Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Castle, or any rights to any of their movies, settings or characters. Sad, but true.
A/N: Well. I know this sounds bonkers, but hear me out. I saw a commercial for Survivor All-Stars on TV a few weeks ago and it hit me: why not make our own survivor show, with my favourite movie characters, the Dark Castle gang? I know, I know, most fics like this are not well-done and are written with more speed than skill. I assure you this will not be the case. I will write this fic in a humorous manner while up keeping my solid track record for writing. I have decided to use canon characters from only the first three Dark Castle movies, namely House on Haunted Hill, Thir13en Ghosts, and Ghost Ship, mostly because I haven't yet seen Gothika. Who knows, maybe some of the characters from Gothika will make an appearance later on, as a wild card round or something? It's all up to my imagination, buahaha!! I hope all my beloved readers will follow me here to the Crossover section, as I didn't feel comfortable putting it anywhere else. Finally, I hope you guys all enjoy this story and review it as nicely as you did my previous two.
Chapter 1: Arrival
It was dark. Not the dark of a city with streetlights illuminating every corner, but the blind, deadly darkness that's only relief comes from the faint light given off by the stars and the sickle moon overhead. Clouds scudded by in the tropical air, carving flickering shadows out of the world.
Far from any civilization, in a dark sea removed from the eyes of mankind, an island hunched quietly in the night. Its sandy shores glowed a pale white in the wan starlight, the only sound the rustling of the tropical forest at its center and the small noises made by the nocturnal denizens of the island as they hunted. Shadows crawled over the island, hiding and revealing as they chose. The aroma of tropical flowers mixed with the odor of the sea: salt, seaweed and rotting fish.
Suddenly, another shadow appeared to meld with the others. It was the form of a young woman, dressed all in black. She materialized on the beach with a swirl of her silken cloak and straightened fully, her lithe form limned in starlight and shadows. She pulled back her dark hood and shook out a wave of dark auburn hair that fell to her mid-back, her green-blue eyes arrogantly surveying her surroundings.
She smiled, satisfied, and began to walk up the beach, toward the edge of the forest. She was barefoot, wearing a long gown of black silk with a cowled cloak. Her nails were long and painted black, and her bright eyes were lined with kohl. She smirked as she found a sea-smoothed piece of driftwood and settled herself upon it, folding her skirt daintily over her knees as she crossed them. Placing her hands in her lap, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the night air. Marvelous. Now, to wait for her guests to arrive…
The woman opened her eyes and scanned the beach, craning he head to look at the moon as it climbed to its zenith. It was almost there. Just another few minutes…
Just as the moon hit its highest point in the sky, a loud thud was heard behind the woman. She whipped around as a low moan was heard from the direction of the commotion. Grinning, she sprang off the log and moved swiftly through the underbrush, toward the source of the sound. A few meters away from her quarry, she stopped.
The latest arrival, a middle-aged man with graying hair and a rumpled appearance, looked up at her with frightened eyes. Smiling, she reached out a hand and, with surprising strength, yanked him to his feet.
He stumbled against her for a minute then, clearing his throat, he pushed her away, brushing at his torn and bloody sleeves.
"Who the Hell are you?" he asked coldly, turning on her, "And where is this?"
The woman continued to smile that slightly eerie smile. "My name," she said in a high, feminine voice, "is Hekasha. This," she said, waving her arm gracefully to encompass their surroundings, "Is the Dark Isle. Your new home."
The man said nothing for a minute, only staring at her with a queer light in his eyes.
"Steven Price, I presume?" Hekasha continued, raising an eyebrow. The man's expression changed from scorn to fear.
"Who the hell are you? And how do you know my name?" he asked, backing away.
Hekasha laughed; a full and slightly scary sound. "I told you," she drawled, obviously having a lot of fun, "My name is Hekasha. That is all you have to know. I know about you through…sources of mine, and I'm aware that you were recently trapped in a certain psychiatric hospital, am I right?"
Price just gawped.
"Close your mouth, dear," Hekasha laughed, "I hear the flies around here are poisonous."
Price's mouth snapped shut. He opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by yet another crash in the underbrush, signaling the arrival of yet another guest. Delighted, Hekasha clapped her hands and squealed with glee.
"If you'll excuse me," she said to Price over her shoulder, "I have other guests to attend to at the moment."
She moved away, leaving Price alone in the shadows and stillness. He had no idea what he was doing here or who this woman was, but after his recent fate in the Vanacutt facility, he wasn't in the mood to be left alone again. Running slightly, he caught up with Hekasha just as she approached the next arrival: a young girl with rusty red hair and a blue dress that appeared to have been in fashion in the 1950's. The girl pushed herself up to a sitting position and screamed when she caught sight of the figures looming over her.
"Hush," Hekasha intoned, grabbing the girl's arm, "Its okay. We won't hurt you."
The girl tried valiantly to escape Hekasha's grip, but the woman held on tight.
"Katie," she hissed, and the girl stopped dead.
"H-how do you know my name?" Katie Harwood whispered in her prim English accent, her eyes darting to the scary-looking man behind her captor.
