"I sense there is something in thew ind
that feels like tragedy is at hand
and although I'd like to stand by him
can't shake this feeling that I have
the worst is just around the corner
and does he notice my feelings for him?
and will he see how much he means to me?
I think it's not to be.
What will become of my dear friend
where will his actions lead us then?
Although I'd like to join the crowd
in their enthusiastic cloud
try as may, does it last?
And will we ever end up together?
No, I think not
It's never to become
For I am not the one."
~Sally's song from Nightmare Before Christmas
I hear there is something brewing in the wind. I can't remember much about my old life except that I was somebody important and that I had a mom and dad and that they loved me but something happened and I was sent away.
Jack never tells me about his old life. He says whoever we were, it is best not to ponder on it because it doesn't really matter. "The past is past." But I know it is not. Lately I've had more dreams. They all point me to the same direction. "Home."
A woman with blue-green eyes smiles down at me and takes me into her arms and asks me a simple question and I say "Yes" then she hugs me and tucks me in bed. "Who are you?" I always ask but I wake up before she can answer.
"You are making a big mistake going into the world of the living. I went there once and I found nothing but pain and sorrow."
"You never told me about that Jack."
"Because I didn't want to burden you. Look at who we are. We are Mr. and Mrs Halloween. We don't need to worry about the outside world."
"It's not the outside world I am worried about. I just want to know who I am and if I still have afamily. If there is still somebody that …" She did not finish. Jack finished for her.
"Cares for you?"
"I am sorry, I did not mean to hurt you. I love you Jack but I need to find who I am. The doctor constructed me from old body parts in an ancient crypt. I need to know from whom."
"I will always love you Jack." She continued placing her hand on his cheek. "But I can't rest until I find out the truth about myself."
"I know." Jack said, sighing. His face changed from a skeletal to his human one from when he was alive. "But I warn you, you might not like the truth."
"You've been to their world twice, once when you were Santa Claus and I trust you will protect me."
"It's who we are,
Doesn't matter if we've gone too far
Doesn't matter if it's all okay
Doesn't matter if it's not okay
Because it's who we are
Save us who we are
It's all uphill from here"
~Who We Are by Imagine Dragons
The two went through the magical portal into the world of the living. At once they changed their clothes with the pixie dust they had been given by the three crones. "Nothing much has changed." Jack said sighing again. He wished that Sally didn't have to do this.
There was nothing in this world but pain. "Well here goes nothing."
"Jack, usually I am the one who worries. We will be fine." He smiled at her and vaguely remembered what the Doctor had told him about Sally.
No, I can't tell her –he thought. She had to discover that on her own. When they took money from a guy's wallet, they boarded a plane to England where her dreams had been pointing her. Arriving there, at one of the most celebrated places in Europe, Sally nearly collapsed.
"No." She whispered. It could not be. She turned to her husband. "Jack, there has to be a mistake. This can't …" But it was. Jack nodded and held her hand tighter and the two walked in front of the place where she was buried. There was the effigy of a woman, a woman whom she vowed to love and then hate, and beneath her was her body. Or had been before the doctor came and stole it to make her.
"So it is true. I am a monster and broken thing."
"No, you are not Sally. You are Sally Halloween my wife and whoever you were in your past life, that is past."
"I know." Her husband had said it before but it somehow didn't sound right because this is who she was and she couldn't change that, no matter how hard she or Jack tried to convince her to. "But Jack," she said as it dawned to her by her husband's look, his dark blue orbs changing to black as he became angry when he heard the tour guide say all kinds of things about the person she'd been before and people laughing at her. If it wasn't for their disguises, they would freak and run and call the police like they did when he nearly ruined their Christmas. "Why didn't you tell me about this? You should've told me."
"Sally, I wanted to but I hoped that you would get dissuaded from this. I didn't want you to go through with what I went through when I found out that my mother abandoned me for … It doesn't matter."
"What? What did she do to you Jack? Who were you?" She asked putting her hand on his shoulder but he backed away. "We said we were going to be honest with each other. Tell me who you were."
"It doesn't matter Sally. That is in the past."
"It is not. I am tired of you denying who we are, who we were. Can't you see it is hurting you too? Everyone in Halloween Town knows who they were except us. We are two lost souls Jack. You need to accept who you were just as I need to accept this dark truth about me. Only then, we will be at peace."
"We don't need to accept anything. I am happy being Jack the Pumpkin King, Mr Halloween, you should be happy too."
"Ha, happy. That is a word I have not heard from another man since my father."
"Don't start another argument Sally. Not here. I saved you."
"No Jack, I saved myself. I want to help you but you must let me in. What happened to your mother? What did she do to you that was so horrible? Please, tell me."
