DeepSeaElkFish

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9. Hallway

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The decaying specter shrieked at the pair, its decrepit, pale arms jolting out at them.

“Dammit!” Steve shouted. “Won’t you please shut up!?”

Davy and Steve were in the middle of a long hallway. The room was dark, the flickering dusty sconces along the walls providing minimal light. They had been walking down this hallway for close to an hour. Neither end of the room was visible, as dark shadows obscured what lay twenty feet away in either direction.

Steve was sick of these screaming ghosts. The first time a transparent poltergeist lunged at him from a painting, he jumped, he would admit it. But then they just kept coming. A suit of armor? Here’s a screaming ghost. An old grandfather clock? Have another screaming ghost. A blank space in the hallway with nothing of note? Have fun, take this screaming ghost.

Steve looked at Davy. “I mean, doesn’t this just seem derivative to you?”

Davy looked at the painting to his right. It was a portrait of a young woman in Victorian garb holding a parasol. A wailing ghost of an old hag suddenly erupted from the painting, flying right through Davy than down the hallway in the direction they came. Davy casually looked back at Steve.

“Sure, I guess. He’s trying though, so that’s gotta be something.”

Steve groaned. “Ugh, but it’s like everything here, it’s all something we’ve seen before.” A swarm of bats emerged from a hole in the wall and flew inches above their heads as the two continued their conversation.

“Sure, but shouldn’t we give Barnaby some credit here? You gotta give something to production values or something.” Davy was actually impressed when he and Steve walked through that entrance flap into Barnaby’s circus tent. One second, he could still hear the bustle of Bayou City outside, the next second, they were surrounded by shadow and found themselves standing at the end of a dark hallway. They had been walking for a while now, but at least the effects were kind of cool. Maybe using real dead people added to the experience. On the other hand, when the proprietor of your otherworldly haunted house stresses to you that you will not be harmed by anything inside, it sort of removes some of the tension from the situation.

They walked by a window. Outside, they saw a hunchbacked creature—maybe a zombie? It kind of looked like one, thought it may have just been an extremely ugly old person—press its face against the window. It began moaning. “Deeeeaaaaaaaath!…Deeeeeeaaaaath!!…”

An army of ghost appeared from behind the walls in either direction, wearing what looked like 19th Century military uniforms. They all joined in. “Deeeeeaaaaaaaath!!!…Deeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaath!!!…” The ghosts began to fly wildly around the hallway.

Steve and Davy looked up at them. “Huh, what do you think? American Civil War?” Steve calmly asked.

“I don’t know, could be some Spanish-American War up there,” Davy answered. “I thought I saw a Rough Rider somewhere.”

“Yeah, I think I see him…wait, is that Theodore Roosevelt?”

The ghost of Theodore Roosevelt flew right over them.

“Dude,” Steve exclaimed. “That was Theodore Roosevelt!” He turned around and shouted, “I loved you in, uh, Bull Moose Party!”

“I loved you in Bull Moose Party?” Davy asked.

“Yeah, I didn’t know how to finish that at all.” Steve admitted. A ghostly Confederate soldier lunged a spectral bayonet through Steve’s chest. “You wanna keep moving?” he asked?

They walked further for a few minutes before they finally reached the end of the hallway. There was a wooden door covered in cobwebs.

Steve seemed relieved. “Finally, we’re done with this.”

Davy laid his hand on the doorknob, and the hallway fell silent. They looked back down the hallway. The ghosts were gone.

Eventually, they heard a quiet rumbling.

Steve looked at Davy. “You think this is the big finish?”

The rumbling grew louder. Davy could feel a rush of air blowing against his face. The rumbling was eventually joined by a muffled continuous scream.

Finally, they saw it. A giant ghostly woman flying straight towards them. She wore a ragged dress, but her head was covered by a dark burlap sack. She flew right at them headfirst, rotating in place all the while. Her screaming grew louder as she got closer. Her screaming peaked once she reached the end of the hallway and flew right through Davy and Steve and through the wall at the end of the hallway.

The room fell silent again. “Great, that’s done,” Steve said. “Now let’s go, I have to pee.”

The hallway violently vibrated as the ghostly woman’s voice filled the air around them.

“YOU MAY HAVE SURVIVED ROUND ONE, FOOLISH MORTALS!” the voice bellowed. “BUT DO YOU HAVE THE WITS TO SURVIVE ROUND TWO!?”

The room fell silent once more, and the door opened on its own.

“Round two?” Steve was not happy to hear this. “Oh, come on!”

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