Categories > Movies > Nightmare Before Christmas > The Diagnoses

The Calm Before the Storm

by misa1 0 Reviews

The big day grows closer.

Category: Nightmare Before Christmas - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama, Romance - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007/05/28 - Updated: 2007/05/29 - 2227 words

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Author's Note:

The next few chapters were originally a completely seperate fanfiction I wrote 10 yrs ago called "Heir Apparent". It was my very first story. It was published online on the nmbc site "Guzzy's Little Strand of the Web" which has since been taken down. I have edited these chapters and changed some content (both adding and removing) to fit them into the current narrative. ENJOY!!!



"Jack! Come back here! We need to discuss this! Jack! JACK!!!!" The Mayor was beside
himself. He continued calling out across the square, but his cries were dismissed with the wave
of a skeletal hand. Jack had had enough for today.
"We'll figure it out tomorrow. Good Night!"
"But Jack...!"
"Tomorrow!"
In twenty-four hours it would be Halloween Night. He and his loyal subjects, the good
folk of Halloweentown, would descend upon the human world for one glorious night. They
would spread out and show people of all kinds what it meant to be good and scared. Jack was by
far the most skilled at reducing the strong to quivering lumps of jelly. He was the revered master
of fear, the artist of terror. In fact, this position as ruler of horrors had always been the most
important thing in his existence...well, the second most important thing.
The Pumpkin King walked through the tall, iron gates and up the steep stone steps of his
mansion. He opened the door and stepped inside.
"Baby doll, Zero, I'm home."
"Hello Jack, I'm in here!" Sally called from the parlor. She was sat in an armchair
near the window. Tiny drops of rain began to dot the stained glass. Jack stood in the hallway for
a moment and gazed in at Sally and Zero who was curled up on her feet. Any other evening the
sight of her sitting there with her sweet, slightly uneven smile would have melted away any
worries he had. Tonight she reminded him of the problem weighing most heavily on his skull.
The baby was coming -- any day now. It occurred to Jack that his tiny goul could quite possibly
decide to enter the world on Halloween Night. He had tried to put that scenario out of his mind
hoping that the baby would come along in the week before the big night. No Luck. This was a
serious dilemma...Jack couldn't bear the thought of his precious rag-doll all alone for the blessed
event, that was out of the question. The Mayor didn't make things any easier. He was absolutely
livid when Jack mentioned that Halloween might have to do without it's king for one year. Jack's
skull was pounding. He walked across the parlor, kissed Sally's head, and gently patted her
enormous tummy. He tried his best to sound completely without stress:
"How are you today? How do you feel?"
"Fine."
Sally knitted away steadily with a large skein of purple yarn and two silver needles. Jack
decided to try again.
"Are you certain?"
"Well Jack..." Sally assessed her expanded form and laughed. "I'm not really
comfortable. I did manage to make some dinner. It's in the stove for you." She set the knitting
aside and attempted to stand.
"No, no! Sit down, I'll get it!" Jack guided her back into the chair.
"I can still walk, silly." She smiled.
"I know, but - I worry." Jack glanced at the knitting. Tiny blanket.
"Sally, what do you think? ...I mean...when...do you think?"
"I don't know, but I feel it will be soon. I hope so for the sake of my stitching!"
"Sally, what if the baby comes while I'm gone tomorrow night?"
"Jack...I'm not sure. I've been really thinking about that today. I'm sure I
could manage if I had to, but I really don't want to be alone. I know I wouldn't be totally by
myself, the doctor will be there... but I would want you."
All this in hand, Jack still agreed that he couldn't possibly miss it. "Not for
anything...even Halloween."
"It might not come to that, Jack," Sally reasoned. "Maybe it'll wait until after Halloween.
Wouldn't it be lovely to come home just in time?"
Jack gently scratched Zero's floppy ears.
"Are you ready for your little brother or sister, boy?" Zero stirred in his contented sleep.
His little ghost body rippled. He was oblivious to the upcoming addition. All he knew was that
his mistress had been home all day instead of helping his master work on the holiday. That
meant that he could spend the day snoozing on her feet or beside her on the couch. She always
gave him cookies. Sally could never resist a pitiful whine and his sad puppy dog sockets. Sally
moved over to the couch with Jack, and Zero followed. The three sat quietly for the rest of the
evening. Sally finished up her blanket. Jack sat beside her drinking his tea with little Zero draped
over his leg. The rain outside grew heavier, and faint thunder rumbles echoed through town. A
beautiful Halloweentown night.

