Stargate Horizons


Laura picked Sam up from school the next afternoon and took her over to Daniel's.  The girl understood that playing with her friend would have to be limited to quiet activities that he could do in bed.

When Sam and Laura entered Daniel's room, the woman was happy to see a little smile touch his face.  It wasn't even close to the brightness of the smiles they'd seen before, but it was definitely a start.

"Hello, Daniel," she greeted.  "How are you feeling today?"

"Okay.  I feel better every day."

"Well, that's great.  I'm sure you'll be back to normal in no time."

"Mom said I could stay for three hours," Sam told the boy.  She set a bag on the bed.  "I got lots of things for us to do."  She began pulling out coloring books, games, puzzles and other things.  "Mom brought a card table that we can put right by your bed so that you can stay there and be comfortable."

Laura got the table and set it up.  She helped Daniel prop up several pillows so that he could rest against them while facing the table.  Then she left the kids to their play.

"Thank you for letting Sam stay for a while," she said to Diane.  "They need this time together to mend fences."

"I'm happy to have her.  It'll be good for Daniel to have some company.  I feel bad about him having to spend all day in his room, but he keeps telling me that he's fine.  I guess I should be grateful.  Most other children would be getting moody and restless by now, but Daniel is happy with his books and writing things."

"Did his doctor give you some idea on how long his recovery will take?"

"He'll be taking the antibiotics for another week or so.  After that, he can go back to school, though he might still have a cough.  Fortunately, children tend to recover faster from bacterial pneumonia than adults do."

Not long after Laura left, Daniel suffered a short bout of coughing.

"Are you still really sick?" Sam asked after it was over.

"Not really.  I don't feel that bad, except I still cough, and I get tired more."

"When Daddy told me that you were really sick and being taken to the hospital, I was afraid that you were going to die.  Were you afraid that you were going to die?"

"I kind of wondered if I was, but I wasn't scared about it."

"You weren't?"

Daniel shook his head.

"How come?"

The boy shrugged.  "I just wasn't.  Being in the emergency room was kind of scary, though.  I didn't know what the doctors were going to do to me.  I don't like being in the hospital."

"I don't think I'd like it either."

Sam was halfway through her time with Daniel when the boy got another visitor.  Quentin was delighted when he saw the two children together, relieved that they had apparently reconciled.

"Hello, you two," he said with a smile.  He laid a book down on the night stand.  "There's the history book I promised, Daniel."

"Thanks, Mister Greer," the boy responded.

"I talked with your foster mother, and she said that, starting next week, you'll be well enough to do some homework.  I'll drop off some assignments for you on Monday, which should keep you busy for the week.  How does that sound?"

The average child wouldn't be the least bit happy about such a thing, but Daniel was far from being an average child and was pleased by the news.

Quentin looked over at the books he'd loaned to his pupil.  "So, how's it coming with the reading?"

"I'm all done with The Second Jungle Book, and now I'm reading White Fang.  Now that I'm home, I've been reading a lot more."

"That's great.  I wouldn't be surprised if you have them all read by the time you return to school."  Quentin looked at his watch.  "I wish I could stay longer, but I need to get home."  He ruffled Daniel's hair.  "I sure do miss you in class, Daniel.  It's just not the same without my star pupil there."

The statement made Daniel smile brightly.  "I really miss your class, Mister Greer.  I wish I could start school this Monday."

"Well, the important thing right now is for you to get all better.  So, you need to get plenty of rest and eat properly to get all your strength back."

"I will.  I promise."

Quentin said goodbye to the kids, then headed on home.

"I miss you at school, too," Sam said.  "I miss having lunch with you."

Daniel's gaze dropped to the bed covers.  "Are you having lunch with those girls?" he asked very quietly.

"What girls?"

"The girls you ate with instead of me that day."

Sam could tell that Daniel was upset but trying to hide it.  She really wished that she could go back in time and undo that day.  Then everything would be okay, and Daniel wouldn't be unhappy.

"No, I haven't eaten with them," she told him.  "They aren't really my friends.  I was just with them because I was jealous."

"Because I was making friends with Kenny and Nathan."

Sam nodded.

Daniel toyed with a ball of fuzz on the blanket.  "I won't have any other friends if you don't want me to."

Sam stared at him.  She could be Daniel's only friend and have him all to herself.  But that would be mean and selfish.  She really understood that now.

