It is a crisp, clear Thursday night in New York City. For most people, it is also the start of a long weekend, because it is also a sort-of holiday - one they look forward to celebrating every year with keen anticipation. But if you asked them why, most people would have to get back to you!
The former Avenger known only as the Vision is all dressed up in a tuxedo, and approaches a club called Magic Mansion. Entering, he is greeted by his new friend, Ilya Zarkov. ‘Vision! You came! I’m so glad!’ Ilya exclaims, to which the Vision greets Ilya, before asking if he calls him Illusion when inside his club. A curtain is suddenly pulled aside, and a woman enters the foyer, ‘He’ll answer to either, whether here or at home in Leonia - but you must always call my Glynis!’ Ilya’s wife exclaims, smiling. The Vision smiles, and tells Glynis that “Glamor” suits her better.
Glynis tells the Vision that he is sweet, before asking him how anyone ever thought he was an “emotionless android”. The Vision replies ‘Very easily’ and explains to Glynis that there was a control crystal inside him which limited his responses, like a governor on an engine. He explains that not long before he met the two of them he tore it out, and every month since then, he has discovered more and more freedom in what he calls his soul.
Illusion tells Vision that indeed it is a soul, for since they became neighbors, he has shown only kindness to he and his wife, which is not the act of a robot. Ilya informs the Vision that he and Glynis decided years ago to use their powers of molecular control to develop an act of stage-magic, to make money and start this club. They never socialized with the super heroes, and knows that it would have been easy for the Vision and Wanda to dismiss them because they never attempted to save the world as they have. The Vision replies that he and Wanda would have never dismissed them, and reminds him that they moved to Leonia to escape the concentration of heroes - and villains - here in Manhattan, though it is very pleasant to find one couple who knows what it means to be set apart.
Glamor replies that she and Ilya say the same of the Vision and Wanda, before asking where Wanda is tonight, as she was hoping both of them would accept the invitation to the Halloween Spectacular. Illusion asks if there is anything wrong with the baby, to which the Vision replies there is nothing wrong with the baby, ‘But as you say, it’s Halloween - and she’s the Scarlet Witch!’
Meanwhile, at the home of the mighty Scarlet Witch and the android Vision in Leonia, Wanda has gathered some candles, incense, a chalice, a sword and a wand, so she thinks that she is all prepared, though realizes that there is still half an hour until she needs to begin, so perhaps this is a good time to make some calls. ‘The long distance rates go down after dark, don’t they?’ she thinks to herself, before she makes a little laugh, for the distance her signal lasers across is the distance from here to the moon - and the home of the Uncanny Inhumans, where lives her only brother, Pietro Maximoff, better known as Quicksilver.
‘Are you sitting down, Pietro?’ Wanda asks as her image appears on a computer screen in Quicksilver’s home. Pacing about, Pietro reminds his sister that he does not like to sit, before informing her that he and Crystal must be leaving shortly, as he has introduced the custom of trick or treat to the Inhumans, and they are accompanying Luna on her rounds. ‘You asked for it then - because your daughter’s going to have a cousin!’ Wanda announces. ‘What? Wanda I believe your transmission is scrambled!’ Pietro exclaims. ‘No it isn’t, baby brother! I’m going to have a child!’ Wanda states again.
Quicksilver throws his arms up into the air reminding his sister that he was only born thirty seconds after her, so she cannot call him “baby brother”, especially as he is a leading citizen of the Great Refuge - and a responsible husband and father. He points out that even when they were outcast children, she knew that he did not like to be - ‘Pietro!’ exclaims Wanda, interrupting her brothers rant. ‘Called “Baby brother”!’ Pietro concludes, before Wanda asks him what he thinks.
‘…the Vision is not the father, of course…!’ Pietro assumes. Wanda raises a hand to her forehead and asks her brother how he could even think that, for of course the Vision is the father, but she is not going to discuss the details. ‘The Vision is the father!’ Pietro exclaims, before recalling that for many years he opposed the relationship between his sister and a mechanical man, and there was much bitterness. But now, Pietro smiles and congratulates his sister, and the Vision, and tells Wanda that he loves her, before asking what their father thinks of all this.
Wanda replies that she hasn’t told Magneto yet, in fact she hasn’t told anyone but Pietro. She explains to her brother that it has been their secret this past month, and that no matter how much they have learned about their fathers softer side, it is still hard to imagine telling such news to the likes of him. Pietro tells Wanda that he agrees, and while he accepts the story of Magneto siring them, there is still too much time that he held them captive in his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for him to ever see Magneto as a sympathetic figure.
