Halloween 2016: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 3

                Screw this, you aren’t going to wait around for someone else to solve your problem. Damnit, you’re a junior-level intern, you know how to get things done. Pausing to lock your door (bold choices are all well and good but you don’t exactly live in the safest neighborhood) you take your flashlight down several flights of stairs, past the empty entry hall, and into the basement. It’s darker here, no surprise given that this area lacks windows, and even less shockingly you’re the only one who’s ventured down. Most people are probably either out having fun or too drunk to care that the power is down.

                As you make your way through the musty room, you feel a pang of envy in your heart for those people. Halloween used to be a fun holiday, before real life and responsibility soured it like so many other former joys. This is different though. At least, it feels different. Some part of you keeps insisting that Halloween is special. Or it used to be special. But no matter how you scour your brain for a reason this particular holiday would carry more weight than others, you come up empty. Just more drunken blurs like so many others from college. Wow, you may have had a drinking problem back then, now that you really think about it.

                The soft thunk from a nearby washer draws your attention and your flashlight as your heart starts hammering in your chest. Peering inside, you see a blob of wet clothes that have settled near the bottom. Right, people probably had laundry going when the power died, and it’s going to shift as the weight of the water seeps in. Steeling your nerves, shaking off the memory of fleeting movement outside your door, you turn from the washer to the breaker box. The sooner power is restored, the sooner you can head to bed and get a jump on work tomorrow. Maybe if you really push through, you’ll get off in time to go do something with your afternoon. Probably not though.

                Yanking open the breaker box cover, you shine the flashlight onto the worn-out circuitry and immediately spot the problem. Not a terribly hard task, the power around here blows often enough that almost everyone has a passing familiarity with how to fix it. Reaching out, you grab the thrown breaker and jerk it back into position.

                The lights flicker on as power flows back into the building. Unfortunately, the decrepit nature of the breaker box has finally caught up with it, and the power is flowing into you as well. Electricity lights up your nervous system, filling your eyes with sparks and crackles as you struggle to yank your hand away, an issue impeded by the fact that your muscles seem to have seized up. Finally, with one concentrated jerk of effort, you fling yourself back from the breaker box and land heavily on the floor.

                Everything around you seems to have dissolved into a sea of crackling lights and blurry images. Your eyes can’t focus, and your ears are ringing as you mentally grope about for anything approximating solid ground. All of it feels wrong, though. No… all of it is wrong. What’s going on? Why are you in this building? Why are you working this shitstain of a job? Where are your friends? But… what friends? Jim, of course, except you know where Jim is, he moved off to turn his comic into a movie. And Victoria… were you ever even that close? You can’t remember, you just know something is wrong, even as you fail to find any proof to point to.

                As you’ve been rolling about on the ground, your vision is starting to clear as your mind becomes more muddled. Now if only the ringing in your ears would vanish as well. The room is dark again, and judging by the sparks the breaker box is throwing off that’s not going to change anytime soon. More noises come from the washers, no doubt clothes resettling after you made the machines briefly function again. Except that as you glance over, you catch sight of something in the beam of your flashlight. The shoulder of a hulking, shadowy form slowly walking forward, shoving the heavy washing machines out of the way with its methodical pace.

                Your heart forgets to beat and your lungs freeze as you take in the shoulder of something that to see full on you instinctually know would break your mind. It’s a hallucination. It has to be. The breaker box shocked you, and now you’re seeing things. Very realistic, terrifying things that are moving real world objects. You just need to think straight, if only this damn ringing would stop…

                And then, it does, as the sharp noise crystalizes into words, words being screamed at you from somewhere unseen.

                “For the love of Samhain, get a move on Merlin! Run!”

                That’s all it takes. Not even you know why for sure, but at the sound of that familiar female voice urging you on, the danger of your situation finally snaps into reality. Without wasting another moment, you grab your flashlight and bolt up the stairs. The idea of heading back to your apartment never even crosses your mind, you need to get clear of this place now. Somewhere safe, ideally with other people around. Oddly, the office is the first place that springs to mind. There’s a night shift there, and it’s hard to imagine anything supernatural happening in a place that dull. There’s also the Halloween parade in downtown, a spot that has to be jam packed with bodies. Or you can always fall back on the tried and true destination of your past: a bar. Specifically, the one that Sheryl invited you too. A familiar face might be nice, and at least you know there won’t be a shortage of crowd to blend in with in a bar on Halloween.

                Racing down the entrance hall, you burst through the apartment building’s front doors and into the street. A scream nearly tears from your lips as you see all the monsters about, before you remember that this is a holiday where everyone wears scary costumes. You need to get your shit under control, so pick a destination and try not to cause a scene on your way there.