"No, I want you to have other friends," she said.  "When you're all better and come back to school, we can have lunch with Kenny and Nathan and play with them at recess."

Daniel looked up at her, surprised.  "We can?  You won't be jealous?"

"I won't be jealous.  I promise."

Daniel kept staring at her for several seconds, trying to decide if she really meant it.  "Okay," he finally said.  "Will you tell me if you're jealous?"

"I won't get jealous," Sam insisted.

"But will you tell me if you do?"

Sam nodded, which satisfied Daniel.

The afternoon with Daniel hadn't been what you'd call exciting, and he hadn't really talked very much, but Sam was still unhappy when her visit came to an end.

"Can I come back tomorrow?" she asked her mother.

"No, that wouldn't work out, honey, but maybe you can come over for a while on Friday.  Now, say goodbye to Daniel.  We need to get home."

Sam gave the boy a hug.  "I'll leave all the stuff here so you can play with it."

"Okay.  Thanks."

Daniel watched Sam and her mother leave.  Diane came in a moment later.

"Can I get you anything, Daniel?"

"No, I'm okay."

"Well, let me know if you need anything."

Alone once again, Daniel picked up the history book his teacher had left and let himself get immersed in that time of long ago.

Daniel spent most of Thursday reading the history book.  On Friday, he kept looking at the clock, waiting for the time that school would be out and Sam could come over.  Nobody had said that she wasn't coming, so he figured that she was.

Daniel was trying not to look forward to it too much.  Deep down inside, he was still afraid that something would happen, and he'd lose Sam as a friend again.

It was close to 3:30 when he heard the doorbell ring.  His eyes went to the open doorway, ears straining to hear.  Then he heard Mrs. Carter's voice.  A moment later, Sam was there.

"Hi!" she said with a big smile, hurrying up to the bed.

"Hi," Daniel responded with more restraint.

Sam looked at the book on his lap.  "Have you been studying?"

"Uh huh.  I'm going to write a book report.  I've already got some of it written.  I wrote one for The Second Jungle Book, too."

"Cool.  I bet it's really interesting.  You're good with writing and stuff.  And with history, too."  Sam frowned.  "We had a history test today.  I don't think I did very well."

"It's too bad I couldn't have helped you with it."

"Yeah, that would have been great."

Laura came in.  "Hello, Daniel.  And how are you today?"

"Okay.  I've been getting up more, and I don't get tired as fast, and I don't cough as much."

"That's great to hear.  We're looking forward to when you're all well and can come visit us again."

"That'll be nice, Mrs. Carter."

"Well, I'll leave you two to play.  Sam, remember what I said.  You can only be here for a couple of hours this time."

Sam sighed.  "Yeah, I know."

Sam was in a talkative mood that day and ended up doing more talking than playing.  Daniel mostly just listened, not talking nearly as much as he was before all this stuff happened.  He also didn't smile very much.  He hadn't smiled very much day before yesterday either.  Sam wondered if it was because he was sick or if he just wasn't all that happy.  She sure wouldn't be happy if she had to spend so much time in bed.

"How much longer will you be sick and have to stay in bed most of the time?" she asked.

"I'm not staying in the bed all the time anymore.  I ate in the dining room last night and watched TV with the other kids this morning.  I'm allowed to sit at my desk now when I want to.  Mrs. Underwood told me that I could probably go back to school after next weekend."

That last sentence didn't make Sam happy.  "That's more than a week."

"Yeah.  I wish it could be sooner, too."

"I bet you hate being stuck inside."

"No, it's okay.  I don't mind so much."

"Well, I'd just go crazy if I had to stay stuck in the house all the time."

Sam's visit ended way too soon, as far as she was concerned.  She cheered up, however, when she was told that she could come back on Saturday and spend much longer.

And so the days passed, Daniel's health improving until he got to the point where the only outward sign that he was sick was an occasional cough.  Though he still was not allowed to go outside, he had the run of the house and no longer had to spend any time in bed during the day.

Sam came to visit as often as she was allowed.  As Daniel's health improved, Sam had expected him to return to the way he was before their falling out, but such was not the case.  The smiles did come a bit more often, and he did talk a little more, but there was something wrong with the way he acted, and she couldn't figure out what it was.

"I think there's something wrong with Daniel," she said to her parents one evening.

"Why do you say that?" Jacob asked.

