You never know what's right around the corner…And who's right behind you…[Halloween Dedication]
-rises from the dead- I'M ALIVE!!!!! -shifty eyes-
Yeah baby, I'm back in the phunk!
Speaking of Halloween, I remember last year, (or was it the year before that…?) that some punk kid egged my front door because we, more like me actually, didn't open the door to give the little brats some candy.
…Lovable creatures they are…
(I really, really hate little kids by the way…They get horrible after a certain age, like…I'd say maybe four-ish to whatever. My tolerance for them is low, but if they catch me on a good mood, then it's ok…for a while at least…)
I was thinking of getting up on my roof, (don't worry, my house is only one storey high) and sit in the dark of the night with water bombs in hand. And wear a mask too, can't forget that.
I swear to God, I'm gonna scare the shit out of them so they won't come back and bother me anymore. I don't even care if I end up with the title of having the scariest house on the block, it'll be good.
…Egg shells are a bitch to clean up once they dry up and stick to the door. And the fly screen…
Anyways, rant over about Halloween. Enjoy the story!
And one last note, I phail at attempting a horror slash mystery slash supernatural slash suspense story.
…I ask you to forgive my poor, sad attempt…
Disclaimer - I've run out of witty things to say…Not that there ever were witty to begin with…
And using Axel's memorable quote here in this shoddy disclaimer won't do it any justice.
He didn't know what to make of it.
Didn't know what to make of the entire situation at hand.
Here he was, standing in front of a decrepit old mansion which had long since been abandoned with its designs worn and faded and its windows dusty and opaque, holding onto a creased invitation that he had received just some days prior to this day.
Meet at 6pm in front of the Haunted Mansion.
Bring a flashlight, and enter if you dare.
Roxas sighed; whoever planned this surely could've done better.
Everybody in Twilight Town knows that this place is just really old and nothing more. No ghosts flittering about, no such thing as zombies or other creatures of the night.
There had been rumors, a long time ago, about a girl who could be seen from the second storey window on the left side, but it was later confirmed, by Seifer trying to prove that there was no such thing, that it was merely a gust of the wind that made the curtains shift and gave the illusion of someone being there.
The girl was merely a figment of somebody's overactive imagination deceiving them with images they wanted to see but were never really there to begin with.
Roxas had to admit that Seifer can be a serious pain in the butt, but if it weren't for him and his act of courage; or perhaps bravado, all the kids and teenagers would still be running amuck spreading silly rumors that aren't even true about the girl who lived in a white room on the second floor.
Blue eyes blankly looked around, the skies tinted orange and red because of the setting sun and then at the dark forest behind him that was the only way in and out of the abandoned area.
He couldn't see past the first few rows of trees and the twists and turns in them. Thanks to the density of the tree tops, not a ray of sunshine will ever see the grass that lay on the ground beneath.
It was winter and even though it wasn't really that cold, and it never got too horribly cold here in Twilight Town, the sun would always set much sooner than it normally would in the summer time.
It was 5.30pm now. He was half an hour ahead of schedule, but being punctual is one of life's little rules. It creates opportunities, some good, while some bad.
He sighed once more as he folded the invitation in half and slid it back into his pocket, the other hand bringing up the torchlight to rest upon his shoulder.
Roxas tapped the soles of his shoes on the ground and continued to stare with incredulity at the looming building before him. Other than the fact that it was abandoned, the windows were barely even see-through, and the statues around the front yard, that hadn't been taken care of in years, broken and chipped in some places, the mansion would've been quite a nice place to live in.
It was a bit of a shame that the building turned out the way it did.
Roxas didn't actually know why he came here, he wasn't sure if anybody else was going to show up. And if he were the only one, surely this was just a prank with people waiting inside and snickering away to see if he'd enter or not.
And if that was the case, he'd just turn around and go back home. No harm done.
He tapped the torchlight lightly on his shoulder in sync with the rhythm of his shoe and considered his options.
But the rustling of bushes and the crunching of branches behind him alerted him of another presence, but he didn't have to wait long before he heard voices and discerned whose voices they belonged to.
"Oh bug off Seifer, you're not the boss of me."
"Shut up twerp, I bet you won't even last five minutes in that damn house."
"Shut up, I bet you I can."
Roxas sighed; here came his friends and the 'Twilight Disciplinary Committee', looks like he wasn't the only one who received the invite.
The blond turned around and gave a wave, "Hi Olette, you got the invite too?" he asked as he slipped out the piece of paper from his pocket and waved it around.
"Yup," she grinned.
"We all got it." Pence brought up as he clumsily took out a cruddy looking invite as proof.
"Who's the moron who made this stupid thing?" Seifer demanded as he shoved past a disgruntled dirty haired blond and walked right up to the rusted gates. He scrutinized the place before he gave a grunt, "This is stupid."
"Then why did you come?" Hayner retorted as he stood by both blonds and stared up at the haunted mansion.
"Because I got invited, duh." he mocked, "And I wanted to see if they did anything funny to this place." he pointed out as he crossed his arms, mindful of the extra baggage in one of his hands.
Hayner snorted and muttered to himself, "Yeah right…"
Seifer heard the dirty haired blond, but made no move to make the other eat his words, no time for that now; he could always do it later in the Sandlot. Now is a time for an investigation.
"It's already 6 o'clock and nobody else is coming." Olette spoke as she looked up at the darkening skies while she fiddled around with her own torch before turning to stare at the building with worried eyes.
"Come on, let's go." Hayner spoke as he made a move to push the gates open, eager too get inside.
"Hey, hey! Hold on a second here." Seifer called out as he grabbed the dirty haired blonds' shoulder and pulled him back, "You can't just barge in you moron."
"Who the hell cares?! Nobody lives here!" he pointed out.
Roxas sighed; he wondered if whoever planned this meant for this to happen.
And speaking of planning…
"Hey, who sent out the invites?" the blond asked as he held up the piece of paper.
All eyes stared at the blond and then, one by one, they each shrugged.
"It wasn't me." both Hayner and Seifer spoke simultaneously and then turned to glare at each other.
"Not me either." the dark haired boy said as he gave up trying to get his wrinkled paper back to normal.
"Or me." the brunette spoke as she toed her shoe into the grass.
"Ain't me." Rai shrugged as he folded his arms and yawned loudly.
"Neither." the platinum haired girl spoke as she continued to stare at the group with a blank stare.
"So…" Roxas stared slowly as he turned away from the group and stared up at the mansion, "If it wasn't any of you, and it wasn't me. Then who sent them out?"
The dirty haired blond shrugged once more, "Who the hell cares? Let's just go in and see what's going on, maybe it's a party."
"Get real dip-wad, as if anybody'll invite you."
"Shut up Seifer."
Almost everybody ignored the two blonds' bickering.
"So, it's just us then?" Rai asked as he quirked up an eyebrow at the group.
"Affirmative." Fuu replied with a nod before she moved ahead and pushed the gates open.
It had been just a small push, barely even a shove, but it had been enough to make it fall from its hinges, crash into a decrepit gargoyle and make a loud commotion.
And it echoed loud and clear around the area.
"…Sorry." Fuu spoke as she looked over her shoulder to the brunette who was clutching onto her torchlight like a lifeline.
She smiled nervously, "It's ok."
The silver haired girl nodded once more before she continued on ahead and the others followed straight after.
"Hey guys…" Olette started nervously, "I don't know if this is a good idea…" she brought up and barely even took a step forward.
"Come on 'lette, we'll protect ya." Hayner grinned as he extended out his hand.
Someone scoffed, "Yeah right, as if you could protect anybody."
The dirty haired blond scowled, "Shut up Seifer."
"Make. Me." he dared.
Roxas sighed again and finally decided to take the initiative and pushed the wooden doors of the mansion open.
The doors creaked, echoing through the halls and off the glass chandeliers that's lost its shine. If the place hadn't been so messy with broken pieces of wood and glass, the mansion would've looked pretty spiffy.
"There's nobody here…" Pence brought up as he stood by the blond and looked around.
The last rays of the sun sank behind the tree tops and darkness fell upon them. Almost immediately, everybody switched on their flashlights.
Pence managed to get his to turn on after a few whacks, "Stupid thing. I changed the batteries like a week ago."
"Stop reading comic books at night under the blankets then." Hayner pointed out as he took a step inside and shone the torchlight around. "Wow…some party…" really; it was the best one so far.
Nobody was in sight, nor hair or hide of any creatures of the night.
"Um…" a shaky voice spoke up and all eyes turned to the brunette, "I…don't like this place, can we go?"
Hayner whined, "Aww come on Olette, nothing's gonna happen to us, it's just a house."
"Well yeah, but, I mean…can't we come back in the morning? When it's light out and not dark?"
Seifer laughed, "Now where's the fun in that?" he pointed out and walked ahead, stepping over debris of wood and glass and ornaments, "Geez, this place is totally thrashed."
While Olette seemed stuck by the doorway, everybody else seemed to be moving forward, feeling adrenaline rush through their system at the excitement of being in an abandoned mansion alone and in the dark.
Roxas paused before he took another step forward and turned to the brunette, hand already halfway up to offer, but someone else beat him to it.
"But, aren't you scared Fuu?" Olette spoke as she hugged her torchlight tighter as her eyes flickered about.
The silver haired girl stared at the other before she simply replied, "No."
The brunette continued to stare at the other girl in wonder before slowly steeling herself and taking up the offered hand, "I'll just stay with you, is that ok?" she asked.
Well, it seemed like one problem was finally solved, except for the two blond boys who were still bitterly bickering at each other.
