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In A Witch We Don’t Trust

Chapter Text

30th October 2018

The mall was filled to the brim by people shopping for Halloween decorations, costumes and all sorts of candy. Of course it was - there was only one day left until Halloween and America was known to go all the way at that special time of the year.

Children were pulling at their parents’ hands and tugging them towards the next shop to try and find the best costume ever while other adults were walking around on their own and searching for decorations to decorate their house the spookiest in their neighbourhood. It was the same last year and the year before that but it didn’t matter because last year’s costume or decoration or whatever they decided to buy last year was old and had to be newly purchased.

Right in between those groups of people were five young adults, boys really, who walked behind each other like a family of ducks.

In the front a blonde man, seemingly the youngest and smallest. His blue eyes were focused on the biggest shop to sell costumes and he was eagerly shoving through the mass of people while holding hands with the slightly taller, brown-haired man behind him. Said second in this weird chain of people send a glare at everyone who looked at them weirdly but every time his eyes focused back on the blonde boy in front of him, the glare vanished and its place took an overly fond look. The third one was a tan boy with absent-looking, dark brown eyes, obviously just following and letting himself being dragged around to wherever they ended up. The fourth one had brown eyes as well but muscular arms. Even though he looked like a bear more than a man, he smiled at every person who passed them and nodded in greeting. Then the last one was the tallest, almost hovering above the other four and thanks to his long, brown locks he resembled Tarzan a little bit too well. His green eyes were focused on his feet, obviously trying to not trip over them and taking the other four down with him.

They were all holding hands and built a chain that way.

The blonde one in the front took a look over his shoulder and sighed at seeing the boys with such a lack of motivation.

“You guys are no fun! If we don’t hurry, then all the good costumes will be gone and we have to wear trash bags or something” he whined which made the other boys chuckle.

“I mean” the second boy in the chain started, “there’s only one day left. We’ll be lucky if we find anything at all. The good costumes will be gone by now for sure.”

“Yeah, and whose fault is that, Lou?” the third one asked and rolled his eyes.

“Ehm, excuse me? Are you really saying it’s my fault, Mr sleep-until-the-shops-are-closed-Malik?” ‘Lou’ countered and sent a glare over his shoulder.

Before the tanner boy had the chance to answer, the bear-looking man opened his mouth and tried to calm the other two down. “Now, now, boys. We don’t want to argue right now. We could’ve gotten our costumes days ago but neither of us thought about it. We’ll find something. Don’t worry, Nialler” he said and addressed the blonde boy in the front who managed a smile and turned back to face the store they were heading over to.

The tallest boy frowned. “I wouldn’t mind wearing a trash bag” he said and the other four groaned and Lou couldn’t hold back an annoyed “Harry!” to which Harry answered a confused “What?”

They finally managed to squeeze through all the people and were now entering the store. Knowing they would end up looking for costumes of different categories, they let go of each other’s hands and went in different directions, promising to meet up at the checkout as soon as they found their costume for this year’s Halloween.

You might think: Hey, you said they were young adults. Why are they still dressing up? And are you implying they’ll go trick or treating? We’ll, yes my dear friend. That’s exactly what I’m trying to write over here. But to be completely honest with you: Louis, Zayn, Liam and Harry - the ones walking behind Niall, the blonde one - only decided to participate in this yearly event because of Niall who was the youngest and the most childish - not in a bad way but in an overly adorable way - of their group. But that’s what you do when you’re completely smitten with someone. You do whatever it takes to make them happy and there was nothing they wanted more than to make their Nialler happy.

Despite thinking there were no costumes left for them, all of them found something they were somewhat happy with. What exactly each of them bought was a secret they wanted to keep until the next day though. They wanted to surprise each other by revealing their costumes in full glory, with the make-up and shoes, the clothes and the accessories.

Niall was persistent enough to talk the boys into buying the costumes one after the other and the others had to wait a few meters away from the cash register to prevent the other ones from even catching a glance at the costume. He took the whole ordeal very serious.

It took them 15 minutes to complete their purchases but after that they left the store. This time they didn’t need to hold hands, seeing as it was now late in the afternoon and most people already left to go home and eat dinner.

Niall was walking in the middle with Louis and Harry on one side and Liam and Zayn on the other. He was happily skipping along while the other four were looking at him fondly.