The next morning Jack woke with the sun and walked out into the town square. The
citizens of Halloweentown buzzed about furiously putting the final touches on their holiday
masterpieces. Time was growing short.
The witches spotted Jack. Cackling with excitement they pulled him over to their
cauldron. Each year they brewed new potions, new chills, and new nightmares for the humans.
The witches had the incredible ability to play out the worst fears of man on the stage of dreams.
That way even those who didn't venture out on All Hallow's Eve could get a taste of the town's
top import. Jack listened patiently to all the things that would soon fill the brains of the sleeping.
He congratulated the witches on yet another splendid job and reminded them (as he did every
year) to go easy on the little ones. It didn't take much to give a little child a scare, and there was
no need to overdo it. "Fun scared" was best for kids, Jack always said. "Fun scared." The witches
sometimes had a little trouble with that part. Jack himself never pursued children on Halloween
Night. He left them to lesser light demons. Jack was the most horrific being of Halloween,
though his everyday demeanor gave no clue as to his fierce capabilities. A visit from the great
Pumpkin King was an honor reserved for those with strong hearts.
After chatting with the witches, Jack checked in with the vampires. Another impressive
evening of blood drainage was in the works. Jack admired their effort and ability. Human blood
had never done a thing for him. Next he made sure that Lock, Shock, and Barrel were busily
engaged in harmless tricks and prepared to do their part for the holiday.
"I'll be watching you three," Jack warned them, his voice tired. "Any trouble and you'll be
back here immediately and no more Halloween fun for you, got it?"
"Got it!" they chorused.
"Will we be with you tonight Jack?" Shock asked.
"No. I work alone. I will check on you, though," Jack replied. Shock
looked rather disappointed.
"Aw, I wish we could be alone with nobody checking up on us!" Barrel whined.
"Earn my trust, then we'll see," answered Jack. "And how are you, Lock?" Lock
looked innocently up at Jack.
"I was thinking maybe I shouldn't go. I could stay at your place, Jack. Sally might need
something. I don't mind."
Barrel and Shock rolled their eyes.
"Maybe next time," said Jack.
Jack continued through the square talking with everyone. So many brilliant plans for
fright. It was surely going to be another banner year. There was still one place left to visit. Jack
had been putting it off until last. He started towards Dr.Finklestein's lab yet again. His steps were
heavy. Jack was about to ring the bell the Mayor stopped him.
"Hello Jack!" he boomed. His face showed a jovial grin. "Did you have a good night's
sleep? Getting all set for tonight?"
"Of course, Mayor. Everything out here seems well in hand," remarked Jack as he
surveyed the square.
"Yes indeed, Jack! But we can't do a thing without you, you know!" The Mayor struggled
to hold onto that smile. He was so very uneasy about Jack's home situation. He didn't appreciate
anything taking Jack's mind off of the task at hand.
"How is Sally feeling? Any news?"
"No. Heaven knows it's got to be soon though."
The Mayor lost it. His janus face swiveled to dismay.
"Don't you even consider missing Halloween! You can't! What about all of us?! What would we
do without you ?!"
A small crowd of Halloweeners gathered to listen.
"Mayor," Jack sighed. "I can not possibly miss my baby being born, and I don't want Sally
alone." The throbbing in his skull returned. "Let's just wait and see all right? Now excuse me
while I speak with the Doctor."
The Mayor wandered away muttering to himself.
Jack rang the bell of the lab. The steel sphere seemed to block out light from all sides.
Dr.Finklestein opened the tall moaning door and Jack stepped in.
"Another year, eh Jack?"
"Yes Doctor, another year."
"Tea while we talk, Jack?"
"Of course, thank you."
The pair settled at a table to review plans. Reanimated spiders and snakes don't just appear, after
all.
"I suppose Sally has not given birth yet?", the doctor asked. Jack shook his head.
"No Doctor. I'm sure you will hear when she does."
"Yes, I would guess that I will. It will be an enormous event for the town, the birth of your child."
Jack glanced around as Jewel served tea. He took in the riveted walls, grated steel floor,
all the pieces of experiments failed, forgotten, or both. His gaze settled on the operating table.
Sally flickered in Jack's mind for an instant. He remembered her lying there exposed, being
poked and prodded by her creator. Jewel moved silently around the room perimeter, she would
periodically refill the tea cups before they were even empty. It seemed impossible to Jack that
she and Sally had come from the same mind. Jack finished talking with the Doctor and hastily
headed back to his home for some rest before the big night.
The town's folk watched Jack rush back to his house.
"Poor Jack!" said the Fishgal. "He has so much to think about! We'll all have to help him
out however we can." The Mayor shook his head in frustration.
"I can't handle anymore! We can't be responsible for his bad timing! What on earth was
he thinking about nine months ago? Not his town! Not us or Halloween! He should be out here,
not in his house fretting over Sally." The frantic Mayor worked side by side with Jack everyday.
After months of hearing Jack wax poetic about domestic bliss the Mayor was coming unglued.
The witches nodded in agreement. They had spent so many years admiring Jack. He had always
been warm, yet unattainable. Flirting sailed right over his skull. He had never really taken notice
of anyone before Sally. She was so plain, and not at all scary! When it was clear that she had his
heart, there was no end to the surprise... and jealousy. Sally was well aware of public opinion.
She felt the icy glares whenever Jack showed affection to her outside their home. She had
initially been very shy about cuddling and kissing where others could see. After a time however,
she came to recognize the satisfaction in it.
Jack entered his home, calling out his customary greeting. He found Sally baking
pumpkin bread and singing softly to herself. Jack rested his skull on top of her head.
"Tonight's your big night, darling." Sally said.
"I know."
"Aren't you excited?"
Jack hugged her warmly.
"I will be excited once I get out there. I've just got myself all in knots over..." his voice
trailed off. He placed his hands on Sally's tummy. She winced and pulled back.
"Sally! I'm sorry! Did I hurt you?" asked Jack, alarmed.
"No, not you." Sally grabbed his hands. "I-I don't know. I've had these little pangs of pain
all morning, just every once in a while. I'm nervous. Jack, I think things are getting ready."
Jack sat down at the table. He stared at the ornately carved little spiders that decorated
the table top. Since their visit to Doctor Finklestein, Sally had been immensely calm and content.
She was happy, and had very suddenly lost all timidness regarding her appearance. Jack, on the
other hand grew more and more apprehensive. He was on constant alert. If Sally was nervous, it
was definitely time to listen.
"Tonight, Sally? Do you think?"
She scowled and rubbed her head.
"I don't know. Tonight or possibly tomorrow morning... maybe."
"Do you want me to stay home? I will if you want me to."
"I would, only--" Sally looked out the window at the crowd in the square.
She bit her lip.
"Jack, if you stay, Halloween won't be the same. ...And if I'm wrong, and the baby
doesn't come tonight... they'll all hate me even more than they do already."
Jack rested his skull in his hands.
"I wish we knew for sure," he sighed. "Maybe things will clear up closer to evening."
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