Halloween Introduction 2010
It was a large group that had gathered in the Boston Tipton Hotel conference hall. It seemed as though everyone who had ever spent any length of time on Tipton property, building or boat, was crammed into the room. The noise level was overwhelming as people gave enthusiastic greetings to those they hadn't seen in a while or introduced themselves around.
Emma Tutweiller stood behind a podium at the front of the room surveying this unruly mob and preparing to begin her presentation.
She leaned towards the microphone and spoke, "Good evening, everyone." This got no response from the audience.
Too quiet, Emma thought. She tried again, "Excuse me!" Again, no one looked in her direction.
"HEY!" she shouted into the microphone. The sudden bark of noise over the speakers cut over the cacophonous crowd and silenced them.
Emma cleared her throat and fought down an embarrassed blush, "Good evening and welcome to the Boston Tipton," she began, "As many of you are aware the holiday season is fast approaching and you know what that means." She paused a moment to see if anyone had guessed the purpose of this gathering before revealing, "That means it's time for another Halloween Collection."
A thunderous roar of approval shook the room as those gathered hooted and hollered.
"All right!" Zack Martin shouted gleefully, "My favorite time of year. Free candy and costumed babes, what more could a man ask from a holiday?"
His brother elbowed him in the ribs and looked at him disapprovingly. "He could ask," Cody said pointedly, "about the historical significance of the holiday and remember it's better to give than to receive."
Zack waved a dismissive hand, "That's Christmas, Codes. Halloween is all about the ladies and the sweets…and the sweet ladies!"
Before Cody could make a scathing reply about ladies not always being so sweet their attention was drawn to the front again.
"Since we have a new set of stories coming at us I thought it would be a good idea to review some of last year's works to get everyone prepared for whatever our illustrious authors might throw at us this year," Emma said. There were nods all around the room. "I've thrown together a few clips from last year's collection that I think present a good look at what we can expect from a Halloween collection. First up is the action oriented Trick or Scream from Kulmanari."
The lights of the room dimmed as a screen behind Emma flickered into life and the clip began to play.
"I'm done playing with you all," Cody shouted, feeling a cool gel-like substance spread across his skin replacing his clothing. The gel gave off a brilliant golden glow as it hardened into his suit of lightweight plate armor that protected him from neck to toe. Now with his magical weapon in hand, suit of armor covering his body and the power of the light surging through his body Cody went on the offensive.
Excalibur flashed in wide arcs, clearing out a short radius around him which gave him enough room to pull light into his left hand and launch devastating lances of golden energy into the masses of zombies, cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. Cody cleared a path back to the Tipton using Excalibur's deadly thirty six inch long edge and shaped energy attacks in short order.
He backed into the lobby doors, continuing to blast the zombies as they rushed at him and shattered the door behind him with the hilt of his sword. Stepping through the destroyed door, he launched several more lances of light into three zombies that were jumping in after him knocking them right out of the air before he turned and ran to the elevator. It was still on the ground floor thankfully and he started frantically tapping the button for the twenty third floor, willing the doors to close faster.
One of the zombies managed to get to the elevator before the doors shut completely and reached in trying to grab him. Cody slammed his gauntlet encased left fist into its head and the zombie dropped like and unstrung puppet, leaving a gory mess covering his armor. The doors finally shut and the annoyingly cheerful music started playing from the speakers, oblivious to what was going on in the world.
Cody watched himself proudly on the screen, "I remember learning to use that sword. It was so heavy!"
Zack ruffled his brother's formerly perfectly coiffed hair, "Dude, you don't have to tell us that. We were the ones in those zombie costumes getting the snot beat out of us!"
"Speaking of costumes," Emma broke in, "Choosing the right ones can be difficult, as we saw in SilverTurtle's It's All About the Costumes, but it can also pay off well."
Cody whirled around and saw Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy bouncing around the lobby. They were good costumes.
Poison Ivy caught sight of him and grabbed him around the shoulders in a hug squealing, "We won, Cody, we won! All thanks to you and your comic books! Thank you!" As he was swung about in her arms he knew this was Maddie, which made 'Harley' London. He laughed; he'd have never expected them to choose villains.
