This story was inspired by a haunted house a friend of mine went to. My haunted house isn't exactly like the one it's inspired by (considering I've never been to that haunted house), but I hope you all find my story scary, interesting, suspenseful, and overall a lot of fun!
This was the first time St. Kleio Academy had ever done anything like this. The students couldn't hold in their excitement as the event was getting closer and closer. It was rare the school ever did anything for the students for fun. If there was an event it usually involved the students showing off whatever skills they learned and how well they were comparing to their originals. That's why when this little field trip came about the students jumped for joy.
Shiro and his friends stood outside of the former hospital, once a bustling building with plenty of activity now an abandoned structure with some land around it. St. Kleio took advantage of that abandoned lot though, and turned it into a lively building once more.
"A haunted house..." Napoleon said as they stood outside the hospital. "It seems cheesy but I'm so excited!"
"Well, this isn't really a haunted house. The object here is to 'escape death', not just walk through it and get scared," Shiro said. "My dad told me all about it."
Napoleon nodded. "They said we can go in teams of four so sorry, ladies. You'll have to pair up with someone else!"
Elizabeth crossed her arms as she glared at her male friends. "Nightingale and I already made arrangements to go through it with Dowager and Himiko, so nyah!"
Ikkyu couldn't help the snicker that escaped his mouth. "Those two don't seem the type to enjoy a good scare."
Elizabeth decided not to tell them how hard it was for her to convince the other two girls to join her in the haunted festivities. She would have preferred going into the house with the men, but they had decided to go together and she had no choice but to find different partners.
"I find this silly." Freud said, looking up at the tall building. "They'll be using cheap tricks to try and scare us out of there. It's all psychological. Nothing is going to hurt us which makes the experience a lot less scary than if we were in a real, deadly situation."
"Would you actually prefer to be in a real and deadly situation?" Shiro asked thoughtfully, holding his hand to his chin and wondering if this haunted house could accurately simulate a scenario where one had to fight for his life.
"I think you'll be the first to go, Freud."
A voice came from behind the students making them all jump and give a small shout. It took them a moment to recognize Dr. Kamiya and his assistant, Kuroe.
He nodded at each of them before focusing his attention back on Freud. "This isn't a normal haunted house. We wanted to make the experience as frightening as possible so we decided to have it be a race for your life. You start out on the thirteenth floor," he pointed to the very top of the building. "...and the object is to make it to the first floor without getting caught."
"There's going to be people chasing us the whole way down?" Elizabeth asked, trying to hide the shakiness in her voice.
Dr. Kamiya nodded at her. "They aren't so much chasing as they are hiding in the shadows. As you're running people will be trying to grab you and if they catch you they'll toss you in an elevator and your haunted house experience is over."
"They're allowed to touch us?" Elizabeth nearly screamed.
"How else do you expect them to catch you?" Kuroe asked with a smile.
Elizabeth ignored the excited cries and sounds of high fives coming from three of the four boys next to her. She inhaled and exhaled, telling herself there was no reason to get so worked up when she wasn't even in the haunted house yet.
"You'll be taken to the top floor by an elevator and when it opens all you have to do is run out and find the stairs that will take you to the floor below you. Keep doing that on all floors, don't get caught, and do your best to make it all the way to the first floor." When he finished describing to them the object of this haunted house, Dr. Kamiya focused his attention back on Freud, a small smile crawling onto his face. "So, Freud, just because you understand the psychology behind a haunted house doesn't mean you won't get scared. In fact, I think it'll affect you the most." He said.
Freud chuckled and put a hand to his chin. "I'd like to think I'm above silly parlor tricks and feeble attempts to get a rise out of me."
"Let's go! Come on! What's the hold up?" Napoleon grabbed Freud's arm and started to drag him to the haunted house, not wanting to wait another minute. Nightingale and Elizabeth stayed behind while they waited for their teammates to show up.
"Take care of Shiro for us!" Kuroe called to the boys. Then he smiled at the girls and began to walk away with Dr. Kamiya.
"All right!" Napoleon said loudly outside the doors to the building. "Before we go in we need a strategy."
"Aren't we just supposed to run for our lives?" Ikkyu asked.
"That's too easy!" Napoleon said. "It sounds like it's simple, but that's what they want us to think! If we let our guard down we'll get captured and taken prisoner! That's why we need to come up with a battle plan!"
Freud almost laughed at how intense Napoleon was acting. It was as if he was channeling his original to help him figure out the best course of action for this mission. "And what do you suggest we do, great general?"
"The answer is simple!" Napoleon said as he walked next to Freud and linked their arms together. "All we do is link arms. If someone is grabbed then we pull them back and keep running! Four people have to be stronger than one. If we can do this then there is no way anyone is going to get captured!"
