Scarlett received a letter a few days later, addressed to the "Current Mayor of Ecclesia." It was sealed with a pansy-shaped sticker, and the envelope was coffee-stained. Isabelle brought it to her personally.
"Pete delivered this to the office today," she said, once Scarlett had gotten comfy in her overstuffed chair. "He didn't know if he should bring it to Town Hall or directly to you, so he left it here. This present was with it, too," she said, setting the package on the desk.
Scarlett took the letter from Isabelle and opened it, pulling out a sheet of crisp paper, also coffee-stained. It read,
To the Mayor of Ecclesia,
Avery came visiting today. He told me that your kind words influenced him, and that he decided that he was finally going to come see the girl of his dreams. What a hopeless romantic. But I suppose it's the thought that counts, you know? He also told me that while he couldn't bring himself to move away, he wanted to stay in touch with me. Anyways, give this to him for me, would you Mayor?
Kisses, Celia of Hawthorne
Scarlett opened the package and took out a white picture frame. Inside was a picture of her, and scribbled on the bottom was the phrase "it's the thought that counts."
"Oh Avery is going to love this," Scarlett said to herself.
Scarlett peeked out of the curtains in her second-floor bedroom, making note of the orange sunset in the partly-cloudy sky. It was almost 6, and that meant that Jack would be showing up any minute now in his bulbous pumpkin mask. She pulled her purple robe on over her denim jeans and fitted the werewolf hood over her hair. She was almost too excited to wait for the knock on the door.
Jack showed up promptly on time, rapping three times on the door. Scarlett flew down the stairs and flung open the door, startling her short visitor.
"I take it you're ready, Mayor Scarlett?" he asked in his quick voice, extending his hand to her. She took it and stepped outside, pulling the door shut behind her with a click of the lock.
"You know it," she said, adjusting her backpack straps.
"Whatcha got in there?" he asked.
"More masks, and candy," she replied with a wink.
He audibly gasped and exclaimed, "Can I have a piece?!"
"In due time, my friend. In due time," she assured him.
Ankha reeled back from the monster that had snuck up behind her. She'd hidden in her home for a reason, and that reason was nerves.
"Monster!! P-please! Go away! I'll give you candy, just- just please LEAVE!" she cried, jumping up onto her throne and handing the beast a lollipop tentatively. The monster snatched it from her and ran back outside, the door slamming shut after.
Scarlett peeled off her monster mask and snickered. She'd apologize tomorrow, she thought. She stuck the sucker in her mouth and went off in search of Jack, humming songs from her favorite animated Halloween musical as she went.
Isabelle was sitting on a tree stump, talking with Whitney as Scarlett ran past. She skidded to a stop in the dirt, hard-wired on sugar, taking out a patch of carnations in front of Whitney's house while doing so. The homeowner looked mortified.
"Ahh! Whitney, I am so sorry! I'll get some flower seeds from Leif first thing in the morning and I'll get this all patched up by the time you wake up tomorrow I promise-" Scarlett stammered.
"It's fine," Whitney said slowly. She and Scarlett hadn't had time to chat much since she moved into Ecclesia, and she was very stand-offish. Scarlett smiled sheepishly.
"Mayor," Isabelle interrupted, "Whitney recently mentioned Ecclesia's need for a Police Station, as safe as we may seem."
"I sure don't feel safe," Whitney snapped, "with people like Jack just perusing our town without anyone's knowledge."
"Well, I knew that he was here," Scarlett insisted.
"Yeah, once he came and found you at the cafe," she snotted back. "All I'm saying is, we could use a little responsible supervision."
Whitney turned her tail and strutted off, leaving Isabelle looking nervous and Scarlett insulted.
"Maybe it would be a good idea?" Isabelle offered, hopping off of her seat.
Scarlett huffed. "I'm gonna go give this to Jack," she said, sulking away.
Isabelle sighed. "I really dislike Halloween..."