A/N: Wow, I haven't updated this in a while...too busy with Healer's Touch, I guess. Or not updating Healer's Touch. I'm such a bad updater. Update- er? Ahh, whatever. -

I'm glad you guys liked Jon dying. This chapter, I sort of got a little overimaginative with modern objects, heh... So, the various tools for dismemberment of our favorite Tammy characters may be unfamiliar to the victims themselves, but I'm taking creative license. Plus, this story is screwy as it is; I might as well be hanged for a dragon as an egg. (HP reference there...I'm a little hyper at the moment...)

Have fun! (It's longer than usual, for once. )

--LQ

(The group is still gathered around the gaping hole now in the floor of the main room. Their expressions range from disbelieving to angry to grieving.)

Alanna: I still...can't believe he's gone. All those years of hard work, only to be squashed by an armchair.

George: (consolingly) At least it's a pretty armchair, right? Not one of those really tacky plaid ones you see sometimes.

Alanna: (uneasy stare)

George: What?

Alanna: Nothing...

George: (defensively) Hey, if I were going to be hideously murdered by a piece of furniture, I'd at least want it to be tasteful!

Alanna: (still uneasily staring)

Voice: I hate to interrupt this touching moment, but aren't you all supposed to be exploring the castle?

Numair: We're sort of grieving here, if you hadn't noticed!

Voice: Excuse me?

Numair: Our king—our close friend—just got crushed by an armchair, no less! Don't you think that gives us license for a little peace and quiet?

Voice: If I were you, sir, I'd watch who I was talking to.

Numair: What are you going to do? You're just a VOICE!

Daine: (beginning to look slightly worried) Numair—remember, it's not really just a voice—it's more of like a murderer-type-person...

Numair: (understanding dawns) Oh—OH. Oh. Um... (looks uncomfortable and slightly scared) I really didn't mean it, Mr. Killer Mysterious Voice sir...heh...

Voice: Just watch yourself, mage, because you've crossed into my bad side.

Daine: (looking more than slightly worried now)

Dom: Guys? Maybe we should do what it says—you know, start exploring...

Neal: I still say we should stick together. It'd be harder to pick us off.

Voice: Actually, Sir Queenscove, I'd still find it quite easy to kill you all one by one. Would you like a demonstration?

Neal: (pales) Um—no, no, that's all right. We'll go.

Voice: That's what I thought. Now, children (addresses group), have fun exploring the CASTLE OF HORRORS (dun-dun-duuuuun)...if you dare...(wicked laugh) Bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa!

All: (stare up at ceiling)

Buri: Um, that wicked laugh was kind of lame.

Raoul: Yeah...not really all that fear-inspiring.

Voice: YES IT WAS! IT WAS SPINE-TINGLING! SPINE-TINGLING, I SAY!

All: (still staring)

Voice: (tiredly) Oh, go explore already.

All: (look for their partners)

Dom: (sighs) (goes to stand next to Neal) I still can't believe I'm stuck with you, Meathead.

Neal: Well I still can't believe I'm stuck with such a—

Kel: (interrupts) Can one of you guys come help me look for Owen? I don't see him...

Dom: I'm obviously better equipped for this job, Queenscove. Step aside.

Neal: I don't THINK so, soldier-boy! I'LL help you, Kel!

Kel: I don't care which one of you helps me, I just want to find my partner! (walks past two cousins) (yells) OWEN! WHERE ARE YOU?!

Neal/Dom: (brief shoving match to see who follows Kel) (give up) (both follow Kel, pushing each other on the way there)

Kel: O-Owen? (wanders alone down dark adjoining hallway) Owen? OWEN?!

Neal: (catches up to Kel) Kel, you shouldn't be doing this alone...remember what happened to Cleon?

Kel: (eyes widen) Oh—(curses) OWEN! (whips around to Neal) What if he—where—we have GOT to find him! (yells louder, if possible) OWEN!!!!

Dom: (goes to front, standing protectively) I'll go first, guys. You two need protection.

Neal: (sputters indignantly)

Kel: (draws herself up) Excuse me?!

Dom: (stammers) I just meant because—you're—you know—

Kel: Because I'm a WHAT, Dom? A girl?! I thought YOU of all people would understand me!

Dom: I didn't mean it like that! I just wanted to show you—

Kel: What an idiot you are?

Neal: (steps back and watches argument) (leans against wall contentedly) Ahh...my best friend and her love interest fighting...bliss.

Dom: (starting to get irritated) Kel, if you just wouldn't take anything so SERIOUSLY—

Kel: And now you're CRITICIZING me?!

Voice from down hall: KEL! KEL!

Kel: (jerks up) Owen?