Suddenly London got in on the hug, too. Even though he was starting to feel a little stifled he wasn't going to complain. Who would? He had rather good imitations of Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn trapping him between them, no man in his right mind would try to escape that. They released him still laughing.
"That was a fun one," London spoke up from beside Maddie. "You looked good in green," she whispered in Maddie's ear as she placed her hand on the blonde's knee and teasingly moved it up her friend's thigh.
Maddie squeaked and blushed, catching London's hand in her own just as it strayed into sensitive territory. She shot out of her seat and pulled London up with her, dragging the heiress out of the room with a fierce blush on her cheeks. London grinned like the cat that got the cream as the door closed behind them.
"Those comic books were a great idea, Codes," Zack said with a blissful look on his face, eyes glued to the door his friends had disappeared through. No doubt he was imagining other superheroine costumes the girls could have chosen and what they might be doing behind that closed door.
Cody nodded, "They were rather ingenious, if I do say so myself…and I do."
"Gee Cody," a feminine voice said on his left, "Don't go breaking your arm there."
Cody turned to see Bailey raising an eyebrow at him, "Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean?" he questioned defensively.
Bailey grinned, "Don't break your arm…you know, from patting yourself on the back so hard."
Cody rolled his eyes and gave a long-suffering sigh, "Every day I'm reminded why it was a great idea for us to break up."
Bailey nudged his shoulder with her own and chuckled, "Likewise."
A few seats down Moose had perked up hearing about that break up. He stood with the intention of asking Bailey to give him another chance when the seat beside her was taken up by a leggy blonde.
"So," a British accented voice spoke up on Bailey's left, "you're available?"
Bailey and Cody both moved to look at who spoke and saw none other than Jessica Ellis occupying the seat.
Cody said, "Jessica, I'm flattered by your interest but I'm just not ready for-"
"Actually, Cody," Jessica interrupted before he could say anything more embarrassing, "I was speaking to Bailey." Jessica turned to look unabashedly at Bailey's now bright red face. She grinned as Bailey stammered and outright laughed when Bailey went stock still when Jessica crossed her legs and teasingly ran her dangling foot up Bailey's leg.
Cody's mouth dropped open as all coherent thought fled.
"Moving right along," Emma said through gritted teeth as she glared daggers at Jessica, "Next up is a mix of humor and horror in Terror Comes A Hopping by woundedhearts."
"Carrot?" came the voice again.
"No, no carrots here." Bob replied a little embarrassed that he was currently talking to a rabbit.
"Carrot?" the rabbit once again uttered.
As Bob finally caught on he realized he was now completely surrounded by these creatures who were mistaking him for a rather large carrot. Still Bob couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity, that is, until they showed teeth.
Bob let out a nervous squeak and stepped back cautiously, his instincts were telling him to run. But his mind was telling him the opposite. After all they were just rabbits.
"Carrot!" they cried. "Carrot! Carrot! Carrot! Carrot!"
They began to chant in unison as they came closer to the young redheaded boy with a crop of freckles. Bob began to sweat, and panic, he jumped up and began to run. He didn't care where he was going, but he just wanted to get away from the awful chanting.
"Carrot! Carrot! Carrot!" They continued as the frightened boy tried his best to escape.
But it was no use they had him cornered, and as they pounced onto him he began screaming at the top of his lungs.
"No stop, get off me!" he shouted. "I am not a carrot!"
Bob shuddered in his seat, "Bunnies…So. Many. Bunnies."
The redhead gave a mad giggle that turned into an aborted scream as traumatic memories flooded him and he yelled at the top of his lungs, "I AM NOT A CARROT!" He shouted it over and over as he ran around the room, punctuating the statement with crazy laughter and hands fisted in his hair.
He was stopped when Ilsa somehow managed to catch the running man in a headlock and knock him out.
She laid him on the floor and said, "This reminds me of the time I was eaten."
"Actually," Emma said from the front, "That scene from The Witching Hour by Lodylodylody is the next clip." She pressed a button to bring up the dramatic moment.
