Welcome to the 5th Annual Choose Your Spooky Outcome Novel, done over the 13 nights leading up to Halloween. Let's get this out of the way real quick, since some people have missed it years previous:
This Is A Sequel, So If You Want The Story To Make Sense You Should Go Read The First One Here, Second One Here, The Third One Here, and The Fourth One Here.
Now, If you're reading this as it's happening, then be sure to vote for the choices you want made. If not, enjoy the story! Here's how it works:
It will run from October 19th – October 31st (13 days of Halloween). Every night I put up the newest chapter, along with a poll for you to make your decisions. Polls close at Noon CST on the following day, so I can write the next installment. Post goes up at night, rinse, lather, repeat.
There will be Dead Ends, choices you make that get your character killed. Choices with this potential have a skull motif on the voting block so you know you're in danger. If people pick one then I’ll give you the Dead End, then redirect you to the other choice that didn’t kill you, because I think we all cheated at those books as kids and I see no reason to change that. However, if you all can get to the Halloween without a single Dead End, I’ll post a special bonus story or chapter as a prize.
“But why not?”
Taking a deep breath, you force your annoyance down while wrapping another strip of gauze around Jim’s torso. “Dude, if you’re going to black out every conversation, then at least take my word when I tell you we’ve already had them. You can’t be Godpunch Lightning-Fucker for several reasons. One: he’s not a classic movie monster, and that’s the theme of this event where we’re supposed to fit in. Two: You were him two years ago, and kind of him again last year. Since you were trying to bust me out of a wish-reality that second one is forgivable, but come on, repeating costumes? You’re better than that.”
Pausing, you reach over to the counter where a dozen baggies still remain, pinning it against Jim’s arm then quickly covering it with the gauze. Although he doesn’t recall coming up with this scheme, you have to admit (probably just to yourself though lest he get too encouraged) that it is a somewhat brilliant idea.
“And three: because a mummy outfit lets you hide all these things you insist on calling ‘party favors’ in your costume. As the night goes on you can just unravel as needed to get to your next stash. Now where on Godpunch would you hide all this stuff that some security guard wouldn’t think to look?”
For a moment, you think that shuts Jim up, but when you look over you realize he’s just tilted the Infinite Beer Cup downward and seems to be chugging for all he’s worth. Right… that’s why these conversations always get blacked out; Jim ends up bored halfway through and does what Jim always does when he’s bored. At least the silence lets you work in peace, which is good. Victoria will be here soon, and you still need to get your own costume ready.
It’s your first official Halloween after college, since last year was sort of an alternate-reality shit show. Together, you and Jim have managed to find jobs that kind of pay. While you’re doing white collar junk to pass the time, Jim refuses to elaborate on where his money is coming from. All you know for sure is that you caught him coming home with big rubber gloves that came up to his elbow and heard a few snippets of conversation on the phone. There’s a good chance that Jim spent that day masturbating farm animals, however there’s really no way of telling if that’s his actual job or just how he spent an afternoon. You, being a wise coward, didn’t ask for clarification. As long as he pays the rent on your slightly-less-shitty-than-college apartment, it’s all good. You’ve seen what a life without Jim and Victoria looks like, and it’s an experience that makes his eccentricity a lot more tolerable.
At last, all the baggies are wrapped and Jim has become a proper mummy, assuming one ignores the beer stains that have already set in around his mouth. Just as you’re about to head to your room, there’s a crisp knock at the door that somehow sounds like the clang of a rusty cemetery gate, despite the fact that your door is only made of wood. Kind of cheap wood, at that. Without waiting for permission, Victoria strolls into the living room.
She is, as always, hauntingly lovely. This evening, her skin is even paler than normal, save for the bright red pinprick-sized holes and bloody trail on her neck. Red irises conceal her true eyes, and fangs that seem far too real slither into view when she smiles. Between all those cues and paired with the black dress and red accents, it’s impossible to mistake her for anything other than a vampire. Sort of makes it extra weird that she didn’t wait for permission to enter.
“Merlin, running late as usual I assume?”
“Look, I could have been ready hours ago. Someone else just needs extra help getting dressed.” You don’t even bother being subtle, Jim is still chugging from the beer cup. Has he stopped to take a breath? If Jim manages to drown on dry land, from beer no less, it would quite possibly be the only death truly befitting of him. Making a note to check back in a few minutes, you turn back to Victoria. “I’m about to go change. Your weird messenger guy brought the packages and the invitation earlier. Side-note, you could have just texted me and said what we were doing. There’s no need for all the mystery.”
“Oh no, you’re quite wrong there. Mystery, uncertainty, the unknown, all of these are core aspects of fear, the fuel that makes All Hallows Eve burn so brightly.” She pauses, giving you a lingering smile where you swear the fangs grow for an instant. “Besides, if you don’t like where we’re going, this way I don’t have to listen to you complain in the weeks leading up to it. Now hurry and change. The event starts soon, and our seers have assured me that magic is at work. Magic my family hasn’t sanctioned, which makes it a crime to perpetrate in our territory.”
Mumbling something that sounds like “what else is new” except quiet enough that (you hope) she can’t hear, you head down the hall to your room. Sitting on your bed are the three dressing garment bags, each packed with high quality costume materials. Why is it always three? It’s nice not having to buy your own costume supplies and all, but it does seem odd that Victoria often presents you with exactly three outfit options year after year.
Unzipping the first, you reveal tattered clothing, thick shoes, and a case of make-up: apparently a Frankenstein costume. Looks nice, and has the added bonus that Victoria is the only possible candidate to help with the make-up, but then you have to spent a night dealing with people saying shit like “actually, Frankenstein was the doctor blah blah pay attention to my pedantic bullshit not my boring personality blah.” Okay, you might have extrapolated a little there. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong, though.
Pulling open the next costume, you find tufts of hair poking out. So much hair. Hair, and claws, along with fangs, and again more makeup, although in this case it’s mostly spirit gum for all the aforementioned hair. A werewolf. Definitely a classic, and the idea of turning into something hard-to-kill in case costumes become real sounds nice. Also, it’s kind of sad that you have to calculate that possibility into every costume you wear. Then again, at least it shows you’re capable of learning. Slowly, over way too much time. Anyway, werewolf is solid, if you don’t mind getting hair in your mouth, food, drink and everything else you touch all night.
Time for the final reveal, and as you unzip the bag you discover… polka dots? A rainbow of polka dots, complete with floppy shoes, a bright red nose, oh holy shit how are you just putting this together? It’s a clown costume. Granted, there’s a lot more blood on this than most clowns probably have, and you’re almost certain the majority of clowns don’t have sharp claws like this costume, but there’s no doubt about it. Do clowns count as classic movie monsters? Well they’ve been on the rise lately, and there were a few in the… hot damn, the eighties? Yeah, that’s pretty classic by this point. Still, those shoes look hard to maneuver in, and you’re not sure what kind of stares you’ll get rocking an outfit like this one all night.
Victoria isn’t going to wait all night, and the longer you let Jim chug the greater the odds that you have to haul him around. Probably time to pick a costume and get this night on the road.