As usual, I don't own this. JRR Tolkien owns the characters. I'm borrowing them for a little fun, and no profit. No warnings to give you this time.
"I dunno, Randy, I think this might not be such a great idea."
"What's the matter, Glenn? You chicken or something?"
"Yeah, kind of," the shorter, dark-haired boy replied. "I've heard some scary shit about this place."
Fog drifted in wisps across the two-lane road as the two walked along in semi darkness lit by the occasional mailbox or gate light. The area had managed to retain its quiet, rural feel despite the march of progress elsewhere.
"Haven't I been right so far?" said Randy. He paused to flick a moist strand of light hair that had escaped his pirate's bandanna.. " The rich folks give out the best treats, and this next place is where the richest guy of them all lives. My dad works at the County Treasurer's office and he says the lot is huge - a whole bunch of acres - and he doesn't understand how anyone can manage the property taxes."
"I'm sure he's rich," Glenn replied, "but Chris and Kayden told me they went over the wall last summer, and they never saw a house, but then they got lost and heard stuff in the woods that scared them, and you know Kayden doesn't scare easy. They finally got caught by this security guard who scared them even worse, and when they made a joke about his hair he gave them a look that scared them even worser. He let them out the gate and told them not to come back because next time they might not be so lucky. No one I know has ever tried trick or treating there."
"Until now," said Randy, as if that settled it.
The two of them rounded a gentle bend in the road and Glenn let out a derisive snort. "You dragged me all the way out here for this? That house is hardly bigger than mine!"
"That's the gatehouse, you moron. Old man Rivers is so rich he has to have a special house just for his security goons to live in. But don't worry, I can handle them."
"I can hardly wait to see that," Glenn muttered under his breath. Wisely.
Randy pushed a button beside the big iron gate, and after a long pause, a monitor flickered on with a silver-haired man in mid screen. "Can I do anything for you two . . . ah . . . young gentlemen?"
"Indeed you can, my good man," said Randy
"Sorry, none of the above." The guard paused for the two young twerps to get the joke, and when they didn't, he went on. "Okay. I'll bite. State your business and you might just get somewhere."
Thranduil Oropherion, now known by that name only to his family and the Faithful, and to the rest of the world by his current alias of Aaron Rivers, was in the process of streaming the night's movie selection when the house phone rang. He frowned. The entertainment for this very special time of the year, the Dead Days, had been reached after much discussion of what might be appropriate. His father, down from Wisconsin for the holidays, had voted for the color version of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead, while Thranduil thought that the only movie that ever really gave him a shiver was the original black and white version of that classic film. His son had favored something much less frightening altogether, and had only relented when Thranduil had offered to let Galen spend the night in his own bed if the child required comfort. Everyone concerned left it unspoken that Grandma and Grandpa found that more of a treat than a concession, including the object of concern, who presently flitted about the room in his Ronan the Accuser costume, stopping occasionally for a treat or a sip of sparkling cider.
Thranduil picked up the phone. "What?"
Hal's voice came over the line. "Hello yourself, Boss. There are two kids out at the gate who say they're trick-or-treating."
"You have to be joking with me. That hasn't happened in . . . I forget."
"I swear upon my immortal life. They're outside the gate right now, and they aren't leaving."
"So give them something and send them on their way."
"It isn't that simple," said Hal in a voice that just might have suggested the Boss was being a bit simple himself. "All we have on hand is Fritos and beer."
"I thought Jane fed you guys better than that."
"She usually does, but remember, Jane is out of town this weekend for the state teacher's convention. What's more, one of them, a pushy little snot by the name of Randy, says he won't leave until he meets Mr. Aaron Rivers himself. I have a feeling he means it."
Thranduil laughed. "You had me at 'Randy'. Now I want to meet this youngster myself."
"Shall I send the two of them up to the house?"
"Any other time of year. I don't want anyone alone in these woods during the Dead Days."
Hal sighed. "Shall I escort them, then? And can I use blindfolds? Please, please with nuts on top?"
"That would be fun, but . . ." Thranduil paused and pondered how best to deal with intruders in his little realm. He had gotten out of practice. A slow grin crept over his face. "No, Hal, I want you to take the gator up here. Leave our two young guests to be entertained by Rudy and Orville. Glenn, you're in charge of the wardrobe part."
Galion responded by making a sour face and downing his glass of wine in one long pull. The others in the room took curious notice.
Thranduil beamed at his miniature court. "We're going to give them the trick-or-treat of a lifetime."
"I think they're bullshitting us, Randy. Old Man Rivers is never coming out, and if I have to see one more lame card trick, I'll die of boredom."
"Keep your pants on, Dweeb," replied Randy. "If this goes on long enough, Rudy here will have to offer us some of his beer to keep us waiting, won't you, Rudy? Give it a few more minutes."
"You won't need more time," said poor Rumil, who had almost run out of every modern means of entertainment he knew. "I can hear them coming."
"I don't hear anything," muttered Glenn, who lacked his buddy's single-mindedness in pursuit of a goal.
"Hang on . . . I think . . ." whispered Randy, and sure enough, within a few seconds came the sound of muffled hoofbeats on the drive.
The mists parted to reveal a tall figure on a bay horse.
"Holy shit!" said Glennn, "that guy has that Elvenking from the movie down perfect!"
"Nah, he has the crown all wrong, and his clothes and hair are the wrong color, but otherwise -- damn!"
