The Nightmare Before Christmas Fan Fiction ❯ Roots ❯ Hecate ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

hey walked through the grave quietly. Jack and Oogie didn't even enjoy the creatures lunging out to snarl at them. Oh, they weren't afraid of them, not by any means, but they were both focused. Jack was focused on finding out what creature was powerful enough to steal the thoughts of some of the most powerful beings in the world. Oogie was focused on not fainting away with fear. He knew what was coming, and he didn't want Jack to yell at him, or be hurt by him. It didn't matter that he'd rejected her plan. It didn't matter that he'd been drunk off his ass when he'd told her all that stuff about Jack. It didn't matter that she was angry at him…Strike that. That one mattered. Because she was going to humiliate him. And there was nothing he could do about it.

There was a flash of movement down a side tunnel, and a very feminine laugh echoed around them. Jack lunged after her, the others following.

"J-Jack we need to get back to Halloween Town!" Oogie shouted, not moving.

There was movement behind him, and fear rooted him to the spot. A finger trailed along his back to his front and suddenly he was staring at a beautiful woman. She had black hair to her waist, creepy purple and black eyes, and skin so pale it rivaled Jack's. She was thin with full breasts and seductive hips, but Oogie wasn't attracted to her. She didn't take too kindly to lovers, and he wasn't much of a lover anyways. He didn't have the right anatomy.

"Hello again, Oogie Boogie," she purred.

"Hecate…Hi," Oogie said, swallowing nervously.

"Aw…do I scare the bogeyman?" the woman asked, amusement gleaming in her purple eyes.

"Go away. Leave us alone. Please," Oogie begged softly. "Jack doesn't deserve your wrath. He doesn't deserve pain or sorrow. Please, leave us. Go back to your world. I'm sorry I even made those plans with you."

"Oh, Oogie," she crooned softly. "But he's a terrible friend to you. And you to him. Why else would you have told me all that stuff about his past. Like how he's wrestled with demons, literal and figurative. Like how he tied up dogs and cats and horses just to cut them open and watch them bleed out. Or how he was addicted to pleasure in other ways besides cutting. The hand is a powerful tool, you know, especially when it comes to self-pleasure."

Oogie swallowed, backing up against the wall as she grew tall enough to stand face to face with him. "I mean, you said it yourself," she said. "Halloween Town would be better off without him. I threw in the other Holiday leaders for your own pleasure. And everything went according to plan. You trick Jack back into liking you, trick the other Holiday leaders into relaxing around you, and then you kill them off one by one, leaving Jack for last so he can suffer."

"What?"

Oogie turned to see Jack and the others staring at him. "J-Jack, she's lying!"

"Am I?"

There was a ripple in the air and Oogie's voice came out. "I'm sick and tired of Jack! It's always about him! What about the kids? What about me? All our Halloween pranks get shot down immediately! We're just trying to have a little fun, that's all. His presence is irritating at the least and agonizing at the most! I want him gone! G-O-N-E! Gone! And I don't care if I hurt him to do it!"

Jack looked wounded. "It was all a lie then. You really don't care about me…"

"No, Jack! It's not…I wasn't…I mean, I was…Jack, I…I'm sor—"

"Shut up! You should have just killed me when you had the chance. Then you wouldn't have to suffer through my presence. I'm going home."

"Jack! Where are you going?" Sandy asked, taking a step toward him.

"Leave me alone!"

The tone left no room for guessing. He didn't want them at the moment. Oogie watched helplessly as Jack stormed away toward Halloween Town. The Christmas leader watched him then glanced at Oogie before following. One by one the others did, too. Soon it was just the bogeyman and Hecate. She looked at him.

"If you had followed the plan we concocted, you would be the rightful ruler of Halloween Town, and you could have taken over the other Holidays with no problems. They would have lived in their little world forever, content with themselves. But no. You had to play hero and fall into that world with Jack. Your friendship doesn't exist, Oogie. He doesn't love you. You should just give up. Now, I'm going home. You best do that, too. Go back to your pathetic life and know that you had the chance to have everything. A chance you didn't take."

She disappeared in a huge flash of black fire. Oogie sank to the ground, his feelings screaming loudly at him. He wanted to cry. But he never cried unless Jack was there to comfort him. He sat there for a long time before standing and slowly making his way home. The kids were ecstatic.

"Boss, you're home!" Lock exclaimed.

"We thought we'd have to sew you back together!" Shock laughed.

