-Just because I can't see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it- (Jack Skellington)
(Note that the parts of the song sung are in bold.)
Halloween was a time of epic parties and creative ways of giving people a fright, but a lot of people couldn't believe that Duncan suggested a massive party at Camp Wawanakwa, but even more, people couldn't believe that Chris even agreed to the idea. Despite the fact that all of the campers lived throughout Canada and parts of the world, they managed to get a hold of every one of them with an invite to the party. Most of them accepted.
For Cody, it was a good chance to finally work up the nerve to ask Gwen out. He knew that she loved Halloween and was so eager to impress her with his costume choice. He told no one what he was going to be, but that was because he had a hard time figuring it out. For almost a month, Cody thought and looked at hundreds of costume ideas only to have none of them scream out to him, but he was determined to find an idea for him. Luckily, he didn't have to look far. While watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, he saw Jack Skellington's character and that was when his lightbulb came on. That was who he was going to be. He was going to be Jack Skellington.
It didn't take him long to find the costume- which even had Jack's hands and skull that could be worn. Cody couldn't believe his luck. Not only was no one going to recognize him, but he was going to be able to work up the nerve to ask Gwen out.
But just as taking over Christmas didn't work out for Jack, asking Gwen out wasn't going to work out for Cody.
When Cody finally arrived at the island, he was impressed to see the variations of costumes. He couldn't figure out what Gwen was but saw most of the other costumes. He was impressed that there was a variety of costumes ranging from Wonder Woman to the typical stereotype vampires and mummies.
Duncan and Chris went all out for the Halloween party. They managed to turn the lodge into a building that came out of a Tim Burton movie. Not only was it grey and dull, but it had the touch of Halloween to make it frightening for those who had to enter. It didn't help that Courtney convinced them to add
Dante's famous Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate ("Abandon all hope, ye who enter here") above the doorway. She pointed out that it was going to be a harmless addition since if they were going to celebrate a holiday about frightening people what would a harmless quote do, but that it was unlikely that anyone's hope would be abandoned when they entered the lodge.
For Cody, however, it was a warning that he decided to ignore.
After searching for his best friend, he found Noah in a corner, reading. He was the poet Virgil and was reading the Aeneid in Latin. Typical of him to be reading something from the person he dressed up as Cody thought.
Cody made his way over to Noah and stood there, waiting to see if he would look up from his book. It didn't take him long. "Look, I know you think of me as your friend Izzy, but please, I'm in no mood for your antics." He said.
"Well I'm not Izzy and it's Halloween so you should lighten up a little bit," Cody replied.
Noah was stunned when he heard Cody's voice come from the Jack Skellington costume and not Izzy's. "Cody, I was not expecting you in that costume. I thought that you were Izzy."
"It's alright. I'm sure that it won't be the last time someone thinks that. So what do you think?"
"I'm not crazy for Halloween, but your costume looks awesome. This is something I didn't expect from you."
"I got so inspired from watching Jack in the film that I decided to be him for Halloween."
"Well you manage to pull him off quite well; almost to the point that he looks real."
"That was the goal I was going for," Cody added. "I see that you're Virgil this year."
"Oh yeah." Noah duly noted.
"I guess you didn't want to be Virgil?" Cody asked.
"I actually wanted to be John Milton this year, but the costume didn't arrive on time. I almost wore my Dante costume before remembering that I did that last year, so I had to whip together this Virgil costume." Noah said.
"It's not that bad Noah. And besides, you can't spend the whole night reading."
"Why not Cody? Why can't I?"
"Oh, um, well-" Cody tried to answer. Before he could explain his reason, a bear came up and dragged Noah away. From the way the bear acted, Cody guessed that it was Izzy reliving her moment from back during the summer. He still felt embarrassed after wetting his pants twice on national television.
Cody moved throughout the room, with hardly anyone recognizing him as Jack. That was the goal that he wanted since several people were unrecognizable in their costumes. He still no sign of Gwen. So to pass the time, he went up to the buffet where the food, and Owen, were located at. As he went to get some food, he noticed someone behind the table always refilling the food when someone took some so that the table would always appear to be full. Through his skull, Cody had a look at her. She wore her hair up in a bun and wore one of those Edwardian dresses. What puzzled him was the fact that she had deep red hair, almost a scarlet color. He knew that Izzy was the bear and that there were no other red-haired girls in the cast. "Who are you?" Cody asked while he walked up to the table where she stood.
"Well, I'm supposed to be Virginia Woolf and you must be a skeleton. Nice to meet you." She replied.
"Oh no no. That's not what I meant. I meant what was your real name, and this is not just a regular skeleton. This is Jack Skellington."
"Well, my apologies Jack. I am Scarlett. Scarlett Neuer. A pleasure to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too, except that my name isn't Jack."
"Is it not? What is your name then?"
"My name is Cody. Cody Anderson."
"Now that's more like it, Cody," Scarlett added. "So what can I help you with?"
"Well, I hadn't seen you before and I was wondering what you were doing here," Cody replied.
