A Red Angel Halloween title card.


 This short happens some time after the events of CHAOTIC SOUL (Red Angel #4).


Too Good stared at the dark, dirty steps going down into the Black Market with some misgivings.

Why the look?” Ana asked cheerfully, nudging him. “You’re the one who wanted to go trick or treating in the Black Market.”

Yeah, he’d wanted to. With Keith. Not with Ana and her creepy angel boyfriend.

He side-eyed the angel. He was grinning like a cat, which made his costume all the more bizarre. In Too Good’s opinion, Ana should’ve just put a cat collar around his neck and been done with it. Instead, he wore dark brown woolly leggings, furry boots, and a pair of furry wolf’s ears on his head. Ana had painted his nose black and drawn whiskers on his cheeks, even though Too Good was pretty sure wolves didn’t have those.

To make things infinitely worse, the dude wasn’t even wearing a shirt. He looked like a stripper in a cheap costume. Ugh.

Let’s go,” Ana said, still in the same cheerful voice. “Treats await us!”

Ana, of course, was wearing a white dress and a red cape with a hood. A small straw basket dangled from her hand, which Too Good was pretty sure Tara had pilfered from somewhere because she’d been way too proud of having won it “in a raffle.” Who the heck won crappy straw baskets in raffles?

C’mon,” Ana urged, “don’t wanna be late.”

You can’t be late for treat or tricking,” he grumbled, taking the stairs after her. Zel took the spot behind him, which made the hairs on his nape raise instinctively and a shiver run down his spine. Sadly, the dude had been around so much ever since hooking up with Ana that Too Good was well used to the reaction. His magic as a summoner saw the angel as a challenge to break his will; the rest of him said, hell no, get me away from here.

God, he wished he could get away from here.

He’d dressed in his old ripped jeans and a ratty sweatshirt, and Tara had helped put zombie makeup on him. He looked pretty cool in it too. Much better than Keith’s dumbass Scream mask.

Can’t I just go find Keith?” he asked, a touch of whine in his voice. Keith had sent him a photo earlier of him and one of his buddies at the Black Market food court. They were probably gone somewhere cooler by now too. Keith was a part-demon’s kid, so he knew all the good spots.

The Black Market is not for kids,” Zel pronounced from behind him. Although from the joviality in his voice, Too Good was pretty sure he was intentionally riling him up.

I’m not a kid. I’m thirteen.”

Either you’re a kid and can go trick or treating, or you’re too old for kiddy stuff and get no chocolate,” Ana intoned from in front of him.


The dank, nightmarish stairs with their dim, flickering lightbulb illumination finally ended, and they stepped into the upper level of the Black Market.

It was bustling.

Even though it was late evening, and the Black Market didn’t usually get going until late in the night, the space was absolutely packed with people, about half of them in random costumes. The sight cheered Too Good up. Now, here was a party.

The Black Market was old, made of red brick and thick black iron. The upper level consisted of a wide walkway loop lined with shops and corridors that looked into the lower level. What looked like the whole paranormal community had been crammed into the loop like it was free day at a skating rink.

Awesome,” Too Good said, grinning.

Wow,” Ana said.

Zel put an arm around her shoulders and dragged her close to his side. “Don’t worry, Little Hood. I’ll protect you on the way to grandma.”

Ana shook her head. “It’s Red Riding Hood, and you’re supposed to have eaten my grandma.”

Hmm. She doesn’t sound half as delicious as you.”

I like the sound of that.” Ana grinned and rolled onto her tiptoes, ready to receive Zel’s kiss.

Oh, please. Too Good wanted to gag. “Yo, minors present!”

Oh, shush,” Ana said good-naturedly, her cheeks pink. She rearranged her cape so it fell over her shoulders again.

Isn’t that a little obvious?” Too Good asked, gesturing toward the cape. “Red Riding Hood?”

She made a face, then pointed at Zel with her thumb. “He made me do it.”

Zel crossed his arms over his chest, and his biceps popped. It made Too Good a little envious. He could never make that happen when he tried it in front of a mirror. “I cashed in a favor.”

It was a running joke in the sharehouse that Zel usually helped Ana land into trouble, then insisted on being paid in favors to get her out of it. Too Good thought that was a weird form of foreplay, but Ana never seemed to mind. Better than making out on the couch, at least. He shuddered at the thought. Ana was the closest thing he had to an older sister. He did not need those images burned into his brain.

