Short As Fictober #7: “Trick or Treat RPG”

You climb from the second story window of Haunted House #3, and pause to brush the cobwebs from your hair. Behind you in the room, you hear the troupe of ghouls who’d chased you from the basement attempting to muscle their way through the door, and you hope the Ultra Stick Taffy spell you cast on the  jamb holds long enough for you to escape. The roof tiles under your sneakers are untrustworthy, rocking and bucking, begging to spill you to the yard below. You have two options: either ride the tiles like an amusement park slide, and hope that you can catch the gutter at the edge; or, you bum scoot to the drainpipe and shimmy down. While the former is the quicker of the two routes, the latter involves far less chance of dying.

Back on the ground, you walk toward the front yard with your Pillowcase of Holding cocked over your shoulder, poised to thwart any would be assailants. You reason that you should okay unless the tree skeletons you dispatched on your way in decide to respawn. Mercifully, the Pirate’s Bandana of Fortune you picked up in Haunted House #1, which gives its wearer +2 Luck and Charisma, delivers, and you make it through unscathed. You close the home’s dilapidated gate behind you, sealing any lingering evils inside, then check your inventory: two packs of Sour Chews of Healing; one super Chocolate Elixir; a five bundle of Pixie Powders to boost speed; A Glow Stick of Total Illumination; and the true prize of Haunted House #3, Skeleton Gauntlets, which increased attacks by 10%. Though you’d escaped the ghouls in the last house, you did take damage from the living room hags, as well as the stew pot tentacles in the kitchen. You don’t want to take any chances with the final stop on your map, so you eat one pack of Sour Chews and equip the Skeleton Gauntlets. The cotton gauntlets are cozy, and provide an extra layer of warmth against the end-of-October chill. 

Your mom had wanted you to dress as a princess, and you’re happy you managed to steer her away from  that line of thinking. You went with Ripley from the ALIEN franchise, because a) she’s a badass, and b) she rocks a jumpsuit which makes for a pretty versatile costume. You did fashion the mech suit from ALIENS out of cardboard but decided to leave it at home. 

You consult your map and locate The Haunted Manor just on the other side of the park. Other would-be adventurers are streaming toward you in droves, their costumes ripped, their buckets and sacks empty. More than a few are even crying. The Manor’s big boss must be one tough scoundrel.

There aren’t any random encounters in the park, which means that when you get to the Manor, you’ll enter at nearly full health.

You ring the doorbell, and hear a series of low moans issue throughout the house. The massive front door swings open, and you step inside. Once you cross the threshold, the door crashes shut behind you, and the house goes dark save for the flickering green glow from the candelabras and wall sconces. Banshee wails and moaning reach peak decibel levels almost immediately. You shake and crack your Glow Stick and hang it around your neck, and the banshee wails seem to retreat.  If the Manor is similar to Haunted House 1-3, the big prize should be upstairs in the attic, and the final boss will be in the basement. You could go straight to both locations, but you want the chance to earn maximum experience points and pick up any candy the Manor’s monsters might drop. You check your replica Ripley watch and see that your curfew is careening toward you with haste. If you want to hit every room, there’s no time to dawdle. You eat three of the five Pixie Powder tubes, and take off. With the power from the Skeleton Gauntlets and the speed of the Pixie Powders, you clear out the first and second floor with little trouble, creating heaps of ghouls, hags, and tentacle creatures.

The mini-boss in the attic is a man-sized spider, which manages to strike your left leg, dealing twenty damage. You cast End-Of-Gravity, and jump up and down on the attic floor. This sends tremors racing down the floorboards, which flips the spider onto its back. While its incapacitated, you sprint forward and deliver a final blow to its midsection with the Skeleton Gauntets. When the spider breaks into hundreds of pieces and then disappears, you crack open the treasure chest which had been hidden behind. Inside, you receive a Mask of Hiding. When worn this item creates a nigh-impossible to detect glamour.

While you walk to the basement, you slip on the Mask of Hiding. You catch your reflection in a mirror, and see a ghoul glaring back at you. Hopefully this fools the big boss.

The stairs descending to the basement spiral into the gloom, but you make short work of them with the Pixie Powder.

A lab right out of Frankenstein awaits you at the bottom, and standing in the middle of the lab, surrounded by vats and levers and pulleys and coils, is the Manor’s Master. He is twice your size and wears black clothes under his lab coat. The goggles smashed against his face remind you of an insect.

“Yes, what is it?” he asks. “Have there been any more visitors?”

You almost forget about the glamour, but then shake your head before he can get suspicious.

“Good,” he says, then frowns. “What did you need?”

You deliver a preemptive strike with the gauntlets and successfully land the punch. The Manor’s Master careens backward into one of the vats, and becomes covered in a blue ooze. While he swims through the muck, you empty the candy bowl you find by his workbench into your pillowcase of holding, then open the cupboard mounted on the wall. You discover the reason behind your adventure tonight, the Wand of Enchantment, at the back of the cupboard, and add it to your inventory. When equipped, the wand has the power to bring inanimate objects to laugh to assist you with tasks or in combat. You don’t wait around to see what happens with slime-covered fiend, but hightail it upstairs, out the now open front door, and into the dregs of a Halloween.

On the journey back home, you remove your Mask of Hiding–no need to scare your mom–and attempt to sort through your candy haul, but quickly lose count. There’s enough here to last until next Halloween. Maybe.

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