Part of the Omniverse Project
by Benji The Vampire Confuser
Sunnydale and the like belong to Joss Whedon. The majority of the characters in this story are real people that I have met. Be afeared. Be very afeared.
"Um," Ben said to Mickey. "We're doing this thing in the old mansion right?"
"So wouldn't that make it a Haunted House?"
Mickey looked back at the sign he'd just drawn.
HAUNTED HAYRIDE!! A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO TRICK OR TREATING!!
HALLOWEEN NIGHT AT THE CRAWFORD MANSION! 6:00 PM!!
"What now?" Theresa asked. She was making another sign across the room. They were in the chorus room, getting ready for the upcoming event. Next week.
"Nothing a large amount of white out won't fix." Mickey said.
Joe entered with several paper bags. A Frankenstein's Monster head poked out of the top of one.
"Whacha got there?" Theresa asked.
"Masks and stuff." Joe said. "I looked over the sign up sheet, and discovered that there were more people than masks. So I made a run to that new costume place over on third."
"Yeah. The budget didn't quite have enough for masks for everyone, so I picked up a couple make up kits as well. Even then..."
"That's all right." Ben reassured him. "Lot's of the people doing this have their own makeup."
"No, I used up all the black last year when I was Groucho Marx."
"Who are you going as this year?" Theresa asked. "I forget."
Fitz Harris, Rick Smith, Andy Bredeson, and Eric Verfourth entered the chorus room. "Hey!" Andy exclaimed. "The sign hanging crew is here!"
"You should have seen Snyder's face when we didn't `volunteer`." Eric smiled. "I'll cherish the memory for all time."
"I think he's finally figuring out that he's never gonna be able to intimidate the theater geeks." Rick grinned.
Fitz picked up one of the signs. "Shouldn't this say Haunted HOUSE?" he asked.
"Arrgh!" Mickey shouted in mock despair.
Joe stopped the car, and he and Ben got out. The mansion stood before them like it was waiting for something. Ever since either could remember, there had been stories about the house, about the ghosts inside. But when Joe and others of his large group of friends, including Ben, had spent the night in the house when they were in fourth grade, they learned that the ghosts that were there were harmless, just making noise, and occasionally being seen moving about.
Since then, it had become a favorite hangout for the Theater People. Joe had even filmed his amateur horror film there the summer before ninth grade. They'd discovered the secret passages the previous summer.
"So where were you going to be?" Joe asked.
"I figured hanging around out front." Ben said. "Just sort of, warning them back."
"I'd turn back if I were you?"
"Okay I think that'll work. We're gonna have two ghouls too." he said. It was the day before Halloween, and the drama club was to meet for a final briefing.
"Okay," Joe said. "Everybody got their assignments?" Everyone nodded, eager to get started tomorrow. "Good. Be here by five, I want everyone in position by the time the first group gets here. And try to tone it down for the younger kids."
"Sir Yes Sir!"
The Costume was cheesy, but the tour was for kids after all. He had normal clothes in the bag hidden in the wardrobe. Joe finished slicking back his hair, and put the fangs he'd gotten at Ethan's over his teeth. He wished he knew how to make his own.
"Okay," Michael Abersheim, a freshman said. "So we just split up in the secret passages and come out and scare people?" His face was painted white with fake blood dripping from the corner of his mouth.
"That's right." Mark said.
Matthew, Fitz and Sam held the Werewolf masks in their hands. Fitz smiled. "Scooby Dooby Doo!" he imitated the cartoon Dog.
Sam put his on.
"But first lets see who you really are!" Matthew grinned, and pulled off Sam's mask. "It's Sam Richardson who owns the haunted amusement park!"
"And I would have gotten away with it too!" Sam exclaimed, even after living in the US for a while, his British accent shone through. "If it weren't for you bloody kids!"
The sun had set, and Ben awaited the next group. The Haunted House was some of the most fun he'd had on Halloween in a long time. He even got candy.
Then he felt strange. His breathing slowed, and his heartbeat began to slow as well. "Oh shit," he thought. "I think I'm-" He collapsed.
A few seconds later his eyes opened and he stood, shakily. "What the hell just happened?" he wondered. Hideous laughter behind him made him turn.
