They say that the fire twins are deadly, ferocious and terrifying even by Halloween Town's standards. They live miles from town in a ravaged forest, alone save for the charred trees and each other. They also say that they'd killed their parents, but Sokka doesn't quite believe that. It's been three years since he'd lost himself in Halloweentown and by now, things have stopped being quite as frightening.
He's been corrupted by this dark place, tainted by its horrors until his idea of reality is warped and torn askew. This place is nothing like his home. Nothing like Christmas Town, with its warm lights and its white snow that never seemed to grey. This place has crept into his soul, gnawed at the corners until Sokka doesn't know what's real and what's not. Even the nice lady on the corner of the town square, the one who'd welcomed him in despite his "odd looks" was frightening at first. Now... now he's not so sure.
The screams are thrills, the fear a different kind of pleasure. So he goes for a walk, traipses past the moldering swamps, creeps past Oogie Boogie's teetering mansion, bites his lip to keep himself quiet as he sneaks past the Banshees. The dingy grey sun is setting by the time he sees the first line of blackened trees, a purple and red twilight settling across his shoulders like a blanket.
By the time he's in the heart of the forest, night has crept over him, wrapping him in shadow. He has nothing but the moon to light his way, and even that doesn't truly help penetrate the darkness of the wood. He's nearly ready to give up and bunk down for the night when he sees the first hint of flame, hears the faint whisper of laughter on the wind. He shudders when he sees the orange light reflected against the trees in the distance and pretends that his heart isn't racing.
A girl's voice yells in delight and a brittle cracked tree goes up in flame. He's surprised that the forest isn't ash by now.
He isn't expecting the sharp crack of a twig behind him, and the only thing that keeps him from screaming is a clawlike talon settling across his mouth. When he turns to look, he is almost surprised by the boy's normalcy. Half his face is in shadow, but from what Sokka can see, he looks almost normal. Pale skin, dark hair, pale honey eyes. It's only when the rest of his face comes into view that Sokka understands the truth of his heritage. He's missing his second eye, a gaping hole of a shiny red wound the only thing hinting that it had ever been there. The edges of the wound is blackened, charred. Sokka wonders if it still hurts.
The boy is frowning at him, and he sounds almost frightened when he speaks.
"What are you doing here? Leave! Get out before she finds you!"
Sokka is mesmerized by this monster. The beautiful side of his face is perfect, like a painting he'd seen back in his own world, before grotesque became stunning and beautiful became ugly. The boy growls at him, shows him a mouth full of shiny white teeth, needle sharp fangs on one side and perfect, pearly, human teeth on the other.
He's about to speak, about to say something silly like show me your fire when the girl shows up.
If Sokka had thought that the boy had been pretty, the girl is downright stunning, radiant in her rags, with the moon shining prettily down on dark hair and honey eyes that match the shade of her brothers exactly. He doesn't see what's so scary, what's deadly about these two curious twins. And then the girl smiles and something shifts in her eyes.
"Come play with us," she purrs, wrapping a burning arm around his shoulders and dragging him deeper into the forest. Sokka understands the look in the boy's eyes too late and is helpless to do anything else but hope that this terror of a girl won't drag their 'play' out too long.
Sokka catches the boy's worried look over the girl's shoulder. He smiles and hopes that the thrill is worth it.