Now, their relationship was a little hard to explain. They weren’t just friends but ‘relationship’ was too big of a word for them. It was more like Liam, Zayn, Harry and Louis were best friends while Niall was also their best friends but something more. The four older boys couldn’t deny the crushes they had on the blonde boy and they were overly affectionate towards the youngest while Niall loved the other four boys equally as much.

They knew each other since they were children and growing up, Zayn, Louis, Harry and Liam have learnt to ‘share’ Niall in a healthy kind of way while also coming accustomed to the fact that Niall needed a lot of attention, despite being only a year younger than Harry who was the second youngest. On the other hand, Niall grew up with amazing best friends who were protective over him and learnt to love one of them just as much as the other three.

It wasn’t surprising for their families when the boys announced they’d move in together after they’ve graduated from school but they were a bit disappointed about the fact that they wanted to move to a different state which wasn’t surprising because parents usually wanted to keep their children close.

Just as they stepped outside the mall did they notice how cold it’s gotten. They’ve been at the mall for a little under two hours but autumn wasn’t playing any games and the weather changed as fast as Niall changed his clothes a day - which was a lot of times.

Harry was the first to notice the youngest’s shivers and went to take off his coat that he then draped over Niall’s shoulders who looked up at him gratefully.

“Thank you, Haz” he said and giggled while snuggling into the warmth of the soft material.

Harry beamed with happiness. “No problem, Ni” he said proudly.

One thing they decided on not buying when they moved in together was a car. They didn’t need one because they were living in a city and were able to reach everything by foot or with their bikes and if they needed to go somewhere a bit farther away they could use the subway, the bus or just the train. They had no difficulties getting around the city.

The mall was about a 10 minute walk away from their house and because of that they decided to walk.

“Is there anything else we need to but? Do we have enough candy for when we’re back home tomorrow for the children?” Liam asked thoughtfully while going over their supplies in his head.

“Unless someone ate all of our candy, we should be fine, I guess.” Zayn’s voice was light but his eyes were studying Louis who already knew that Zayn expected him to eat all their food. Zayn and Louis were best friends but they also loved to argue.

“Then you’ll be glad to hear that I haven’t eaten anything sweet this last week. I’m saving myself for Halloween, thank you very much” he explained calmly and Niall laughed at that.

“You sound like you want to keep your virginity until you’re married, Lou” the blonde boy wheezed and bent over. That was another thing the boys loved about Niall: he was such a carefree person who laughed about the smallest jokes and loved the littlest things the world had to offer.

“Sadly, I’m not a virgin anymore, Nialler.” Louis smirked and Niall blushed, knowing where it went.

Zayn rolled his eyes and Harry looked away, humming a soft tune. Liam was the one to change the topic and to, thankfully, destroy the awkward moment. “We’ll, I’m pretty sure we’ve got everything we need and unless there’s something important missing, we should be okay the next two days without leaving the house. Besides trick or treating tomorrow.”

Niall fist bumped the air. “Yes! I’m so excited! I don’t even know why but it’ll be amazing seeing you all wearing your outfits and then all the people who’ll see us and think how incredible we look. It’s gonna be great.”

They laughed and continued walking home, making little clouds of fog appear every time they breathed out.

Soon they arrived in front of their small house. It was a nice-looking neighbourhood, despite it being a city and all and instead of big skyscrapers there were many smaller houses lined up next to each other and going a long way down the road. Their house was located relatively nearby to the city centre but it wasn’t any less nice than the others.

There was a short footpath towards their front door which was painted a nice blue colour that Niall picked while the rest of the house was made out of white-painted wood. A hollywood swing was placed on the veranda in front of the house that was decorated with all kinds of Halloween decorations. Some spiderwebs here and there with the occasional plastic spider in it, fairy lights that weren’t very scary looking but Zayn made sure they put them up as well and - the most important thing - five jack-o-lanterns lined the footpath. Two bis ones on one side and three smaller, but still big, ones on the other side.

Almost three hours were spent creating them just one day ago but in the end they were pretty happy with how they turned out and placed them proudly in front of their house. Harry had spied on a few people who were studying the pumpkins in the morning and nodded appreciatively. Not that anybody saw him.

As soon as they entered their home, they took off their boots and left them by the door on the drying mat. Autumn had brought wet weather and while the colours of the leaves were the prettiest thing ever, they loved to glue themselves to the soles of the shoes like... well, glue and it was messy.