Two creatures lunged for him. He surprised himself by easily dodging their attack, and counter-attacking just as easily. He leaped into the air and kicked one in the head. It went down and lay motionless, though he could see by the rising and falling of it's chest that it was still alive.
The other swiped at him with it's claws, and again, he easily evaded it. The hell? he thought in bewilderment. I've never been able to do anything like this before! I'm not agile! In his distraction, he got cut by the remaining monster's claws. The cut healed almost instantly however.
He hit the thing in the face, noting that their faces resembled the masks that Theresa and Andrea had been wearing. Both were now down for the count. Weird. he thought.
Tell me about it. a voice in his head remarked. This isn't how it usually works. Ben spun, looking for the source of the voice. Perched on the sign announcing the times of the tours, was a crow. Before you panic, the voice in his head reassured him, Let me tell you what's going on.
"I'm The Crow?"
Yes, sort of. You see, you didn't die, and you don't need to avenge anybody.
Patience, I'm getting to that. The man who owns the store, where your friend Joe bought that makeup, cast a spell on all his wares. It caused everyone wearing it, to turn into whatever they were dressed up as when he recited another spell.
"Huh, and since Theresa and Andrea were wearing these masks-"
They were turned into monsters.
"How can I break the spell?"
Others are tending to that. Your priorities are different. Several people here were not wearing costumes purchased at this man's shop. You must protect them.
Luck of the draw. You're the one dressed as a superhero.
A scream from inside alerted him to the truth in the bird's statement. He shrugged, and ran in the door.
Inside, he stopped short. Randy Eigenbrough, who'd been dressed as Rumplestiltskin, and Rob Trevino, dressed as a beggar were dead. As was James Mullin, he'd been set up in a fake Guillotine. Which had apparently become real.
I don't remember Joe buying a Guillotine at Ethan's. he thought. Wait, Brian was the Executioner, and he had an- He felt a bit of pain as the axe head buried itself in his back. He twisted, ripping it from his body, and felt the wound close up. Brian, wearing a now metal helmet, which had before been rubber, charged him with the axe again.
"Die!" he shouted.
A laser blast knocked Brian back, and three very sharp claws sliced the axe apart.
"Not tonight Bub!" a slightly guttural voice growled. Ben looked stunned for a moment.
A miniature Wolverine, and a pint-size Power Ranger. he thought. Obviously I'm not the only one who was dressed as a Super Hero.
"Don't kill him." he said aloud. Brian lay motionless, but alive on the floor. "He's not really an Executioner."
"I coulda told ya that." the kid dressed as Wolverine said. "He would never get a job with skills like that."
"What's going on?" the Red Ranger said. "Who are you, where am I, and how did I get here."
"This may take some time." Ben sighed. "Time we don't have a lot of. I'll explain on the way. For one thing," he started, as they headed up the stairs, "You aren't who you think you are."
"Come again?" Wolverine asked.
"You're not Wolverine, and you're not the Red Ranger. Well, you are, but you aren't. You're two little kids in Halloween costumes. Your costumes were bought at a store called Ethan's. He cast a spell on all his merchandise to make everyone turn into whatever they were dressed as."
"And you are?" Wolverine asked skeptically.
"Assuming I believe you," Wolverine said. "Why are we goin' further into the house? Shouldn't we be findin' this Ethan guy and makin' him break the spell?"
"I'm told someone else is taking care of that. But lots of the people in this house weren't wearing costumes from his store. We have to get them out of here."
He topped the main stairway and headed left. "The first stop on this tour was in here." he said. "It was a random scaries room."
Wolverine pondered what this man was telling him. He was really just an ordinary little kid? And so was this red guy?
"Well," he muttered, "It would explain why I'm suddenly shorter than usual."
Ben opened the door to the room, and immediately flew backwards as a beam of light knocked him off his feet.
The Red Ranger and Wolverine leaped into the fray. Ben sat up. "No!" he cried. Before he'd been hit, he'd seen who had shot him. And he'd recognized the Star Trek Uniform. "I'm pretty sure he's on our side!"
"Pretty sure?" Red Ranger asked suspiciously.
