works.  At least I can move in it, right?  And everyone tells me blue is a good color for me.
"Hm, what to do with the prize package....  **ponders**  I'm not sure.  I'd probably bring either Yuuen or Sol with me; they're the guys I get along the best with.  The former is pretty much my closest friend here, in fact.  But he might not want to go wandering in public, depending on circumstances.  It might be fun to hit up a concert, though, or go to a play.  I'd really like to check out a local production if I get the chance.  As for 'get out of chores free', I might have to try to skip out on some sort of 'handyman'-type job.  I can do a lot of other things all right, but I'm not a repairman sort.  So stepping aside from that would do everyone a favor, not just me.  I would have to think about what sort of tech I might want to acquire.  Perhaps something to work with the belt I already have, or maybe even an enhancement on a physical weapon to support it with.  I feel like I ought to use it for something practical, if I can.  I might well be grateful for that in the long run."
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Girl Detective
"Oh, you expect me to discuss my costume as well as wear it?  **adjusts glasses**  Very well.  I do not don costumerie very often, though when I do I have a propensity toward literary characters and famous authors.  I did not have any existing pieces with me, and thus decided to make do with that which I already owned or could readily acquire with little pain to myself.  That meant a figure with a more modern aesthetic.  In the end, I opted to dress as Nancy Drew, girl detective.  Yes, I am fully aware I do not have her signature hair.  But I was not about to attempt to sport a wig for this, and was certainly not going to cut my hair off and dye it.  It isn't like anyone will recognize me anyway.  **sniffs**  I already owned the sweater, although its fitted nature means I seldom wear it.  The rest of the pieces I found without much difficulty, and feel I could potentially wear the skirt again.  It is wearable, even though unfortunately it does lack pockets.
"And now you wish to know about the prize package.  Of course.  To be honest, I do not know who I would share the city tickets with.  I am not a social person, and have not made it a priority to make friends; I am here for an education, after all, not socializing.  I suppose, however, I could find someone who would wish to visit the book stores with me, and perhaps music as well.  If you wish to visit high-fashion boutiques or other frivolous things, I am not the one for you.  In regards to the chores, I would take either an exit from outdoor maintenance, or from cleaning bathrooms.  Outdoor labor is entirely too sweaty for my tastes, and bathrooms are just noisome.  People can be truly atrocious sometimes....  In regards to tech, well.  I do have a great appreciation for the technical articles available on this campus.  I might consider acquiring the latest up-to-date multi-media player, one that can engage video, music, internet, and other things.  For... research, of course.  Strictly scholarly purposes.  **clears throat**  What else might I do with it, after all?"
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Post-Apocalyptic Princess
"So I got to thinking.  I love animated movies, and who's in a lot of those?  Princesses.  What's the good stuff about princesses?  Well, they get to wear great clothes, and be in charge, and they're usually a main character in the story.  But the bad side- people keep trying to damsel 'em.  Well, I have no patience with being a girl who sits in a tower waiting to be rescued.   So my princess got one look at that future and said 'No thanks.'  When the stuff hit the fan on her sixteenth birthday, she didn't stand there screaming and flapping her hands, she grabbed the nearest weapon and jolly well rescued herself!  She faced the apocalypse head-on and came through it out the other side still intact!  She went ahead and made her own fairytale.
"Now what would I do with the prize pack?  Ooh, boy.  **rubs hands together**  First off, I admit I'd have a hard time picking what friend to take with me on an adventure- I know a lot of people at this school by now!  But it would be so fun to just go all-out.  Get some fun outfits, some great food, and hit the best karaoke place in town!  Maybe even more than one!  The world would be our oyster, for one night!  And no, no small and damp and entirely too salty!  **chuckles**  I'd definitely want to use the tech points to try to get one of those sweet teleportation devices.  Seriously, how fantastic were those?!  I want one so bad!  And if they won't let me have one, I guess I can upgrade my equipment some more....  **starts to ponder, then jumps**  Oh, wait, I can get out of chores too!  Hm....  I'd use it to get out of something really boring, like washing floors.  The outside things, I can handle.  But floors?  That's a little closer to Cinderella than I'd like to get!"
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