Barrel walked forward, hesitant as per usual. "So is Jack…gone?"

"He might as well be," Oogie said blankly.

"What?" Lock asked, glancing at Shock, who shrugged.

"Boss?" Barrel asked gently. "Are you okay?"

"No."

"You want a drink?"

"No."

"You wanna play us at a game?"

"No."

"You wanna talk about it?"

"No."

"I think you should talk about it."

"What would you understand? It's at least fifteen hundred years older than you."

"Talking about stuff helps. Like when I talk to you about the gators."

Oogie didn't move for a whole minute. "It's about Jack," he finally said, his voice faint.

"Here, come sit down," Barrel said, gesturing for his friends to pull up their boss's favorite chair.

They knew to listen. Barrel was in charge at the moment, and neither of them were inclined to argue. He was great in these situations, better than them at least, and he could get anything out of the boss given the right timing.

Oogie sat, playing with his favorite dice, which he hadn't even realized he'd picked up. Barrel hopped up on the arm of the chair, while the other two pulled their stools over. They sat in silence for a good three minutes before Barrel lightly touched him.

"Okay, Boss?" There was a shrug. "C'mon, Boss. Talk to us. We're here for you."

Oogie tossed the dice up in the air without looking, catching them with ease.

"It's a long story," he said after another stretch of silence.

"We've got all the time in the world, Boss."

Oogie hummed. "You know Jack's dead, right? As a human, he's dead, even if he has a heartbeat. He died to get to this world. You get that right?"

"Yes," the three children chorused.

"Good. Well, once he died, he woke up here. He was human still, wasn't a bone man like you know him. He spent a month on his own. A month without contact with any living thing, except for animals, which he would kill and eat to survive. Once a month had passed by, he decided he needed a friend. So…he made me."

"Alright. He made you," Barrel said slowly when Oogie paused. "How did he make you?"

"With burlap and bugs. Just like I am now. Sure, my design was a little rougher, as he only had a knife to cut the burlap, but it was basically the same."

"But where did he get the burlap? How did he get the bugs inside of you?"

"He told me that he stumbled across the burlap. He said it was just sitting there in a neat pile, like it belonged there. As for the bugs, they just listened to him. They still do, if he orders them around. He's my maker. He is in charge of me as much as I hate to admit it."

"Alright, so he made you. What happened then?"

"I was like a child," Oogie said softly. "He had to teach me everything. He taught me about fire and water, and how I shouldn't go near them. He taught me Gaelic. He taught me about hunting and fishing and blood and cutting. In a rather scary episode, he taught me about death."

"Scary?"

"Jack cut through his femoral artery and nearly bled out. I had to cauterize the wound."

"But cauterization involves something hot enough to catch you on fire," Shock gasped.

"I was willing to take the risk. I had already been drowned once at that point. I knew I could come back. I didn't know if Jack could. I still don't, and I don't want to find out. If he died for real…" Oogie swallowed. "Sorry, I…I need a moment."

"Take all the time you need, Boss," Barrel said kindly.

They sat there in silence for a few minutes as Oogie fought back tears. When he got himself back under control, he continued, though his voice shook slightly.

"Anyway, he taught me about life. The only basic thing he didn't teach me in the first two years is English. He didn't know it. All he spoke was Scottish Gaelic. That's still all he can speak in human form."

"Like the Gaelic we speak?" Lock asked.

"Sort of. His is about fifteen hundred years older than yours. It's got the same base, and I'm sure you kids could understand some of what he says, but most of it is probably over your heads. He and I have kept up and can speak Gaelic from every time period since he was born. It's rather interesting to see the language progress."

The kids nodded and they went quiet for about a minute. Oogie shifted and sighed.

"He and I were good friends. Then the doctor came along."

"Dr. Finkelstein?" Shock asked in surprise.

"Yes. He tried to teach Jack English, but it didn't stick. So Jack taught the doctor Gaelic." Oogie paused, shifting again, though this time it was from clear discomfort. "Things happened once the doctor came. Things I won't tell you about. There were arguments that were felt clear in the human towns on the other side of the veil of magic. Jack eventually left. I followed. Something…disturbing happened, which I also won't tell you about, and when we returned Jack was a bone man, unable to remember how he changed."

"How did he change?" Lock asked. Oogie growled. "Right…disturbing thing that you won't talk about. Gotcha."