"She abandoned me alright?!" He screamed and several people turned to them. She smiled apologetically at them and took his hand and went outside the abbey to sit on one of the empty benches.
"It was a long time ago. I was only seven. My father was an important man, he was the most powerful man in Egypt but he had a feud with his adoptive cousin over his people and war broke out and anyway I was young and scared and when I felt myself fading…"
"You mean dying?"
"Yes, dying." He said, grateful that she had the courage to say the word since he didn't. The memories of his past life were still very painful and he didn't wish to revisit them but if this is what it took so Sally would stop thinking about this world then so be it.
"What did your mom do? I mean, she wouldn't leave her child all alone in his time of need."
"No, she didn't, she was there by my side and so was my dad."
"But you said-"
"I am getting to that. My uncle unleashed a terrible curse on the making my dad think that perhaps he was right and he was just about to agree to his terms and let his people go when …" He looked away.
Sally's hand on his made him look at her. Even when she was in her life appearance she looked so beautiful. Gods, she was so beautiful. It was no wonder why he fell in love with her at the spot. But it was also her spirit, her inner beauty which captured him and that she was the only one in Halloween Town who had the courage to speak back to him and make him see his mistakes.
"It's ok, you can tell me. I understand."
Yes, she did. As a Princess he had been very learned and she knew more about the bible and philosophy than all of her stepmothers combined. She would have known this story like the palm of her hand, but would she look at him the same way if he confirmed her suspicions that he was the son of the accursed pharaoh from the bible who nearly killed all of the Israelites?
"My dad saw me and I could see it, it was like somebody put a spell on him and the good man that I knew turned into somebody else and he told my uncle that he would rather see all of his people die before releasing his people. Dad then took me to my room and told me that nothing would happen and the next day I was gone."
"You died." Sally/Mary said, feeling very sorry for him. In her childhood she always pictured the chosen people as the good guys with God as the ultimate source of good in this universe but now that Jack told her the story, she saw the truth. There was no real good here, or bad. This was a jealous god that treated people like they were puppets and she wondered if that was why Jack played deity when he tried to steal Santa Claus' job, because he wanted to get back at the one who stole everything from him?
Jack surprised him by telling him "No. I didn't die that day."
"But the holy book, it says that the pharaoh's firstborn along with the others were taken."
"The good book didn't know the truth or they did but didn't want the home team to look ridiculous." Jack gave a dry laugh. "My mother convinced my dad to take me far into the desert where Moses had been exiled and when I clung to her and told her that I didn't want to go, she slapped me and told me that I had to go or else I would be dead. I pleaded with my parents to let me stay but my father said he would rather live the rest of his life knowing that his son is out there alive then dead in his arms. After that, they put in my place a boy from the lower sectors of the city who was also a firstborn so my uncle would not find out. I nearly died, somehow it found me but for some reason it spared me. When I was older I made my way back to Egypt. Its chosen people were far away and in their place were other workers, taking on their job for a meager pay. I hoped that my dad would recognize me as his long lost son and my mother would embrace me but when I got there …" A tear slid past Jack's eye. "They had already forgotten me. In my place were four boys, the oldest two the age I had been in my mother's arms and the other two in my father's second wife's arms. My mother saw me then and told me never to come back. I didn't even get to see my father. He was so busy putting down insurrections in his other territories that he didn't bother to ask about the stranger his new sons had seen on his water gardens. I was nothing but a memory to them Sally. I was their firstborn son and they treated me like number two." He sobbed.
"Now you see why this world means nothing to me. These people are nothing, they believed in a murderous deity who took away everything and for whom millions died and still keep dying, and who spared me so I could live knowing that I was better off dead. I went back to where I had been staying that day and took a rope and hung myself. Then I woke up and found myself in Halloween Town and the rest you know. I became respected and feared and I never looked back."
"Jack. I am so sorry."
"It's useless to be stuck in the past. Whoever you were, you better forget it because your parents, my parents, we meant nothing to them and we are better off where we were."
"No we're not. Can't you see, Jack? Your parents did that so you could live. If they were not confined to kingship they would've taken you back. They probably thought you were dead."
"They could have sent somebody to look after me Sally. They were the freaking King and Queen of Egypt. The could have sent somebody!"
"And then what? God would find out or worse Moses' brother Aaron would and he would have sent somebody to kill you."
"That doesn't justify what they did. They could have taken me in, I was their firstborn!"
"You were their firstborn." Sally agreed. "But if they took you in, it would have opened a whole new can of worms. People rallied with your father after he failed to bring them in because they saw him as a man of the people. He bled and cried for your loss. Imagine if they discovered that you were alive. How many sons and daughters could have been spared if he had the brilliant idea of taking them to the desert?"