"Even if there was a party, nobody would invite you, you're too much of an idiot." Seifer pointed out as he causally waved his hand about.
"Oh speak for yourself. As least I don't go around showing my mid-drift."
"What did you say punk?" the beanie wearing boy hissed out as he grabbed the collar of the dirty haired blonds' shirt.
Roxas sighed and turned his attention away, his flashlight hovering about the place.
In less than ten minutes, any light that wasn't artificial was gone and they were engulfed in darkness.
This had probably been a prank. A stupid prank to see who would be gullible enough to come.
"Maybe we should just go. There's nothing else here." Roxas brought up as he continued to gaze about the place, his flashlight pointing the way.
"What? You scared chicken wuss?" the beanie-wearing boy commented with a smirk.
Roxas merely rolled his eyes; his temper wasn't bad enough that he'd get riled up by every single thing Seifer spouted.
The place was empty, dusty, old and broken. There was nothing here.
"Look, it's obvious that there's nothing-" A stray leaf, still green and fresh flew past his face; the tips of its leaf barely grazed his cheek. "…Here."
When he turned to the exit, the wind picked up and forced him to look away. He couldn't see; not with the wind suddenly blowing like a tornado was coming in and about to tear the house out from the ground.
"What's going on?" someone cried out.
"I don't know!"
"Someone shut the door!" another called out.
Roxas struggled trying to keep his body upright, the toes of his shoes trying to dig into the flat floor to prevent himself from being blown away or into somebody else.
But before anybody could even take a step towards the door, the wind blew the opposite direction; as though it was trying to pull them out of the house and into the wild.
The blond almost fell forward, his face close to meeting the cold hard ground, but he managed to quickly shift his weight in time to counter the sudden pull.
He felt his breath leaving his body without consent.
Then doors slammed shut, the wind died down and all was silent.
Hesitantly, Roxas lowered his arms, and peered over to the closed doors.
He couldn't hear anything. Not the howl of the wind that had tried to rip the mansion apart to pieces a mere few seconds ago.
"The fuck?" Hayner muttered out.
"Oh my God, what just happened?" Olette spoke with a shaky voice as she stood close to Fuu.
"I don't know." the dark haired boy spoke as his flashlight flickered on and off and it wasn't until it was whacked one last time that it was ok again.
"Move you idiot." Seifer hissed as he shoved past the dirty haired blond and moved towards the doors.
Roxas felt a shoulder shove past him and blue eyes watched with mild shock and confusion as the other boy tried to go back into the outside world.
After practically dropping his flashlight to the floor, Seifer grabbed the handles with both hands and pulled, but neither doors budged.
"The hell?" he tried again, using more and more of his strength with each pull, even going so far as putting one foot up on the door and pulling with everything he had, but the doors refused to move, as though they were bolted on the other side and locked up tight.
"Come on." Hayner spoke as he pushed the beanie-wearing boy aside, left his flashlight on the floor by the other and grabbed one of the handles, "You pull that one and I'll pull this one."
With heaves and grunts, they pulled with all their might. But when the doors wouldn't budge, they enlisted the help of the other boys only to fail in misery.
The doors were shut tight; no one can enter, and no one can leave.
Roxas didn't understand; there were no locks. So how could they be locked in?
"Oh my God, this has got to be some kind of joke." Olette spoke as she began to shake in fear and adrenaline, her breath slowly growing ragged, "What're we gonna do?"
"Easy, break a window." Seifer shrugged as he picked back up his torchlight and kicked the door just because he felt like it.
"No shit Sherlock, but in case you haven't noticed, the only windows we can break are on the second floor, and I ain't jumping from that high up." Hayner pointed out as he picked up his own flashlight.
"Would you rather stay here instead princess?" he smirked.
The dirty haired blond scowled and retorted with sticking up the finger to which the beanie wearing boy merely rolled his eyes and waved his fingers about, "Ooh, I'm so scared." he mocked.
"Oh shut up."
Roxas stared at the door handle and gave it an experimental push, nothing happened. "That was seriously weird."
"Yeah, crazy huh?" Pence spoke as he picked up his own flashlight, but it kept on flickering on and off. He whacked it a few times, but it only caused it to completely shut down.
"Here, gimme that piece a junk." Rai spoke as he yanked the item away from the dark haired boy and gave it a good thump on the side.
The lights flickered back on and Pence thanked the other as he took the torchlight back and looked around the darkened building.
Outside, it was quiet. Not the mewl of stray cats, or the howl of stray dogs, not the rustle of leaves or trees or even a cry of the wind.
At one point, Roxas almost thought he went deaf, and then Pence spoke.
"So, I guess we go upstairs?" he started as he looked around, wanting nothing more than to just go home and read his comic books under the blankets with his flashlight.
"I guess, no point staying here." Roxas spoke as he brought up a hand to scratch the back of his head and walked back to join the group.
"Alright then, let's go." Hayner spoke as he walked past and started his way towards the staircase, the others following straight after.
Things were going from normal, to weird. And Roxas was pretty sure he was on the same page as everyone. Maybe not so much Olette because she was shaking like a leaf and was probably thinking that this place was more than just a little weird.
But when a crack was heard, all eyes turned to the source and watched with wide eyes as the broken chandelier fell onto the floor. Olette screamed, the glass shattered, the metal bent and twisted. All eyes looked away and shielded themselves from sustaining large damage.
It grew deafening.
Blue eyes looked curiously over to the mess on the floor, only to find none. He wasn't sure if he had been imagining it, but he noticed that the chandelier was back on the roof, swaying ever so slightly. He was confused, but he wasn't the only one.
And then a shuddery voice, "I wanna go home." the brunette whined, her voice close to tears.
"Come on, let's just, find a way outta here and get out of this place." the dirty haired blond spoke as he took a cautious step forward, "I don't care if I have to jump from a three storey building."
It wasn't until he took his first step on the stair case that they heard a rustle to their right. But when all flashlights pointed to the source of the noise, nothing was there.
Things were going from weird, to so weird it's not even funny anymore.
"Geez man," the dirty haired blond started with a less than steady voice, "This place is freaking me out."
"Getting scared Hayner?" the beanie wearing blond teased with a smirk, his eyes still focused on the empty spot.
Hayner refused to answer, his fingers clenched into tight fists, his eyes wide with alert and his heart racing within his rib cage.
Seifer's smirk faded into a scowl and he pushed his way forward, "Move it twerp." he growled out as he shoved his way past the dirty haired blond only to stop and stare in shock at the sight ahead of him.
"Holy shit!" He almost fell backwards.
Olette screamed again.
"What the fuck was that?!" Hayner shouted.
"That ain't normal man!" Rai joined in.
Roxas was at a complete loss as to what to say. From the small glimpse they managed to get of the creature, he knew that this was not a normal everyday thing.
It was a human.
No it wasn't.
It wasn't a human, but it didn't seem like a ghost either.
It looked like a human; had the shape of a human. But the head was deformed, the fingers long and twisted, the legs, spindly like needles.
It was not human.
Hayner was swearing, constantly. Spewing a list of explicit words with every passing second, it was enough to make his dear old grandmother die at least four times.
"Bullshit man, this is fucking bullshit!" he shouted and almost threw his flashlight to the floor in a fit of anger.
He wanted to get out of here.
Things were going from weird, to crazy to just freak out bat-shit insane.
"Calm the fuck down!" Seifer shouted as he grabbed the hand that was so close to sending the torchlight to a horrible death via the wall, "Just calm the fuck down."
"Don't tell me to fucking calm down. I'll fucking calm down when we fucking get out of here."
"Stop swearing, it's not helping us!" Pence shouted.
"Shut up!" the dirty haired blond turned on the dark haired boy.
"No, you shut up!" the dark skinned boy spoke as he held up a threatening finger.
"Quiet down guys!" Roxas tried to calm them all down, panicking and stressing wasn't going to help the situation. "Come on!"
"QUIET!" a voice shouted at all of them, and all eyes turned to the speaker.
Mix emotions flittered through the eyes, the most prominent one was shock and surprise.
The silver haired girl was holding onto a crying Olette, scared to tears and already breaking down due to fear.
The brunette mumbled things, incoherent and filled with hiccups and stutters, but they got the idea of her words; she just wanted to go home.
"Come on," the blond started, "Let's just, try to get out of here ok? It's late." Roxas reasoned, he was tired of this.
They all nodded, and proceeded their way up the stairs, but when they turned down the hall to where there was supposed to be a door, there was none.
And then there were four.
"Uh…" the dark haired boy started, "Aren't there only supposed to be like…two rooms up here?"
Hayner had no idea what to say as he continued to fix his flashlight at one of the doors that weren't supposed to have been there.
"Last time I came here, there were only two rooms. And that," the beanie boy said as he pointed to a door, "Was never there before."
Before they could even ponder or think about what the hell was happening, a scream rang through the walls and echoed down the halls.
"Shit!" Hayner swore as he looked around, his flashlight moving erratically around the darkness.
"Where are the girls?!" Seifer shouted as he looked around.
"Fuck! They had been right behind us!"
"This is whacked, ya know?!" Rai shouted as he backed up to the wall.
This was too surreal, what the hell was going on?
Everywhere they looked, they saw nothing but darkness. The scream that had echoed through the still air was gone, and nothing could be heard but their frantic panting and searching for the two missing girls that had been right behind them only mere seconds ago.