Wanda remarks that she will have to call Magneto, as he will know soon enough when she begins to show. Pietro suggests that they finish talking about Magneto, and asks his sister what she is doing to celebrate her witches’ festival tonight. ‘Something more outré than trick or treat I imagine!’ Wanda smiles, and explains to Pietro that this is the night when the veils between the living and dead are thinnest - so she is going to do a ritual to contact her mentor, Agatha Harkness, before adding that she is far more caught up with life than death right now. Wanda supposes that she should get on with it, before asking Quicksilver if he would consider leaving the Moon next month and bringing his family to her home for Thanksgiving. Pietro replies that of course he will, and that he shall try and visit earlier, but the militia is taking up a great deal of his time. ‘I understand, baby brother!’ Wanda jokes, before telling him to reserve Thanksgiving for her, and bids him good night.
Wanda leaves the computer before wondering if she should call Magneto tonight, but decides that she is not really ready yet, and a more pressing matter is what Agatha meant when she appeared to her and whispered “prepare”. Wanda sets her candles in a circle while thinking to herself that Vision was sensible enough to accept Glynis and Ilya’s invitation and leave her to her incantations - for he will never be a witch! Sitting in the circle of candles now, Wanda wishes that she felt more magical and less motherly at the moment. She asks her unborn child how it is doing, ‘Ready to go look for Mommy’s friend?’
Since the first humans huddled together for warmth, they’ve felt the need to defy what they couldn’t control - and very few have ever controlled the darkness. Great religions were built on the worship of the light which drives darkness away - but others have worshipped darkness and light as equals and lovers - and no matter how the powers it bestows have been misused, witchcraft is first and foremost the old religion. Halloween is the night witches pay their respects to the abyss. Wanda casts her spell, and Agatha’s ethereal image appears before her.
Agatha calls out to Wanda, who replies that she can see her, but that she is so faint. Agatha tells Wanda that the life within her is diverting her, that she is not acting as she was taught. Wanda points out that she is not the person she was when she taught her, and that she has life within her. Wanda tells Agatha that she thinks it was she who helped her with the magic that put it there. Agatha explains to Wanda that her concern now is for life’s future. ‘Agatha? You’re fading again! Come back!’ exclaims Wanda. ‘Beware…beware!’ is all Agatha replies before she vanishes.
Wanda casts a hex sphere, hoping she can use it to bring Agatha back through again, and it appears to be working, as Agatha begins to form again - however, Wanda gets a great fright when the barrier between the realms is breached, and a decaying member of Salem’s Seven reaches out to her. ‘It is not Dame Agatha who seeks you now, mutants - it is her grandson - Thorn!’ Wanda exclaims that he is dead, like all the other witches of New Salem. ‘Of course!’ Thornn exclaims as he grabs Wanda, who screams.
Back at Magic Mansion, the Vision sits at a table close to the stage, where Illusion announces that he is going to saw his wife not just in half, but into ten pieces. The Glamor is amused at how the audiences oohs and aahs, thinking to herself that she can control her every molecule so as to separate and then to reform without injury, and since Ilya can control the molecules of anything he touches, the saw blade need never really touch her. ‘How many, I wonder, expect to hear me scream?’
It is the Vision who in fact scream, and getting to his feet, he thinks that this cannot be happening, as he felt magick in his head. Ilya calls out to his friend, while the Vision is confused, as he doesn’t know what magick is, he has no feel for it - only Wanda. ‘Wanda! Something’s happening to her!’ the Vision exclaims. Glamor asks Illusion what is going on, but Ilya replies that he doesn’t know, as it is not his doing. Agatha Harkness’ form appears, remarking that stage magic is not real magick, but nevertheless the mood in this hall serves her - the mood must suit her.
One of the patrons gets to his feet, deciding that he has had enough, though one of his friends tells him to relax, as Glamor and Illusion always do something spectacular. Agatha informs the Vision that his wife has been taken - taken by those who die but will not lie quietly. Agatha explains to him that she tried to warn Wanda, but that she is not what she once was. The Vision asks Agatha Harkness where Wanda is, and as the old woman fades from view, she whispers ‘The Druid Tome…destroy the Druid Tome…!’
Illusion calls to the audience, telling them that is all for this evening, and if any of them are dissatisfied, their money will be refunded. He thanks them for attending these rites as Glamor asks the Vision what the old woman meant. The Vision replies that he doesn’t know, as Agatha simply said “Destroy the Druid Tome”, but he knows that it is already destroyed!
