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13. Floor

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They finally reached the bottom, and it was dark. The faces in the wall had long disappeared. Now, there was nothing in front of Davy and Steve, save for an imposing expanse of infinite darkness.

Davy reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. He turned on the phone’s flashlight and pointed it forward. The infinite darkness mostly remained, but now it was moderately less threatening.

“I get the feeling we’re close to the end of this thing,” Davy whispered to Steve, as they began to venture into the darkness.

“Good, it’s about time,” Steve huffed. “This whole thing has felt really drawn out.”

“Yeah, it’s like, did we really need three different stages of this?” Davy replied. “I don’t mean to harp on anyone, but couldn’t Barnaby have just put the ghosts, the spider, and the faces in one place? Maybe rent out a warehouse and put them all together there? It seems more economical that way.”

Steve shrugged. “At least it would probably be shorter.”

Davy waved his wand back and forth, shining the phone’s light all around him. Darkness in every direction.

“We’ve been doing a lot of walking too,” Davy added. “As in, that’s pretty much all we’ve been doing.”

“It’s too passive,” Steve chimed. “Barnaby Willacre put us in this haunted house, and all we’re doing is walking and occasionally stopping to let people act all spooky in front of us. Then we keep walking. We’re not getting to take an active role in any of this, and it’s making the horror less compelling.”

“Well, you did have to find that key,” replied Davy.

Steve scoffed uncomfortably. “Yeah, but that was super easy. I could do it again right now–no problem–but we’re not in the forest anymore, so I can’t. But I totally could if we were.”

Davy saw a faint light in the distance. Was this the way out?

“Come on Steve, I think we’re almost there,” he said.

As they approached the light, Davy wondered if this really was the end, or if it was just another so-called challenge. Suddenly, in the darkness above the light, a giant red neon sign appeared that said, “EXIT.” While this confirmation was convenient, it didn’t really do much for Davy’s already muted sense of horror. Was anything else going to happen or was the darkness really the big finish? Davy sighed as he figured it really wasn’t going to be that easy. This house needed to end.

They were close enough now that the they could discern for certain that this actually was a door. When it was about twenty feet away, however, Davy saw shadows shambling in front of him, blocking the light of the exit.

Steve saw the shadows as well. “Finally,” he said. He looked up at the darkness above him. “Come on, Barnaby! Let’s see your big finish!”

As if on cue, the area was suddenly awash with light. Davy saw the stone floor of the circular room around him. The light was coming from a series of Medieval-looking sconces adorning the walls. The door was just on the other end of the room, flanked by two mirrors on either side. And in the middle of the room, between Davy and the exit was some…fleshy thing.

It was round, bulbous, and pulsating, about the size of a van. Just a mound of flesh. Also, sprouting from the top side of the sphere was a gaggle of what looked like human legs flailing lazily in the air, the feet pointing in various directions.

Davy was less disgusted than he was confused. “What is that?” he asked Steve.

Steve was just as dumbfounded. “This is the big finish?”

“Are we supposed to do something?” Davy asked. “Is there anything keeping us from going through the door?”

“I’ll check,” Steve answered. He walked around the flesh creature towards the door. The creature did not react. Davy watched Steve approach the door, turn around and walk back. “The door’s wide open,” he said when he got back to Davy.

“So, the end is a foot monster?” Davy said to himself. “Does it do anything?”

The skin on round part of the creature began to move. Apparently, there was a giant eyeball there. The eye opened and stared at Davy and Steve.

“Well that’s something, I guess,” he said.

Davy turned to Steve. “You ready to go?” he asked.

“Hold on a second,” Steve replied. “I want to climb it.”

“Climb it?” Davy exclaimed. “Why?”

Steve placed a foot on the side of the foot monster. The skin folded upon itself, giving Steve a foothold. “I dunno, I just wanna see what this is.”

Davy sighed as he watched his stupid friend climb a foot monster.

After thinking to himself for a moment, he shouted to Steve. “Do you think we might be too cynical?”

“Cynical?” Steve replied. “What do you mean by cynical?”

Davy paused to collect his thoughts. “I mean, this is, what, third or fourth time that we were meant to be scared, only for that scary thing to turn about to be harmless, and then all we do is make jokes and keep moving,” he said.

“I can’t help it if there have been no stakes so far.” Steve was on top of the creature now, holding a leg in each hand to keep his balance. “Dude! There’s a mouth in here! On top of the monster. It’s covered by the legs, but there’s a giant tongue waving around and everything!” He laughed. “It’s so gross!”

Davy wasn’t satisfied. “I mean, is this quest just going to be us pointing at weird stuff and be smartasses the whole time?”

“Nah, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Steve said, sliding down the mass of flesh and back onto the floor. “This is just the beginning, right? It’s always gotta start off easy. I bet our lives will be in mortal danger soon enough.”

Steve wiped his hands on his pants, his back to the creature. “Besides, nothing excuses this haunted house from being a walking cliché. Next thing you know, we’ll find outvote foot monster was dead the whole time or something.”

He turned around. The monster was gone. In its place was a solitary tombstone.

Steve covered his face with his hand. “I don’t believe it he said.”

“You ready to go now?” Davy asked.

Steve began walking past the mirror to the door. “Yeah, let’s get out of here,” he said. “This has been the least scary experience of my life.”

He then stopped, because he saw his reflection did not move with him.

The two looked at their reflections in the mirror. Their reflections stood still staring back at them. Davy then noticed the two reflections growing wrinkles. The hair of Davy’s reflection turned grey. Steve’s reflections hair fell off on the top of his head. The skin on the reflections began to sag as the figures themselves hunched over. They aged at a great pace, decomposing before Davy and Steve’s eyes before turning into mummified corpses and finally, into two piles of dust.

Davy laughed when the display had concluded. “Heh, that was pretty heavy,” he chuckled. “What did you thinks?” he asked, turning to Steve. Steve eyes were wide, his mouth wide open. He looked beyond terrified.

“I’m, uh,” he stuttered, before finally managing to utter, “Am I going to go bald?”


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