"Because he's not like he was before.  He's hardly sick at all now, but he doesn't smile very much, and he doesn't talk a whole lot either.  Sometimes he looks at me kind of weird."


"Yeah, a little like the way people look at a dog if they're not sure if it's safe to pet it."

"Cautious?" Laura questioned.

Sam nodded.  "Why is he cautious?"

Sam's parents exchanged a glance.  They both had a feeling that they knew the answer to that question.

"I'm sure it will pass, Sam," Laura said, not wanting to upset her daughter by sharing her thoughts.

After Sam had gone to bed, Laura joined her husband in the kitchen, where he was making a cup of decaf.

"He's still afraid," she said.

"Yeah, that's what it sounds like.  He's worried about giving his friendship to Sam unreservedly in case something else happens."

Laura sighed.  "He's trying to protect himself from more heartache."

"Is it any wonder considering all that's happened to the poor kid?"

"I really do hope that it gets better in time.  He'll be returning to school on Monday.  I'm sure that will brighten his mood."

Jacob nodded.  "I've been thinking about Halloween.  It's coming up fast.  Sam told me that Daniel wanted to go as a pharaoh, but you can bet that's not the kind of costume you'd find in any stores around here.  Actually, I'm not even certain if it's a good idea for him to go out trick-or-treating, what with this cold, wet weather and all.  I know he's going back to school on Monday, but. . . ."

"I know what you mean.  Oh, but I hate to see him disappointed again, Jacob.  He's never been trick-or-treating before, and Sam said he was looking forward to going with her."

"Well, maybe we could think of something else for him and Sam to do.  Some towns have some kind of haunted house or indoor Halloween party for kids.  It's not the same as going trick-or-treating, but it would still be an experience that Daniel's never had."  Jacob smiled.  "I recall a year that Mom and Dad decided to do the place up like a haunted house for Halloween.  That was a hoot.  We had every kid in the neighborhood coming to see, and Dad did his level best to scare the pants off each and every one of them.  I had a great time helping with the set-up, and I got to play one of the ghosts.  If we didn't live on base, I'd be tempted to do something like that this year.  The kids could help and be part of the entertainment.  Then Daniel would stay nice and warm and dry."

"That would be perfect.  But, like you said, we couldn't do it here."

"I suppose it's too much to hope that the Underwoods would consider doing something like that."

"I doubt it, what with the three younger children in the house."

"Yes, and you can bet that Paul Underwood would be completely against it.  I suppose there's always the chance that one of Daniel's classmates is doing something like that or knows someone who is.  Perhaps we could do some asking around."

"We should ask Daniel's teacher.  He might know."

"Good idea.  If the answer is yes, we'll have to see if we can get Daniel and Sam involved."

The next morning, Laura called Diane and asked about what was planned for Halloween in regards to Daniel.

"To be honest, I don't think it would be a good idea for him to go," the woman said.  "The weather's been so wet and chilly.  I haven't asked his doctor about it, but I would be terribly nervous about letting Daniel walk around for hours in that kind of weather so soon after recovering from pneumonia.  But I so hate to disappoint him."

Laura shared the haunted house idea with Diane, who thought it was a marvelous idea.

"I'd do it here, but it simply wouldn't work out, not with the little ones," she said.  "I hope you find someone else who's doing it and is willing to let Daniel be a part of it."

Laura went to the school shortly after class got out, having arranged for a neighbor to be at the house when the kids got home.  Wading through the sea of children, she made her way to Daniel's classroom.

"Mrs. Carter.  How nice to see you," Quentin said.  "To what do I owe the pleasure."  His expression turned concerned.  "Everything's all right with Daniel, isn't it?"

"Yes, as far as I know.  This is actually about Halloween."

Quentin's eyebrows rose slightly.  "Oh?"  He gestured about the room.  "As you can see, we're already getting the decorations up."

Laura glanced about at the handmade ghosts, witches and other Halloween decorations, most of them likely made by the kids in the class.

"I was wondering if you knew if any of Daniel's classmates are doing something like setting up a haunted house in their home, you know, like you see some people do sometimes."

"Um, no, not that I've heard, and, if something like that was going on, I'd probably have heard about it.  It would be a pretty exciting event.  Why do you ask?"

Laura explained the situation.

"I see," Quentin said.  "Yes, you're right.  It would be an ideal solution.  They do usually have some kind of fright night shindig in town, and it's indoors.  Obviously, Daniel wouldn't actually be able to help with the set-up, but he could be taken to it."

