Just when I thought I was done with doing a heck-ton of collaborations and guest posts and other things involving many other cool people, Luna from GamersUnitedGG went and set a challenge: who can write the best short Halloweeny story?
The brief is as follows:
Prompt: You are transported into a video game where you are inside of a Haunted Mansion. You hear a strange noise and open the door to find… what?
Complete the sentence and write your Halloween Themed post of 500 words or less! Once you are completed, post your link in the comments for everyone to read! The posts are due by Sunday Night October 8th and the Winner will be announced Monday October 9th!
Wow. I mean, I can’t resist giving this a go. I notice the brief doesn’t specify any particular video game, just that I’m in a haunted mansion, so let’s have a little fun with this.
Note to self! I’m now on 203 words (well, by the end of this paragraph, in a curious time paradox that can only possibly be explained by the fact that I must be a reality warper), so I need to wrap it up by 703. Got it? Sweet. Let’s go!
It takes me a moment to realise what’s going on, but there’s only one reasonable answer. I take in the cobwebs, the ominous Gothic stone pillars, the suuuuper creepy OST, and confirm: I am, somehow, indubitably, in a haunted mansion. And not just any haunted mansion, judging by the HUD that’s suddenly filling my vision: a video game haunted mansion. Ugh. This may not be good.
I don’t seem to have a minimap, so I guess the only option is… that stone double door with the skulls on. There’s nothing else here except a flaming torch hanging over a painting of a skeletal old man, so I don’t have much of a choice. I take a deep breath, filling my lungs with cold, dusty air, and push the doors open to see…
Oh, good, a branching corridor. These have been a gaming staple since, like, Zork, but I’m not happy having to choose. Three paths – all equally unappealing, so I’m stuck swiveling my head between them like Buridan’s donkey for a moment. No time to waste, though, so I make an executive decision. This would be where I’d type ‘go left’, but this doesn’t seem to be a text adventure, so I simply stride on down the left path. It’s narrow, musty, dark: in short, not a particularly nice place to be. As I move, I strain my ears: there’s something out there, something making a noise like a grater on vocal cords, and it’s getting closer. From the black, a lumpen almost-human thing starts to emerge, white as fresh maggots: a Regenerator. Just my luck.
Even if I had a gun, which I don’t, I’d be screwed – the corridor seems to have sealed itself behind me – the Regenerator’s on top of me like a wheezing freight train and I’m done. That’s it. Dead meat.
Before I can even accept that I’m dead, I’m at the fork in the path again. At least this game doesn’t have permadeath. Let’s try the right-hand path this time; it’s as gross as the first one, but maybe something nicer will be on the other side. Sounds like whale song. That’s cute – oh, wait.
Respawn! Okay, I’m pinning all my hopes on you, middle path! Don’t let me down!
This time, I just rush in. Whatever it is, I’ll sprint right past it. Wait, it’s just a little flower! Aww – HELL NO
Respawn again. Well, I guess I’m stuck, unable to escape and unable to die. No way out. Unless… hm. I wander back into the room I started in, take the torch down and set fire to the painting. A pixelly fire appears on the canvas, and for a moment I think the physics engine must be too good, but then everything starts to shake. Scratchy sounds and glitchy lines, then:
Crash to desktop.
Aw, yeah. Screw you, game. I’m outta here.
Heh. I don’t do as much fiction writing as I used to – I should probably do more – and I’ve never tried to do something spookyish, let alone within 500 words! It was hard!
I might try to do stuff like this more often, though, and maybe I’ll git gud at it again before too long. Happy spook month, everyone.