"To confess, I'm one of Chris's assistants who is helping out with the party," Scarlett said.
"Oh alright. Well, are you having fun?" Cody asked.
"Honestly, no. I'd rather be at home reading. Halloween has been one of those holiday's I have no interest in."
"How come? Halloween is a time to where you let loose, dress up, and have fun, Scarlett."
"You may think that Cody, but I think of it as a wild and lawless holiday where no order and decency can be found. I hate to cut our conversation short, but I must head back into the kitchen to see if Chef needs anything."
"Okay. I hope to catch you around later."
"Perhaps, but I wouldn't bet on it."
After Scarlett left, Cody couldn't help but think about her. She seemed to be a good person but was irritated very quickly when he talked to her. He knew that his intentions were harmless, but he hypothesized that he approached her the wrong way. While he would normally forget about people like that and move on, he couldn't get Scarlett out of his head. There was something about her that drew him to her. Perhaps it was her difference from the other girls. Perhaps it was the simplistic, yet beautiful, style she had. Perhaps it was the fact that she was like him, both misunderstood by the world. Whatever it was, he would figure it out at some point throughout the night, but he drifted it to the back of his mind as he went to find some more of his friends.
Cody spent some time with his other friends and went back to the buffet table (but each time he went back, Scarlett wasn't there to his dismay) several more times for food. After almost an hour of eating and laughing and having a good time, he finally found Gwen and Trent all the way at the other side of the lodge. They came as Victor and Emily from Corpse Bride and while he was impressed with Trent's costume, his breath left him when he saw Gwen as the dead bride. Although he found the concept of the zombie itself to be hideous, there was something about Gwen being un-dead that brought a warm fire into his heart. It added onto the crush that he had. This was the moment that he was waiting on. This was the moment that he was going to capture Gwen's heart once and for all. So he went up to them and silently stood there. He wanted to surprise them, but that was ruined when Trent went, "Hi man. You look great as Jack."
"How did you know that I was him? I wanted to surprise you both." Cody replied.
"We managed to figure it out quite easily when we arrived, based on height," Trent added.
"Oh yeah, because Jack's a tall skeleton and I'm short. That makes sense." Cody realized.
"Well, I'll be right back. I'm going to get something to eat so keep each other company." Trent said. He left and Cody found himself alone with Gwen. His heart was pounding and he started to sweat inside his costume. Here he was, alone with his crush, and yet, he was acting foolish. Come on, he thought, I can't mess this up now. After getting his nerves together, he turned to Gwen. "I like your costume."
"Thank you." She duly noted.
"What do you think of my costume? I thought of you when I picked it." He pointed out.
"That's nice." She flatly remarked. Her remark disappointed Cody a bit. He was hoping that she would be impressed with his appearance as Jack Skellington. It wasn't working, so he kept thinking what to do until she blurted out, "Is there something you want to ask me?"
"How- how did you know?" He asked.
"Look, Cody, I can read through you. If you normally don't speak as soon as I come, you are trying to ask me, so whatever it is, just say it."
Cody swallowed the lumps in his throat. "Alright. Here goes nothing. Gwen, ever since I first laid my eyes on you, there was something about you that fascinated me. You ended up being on my mind almost non-stop during this summer, and so, I was wondering if you would like to go-"
"Alright. Stop right there." Gwen interrupted. "I told you this once before, but since you didn't listen, I'm going to drill this into your head once and for all. I don't like you. I've never liked you. I never will like you. I don't want anything to do with you. So, please, just leave me alone. Don't speak to me. Don't follow me. Don't be near me. Just go."
Without giving Cody much time to react, Gwen walked away. Even though his Jack mask was smiling, Cody was dying on the inside. He was heartbroken. The girl he liked just dropped him cold and shut him out of her life without so much of a thought. His spirit left him. His joy and excitement for Halloween left him.
His hope left him.
He decided that he had to be alone right now. He didn't want anyone's sympathy. So, without being noticed, he left the lodge and walked toward the woods. There was a full moon in the sky, and not only did it show the bare trees without leaves, but it showed a clear path that Cody could walk through.
As he walked through the woods, Cody felt just like Jack when he grew tired of being the Pumpkin King and the leader of Halloween. Tired of the environment around him. Tired of feeling and living the same old thing year after year. To help with the walk in the deserted and dark woods, Cody thought of Jack's song from the movie.
There are few who'd deny, at what I do I am the best
For my talents are renowned far and wide
When it comes to surprises in the moonlit night
I excel without ever even trying
With the slightest little effort of my ghostlike charms
I have seen grown men give out a shriek
With the wave of my hand, and a well-placed moan
I have swept the very bravest off their feet
Yet year after year, it's the same routine
And I grow so weary of the sound of screams
And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King
Have grown so tired of the same old thing
Cody stopped when he ended up at the bottom of the cliff. He couldn't remember how he got to that point, but it didn't matter to him at this point. He looked around sadly and as he climbed up the hill to the cliff, sung aloud to the empty night,
Oh, somewhere deep inside of these bones
An emptiness began to grow
There's something out there, far from my home
A longing that I've never known
When Cody got up to the top of the cliff, he just looked around and sighed. He didn't understand why the world rejected him so much. He did nothing wrong, but the world was so cold and painful to him and he couldn't figure out why. Even the night rejected him. He thought that he saw a shadow behind him, but it turned out to be an illusion. No animals came up to him. So, he just sat down on the ground and looked out at the lake, as far as the eye could while thinking more about Jack's song.