"Yes, I suppose that's the most we could do."

Quentin frowned in thought.  "Maybe not."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, my wife and I usually decorate the outside of the house quite a bit for Halloween.  We even put on scary music and light the inside with only candles and jack-o'-lanterns.  The neighborhood kids love it."  Quentin grinned.  "Kathleen and I always wear costumes.  Last year, I was Frankenstein's monster, and she was my bride.  Scared the bejesus out of a few kids.  I was thinking that perhaps we could do a bit more this year."

"You mean do the haunted house at your place?" Laura asked in surprise.

"Well, I don't know how elaborate we could get, but we might be able to whip something up.  I think it would be fun.  I need to talk to my wife about this first, though.  I don't want to get into trouble and agree to do something without her okay."

Laura smiled.  "All right.  It would be great if you could do it."

As Quentin entered the house, he called out to his wife.

"I'm in the kitchen," she said.

He went to the kitchen and found her in the midst of making an apple pie.  He came up and hugged her from behind, pushing aside her long, reddish-blond hair to kiss the side of her neck.

"Mmm.  Apple pie.  My favorite," he said.

"Every kind of pie is your favorite, Quentin," Kathleen Greer responded, turning her head to kiss him.

"Now, that's not true.  I don't much care for rhubarb pie nor mincemeat."

"I stand corrected.  So, how did school go today?"

"Pretty well, although my second attempt to get Kenny Robinson tested for dyslexia failed.  His father keeps refusing to allow it."

Kathleen shook her head.  "I just don't understand why."

"I think the guy's in denial.  He refuses to accept that his son might have a learning disability.  From what I've learned by talking to the man, he has no patience for weakness of any sort.  Unfortunately, without his consent, I can't run any formal testing on Kenny.  But I have sort of tested him informally, and I'm certain that he does have dyslexia.  There's nothing I can do about it, though.  It's really frustrating.  The boy isn't dumb, but he's struggling in school because of the reading difficulties.  I just wish there was more that I could do for him."

Kathleen turned around and put her arms around her husband's neck.  "You'll think of something, Quentin.  I know you, and you don't give up, not when it comes to things you care about."

They shared another kiss, then Kathleen turned back to the pie.

Quentin picked up a slice of apple and munched on it as he leaned against the kitchen counter.  "I have a question for you.  You know how we do up the house for Halloween every year?"

"Uh huh."

"Well, how would you like to go a bit further this year?"

Kathleen stared at him narrowly.  "What have you got in your head this time?"

He explained the whole thing to her.

"Okay, let me get this straight," she said.  "You're proposing that we transform our home into a haunted house and have dozens of kids come traipsing through it just so that Daniel won't miss out on Halloween?"

"Um . . . yes, I guess I am.  Putting it that way, it does seem like an awful lot to do for a child who isn't even ours.  He's just been through so much, Kat, and I really think it would be a lot of fun for him.  I don't want him to be disappointed yet again.  I know it'll be a lot of work, but I bet it would be fun for us, too.  We could block off the rooms we don't want the kids to go into and lay down carpet runners to protect the carpeting.  Hang some sheets, put up some fake cobwebs and a few flashing lights and play spooky haunted house sounds, and we'd be all set."

"Hah!  Things are never that easy, and you know it."

Quentin sighed.  "That's a no, then?"

Kathleen resumed slicing apples.  "We'll have to get started on it pretty soon.  There's less than a week to go."

Quentin blinked in surprise.  "Are you saying yes?"

She shook the knife at him.  "I'm saying that if you think I'm going to do all the clean-up after it's all over, you've got another thing coming, bub."

Quentin grinned and hugged her.  "I promise to do my fair share of the clean-up."

"So, we're talking about a traditional haunted house?  Ghosts, ghouls and the like?"

"I suppose so.  I should talk to Daniel about it.  He might have some suggestions."

"Well, there is one plus about this."

"What's that?"

"I'm finally going to get to meet The Great Daniel Jackson."

Quentin laughed.  "The Great Daniel Jackson?"

"The way you've gone on about him, he's clearly more than a mere mortal."

"Oh, come on.  I haven't been that bad . . . have I?"

Kathleen looked at him with a cocked eyebrow.  "Shall I quote some of your more glowing words of praise?"

"Okay, so I think he's a great kid.  It isn't without good reason."