Realizing her helplessness, Ilsa didn't even try to struggle as the beast slowly pulled her down into the pit. She could only sob piteously as she went to her fate. The look of hopeless resignation on her face was so disturbing that Maddie had to look away. The young woman buried her face against Esteban's chest.
Ilsa nodded. "Look at that," she said, dabbing a tear from her eye and gesturing at the screen, "Powerful scene. Do you see how torn I am? How broken and afraid? It takes a lot of skill to portray that kind of emotion in so brief a scene. I should be a big star, then everyone vould see how talented I am."
The rest of the room let an awkward silence fall. Someone far in the back coughed.
Ilsa looked around for support and found the tops of many heads as people stared at their feet. "Oh, fine," she said angrily, "Just because I'm not young, perky, and beautiful I can't be a star? I HAVE SKILLS TOO, YOU CRETINS! Come Blitzkrieg, ve know vhere ve're not vanted." She lifted her mean little dog and huffed out of the room muttering her dissatisfaction and promising revenge with Blitzkrieg barking vicious agreement.
Busy watching Ilsa storm away the crowd almost missed the return of London and Maddie, but the heavy door banging closed behind them gave them away.
London had a satisfied smirk stretching her lips as she flipped her hair over her shoulder.
Maddie looked decidedly mussed. Her hair stood in several directions, her tie was undone and her shirt was askew and buttoned improperly, her lip gloss was smeared away, and she was grinning dazedly with a blush pinking her cheeks.
There was no doubt in anyone's mind as to what they'd been up to.
London's smirk only grew wider as she realized everyone's attention was on them, "So, what did we miss?"
"Ahem," Emma coughed into her fist, "Please take your seats, girls. And thank you for the reminder that not all stories are doom and gloom. Humor and romance can also shine in these stories. Take, for instance, these two parts from Lodylodylody's Night of the Living Lounge Singer."
"Skippy!" Carey cried out as she stumbled backwards in shock.
The terrified night manager ran to her side. "Oh lord!" he exclaimed. "Oh lord, oh lord, oh lord! I think those are real zombies!"
Unfortunately for the frightened duo, the zombies quickly made short work of the human audience members and surged forward onto the stage. There was nowhere for Carey or Skippy to run.
"Brains!" the creatures moaned as they reached out and grabbed Skippy. He was too overcome with terror to put up much of a fight…but oddly, the zombies started to hesitate. None of them bit the man, and a few seemed to sniff at him.
"Brains?" one zombie said in a questioning tone. Several of the monsters stared at Skippy and then shook their heads. They pushed the man aside and ignored him as they turned towards Carey.
Skippy never was that bright.
"When that was all revealed to be a horrible dream, we got to see a glimpse of romance with a little thrill," Emma said.
Nick kissed her again, before whispering in her ear. "Darling, you know you are so much more than just food."
Carey smiled. She could tell from his tone what was coming next.
Nick extended his fangs and bit into Carey's neck. She let out a contented sigh as he drank from her while at the same time using his hands to touch her in just the right places.
Carey sighed, "Too bad he didn't stick around for long. I would have enjoyed a few more romps with him."
A two part chorus of "EW!" rang out from the Martin twins.
"Mom," Zack said looking a little green, "We SO don't need to hear about your love life!"
"Yeah," Cody agreed, "Studies show that kids who are aware of their parents' sex lives are markedly less adept in their own romances. The trauma prevents them from forming lasting emotional attachments and often from achieving orgasm during intercourse."
"Whoa," Zack intoned quietly, then asked his brother in a hushed voice, "Is that all true?"
Cody shot a look at his twin, "No, but do you want to hear any more about her sleeping with anyone?"
Zack gave a full body shudder and made a face, "Carry on."
Carey gave her boys a wry look knowing, as only a mother could, that her sons were trying to pull the wool over her eyes. "Mhm," she lifted one sculpted eyebrow at her children, "Then I suppose I shouldn't even mention all the times and places your dad and I enjoyed each other before we had you. Like that one time in Vegas," as her sons cringed she grinned evilly and added, "in public, with the Elvis and showgirl costumes we stole from that little cabaret."