Ben stood in the doorway and fought back the urge to laugh. Standing before a cowering group of small children, and a red M&M, were a small girl with wings, who floated an inch off the ground and held a wand before her threateningly, and a little boy in a Star Trek DS9 Uniform holding a now very real phaser. Scattered around the room were three unconscious demons, who he guessed were some of his friends transformed, and other comatose nasties who must have been children who'd changed into monsters, and were quickly put down by the Fairy, and Starfleet Officer. There was also a boy passing his hand repeatedly through solid matter. His body lay a few feet away. He'd been dressed as a ghost apparently.
"Okay," he said, "Everyone calm down. We're the good guys."
"Then maybe you can explain what's going on here." the Star Trek kid said.
"My guess would be something to do with the Hellmouth." the Fairy suggested.
Makes sense that a Fairy Princess would know about that. Ben decided.
"Yeah, that's my guess too." he said to her. "Okay, there's not a lot of time, and I'm guessin' I'm gonna get tired of explaining this pretty soon. You're all wearing costumes. The ones that got theirs from a specific store have turned into what they dressed as."
"Hmm," Star Trek said, "That would explain why I appear to be only about seven years old."
Ben shook his head as the others sorted themselves out. He walked to the wall and studied it. If he remembered correctly...A quick push on one of the bricks, opened a secret door.
"Hey heroes!" he called. "This passage leads outside. Get these kids out."
"And where are you gonna go?" Wolverine wanted to know.
"I'm gonna clean the house." He couldn't resist a slight thrill of excitement. Whee! I get to be the hero instead of a secondary character!
The pygmy superheroes began leading the kids into the tunnel. "With any luck their parents are still waiting for them in the parking lot." he muttered. Leaving the room, he thought he heard someone in the hall around the corner.
Ben's mind reeled. In less than an hour, he'd battled a Frankenstein's Monster, who he guessed must have been Chris Smith, as the other guy dressed as Frank, Trevor Mikels, he'd found dead, his neck snapped. He'd also found the bodies of several other friends, some close friends, scattered about the house.
I'm handling all this rather well. he thought. Must be residual Hellmouth energies, or maybe it's another aspect of being the Crow.
He'd also fought; The Headless Horseman, a Zombie, A Demon with several horns sprouting from his head, another with an elongated bottom jaw, and yet another with his eyes popping out of his head.
He'd also shepherded Sam Richardson and Fitz Harris out of the house. They'd been wearing Werewolf masks from Ethan's, but it wasn't a full moon, so they were still human.
He'd explored all of the upper floors, and most of the upper secret passages, but there was still the maze like cellar. They liked to call it the catacombs. And there were still three of his friends left to find. Joe and Miriam had been Vampires, and Eric Verfourth had claimed the Grim Reaper in a Top Hat costume for himself. All three outfits had come from Ethan's.
"Ben!" Joe's voice echoed through the pillared chamber. "I'm glad you made it! Couldn't have been easy!"
"Oh you know," Ben replied, searching the cellar. He couldn't see the last three, but he knew they were here somewhere. "Clothes make the man tonight."
He heard a shoe scuff on the floor behind him. It was all the warning he got. Miriam slammed into him, knocking him off his feet. He rolled with the impact, throwing her off him.
He was barely able to dodge the slash of Eric's claws. He leaped back to his feet only to be tackled by Miriam again. "You know," he grunted, "In another time and place, this would be foreplay."
Eric slashed at him again. The wounds he inflicted didn't heal right away. Of course. he thought. He's death.
A backhanded punch knocked said demon down for a moment, leaving him free to take care of Miriam. He picked her up and threw her across the room. Then, and only then did Joe enter the fray. He was much stronger than Miriam, and a better fighter to boot.
"You shouldn't be fighting us Ben." Joe said, as they traded blows. "We're your friends!"
Ben just hit him. "Insert witty rejoinder here." he grinned. He was really starting to like having supernatural powers. Suddenly, he began to feel an oddly familiar sensation.
Holy crap, he thought, I'm breathing!
Joe rose to his feet, also getting reacquainted with breath. "What the HELL was that?" he asked. Ben sighed and began to explain.
Ben sat in the passenger seat of Joe's car. The kids had been taken home, most had conveniently forgotten the whole incident. The police were searching the woods for a killer that didn't really exist anymore.
Most of his friends remembered what had happened, except those who'd killed while transformed. They remembered everything, except that they had killed the friends they now grieved for.
"This has certainly been a Halloween to remember." Ben sighed.