“Oh fuck all of this noise.” You may not know what the proper way to end the movie is, but you know you definitely don’t want to try and fight past five monsters who can cut you apart with a single swipe, and reading from the book might just make the problem worse. Nobody knows how cleansing fire can be better than someone who has had to room with Jim for years. If he can manage to light an actual grill on fire, you can damn sure burn a book.
Thrusting the dry pages into the nearest candle’s flames, for a moment it seems like nothing is happening. Then, mercifully, smoke begins to drift up from a corner, and suddenly a flame appears. Scratch that, several flames appear. One on the Deathnomicon, and one on every deathite around you. They scream in something; fear, anger, pain, it’s all sort of swirled together in them now, but they are definitely screaming. You’re hurting them, and the book has caught fire, so that’s progress. The downside, however, is that they aren’t dead yet, and right now they look pissed.
Stumbling back, you barely avoid a flaming claw coming for your head. The fire is slowing the deathites down (go figure) but they are clearly intent on getting that book back and putting it out, probably with your blood to douse the flames. Taking advantage of their temporary surprise at the fire, you bolt past, back down the hall to where Jim and Victoria were.
They are easy to find, as the burning deathite on the ground in front of them puts off a healthy glow. Both are looking at the body in surprise, although that lessens in Victoria’s case when she catches sight of you sprinting forward, burning book in hand. “Merlin, what did you do?”
“Lit the Deathnomicon on fire, obviously! Jim, is that enough to stop them?” You gesture for your friends to follow as best you can with a flaming book in one hand and an axe in the other. Incidentally, those pages are really heating up, and your hand is starting to sear as well. Together, the three of you run back to the stairs, where at least you can put your backs to a wall. Tossing the book onto the stone floor, you stand in front of it with your axe, ready to fight back any deathites who come looking for their tome.
“Fire… fire… what does fire do…” Jim has taken a seat on the stairs and is poking himself in the head as he talks. Where do you know that gesture from? Hang on… for fuck’s sake, he’s pulling a Pooh Bear. That cannot possibly be a sign of confidence for whatever he’s about to say. “Right, I think fire can hurt the book.”
A sigh of relief passes your lips just before Jim continues. “It can’t destroy it though. Actually, I don’t think anything in the movies ever destroys it. The most anyone can do is push it back, win the day temporarily. Wait, is the whole franchise a metaphor for the wickedness inside us all? Impossible to banish, but we can beat it one day at a time?” He leans back onto the stairs, eyes going wide. You’ve seen this before, Jim’s been struck by a bout of philosophy. There’s no telling when he’ll snap out of it, and he’ll be useless until he does. More useless than normal, anyway.
“Crap, what does that mean? Did we do well enough to get out of here, or do we have to find a way to win for good, like you did with Umpire Mask?”
“If total victory doesn’t exist, then we’ll have to assume that whatever this world’s version of triumph is will count as our exit,” Victoria says. “It very well might not be true, but I can’t see how assuming otherwise would do us any good.”
Well, that’s bleak. Pragmatic, sure, just awfully bleak. “Is there anything else we can do? What’s the bigger goal of all this? Maybe we can mess that up instead.”
The sounds of movement come from down the hall, and you see flaming bodies moving closer through the gaps in the walls. These bastards just will not die. Wait, that might be a good thing, you never confirmed if they were real people or not. Looking to Victoria, you see something unusual on her face. Not fear, obviously, this is probably a light Tuesday by her standards. No, you find uncertainty written in her features.
“I don’t yet know what the purpose of this is.” At least she doesn’t try to pretend to be all-knowing, even if you might have preferred the reassurance right now. “I expected to encounter another entity, perhaps a fallen family pulling the strings, yet none has arisen. They should have, the moment we began to foil their plans. No, the instant I stepped through the theater doors, any of those connected to All Hallows Eve would perceive the danger I posed. The fact that we’ve been allowed to run amuck without noticeable interference means that whoever is running this either has no idea who I represent, or thinks we cannot substantially undermine their efforts. So far as I can tell, they are simply mining the fear of these people, funneling it toward some unseen purpose. We have to press on until we can discover more.”
That might be easier said than done, the flaming deathites have stepped out from around the wall, their rotten bodies reaching out for you and your friends. But as they move, you notice a new light casting about the room, a familiar white glow you’ve seen twice already. Spinning around, you see an absolutely beautiful sight: new portals have formed over the charred Deathnomicon. Looks like this counted as enough of a win after all.
Too bad no one told the deahites that, because they are lumbering forward, still intent on murder. Fast as you can manage, you grab Jim from the stairs and drag him over. One of the portals opens back to the theater, just like before, but the others seem to be offering new locations. Through the nearest portal, you can see sunshine and wheat, some sort of farm during the midday. The other is showing a city street in the evening, bright lights casting a neon glow on the pavement.
With burning death monsters on your heels, I don’t really think you need much urging here. This film is over, time to decide where you’ll be jumping to next.