Roxas felt his breath grow shallow as he looked around with his flashlight slowly with a less than steady hand. The hallway seemed endless. The stairs that led up to the second floor was gone and over the edge, they couldn't even see the bottom of the first floor or the front door, "Um…guys?"
Was it him? Or did the building suddenly change designs without anybody knowing?
Then a spew of conversation started without prompt from the other boys.
"This is fucked man, fucked."
"We have to find them."
"Let's just get out of here and find the police, they can help us."
"We can't leave them behind!"
"What're we supposed to do? Split up? Fuck no!"
"But we can't just-"
"Guys!!" Roxas shouted, his voice demanding attention and silence from everybody, "Can we just quiet down and try and think this over?"
"And what do you suggest genius?" the beanie wearing boy hissed out as he shone the flashlight into the eyes of the blond who quickly pushed it away with a scowl.
"For one thing, staying here and arguing isn't going to help us find Olette or Fuu any faster." he pointed out as he turned around to where the girls last were.
The stairs were gone, as was the first floor. The only thing they seemed to be standing on was a hallway with multiple doors in the middle of the darkness.
"Maybe we should just check each door or something." the blond suggested, a little unsure about his own decision. Who knows what might be waiting behind them.
After all they've been through in the past five or ten minutes inside the house, nobody can just assume that this was going to be a normal house anymore.
"Come on." Roxas spoke as he walked towards one of the doors and grabbed hold of the doorknob, anxious and unsure of what was waiting behind it.
He could've sworn his heart stopped when he twisted the doorknob, quickly pushed it open and flashed the light inside.
It was a normal room, he noticed, with a bed tucked in one corner with a bedside table barely an inch away from it, a rocking chair in the middle of the room with a worn rug beneath it and nothing more.
But most important of all, no Olette or Fuu, and no window to get out from.
A part of him wasn't so sure they were still on the second floor though. With all the shifts that were happening, they could be hundreds of feet up in the air, or down in the ground below. But who knew for sure?
"Next." Hayner drawled out almost unexpectedly as he walked after the blond and took a quick glance inside the room.
Roxas moved away, towards another closed off room and left the other door open.
The next door didn't open as easily as the first one did; he had to use some of his upper body strength before it would even budge and into the room he stumbled.
The second room was much bigger, almost like a study room with books, chairs and tables laid about the carpeted floor.
It reminded him of the school's library. Except nicer.
With each insecure step Roxas took into the room, the others slowly followed behind him with curious looks about the place and inquisitive eyes. Always searching for something.
But it only took seconds for them to realize again, no Olette or Fuu, and no windows to break.
"This place smells like mothballs." Seifer commented with a disgusted face.
The dirty haired blond let out an agreeing scowl as he pinched his nose, "That's the word I was looking for." he spoke with a slight nasally voice, "And it reminds me of my grandma too."
Pence gave a soft and nervous laugh as he looked about the room with his flashlight that would occasionally flicker on and off, "Reminds me of the funeral home…" he spoke morbidly.
And everybody couldn't help but fall into an awkward silence filled with tension hanging in the air.
It didn't last long though, having it broken by the sound of books falling off the shelves and onto the floor with thuds.
"Rai, don't touch anything." Roxas hissed as he stared at the new mess on the floor.
"It was an accident, ya know?" The tanned boy gave a small shrug as he gave a half-hearted smile, "I figured that if we pull random books out, a secret door would open…ya know?"
Pence couldn't help but roll his eyes, even though a little part of him thought that the dark-skinned boy might actually be onto something.
"Yeah well, let's just check the other rooms first. We're wasting our time here." Seifer spoke as he reached the back of his neck and rubbed it tiredly.
Just as he turned his neck to help it release some amount of tension, he spotted the door from the corner of his eye slipping shut.
Almost belatedly, he dashed toward the door just as it made a quiet click, but by the time he got to it and opened it up again, he couldn't believe his eyes.
"…There's a new door." it hadn't been there before, right?
"Where?" the dirty haired blond asked immediately as he quickly ran up to the beanie-wearing boy and paused, "…I don't remember that being there."
"That's why I said that there was a new door, dip-shit." Seifer scowled as he turned to Hayner and glared daggers into the boy's skull. "Were you born an idiot or did someone drop you on your head?"
"Shut the fuck up." he retorted.
"Guys! Quit it!" Pence quickly intervened before punches were thrown, "Fighting isn't going to help us find the others or get out any faster." he reasoned with a worried look.
"He's right, ya know?" Rai joined in,
"Let's just move on, ok?"
And with crossed arms and grumbles under their breaths, they agreed on a temporary truce.
It was the house. Making them all insecure and anxious. Biting down at each others' necks because of the lack of entrances and exits about the house and the constantly moving corridors.
As they walked down the hallways, bickering over every little thing and everything that was wrong and how stupid coming to this stupid mansion was, Roxas couldn't help but notice that the doors were sparse, unlike previously, there had at least been four others on either side the hallways nearby.
It was only later, when Roxas turned around that he noticed that the previous door that he had left open was shut, or perhaps gone. Either way, he had no idea how to tell where they just came from.
Were they even in the same house anymore? The mansion didn't look this big from the outside.
Some party this turned out to be.
The next door they came across, it was colored a deep mahogany brown, relatively new, which was what the mansion was not.
And when they stepped inside, cautious and apprehensive, they noted that it seemed like a normal living room, although looking as though it came from the sixteenth century in London.
But apart from that, there was no Olette, no Fuu, and no way out.
"Come on, let's get outta here." Seifer spoke as he turned back to the door only to let out a cry of sorts as a dark figure stood by the door, a bony, disfigured hand on the doorknob.
Its beady golden eyes seem to smile as them before the door was shut with a resounding slam.
Just as quickly, Seifer quickly dash towards the door, inadvertently slamming right onto it before he pulled the door open again.
He hadn't known why he did it, didn't know what to expect what could be waiting on the other side. A monster, a demon? He hadn't really been thinking it through. But he just didn't want to get stuck in a small room forever.
He let out a shuddery breath, willing for his heart to slow down as he pondered on his actions.
He couldn't remember the last time he had gotten so flustered.
"Hey," someone started and the beanie-wearing boy looked over his shoulder to the speaker, "You ok?" Hayner asked, looking neutral despite the worry and anxiety reflected in his eyes.
Seifer scoffed half heartedly, "Yeah, of course." he spoke as he took a cautious step out the door, "Let's just move on."
And everybody agreed.
One door after another, it continued to lead them no where. Every door they opened, it failed to reveal their two missing friends, and it failed to supply a way out of the mansion.
But it wasn't until they reach one particular door, plain and old and completely out of the ordinary, that they thought this could be it.
Olette and Fuu could be waiting for them. Or maybe an exit; their salvation.
But when they tried to enter, they were left feeling more than just a little apprehensive about the whole situation.
"The door's locked." Rai pointed out as he fiddled around with the doorknob and tried to push it open with his shoulder.
A twist, then a shove.
A shove and a constant jiggle of the doorknob.
But like the front door that neither led inside or outside of the mansion, it refused to budge.
Roxas felt anticipation grow inside of him, and he knew he wasn't the only one.
Maybe this was the door that led to Olette and Fuu, or to a window, or a way outside.
But just as Seifer was about to give Rai a hand to open the door with, it gave way and the dark skinned boy tumbled in with a yell.
"Rai!" the beanie-wearing boy called out and moved to follow, but the door shut itself and locked itself with a deafening click. "Rai!!!" Seifer called out as he started beating the door with his fists and kicks in an attempt to get it open.
He even went so far as to give himself and the door some amount of distance before barging right into it, earning himself a sore shoulder and a door still closed and locked.
Then Roxas noticed something.
"Seifer, stop for a second." he spoke as he stepped towards the door and tried to listen.
"What the fuck, are you stupid or something?" the beanie-wearing boy hissed as he continued to punch the door and beat it down with his reddening knuckles, but failed.
"Seifer, quit it for a sec will ya?" the dirty haired blond scolded and dragged the other furious boy back with a yank of the shoulder.
Roxas couldn't concentrate while the two boys bickered and fought behind him, but eventually he told them to shut up once again and listened.
"…Don't you think it's weird that Rai's not calling out to us even though he's stuck inside a room that locked itself?" the blond asked as he gently pressed his ear on the cold wooden door.
Another bout of silence, except this time, it was filled with worry and tension and not anger and the urge to rip somebody's head off.
Cautiously, and with an air of uncertainty, Seifer took a step forward, and then another, until he was right by the blond, an ear on the door.
He couldn't hear anything.
So it meant that either Rai wasn't behind the door, or the door was completely soundproof. But by the looks of it, it couldn't possibly be.
Tentatively, Seifer brought up a hand and knocked on the door, "Rai?" he felt stupid for doing something like this, but his worry for his best friend won over. "Rai, dude, this is seriously not cool." he knocked again and listened carefully.
"Seifer, I don't think-" Roxas started, only to be interrupted with a pointed look to shut up.
"Rai, come on," he tried again, "I swear to God I'll kick your fucking ass if you don't unlock the damn door and come out. It's not funny anymore."
Pence bit his lip, unsure of what to say or what to do as he clutched his flashlight closer. It wasn't as though he had been a lot of help, all he did was trail along after them in hopes they'll help find a way out.
"He's not there."
"Shut up." he hissed.
Hayner frowned, "He's not there!"
"I said, shut up!" Seifer shouted as he rounded on the other boy and dared for Hayner to say another word.
"Look! He's obviously not there!" he pointed out to the closed door, "We lost Olette and Fuu and now Rai!"
