Halloween 2014 Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 5

                “Seeing as Sunshine used the word ‘heart-stopping’ a little too freely, and we all know funhouses are just machines that churn out corpses, let’s go for something moderately safe and do the Hall of Mirrors,” you say.

                “Safe is a relative term in these parts,” Victoria replies, though she doesn’t seem to object to your choice.

                “She’s dead on, man. One time my uncle bought a ton of fireworks for the fourth of July, then he got drunk in the back of his truck and his cigarette ashed on the fuses. Next thing you know he’s trying to outrun his own flamings pants and all of us cousins were dodging rogue artillery shells and bottle rockets.”

                I don’t really need to tell you that Jim said this, do I?

                The three of you head over to a moderately sized building that seems to be made almost entirely from mirrors. Every inch of it is reflecting a warped, distorted version of the circus around you. The only exceptions are a doorway, which seems like a patch of black draped across the endlessly shining exterior, and a large red sing that reads: “Mr. Glass’s Hall of Mirrors.”

                An attendant greets you all as you walk in, she’s wearing the same candy-cane striped outfit as the others, and like them she bows her head as soon as she catches sight of your passes. By this point you barely even notice her behavior; your eyes are drawn to the gleaming hall stretching out before you.

                Mirrors line every surface, from the walls to the ceiling, even the floors are mirrored, though these are distorted enough to not make anyone in a skirt feel ill-at-ease. Some make you appear lumbering and tall, while others flatten you out into a near-circular form. You’re barely two steps in when you lose all sense of location. With a glance back toward the entrance, you hope to readjusted, but the doorway is gone. In its place are more smooth, endless mirrors.

                “I, um…I think we’re trapped in here,” you say. Strangely, even your voice seems to be reflected, bounding around with a different tone each time it reaches your ears.

                “That’s hardly surprising, seeing as this is a trap,” Victoria replies. “After all, we are in an attraction run by one of the high families of All Hallows Eve.”

                “You know, one day I think I’d really like to know exactly what it is you and these families do,” you say.

                Victoria stares at you, slowly lifting one of her eyebrows. “Are you certain of that? Some things, once learned, can never be forgotten. Not even I’ll have the power to take it away from you.”

                “Y-yes. I’m sure I’ll want to know…someday. Just, you know, not while we’re stuck in this giant mirror hall.”

                “Ohhh shit? These things are mirrors?” Jim says. You turn to find him licking one of his reflections. Strangely, even the mirror version of Jim seems to be wondering what the fuck is going on. “Thanks goodness, I thought I’d walked into another Columbus Day cloning shitshow.”

                “More nonsense?” Victoria asks.

                “No, that’s actually a pretty well-grounded fear. We barely made it out of that one,” you tell her. “Anyway, we’re not getting any closer to an exit by standing around.”

                Moving carefully, the three of you begin walking down the hallway, arms stretched forward to feel about. It saves you from bashing your nose countless times, but it also forces you to touch several of the mirrors. Most feel normal: smooth and cold, though a few seem…off. They either feel slimy, or rough, or have a strange pulsing heat that reminds you of a heartbeat. You never let your hands linger on any of them, even the normal ones, just touching and moving on. This strategy works fine for several minutes...

                Until you brush up against a mirror, only to have your reflection reach out, grab your arm, and yank you through the suddenly intangible surface. It feels like going through a soap bubble, and when you land on the mirrored floor you quickly scramble to your feet, pitchfork outstretched, braced for an attack.

                Instead, you find yourself completely alone, save only for the dozens of reflections that surround you. They are all still of you, but not all of them of you tonight. There’s some of you as a child, others of you in your teens. Many are of you from the last few years, there’s even one of two of you in your wizard outfit. Others are of an older you, though only by a couple of years. Then, in one corner, you spot a reflection that doesn’t seem to be of you at all. Instead it shows a small meadow with a single grave marker wedged in the side.

                Yeah…probably best not to think about that one too much.

                “All right you sons of bitches, I know where this is going. Come get some!” You brandish your pitchfork, doing all you can to appear courageous instead of letting on that you’re three seconds away from pissing yourself. Fight or flight has been engaged, and with flight off the table all you can do is hope to spear a few of these evil dicks along the way.

                “You know, you shouldn’t talk that way about mom,” one of your older reflections says.

                “What do you…oh yeah.” You finally realize that some insults are double-edged swords when used against this crowd.

                “Anyway, we aren’t here to hurt you,” says a reflection of you from high school.

                “We pulled you in to warn you. I mean, us. We are you. Screw it, you get the general idea.” You’re pretty sure this reflection of you is from a time when Jim made extra special cookies and didn’t bother to tell you of their specialness.

                “Yanking me away from my friends is a hell of a way to help me,” you shout.

                “We pulled you away from Victoria,” says a child version of you.

                “She’s dangerous, and she wouldn’t like what we have to say.” This is another old version of you, he looks to be maybe in his late-twenties. “But this is one of the few chances we might have to change things.”

                “What are you trying to change?” you ask.

                “Look around,” says a reflection of you from high school graduation. “Do you see any versions of yourself older than thirty?”

                Actually, no, you don’t. That late-twenties reflection was the oldest looking one in the room. Other than him, there’s just younger ones and the meadow.


                “Yeah, oh.” This time the reflection speaking is you from last year, wearing the wizard outfit. “And he only exists in a few very lucky timelines. You’re in way deeper than someone like you should ever be, and sooner or later it’s going to get you killed. Unless you take our advice and run, right here and now.”

                Behind you, there’s a sound like a knife sliding across glass, and when you turn to look you see a doorway has opened up. Outside you’re pretty sure you can make out the entrance to the town that you three passed through.

                “Leave, and never look back. Not many people get a second chance. Don’t waist yours,” says the wizard you.

                It’s an enticing offer, but your friends are still stuck in the hallway somewhere. Then again, if these versions of you are telling the truth, one of them is the thing that will put you in danger. You could say no, but they might not like that. Of course, you have a weapon and they’re just mirrors, maybe you could force your way through. They seem impatient though, you’ll need to decide something.