"But you remember, don't you?" Barrel asked, realization dawning on him. "You remember and you and Jack fought about it. A lot. Right?" Oogie didn't answer, so the boy pushed on. "That's why he's so mad at you! You won't tell how to switch from a human to a bone man."

"That's the main reason, yes. Just when he forgives me, some magic changes him into a human again, and the whole damn thing starts all over."

"Boss? Why is it so disturbing?" Shock asked hesitantly.

Oogie frowned and shook his head. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Did it involve you?" Barrel asked.

Oogie surged to his feet, grabbing the boy by the back of his costume. "I said, I'm not going to talk about it!"

"So…yes."

Oogie dropped Barrel unceremoniously to the ground. "Yes, alright?! He knows that but has no idea what I did! It wasn't like I could control them! They went crazy! I can control them better now, but just being around a human Jack sends them into a tizzy! Especially when he cuts himself! Damn him for cutting himself! But I know he can't help it! I-I just…"

The bogeyman groaned and sank back down in the chair. The kids stared at him. Not even Barrel had seen him this distressed before, and he and Oogie had a bond that was different from the other two, closer, more…emotional.

Without any hesitation, Barrel leaped up into his lap, pressing close. He gestured for his friends to do the same. Lock and Shock were hesitant, having had very little physical contact with Oogie that wasn't from a switch. They settled down. Oh! He was soft. It was very pleasant. When Oogie moved suddenly, they tried to shoot off of his lap, but they found themselves caught in his arms. After a brief moment of panic, they noticed a stern look on Barrel's face as he snuggled into their boss. O…kay. So they weren't going to die again.

Shock swallowed and hesitantly hugged Oogie. "It's okay, Boss. It's okay."

"How is it okay? Jack's mad at me again."

"Why? Did you turn him into a bone man again?" Lock asked, copying the girl.

"I…No."

"Well then why is he mad at you?" Barrel asked gently.

"I…I was drunk. She decided to stop by, and I told her things I shouldn't've. I said things I didn't really mean. I planned something I honestly didn't plan to do. When I sobered up, I told her no, but she said I couldn't go back on it. She said it was in place, and that it couldn't be reversed. She'd already started, she said, and I was going to play my part even if I didn't want to."

"Sally said all that? What the hell did you plan to do?" Lock asked blankly.

Oogie snorted. "It wasn't Sally, Lock. It wasn't anybody who lives in Halloween Town."

"Somebody from one of the other Holidays then," Shock said.

"No."

"Hecate."

Oogie stiffened and Lock and Shock turned to look at their younger companion.

"What?" the children asked.

"How do you know about her, Barrel?" Oogie asked hoarsely.

"You got drunk one night and started talking about the things that scared you. You mentioned her. I asked, and you explained about some…things that she'd done. She's different from us. She was worshipped as a Greek goddess. She loves death and blood and gore. She drinks blood. She eats raw flesh. There are some other things you told me that that she does to grown men that I won't expound on. You told me she lives in a safe haven for those magical beings that used to be gods and goddesses. But…she met you one Samhain, and has the propensity to visit Halloween Town every once in a while."

"Y-yeah. Just to check up on me," Oogie muttered nervously, looking around; what was that noise? "She's fascinated by me. But she can't control me like Jack can. She's had a few run ins with Jack before. He loathes her, and she hates him."

"Why?" Barrel asked.

Oogie looked thoughtful. "I'm going to answer both ways. Jack is nothing like Hecate. She scares people to death. Jack scares people to laugh. There is a big difference. And she hates Jack because he can, to put it quite bluntly, kicks her ass all across the world and back. His fire control is better than hers. She can teleport, he can, too, though he rarely, rarely does. She can fly, but he can bury himself alive and travel through tunnels. And as for physical strength, I honestly think he has her beat. He's just all around better. Growing up in Scotland taught him how to fight like a madman. And since she's immortal, like he is, he has no qualms about butchering her to pieces. I've seen it. It is one hell of a fight."

"So…you're scared of this Hecate?" Lock asked slowly.

"Yes. I am. And you should be, too. She's deadly and knows torture like you wouldn't believe. Jack is the only one in Halloween Town that can match her. And Hecate is—"

There was a shriek of metal on metal and all of them jumped as something crashed to the ground in the shadows. Oogie threw the children behind his chair, where they cowered. If their boss was this freaked out, they were in trouble. Oogie swallowed and approached the form on the ground. He blinked when he saw what, or rather who, it was.

"Sally?"

"Please tell me you have some spare thread."


Chapter 6
Chapter 8
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