“Cant wait to light up the chimney” Harry sighed and threw the bag which contained his costume next to the couch to the floor.

There was no hallway in the downstairs part of the house. After entering the house you stood in the living/dining room with a walkthrough to the kitchen. Next to those two rooms, there was a guest bathroom and the laundry downstairs. Upstairs, there were two bedrooms - one was for guests they never had and one was for them which they shared because sleeping alone had never crossed their minds ever before. There was one massive bed for them to sleep in and while there was no order for who slept where, it was usually Niall in the middle. The last room was a bathroom with two sinks, a toilet and a bathtub. Very eventful but it was more than enough.

“Harry! You can’t just throw your costume on the ground like that! What if it’s crinkled now?” Niall burst out and glared at Harry playfully.

“But... the chimney” Harry whined but stood up again to take the bag up to their room. Niall followed behind the tallest.

“Niall’s got us all wrapped around his finger” Louis sighed, set down his own bag on the couch and knelt down next to the chimney to light it up.

Zayn just nodded while Liam chuckled and said: “But we secretly love it.”

—-

31st October 2018

The urge to put on his costume and walk around their neighbourhood was there since Niall woke up in the morning and the other four boys were barely able to hold him back but by telling him things like “it doesn’t make fun if it’s not dark outside” or “the neighbours might not have their candy ready yet” they were able to calm him down a little.

Now it was late enough though and the blonde boy was jumping up and down excitedly, asking if they could finally start dressing up now. Liam told him that yes, he could but he had to wait for the other four to finish dressing up.

Niall, not liking the idea of having to wait for someone who doesn’t take this as serious as he does, nodded annoyed and sprinted up the stairs into his room. The banging of the bedroom door made Harry jump and Louis laugh at seeing his friend being so skittish.

“We should get ready as well” Zayn said and Liam nodded.

“Yeah, don’t let the kid wait” he joked and snorted afterwards. The others nodded and together they went up the stairs into their respective rooms.

30 minutes later - putting the costumes and make-up on took longer than expected - found Louis strolling down the stairs. He’s the first to be completely ready and he kind of liked his costume very much.

Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, he realised the others weren’t there yet which made him sigh in annoyance. He’d never say it out loud but he liked Halloween very much. Maybe not as much as Niall but that seemed impossible anyways. Or it was the candy that made this day so special to him, seeing as he had quiet the sweet tooth.

Finally, after 2 minutes of waiting on his side, one of the bedroom doors opened and the stairs creeked. It was Harry walking down the stairs in his costume and - Louis broke into laughter.

“Really Harold? Why did you even dress up? Your costume would’ve worked without those gloves” he cackled and made Harry frown.

“What do you mean? Do you not like it?” the brown-haired boy asked and looked down to study his outfit. Now, to be honest: his clothes didn’t change all that much. His top had only three buttons buttoned up, showing his tattoos and abs and the little bit of chest hair he had. His black skinny jeans had various holes in it - not only in the knee area but all around. On his feet he wore some very hairy shoes with toes at the front of it and gloves on his hands resembling a wolf’s claws. Within the mess of his long, curly hair, Louis could see two wolf ears peaking through and yeah - Harry was a very good looking werewolf.

Louis cleared his throat. “No, I kind of like it. It suits you” he admitted and a blush spread across his cheeks.

“Thank you” Harry preened. Then he studied Louis’ appearance. “I think you look pretty good as well.”

Louis laughed again. “It’s okay, you can be honest. I know it’s not the best costume.”

“No, no. I actually love it and you even got the ring. That’s an impressive thing to wear” Harry hurriedly said and gestured towards the ring Louis was wearing on the necklace around his throat.

Well, dressing up as Frodo Baggins is pretty iconic if you’re about 5’6 and the big, hairy feet, which were funnily enough similar to Harry’s, were looking hilarious on Louis. But the green of the cloak went amazingly well with Louis’ brown hair and blue eyes.

“That’s very nice of you to say, Harold. I take it as a compliment even though I can see right through you. Now, where are the other three? I want to prank some old neighbours” Louis said with a glint to his eyes.

It made Harry look at him warily but their conversation was cut short when there were two other bedroom doors being opened upstairs and Liam and Zayn came downstairs.