"Don't say that!" he shouted again, his voice strong but less than steady. Panic was rising inside of him.
"It's fucking true!"
"Well it's not fair!" he shouted out, "Why do I lose both of my friends when you only lose one?!"
Roxas couldn't help but feel a small tinge of anger burst inside of him, but in a way, he couldn't help but feel sympathetic towards the other blond.
It wasn't as though they weren't really friends. They just weren't close to begin with.
And to be left alone without someone to back you up can be a pretty scary thing.
"I'm…sorry, alright?" the dirty haired blond apologized, his voice genuine.
Seifer scoffed as he crossed his arms, "Yeah, fucking right."
"I am, seriously."
Hayner sighed, "Let's just…" he paused, unsure of how to word his next sentence, "The faster we get out of here, the sooner we can get help and everything, ok?" he suggested, feeling a little disappointed on the inside.
Watching your rival, who's supposed to be fearless and a cocky bastard, crumble right in front of your very eyes was not a reassuring thing.
Hell was breaking loose.
Seifer muttered words under his breath, losing his composure and trying to piece every bit of pride and sanity back together, he was probably never going to live this down. Not with Hayner and his loud mouth.
But eventually, he released a frustrated sigh, gave the door one last look and pushed onwards without a glance back, "Fine."
And for a while, everything seemed to be going ok. After the disappearance of Rai, they had yet to see any ghostly creatures and lose anymore friends.
But as they walked on, checking one room and the next, they continued to fail on finding Olette, Fuu, Rai, and a possible way out.
"Every time we go in one room and come back out, the whole house changes." Roxas brought up as he turned his flashlight down an unfamiliar hallway.
It used to be just the one hallway, going down on either side of them, with doors that changed sides every so often, or a new one or two popping up.
But now, there was an extra hallway that extended in front of them, with doors going down on either side and fading into darkness.
"So what do you suggest we do huh?" Seifer asked rhetorically as he turned his flashlight down the newly formed hallway.
"Well…I don't know…but what if two of us go in and the other two stay outside?" Pence suggested while he continued to gaze about the place, his eyes never focusing on one particular spot. "At least we'd be buddied-up in case we get separated or something."
That was the last thing Roxas wanted to happen; getting separated again, but a buddy system sounded pretty good and he wasn't the only one thinking it too.
"Sounds good…" the dirty haired blond agreed.
And just as Pence had suggested, when one went into a room, another would follow while two others would stay outside to stand guard.
And it worked well, for about three rooms.
The house, this place whatever it was, was getting smarter; they just hadn't known it yet.
Roxas stood by the door of another room with his hand on the doorknob while Pence stood just behind him on the lookout for anything weird or off, or both.
Just as the blond was about to consider telling everybody to move on to the next room, he felt the door yank itself away, pulling his body along for a jolted ride before the door went the opposite direction, pushing the blond out and completely shutting the room off with a resounding bam.
"What the fuck!" Roxas swore as he gingerly rubbed his wrist which had been twisted at an odd angle when the door forcibly shut itself.
"What just happened?" the dark haired boy asked with a panic-stricken voice as the both of them stare at the now closed door.
"I have no idea." he really hadn't a clue.
One point, he was watching Hayner and Seifer look around the room for whatever, and the next, he was looking at a closed door.
With no doorknob.
"It's gone." he felt his breath leaving him again as he pointed at the missing doorknob with his injured hand.
"What're we gonna do?"
"I don't know." Roxas felt lost, clueless, more than a little afraid and insecure.
And suddenly, he realized what Seifer must've felt when he lost Rai, because now he's lost Hayner and Hayner was his best friend.
"Roxas, what're we gonna do now?" he asked again, desperation lacing in his voice.
"Pence," he started, and tried to speak as slowly and as calmly as he could despite his rapidly beating heart, "I honestly don't know."
They had always considered Hayner to be the leader of the group, but now with him gone, they almost felt like…for lack of a better term; chickens without their heads on.
"What else can we do but move on?" the blond continued as he picked up the flashlight he had inadvertently dropped when the door had slammed into his body and shut itself.
The dark haired boy looked lost, trapped and confused and unsure of what to do. On the verge of a breakdown himself.
"Come on Pence, let's go." he spoke as he moved away from the door with no doorknob, which held captive their friends who weren't even shouting for help. "We might find them on the way out." he reasoned, ever trying to be optimistic despite the fact that his spirits were growing dimmer and dimmer with each step he took deeper into the mansion.
But what else could he do but walk on?
Hesitantly, almost afraid of leaving behind Hayner and Seifer even though they were gone, Pence walked along side the blond, careful to stick close and never stray too far.
The next time Roxas looked over his shoulder to where he last saw Hayner and Seifer, the door was gone, no where to be found.
It didn't feel at all reassuring.
"The door's gone, isn't it..." the dark haired boy started, his voice quiet, his grip on the flashlight firm as though it was his lifeline.
Roxas bit the inside of his lip before he turned his head back to the front and continued walking, "…Yeah."
It was just the two of them now. The thought alone sent shivers to crawl up his spine as they walked down the empty hallways.
Each door they came across, the furthest they'd enter was just a step inside the room and no more.
The both of them moved from one door to another, never lingering too long for something wrong to happen or anything weird to show up.
It was just a quick glance inside the room. Quick enough to be efficient, long enough to make sure they didn't miss anything, or anyone out.
Again, there was no Olette, no Fuu, no Rai, Seifer or Hayner. And most importantly, no door to the outside world or a window to break open.
"Roxas, I don't like the looks of this." the dark haired boy brought up as he clutched his flashlight closer to his body.
He had learned a while ago that making erratic movements with the flashlight caused it to flicker on and off, but if it was kept still, then it would be ok.
The blond frowned as he stared at the stairs that led to who knows where.
The hallway came to a halt, no more doors to check through and the only thing they could do was either go down the stairs or turn back.
"What do you want to do Pence?" he asked as he kept his gaze steady on the stairs that seem to disappear halfway down, shrouded in darkness.
"Huh? Me? I don't know." he stammered out, suddenly uncertain.
He was usually the one to suggest ideas, not make them.
Roxas had the leadership qualities, but he preferred to suggest ideas. The leader role was taken up by Hayner, who was now gone.
The blond continued to frown as he sucked in a quiet breath and exhaled, "There's two ways we can do this. Take the safe, easy road, or try something different."
"…Ah, you know me, I rather go the safe way…" Pence started, sounding a little uncertain about his decision as he looked behind him to the hallway which held no doors to look inside. "…But if we turn back, it'll be like starting all over again." he reasoned, feeling sick to the stomach with the poor choices that were given to them.
Roxas gave a slow nod as he tightened his grip on his own flashlight before he turned to face the other, "Down the stairs we go?"
Pence gave an uncertain smile, a small shrug, "Down the rabbit hole we go."
The blond nodded his head again as he took the first step down. The first step groaned as half of Roxas' weight settled on top of it before it quieted down.
He took another step, and then another with Pence following close behind, their flashlights focused on the stairs and the darkness beyond it.
They couldn't help but wonder if there was an end to all this.
Tentatively, Roxas placed a hand on the wall as support and something to hold onto since there were no rails to guide them down.
The blond wasn't sure how far down they had gone, but by the time he looked over his shoulder, all he saw was darkness and not a hint of the hallway they just came from.
There really was no where else to go but forward it would seem.
On the way down, who knows at what point, one of the steps fell apart and broke, almost sending the dark haired boy to tumble his way down to oblivion, but the blond managed to snag his shirt in time and stumble two steps down and hold him back.
"You ok?" the blond asked and wished Pence would lose a pound or two.
"Uhuh…" his voice cracked as he fixed his headband gone slightly askew. "Fine?" he offered as he turned to Roxas before looking over the blonds' shoulder only to widened his eyes in surprise.
When Roxas followed his line of vision, he couldn't help but do the same.
The step which had broken was repaired, as though it never broke in the first place, which seemed odd because they hadn't exactly dropped down too far.
"…Uhuh…" the dark haired boy's voice cracked again.
Roxas' grip on the dark haired boy tightened before they tried to pull the other up, "Come on, who knows how old this house is." he started as he helped Pence get back on his feet, "Better move on before the whole stair case falls apart."
And the blond didn't even have to finish his sentence before the dark haired boy bolted back up to stand on his own and continued his way down the stairs, slowly and carefully.
It didn't take much longer, perhaps another five or so minutes walking down the steps in the darkness with nothing but their flashlights to lead the way with, that they finally saw the end of the long staircase.
Roxas' heart almost jumped out of his chest, and he was sure that Pence had been feeling the same way when their steps quickened ever so slightly and the distance between them and the basement, or whatever room it was, grew closer and closer.
But five steps away, more or less, and without any warning what so ever, the stairs suddenly cracked, splintered and gave way. Roxas hadn't even sucked in a breath to scream and shout until his body collided with the cold, hard ground and the air was completely knocked out of his lungs. And even more when Pence fell on top of him.
Pence really ought to lose a couple of pounds. For Roxas' sake.
"Woah?" the dark haired boy started, sounding breathless and shocked, still unaware who and what he was on top of.
"Pence," the blond started, sounding strained and out of breath, "Get off please."
And he bolted, "Oh shoot! Sorry!" he apologized profusely as he helped the blond back up on his feet. "Are you ok?"
Roxas groaned as he brought a hand up to his chest. Other than the fact that it hurt, nothing was broken, "Yeah, I'm fine."
Pence didn't seem so convinced, still felt guilty, but as soon as he realized where they were, his apologies went right out the window, "Where are we?" he asked as he took a good look around.
