Halloween 2018: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 10
Maybe when you were newer to all this, there might have been some debate, but you’ve racked up more than enough adventures to know that flashing lights are always where the action is. Add in the spooky fog and the suspiciously concealing doors… they might as well have saved the money and just tossed an over-sized arrow pointed at the room’s entrance. The screams, while concerning, could be anything, and you’re not quite sure enough in your paw-print assessing skills to bet on that being a bobcat. Ultimately, even if those are situations, there will be a lot more of them until you deal with the problem at its source. Mirror first, after-effects later.
“Has to be the conference room.” You take the lead, moving before even Thad can start off. It’s nice to have a bigger team with you for a change. They’re not quite your usual squad, although the five ghosts can probably drink about the same as Jim. Plus, Thad’s impossibly charmed life is almost as reassuring as Victoria’s tinge of magic. Bracing yourself for anything, you swing open the door.
What greets you is an absolute shock, that really shouldn’t be. While you were running around, avoiding bears and what not, it seems that someone else put the mirror to use. Specifically, they’ve hauled it up to the ceiling using a complex pulley-system, where it is now pointed at the ground, dropping each new ghost that pops through into a pool of beer. No, wait, that’s the same pool of beer from the slide.
“Thad… the whole falling into a pit of booze thing. Is that a FratCo tradition?”
“Sure is,” Thad confirms. “Just realized the same thing myself. That’s why somebody stole the mirror. They were making a proper entrance for all the spirits coming through.”
Two ghosts come through, one wearing an outfit that looks straight from a ren-faire and the other sporting headphones leading to a Walkman on his hip. They both splash down, let out a yell of enthusiasm, then splash their way to the edge. What awaits them is a shitload of ghosts, most with a drink in hand, all milling about. The other side of the conference room is open, with most of the new arrivals heading out to see the rest of the event. You must have happened upon the back door, letting you sneak in unseen.
Considering things practically, this isn’t so bad. True, there is a mystical mirror reflecting some kind of infinite void in its depths in between firing off random dead people, but the scene around it is pretty casual. Nobody is on guard duty, all the deceased folks still in the room are hanging out, having fun. So long as you don’t provoke attention too soon, it should be a simple matter to cut the mirror down. Worst case, you slice both ropes and hope it shatters on impact.
Moving as casually as you can, which of course looks deeply unnatural, you push forward, past the wall of forest decorations in the rear of the room, to the central area. The FratCo ghosts wander in first, clearing the way, with you and Thad following a modest distance behind. Nothing goes wrong when your ghosts step onto the scene; however, the same cannot be said for you.
The instant you two are visible, silence spreads across the crowd like a virus. Every spirit is staring at you, reactions ranging from fearful, to annoyed, to angry. From the back of the crowd, a voice rings out, using a tone you’ve heard dozens of times across untold parties. The weird part of this occasion is that you’re not in the crowd. Also, Jim isn’t the one yelling when authorities interrupt a kegger for a change.
“Shit! Reaper! Scatter and stall!”
Oh fuck. Did you forget you were dressed as the Grim Reaper among a crowd of ghosts? Well, they sure as hell noticed. Before your eyes, the calm scene devolves into chaos as each dead person in earshot panics. Half rush for the exit on the other side of the room, dragging in or trampling over everyone in their way. Bad as that is, the rest are booking it right for you. At least that voice told them to stall, so they probably aren’t planning to attack.
“He isn’t alive either, you can’t hurt him! Jam anything sharp through his torso and stick him to the floor!”
You’re really starting to dislike these voices from the crowd, although you do appreciate the small semblance of warning. Spinning around, you bolt to the right, the only clear direction you’ve got. As you sprint by, the reason becomes obvious: the FratCo ghosts were blocking the charge, opening up a path. Much as you appreciate their efforts, its hard not to notice them soon be bowled over. This team got cut from seven down to two in a worryingly short span of time.
As if you didn’t have enough going on, a new sound fills the air. Something landing, and loudly. Your view is temporarily blocked by fake foliage, so you missed whatever the new mirror entrant is. But based on the impact, and your luck in general, it’s probably not going to be a basket of kittens. Further back, you can also hear the sound of glass shattering. Looks as though you weren’t the only one to find the rear entrance into this place.
“Bro, if you’ve got an idea, I’m open,” Thad says from your side. He isn’t winded at all, barely seems to be jogging as he effortlessly keeps your pace.
Surprisingly, his natural athleticism does give you an idea. “If I found you a heavy object and a clean throw, could you hit the mirror?”
“Remembering old meatloaf baseball?” Thad flashes a thumbs up. “You want it smashed, I can hit it. Sure that’s what we’re supposed to do, though?”
Crap, this is usually where Victoria fills you in on specifics, but running from angry ghosts makes for a rough time to place a call. Going to have to figure this one out on your own. Smashing the mirror is very much on the table, yet it’s not the only option. Getting the mirror down is still possible, a pair of ropes leading from the ceiling will be easy to trace. That assumes you and Thad can work together, and that whatever just landed isn’t still lurking about. There is one more possibility to consider as well: diplomacy. These ghosts don’t have any actual problems with you, they’re after the Grim Reaper. If you can stop them long enough to listen, maybe your room of enemies could become a congregation of allies.
Best decide soon. Unlike Thad, you are starting to get tired.