How did you even know about Red Riding Hood?” Too Good asked, since the dude couldn’t even get the name straight.

The old lady downstairs told me,” he said proudly.

Ana leaned down, a grimace twisting her expression. “He asked the Archivist for Halloween couple costume ideas.”

Too Good’s hands automatically lifted to make a cross with his fingers. The old hag. The nightmarish crone who haunted the deepest recesses of the Black Market.

Yep.” Ana nodded sagely.

She said it would be perfect,” Zel announced. “She was right.”

Well, at least when everyone figures out the hints and I have to disappear or get hunted to oblivion, I won’t have to suffer her again,” Ana said with an evil chuckle.

In Too Good’s opinion, the witch would probably figure out where Ana went and find a way to haunt her there, but he decided to keep silent. Looking around them, he pointed toward one side. “Let’s go that way.”

You lead,” Ana agreed.

Too Good snorted at that. If he led, then he’d be with Keith and his friends, not in here with Ana and Zel.

They ambled through the crowd, checking the different stores. Some were closed or boarded up, but a lot seemed to be doing brisk business. Too Good supposed that the whole creepy mood helped the kind of illegal sales and deals the Black Market was known for.

Hey, it’s Leo,” he exclaimed, spotting the part demon go into a corridor. He hurried after him until they got to the part-demons’ potion shop. He had met Leo a few times, and the dude was cool.

Yo, TG,” Leo said, noticing him. He had painted some butterflies on his face. “How’s it going?”


Hey, Ana, ‘sup, dude,” Leo continued, greeting Ana and Zel.

Hey,” Ana replied. “We’re trick or treating.”

Reaaally?” Leo rubbed his hands.

Too Good straightened, encouraged by the gleam in Leo’s eyes. “Yeah.”

I have just the thing.” Leo dipped inside the shop. Loud techno music blasted out of it, today with a Halloween edge to it. He returned with a bowl filled with chocolate balls.

Hell, yeah, now they were talking. Too Good reached for one. “Thanks, du—”

Ana pushed his hand away. “No.”

What?” he asked, confused.

We do not accept strange candy from part-demons who own potion shops,” she said with a pointed look.



Aww,” Leo said. “It’s nothing bad, I swear.”

Ana grabbed Too Good’s hand like he was six years old and began dragging him away. “Maybe next time. Sorry, Too Good is not feeling hungry!”

Leo waved them goodbye until they walked around a corner.

Too Good wrenched his hand free. “Dude!”

What? We have ground rules, remember? We don’t deal with demons, part demons, or angels if we don’t want to get shipped to summoner school.”

It was just candy,” Too Good grumbled ungraciously. “He’s not going to poison me.”

Yeah, well, I rather you not get drunk on magic, either.”

Bah. He just wanted some chocolate to make up for the fact he was shackled with Ana and the angel. Was that so much to ask?

Oh, look,” Ana said, cheerful again. “It’s Linda.”

She cut through the crowd like a laser beam, although Too Good had a feeling Zel was helping with his angelic air magic, and they reached the Black Market’s only decent bookstore-slash-library.

Hello, Ana,” Linda said, grinning in a goth witch costume. She held up a fist to Too Good. “Cool.”

He bumped fists with her and grinned back. Linda was okay. She let him study in the back room sometimes when Ana had business down there, and she’d lent him some books about summoners. The more Too Good read about what other summoners had done before him, the less he wanted to use his power.

The whole “summoning a being from another realm and making them your mindless slave” was pretty gross. There was a group of “good” summoners who had offered to take him in, but after their leader had kidnapped him to exchange him “for the greater good of the group,” Too Good didn’t want anything to do with them. He still had nightmares sometimes about being under the influence of Alan Ward, unable to do anything but obey his commands.

With a start, she realized Linda had asked something. “Sorry?”

What are you three doing?” She eyed Zel’s bare chest. “Trying to create a commotion?”

We’re trick or treating!” Ana announced, offering her basket.

That’s empty.”

Oh, it’s for Too Good’s candies.”

Linda’s suspicious gaze switched to him. “Is it?”


Great.” She smiled widely. “Wait here.”

Too Good’s hopes rose. Ana couldn’t possibly complain about getting candies here.

