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“What’s that?” I blinked in surprise as Molly hauled a pumpkin into the house, one nearly as big as Mister.
“Halloween is in two days, Harry. Two days. You haven’t done any decorating!”
“Uh.” I shrugged. “Well, you know. I don’t really do Halloween. It’s more for people who aren’t wizards and can’t see what sort of ‘ghalies and ghasties and lang-lagged beasties’ are really out there. Plus, have you seen the price of chocolate nowadays? Who can afford to give it out any more?”
“Harry!” Molly gave me an exasperated glare. “I’m going to carve this pumpkin. You can help me, or not.”
“Sorry, young padawan, I can’t let you do that.” I shook my head slowly. “It’s really a bad idea. I mean, if you really want to, you can carve it at your parents’ place.” Michael and Charity’s house would be protected, and they probably did Halloween anyway. “But a jack o’lantern can’t stay here.”
I took a deep breath, rubbing my left hand. Molly stared at me, waiting for her answer. “It’s just really bad,” I said with a sigh. “Not world-ending bad, or even destroying the ol’ home town bad, but bad enough I needed to call on some really special help to resolve the problem. So, sorry, Mol, but no pumpkins on the stoop, lighting the way for that sort of thing to come back.”
As she opened her mouth, I added, “And you’re not old enough to know about the rest of it. So, the pumpkin needs to go, and no Halloween decorations. Sorry, kiddo.” I patted her shoulder on the way out the door, with Mouse trailing behind me. He nudged me when we got to the top of the steps and I leaned down, not surprised to find he’d grabbed his leash. “Yeah, I know,” I said in reaction to his eyebrows twitching. “It’s not a good answer, is it? But she’s too young to know about that.”
Mouse chuffed, the ruff of hair swaying as he gave himself an all-over body shake.
“Yeah, I know. I’ll tell her one day.” Maybe, I told myself. When she was around fifty or sixty. Yeah. That’d be a good time.
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