"Ooh, yeah," Kurt said joining in on the teasing, "That was a good time. I think that's the night you two were conceived. If the officers had gotten there a moment sooner you two might not be here today," he finished cheerfully.
"DAD!" two mortified shrieks sounded in tandem.
"Speaking of unknowable horror," Emma interrupted looking a little queasy herself, "brings us to Black Aggie by DarkElements10."
They said that the statue - nicknamed Black Aggie - was haunted by the spirit of a mistreated wife who lay beneath her feet. The statue's eyes would glow red at the stroke of midnight, and any living person who returned the statues gaze would instantly be struck blind. Any pregnant woman who passed through her shadow would miscarry. If you sat on her lap at night, the statue would come to life and crush you to death in her dark embrace. They also said that spirits of the dead would rise from their graves on dark nights to gather around the statue at night and if anyone should happen to cross them the evil angel would awaken and pull you down into the fiery pits of hell.
But this was just a local legend, as far as Cody Martin was concerned, he didn't believe in ghosts and demons and monsters under the bed and especially not haunted statues. Cody believed in hard, solid proof, and so far there had been nothing that even suggested that the statue was indeed haunted, only the stories and rumors.
There had been no weird deaths or blindness maybe once a woman that had walked past had miscarried, but really did that prove that Black Aggie was real?
Not as far as Cody and many other skeptics were concerned. But there was one thing for sure, even if he swore that he didn't believe it in the least, Cody would not walk through that cemetery alone.
"I know logically that cemeteries are nothing to be afraid of, but after that story I think I'll avoid them in the future as much as possible," Cody said.
"Dude," Zack gave his brother a questioning glance, "When did you ever hang out in cemeteries before?"
"Well, if we're counting archeological sites than at least twice. Besides, you know, by now something has died on every inch of this planet," Cody pointed out. The he dramatically declared, "The whole world is a cemetery!"
"Whatever, Codes," Zack said, "Should we get out your blankie and night light? Is Cody-wody afwaid of the dawk?"
Cody smacked his brother's arm as the room erupted in good natured laughter. "The only thing I'm afraid of is you with a knife. Miss Tutweiller, do you have a clip from Snappelinz's Be Careful What You Wish For?"
"I think so," Emma said pressing a few buttons on the remote she held, "Ah, here it is!"
That's when Cody looked past Zack and saw what looked like two bejewelled shoes sticking out past the wall leading towards London's suite. Cody sprinted forward and rounded the corner. He nearly stumbled right over London, sprawled out before him. She was dressed quite fashionably, like she'd just been to a tasteful and luxurious social gathering. She laid spreadeagled across the carpet, exposing her bloodied torso. Instead of her usual lofty demeanour and wide smile, the corners of her mouth were stretched wide in a silent scream.
"Oh my God," Cody muttered hoarsely, backing away from both London and Zack.
"I had to do it, Cody. I couldn't let you down again. I had to give back what I owed. Mom always says: never a borrower, nor a lender be," Zack murmured painstakingly, coming towards Cody with the blade still in hand.
"That was so much fun to play. Look at your face! Oh no, big bad Zack is gonna get me!" Zack mocked, "You look like you're gonna wet your pants!"
Cody frowned deeply, "Can we show something that doesn't make me look like a scaredy-cat?"
"And one that doesn't get me killed?" London spoke up from her position leaning against Maddie.
"Uh, sure," Emma hit a few more buttons, "Oh, this is one I think you'll like, London. It's from James Doyle's It Came From the Bilges."
Meanwhile, in the cabin where London and Bailey had been quarantined below decks, London examined herself in a mirror. Her physiology had begun to return to normal, and at present, she sported one cobra eye, and one brown eye.
"Ugh," reviled London. "Green is definitely not my color."
Bailey laughed. "Don't worry, you'll be back to your beautiful old self before you know it."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," said London. She then stood up out of her bottom bunk and leaned against her roommate's top bunk. "I don't think you've ever called me beautiful before."
"Haven't I? Well, I should've."
London looked over her shoulder to Bailey, who covered her face with her hands. Everyone could see Bailey's ears were a bright pink she was blushing so hard.