In the path between the realms, Thornn drags Wanda to what he calls her new home, revealing to her that he and his brothers and sisters have existed for nothing but this moment of revenge. Wanda arrives in the dark realm, held to the ground by Thornn, as five more of Salem’s Seven approach her. ‘I was Vertigo - you caused my head to detonate!’ the headless one exclaims. ‘Within Vakume’s shell, no bone remains unshattered!’ Vakume declares. Brutacus boasts that he was once the strongest of all - but now he has no arms. Hydron reminds Wanda that he controlled liquids - that is until she reduced him to this gelatinous slime. ‘Only Reptilla can regenerate her serpentine coils!’ the serpent woman remarks, before Thornn exclaims that he will never heal on this side of the veil.
The grandchildren of Agatha Harkness all close in on Wanda, while Thornn holds her in place as he tells her that this is a nightmare which has only begun, for even as she has come to the Dead Realm, she will now have to assist in the sending of Darkness to the Land of Life. Wanda tells her foes that they are insane, for although her hex power is formidable, it cannot create life, and explains to them that it was only through the use of more traditional magic that she was able to create one life.
Suddenly, Wanda screams ‘No! Oh no!’ as she realizes what the Salemites’ plan is, and Thornn declares that it is Wanda’s child who holds the key to the doorway - her child who has the power that was stolen from them, ‘And who will return it all tonight!’ ‘NO!’ screams Wanda, unleashing a massive surge of power she knocks the Salemites away from her, enabling her to flee. Glancing back over her shoulders, Wanda sees that Salem’s Seven are not hurt, and tells herself that she learned from Agatha that you cannot hurt those who have left their bodies, yet behind her foes, she can see other shadowy figures.
However it is one such figure in front of her that Wanda funs into. A green creature tells Wanda that there is no place to run, for on this night of All Hallows, the dead are everywhere! ‘Then I’ll fight you everywhere!’ Wanda exclaims, blasting the creature, before running off again, with the Salem’s Seven in hot pursuit. ‘You won’t have the baby and you won’t have me! Whatever your mad dreams, the Scarlet Witch takes care of her own!’ Wanda calls back, while unbeknownst to her, standing behind the Salemites is a large shadowy figure with glowing green eyes, who remarks that the Scarlet Witch’s victory in New Salem occurred in summer sunshine, while tonight, the dark is all. ‘Tonight the light is faint and very far away!’
Back in Leonia, the Vision enters his home, followed by Glamor and Illusion, and calls out to Wanda, but sees that she is gone - just as he felt. Ilya apologizes to the Vision and assures him that he drove as fast as he could. The Vision replies that he knows, and assures Ilya that it was far faster than he can fly, for he can only glide with the winds. The Vision sighs that he was useless when his wife needed him, before Glamor reminds him of the woman who appeared and said that the Druid Tome would help.
Putting on his costume, the Vision reminds Glynis that he told her Wanda burned the Druid Tome and that he doesn’t even know what that was on their stage. He informs the Zarkov’s that Agatha Harkness taught Wanda witchcraft, but that Agatha died five months ago, although Wanda has claimed she has seen Agatha since, he never has. The Vision remarks that although he is more human these days, he is still too technological to see ghosts. ‘Or - visions?’ Glamor asks. ‘Or the nose on your face?’ asks Ilya, before telling the Vision to forgive him, but he should take it from one whose forte is misdirection - ‘Don’t let your new human emotions block your reason!’
Ilya remarks that although Wanda burned the book, it does not mean the book is destroyed, and asks of its ashes. The Vision exclaims that there were ashes but that they were swept up and thrown away - and that was in their previous house of two years ago. The Vision remarks that if any were left, they would be those which went up the chimney and floated out over the village. Illusion tells the Vision that if he can find just one speck of the ashes, then he will be able to use his powers of molecular control to draw every other remnant together. The Vision recalls that Ilya had told him he can control anything he touches for one minute, even if it is no longer in one piece, but he never imagined he had power like that.
Ilya points out that the Vision has the hard job, and asks him if he will be able to find that one single speck. As he floats up through the ceiling, the Vision calls back that he has an idea. Floating out over the town, the Vision thinks to himself that if he accepts that Agatha did appear to him, she must know that the Druid Tome still exists, otherwise there would have been no point to such a feat. The Vision sees the site of his and Wanda’s old home, and although he knows that the ashes from the Druid Tome would be indistinguishable from those of the house, while ashes which landed in grass and trees would have long since washed away, however there is one - and only one chance.
The Vision recalls how as the smoke spewed from the chimney, he was in its path, battling a child in a costume who had been turned into a real ghost by the book’s spells. Vision thinks to himself that Halloween costumes are worn but once a year, so if he can find that child, and if she still has the sheet and has not washed it… ‘It must be possible! It must!’ However, the Vision’s next concern is how long the process will take.
