“Are you sure about this?” It’s not the first time Sheryl has asked you this question, but it’s likely to be the last. Together the two of you have yanked the power chords out of several lamps, wound the exposed wires around you, and plugged them all into one surge protector. Sheryl is holding the plug for the protector several inches from a wall socket, and from the look on her face she’s clearly hoping you’ll take the out and do something less outright insane.
“I’m sure. I can’t keep scrambling around, trying to find breadcrumbs. I need to know what’s happening if I’m going to have a shot at getting through this.”
“For the record, you do know you sound like you’ve completely gotten aboard the crazy bus, right?” Sheryl asks.
You nod, keenly aware of how deranged you sound. Hell, how deranged you might be. That’s the other reason you need to do this. If what’s happening is really just your brain freaking out from being shocked, then another session should make it worse. Should that not happen… well, at least you can safely rule out a potential cause for the night’s events, even if that leaves you with two unpleasant options. Because if it’s not the shock that did this, then either monsters are real or you’re a fucking nutbar, and both of those come with serious implications.
“Hang on, nearly forgot.” Sheryl hops up from the surge protector and runs over to a shelf. Her hand darts along until it closes on a small leather-bound book. Bringing it over, she motions for you to open wide. “Bite down on this. I might be remembering this from a movie, but I think it will keep you from biting your tongue when your body spasms.”
Holy shit, that hadn’t even occurred to you. You really haven’t thought this plan through at all, huh? Without hesitation you open wide and bite down. The book tastes musty, which you didn’t know was a taste, but it’s probably better than the flavor of your own tongue’s blood.
“I’m keeping this short and sweet. We can do more rounds, but I’m not risking this for too long. If you don’t like it, tough. Find someone else willing to do this.” With that, Sheryl heads back over to the surge protector and picks up the plug. She looks to you, and you tilt your head forward, giving her the signal to do it.
The plug goes in and your whole nervous system seems to light up, your teeth chomping deeper into the book’s leather cover. Ohhhh shit this hurts. Last time it was one quick shock and a fall, but now you’ve got a continuous current coursing through you. Sparks fill your vision and your head starts swimming. Why in the hell are you doing this again? You cast your mind about, trying to figure out what would compel you to do something Jim-level stupid…
And there it is. A trove of memories about Jim that come bursting forth. Fighting aliens, dealing with your clones, racing through ancient mazes, that time he turned your costume into a bong and-
The electricity cuts off as Sheryl yanks the plug. Shit, shit, it was all there and it’s starting to slip. You were close to something, you know you were. Frantically, you nod at Sheryl to keep the shocks going, but she looks wary. Still, she inches the plug forward and puts it back in, drowning you in pain once more.
Pain… and memories. With everything in your body thrown out of whack you can finally access the part of your mind that’s been walled off. Jim ruined your costume, and you had to get a new one, so you got some dust sprinkled on a wizard hat, entered a costume contest, and ended up hanging out with that girl from your high-school… Victoria.
As soon as your mind locks onto her, the floodgates open. How could you ever have forgotten her true nature? She’s Halloween royalty, your friend, and a not-so-secret crush you’ve been harboring for years now. Victoria’s voice was the one you heard, telling you to run. If you had to bet, that book was probably left by her as well. She’s trying to break you out of whatever this is, and apparently midnight will be her best chance. You need to find her, help her, and that’s a daunting task. But at least you know what you’re after now, and that you’re not crazy.
Except more memories are pouring in. Not of Jim or Victoria, but of you… dying. Eaten by a demon, dissolved by a slime monster, torn apart by wild chupacabras, each time only to be hurled back into your body with a vague sense of the danger awaiting you. What is this? What the-
Again the power cuts off, and this time Sheryl is at your side, yanking the wires off your arms. “I think I saw you smoking that time, so we are officially done with this shit. Did you get what you needed?”
Letting the book slide from your mouth, you test your voice and find it responsive, if a bit drier than usual. “I did. I remember. Not all of it, a lot is still murky, but enough to know what I’m trying to do. I need to get home.”
“If you’re not heading to the hospital, which I still really wish you would, that’s probably the next best idea. We’ll get you back to your place and let you sleep this off.”
You begin to protest, but then reconsider. Maybe your apartment is exactly where you need to be. It’s where Victoria would know to look for you, and it’s where all this started. Then again, she did tell you to run, so maybe it’s somewhere to avoid. But if not to there, then where? Where can you go to make it easier for Victoria to reach you? Somewhere spooky seems like the best bet, she’s always at her strongest when things are scary. Perhaps a graveyard? That’s in line with her general style. Or somewhere haunted, like a historic mansion or abandoned building.
“Are there any graveyards or places famous for being haunted around here?”
“Branch out a little they said, talk to the cute intern they said, and this is where that shit gets me.” Sheryl isn’t exactly muttering under her breath, however the words clearly aren’t meant for you. “There’s an old farm that’s supposedly haunted not too far out of town, it was even on a ghost hunting show. As for graveyards, I think there’s a small one nearby in the historic area of the city. If we get a cab, we could probably make one of them by midnight. Assuming we can find a way out of this place, I mean.”
The clock is running down, you’re only going to get one shot at this.