It almost looked like a normal basement, except that it was wide and spacious and looked like a house all on its own with doors leading to other rooms, and another set of stairs leading to the second floor where the balcony leading to other rooms were clearly visible.
But it didn't make sense.
The amount of time it took them to walk all the way down here, to who knows where, didn't completely add up to the length of the staircase on the other side of the room.
"Hey Roxas?" the dark haired boy started as the slowly stepped away from the stairs, "We're not in the mansion anymore, are we?" he asked, his voice tinged with anxiety and fear.
"No, I don't think so."
And almost as soon as his words left him, he felt hopeless. Insecurities rising inside of him and building as each second ticked past.
But he tried to be optimistic, or as optimistic as he could while in his horror-like situation, as he pushed his way onward and looked around the unfamiliar room.
"Do you…" the dark haired boy started, only to pause in the middle as he followed after the blond, "Do you think we'll find anybody here?" he asked softly, even though a part of him already knew the answer.
"We'll just have to look around and see." Roxas spoke hopefully as he kept a steady hand on his flashlight, using it to light his path and to search his surroundings.
As he moved across the floor, he made sure not to touch anything, for reasons he hadn't really been able to comprehend. Unless he had absolutely no choice but to, he preferred to steer clear of any foreign objects that belonged to the mansion.
He made sure to listen to all his surroundings, listened to make sure that Pence was following him and not straying off somewhere.
He kept his eyes alert and open, and would occasionally look over his shoulder to watch for the dark haired boy. Although when he looked over to the spot just behind the other's head, he couldn't help but widen his eyes a little, although he wasn't too entirely surprised that the staircase that had led them down to wherever they were was now gone, covered by a wall that hadn't been there before.
Roxas let out a quiet sigh as he turned back to the front and walked on. No where to go but forward now.
They walked through the living room and peaked through the open doorways to find a small kitchen, and even a bathroom. And when they turned another corner, the spotted a short hallway with only three doors available.
Bitterly, Roxas couldn't help but wonder if this is one of those talk shows where you'd get something you want, something you need, or something that's akin to a booby prize.
The blond turned to the other and asked as he gestured to the doors with a point of his flashlight, "What do you think?"
Pence shrugged and replied with a sheepish look, "I don't know, I just feel like knocking on them and see if anybody answers."
Roxas couldn't help but break a half smile as he turned back to the doors, "We've come too far not to open any doors at this point."
And with a sigh, the dark haired boy agreed.
With an inhaled breath and a steeled heart, the blond grabbed hold of one of the doorknobs and pushed open.
Door number 1 revealed nothing.
A part of Roxas wasn't sure if he should be surprised or not. So far, since they've entered the house, all the doors ever did was take away one or two people of their group, not give them back.
Although one couldn't help but hope.
Opting to close the door instead of leaving it open, the blond moved on to the next door, grabbed hold of the cool doorknob, listened in carefully for any signs of life within before pushing the door open to reveal another empty room.
Barely even sparing the room a minute's glance, he closed the door and turned to Pence who gave a half shrug and a barely-reassuring smile, "Third time's a charm they say…" he offered with a slight laugh.
Roxas could only hope that the saying's true, but even then, he didn't want to raise his hopes so high only to have it plummet down to nothing.
In the end, he sighed, and moved on to the next door and stood in front of it, contemplating whether they should leave this room for now and check upstairs first or go through this one.
He was getting a bad vibe from this door, and he wasn't sure if he was being paranoid, thinking too much, if he was just imagining it or it's nothing to worry about.
After staring at the plain door for who knows how long, it wasn't until the blonds' ears picked up the sound of a worried Pence that he forced himself to make a hasty decision, reach up for the doorknob, and push the door open.
He was surprised with what was behind door number 3.
They say that when one door closes, another opens. But for this one; open one door, get a hallway filled with many, many closed doors instead.
But at least this was different to the other rooms that revealed absolutely nothing of help.
Unsure of what to do, the blond turned to the dark haired boy, a question on his lips, "What do you want to do?"
"Huh? What do you mean?" he asked uncertainly.
"Well, we could check this hallway out, or skip it for now and head upstairs." he began as he turned back down said hallway, "But there's a good chance we won't be able to turn back once we go forward." it's happened so far, might as well expect it.
Pence made another strangled noise as he stared at the blond with anxious eyes, "Uhh…up to you?" he offered with a sort of half smile.
Roxas sighed and contemplated their next move. He didn't want to end up making all the decisions, but if he was the only one able to make them, then he'd have no choice but to just go with instincts and what his senses tell him to do.
Although they haven't been at all too helpful so far.
But just before he could even take one step forward, suddenly, a boom filled the air, loud and ominous.
Pence jumped and clutched his flashlight closer to his body, "What was that?" he asked, his voice cracking and sounding out of breath.
They jumped again, all the while desperately searching around for the source of the noise which seemed to come from down the dark hallway.
The hallway didn't seem like a good choice to go anymore.
And without thinking, Roxas slammed the door shut and grabbed hold of the dark haired boy's arm and started running back where they came from, but whenever they heard the loud noise which seemed to be coming from the same direction that they were running in, they'd turn the other way and try and escape.
They didn't know where to go, where to run.
Pence started to lag behind, which was understandable, he had never been the fittest in the group, but at least he tried.
And then suddenly, another boom, louder and clearer than before, shortly followed by another, right in front of them.
The blond halted in his steps, and listened as another boom echoed throughout the whole vicinity and a section of the floorboards burst open, involuntarily sending them back a step or two in caution.
Pence sucked in a quick breath and fumbled his hold on his flashlight.
Then slowly, through the darkness, long spindly and pale fingers materialized to grab hold of the corners.
As a second pair of hands appeared, Roxas took a slow step back, careful to be quiet as to not suddenly invoke the wrath of whatever it was that was coming out from the black hole beneath.
But almost as soon as a head of hair appeared, followed by glowing eyes of green, Pence involuntarily let out a scream. Which in turned frightened both Roxas and the creature and making the both of them scream.
And then Pence screamed again, and then the stranger screamed, and then Roxas screamed all the while bringing up his flashlight to the air.
Then the stranger stopped screaming as he caught on the movement and shouted instead, "Hey! Wait, wait, wait! Don't hit me!" hands shot out to defend themselves from bodily harm, "Fuck!" the male swore as he cautiously lowered his arms down to peak through his figures. "Jesus…talk about a heart attack."
"Who the hell are you?!" Roxas cried out, his voice slightly hoarse, as he continued to hold onto his flashlight as a make-shift weapon.
"Who the hell are you?!"
"We asked first!"
"I'm stuck here like you obviously!" the other retorted.
"What the fuck were you doing?!" the blond shouted, because honestly, there was no need to make so much racket.
"Was trying to get out from wherever the fuck I was obviously!"
"What the fuck!" Roxas cursed, just to hide the fact that he was scared shitless.
"What the fuck!!" the stranger followed suite.
And Pence couldn't help but feel a little out of the loop, "Uhhh…"
They stared at each other, Roxas with his flashlight still held high just in case and the stranger looked haggard and about ready to fall over while Pence would occasionally turn his attention from one person to another.
And then suddenly, the stranger began to smile, halfheartedly at first but then he started laughing, causing worry to appear on both Roxas' and Pence's faces.
His laughter ran clear and loudly around them and both Roxas and Pence couldn't help but wonder what the hell just happened and what was going on.
The red head sucked in a quick breath and sighed, "You honestly have no idea how happy I am to see you." he spoke as he hefted himself up from under the floorboards.
"Uh…" the dark haired boy started, his voice uncertain, "Do we know you?"
"Nope." he shook his head and then shrugged as he dusted himself off, "But yeah." he answered, as though it offered any sort of clarification to the other two boys.
But they decided to leave it as it is. No point in trying to make sense of anything anymore.
"Where did you come from anyway?" the blond asked as he eyed the black hole in the floor, still a little skeptical about the other.
The red head shrugged, "I don't know; my guess is as good as yours."
Roxas frowned, unhappy with the answer even though it would be just about the same answer that he would probably give the other. But he couldn't help it. The stranger brought nothing but sirens and alarms to ring in his head; he couldn't help but distrust the other. He rang bad news all over.
The red head coughed into his hand, "Um…as much as I'd like to stay and…chat," note the sarcasm, "I think we should get going."
"Hold it," the blond began, "What makes you think you're coming with us?" he bit back.
"Hey, you're alone, I'm alone, we're all alone." the stranger began in a very slight sing-song voice as he pointed to them, then to himself and waved his arms about the place. Way to point out the obvious… "And we should stick together. Come one, three is better than two and three is infinitely better than one." he reasoned as he brought up a hand to his forehead, "Ya get me?"
Roxas frowned, not at all liking the guy's attitude. He could at least be a little bit more scared shitless about the whole situation.
But in the end, his logic and need to get the hell out of the house won over and they ended up with another member to join their party.
"Whatever." he rolled his eyes and moved on.
"Now that's what I'm talking about." the red head grinned, his comment rewarded with a laugh of sorts from the dark haired boy who Roxas now deemed as traitor.
When they back tracked to the hallway with the three doors and the third door leading into a hallway with multiple other doors, it was gone.
Not much surprise there.
Roxas sighed and decided to search the floor above them.
As they walked, they talked, just to fill in the void of silence that seemed to ring loud and clear. They, meaning Pence and whoever the guy's name was. Roxas hadn't been too entirely eager to find out, but the dark haired boy asked anyway.
