The Big Day Arrives
intensely from the pregnancy book. Sally worked in the spare room pressing Jack's best suit,
even though he had told her three times not to worry about it. She felt better if she stayed busy.
Jack had been studying her closely but he could see no signs of anything, save for an occasional
flinch from the pains. He kept reading. Finally he felt that he had sufficient information to
make a decision. He walked across the hall to his love.
"I think you are in 'pre-labor,'" he announced. Sally didn't look up from the clothes but
"Really? Does it say I have time then?"
Encouraged, Jack pressed on.
"Yes! It says here that labor is average twelve hours. That doesn't include the 'pre.'"
Sally looked doubtful. She set the pressing aside and looked up at him.
"Average...means it could be shorter"
"Or longer!" said Jack.
"Or shorter, Jack." She grew more concerned. It was almost time for Jack
to leave. He put his arms around her.
"Don't worry. I've read the book and nothing major has happened yet. Just little pains."
"I hope you're right Jack. They're not that little." She smiled nervously. All these
months of waiting and waiting, not to mention constantly redoing and adjusting her stitches,
endless pots of salve. Now it wound down to a rapid conclusion.
"We'll be okay Baby doll. Don't worry."
Sally felt a degree of comfort at Jack's words. It was almost enough to make her forget those
pains - almost.
Down in the square the impatient crowd prepared to leave. The big night's revelry would
soon begin. The royal couple passed through the gates of their home and joined the throng. Jack
beamed with confidence. His adrenaline was high and he had that familiar anticipation of a
horrible night. Sally was excited too, despite it all. She was proud of her Pumpkin King and
loved seeing him so in his element. She wanted to be his perfect queen tonight, but it was
growing hard to ignore the physical. The baby seemed determined to make his (her? Sally had no
idea...) presence known. The Mayor approached them.
"Ah, Jack! I see our illustrious king is ready."
"Yes indeed Mayor!" replied Jack. The mayor looked to Sally.
"And how is our radiant queen tonight? Still incubating?"
"I'm in pre-labor," she answered brightly.
"Oh my..." the mayor murmured. He turned back to Jack.
"Well Jack, I guess you're on your way then?"
"Just a second Mayor!" Jack left Sally's side and whispered to the mayor. "Listen Mayor,
I need a big favor tonight. I know you're busy overseeing things and planning our homecoming
party, but if you could just look in on Sally. I'm sure she will be fine, but could you just check?
I'd feel much better. Don't hesitate to send for the doctor if needed!" The Mayor looked worried.
"I'll check on her Jack. I promise." His voice was mournful.
"Please, Mayor. I need to know she'll be safe while I'm gone"
The mayor nodded. This was in no way one of his political duties, but Jack was his friend and he
knew how much Sally meant to him. Much as he hated to admit it, Jack did his best work when
he was happy. Since his marriage he had outdone himself time and again.
Jack returned to Sally and kissed her and her tummy goodbye.
"Please wait, okay?" he whispered. "Wait for Daddy?" He gave Sally another kiss and
then he was off. Jack lead the cheering throng out through the town gate towards the cemetary.
From there they would gain entrance to the Human World.
Sally watched them marching away until they disappeared from view. The Mayor walked to the
witches' cauldron to view the night's activities. Sally had planned to do likewise, but now she just
wanted to lie down for a while. Jack would give her a full report upon his return in any case.
She started back to the house. On route she passed Mrs. Corpse with her little boy in tow. He
was crying because he wanted to stay up all night waiting for his father to return. His mother
promised that she would wake him up in plenty of time for the return celebration. Sally couldn't
help smiling. She would be in a similiar way in a few years.
Back inside the house, loyal Zero was pleased to see his mistress. He floated close and
nuzzled her hands. As Sally climbed the stairs to her bedroom, the little ghost dog followed. He
could sense something amiss. Sally entered the bedroom. Her gaze fell on a tiny crib set up in the
corner by the bed. It was filled with all of the little quilts, pillows, and blankets that she had
crafted over the past few months. All that and a stuffed tarantula to keep the baby company
during naptime. Sally had been busy. An entire drawer of the enormous bureau she and Jack
shared was now filled with baby clothes. After the first few weeks the baby would move into
one of the spare bedrooms which Jack wanted to make into a nursery fit the first child of
Halloweentown. Everything was in place. Sally was about to lie down when something very
surprising happened. She stepped backwards and stared down at the dark purple carpet where
she had been standing. A pool of liquid spread across the fibers. Still more streamed down her
stitched legs. Oh...dear...
Downstairs, the doorbell screamed.
"It's open," Sally called, her voice shaking. She stared at the carpet. The Mayor stood far
below in the foyer. He called upstairs:
"Sally? I just wanted to check on you, -eh, I promised Jack I would. Let me know if you
need anything alright?" He turned to make a hasty getaway.
"Mayor!" Sally shouted.
Oh dear. It hadn't occured to him that she might actually need something.
"I'm having a baby!"
Was that all? thought the mayor. We all know that.
"Oh, I know Sally! On behalf of the whole town may I say that we are all so happy for
you and Jack. We - "
"Mayor!!! I mean NOW! ...Or very soon anyway. Tonight!"
The mayor's jaw dropped. This was not happening.
"Are you positve Sally?"
"YES!" she yelled down.
"How do you know?"
"I just do. Believe me! Please, could you please send for the
"Of course, Sally." The Mayor turned to go when she called out again.
"You're welcome, Sally." The Mayor then left to find an
unoccupied graveyard ghost who would deliver the message to Christmastown. Sally curled up
with Zero and closed her eyes.