"The neighbors had come, equipped with a gun, to shoot trespassers on arrival..."
While the commune anxiously waited publication of their cookbook, talk slowly turned back to their new neighbors. It was the last week in October and there had still been no signs of sign of life across the way.
"Maybe they're not going to actually live there," Ken speculated.
"Well, there was that moving van that delivered all that stuff," said Nancy.
"I wonder if they're just planning to use the house for storage," Viv said. "Maybe they just needed a place to put some extra things."
"And they wanted to use a house all the way up here to store them?" Luna seemed incredulous. "There must be storage places closer to DC. And what about that press release that Peter told us about, explaining why Ms Reagon is buying the property? I think they're gonna move in there, sooner or later. I just hope there's not gonna be trouble when they do."
The folks at the commune didn't have to wait long before there were new developments. Two days later, a pearl gray SUV drove slowly down the road and pulled into the drive across the street. There was a small American flag waving from the antenna in the front of the SUV. The windows were tinted, making the interior invisible.
Marge spotted the slow moving vehicle and called to the other folks who were outside. Luna, Viv, Sal, Dan, Nancy, and Cat left fields and farm stands and gathered round. Only Ken missed the arrival of their new neighbors. He had been inside cleaning the left house and no one thought to get him in time to see the spectacle.
The rest of the gang watched as the gray car parked in front of the house and two folks got out. One was a thin woman with short gray hair and a jet black dress. The other was a stout young man in a dark suit.
"How appropriate," Sal said. "They're arriving on Halloween."
"Spooky," said Marge.
The couple got suitcases out of the car and marched to their front door. The young man fumbled with the keys for a minute and then let himself and his mother into the house. The door slammed shut behind them. Everything was quiet for a bit. Slowly the commune members stopped holding their collective breath and started to relax.
"That's it," Luna said. "I think the show's over."
But a moment later, the man came back out and reached into the back of their car. He pulled out what looked like it might be a semi-automatic sniper rifle. It had a large telescopic sight on it.
"That's not a hunting gun," Nancy said. "I grew up with hunting guns."
"No," said Marge. "That's a military weapon. I was briefly in ROTC. We practiced with those."
"How friendly it all seems," said Dan. "I can tell they're going to welcome visitors."
"Now Luna Lagoon, was at the commune, only to spot spirits primal..."
That night, after dinner, Luna noticed something strange outside the window.
"Do you have any idea what that is?" she said to Marge and Sal.
It was really dark beyond the house; there were no streetlights in the area and no moon was out. Usually very little could be seen around the commune at night other than the headlights and tail lights of passing cars. But now they could see a ball of orange light, slowly moving down the road.
When it reached the area where the drive was, it began wandering toward the houses.
"I don't know," said Sal, "but it seems to be coming here."
By this time dinner clean up had come to a standstill. Most of the community was now at the windows of the main house, which was the only house of the three that had lights on at that point, since everyone had been at dinner.
"We should really get a light or two on the property outside," Dan said, "so we could see if someone is out there at night."
"I think it's too late for tonight," said Luna. "That light is almost to the house."
Suddenly, the light stopped. It bobbed at what seemed like ten feet from the porch. A minute later, however, there was the sound of feet on the porch, although the light stayed where it was.
The doorbell rang. Luna opened the door. There was a ghost standing there.
It was a very short ghost. It looked to be about four to five feet tall. It was carrying a bag.
"Trick or treat!" the little ghost shrieked.
"Oh, my," said Nancy. "What can we grab?"
"I've got a few extra cupcakes," Cat said, and handed a couple to Luna who put them in the ghosts bag.
"What do you say?" came a woman's voice from the darkness in the general direction of the bobbing orange light.
"Thank you," said the ghost.
The orange light came closer and turned out to be a plastic pumpkin. The woman holding it came to the door.
"I'm Linda Johnson. I live three houses down the road. And this is Chris."
The ghost giggled.
"I'm Luna Lagoon and this is Nancy, Dan, Cat, Sal, Ken, Marge, and Viv."
"I recognize you," Nancy said. "You've bought breads and pastries from us."
"Not to mention tomatoes and Zucchini," said Sal.
"Yeah," said Linda. "I know I should come by and visit all of you some time, but I'm a single mom and my life is kind of busy."
"I've got a tip for you," Dan said. "I wouldn't advise trick or treating at the house across the way."
"I know," Linda said. "They're definitely the scariest thing in the neighborhood this Halloween."
There were no more trick-or-treaters that night. But the scariest trick was yet to come.
Two days later the sheriff's car came back up the drive.