Chapter 2

The House on Dead Man's Hill

"Ready or not, here I come," shrieked a pale and skinny child of ten. Her long hair was raven black and her eyes even darker (although some said they turned red during the full moon). Her name was Lucille Cadavar Nightshade, and she lived in the house on Dead Man's Hill in the town of Rangoun with her twin brother, Nicholas Hearse Nightshade. Some said they were evil. Some said they were unfortunate. Some asked them if they would like to buy some cheese, but only for the money. Little was known about the twins. Their parents had "left town" a few years before, but why the children weren't put in an orphanage, nobody knew. Little was said about the matter. It was considered bad luck to speak of the twins or the strange disappearance of their parents. It was common knowledge that at night, if you didn't lock your doors and make sure all your windows were shut, the twins would sneak in and do something dreadful to you. Of course, no adults and few children said anything of this to the twins. They wouldn't want the twins to get angry at them.

Nicholas hid behind the mandragora in the garden, taking care not to make a sound. Lucille was walking through the garden, grinning evilly. She looked around. Pretending not to see anything, she skipped merrily out of Nicholas's line of vision. Silently she opened a jar of fire ants and, creeping silently behind Nicholas, dumped a few directly behind him. Then she silently got up and continued "looking" throughout the garden, cackling like a witch.

Nicholas began to itch. He moved, trying to see what was making him itch so much. Seeing the fire ants, he jumped up and started trying to get the ants off of himself, thus enraging said ants even more.

"Oh, there you are, Nicholas!" said Lucille, grinning evilly once more at the sight of her brother dancing to get the ants off. "Let me help you with those," she said sweetly, reaching for the watering can.

"Don't you dare!"

"Whoops!" She dumped it on his head. "I am so sorry, dear brother," she said politely. "I'll go get a towel." She ran towards the house.

"Oh, no you don't!" Nicholas ran after her. They both jumped to the left to avoid the trap the original owner of their mansion had put there to get rid of people trying to steal his precious plants. Nicholas jumped for Lucille, only to land in a pile of mud. Lucille laughed as she bent and threw more mud at him. She ran off, but not before getting whacked in the back of the head by a blob of mud. Soon they were engaged in what was not JUST a mud fight. It was a mud battle in the mud war they had begun the previous year.

~*~Later that Night~*~

Lucille was taking a bath, and Nicholas was in the library, looking up more uses for mud. The twins loved mud. Can you blame them? It's fun to get so dirty that nobody can recognize you. Besides, it's good for your skin. Thus, he was reading a book when Lucille came in.

"What's for dinner?" she asked.

"I don't know," he answered. "What are you going to cook for dinner?"

"Fine, then," she said loudly. "But you're the one who'll have to eat it! And we all know you're the better cook."

"Why thank you, dear sister," answered Nicholas sarcastically. "But may I remind you that you're the one who forgot to buy the groceries yesterday."

"Oh, come on," Lucille said. "There's probably SOME food in the kitchen." She went into said kitchen and opened the refridgerator. "See!" There was a package of hamburger meat and some soda. She checked the pantry. It contained some noodles, meat sauce, several spices, and some bread. "Oh, Nicholas! How do you cook spaghetti?"

"Oh, let ME do it!" shouted Nicholas storming into the kitchen.

"Are you SURE, dear brother, that you do not want me to help?" asked Lucille sarcastically.

"I'm certain," said Nicholas drily.

"Good!" Lucille went all the way upstairs to the thirteenth floor to her room. It had once been the second owner's bedroom. As such it was painted a dark crimson with red curtains, a mahogany desk, a canopy bed with a patern in red and black on the sheets, a mahogany dresser, and a full length mirror. "What to wear tomorrow?" Tomorrow was Friday the 13th, a holiday the twins always celebrated in style. Last year they had hidden a set of glowing red eyes in every bedroom window in Rangoun. They had stayed awake all night to listen to the screams. This year they planned to dance in the streets at midnight with green and purple sparklers.

Lucille looked in her closet. It contained Halloween costumes from the previous years and several dark-colored dresses. She pulled out a long black dress that looked like something Morticia Addams would wear. "No, the sleeves might catch on fire." She grabbed a crimson princess dress. "Too girly." She finally decided on a black A-line dress with three-quarter length see-through sleeves with patterns of spiderwebs on them. "Perfect."

"Lucille! It's time for dinner!"

"Coming!" She called back. She couldn't wait for tomorrow's plan to unfold.