I do backstories all the time, so I figured it was time for a future story. Please note that this contains a spoiler or two for the end of the series.
October… sometime in the future
“Good Afternoon!” Wiff sang out happily as he twirled on the countertop in front of Viola. He hopped up on top of the ceramic pumpkin and perched on the stem.
“Hey, bud. Where’ve you guys been?” Viola closed the lid on the container of dog food and gently ruffled the Wfsal’s hair. She hadn’t seen any of them all day. Even Griff, normally her constant companion, had abandoned her.
“Preparing.” Wiff poked his tongue out at Finn as the dog passed by on his way to the food dish. He and his siblings got along fairly well with Finn, but there were still a few disagreements about sleeping places and playtime.
Viola frowned. She didn’t like the sound of that. Since Duke had, thankfully, taken over Spawn duty for the day, feedings aside, she’d spent the morning cleaning the house. For the first time in the two weeks since the baby’s birth, everything was in place and dust-free. Despite being such tiny creatures, the Wfsals were experts at creating huge messes.
“Preparing for what, Wiff?” She’d have to send them to Burkeholt if it looked like they were getting out of hand. Tad and Tom were experts at keeping the Wfsals in line.
“The happiest day of the year!” Wiff slid off the pumpkin’s smooth side. Bare feet on the counter, he broke out into an impromptu merry jig. “It’s the day, Lady Viola!”
“Yay!” Mixie called out from the floor. Six graceful hops later, she linked arms with Wiff and joined in the dance. “It’s the day!”
Viola’s eyes darted to the baby monitor. Mixie and Wiff weren’t being too quiet and it seemed that any sound, no matter how small, woke the baby. “Keep it down,” she whispered, “Tobias and the Dukelet are taking a nap.”
“They’re awake,” Griff corrected as he joined his siblings on the counter. He darted forward to kiss Viola’s thumb before tossing a giggling Mixie in the air and pirouetting around Wiff.
“Toby Duke is cooing at the baby and tickling its belly. It smiles and laughs. A lot,” was Pip’s contribution to the conversation.
Griff grimaced at what he believed to be un-manly behavior. He hadn’t bonded with the baby the way the others had because, in his eyes, it was the one who’d caused his Lady Viola such pain and misery for months. He treated the baby with respect but didn’t dote on it like Pip or Mixie. He also couldn’t understand how a squirming, crying miniature human had turned his rough, tough role model Duke into a cooing, sappy mess. To make matters worse, everything that came out of the baby stank!
“So,” Viola began as she pulled a large, plastic orange bowl out of the cabinet and set it on the counter, “what’s so special about today?”
All four Wfsals stopped in their tracks and stared at Viola in horror. Griff shook his head slowly and closed Mixie’s dropped jaw. “It’s Halloween, Lady Vi,” he explained solemnly.
“The best day of the year!” Pip cried, a smile returning to his face. “It’s Candy Day!”
Viola rolled her eyes. She should have known. While they ate some vegetables and fresh fruits, the Wfsals adored anything sugary. Why wouldn’t they love a holiday that included copious amounts of sweets?
“Look! Baby is ready for trick-or-treating,” Mixie cried, clapping her hands together excitedly.
Viola grinned at the sight of a shirtless, barefoot Duke and their child. Spawn was dressed in a tiny orange onesie with a green cap on her head. Assuming the outfit made it through the next couple of hours, Aggie would no doubt fill the memory card of her digital camera with pictures of her great-grandbaby.
“The baby’s not going trick-or-treating,” Duke informed the instantly crestfallen Wfsals. He kissed the top of Viola’s head and leaned against the counter beside her. “No one’s going trick-or-treating.”
“B-but we’ve g-got costumes,” Wiff stammered, tears filling his brown eyes. They had spent all week working on making the perfect costumes so they could blend in with the humans and collect the glorious candy. Mixie and Griff had even planned out the perfect route for optimal treasure retrieval.
“Costumes? Couldn’t you guys just… you know, poof… into something?” Viola asked.
“Nope,” Pip replied, popping the p and shaking his head. “It has to be done the right way.”
“Can’t we take the baby? It’s perfect and cute. Cute always gets more candy,” Mixie cajoled, face screwed up in a pretty pout.
“Sorry guys, Duke’s right. No one’s going out tonight. Spawn’s too young.” Viola stroked the baby’s soft cheek before moving to the pantry to grab a jumbo-sized bag of assorted candy.
“Stupid, smelly baby,” Griff muttered, eyeing the baby with distaste.
“We’re Aggie and Bas over for dinner and then we’re going to watch television. You guys can help answer the door.” Viola dumped the bag of candy into the bowl, shooing away the Wfsals hands reaching for treats.
While Viola was busy with the terrors, Duke reached behind her bag and snagged a handful of Tootsie Rolls. The baby watched with wide blue eyes as he unwrapped a candy and popped it in his mouth. It let out a gurgling laugh when he pressed a finger to his lips and slipped the wrapper into his pocket.
Viola’s head swiveled around. Her eyes narrowed. His ‘I’m-so-innocent’ look only confirmed her suspicions that he was guilty of something. “What did you do?”
“Not a thing, sugar.” He wrapped the arm not holding the baby around her shoulders and pulled her against his chest. Having his two sweethearts snuggled against him was utter bliss. “I’m not sure we should subject the kiddo to The Rocky Horror Picture Show so early, though.”
“A) I don’t think the Spawn'll be able to actually see or understand anything at all. B) It’s never too early for the RHPS. C) You’re not getting out of it that easy, buckaroo.” Viola pinched his ribs just enough to sting but not enough to make him drop the baby. “You can’t use the Spawn as an excuse for everything. It already got you out of the horror movie marathon.”
“I like horror movies. What I don’t like is you contradicting everything they say about ghosts,” Duke protested.
The Wfsals stared at Viola as she picked the bowl of candy up and carried it out of the kitchen. Exchanging startled glances, they sped off the counter and followed her to the living room. She put the bowl onto the table next to the front door then turned and nearly stepped on a curious Wiff. “What’s up?”
“Why is the candy in here? You said we have to keep our food in the kitchen or in the living room. We can’t eat it in here.”
“It’s not for you. It’s for the trick-or-treaters.” Viola scooped him up and set him on her shoulder. “If you guys change into something larger you can help me hand out the candy.”
“Give. Away. Candy?” Pip gasped, hand pressed against his chest.
Mixie fanned her face. Wiff was doubled over, face pressed against the collar of Viola’s shirt. Pip swayed and bumped into Mixie. Mixie fell onto the floor; she hooked her foot around Pip’s ankle and dragged him down with her. Pip sniffled loudly while Mixie wiped tears off her cheeks.
Griff’s eyes were screwed shut and his face was unnaturally pale. He staggered towards Viola and leaned against her ankle. “Worst holiday, ever.”