"Are you calling my father a coward?"
"No. But the people would. I don't know much about ancient history but I know enough about the monarchy because I was a princess as you were a prince, and we both know that a king who deceives his people can never be trusted, especially when he is of a dynasty that hasn't been well established and love, your father's dynasty was not that well established." She told him leaning forward to kiss him.
He was so lost in that kiss that he didn't mind her words or what she said after as he ravaged her mouth. "I love you and I know exactly how you are feeling. But you said it yourself, we can't live in the past."
"So you agree?"
"I agree that we must let go of our hatred but we can't let go of who we are."
"We are Jack Skellington Halloween and Sally Skellington Halloween not Rameses the would be prince who was abandoned by his parents and Mary Tudor, the Queen who is mocked by everyone." He said firmly.
"Oh my love, you are so wrong. We are Jack and Sally but we are those people as well and we can't run away from our past. But we can start by letting go of our hatred. Our parents did horrible stuff but they are our parents and if we give into our hatred, we are going to be like this, trapped as they were. Do you want that?"
"No." He confessed.
"Then let go." She told him and he did. After they returned to Halloween Town, he asked the three crones who were also the three fates, the ones who had once counseled the gods of Mt. Olympus and the Norse Gods, to contact the gods of the underworld so they could see their parents.
Before them stood their parents, Rameses II "the Great", Nerfertiri, Katherine of Aragon and finally Henry VIII. Jack steeled himself when he saw his parents. He had so many insults to throw at them but when they saw him they recognized him immediately and ran at him and hugged him. "I thought you didn't wanted to see me."
"You are our son and nothing will ever change that. We prayed for this day for centuries. We are so happy that it has come." They said and then they noticed Mary Tudor, now Sally Skellington, otherwise known as Mrs. Halloween. They were wary of her when they heard their son had married this girl. Even for his standards, Henry VIII wasn't a person that Rameses liked for his son to have as his father-in-law. Who knew if this girl inherited the same madness? But the girl did not look like her father. The same auburn hair as his, only darker than his and her mother's, and his dark grey eyes, but her face was kinder and her lips were rosier.
"Your Majesties." She said curtsying as she remembered from her old days as a princess.
Katherine of Aragon was so proud of her daughter. She wished that things would have gone different because she deserved to be remembered as a great queen but fate had been cruel. But thankfully death had been kinder and in Jack, she had found a man far better than any she could've encountered in her time.
The former Queen watched as her daughter's in-laws greeted her with kindness then they greeted them.
"I guess we were wrong." Rameses II told Henry VIII. He extended his hand and Henry took it.
Their troubles were over. Sally was right, Jack felt much freer after that meeting.
Before their parents returned to their resting place, Katherine hugged her daughter one more time and said she would come and visit more often, as for Henry, he said very little but that was not surprising. He kiss his daughter's forehead and wished her well.
"Do you think we will see them again?" Jack asked her, putting his arms around her tiny waist where life was brewing. It was ironic really. In life they always wished for a family but could never have one, now in this town they called home, they could.
"They promised they would visit us. They will be delighted to find they are death grandparents."
Jack chuckled, his skeletal laugh sounding so mercurial and like a sweet melody to her ears. She turned her head and smiled, kissing his lips. "We are going to change our stories this time. No more fate and people to rely on us." He told her and she nodded.
They say that we are all crazy but that is not how Mary or Sally as she was known now, saw it. She made a choice and she took responsibility for it. Now she made another choice and she was going to stick with it.
Looking out the window she saw Jack playing with their daughter, Melody. She had pale skin, a result of her father being Jack Skellington, black eyes. Completely black, no pupils, no iris. They were just black. She inherited her dark auburn wavy long hair. Every December Santa Claus would grant them the gift of snow and every time, she and Jack would go outside to play with their daughter, in the same mountain where she and Jack shared their first kiss. But not today. Today she was staying home, writing in her diary everything she remembered from her old life so in case the old demons from their past came back to haunt them or worse, the humans were to discover about their world, a piece of her would remain and her daughter would know the full truth about her parents.
As she continued to watch her husband and daughter play, she was struck by another memory, one she thought she had forgotten. And as it all came back to her, she couldn't help but feel rotten inside.
"No." The reason why her mother could visit her but could not return to the netherworld was because of her. It was the same reason why she, Anne and Jane were stuck on Earth. I have done something terrible. But it was too late for regrets.
That piece of her life was over. This was who she was and she wasn't going to care about anybody else but her and Jack and their daughter.