"I'm sure it isn't.  It'll just be nice to finally meet him."

Quentin looked at his watch.  "I wonder if I should go over to Daniel's and talk to him about this.  None of us thought to ask him if he'd even want to do it."

"Then I'd say that you'd better talk to him."

Quentin called the Underwoods about coming over.  Diane was pleased to hear that the Greers were willing to supply the haunted house and told the teacher that he could come over any time before or after dinner.  He decided to go on over there.

Daniel was surprised to see his teacher.

"Did you bring me some more homework?" he asked.

"No, this is about something else."  Quentin sat on the bed facing Daniel, who was sitting at his little desk.  "I'm sure you know that Halloween's coming up."

Daniel nodded.  "I don't think I'm going to get to go.  I don't have a costume, and when I asked Mrs. Underwood about it, she said we'd talk about it later."

"Well, it is true that you won't be able to go trick-or-treating, but we have something else in mind.  How would you like to help create a haunted house?"

Daniel's eyes widened.  "A haunted house?"

"Yep.  My wife and I are going to turn our house into one, and we thought that you might like to help.  Samantha could help, too, if she wanted to.  We'd be putting up all kinds of spooky things, then, on Halloween, we'd invite neighborhood kids in and do our best to scare them.  You could help with that part as well, dress up in a costume and be part of the show."

A big smile lit Daniel's face.  "That would be really neat, Mister Greer.  I'd like to help."

"Great!  Then it's decided."

"What kinds of stuff are you going to put in your house?"

"Well, I thought that I'd ask you for some ideas on that.  You've probably heard some pretty scary folk tales and legends.  Can you think of anything interesting that we could do?"

Daniel thought about it for a while.  "Maybe you could make it kind of an Egyptian haunted house."

"An Egyptian haunted house?"

"Uh huh.  You could have a mummy, and maybe we could make a sarcophagus for it, and we could have Anpu and some of the other Egyptian gods of death and the underworld."

"Anpu?  Which one is he?"

"He was called Anubis by the Greeks."

"Ah, I've heard of him.  He's the one with a head like a jackal, isn't he?"

Daniel nodded.  "Although it might actually be a wild dog.  We don't know for sure.  In the earliest time of Egyptian religion, Anubis was the lord of the dead.  Later on, after Osiris took over as the lord of the dead, Anubis became the guide that held the scales that people's hearts were weighed on after they died to see if they were good or bad.  If their heart was as light as a feather, the person's soul would then be taken by Anubis to be presented to Osiris, but, if their heart was heavier than the feather, it would get fed to Ammit, and the soul would be destroyed."

Quentin made a face.  "Ugh.  That's nasty.  I'm not sure how far we could go with the Egyptian theme, but a mummy in a sarcophagus would be great."

"I wanted to dress up as a pharaoh for Halloween."

"Did you?  Hmm.  I'm not sure where we could find a pharaoh costume."

"It's okay.  I don't have to be a pharaoh.  It'll be fun helping you make the haunted house.  And you said that Sam could help, too?"

"Yes, she's welcome to help.  In fact, the more help we have the better."

Preparations for the haunted house began the next day.  That morning, Kathleen called various shops to see what they had in things with an Egyptian theme, but struck out until she contacted a place in Albany.  It was a long drive, but Kathleen figured that she could also do some other shopping for things that the small city of Rome simply did not have.

She'd just gotten back home when Quentin arrived.

"Ah, now that's timing," she said.  "You can help me bring all this stuff in."

Quentin looked at all the bags in the trunk and on the back seat.  "Let me guess.  You're anticipating a major natural or manmade disaster and are stocking up on food and other essentials in case our society crumbles into ruins."

"The only disaster I'm anticipating is what our house will look like after Halloween.  I went to Albany to get some stuff for the haunted house, and I did some other shopping there while I was at it.  Now, come on.  Make yourself and those muscles of yours useful and help me with this stuff."

Quentin smiled.  "My muscles are all yours, ma'am."

Once all the purchases were in the house and the groceries put away, Kathleen showed her husband what she got for the haunted house.  There were some plastic statues of several different Egyptian gods, a few tablecloths with Egyptian figures on them, a set of sheets that matched the tablecloths, and a couple of cheap Egyptian vases.

"I figured that we could cover some of the furniture with the tablecloths and sheets, then decorate with the figurines and vases.  We could spray them with fake cobwebs.  I picked up a few cans of the stuff while I was at it."