"So you do notice girls," Jessica said with a smile while walking her fingers over Bailey's shoulder to twirl a lock of the farm girl's hair, "Good to know."
"And now for something completely different," Emma said shooting another jealous glare at Jessica, "We have a take on Frankenstein in Wyntirsno's Arwinstein On the Loose."
"What! What do you mean he's holding my Mom hostage?" Zack yelled.
"Oh no!" Cody said in the background. "How could he do that, I thought he liked our Mom?"
"Esteban, we're coming home," said Zack, "we will be there as soon as we can."
"Ok little blonde peoples I will see you soon." Esteban said.
"Mrs. Martin, I am officer Thomas. I need you to remain calm and tell me where the monster is right now." Captain Thomas said to her.
"I am calm, is there something I need to know about?" Carrey asked, a little fear creeping into her voice. "Arwinstein is in the dining area watching over me like he's afraid I will disappear."
As Carey was yelling at Esteban, she noticed that Arwinstein had gotten up from the table and was moving towards her. He also looked like he was starting to get agitated. The more she and the 2 men yelled thru the door the more upset he seemed to get.
"Uh Esteban, Arwinstein looks like he doesn't like all the yelling." Carey yelled. "I think we better… ahhhh!"
"Carey!" Esteban yelled.
"Ok that's it, I'm going in." Shouted Captain Thomas.
"Dramatic," Emma said excitedly into the microphone, "Lots of good stuff happening there."
"Yes," Esteban agreed from the back, "We finally got to see one of my speaking parts!"
Arwin spoke up too, "And I got to wear that cool costume. I'm planning on handing out candy in it this year…only I'm going to spice it up and add my rocket skates! That way I'll be able to hand out candy to twice the kids in half the time!"
"You were actually quite intimidating in that costume, Arwin," Carey complimented.
Arwin scuffed his shoes along the floor and rubbed his head. "Aw, thanks Carey," he said bashfully, "It was nice to stretch out of my comfort zone to play a monster."
Just then another clip began to play. One that Emma hadn't added to the list and caused her to blush furiously as the audience let out wolf-whistles and exclamations of appreciation.
Emma smiled. She had been stared at a lot that evening and she couldn't say she hadn't enjoyed it. The costume had been rather simple to assemble really. A daringly cut red-dress, some purple opera gloves and a Veronica Lake hairstyle had made her into a living, breathing Jessica Rabbit.
"Yowza!" Zack shouted, "Lookin' good Miss Tut!"
"Wow," Bailey whispered, she couldn't peel her eyes from the screen.
This time it was Jessica shooting a jealous look at Emma. "She is rather pretty," she grudgingly admitted. "For an older woman," she added.
"How did that get in there?" Emma wondered aloud.
"I'm afraid that was my doing," Mr. Moseby spoke up from the front of the audience, "Since you were kind enough to take on running this circus I thought I would add in that clip from Lodylodylody's Stronger Then Magic to show everyone you deserve to be appreciated for more than just your administrative skills. I believe it's safe to say they're seeing you in a whole new light, Emma."
Emma blushed nearly as dark as her hair as she caught more than a few appraising glances from men and women alike, Mr. Moseby's adoring gaze among them, and decided she wouldn't even be mad at him for surprising her like this.
"Well, that's all I have to show you," Emma spoke as she fought down her blush, "There are a lot of different types of story we get dragged into for this Halloween collection. Some wild and dark, others sweet and romantic, but all of them centered around Halloween themes. This year we've got some returning authors and hopefully some new ones. Undoubtedly we'll be put through the ringer. It won't always be easy, but as you know it will be rewarding. Now, who's in?"
A/N: Alright peoples, this marks the beginning of the Tricks and Treats: The 2010 Halloween Collection! You should all be cheering and clapping (and reviewing). Everyone who reads this is encouraged to participate by submitting a story of their own for the collection to Lodylodylody, we'd love to have some fresh faces join up. If you're interested in contributing PM Lodylodylody expressing that interest and receive details about how you can become a part of this awesome collection. Enjoy the stories and have fun this holiday season!
And remember that the story excerpts used in this introduction are from last year's original Halloween: Tricks and Treats Collection...found on woundedhearts' profile page.