Halloween 2018: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 1

Welcome to Drew's Annual Choose Your Spooky Outcome Novel, done over the 13 nights leading up to Halloween. First and foremost, this is a running story, so you'll want to read prior years' entries to know the whole tale. Links will be further below.


If you're reading one of these as it's happening, then be sure to vote for the choices you want made. If not, simply enjoy reading the finished story! Here's how it works:

The novel 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, 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 sneak peek or short story as a prize.

Happy Haunting!

               For what feels like the first time in a long while, you aren’t running late. The apartment is clean, or as clean as it gets with three bachelors sharing the space. Such a feat is even more impressive since Wilbur is out of town meeting with potential investors for his new coffee shop enterprise, and he usually handles the bulk of the house work. No misadventures are just wrapping up, no near death challenges need to be handled, you are officially ready for Halloween this year.

               Good thing one of you is. From his room, you can still hear Jim pacing about, talking to someone on the phone. He’s been going for a while, quite possibly the longest you’ve seen Jim stay focused on a single subject since a cable channel aired an Intergender Nude Beerlympics from some country with much less restrictive ideas about the human body. Maybe he’s trying to convince some local distributor to let him buy like a bar again.

               A brisk knock on the door takes your attention off Jim’s room, as you jerk the door open with perhaps too much enthusiasm, eager to show your readiness at the proper time. Still, it’s not like you’ll ever object to suddenly seeing Victoria. Scratch that, actually, there are a lot of situations you can picture, especially when she gets that dangerous look in her eye, that Victoria appearing out of the darkness would be worth objecting to. Such isn’t the case today, however, as she greets you with that coy smile of teeth that are almost too white and sharp.

               “My my, a punctual Merlin? Truly, this may be your greatest trick in years.” It’s almost hard to look her in the eyes as she speaks, due to the fact that her face has been painted along the sides and neck with an intricate, scale-like design of shifting colors. The pattern runs down her shoulders, arms, and the small amount of her chest visible. Her attire would look like someone had stumbled through a fisherman’s shack on anyone else, yet somehow upon her it became makeshift fashionable. A cobbled together ensemble out of fabric and tools that one could theoretically find on most fishing vessels. Added with the seashells spread through her hair, this is definitely an aquatic-themed costume.

               “I want to guess mermaid, but that already feels like I’m wrong,” you admit.

               She smiles once more, a hint of the unsettling danger added in this time. “Close. Siren. Even borrowed the outfit to ensure it would be authentic.” Her face clouds unexpectedly. “Not that the simpering fools at tonight’s revelry will appreciate it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.” Reaching down, she grabs a case that you already know will have between two and three zipped bags inside, each containing a different costume. For a while, the tradition of not knowing what you would be until Halloween arrived wore on you. One year spent without that tradition, admittedly in an alternate wish-world, was enough to give you fresh appreciation for the annual costume selection.

               “Do I get any kind of hint as to what we’re doing this year, or am I choosing blind?” Hey look at that! Took a few years, but you’re learning to ask questions and think slightly ahead. *Sniff* No I’m not proud. Shut up and listen to Victoria.

               “I fear that this year, we face our greatest challenge yet. My family has once again detected unapproved magic in our territory. Whoever put that scroll in dangerous hands last year may well be striking once more, although I do not intend to permit them to stay hidden. Sadly, this means we must investigate where the magic is located. Our All Hallows Eve must be spent around… normal people, at an office Halloween party.” She visibly shivers, not as if she’s cold, but like she’s fighting back the urge to vomit. “The sanctity of this most holy days boiled down to the barest of token gestures and plastic frights. At least those who walk the streets or attend features of fright seek to celebrate the holiday. With few notable exceptions, corporate parties lacks such soul, they may as well not be Halloween themed at all.”

               “Huh. I’m surprised you know this much about company parties.” Sometimes, Victoria is so untethered from reality, it’s hard to remember that you went to school together. Of course, you spent last week literally mowing down an army of grass-people trying to give trees sentience and start a revolution, so maybe you’re not the best judge of what is and isn’t normal.

               She gives you a look, curious or pointed, you can’t quite tell. “My mother is human, Merlin. Mundane, or as mundane as one with a daughter like me can be called. That is why I was forced to live like a human for so long, in case that was the world where I would ultimately dwell. It has given me excellent insight into places such as-”

               “I get it!” Jim’s door flies open as he strides out, looking up at the ceiling. At least he’s already in costume, sort of. He’s glued various bits of tech and electronics together, laying them onto a uniform from his week delivering pizzas in an ensemble he dubbed “The Bionic Delivery Boy” when he conceived if it. “Let me tell them and we’ll go take care of these Glantroxians or whatever.” Jim comes to a sudden halt as he looks from you to Victoria and back. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t on the phone after all. “Fuuuuuck. Right. It’s Halloween, isn’t it?”

               “You, uh, got something going on?”

               Another few frantic looks, then Jim shakes his head. “Nah, Halloween is your thing, this can wait a day. I’ve got no idea where the fuck to find a transcomptational crystal anyway, so it’s not like I’d get much done tonight.”

               With another glance to the ceiling where Jim keeps shooting stares and mouthing words, you turn your attention to the case Victoria brought along. Sensing your interest, she pulled it up and opens the lid. You take the first garment bag and unzip it. Dark hood, white paint, dark gloves and boots… what is this? The scythe gives it away. Collapsible and fake, although much realer than you’re entirely comfortable with. This is a Grim Reaper outfit.

               “Is going as Death okay? On the off chance there is a real reaper, I’d rather not offend him.”

               “Halloween is a time to dress as creatures of power and might. Most consider it a compliment to be chosen. Fear not, Merlin, I would not offer you an unfit costume,” Victoria replies.

               Onto bag number two, which unzips to reveal a white coat, thick glasses, vials, beakers, okay, you’re getting it now. “Mad Scientist. That’s a fun one.”

               “Last year I offered you the creation, so this year I thought you might prefer the creator.” She doesn’t waste time, lifting the third bag up and placing it in your hands.

               Lots more paint on this one, along with a silver and green jumpsuit, prosthetic additions for your ears and face, along with a sleek silver ray gun. “Alien? Isn’t that a little sci-fi for you?”

               “I’m not the one who has to walk around in it,” Victoria counters. “Dealing with mundanes forced me to lean slightly closer to mainstream sensibilities. And so long as they are creatures of power and fear, they are worthy to be worn for All Hallows Eve.”

               Okay then, looks like everything is setup. All that’s left is for you to pick your costume. Grim Reaper, Mad Scientist, or Alien are all on the table. Odds of turning into your costume at a corporate party are probably lower than usual, but you never know what’s going on at-

               “Hurry it up, Merlin,” Victoria calls. “The festivities at FratCo will begin shortly.”

               You and Jim both stop, turning to look at her. “Shit… did you say FratCo? Not the downtown branch, right?”

               It’s a rare moment, but you get to see a surprised expression streak across Victoria’s face. “How did you know that?”

               With a heavy sigh, you lean forward and grab a garment bag. “It’s one of the places I made sure not to apply at when I was right out of college. My big brother, Thad, works there.”

               Well damn, that took a turn. While you’re processing all that, maybe decide which costume you grabbed:

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Drew Hayes3 Comments