Zayn was - well, very handsome which wasn’t anything new really but his costume made him look taller and dramatically even more mysterious looking. The long, black coat that hid his whole body almost completely and the natural tan of his skin made the fake teeth almost blending to look at. And the thing was - the vampire teeth didn’t look fake at all! So glisteningly white and human-looking, apart from the length and sharpness, it was almost scary.

To add to the spookiness, he had styled his hair into a short quiff and Harry and Louis had to take another look to realise they didn’t just imagine the red contact lenses that were shining in his eyes instead of the chocolately brown they usually sported.

“I’m Dracula” he said nonchalantly and without any emotion in his voice. While is was horrifying, the others had to laugh about his performance.

Then, after Zayn, came Liam.

“Where the fuck did you learn to put on make-up like that?!” Louis screeches and made big eyes.

“Hm, I watched a YouTube video which explains step after step how you do it. It wasn’t that difficult to be honest.” It doesn’t look like it hasn’t been difficult. Liam wore a grey suit with a tie. His hair wasn’t very different to the way it usually is, styled up into a quiff. But the skin that was on display was rather impressive to look at. If you know the video game ‘Detroit: Become Human’ and know what an android looks like without their skin activated - yes, that’s how Liam looked at the moment. With the small LED light on the right side of his face and said grey suit, everybody who knew the game would see that he dresses up as Connor. As if on cue, Liam said:

“I’m Connor, the android sent by cyber life.”

While saying the catchphrase he wore a brilliant smile and took out the calibration coin Connor uses often.

“That looks amazing, Li” Harry exclaimed and couldn’t shut his mouth in excitement.

“Thank you.” Liam looked down while blushing and Zayn bumped his shoulder gently.

“Now, where is our leprechaun?” Louis asked and, after a moment of thought, he added: “I hope he doesn’t dress up as leprechaun. That would be too obvious.”

“Hey, he can dress up as anything he likes, even if it’s a leprechaun. That’d be pretty adorable in my opinion” Liam scolded and Harry nodded in agreement.

Just then the last bedroom door opened with a creak and all four heads turned to the stairs, waiting for the youngest boy to come down.

If they praised Liam for his make-up skills, they must’ve thought Niall invented make-up or something. Niall wore a white, skintight onesie, only his hands and head weren’t covered. He has changed his hair colour to white, his eyes were framed by deep, dark circles and the most impressive thing was the way he had painted his body in a way that made him look slightly blurry and a tiny bit translucent and okay - how did he DO that?

It was obvious he wasn’t a leprechaun but a-

“Boo! I’m a ghost!” Niall exclaimed and giggled adorably.

Liam, Zayn, Louis and Harry looked at him completely smitten and in awe of what he was capable of.

“You look amazing, love” Liam praised and Louis could only nod. Harry agreed by saying so and Zayn went over to Niall, took him into his arms and carried him while explaining: “And you can fly.”

They all had a laugh and a few minutes later, Zayn put the smallest boy back down.

“Right, where are our buckets?” Niall asked, referring to the plastic pumpkins they bought for the candy they’d get.

“In the laundry room, I think. Wait, I’ll get them” Harry volunteered and left for a few minutes. He came back with the five bucket which he handed out to the guys, a smile on all of their faces.

Finally, they were ready to go, so they looked at each other, making sure they had everything they needed and then went over to the front door.

“I’m so excited” Niall yelled, bursting Zayn’s eardrums because he was standing right next to him.

“Oh really? I wouldn’t have guessed” Louis said humourlessly and Harry sent him a warning glare which Louis then returned by smiling apologetically.

“That’s great, Nialler. Lead the way” Liam broke through the awkward silence and Niall, not having heard the words Louis had said, opened the front door eagerly and stormed into the night. His white appearance helping the other four boys keeping him within sight. Liam, being the responsible one, was the last to leave the house, closing the door softly behind himself and locking it.

It would be the last time he did so for a while.

Chapter Text

31st October 2018

“Trick or Treat!”

It was the umpteenth time they said this phrase this evening and the neighbour’s reaction were all very positive, appreciating their costumes, asking if they’re having fun and how they’ve been because they haven’t talked in ages - the boys were well known in their neighbourhood and many, wit few exceptions, were very fond of them. Sadly, there was one, maybe two people who were homophobic and even if they didn’t know their relationship status, they’d wish hell upon them. But the boys knew which houses to ignore.

