Halloween 2018: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 5

                Deciding that it’s high time you got to the bottom of whatever Jim’s deal is, you head over and wait until he finally decides to move on to a new display. The crowd disperses as he does, ready to indulge their own antics, offering a small modicum of privacy.

                “Okay Jim, what the fuck with the ceiling tonight?” Subtlety is wasted on Jim, especially once Jim is wasted. The direct approach yields much faster results.

                “Ahhh, you noticed that. I was trying to keep it low-key.” Honestly, for him, that’s probably true. “Sorry bud, I know Halloween is your favorite and all, didn’t want to add a bunch of extra shit. Basically, I ate this taco from a mysterious shop with all kinds of crazy ingredients. Since then, I’ve been seeing creatures that apparently live between our plane and the next. Flubgo, that’s my tag-along, keeps telling me to fulfill the prophecy and slay the Jagglewump, but it sounds like such a fucking drag that I’m genuinely glad for the excuse to put it off.”

                He turns toward the ceiling, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, you heard me right. It’s a boring adventure, and I actually kind of know about that shit.”

                Well then, either Jim is telling the truth, he’s got the mother of all food poisoning cases, or he’s managed to get exceptionally fucked up, even by Jim standards. Much as history might make you want to assume it’s the third scenario, you’ve lived with Jim for a long while now. Hallucination Jim tended to be heralded by Public Urination Jim or Demanding Karaoke Jim. Of course, there was also the very sincere chance that Jim’s story is all real. Weird crap happens to you both so frequently you started your own trophy collection of unnatural souvenirs.

                “Got it. Do you want any help with that after we wrap up here?”

                “We’d need another magic taco, and the place dissolved into mist when I turned back around to ask for more guac. Cheap fuckers.”

                Commotion draws your attention; a trio dressed in red, blue, and green shirt/hat combos rushing to Thad and hurriedly making a report. As he listens, his expression grows more serious, until he motions for you and Jim to come over. By chance or design, Victoria strolls back in at roughly the same time.

                “Nothing in here,” she reports. “Strange though. I could feel the wisps of some lingering magic, yet no source.”

                “Everyone, so sorry to put a bummer on the night, but apparently we’ve got some party crashers making a scene in the bar. I’m part of the volunteer security for the night, so I’ve got to go deal with that. Feel free to stay here and keep learning, won’t take me long.”

                Victoria’s nails jab your rib with surgical precision.  The next step is obvious, and evidently, she’s not feeling patient.

                “No way, if there’s trouble, we’ll come along too. I think Jim is ready for real drinks anyway.”

                Nearby, Jim is banging on a wall, shaking his cup. Whatever liquid was supposed to come from that particular display appears to have run out.

                “Well, I’m never going to turn down time with my Lil Bro. Everyone, stay close until we get there, then give me room. Shouldn’t be much trouble at an event like this, but I don’t want you taking chances.”

                As you walk back to the bar, part of you wonders how Thad would react if you told him about the kinds of chances you took regularly. He likely wouldn’t believe you, who could? Too bad. The idea of showing him what you can actually do is appealing. It would be nice to fantasize about the evening offering you a chance to show off, but you’ve been through too many Halloweens to expect that kind of result. If you just don’t get eaten by anything, it will be a good night.

                Besides, it’s not as though you’ve got a lot of time for a discussion. The closer you all get to the bar, the more you notice people shouting. As you move in closer, you start to realize that they aren’t screaming in fear. They’re cheering someone on.

                Together, all of you finally break through and discover an extremely bizarre scene. A game of flip-cup is going on, high stakes by the number of people cheering, between a group dressed like the entire Scooby Doo gang, complete with dog costume, and a team of disturbingly realistic ghosts. Each one has a different visible death method. Slit throat, knife in the back, corkscrew to the skull. They went all out, truly.

                “Crashers or not, these guys don’t seem so bad,” Thad noted.

                “Dude, those aren’t crashers.” Jim points over your shoulder, to the last person on the ghost team. “That’s the fucking Wolfman. He’s on the wall, obviously he works here.”

                Hot damn. Maybe taking the educational route wasn’t such a bad idea after all, because the closer you look, the more you recognize the faces from their portraits. It’s not just Wolfman, every member of that team was featured in the Haunted Hall of History. There is a slim chance that these are normal people dressed up like historical figures, but truthfully, you just know your luck isn’t good enough for that to be the case. On the plus side, for once you’ve managed to get a grip on what’s happening before it spirals completely out of control. Maybe you can keep that part from going down.

                “Jim’s right.” A glance at Victoria confirms that she noticed it too, while Thad is distracted by the flip-cup match itself, unaware that anything strange is afoot. “Do you have a method for dealing with them?”

                “Dispelling a ghost is harder tonight, but certainly doable,” she replies. “However, that would not solve the issue of how they arrived here. Spirits entering the land of the living is one thing, this is on an entirely different level. Whatever caused their appearance may cause more. We could hunt for the source, since it’s most likely in the area, given this is where the ghosts appeared.”

                “Oooor, and just hear me out on this, we go challenge them to a game. Bet them that if they win, they have to show us to whatever magic gate they came through. We can smoke these dead mofos.” You’d better not need to be told that was Jim speaking.

                “There is some merit to challenge,” Victoria concedes. “This realm is more your specialty than mine, so I will back whatever path you choose.”

                Guess that means it is time to pick an option. You could have Victoria dispel the spirits, whatever that entails, hunt for the source of the ghosts, assuming it’s here, or go play them in flip-cup. There’s not really a drawback to highlight on that one, it’s a Jim plan, you know what you’re getting into. Anyway, make your selection, because it looks like they’re almost ready for the next game.

Drew Hayes6 Comments