'Rudy' merely snickered, as other riders came into view beside the Elvenking. First, there came a pale-haired man on a silvery-grey horse and a child who looked to be no more than four or five years old on a palomino Shetland pony. They were soon joined by two dark-haired women, a man with flaxen hair who looked like he could have been the first pale-haired rider's brother, and a woman with the same bright gold hair as the Elvenking himself. Last in the group were a man and a woman on brown horses, Hal himself on a black horse, and a few others in green and brown livery bringing up the rear. All were in the same Elvish attire as the Elven king, and most had their ears showing, fully pointed.
"Who dares to trouble me in my realm, stirring up the spiders and whatnot else?" said the Elvenking in a voice that had been known to make little mortal boys spoil their pants. "You look like Dwarves to me, although in disguise."
"Come now, Beloved, You're too old to be frightening little boys," said the beautiful woman beside him.
"Yes, Adar", said the pale-haired one on the grey, "and you know you like some Dwarves once you get to know them."
"Tolerate and appreciate, not exactly like," mumbled the King.
The man on the brown horse sidled up even with the King. "Come off it, Sire. I can see you're scaring the one in the zombie costume."
"What is this night for if not frightening young Mortals? State your business, lads."
Randy finally found his voice. "Um . . . trick or treat?"
"What is this Mortal custom called Trick or Treat'?" the Elvenking demanded with a haughty sniff.
"Um, your Royalness?" young Glenn ventured, "It's like what we do on Halloween. We dress up and go around to houses and people give us, like, candy and stuff."
"'Like, candy and stuff'?" said the King, looking puzzled. "I haven't any candy. Are you truly sure about the candy? You Mortals' teeth don't grow back like ours do." He reached inside his cloak and produced a leather sack. "However, I might have some 'stuff' that will make your trip out here worthwhile. Rudy, open the gate so I can give a gift to these young fellows."
Tentatively, the two boys stepped forward toward the King's outstretched hand.
"Holy sh --- cow, Mr. Rivers!" said young Randy. "These are gold! But we can't spend them."
"No, you cannot, but you could sell them to purchase all the entertainment and goods that delight young people nowadays, whatever they may be. Video Games, perhaps? I hear good things about Quest for the Lonely Mountain, or that newer one about that silly Ring. There are several coin shops in Lake Forest, but I'd go to Raleigh Schmidt. He won't scr --, er he's honest, and he'll recognize the value of a Liberty Head Half Eagle. Here's a little hint -- it's worth more than five dollars. They all are slightly used, for which I apologize, but I can assure you they are genuine. There you go, two apiece."
"Gee, thank you Your Royalness, er, Mr. Rivers," said Glenn.
"Yeah, thanks," chimed in Randy.
"Don't thank me quite yet," replied the Elvenking. "You boys don't know the old tales about faerie gifts. They have a way of fading away in the cold light of day unless they are put to good use. That's why I gave you two coins each. How either of you uses the second is your choice, of course, but there are quite a few local charities that might appreciate the donation of one of those coins." He winked. "Just saying."
"We better get going now, Randy," Glenn whispered, "before he changes his mind.
A small voice piped from the ranks of the riders. "May I go with them, Daddy? I've never trick-or-treated before, and it sounds like fun. Please? You owe me a favor for making me change out of my Ronan costume. It was way cooler."
The man on the grey horse laughed. "I suppose you may, Galen, as long as I come with you."
"But I can ride on my own. I'm old enough."
"I felt the same way when I was your age, son, but that's not the point. How are you going to fit all three of you on your pony? We need one more horse so each of these two nice boys can ride double behind us."
Randy, who had been eying the big grey horse covetously hastened to agree. "Dibs on the older guy."
While Randy was hoisted up behind 'Daddy', Glenn used Galen's stirrup to mount the little palomino.
"This is awful high up," Randy said. "Now that I'm up here."
"Don't worry, kid, I have a lost of practice riding with someone your size behind me. Now, hang on tight. We're going to canter!"
"That boy behind Leif bears some watching, Galion," Thranduil said as he watched wistfully after the disappearing riders. "Did you see the eyes? He has the Dunedain strain for sure. But the hair and the attitude! If I didn't know better, I'd wonder if some of my relatives had gotten up to dickens some time back in the past."
"Don't look at me," said Oropher. "Your mother and I thought one of you was enough."
"I wish I didn't have my billionaire tycoon dignity to maintain. Riding around in the dark and making people wonder if they should check themselves into rehab would be fun. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? Wait for me, you guys!"
He galloped off with Oropher hot on his heels, yelling, "Count me in too. Charge!"
"I had better go and make sure they don't have any more wine this evening than they've already had," sighed Galion. He cantered off in pursuit.
"And that, ladies," said Felice to the other wives, "is how to stay young after more than a few long Ages. There's only one way to make sure they don't get into too much trouble. Last one to the Neidermeyers' driveway is a rotten orc!"
Hal flew past on his black horse just as Rudy was about to go back inside. "I'm pulling body-guard duty tonight. It's my job. Don't bother to wait up. We can all let ourselves back in."
"Okay, but it's my turn next year," Rumil said as he went back into the warmth of the gate house.
And so it was. Throughout the next decade, and even after that, when the two coincidentally named mortal boys had first been told that Galen had gone off to boarding school, and they themselves had gone off to college, the rumors of the Elven riders who appeared on Hallowen night and gave gifts to those lucky enough to see them, became a local legend akin to that of Lizard Man in South Carolina or
Saquatch in the Pacific Northwest. On the rare night at the end of October, some claim to see them still. And then they check into rehab.