Linda returned a moment later with a hand-wrapped candy bar. “Here. Made them this morning.”

Awesome.” Too Good took the bar and unwrapped it hastily. It looked like the brown organic cookies the tea dude sold at his shop upstairs, but hey, he had eaten worse. He took a good bite and chewed with enthusiasm, bracing himself for the explosion of sugar on his tongue.

Instead, a bizarre mix of weird, bland oat-tystuff filled his mouth. He swallowed with some effort. “What’s this?”

Organic oatmeal bars. They’re very healthy. Go on, eat.”

Too Good sent Ana a panicked look, and Ana smothered a laugh.

Thank you, Linda,” she said. “Gonna keep doing the rounds now.”

Linda nodded. “See you around.” Her smile became a little more stony. “And stop bringing your boyfriend.”

Too Good had no idea why Linda didn’t like Zel, but at this point Zel was his new favorite person if it meant they could get away and he didn’t have to eat the oatmeal monstrosity.

It can’t be that bad,” Ana said once they were out of sight from the bookstore.

Too Good offered her the bar. She took a bite and winced. “Ew.”

Zel took it from her and shoved the rest into his mouth. He munched for a few minutes, then said, “It’s not bad.”

Well, from now on, you can have them all,” Ana said dryly.

Too Good couldn’t agree more. He looked around, checking some of the most impressive costumes—one guy in a reaper getup was really cool—and noticed a literal hole drilled into the brick wall. Ana had told him the guy inside the room was good for giving directions and gossip, but not to ask him a thing because he’d make you buy a drink and the prices were a total scam.

However, the dude had a glass bowl perched on a brick with one chocolate bar inside. No potion, no oatmeal—just a plain popular brand chocolate bar.


Too Good hastened his steps, elbowing the crowd aside.

Just as he reached the hole, saliva building in anticipation, a small hand darted into the bowl and snatched the chocolate bar.

Too Good followed the hand and found a girl of about eight or nine in a pink princess costume, her black hair gathered in two curly puffs on the top of her head. Her brown eyes were fixed on him, first wide, then narrowing as her mouth curled into a smirk. With precise movements, she opened the bar and took a huge bite, holding Too Good’s gaze the whole time.

The little—

Too Good narrowed his eyes. The girl took another bite and munched with gusto.

Aww, you’re so cute,” Ana cooed from behind Too Good.

The girl gave him a smug look before blinking at Ana and smiling shyly.

And eating the last of his chocolate bar.

Let’s go,” he barked, turning his back on the princess from hell and walking into the crowd. There had to be some candy in this place. Somewhere.

Stopping by an entrance into the corridors running the backs of the shops, he looked around on his tiptoes, trying to think of where to try next. God, if only he were a foot or two taller, then he could see over the crowd.

Well, what do we have here?” said a smooth voice behind him.

He turned toward the corridor, but Ana stepped in front of him, blocking his view with her cape. He peeked around her anyway and saw it was the big devil guy—Aszu. He was wearing his usual dark coat, but today he had his long hair loose over his shoulders and chest, held back from his face by a white headband with a halo wobbling on top.

Too Good tried to cover his laugh.

Aszu’s smile widened. “Enjoying the festivities, I see.”

Zel came up to Ana’s side. “We are.”

Aszu gave him a critical eye. “What are you supposed to be?”

Zel produced a very toothy smile. “The wolf.”

Ah, the red thing tale.” Aszu’s gaze switched to Ana, and he arched a brow. “Really?”

Ana crossed her arms. “It’s the Red Riding Hood, and at least I tried.” She gestured toward his halo.

I thought it fitting.” Aszu found Too Good peeking from behind Ana. “Don’t you think, Zombie Boy?”

Normally, Too Good would be irked as being called a boy, but you didn’t talk back to old, super-powerful demons like Aszu. So he nodded, then said. “You got candy?”

No, he doesn’t!” Ana exclaimed, horrified.

Too Good shrugged. One had to try.

Let me see…” Aszu patted the pockets of his coat, then produced a multicolored marble in a transparent wrapping and offered it to Ana. “Got them earlier from a store upstairs. They’re good.”

Too Good wasn’t really into that kind of hard candy, but it’d do.

Thank you, but we must refuse,” Ana said primly.