Hekasha smiled down at Katie. "I know all about you, Katie. Poor dear. My name is Hekasha, and this," she pointed back at her companion, "is Steven. Come with us, alright sweetie?"
Katie hesitated for a moment, obviously not trusting this black-clad apparition. Suddenly, the girl caught sight of something moving in the underbrush. As she turned to look at it, she saw the tail end of a huge snake go slithering away through the ferns. Shrieking, she fell back against Hekasha. Swallowing visibly, she decided maybe she could trust the woman – at least until she was out of this frightening jungle and back where she should be.
Nodding feverishly, Katie straightened and smoothed her dress with her hands. Responding to Hekasha's gentle tug, the young girl followed the slim woman and her silent male companion through the thick undergrowth.
After a few moments, Katie managed to muster the courage to tug at Hekasha's sleeve. "Where are we?" she hissed, afraid to raise her voice lest some frightful night creature come and swoop her away. It would be just her luck, she thought wryly. Just when she thought she was finally free of this earth and everyone in it, here she was in some strange jungle with an even stranger woman and man.
Hekasha turned toward the frightened child and crooned, "This is the Dark Isle, Katie. But I'll explain further once the others get here."
This roused a startled reaction from Price. "Others?" he spat, his fear still causing his voice to quake despite his insistent manner, "What others? You had better explain what's going on pretty damn quick, or I'll-"
No sooner had the words left his mouth when a now-familiar "oof" was heard, accompanied by a thud and a groan of pain and surprise.
Hekasha straightened, grinning with depraved excitement, and took off in the direction of the noise, leaving her two charges to follow laboriously after her.
They caught up with her in yet another clearing, this time looming over a flustered-looking man looking to be about forty-ish. The man had a shock of curly brown hair and was wearing a somewhat rumpled pair of cotton pants, a wrinkled dress shirt and a ripped and bloodied brown sports jacket. The man looked like he had just been to Hell and back.
This guy managed to attain a standing position on his own, and to his credit did not scream. In fact, he only blinked a few times in shock before whipping around in a circle, obviously looking for something.
"What the…" he muttered, pointedly ignoring the strange woman behind him. After what he had just been through, suddenly appearing in a jungle with a black-clad woman, a creepy old man and an oddly-dressed little girl didn't even phase him. What set his blood to boiling in panic was the absence of his kids.
"Kathy!" he yelled, "Bobby! Maggie? Where are you?"
When no answer seemed forthcoming from the night jungle, Arthur Kriticos swung on the woman who stood exactly where he had found her, watching him with amusement in her star-bright eyes.
"Where the hell are my kids? Who are you? Where the hell am I? Is this some kind of sick joke or something?"
Without waiting for a response, Arthur swung around again, once more calling out for his kids. He didn't understand. One moment he had been in the broken glass house, holding his kids, and the next he was lying facedown in some ferns. What the hell was going on here?
Taking a deep breath, Arthur's gaze darted to the silent pair off to the edge of the clearing, then settled again on Hekasha.
"Well?" he demanded.
Hekasha held out a hand. "Arthur, Arthur, not to worry. Your kids are fine. They're exactly where you left them. You, on the other hand, have been chosen for another – adventure."
This declaration was accompanied by a cheeky grin that belied her demure appearance.
Arthur blinked, gritted his teeth, and took a deep breath. He had already been through enough scary, supernatural shit tonight. He had had enough crazy young women – and old men, he thought, shooting an apprehensive glance at Price - for this lifetime. And then there was that macabre-looking little girl…
"Well," he said patiently, in his usual calm, there-must-be-a-logical-explanation fashion, "Can you at least tell me where I am?"
"Hekasha smiled graciously.
"Of course, Arthur. This is the Dark Isle, an island secluded in an un-traveled portion of the Pacific Ocean. It has been chosen to be the site of the largest, most elaborate supernatural game in HISTORY!" The woman looked about to burst with contained excitement, "And I get to host it."
"What?" Price demanded, "This is a GAME? Madam, I consider myself the expert in the area of twisted games, but this is beyond even my imagination."
Hekasha turned on Steven, her eyes brimming with energy, "I know that very well, dear Steven. That is why you have been chosen for this game."
For the first time in a while, Katie stirred.
"A game? So this isn't…dangerous?"
All three arrivals looked at Hekasha pleadingly.
Hekasha smiled apologetically – almost. "I'm afraid, my dear, that that's not entirely true. But the details will have to wait until later, because if I'm not mistaken, here comes another player…"
A loud crunch was heard, followed by some loud and creative swearing. The foursome swung around to face a young, blonde woman rising to her feet in the underbrush, still muttering expletives.
She looked up and froze when she saw the motley group before her, but rather than screaming or running, she picked out a familiar face among them.
"Steven? Steven Price? Is that you?"
"Melissa?" Steven asked, "I thought you were…'
"I am…well, I was…"
The young woman looked flustered, and was absently picking brambles out of her tangled blonde hair.
Hekasha stepped forward.
"Hello, Ms. Marr. I'm Hekasha. Welcome to the Dark Isle, and the biggest adventure of your life."