"Wow, that'll be great.  Daniel will love it."  He took a closer look at one of the figurines.  "Hey, that's Anubis!"

"It is?"

"Yes, I got a bit of an education on the chap from Daniel.  Interesting fellow."  Quentin stared at the figurine.  "You know, if this was full-size, it could be pretty scary," he murmured.

"Yes, it would, but I don't think you could find such a thing, and, even if you could, we couldn't afford it."

"You know, that place in town that sells costumes has a magazine that you can order costumes from.  I wonder if it's possible that it would have a costume like this, one that would fit me."

"Well, as big as you are, if you were dressed up like that, with that jackal head, you'd definitely be scary."

Quentin grinned evilly.  "Yes, I know."  The smile faded.  "Yeah, but it's probably too late to order anything.  Tomorrow's Saturday, and Halloween is on Wednesday.  Even if we ordered it to ship overnight, I doubt it would arrive in time.  Too bad."

"Well, I suppose that we could always call around tomorrow and see if, by chance, anybody has anything like that."

The next morning, Quentin called the shop there in town and asked if they had any Egyptian costumes, not really expecting them to say they did.  When he got the expected answer, he asked the person where something like that might be found and was told that, unless he was willing to drive all the way to New York, the only place that might have what he was looking for was a costume shop in Syracuse.  Upon calling that shop, Quentin was pleased to learn that, yes, they did have some Egyptian costumes in both children's and adult sizes.  However, they did not have one with an Anubis head.  Such a thing wasn't even available in any of their catalogs.  Quentin decided that, even if he couldn't dress up as Anubis, he and his wife could at least dress up as Egyptians.

"Do you rent costumes or just sell them?" he asked.

"We do both," the shopkeeper replied.  "We rent by the day.  If you want a particular costume, you should reserve it now to make sure you get it.  They're going fast.  We require a deposit to reserve a costume."

"Okay, thanks.  What time do you close today?"

"Five o'clock."

Quentin thanked the man again and hung up.

"Well, they've got Egyptian costumes, but no Anubis head.  I'm going to go over there anyway.  If we're doing an Egyptian haunted house, we should dress the part."  He paused a moment.  "They've got ones for kids, too."

"And you were thinking of getting one for Daniel," Kathleen guessed.

"He wanted to dress up as a pharaoh.  Perhaps he'll get to do that after all."

Kathleen had an idea.  "Why don't you find out if Daniel can come with you?  Then you'll be sure to get the right size for him.  You already know my size."

"Great idea."

Quentin called the Underwoods and asked if it would be all right for Daniel to come to Syracuse with him to go costume-hunting.

"Why, that would be lovely," Diane responded.  "He's been cooped up in here for so long that I'm sure he'd love to get out of the house and go somewhere.  Shall I ask him?"


"Okay, hold on."  She was back on the phone after only a minute.  "Well, that put a smile on his face.  He's all excited now."

"Great.  I'll be over in a few."

Twenty minutes later, Quentin and Daniel were on their way.  As they drove, the teacher told his student all about what they'd gotten for the haunted house and what their plans were.

"Wow, that sounds really neat," Daniel responded.  "If we had fake stone walls, we could make it look like a tomb or the inside of a temple."

"I'm afraid that's something we wouldn't be able to do.  We're going to have it pretty dark in there, though, so the walls will be shadowy."

"What kind of costumes are we going to get?"

"Egyptian ones, of course.  I was hoping to find an Anubis costume, but didn't have any luck.  So I guess I'll just have to be a pharaoh like you."

Daniel's eyes lit up.  "I'm going to get to be a pharaoh?"

"Uh huh."

"Wow.  Thank you, Mister Greer."

Quentin smiled at the boy fondly.  "You're very welcome, Daniel."

They spent the rest of the trip chatting about other things.  Daniel was looking forward to going back to school on Monday.  Something in his demeanor made the teacher suspect that the boy was going to have something to show him in class.

"So, did you write that book report on the history book?" he asked.

"Uh huh.  And you said you'd give me a test."

"Yes, I did, and I will."

"I got all my other homework done, too."

Quentin smiled.  "I never had a doubt that you would."

At last they reached their destination.  They were shown the Egyptian costumes by one of the employees.  Daniel, the expert, studied them with a critical eye.

"So, do they pass inspection?" Quentin asked in amusement.

"They have mistakes."