“Aren’t you boys lovely!” A woman with grey hair and big glasses on her nose looked them up and down, cooing at their appearances and making appreciating noises. “Let’s see what I’ve got for you, hm?” She turned around, took some sweets out of the bowl next to the door and put them into their buckets. If she put more into Niall’s bucket, nobody had to know.

They all said “Thanks, Mrs. Reed” and walked away from her front door. She was a lovely lady and used to help them a lot when they had just moved. It became some kind of friendship with the five of them coming around for tea every few weeks or so.

“We never have to cook dinner anymore! Look at all those sweets” Niall exclaimed and threw his ghost-arms into the air.

The others laughed. “I don’t think it’ll be satisfying to eat sweets for the rest of our lives, don’t you think?” Liam said.

Niall pouted and humphed. “I don’t care about that.”

Harry wrapped one of his arms around the smaller boy who giggled and started playing with one of the wolf ears, needing to get on his tippy toes. “Having fun there, love” Harry asked and Niall nodded.

Louis walked backwards while watching his two best friends playing around which was the reason why he didn’t see the man he was walking into and sending towards the ground, both of them - the stranger and Louis - sprawling across the sidewalk.

“Lou!” the boys exclaimed and took the few feet forward towards the pair on the ground. They helped the two men back on their feet and while Louis was dusting off his cloak, the other man stared them down with such hatred gleaming in his eye - it made the boys feel very uncomfortable and uneasy.

“Man, I’m so sorry for knocking ya over. Didn’t see ya at all. Are you alright?” Louis asked concerned, studying the stranger to try and find out if he was hurt, he, Louis, was completely fine. Nothing hurt and the only thing looking like it laid on the ground was his costume, covered by dirt.

The strange man glared at Louis. “Watch where you’re going, boy. You might knock over the wrong people if you’re not watching your feet.” The sound of his voice made goosebumps appear on Niall’s arms and just by looking over at the other boys did he realise that they were feeling the same. It was really weird - like this man’s voice froze their hearts and made them stop beating.

“Woah, okay, he apologised, didn’t he? Is either of you hurt?” Liam asked, always the protective one, the daddy of their group. Louis shook his head while the other man continued glaring and okay - what was this guy’s problem?

The stranger started mumbling. “I knew it was a dumb idea putting thoughts of us into those stupid, little brains. Now the mortals think they’ve got the right taking out holiday away from us. It’s growing over their heads, is what it is.”

The boys looked at each other, confusion written across their faces. Was this guy mental? Should they call the police before this guy hunts down happy children and does unthinkable things to them?

Niall was the one who, in the end, steps forward and Harry was about to grab the white costume to pull him back and into his arms but the stranger was a little faster than any of the boys, throwing out his hands and grasping Niall’s lithe shoulders in a death grip, eyes mirroring the night’s sky. Frozen in place, Niall couldn’t have done anything even if he’d wanted to, looking into the black eyes was like being hypnotised which was why he didn’t hear Zayn or Louis shouting at the man or didn’t feel Harry’s hands on his shoulders nor did he see Liam trying to loosen the man’s grab on Niall’s shoulders.

“Let him go!” Louis shouted and was about to throw a punch at the man but his hand got stoped a millisecond before it could’ve connected with the man’s nose. The weird thing was that there was nothing there that could’ve stoped his hand, it was just hanging in the air, like Louis held out his hands and left it hanging there.

The following happened too fast for them to understand but it started with the man’s evil laugh and ended with them feeling like their chests were crushed by an invisible weight. They found themselves lying on the cold sidewalk, all of them but Niall who’s still being held by the man.

“I wouldn’t have done that if I were you” this... thing snarled and only know did the boys who were slowly sitting up see the way the black eyes were actually nothing but holes in his eye sockets. They couldn’t do anything when the stranger turned around Niall and wrapped his arms around his small frame in an almost loving-looking manner if it weren’t for Niall’s dazed eyes and the devilish smirk on the man’s face. “What a pretty thing he is, isn’t he? We don’t want anything happening to him now, do we?”

Harry actually growled like the werewolf he was dressed up as and sprang back up to his feet, not coming closer though out of fear for his love. Liam stood up next, then Zayn who glared at the man with gleaming eyes and then Louis stood up, swaying a little bit.