If Melissa was shocked to find herself in a jungle face to face with an odd assortment of strangers, she didn't show it. After all, it couldn't be any worse that being trapped in that freaky old mental hospital. She shivered as a breeze swept over the island. What she didn't understand is how she was suddenly very much alive again.
As if reading her mind, Hekasha spoke up into the silence, "I suppose you're wondering why you're alive again. In this game, the standings must be equal, which means the advantage of being dead and therefore invincible has been removed. The same goes with all of our contestants."
A gasp was heard as Katie looked down at herself.
"Really?" she asked.
"Really," Hekasha responded.
"Contestants? Game? Okay, now I want an explanation. I'm getting really sick of games where dying is an option – or a handicap." Melissa made a face. "And who the hell are these people?" She looked around at the faces in the clearing as if they were as far below her as slug slime. Melissa Marr hadn't changed much since her experience in the Vanacutt facility, and, being a journalist, her curiosity had to be satisfied.
Introductions were made and, as usual, Hekasha refused to give out more information about this 'game' until the other contestants arrived. And after that, they started arriving rather quickly.
First there was Sean Murphy, the captain of the Arctic Warrior who growled a bit and swore like a sailor until the next person arrived, who happened to be Arthur's nanny Maggie. Happy to see someone they recognized, Maggie and Arthur clung closely to each other, Maggie eyeing all the 'crazy white people' around ther and muttering to herself about job descriptions.
The next contestants arrived all at once, in a group of four: Cyrus Kriticos, who sneered at them all, eyed Arthur carefully, and fell silent, brooding. Watson Pritchet, the twitchy little caretaker of the Vanacutt hospital, who after getting none of his questions answered fell in beside Melissa and Steven. Francesca, the beautiful Italian singer, who used her broken English to curse Hekasha and all of them before she, too, fell silent, her full lips forming an attractive pout and all too aware that Watson was watching her a bit to closely. And Evelyn Price, who after surveying them all picked out her late husband, walked up to him and slapped him upside the head. A small scuffle ensued until Hekasha pulled a flare gun out of this air and fired it into the air yelling, "Shut up!"
The group fell silent for a few minutes, each member shooting glances at the others, until the next group showed up.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Dodge, one of Murphy's crew, proceeded straight to the old captain's side. Kalina Oretzia, the ditzy amateur sorcerer, picked her way like a frightened deer over to Arthur, eyeing Cyrus timidly the whole time. Next was Sara Jennings, one of the two survivors of that fateful night at the Vanacutt hospital. Sara scowled and picked her way over to stand with Melissa, Steven and Watson. Next was Jack Ferriman, soul-stealer extraordinaire, who after frowning at the whole lot and receiving some pointed comments from Dodge and Murphy, went to stand next to Francesca, who was already batting her long eyelashes in Watson's direction.
Hekasha watched all this play out, the flare gun still in her hand like a deadly weapon, threatening were another fight to break out. Animosity showed in the eyes of archenemies and strangers alike, but nobody said a word, all silently waiting.
After a few moments of nothing happening, Evelyn Price raised her sculpted eyebrows in question.
"Well?" she asked, trying to sound disdainful through her fear, "Is that it?"
"Nearly," Hekasha said as another crunch was heard.
This time, the arrival was that of Dennis Rafkin, who opened his mouth to speak, closed it, opened it again and said, "Arthur? What are you doing here? You're not dead, are you? You shouldn't be dead. You survived, right? Oh shit, Arthur, I'm sorry…"
Arthur shook his head, ending the young man's flustered babbling.
"No, Dennis, I'm alive. I think. And so are you. I think. Just come here."
Dennis made his way shakily toward Arthur, but broke off when he saw Cyrus and Kalina lurking at the back of the group.
"What are they doing here? Who are these people?"
Hekasha opened her mouth to give her familiar spiel, but another thud was heard, and she changed her mind.
"It looks like our final guest has arrived," she said brightly.
Turning around, the group saw the curly-haired, bedraggled form of Maureen Epps rise from the pile of ferns she had landed in.
Looking around, Epps' eyes skipped the people she didn't know, settled on Murphy and Dodge and widened, then focused on Jack.
"YOU!" she screamed, and threw herself blindly at him.
In another surprising show of strength, Hekasha threw out an arm and caught Epps around the waist, holding her back.
"Hold on a minute, hon," she said kindly, as if to a recalcitrant three-year-old, "You don't want to kill him - just yet. Now, if you'll all accompany me to the beach, this will all be explained in full and our little game can begin."
Everyone looked around at each other, their enmity, friendship and distrust for one another smothered by fear, uncertainty, and dread of this small woman who was capable of holding back 125 pounds of enraged salvager.
Silent as the grave, the motley procession followed Hekasha out of the jungle and onto the starlit beach.
A/N: Okay, there's the first chapter. I know I didn't characterize a lot of the characters properly, because if I had this chapter would be novel-length. So bear with me and never fear, your favourite characters will receive the attention that it their due. The next chapter will be coming up quickly, so atayposted and don't forget to review with your criticism, complaints, suggestion, corrections, flames, anything! But tell me what you think, comprendez-vous? Oui? Bon. Merci!