Back in the Dark Realm, Wanda wonders how long she has be running - it seems like hours. Wanda hopes that this isn’t hurting her baby, and tells her baby that she used to be an Avenger, before realizing that she hasn’t heard anything pursuing them. Suddenly, a large figure rises from the ground in front of Wanda. ‘Why should they pursue you, sister mutant - when the numbers of the dead are endless?!’ Wanda is shocked at who is before her - ‘Jean Grey - Marvel Girl!’ Wanda exclaims, ‘No, witch - only Dark Phoenix!’
More dead beings rise from the ground - ‘I was a god, Avenger - Korvac, the Enemy! Yet I passed onward!’ exclaims Wanda’s one-time foe Korvac. ‘And Dracula was the living dead, yet here am I as well! How much more easily shall the life of a babe be ended?’ the Vampire king remarks. Wanda blasts the dead, only to discover that her strongest spell does not touch them, for they have no substance. ‘None of us does!’ exclaims Baron Zemo as he appears with a host of other deceased beings and the Salem’s Seven. ‘Which is why the realm you represent holds such temptation for our kind!’ Zemo adds.
‘If none of you has any substance - get out of my way!’ Wanda screams, unleashing a powerful, blinding light, though Zemo remarks that they have all the substance they need for this realm. Someone grabs Wanda, telling her that there is no pain, no heaviness for those unencumbered by flesh, while Egghead reminds Wanda that she is a witch, so she should know that death always supersedes life. ‘And that’s why life is so precious!’ Wanda thinks to herself, before shocking her foes away with a hex, and realizes that she is tiring, for she has been throwing stronger and stronger hexes. Wanda tells her unborn child to stay strong, ‘Mommy knows how precious you are!’
Suddenly, a woman nearby exclaims ‘Your life was precious to me, Wanda! I ran from your father to give life to you and Pietro!’ Wanda looks at the woman, ‘You - you can’t be - my mother!’ she gasps. The woman exclaims that she was Magda the Gypsy, and tells Wanda that her mystic blood flows through Wanda’s veins. ‘I do not want your death, but you must feel as keenly as I that all life ends!’ Magda exclaims, before pointing out that wild things run riot this night, and any gypsy caught far from her home fires must expect to pay the price!
Wanda calls to her mother, asking for her help and for her to help the baby when suddenly a man rises from the ground, ‘She can’t, Wanda - any more than Maddy and I can!’ the yellow-clad man exclaims. Bob Frank a.k.a. the Whizzer stands with his wife and teammate Madeline a.k.a. Miss America as he tells Wanda that he loves her as much as any real father. Madeline tells Wanda that even the Whizzer and Miss America do not have the power to go against these hordes tonight. Wanda turns from the Golden Age heroes who she believed were her birth parents, and exclaims that it is too cruel brining them into this.
‘Cruelty is the hall mark of him who rules this night, darling girl!’ exclaims Agatha Harkness. Wanda turns and sees her former mentor, tied to a burning stake, as Agatha warns Wanda not to believe everything she sees in his grim realm. Wanda is shocked to see Agatha, and Agatha reveals that she has been strapped to this stake since her grandchildren burned her at Midsummer, and points out that she did her best to warn Wanda, but she could not oppose him. Wanda asks who “him” is, when the dark figure with glowing green eyes makes his presence known to her. Carrying his scythe, he exclaims ‘Foolish witch! All ghosts and goblins ride the winds this night, but only one rules it - Samhain the Embodiment of All Hallows!’
The Vision thinks of Samhain at that moment too, and tells himself that he has been so busy seeking the book that he forgot who dwelt inside it. The Vision recalls how Samhain sought to obtain life with Wanda’s magicks, until the burning of his book foiled his schemes. However, if the book still exists, then Samhain has had time to plain anew. The Vision spies a young woman leaving the library, and realizes that she is no longer a child, but this is certainly the one she fought the other Halloween. The Vision drops to the ground and tells the startled young woman that it is urgent that he speaks with her.
Moments later, the Vision is at the young woman’s home and she shows him to the attic, where she thinks the sheet is kept. The young woman finds the sheet and points out that her mother had no use for a sheet with holes in it, so she kept it to wear some other time. Handing it to the Vision she points out that it is rather dusty. The Vision replies that it is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. He then flies out of the attic window, assuring the young woman that he will return it. ‘Holly! My name is Holly!’ she calls back.