The employee frowned.  "Mistakes?  What mistakes?  Are there flaws in the material?"

Daniel went on to point out the inaccuracies of the costumes, finishing with the statement,  "And Wadjet should be taller than Nekhbet on the Nemes headdress."

The man gaped at Daniel.  "Huh?"

"Wadjet is the snake.  Nekhbet is the vulture.  The snake should be taller than the vulture."

Quentin was trying very hard not to laugh at the dumbfounded expression on the employee's face.

The man turned to the teacher.  "Is he for real?"

"If Daniel says it, then it's true.  He knows what he's talking about."

"Uhhhh . . . okay."  The guy glanced over at another customer.  "I'm going to go see if they need help.  Let me know if you need anything or if you want to try something on."  He hurried away.

Quentin let out a chuckle, amused by the man's hasty getaway.  He looked down at the boy who was responsible for scaring the man off.

"So, they have some mistakes, but will they be good enough?" he asked.

"Yeah, they're okay.  Probably a lot of people won't know there are mistakes."

"I suspect that we'll be the only ones who do, that is unless we unexpectedly get a visit from an Egyptologist."  He looked through the costumes.  "Hey, here's one that's just the skirt and collar, like what Anubis wears.  It's a shame they don't have a jackal head."

"Maybe we could make one," Daniel suggested.


"Kenny told me about a bird he made with papier mache.  Couldn't we make one with that?"

Quentin considered the boy's suggestion.  "We'd have to figure out what we could use for the frame, and it would have to be designed to fit completely over my head.  It would need holes for me to see and breathe through."  He smiled.  "But, you know, we just might be able to do it."

Quentin chose an "Anubis" costume that he thought might fit him, and Daniel picked a pharaoh costume for his size.  They asked if they could try them on and were taken to the changing room.

Quentin felt a little self-conscious when he came out of his stall a while later.  Although the "kilt" covered more than the average pair of swim trunks, he still felt very exposed and kept tugging the hem down.

Just then, Daniel came out if his stall, and the teacher couldn't help but smile.  The kid looked like a blond, blue-eyed, fair-skinned King Tut.

"You look great, Daniel," he said.

"So do you, except that Egyptian men shaved all their hair off."

"All their hair?"  Quentin looked down at his chest and its light coating of hair.  "Um . . . I think we might have to be a bit less than authentic in that regard, Daniel."

The boy noticed his teacher tugging at the skirt of the costume.  "Is it uncomfortable?"

"I'm just feeling a little underdressed.  I've never worn something like this before.  I think I've developed new respect for Scotsmen."

"Are you wearing underwear?"

"Of course."

"Men in Scotland don't wear underwear when they have a kilt on, or at least they're not supposed to."

"Yes, I've heard that.  Please don't tell me that the Egyptians didn't wear underwear either."

"They did when they were wearing clothing."

"Thank goodness."

They changed back into their own clothes.  Quentin then picked out a lovely Egyptian costume for his wife.

Daniel stared at the dress.  "What about Sam?"


"If Sam is going to help and be in the haunted house, shouldn't she have an Egyptian costume, too?"

"I didn't think of that.  I'd have to ask her parents first, though."

"I know their phone number, if you want to call them."


They went up to the counter with the three costumes.

"We're going to want to rent these for Halloween, but we might also be getting a fourth costume.  I need to make a call first, though.  We'll be back in a few minutes."

"Okay, just leave them here," the woman at the cash register said.

Quentin and Daniel found a pay phone and called the Carters.  Laura answered.  The teacher explained to her where they were and what they were doing.

"Daniel was wondering about your daughter, if she'd want an Egyptian costume as well so that she could be part of the show we're going to put on."

"Oh, I'm sure that she would.  Her original plan was to dress as an astronaut, but that's when she was going to be going trick-or-treating.  Can you hold on?  I'll go ask her."

Sam's answer to the question was a resounding yes, the girl getting very excited about the prospect of being part of the "haunting".

"Go ahead and rent the costume for her, and we'll reimburse you the money," Laura told Quentin.  "Are you getting them now?"

"No, I don't even want to think about how much it would cost to rent them for an entire week.  I'm just reserving them.  We'll come back on Tuesday or Wednesday to pick them up."

Laura gave the teacher Sam's size.  "It's really wonderful that you're doing this," she said.

"Hey, I'm looking forward to it.  It's going to be a blast."

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