Ana,” Too Good whined.

It’s bad for your teeth.”

Dude, you ate like half of Jonas’s cake the other day!”

Ana sent him a withering glare. “It was not half of it. It was two slices. And it’s different.”

Why?” he demanded.

I wouldn’t poke the little red creature,” Aszu warned him in a mocking tone. “Bad things can happen with your heart.”

Ana pointed a stern finger at the demon. “First of all, shush. Second of all, I don’t do that anymore.”

Aszu smiled placidly.

And if she did,” Zel said, snaking an arm around Ana’s waist and pulling her closer, “she already tasted mine. None else’s can compare.”

Ana laughed in that high-pitched—and seriously dumb, in Too Good’s opinion—way she did sometimes when Zel was around, and looked up at the angel with stars in her eyes.

Nope,” Too Good said. “I’m out of here.”

Turning, he went back into the crowd. Rubbing his stomach, he realized he had gotten hungry. Noticing Ana had caught up to him, he told her, “Let’s go get some food.”

Good idea.”

They made it down to the food court on the lower level. The burger place was doing brisk business, and the seats were all occupied, but then Zel simply went to stand by one of the tables, staring down at the occupants while crossing his arms, and the three men there hurried to grab their trays and get away.

Zel gave them a brilliant smile.

Ana gave him a thumbs up. “Good job, handsome.”

He sat down with a satisfied expression on his face and sprawled on the seat. Too Good noticed more than a few people staring at Zel’s naked, tanned chest with nothing short of fascination.

Why did you have to bring him?” he asked Ana. “We could’ve just come alone.” Or better yet, he could’ve come with Keith.

She patted his head, then laughed when he sent her an outraged look. “Everyone deserves to enjoy Halloween. What do you want?”

Too Good told her after grumbling not everyone then went to sit at the table while Ana put in their order.

It wasn’t the first time he’d been stuck alone with the angel, but it didn’t get any less strange with each encounter. That strange shiver of awareness coursed up his spine and settled uncomfortably between his shoulder blades, forcing him to squirm.

He avoided looking into the angel’s eyes—unglamoured red today as it went with the theme, according to him—and focused on the scratches on the Formica table. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Ana to get back, and—thank God—she sat by his side instead of over by Zel. Too Good didn’t think he could eat if they started doing PDA.

Food will be here in a minute,” she told them happily.

Too Good had to admit that while his Halloween experience so far was trying, at least Ana seemed to be having a good time. Unintentionally, he caught Zel’s eye, then nodded reluctantly at the warning he found there. He wouldn’t mess up Ana’s Halloween just because his wasn’t going as planned.

Mark arrived a few minutes later with a couple of trays laden with burgers and fries. Too Good licked his lips at the delicious bundle of buns, patties, and cheese set in front of him.

And this,” Mark said, producing a candy bar with a flourish, “is for the trick or treater.”

Too Good’s gaze snapped to Ana. “For me?”

Her lips twitched. “Well, I’m not the one trick or treating.”

Thank you,” he told Mark. The man winked at him and left the bar on the table. Turning to Ana, Too Good thanked her too.

Ana waved his thanks away with a smile and grabbed her burger. “Eat now, thanks later.”

Too Good was happy to do so. He focused on his own burger and was about to take a bite when he realized the candy bar was gone.

What the eff?

Straightening abruptly, he searched their surroundings.

And there, smirking from across the court, was the little girl in her princess costume with his candy bar.

He was going to strangle her.

Then he noticed she was holding hands with a tall, muscular, mean-looking woman engaged in conversation with an equally mean-looking dude. Too Good swallowed hard.

As if aware of his thoughts, the girl bit into the—his—candy bar.

Before he could form a plan of revenge, however, Ana’s phone began to ring.

Ana put the phone on the table. “Unknown number,” she whispered before accepting the call.

Trick or treat!” came the Archivist’s loud voice through the speaker.

Too Good pushed himself off the table, all thoughts of candy bars and little girls in princess costumes forgotten.

Ana snatched the phone up and brought it to her ear, eyes widening in horror as she listened to the old witch.

A few moments later, she lowered the phone.

The, uhm, Archivist wants us to pay her a visit.”

Too Good swallowed hard. “Do we have to?”

Probably better if we do.”