The growl Harry had let out mere seconds ago made this man grin widely.

“You’re too cute, every single one of you. Thinking you’d be able to stand up to someone as powerful as me - Diran - but let me tell you - I’m the most talented and powerful witch in Orphin. This whole Halloween-thing you humans’ got going is ridiculous and I knew from the beginning you mortal beings were destroying our beautiful town and all its inhabitants by copying what we are.” The way this Diran talked so animatedly but full of hate was almost hilarious if it weren’t for the scary situation they found themselves in with Niall in the enemy’s hands. Who knew what this crazy man was able to?

“What are you even talking about? It’s Halloween, of course we’re going to dress up.” Liam said and started taking small steps towards the pair opposite of them.

“Yeah” Louis glared towards this Diran. “Which crazy house did you flee from, hm? Leave Niall alone.”

But his words were left unheard, the black holes following Liam’s every move. “The thing is” Diran started, “I don’t even hate humans. I think it’s adorable to see their stupid, short lifes slipping through their fingers with them not even knowing what to do with what time the got gifted. Pathetic is what they - what you are. But you know what?” He asked and smirked, rubbing his arms up and down Niall’s pale arms. “I’m taking pity on you. You can’t even believe how tired I am of watching humans throwing away their lifes and I’ve taken a liking to this little one.” He looked down at Niall which made the other four boys growl in warning and Harry and Zayn took to two big steps forward, ready to throw themselves at Diran if he were to hurt the blonde.

“Wouldn’t it be funny to see how you lot would cope with real horror? I could take you with me home, back to Orphin and let you lose. Although...” he seemed to be overthinking something important, then another grin appeared on his face and little stars were glinting behind the holes were his eyes should’ve been. “You can’t stay like this. Your costumes are ridiculous to even look at and you’d get shred to pieces within seconds if I took you with me being all human.”

Liam narrowed his eyes, starting to feel fear in his chest and - as stupid as it might seem - he almost felt like this Diran spoke the truth. It was almost an intention which the other three boys felt as well and they wouldn’t admit it but they were a bit scared. Anyways, they wanted their Nialler next to them again and not next to this crazy stranger. “What do you mean?” Liam asked finally.

“This” Diran said, made some hand gesture and shouted: “Umxite!” And-

Niall vanished.

A second went by and Harry, Liam, Louis and Zayn stared with wide eyes, shining with shock and disbelieve at the space where Niall - their Nialler, the love of their lifes - stood just a moment ago.

Louis was the first to unfreeze. “What did you do” he yelled, voice shaking with rage. He threw himself at Diran who just held up his hand and threw Louis away, into Harry’s arms who tried to catch him but they ended up on the ground. Not even a second went by before they were back on their feet. Liam and Zayn stood next to them, trying to understand what was happening. Where was Niall?

Diran laughed like this was the most fun he’s ever had. He even had the audacity to dry a tear that rolled out of his right eye socket because of how much he has laughing. “Your faces are too good to be true” he wheezed. “Don’t worry, the little one is probably going through death right now.”

“You f*cking” Zayn roared and went to tackle Diran to the ground but similar to earlier when Louis tried to hit him, Zayn was stoped from moving closer, seemingly frozen to a statue but only for a second before he was able to move again.

“Holy witch trial, you’re taking everything too serious. No wonder your lifes are paltry. You’ll see what I mean soon. Now, are your ready to meet my brothers and sisters?” Diran asked and his icy voice made goosebumps appear on the boys’ body’s. They just wanted their Nialler back and to be in their small house, cuddling in one of their beds. This night turned out to be nightmare and it seemingly wasn’t at its worst point yet.

“What did we do for you to torture us like that?” Harry screamed heartbreakingly and honesty? - where were all the children and their neighbours? Didn’t they hear the pain the boys were put through right in front of their houses? Did Diran have anything to do with it? Possibly.

Diran actually thought about it for a second, then shrugged with his shoulders, grinning again. “I was in a bad mood and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. I’d apologise but I’m not sorry.”

“Where is Niall?” Louis asked again, glaring at the other man.

“Easy. I’ll show you” Diran answered, made a wide hand gesture, mumbled something incomprehensible and in the next moment they all disappeared, leaving the street and their neighbourhood easily quiet.

Mrs. Reed’s dog barked.