Halloween 2018: Choose Your Spooky Outcome: Chapter 7
Damnit, you do these all the time. Just once, it would be nice to have fun and do things the Jim way. Every now and then, you have to double down on fun. You started this game of flip-cup, you’ll damn sure see it through. With practiced, honed skill, you slam the beer and hurriedly get your cup flipped over. It’s not quite enough to catch up with Big Mug, but you’ve given Jim a fighting chance.
It’s down to him and Wolfman, both of whom sail through the actual drinking part while more and more attention is being paid to that section near the back of the bar. Your attention is split, however that only lasts until Jim gently taps the base of his cup, sending it tumbling gracefully into the air until landing with its lid down.
A cheer rises from your throat, along with the rest of your team, as the thrill of victory settles in. High-fives are exchanged, both with the ghosts and your friends. It’s so much fun, you don’t even notice the elevated screams at first. By the time you’ve looked over, what was interest has blossomed into full-blown panic. As your gaze follows, its not hard to see why.
Of all things, a fucking bobcat is now running along the dance floor. Strange as that would be, it’s hosting a huge bullet wound through its chest, what seems like a reasonable signifier that this animal definitely didn’t sneak in through some bathroom window. People are stampeding away in terror, slamming into you and your flip-cup table as it blocks the path toward the exit.
In the crush of bodies, you lose everyone, until you’re finally able to shove your way to freedom. The feeling of respite is short-lived, as you have just long enough to hear a yowling cry leave the bobcat’s lips as it races up on you.
Perhaps playing a drinking game in the middle of a dangerous supernatural event wasn’t the most prudent of maneuvers. Something you make a note to keep in mind, assuming you’ll remember this. At least that thought does offer some comfort as those hideous jaws lower down to crunch your throat. It offers you a sense of peace, just as you reach your…
The fist comes out of nowhere, smashing into the bobcat’s mouth and sending it sprawling back several steps. A pair of rough, familiar hands grab you by the shoulder and drag you to your feet. “Bro, you okay?”
Thad… saved you? But… that was supposed to be… huh. This night is taking some unusual turns.
While being dragged along, you can see the bobcat shake off his blow, letting out a deep growl and bounding toward you both. A noble effort, cut short by a pair of expertly manicured nails snatching it out of mid-air by the scruff of the neck. Victoria has arrived, parting the crowd around her like a terrifying Moses. She looks the bobcat dead in the eye, eliciting a tiny mewl from its lips. Victoria sets it back down, at which point the bobcat lowers itself to its belly and stares up at her with utter devotion.
While you’ve been dealing with the angry predator, there’s more commotion coming from the central area. As you happen to be looking that way, a pair of cowboys come riding horses through the pool of landing beer. Um, what the fuck? One has a noose still around his neck, while the other is sporting a knife jammed into his back.
“Ghost portal?” Jim guesses. When did he get back here? And where did he find an entire bucket full of Jell-O shots? These are excellent questions that you might actually ask, if not for the obvious chaos giving you more important issues to tackle.
“Rudimentary as that description is, in essence, I have to admit you’ve likely nailed the gist of it. Some manner of doorway has opened between the living and the dead, permitting corporeal forms of those passed to walk the world. For now, it seems only ghosts who happened to be nearby are coming through. Local hauntings and the like. We’ll need to close it soon, however. Word among the dead travels fast, and you do not want to know how many wicked spirits would welcome a chance to injure the living once more.”
A cough from behind draws your attention. “Not in our damn company they won’t.” Wolfman is there with the rest of the FratCo Ghost Flip-Cup team, formerly undefeated, exchanging resolved looks. “Given the situation, and the fact that you won, we’re happy to show you where we came in from. There was this mirror over by the DJ booth, near the bar’s back entrance. When we stepped through it, we were here. I mean really here, for the first time in who knows how long.”
Without delay, they lead you through the now-vacated dance floor, the bobcat following meekly behind. Lucky for you, this is far from your first adventure, so you’re smart enough not to feel let down when you round a corner and find yourself staring at a big fat patch of nothing.
“Wait, it was here.” Boots is looking around, like he thinks the mirror will pop out from behind something.
“Another spirit no doubt recognized the danger in leaving such a portal unguarded and made off with it in the chaos,” Victoria surmised. “We’ll have to search the area. Ghosts, give as detailed a description as you can. Thad, consider where the most likely spots to take such an item within this place would be.”
As the ghosts rattle off a description that essentially amounts to tall mirror with arcane writing on the frame, shocker, Thad looks around, visibly concentrating on the task Victoria saddled him with. By the time the description is over, Thad seems to have worked things out.
“If it were me, I’d take it to the executive offices. Stash it in there and nobody will find it until the next workday. That assumes they know about those offices, though. As a stranger, looking around and trying to assess everything on the fly, my gut says I’d go for the carnival. A hall of history is too precise, something random might stick out, and the bar was obviously out since that’s where they’re running from. There’s also the chance that they just bolted at random, in which case we should be checking broom closets and other nooks where they might have panicked and tried to stash a mirror on the fly.”
Damn. He did not half-ass that thinking. Victoria nods in agreement, clearly she’s on the same page with Thad’s assessment. “Given the amount of ground to cover and the danger of every new ghost released, I fear we lack the time to work as a group. We’ll need to spread our forces.”
“Is there booze in the carnival?” Jim asks.
“Of course. It was a FratCo attraction,” Thad replies.
“Then I’ll take that one.”
After a moment of intense staring, Victoria shakes her head. “Not alone you won’t.” From the side of her mouth, she makes a single clicking noise, and the bobcat trots over to sit at Jim’s feet. “Some protection, just in case. As for me, seeing as I have the least familiarity with this area, my perspective would be that of an intruder. I will search the various hiding spots they might have uncovered while fleeing.”
“That leaves us with the executive office,” Wolfman said. “Good choice, we’ve occupied half of them.”
“What about you, Thad?” Turning to your big brother, you see a surprisingly similar expression reflected right back.
“I literally just had to save your life, Lil Bro. No way I’m letting you out of my sight while shit is this crazy. I go where you go, so how about you tell me which team we’re on?”
Seems there’s not much else to talk about on that front. Better decide who you’re going with.