He hung his head in defeat. As much as he despised the old hag and her underground bunker office, who knew what she’d do if they didn’t do as she asked.

Feeling more like in a funeral procession than Halloween, he followed Ana and Zel down into the depths of the Black Market, where no one with a brain dared venture unless they were desperate.

Really desperate.

The damp stench of the underground tunnel assaulted their nostrils as soon as they ended the stairs, and they hurried to the Archivist’s bunker. The door opened automatically, and they slipped inside.

The Archivist’s reception room was as dreary and depressing as always, with the old, uninspired carpet and couch, beige walls, huge water stains, and the discordant Christmas jingles filling the air a level just above background music.

Someone had put an orange garland on the dead plant in the corner and taped bats and pumpkins on the walls, half of which were already peeling off like the mood of the room was too heavy for their existence.

One thing was new, though.

The armchair by the far corner hadn’t been there before.

Archivist?” Ana called when the next door didn’t open as it usually did.

Too Good stepped closer to the armchair. It was as decrepit as the couch—old, with patches of yellowed foam sticking out and a musty smell wafting from it—but there was something odd about—

A head popped from over the back of the armchair.

Too Good jumped back with a yelp. The thing had no face, only dark hair covering it. It moved forward, long hair dragging over the armchair as a pair of stick-thin pale arms appeared, its claw-like hands grabbing onto the upholstery as the…the thing crawled over the top of the armchair…toward him.

He screamed.

Ana screamed.

He rushed toward the door, almost colliding with Ana to get there. He grabbed the handle, sweaty hands slipping until he managed a good grip.

Open it!” Ana shouted.

It’s locked,” he yelled. “It’s locked!”

Together, they turned and plastered their backs to the door, ready to deal with the monster.

Zel burst into laugher, so hard he doubled in half.

What is wrong with you?” Ana screeched, one hand to her chest.

The girl from the Ring began cackling as she made it over the armchair, onto the carpet, then straightened and parted the dark curtain of hair to reveal the weathered face of the Archivist.

Boo!” she exclaimed.

Too Good grabbed Ana’s basket and threw it at her head.

Belying her apparent age of a million years, the Archivist ducked swiftly, and the basket sailed above her to crash against the wall.

Happy Halloween!” she said.

Zel straightened, wiping his eyes. “Perfection.”

The Archivist beamed at him. “Thank you, dear.” She studied him and Ana with satisfaction. “See? Perfect couples costume!”

You are wise, as always,” Zel told her with a grin.

Wise my ass,” Ana muttered, glaring at Zel.

Someone was about to go on a dry spell, Too Good thought. Then his attention snapped toward the Archivist when she grabbed something from behind the armchair—another basket, this one full of store-bought candy.

No. No way. He couldn’t…right? Not from the witch…right?

Too Good took a step forward, but the Archivist moved the basket away. “Say the magic words,” she told him in a sing-song voice that was like nails against a chalkboard.

Too Good licked his lips. “Trick or treat?”

Yesss!” The hag offered him the basket, and Too Good approached with uncertain steps.

He glanced at Ana, hoping for some guidance, but she was busy glowering at Zel while he smiled smugly back. Yeah, they were going to be at that for a while.

The Archivist moved the basket invitingly. “Caaandy,” she intoned.

He grabbed the candy bar on top and jumped back.

C’mon, eat it,” the Archivist encouraged.

Too Good studied it. It looked like a normal candy bar, one of a dozen you saw in the store every day. Carefully, he unwrapped it and sniffed the air. Nothing odd about it.

You’ll love it!” the Archivist assured him.

Ah, well. YOLO and all that.

Too Good took a huge bite.

And the most disgusting combination of flavors ever to be created by human or magical hand filled his mouth. His eyes watered. His stomach rolled. His taste buds attempted to escape into his tonsils.

Good, isn’t it?” he heard the Archivist ask with all the pride of someone who just produced a veritable feast.

And from then on, whenever someone asked Too Good why he refused to go anywhere near the Black Market on Halloween and stuck with ice-cream for the day, he would shudder, make a cross with his fingers, and mutter something about old witches coming out of wells to poison him and possibly eat his soul.


Thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderfully spooky Halloween!

Other Realms Unleashed: Red Angel bonus stories:

     – A Red Angel Holiday (Christmas 2022)

Copyright © 2023 by Isa Medina