Soon, the Vision floats back into his home, announcing to the Zarkovs that he has it. Illusion points out that they have no way of telling which is the dust they want, but he will draw the remnants of everything on this robe and sort it out afterwards. Illusion touches the sheet, but with added performer’s panache. As the Vision throws open the shutters, what had been a still night begins to sigh with a rising wind.
Back in the Dark Realm, Samhain declares that all the worlds dwell in darkness, that light enters the worlds but cannot stay when darkness lurks behind every rock! He exclaims that he is the Embodiment of Darkness, and boasts that he will be so much more. Samhain tells Wanda that the energy caught up in her child can support him in her world, and that when it does, the world will see fear and madness such as none has heretofore dared dream. Wanda exclaims that this is impossible, for Samhain was tied to the Druid Tome, which she destroyed. Samhain assures Wanda that it exists - in a million minute fragments, adding that thanks to the way she scattered it into the winds, it can never be threatened by mortal men again.
Back in Leonia, several different objects have re-materialized on the sheet, and Illusion motions to a book - the Druid Tome. He explains that parts of it have washed away or rotted over time, but that every speck left in Leonia has returned to its original configuration. The Vision assures Ilya that he owes him more than he can ever repay, before asking his friends to stand away, as he is going to use the solar beam from his brow to burn the book again - but this time with such a pure heat as to reduce it to free atoms. The Vision points out that since they are deep into the night, it will take a few moments to draw the requisite power.
Meanwhile, Samhain announces ‘Let the spell of Transferral begin!’, and his scythe lights up. Wanda thinks to herself that her hexes have failed her so far, but wonders what will happen if she strikes Samhain in the same spot over and over. Wanda knows that she has to stop Samhain, as there is no one else but her - but he must not be allowed to hurt her baby. Wanda casts a spell in her head, but she is weak, and after a moment stumbles to the ground. Thornn announces that the Scarlet Witch has drained herself, and Samhain laughs, boasting that nothing can stop him now. Suddenly though, Samhain feels a certain warmth.
Back in Leonia, Glamor exclaims that the Vision will burn his house down if he doesn’t release that energy soon, but Ilya points out that he doesn’t think the Vision cares.
Samhain realizes that someone is attacking the Druid Tome, but doesn’t understand how it could be possible. Nevertheless, he thinks that they are too late, for with his final words the incantation is complete - ‘As from this world at last I’m -’ Samhain is cut off in his sentence, and the Druid Tome is burned, ‘Gone, never to return!’ the Vision exclaims standing over the place where the book was burned.
Samhain begins to glow - he realizes now that the Tome is dead, that his link to the world of light has been severed. Wanda opens her eyes and thinks she sees salvation as Samhain begins to decay - but like all else here, salvation is a black illusion, and a voice cackles ‘No longer can I hold the form of Samhain, but the form of the child still awaits me! No matter what I am - I live! And shall live!’
Suddenly, Agatha Harkness, in the burning flames, exclaims that the time then has come for her to act. Dark Phoenix, Dracula and Zemo turn from her as she addresses Samhain, reminding him that he was once invincible on this night of All Hallows, but ever since she discovered his scheme, she knew that not ever her extraordinary powers could stand against him. Agatha reveals to Samhain that she projected her warnings, and when Wanda proved too distracted to perform as a witch should, she pierced the veils to reach Wanda’s husband - she had to do what she could.
Agatha remarks that she loves little children, and always has. Her strength returning, Agatha exclaims that the Vision did what she prayed he would, and thus taking from Samhain the form which made him unique on this unique night, he is left only as energy. ‘Incredible energy yes, but in that, you are not unique!’ Agatha exclaims, growing in size to match that of Samhain’s energy form. ‘Deranged old crone! Whatever magicks you summon, nothing can stop me once I say the wizard words - as from this world at last I’m fled!’ Samhain declares.
The transfer begins, but Agatha declares that Samhain will not transfer into Wanda’s child, ‘But these - the rotten flesh of my flesh!’ she exclaims, motioning to her mangled grandchildren. Samhain is split into six energy beams as he is redirected to Salem’s Seven, crying ‘No! If I flow into them I’ll be trapped here forever - with - my - dark - force - forever - fragmented!’ With that, Samhain is trapped in Agatha’s grandchildren.
Wanda turns to Agatha who has resumed normal size, and Agatha assures her friend that Samhain will never menace her again, ‘And neither will the unquiet dead of New Salem - love them though I did…once’.
Wanda is returned to her home, and Agatha declares that at last she can go to her long-awaited rest-in-peace, and fades from view. The Vision and Wanda embrace, and Wanda smiles, exclaiming that the baby is all right.