"Axel. A-X-E-L. Not A-X-L-E. I'm not a friggin' car part."
The blond gave a not-too subtle snort but kept walking and kept his comments to himself.
"Oh, well, I'm Pence," the dark haired boy introduced himself and gestured to the blond walking a step or two ahead of them, "And that's Roxas."
"Well, how dee do there Roxas." the red head drawled on with a smirk, quickened his steps a notch or two and walked by the blond who merely grunted and inched away; an attempt to keep up his personal space.
By the time they reached the second floor, the red head had given out almost all of his personal information. Not that the blond had been listening all that intently.
He was 18 and on his last year of high school before graduating to college, but he was a few credits short of gaining his Level 2 certificate and way under the requirement to gain his Level 3 certificate.
"Actually, I'm pretty sure I got my Level 2 credits, but I've yet to receive a certificate and it's already over half a year, so it's safe to say I probably didn't get it." the red head shrugged.
Roxas rolled his eyes, looks like the guy's not the brightest crayon in the box, although his hair stated otherwise.
The red head also said that he planned on leaving Twilight Town one day and explore the world, work odd jobs and get some experience out there. Probably meet a few friends along the way.
"I've got friends from all over the world. I met them over the internet."
Yeah, definitely not the brightest crayon in the box, no matter how red his hair was.
And then a question popped up; "How have you been going around without a flashlight?" Pence asked, finally noticing the absence of said item from the red head's hands.
"Uh…" Axel started and rummaged around his pockets and produced a silver lighter, "Zippo." and then pulled out another, "I always carry two with me."
Roxas gave another not-so subtle snort and a not-so subtle murmur of "Pyro." as they made their way across the floorboards which creaked with each uneasy step they took.
"So, what do you guys wanna do when we get outta here?" Pence asked almost out of the blue.
"First thing, I'm gonna burn the damn house down." the red head spoke as he stuck close by with the two other boys.
Roxas wouldn't deny that the red head would actually go on ahead and do it. He was probably crazy enough to. Either that or just plain stupid.
"I'm avoiding this place forever." the dark haired boy spoke as his flashlight flickered on and off again. "Run home and never come back."
The red head laughed as he flicked on his lighter; either a nervous habit or for lack of anything better to do.
Roxas wasn't sure what he wanted to do once he gets out; probably head on home to finish his homework or some other activity that's no where near the haunted mansion.
"Oh! Did you get the invite?" the dark haired boy continued on, just to fill in the void of silence and to hide the fact that he was edgy and had been edgy since the front door slammed shut behind them when they had entered the building.
The red head grumbled and then shrugged, "Sort of."
"How long have you been stuck here for? Did you come alone?"
"Been alone for a while now." he spoke as he scratched the back of his neck, "I just wanna leave, you know?"
The two boys nodded their heads in morbid agreement. They've had enough; more than their fair share of excitement for the next year or so and just wanted to get out and probably never come back again.
Not even for a party. No matter how good it was going to be.
The floor creaked beneath Roxas' step as he moved. He remembered that the other rooms and floors weren't as unstable as this one seemed to be and couldn't help but think bad thoughts as the alarms in his head rang shrilly.
He contemplated going back; maybe search another part of the house. He didn't want to risk falling into darkness. The floors didn't sound very stable.
Roxas shivered at the thought.
"Are you ok Roxas?" a familiar voice asked.
The blond turned to the dark haired boy and smiled reassuringly, "I'm fine. Just a little cold I guess." he reasoned. It was only half true.
Before he could continue on down the hallway, a piece of cloth, a heavy fabric fell atop his head and he rummaged around until he got it off.
It was a jacket.
"Wear it." another voice spoke.
Roxas turned to the red head with raised eyebrows.
Green eyes stared into blue, "You said you were cold right? Wear it." Axel spoke as he rubbed the length of one arm and repeated the same for the other. "I'm a pretty warm person, so yeah." he shrugged as he stuck both of his hands into his pockets and walked on.
The blond felt a small shiver crawl up his spine as his fingers tightened on the still warm jacket.
It was a while before he turned to Pence and offered, "Do you want to wear it?"
The dark haired boy smiled, "No thanks, it's actually getting kinda stuffy for me." he reasoned as he pulled the neck hem of his shirt with a finger.
"Oh…" he turned his attention back to the dark jacket in his hands before looking up to the red head who was a few feet away.
"Let's go." Pence spoke as he walked after the red head and smacked his flashlight that started to constantly flicker on and off again. "Stupid thing."
Roxas smiled a little at his friend, and quickly wore the jacket before he started after them, a quick jog in his steps.
One final smack on the flashlight caused it to stay on and Pence grinned in triumph as he turned to the blond and waved the item around in the air, "Look! I got it to finally-"
Then Pence was suddenly gone.
Down a black hole in the spot of where the dark haired boy once stood.
Panic surged in Roxas' veins as he ran forward and sank to his knees near the broken floorboards and searched in the darkness for his friend, "Pence!" he called out as he tried to search for the missing boy down the hole. Not even the brightness of the flashlight could break through the darkness. "Pence!!"
His voice barely echoed through his surroundings, almost as though he was surrounded in an endless void where all voices were lost and could never be heard.
"What the hell just happened?!"
Roxas called out again, and again, ignoring the red head, and shouted again, hoping he'd receive a reply, no matter how meek it was. But he heard nothing, received nothing.
Gathering all his energy, he bolted up and immediately started running. Somewhere, anywhere. As long as it led him back to his missing friends.
Roxas ran, as fast as he could all the while on the search for someone, anyone in every room he ran past.
Every door he opened, it revealed nothing and no-one that he was looking for.
Every empty room that he glanced through, he felt panic grow more and more inside of him.
Every doorknob he twisted, every hallway he passed, every time he saw no one familiar, he wanted nothing more than to scream and hope that someone would hear him.
But there was no one, and he was alone.
More or less alone.
Footsteps eventually caught up to him and a voice spoke, "Fuck man, don't run off like that, geez."
Roxas panted, wishing he'd wake up from whatever dream he was in, hoping this was just a prank and that they were all waiting for him to crack before pouncing on him.
This was just a trick, it had to be.
He couldn't be alone.
"Guess it's just you and me now huh?" the red head asked and finished in a sigh, sounding a little worried.
Roxas panted as he kept his gaze at yet another empty room in front of him, his hands fisted. He felt tempted to scream and hope for someone to come and find him. But it felt pointless, almost hopeless. No point in wasting more energy than necessary.
He was almost running on empty.
Eventually, the blond drew in a long breath and turned his way down the hallway, "Let's go." he spoke as he started walking in a brisk pace, suddenly eager to get somewhere, but unsure of his destination.
"Uhh…sure." it freaked him out a little how the blond could go from panic-stricken to calm in just a few seconds. Maybe he was just denying that this was even real at all.
Roxas didn't know where to start from, he didn't even realize how far he had run off to until he took a good look around and noticed that nothing seemed familiar. But then again, he wasn't too familiar with the mansion that constantly shifted and changed around to its liking.
He had been content with sticking to his owns thought, fuming over the fact that he had been careless with his choices and now he lost Pence. He should've chosen to turn around, go back to search somewhere else, but he didn't and now he was the only one left.
He had been ok with silence, with nothing but the sound of their footsteps and the constant clicks and flicks happening behind him, but Axel thought otherwise.
"So uh, Roxas, which school do ya go to? Never seen you around before."
The blond rolled his eyes, of course the red head hadn't seen him before. Roxas made it a point to avoid anybody that wasn't his friends. He wasn't much of a people person to begin with. He didn't know how to socialize with random people that he didn't know.
"Twilight High." was the blonds' curt reply.
"Oh really? That's weird. I go there too, but I don't remember seeing you and you're one of those people that I'd definitely remember." he started, sounding curious and contemplative. "What year are you in? Not like that actually makes a difference since the school is so damn small compared to the other schools-"
"Would you be quiet for a while?" he asked, his tone clipped and serious.
Axel sighed and rolled his eyes, but complied either way and went back to flicking his lighter on and off.
Eventually, after a blissful ten or so minutes of silence, the blond was done fuming to himself but was now pondering on what move they should do next. His steps eventually slowed down enough that the red head's long stride was able to easily catch up and even walk past him.
And then Axel sighed, "Look," he started, his voice quiet and gentle, "I know you must be beating yourself up about losing your friends and all, but being angry with yourself isn't going to help you or them."
The blond frowned and kept his gaze on the spot where his flashlight pointed, silently wishing the red head would shut up and leave him alone without actually leaving him alone.
Axel continued, sounding more and more frustrated as he spoke, his fingers constantly flicking the lighter in his hand on and off again, "You're not the only one that came in with a group of friends only to end up losing them one by one until you're the only one left and you're ripping your hair off because you should've backed out when you had the chance to but couldn't because it's too late." he shut his mouth with a click of his teeth and gritted them together.
Roxas wasn't sure what to say, although it felt reassuring that he wasn't the only one feeling that way.
Eventually, the red head calmed down and turned to the blond, "I know what you're going through, you're not alone."
Suddenly, the blonds' opinions about the red head faded and he was left with a new image of the other; someone who wasn't completely lame and idiotic and someone who he shared some common ground with.
It felt reassuring.
"…Thanks," the blond lowered his gaze to the carpet and watched as one foot stepped in front of the other and repeated, "Axel."
The red head grinned, happy that he finally got something out of the kid that wasn't a snippy remark or a noise of some sort. At least they were finally getting somewhere.