Owen: (runs down hall from direction of main room) THERE you are, Kel! Jolly! I couldn't find you—I thought—

Kel: (sighs in relief) Thank the gods! I thought you'd ended up like Cleon!

Owen: No, no, just exploring a bit off the main room. Have you seen these old corridors? They could go on forever! It's jolly!

Kel: Er, Owen, we're in the CASTLE OF HORRORS (dun-dun-duuuuun), remember? We're not supposed to enjoy it!

Owen: (shrugs) I figure, if we're going to be stuck in here, we might as well make the best of it!

Neal: (shakes head disbelievingly) Crazy little man...

Owen: (nods happily, having not taken in a word Neal has said)

Kel: So...should we start off?

Dom: (heaves a sigh) If we must. Come on, Meathead. Let's go see what's up the stairs.

Kel: (turns to Owen) D'you want to go see the rooms down the hall?

Owen: Sounds jolly!

(they walk down hallway)

Owen: Woah...what is this? (he squats, examining a patch on floor)

Kel: (turns back) Owen?

Owen: You go on ahead, Kel...I just want to see what this is. I'll catch up with you in a minute.

Kel: Fine...(wanders down hallway for a while) (turns down several corridors) (suddenly swivels around, disoriented; there are a maze of possible hallways she could have come from. She is lost. Poor child.) Wait—where am I? (starts to panic) Owen? OWEN?! ANYBODY?!

(no answer)

Kel: Help...

MEANWHILE

(Raoul and Buri are walking through a dark corridor, examining the portraits on the walls.)

Raoul: (cowering behind Buri) Buri, this place is really scary...

Buri: (rolls eyes) Come on, Raoul. We can protect ourselves.

(noise behind them)

Buri: (whips around) Who's there?!

(silence)

Raoul: (whimpers)

Buri: Shut UP, Raoul! (directed at room) Show yourself!

(silence)

Buri: (breathing hard) Probably—probably just a mouse...

Raoul: (squeaks) A MOUSE?! Buri, mice don't make those noises—

Buri: (whirls on him) Raoul, shut UP!

(noise again)

Buri: What IS that?

Raoul: It—it's coming from that room—but let's go back, Buri, I don't want to—

Buri: Shh!

(they edge closer, Buri towing Raoul)

Buri: (reach to open the door)

(Suddenly, they hear a scream from the direction of the main hallway. They both whirl and sprint toward the direction of the sound, leaving the door untouched.)

FIVE MINUTES EARLIER

(Numair and Daine are walking through yet another corridor.)

Daine: (points) Let's go down those stairs, shall we?

Numair: (unintelligible noise)

Daine: Oh, don't be a baby. You're the most powerful mage in Tortall! How can you be scared of the DARK?!

Numair: I—I just am, okay?

Daine: (sighs) Come on.

(They walk down the stairs)

(The two find themselves in a stone room slightly beneath the rest of the house. There are several black stains on the floor, and in one corner is a cabinet-like structure.)

Daine: Where—where are we?

Numair: I'm—not sure...(edges away from Daine, wanderin toward cabinet)

Daine: What are you doing?!

Numair: I just want to see...(opens cabinet) (gasps)

Daine: (panicked) Numair?!

Numair: (awestruck) Look at these, magelet! They must be some sort of...ancient artifact!

Daine: (edges closer) What does that say? Pow-er-tool? I don't understand...

Numair: They have such quality about them! I wonder how they operate...(he pokes and prods, while Daine kneels to examine markings on floor)

Daine: (sharp intake of breath) NUMAIR!

Numair: (distracted) Hmm?

Daine: These—these aren't just markings. They're footprints. Leading to— (her gaze travels to behind cabinet) Numair! GET AWAY FROM THERE!

(Whirring noise)

(Powertools begin to operate; drills begin to spin, )

Numair: Wha--?

(creaking noise)

(cabinet tips over, pinning Numair underneath.)

(tools fall)

Numair: (screams)

(grinding noise)

(blood splatters)

(sudden silence)

Daine: Nu—Numair?

(silence)

Daine: NUMAIR! NOOOO!

(sound of running feet)

Raoul and Buri: (burst in) Daine! What—

Buri: (gasps at sight of various limbs scattered on floor)

Raoul: (faints against Buri)

Buri: (staggers)

Alanna, George, Dom, Neal: (arrive)

Alanna: (eyes wide) No, no...not Numair too...

The plot: (thickens)

A/N: Haha, I liked that very last bit. I know, I know, they didn't have Power Tools back in 457 H.E., but...PowerTools are the best method, in my opinion, of demise.

Review! Make the nice author do a happy dance!

By the way--any idea of who the killer is yet? -

--LQ