I'm a master of fright, and a demon of light
And I'll scare you right out of your pants
To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky
And I'm known throughout England and France
And since I am dead, I can take off my head
To recite Shakespearean quotations
No animal nor man can scream like I can
With the fury of my recitations
But who here would ever understand
That the Pumpkin King with the skeleton grin
Would tire of his crown, if they only understood
He'd give it all up if he only could
He sat there for the longest time, not moaning or saying anything, just lost in his thoughts. After a while, he took off Jack's mask and with teary eyes sung to the moon,
Oh, there's an empty place in my bones
That calls out for something unknown
The fame and praise come year after year
Does nothing for these empty tears
Without much of a warning, he started crying. He felt such a fool for ever believing that he and Gwen ever had a chance. He felt such a fool for falling in love with her. He felt such a fool for acting so stupid around her. Cody felt the happiness leave his body little by little, and his heart going with it.
Cody was so occupied crying that he didn't realize that he was right about the shadow he saw earlier. Someone did indeed follow him and they were deeply concerned over upset he was. They started to take a step, but they stepped on a twig and it snapped in half. "Who's there?" He asked. He stopped crying and shot up. He turned around and found Scarlett standing there. "Scarlett? What are you doing here?"
"Well, I was throwing some trash out when I noticed you heading toward the woods and I got curious so I followed you." Scarlett replied.
"So I guess you heard me singing then?" Cody asked. "I guess you think that I'm an awful singer."
"On the contrary, I don't. I can see the heartbreak in your voice, and hearing you being in pain made me felt bad for the coldness I had toward you earlier. So I hope you can forgive me."
"Of course I can forgive you, Scarlett. I didn't introduce myself properly either so we can both be at fault."
"I accept that, but do tell me, Cody, are you alright?"
"What do you mean by that Scarlett?"
"It's obvious that you've been crying for a while, and if you don't want to tell me, I understand, but I will be willing to help you out with whatever it is."
"It's very kind of you to offer that," Cody replied. "The thing is, I was love in Gwen, but she rejected me coldly and now I feel like I've been a fool the whole time."
"Gwen's the one with teal hair right?" Scarlett asked.
"Sure, you may come off as a creepy crush who's obsessed with someone Cody, but in order to be appreciated and find someone who loves you, you have to drop the hopeless romantic wannabe popular kid act. It will never work if you keep that charade."
"What am I supposed to do then?"
"Just be yourself. Reveal yourself to the world and just act natural. Just look at me. I may appear to be a person who doesn't want friends due to a short temper I have, but underneath that, I'm an intellectual who not only has a wealth of knowledge but a kind heart. And I want to be able to use that heart to make friends, and perhaps even find someone of my own."
After hearing Scarlett's advice, Cody paused to reflect on what she said. He didn't say anything for a few moments before remarking, "You have some really good advice Scarlett. Have you ever considered being a philosopher?"
Scarlett was stunned by the praise he gave her. "Do you really think so? Am I really that good?"
"I believe so. You have so much knowledge and wisdom that can benefit the world in so many ways that I can imagine."
"I've never had a compliment like that before. Thank you, Cody. You're too kind for your own good."
"Oh, it's nothing Scarlett. I like being around you."
"Of course. I wouldn't be talking to you if I didn't like you."
"That's true. I apologize for having a dumb moment."
"Don't feel bad, it happens to the best of us."
Cody ended up spending the rest of the party with Scarlett on the cliff, talking with her and getting to know her better. She made him forget about the despairing agony he had earlier and it made him feel much happier. It turned out that they had a lot in common and shared the same views on a majority of issues. Even as the party dwindled down, they still remained at the cliff until the next morning. Although they were tired, they parted on a good note, promising to have lunch together in a few days time.
It was too early for him to tell if he was over Gwen, but Cody couldn't stop thinking about Scarlett. Perhaps she had been the one for him this whole time and he just realized it after having his heart broken. It was too early for him to ask Scarlett out as his girlfriend. He had to get to know her better and learn how to build up his confidence again, but perhaps, they would have a far better future than what he would've had with Gwen.
Thanks to Scarlett, Cody's lament was gone and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Alright, I know that songfics are frown upon on here, but this one was a spur of the moment that came to me. I was watching Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time and I got this idea of a story from the song, "Jack's Lament" after hearing it for the first time. It just came to me and I went with it. Hopefully, you guys won't give me too much of a hard time for doing a songfic, but I'll just clear it up now and say that this is the only one I plan on doing.
So, Happy Halloween everyone and until next time, please read, review, favor, alert, and spread the word.