Roxas wasn't sure if he made a mistake or not, talking to Axel, because ever since they shared that small moment of connection between the two of them, the red head wouldn't shut up.
Axel kept on filling in the silence with his own voice and it was grating on the blonds' nerve as he watched the other walk in front of him, waving his arms about as he talked about anything and everything that fluttered into his mind.
It was almost as if the word 'silence' didn't exist in his dictionary.
Roxas sighed as he turned his attention down to his flashlight, only a little surprised that the light was still shining brightly, not that he was complaining.
He couldn't remember when the batteries were last changed, and he wasn't sure how long they had been in the mansion for but he was thinking negative thoughts and pondering that maybe the lights would start to fade in the next hour or two.
A part of him hoped not, while the other was wondering if his guess would be right on the money.
"So like yeah, we got the invite but the front doors were locked, which was sorta weird but whatever. We went around the back instead and got in. Some party huh?" the red head rambled on, completely unaware that the blond behind him was only partially or wasn't even listening at all.
As Axel spoke, he'd occasionally flick the zippo on and off and on again, probably just out of habit.
Roxas didn't particularly mind; it gave him something to focus on other than the constant grate of the red head's voice.
He contemplated throwing the flashlight and telling him to shut up for ten minutes or better yet, the rest of the night.
"How did you guys get in anyway?" the red head asked as he looked over his shoulder before turning back to the front to watch his way, "Not that it matters anymore. It's getting out that's the damn problem."
The blond rolled his eyes as he continued to walk, and then he froze, feeling something creep up his spine and making him shiver.
It was a bad feeling, and he was almost afraid to turn around to see what's behind him as the red head continued to move forward, not once noticing, and rambling onto himself.
And then Roxas suddenly realized that he couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't think properly as he felt something cold snake around his legs, crawl up his body.
He wanted to scream, shout, anything to get the red head's attention.
This was too weird. He wanted to go home, he wanted to have never come, he should've stayed at home and done his homework like he always did.
He regretted coming.
"Man, where's a toilet when ya need it." the red head asked aloud, "Now, am I right, or am I right?" Axel turned with a grin and immediately wiped it off, "Holy shit Roxas!!" he swore as he twisted his body around and froze, his eye growing wide with fear and shock.
Roxas couldn't breathe, not with his heart ramming into his ribcage and his lungs compacting down on him.
There was a shriek. A shrill cry that sounded neither from a human nor a creature.
It happened too soon, too quick to take in.
One minute, Roxas had been stuck, completely unable to move, and then the next, he felt his body being yanked forward and he found himself stumbling into the red head's hold and his breath returning to him in a breathless gasp.
The walls continued to reverberate the cry of a wounded soul, but before he could even discern what that noise was, he felt his feet moving forward and he was suddenly running.
"Axel!" the blond called out, his feet barely catching up with the red head's long strides.
"Just keep running!"
Roxas almost tripped and forced himself to grab onto the red head with both hands for balance, even though one was in an awkward position with the flashlight still clutched within one of them.
They ran, from whatever it was that was chasing them, the shriek echoing and fading into nothing, before they found safety within an empty room and locked the door behind them.
Heavy pants filled the air and ears listened carefully to the world on the other side of the door, but when they heard nothing, they fell to their knees on the dust covered floor and tried to regain back their ability to breathe normally.
Roxas' heart was still ramming in his rib cage. Never had he run so fast before, never had he exerted himself like that before.
He could feel the adrenaline rush through his body. And he wondered if this is what it's supposed to feel like when you're running for your life.
And then, Axel started laughing.
The blond watched with confusion, all the while still panting away, at the red head; had the other gone crazy?
And almost as soon as he started laughing, Axel stopped.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Roxas managed to mutter out in a long-winded breath as he continued to stare at the other with incredulous eyes of blue.
The red head panted, face grinning, eyes shining and then; "You can let go now."
"I'm sorry, what?" he started and then spontaneously realized that he was still gripping onto the red head like he was his one and only life line. "Oh, sorry."
"Is all good." he smiled and spoke through labored breaths.
It was a while before either of them spoke, and it was a silence that Roxas greatly appreciated.
He concentrated on trying to calm himself down all the while listening for any noises from behind the closed door.
There was nothing, he heard nothing. But he could still hear the high pitched shriek echo into his ears, fade in and out like a broken record.
Then Roxas asked, "…What did you do to it?"
"What did I do to what?" the red head asked, looking incredulous and still out of breath.
Roxas rolled his eyes, "That…thing." for lack of a better description.
"Oh…" he sniffed as he settled to a more comfortable position on the floor, his hands behind him supporting his upper body weight, and answered simply, "I punched it."
Blue eyes blinked once, twice; letting the words sink in, "…Oh…"
Was that even possible? Roxas didn't know, but the image he was getting in his head was mildly comical despite it having been a very dire situation.
"What are you smiling at?" the red head asked, a bit of a smile on his own face.
"Huh?" he started and quickly wiped the smile off his face, he hadn't known he was even doing it, "Oh, nothing."
"Yeah-huh, suree." green eyes rolled and turned away to explore around the plain and simple room.
Nobody around, and no way out.
Axel sighed, "Well, doesn't look like it'll do us any good staying here." he spoke as he hefted himself off the floor and dusted himself off. "We better make a move on; who knows if that things' gonna show up here."
Another shiver crawled its way up the blonds' spine and he quickly looked over his shoulder just in case, but was met with the door instead.
"Need a hand?"
Roxas looked up the red head and then to the hand outstretched towards him. It was a while before he made a decision and got up without the help of the red head, "I'm fine thanks."
Axel shrugged as he moved past the blond, grabbed hold of the doorknob and quietly edged it open to peek outside.
The blond could've sworn the red head held his breath as he looked outside, and he couldn't help but hold it as well as the other searched up and down to make sure the coast was clear before pulling the door open and stepping out.
"Looks good; let's jet." Axel whispered as he quietly stepped outside and walked the opposite direction of where they had come from with the blond following close behind.
They managed to walk quickly without making too much noise, and it had been a tense ten minutes or so before either of them deemed it safe enough to talk again, but even then, it had been in soft tones, only speaking when necessary.
Roxas wanted nothing more than to just get out, get help and maybe start a petition to tear down the building or something, although maybe Olette would reject the idea because the mansion has such historical background.
Yeah right, of eating people that's what. He couldn't help but comment snidely to himself.
It wasn't much longer until the blond noticed the sudden dullness of him flashlight and he came to realization that the batteries were almost out of juice.
He was a little grateful that it didn't require to be constantly whacked on like Pence's. And thinking about Pence and how he had gone, it made Roxas feel bad about everything.
He felt hopelessness stir within him, a sense of dread. A part of him almost wanted to give up while the other strived to survive.
The fact that Axel wasn't even talking at all, wasn't rambling on like an idiot who didn't know the definition of silence, made Roxas feel just that little bit more disheartened that they'd ever get out.
"Axel…I don't know if we can make it." the blond spoke softly and watched as his flashlight grow dimmer and dimmer with each step he took.
One by one his friends had disappeared until it was just him and this random guy left. It was miserable.
"We'll make it. I swear."
"What if we don't?" he didn't want to sound like a complete pessimist, but he was a realist and this was real. A way out seemed like out of the question.
"I'll get us out if it's the last thing I do." the red head spoke with a strong, firm voice, as though he had nothing to fear. Either that, or he was doing a pretty damn good job of hiding it.
Roxas wondered how he could say something like that. Bring somebody's hopes up only to possibly have them crushed in the very end. He didn't want to think so negatively, but hearing Axel speak so confidently only served to stir the tension on his body.
He could feel himself shake with anger, adrenaline, and he couldn't help but bite back, "You're making it sound like a promise."
Axel paused in his steps and Roxas watched as the shoulders moved up and down as the other breathed in and out.
It was a while before the red head turned and stared into eyes of blue with serious determination, "That's because it is."
And just like that, all of the uncertainty that had been building up in his body left and he felt calm again while at the same time, he felt like a child again.
It was unnerving, yet reassuring.
Roxas didn't know what to say. Thank you didn't seem appropriate; he'd save that for when they finally got out.
He wanted to say something, but didn't know what.
Axel opened his mouth, but it wasn't his words that was heard.
He could've sworn his heart skipped a beat, and the floor had vibrated. He wasn't sure if it was his imagination or if something was coming.
"Axel…" the blond warned and hoped this wasn't one of his friends trying to get up from beneath the floor.
"Hey man, that wasn't me." the red head held up his hands in defense all the while looking around for whatever it was that was making that noise.
"Seriously isn't me this time." Axel spoke again as he turned and looked down the darkened hallway. "But whatever it is…I don't like the sound of it."
The walls were suddenly distorted. Hazy, as though the edges were being constantly shifted back and forth.
The house shook, as though an earthquake was happening and there was nowhere for them to go to for safety.
A scream erupted, the sound of metal being crushed and grated onto another piece of metal. It pierced their ears and Roxas accidentally bumped his head when he brought up his hands to cover his ears.
"Axel, what the hell?!" he shouted.
"Fuck if I know!" he cried out.
Another scream, louder, and the floors trembled as though something was approaching and approaching fast.
But almost as soon as it came, it was gone.
They held their breaths, and hoped it was over. But the sense of dread that was filling inside of them told them otherwise. Their hearts raced, adrenaline flowing through their veins.
"…Roxas." the red head spoke quietly as he took a cautious step back, as though anticipating for something to happen, "Run." he whispered with a sense of urgency
A piercing shriek was the only sign given to them for them to start running.
