Disclaimer: I do not own Castlevania. Or Disney World. Or any Disney characters (or costumes of Disney characters).
A/N: I'm sorry if the first couple pages of this seem to have nothing to do with Castlevania. Stay with me, I promise the canon comes into place soon enough.
Chapter 1: The Dangers of Pirating
"Ugg much," she sneered.
Pain relievers were slow. Too slow.
And pirates were dangerous. His Aunt Flower had told him as much, but he'd taken that to mean that she'd ignored the questionable site history on his computer and aimed directly at the illegal downloads from a friend of a friend. Ashley sometimes wondered if old Flower had the gift of foresight. She had, after all, been the one to warn her nephew that Episode I would make him lose faith in Darth Vader.
Ashley flexed his other fingers, lining them up straight against the index. Or what was left of his index finger.
"That's just gross, Ashley," Snow White further acknowledged. She mock-gagged in disgust, puffing out one sleeve dramatically in an attempt to multi-task.
"Ash, it's Ash," he corrected.
He swallowed, tripping over muttered words, dropping his oversized mask on the floor. Jessica, aka Snow, didn't bother to help him. But he understood. She was obviously busy. With her dress and all.
"I don't know how they let you come back to work like that," she continued, snatching a bottle of water out of the worker's refrigerator.
"The other guy called in."
"Greg? Figures." She didn't bother looking over at the small table he was sitting at. "I mean, you could get blood on something. You don't have a disease do you?"
"I—it qu-quit bleeding," he said with a nervous breath. He wasn't sure Jessica had ever spoken this many words to him. "It's not bleeding anymore."
"Whatever," she snorted.
Snow was gone before he could continue. Ashley groaned, leaning back into his seat in defeat. Sure, she didn't see his potential yet, but he was sure she'd be able to see the light during the upcoming off-season. She'd still be Snow White, and he would be a face-figure, too, Aladdin , of all people. One of the Princes. She'd see him as more than a mask then.
He stared down at his half-finger with a sigh. The bandage was white, not a drop of blood in sight. Yes, surely she'd see by then.
He looked up when he heard the break-room's doors open again.
"Mr. Mitchell," Ashley began. He stood up.
Phil Mitchell's round, plaid-clad form was shaking with some joke told at the doorway. Phil was always laughing, a good sight at this work place, even if the jokes were not quite Disney approved.
"Hey there, champ," Phil smiled, chuckling.
Ashley blinked, realizing that his boss of two years had blanked on his name again.
"You called me in, sir," Ashley said. He stood, his thin, lanky form arched over the other man.
"Oh, yeah. . .The other guy had a medical problem," Phil replied, smiling slightly.
"I lost my finger this morning."
"Oh, that was you? On the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? Then the other guy must have been the hang-over. Too late now. " Phil looked down at the bandage, whistling though his teeth. "Not all of it, though," Phil smiled, giving Ashley a playful punch to the elbow. "Atta boy. And good thing it wasn't on company time, I might have had to fire you—just kidding."
Ashley sighed. "Lucky me."
"Sorry, sorry," Phil amended, still grinning. "Next time, I'll make Greg come in."
Next time? Ashley withdrew his hand into his pocket hoping that there wouldn't be a next time.
"Yeah," Phil continued, shaking his head, "he can't pull this crap when he's in the Prince Ali duds."
Ashley raised a brow. "He's going to do Aladdin, too?"
Phil choked on a nervous laugh, scratching his balding head. "Well, you see. . ."
"Yes, Ashley, I knew that. You see, Aladdin's a face character. And a hands character. And Aladdin has all ten fingers." Phil's phone began to ring. He took it without missing a beat. "What do you mean the catering didn't go through?"
Ashley shook his head. Damn you, Johnny Depp! If it wasn't for you, they wouldn't have upped the funding for better canons on that stupid ride, and I would never have ended up putting my finger in cyborg Sparrow's malfunctioning mouth!
"But you promised me the Aladdin gig?" Ashley hoped that didn't sound too much like a whine.
Phil looked annoyed. "Hold on a minute, Betty?" He held the phone against his bloated neck for a moment. "Look, kid, you missed your chance. Bad luck's what it was, but, for God's sake, don't you have higher aims than Aladdin? And the kids love Goofy."
Ashley shook his head, anger coursing through him. "But. . ."
"Kid, I tell you what," Phil said with a good-old-boy grin. "If you're still around at the end of season, I might hook you up with the big man's face."
Goofy's head nearly dropped to the floor. "You mean. . ."
"Mickey Mouse, that's right, even though you're far too tall for it. Pete was doing an alright job at it, but he's been getting lazy lately. Hell, I haven't even been able to find him since his first break this morning." Phil snorted, as if the thought disturbed him. "Tell you what—Pete misses his cue at the parade this afternoon, and you can have the job."
"Wow, Phil," Ashley breathed. It wasn't a face character, sure, but everyone respected the big mouse. And Mickey spent half his day sitting down for pictures at his playhouse. "That would be. . ."
"Betty, Betty, I don't care what Mac says, the Rogers are going through with the wedding this evening. Yes , before the light show!" Phil had already turned his back, heading towards the door with his cell glued to his ear. "Well I somehow doubt they'll think that a bunch of old robots are as charming as Cinderella's frickin' palace, Betty! Get that food moved!"
"My luck, Pete'll find a way to kiss ass in a hurry. . ." Ashley groaned. He had been promised better positions in the past, too.
He sighed, turning his mask to face him. Somehow Goofy's face depressed him further. "What am I even still doing here?" he asked the mask.
Goofy didn't have an answer. Ashley had been an Alabama with design work dreams when he'd taken the Disney internship over two years ago, but his father's death and his colorful and broke aunt's move to Kissimmee had sealed the young man in a low rate job at the Magic Kingdom. No more college credits pouring in, no degree in sight, he was stuck in time and space. And this Twilight Zone had bills that needed paying.
Ashley smoothed a hand through his grown-out, sandy hair before sliding on Goofy's persona. He stared out the black netting of the dog's mouth at the work room. Time to put those acting skills to work.
He tripped over his chair on his way out, smacking his face into the door. Just another day in paradise.
"Good job there, Ashley Belle," scoffed a voice on the other size. A giant chipmunk pushed his way through. "Aren't girls supposed to be more graceful?"
"Very funny." Prick.
Ashley pushed his way out before the tirade could continue. There were days that he really hated his name. Granted, he had been born Ashley Simon Belmont, so he had another option. For some reason, though, he'd always found the name Simon too . . . aggressive for his taste. He wasn't quite sure what triggered that response in him.
And Ashley was better than Sue, he had to admit.
He was shook out of his thoughts by the sound of the outside world, specifically, the music of the rides just past the white, cartoonish fence that separated the staff space from the public domain of the park. He hesitated at the door to the fence, something tugging at his mind. Something was missing from those sounds, laughter.
Every hour of the day, laughter was a part of the music. But it was absent when he opened the door. He stepped into the colorful cartoon neighborhood with a frown.
"When did it get so dark out here?"
Donald waddled past him at a runner's speed without so much as a quack. The duck dove through a window in one of the small, play houses, wiggling his tail feathers to fit in.
"Is there a storm coming?" Ashley asked.
And then the screams broke out.