Halloween 2017: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 5

                No way of telling how much fuel the chainsaw has, and Umpire Mask has weapons with reach, so the shears would put you at a disadvantage. By process of elimination, that leaves the axe. Long, simple, and powered by muscle, probably with a little fear adrenaline sprinkled on top. Not wasting a moment, you grab your axe and bolt out of the shed, scanning around to see if Umpire Mask is anywhere nearby.

                There’s no movement, not that you can tell easily, the sun is dropping at a perilous rate. Apparently films don’t strive for minute-to-minute timeline authenticity. The nearest source of light you can see is the mess hall, so you start sprinting in that direction. Partly for safety, but partly because if you noticed it in the looming darkness, Umpire Mask probably did as well. You run up the stairs and slam through the front doors.

                Screams meet your arrival, and at first you think you’re too late. Then a ladle hits your shoulder, and you realize that everyone is hiding behind sideways tables, kitchen utensils raised overhead, glaring at you. Oh, right, this is a horror movie and you just burst in holding a bloody axe. Good thing no one had a gun in these older flicks. As you look closer, you realize you can recognize a few faces from the theater. Looks like it wasn’t just you that got sucked through, which makes it all the more important you find your friends.

                “Hang on, wait, I’m here to help! Not wearing a mask, see, so I’m not the killer.”

                From the back you hear a terrified voice ring out. “Oh god, he can take off the mask!”

                “Why is that scary?” The question pops out of your mouth without thought, although it is a pretty fair point. “And everyone knows that Umpire Mask only has a face made of charred flesh.”

                Another voice from the back. “Spoilers!”

                “Fuck you; this movie was made in the eighties. There’s a time limit on spoilers.” As a draft hits, it occurs to you that perhaps having this conversation with your back to an open door isn’t the best of ideas. Turning quickly, you slam the door shut and try to wedge some of the nearby chairs back into place, before realizing how stupid that is. They didn’t stop you, so they won’t stop Umpire Mask, and all you’re really doing is making it harder for everyone else to escape. Have these people even seen a horror movie?

                Banging comes from the kitchen, catching your attention. Weirdly, no one else seems bothered by it, though. “What’s going on in the kitchen?”

                “Why should we tell you? Maybe you’re working with the killer.”

                Biting back a deep sigh, you lower your axe and rub your temples. “That’s not how Terror Camp movies work. It’s just Umpire Mask. The closest he came to a team-up was when Fearsipper summoned him, but that was a cameo in a different franchise. Now will someone please tell me why there’s noise coming from the kitchen?”

                Finally, a new voice answers. “Some guy is back there. He freaked out as soon as we arrived, and has been tearing the whole place apart since.”

                Somehow (experience) even without getting the details, you know it’s him. Keeping your axe tucked back out of politeness, you run around the flipped tables, past the crowd and into the kitchen. Sure enough, Jim is there, flipping over pots and shaking them like he expects treasure to be hidden inside. The moment your eyes meet, he rushes over.

                “Tell me you have them. I can’t find them anywhere, and they… they must be so scared without me.”

                “Jim, what’s wrong, what are you looking for?”

                Stepping back, he gestures to his outfit, an identical counselor ensemble to yours and what everyone else was wearing. “My drugs, of course. I showed up here without my mummy costume, or any of the precious tidbits tucked away on it. That is not fucking cool, if I hadn’t dosed heavy at the start of the movie I could have ended up sober. You just know that masked dude is off enjoying them on his own, not even sharing or making an experience out of it. Bad form, bad form all around.”

                Honestly, if you were expecting anything different motivating these antics, that’s largely on you. The upside is, you’ve got Jim back. Now you just need to find Victoria and figure out how the living shit you’re getting out of here. Or maybe you need to kill the monster to escape? That demands a trip to the woods though. Before you can even think about your next move, the screaming from the main room starts up again. Maybe Victoria arrived and they’re freaking out pointlessly.

                Pushing open the kitchen door, it instantly becomes clear that such is not the case. Umpire Mask is there, his hockey stick jammed into the torso of the guy you’re pretty sure accused you of spoilers. Not a huge loss, then. Unfortunately, Umpire Mask is shaking the dude off, visibly searching for his next target. Before he can succeed, however, smoke begins to rise from his dirty jacket and pants. Seconds later, Umpire Mask’s whole body bursts into flames and he drops to the ground, revealing a new figure behind him.

                Standing in the doorway, looking much better than you do in that counselor garb, is Victoria, holding a stew pot with flames crackling up from within. She drops it unceremoniously to the floor before meeting your eyes. “About time, Merlin. I handled this one out of respect for the film’s traditions, even if I did speed things up a bit, but I expect you to start pulling your weight tonight.”

                One of the normal people is staring back and forth between Victoria, the pot, and the smoldering remains of a monster. “How… you… killed…”

                “Heart buried in the woods, his one true weakness, meant to be discovered by the final girl so he can at last be laid to rest. I just assumed that was my role, because the rest of you are…” Victoria doesn’t actually bother finishing; she just walks over to you and Jim. Behind her, as the last wisps of smoke fade from Umpire Mask’s body, you see white tears in the world starting to form over him just like they did on the screen. Only this time, there are three of them. One leads back to a room that is clearly your theater, another leads into what looks like an old basement, and the last one opens up into a tastefully decorated living room.

                “Is that it? Did we win?” Optimistic, aren’t you?

                “Of course not,” Victoria sighs. “We have only slain a tool, not the source. Whatever magic is opening these rifts must be located and destroyed for it all to be stopped. But with every passing moment, our foe is gathering more fear and becoming stronger. They may be still back at the theater where this started, or hiding amongst the very films they dragged people into. Merlin, you have a knack for getting yourself into the worst kind of trouble, so I trust your instincts will lead us to the source. Which portal shall we use?”

                Look, not even I’m brave enough to shit-talk Victoria about stealing my gimmick. Just pick a portal before she gets annoyed.