The hazy walls around them seemed to constantly shift while the floors shuddered and trembled, forcing them to bump into the walls as they ran past.
Everywhere they turned seemed to get them no where. Doors didn't seem like a good option although Roxas wouldn't mind jumping out of the window if it meant freedom.
The blond struggled to keep up with the red head, but green eyes would always look behind to make certain that blue were following, and for that, Roxas was grateful.
He didn't want to be left behind.
Another shriek, a pained cry, a scream echoed down the hallway and the blond brought up his hands to his ears again to block out the shrill noise.
But his sudden movement caused him to lose balance and his feet tripped, stumbled, his body crashed onto the floor. Roxas let out a grunt of pain and quickly tried to get back up, but the pain in his ankle forced his knees to buckle on him.
"Roxas!" Axel called out and stopped some feet away and motioned for the other. "Hurry!"
"My ankle." the blond winced as he clutched onto his pained ankle with a vice-like grip.
"Roxas! Get up!" the red head cried out frantically as he quickly rushed back to the blond and tried to pull the other back onto his feet.
He let out a startled noise and hissed at the pain that shot up his leg, "I can't!"
Another pull and a frantic; "Yes you can! Get up!"
Roxas let out another hiss as the pain jolted up his leg and caused his knees to buckle once more, "Axel, I can't!" he cried out as he held onto the red head.
Green eyes stared into blue, "Who's Axel?"
The red head raised an eyebrow, "Roxas, wake up man."
…That wasn't Axel's voice.
The blond made a confused face, forgetting the pain and stared into eyes of green, "…Hayner?"
"Yeah man! Come on! Get up!"
Axel's image started to grow black and hazy and before he knew it, he was lying on his back and he realized his eyes were closed.
He sucked in a quiet breath and opened his eyes.
"…What?" he replied groggily and wished someone would turn off the freakin' lights. Where's his flashlight?
But his question went unanswered, "Roxas! It's Halloween!"
"Huh?" he mumbled out with a yawn and tried to recall the events that happened to him mere minutes ago, "…Wasn't that yesterday?" At that stupid mansion?
Hayner laughed as he gave the blond a smack on the shoulder, "What a funny guy."
The blond yawned again as he rubbed his eyes, "What?" this was all too confusing for him.
"Anyways," the dirty haired blond started, "Look what I got!" he started as he waved about a piece of paper, "Invites to a Halloween party! At the Old Mansion too!"
Roxas groaned and buried his head back into his pillow, "No, I'm not going."
"Come on! It's gonna be a serious killer."
"…Yeah," he groaned into his pillow again, "Serial killer…"
"What was that?"
"…Nothing." he yawned again and bit the inside of his cheek just to make sure he wasn't dreaming, or something.
"Seriously, Roxas, get up!" the dirty haired blond cried out as he yanked the blankets away and the blond shivered at the sudden coldness that surrounded him.
Safe to say, Roxas wasn't sleepy anymore.
It took a while for Hayner to convince Roxas to get up, and even longer to get the other to come along to the party to, you know, 'check it out'.
"I bet it's gonna be sweet."
"Yeah," he yawned again, feeling as though he just ran a marathon or something. "Sure…"
It was hours later, after being fussed about what they should wear to the party, and they meaning Hayner, the both of them eventually settled for just casual clothes and left just before sunset.
They met up with the others, Olette and Pence, and started their way with excitement in their voices and skips in their steps as they approached the old mansion.
Roxas found himself walking a little slower than usual, unsure if he should push last night's dream, or nightmare, away and just relax and enjoy or heed it as a warning and leave before its too late.
But just as they made their way through the thick forest before the venue and stepped out into the open air again, they were accosted with laughter, music, the smell of alcohol and something else. Fireworks maybe.
The sun wasn't even all the way down yet and already the party's gone into full throttle.
Talk about intense.
With so many people around having the time of their lives, Roxas couldn't help but think maybe he had over-exaggerated and thought too far about a dream that was only just a dream. A bad dream, sure, but still a dream none the less.
"Alright! Let's get it started!" Hayner shouted out as he ran toward the house and disappeared inside, shortly followed by an excited Olette and a grinning Pence.
In the end, the blond sighed, tried to relax himself, and walked in after them.
It's been hours, or at least that was what Roxas had thought. He never wore a wristwatch and his mobile phone ran out of batteries, so he couldn't really tell what time it was.
He had to admit, even though the party seemed pretty cool, he was never one to be in those scenes. He wasn't like Hayner who liked being out and about or Olette and Pence who liked to try everything at least once.
Roxas preferred to be by himself. He didn't mind hanging out with Hayner, Pence and Olette, they were his best friends. But if he had a choice between them and a party, he'd choose them, and if he had a choice between being by himself and a party…Well, you know which one.
The blond sighed for what seemed like the umpteenth time that night. He isolated himself and stayed near by the front door, and if not a front door, close to a window.
But with the hustle and bustle of the crowd, it was hard to stick to one place especially if everybody kept pushing and pulling and bumping into each other as though the words 'personal space' meant absolutely nothing to them.
He sighed again as he moved away in hopes of finding a safer spot, somewhere with an exit. He would've left earlier, but Hayner prohibited it by saying; "Come on Rox! Loosen up! Even Pence is enjoying himself!"
And when Roxas turned to look, he couldn't help but quirk up an eyebrow as the dark haired boy talked to a couple of girls and were laughing along with them.
Well, at least somebody else was enjoying themselves.
Unlike him, who was completely paranoid that this house was bewitched and was going to eat them whole, one by one.
"What's up little bud?"
Roxas frowned; he couldn't believe somebody just called him 'little'. He wasn't that short…his growth spurt was just a little slow…
He didn't bother to answer as he continued to push his way along the crowd in hopes of finding Hayner, make up a lame excuse and just leave. No if's or but's.
But finding one person in this huge crowd was going to be something of a feat. Everybody kept moving, kept mingling, nobody ever stayed in the same spot more then a few minutes.
It was getting tiresome.
"Hey wait up." it was the same voice again.
The same, very familiar voice.
Roxas found his feet slowing to a stop and he looked over his shoulder to find a certain somebody pushing his way through the crowd.
The other grinned once he was about a foot or less away, "Hey, you waited."
"Uh…" he stared at the red head, wondering if this was a dream or a nightmare or a hallucination.
This couldn't be Axel.
"You look like you were in a hurry." the red head started casually.
"Uh, yeah," blue eyes looked away for a moment, "Was thinking of leaving."
"…Not my kind of scene." the blond admitted as he gently pushed a body away from his own. Too close for comfort.
The other laughed, "I get cha."
Roxas tried to move away again, in hopes of finding a spot with less people. But there were people everywhere and the only placed you'd be able to get any sort of space is probably outside where the party wasn't.
Which seemed like a good idea right now.
Surely Hayner wouldn't mind if he left. It wasn't as though he was missed. Not like he was the life of the party or whatever.
"So I've seen you around before, never got your name though." the red head spoke as he trailed after the blond.
"Where from?" he asked as he momentarily looked over his shoulder.
"Oh." of course. Maybe the dream wasn't as farfetched as he thought. This guy was probably failing his level three credits too. "It's Roxas." he spoke as he managed to make his way into a small bit of free space.
"The name's Axel. A-X-E-L. Got it memorized?" he introduced himself with a tap of the forehead.
Roxas snorted, couldn't believe the familiarity of it all and then started laughing. Who the hell still uses catchphrases like those? Obviously someone like Axel would.
"That was so stupid." the blond spoke once he calmed down somewhat.
"Shut up," he smirked, "You're just jealous because you didn't think of it before I did."
Roxas rolled his eyes, "Yeah right."
"Come on; let's jet this party." the red head spoke as he nudged his head towards the door and started walking away.
He shrugged, "Sure, whatever."
Anywhere was better than here.
Uh…confession, I actually gave myself a bit of a creep out while I was writing this.
And it didn't help that I was listening to opera music (Yeah, I listen to opera music, shut up) and it was damn late at night…
…Not cool man…
Anyways, what happened to the good old days when my one-shots were only 2000 words and maybe a bit more or less? What happened when I could just write a good easy one shot in like…a couple of days or so and let it be done??
Bah…Not that I'm complaining, oh wait, I am…-makes a disgruntled face-
I'm running into writers' block half the time with the horrible lengths I have to go through for a good one-shot. Bahhhh…
I'm not good when it comes to writing ok!? Not good! Still trying to improve!
LET ME IMPROVEEEE!!!!!!!
-moans in misery- Oh the shame!
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the story, despite how…weird it might've been…I sort of rushed it, in a way because it was long overdue, sorry…
I started this like, a MONTH before Halloween, but things caught up to me, and the only thing I could do was slowly, ever so slowly, chisel away at it until at this point…-sighs-
Longest one shot I've EVER made…Ever…
…I swear to God, next one-shot I make, I want it to be short and simple…
If only it were that easy…
-sigh- I fail! CAPITAL F!
And P.S - Happy Very Belated Halloween.
…P.P.S - I'm sorry…
…P.P.P.S - I didn't edit this…So there's bound to be a heap load of mistakes. I'm sorry…
…P.P.P.P.S - 42 pages and 16,000 plus words. I phail and dieee!
…P.P.P.P.P.S - …-dies again-…
...AND WHAT THE BEEEP HAPPENED TO FF(DOT)NET?! ALL THESE WHACKED OUT CHANGES ARE GIVING ME A HEADACHE MAN! Not that it doesn't look nice, but what the BEEEEEP?!