Shiro hesitantly linked his arm through Freud's other arm. He stared at the other two men for a moment before shrugging. "It's not...a terrible idea."
"Could be worse..." Ikkyu said with a sigh as he linked his arm through Shiro's.
When Napoleon was sure everyone was tightly chained together he led the group to the elevator that would take them to the top of the building. There was one man operating the elevator who didn't speak at all except to tell them he was taking them to the thirteenth floor. Napoleon could feel the excitement of his friends; even Freud was exuding nervous energy. Each time the elevator reached a floor it would chime and each chime just made the boys even more excited. They anxiously waited as the floors slowly passed them. 9...10...11...12...
"Here we go," Napoleon whispered.
The doors to the elevator opened and Napoleon wasted no time in shooting out of it and into the hallway. He quickly took in his surroundings as he ran. The light was minimal. Only a few lights on the walls illuminated the paths. He knew he if turned around he would barely be able to make out Freud's face. He noticed doors along the halls but ignored them and only focused on finding the stairs.
"Everyone okay?" he called to his friends.
"We're good!" he heard Ikkyu call back to him.
They ran in a line and Napoleon felt the pressure of his teammates relying on him to navigate them to safety. However, he refused to let any of them down. After turning a few corners he found what he was looking for. The brightest light on the floor was a green, neon sign, the exit sign, perched above a door that led to a set of stairs.
"I found the staircase!" Napoleon cried. They ran down them, awkwardly trying to keep hold of each other. For a moment Napoleon questioned the layout of the building. It didn't make any sense that the stairs would be located in random parts of each floor. Perhaps finding the stairs was easier than he thought. He followed his theory that the stairs weren't located randomly and looked for the next set close to the first stairs they had just emerged from; however, it wasn't so simple. After running aimlessly for a few moments he realized that the stairs were indeed spread out randomly. He was so confused by that, but he quickly adjusted and within a few more moments found the next set, the glowing exit sign guiding their way.
"Floor eleven, you guys!"
"I don't really run often, Napoleon."
Napoleon listened as Freud complained, though he had to admit that the psychologist did sound out of breath.
"Take it in stride, soldier. You agreed to this mission so stay strong and see it through!"
They continued to run, but floor eleven was giving Napoleon some trouble. The past two floors had been simple to get through and relatively simple to navigate; however this floor seemed darker and the hallways seemed even more twisted than the other floors. There was also something else...Napoleon felt like he and his friends weren't alone anymore. There were definitely other people on this floor and Napoleon was sure they weren't just other runners.
The darkness had done it's job and had hidden something on the floor from Napoleon, making him slip and fall. He fell into the liquid taking the other three boys with him. Napoleon's back was slick with whatever it was he fell into. As everyone was recovering from the fall Napoleon did his best to take a look at what caused his train wreck. He held his hand in the air towards a very small light perched farther along the wall. The liquid was thick and crimson, slowly sliding off of his hand.
"Blood?" he said in a low voice.
"Did you say blood?" Ikkyu screamed from behind Shiro and Freud. "Did you really just slip on blood?"
"It's not blood!" Freud yelled back at him, though his shaking voice proved that he was just as nervous as Ikkyu. "There's no way they would put actual blood in here."
"I don't know." Napoleon said as he slowly stood. "It feels real."
"Don't say that!" Ikkyu said, covering his ears. "Don't say that again!"
"I doubt it's really blood!" Shiro said, sounding completely hopeless. "There's just no way it's really blood. I mean...it can't be!"
"Forget it! Just forget it!" Napoleon yelled as he hoisted Freud up and linked arms with him again. "Let's just keep going!"
"I don't know if we'll forget it." Shiro said, standing up. "We'll keep going though."
Finally Ikkyu stood and they were linked together once again. They couldn't see the floor clearly so they had no choice but to carefully walk through the blood so they could keep searching for the exit. They had all been shocked from what had just happened and it affected their speed, but Napoleon soon realized they would have to hurry if they were to get anywhere. He ran faster, dragging the others along with him and after a bit they began to pick up speed too. Just when they were back to keeping a good and steady pace Napoleon heard something that brought him to a complete stop.
"What? What the hell's going on back there?" Napoleon turned towards Shiro, without unlinking his arm with Freud and noticed Ikkyu wasn't where he should have been.
"He-he just slipped through my grasp! I felt him get pulled away, but I couldn't stop it!"
"Just calm down!" Napoleon yelled. He didn't want to be too rough with Shiro, but he couldn't have him freaking out on him. Napoleon glanced down the hall, though it was too dark to see even a foot past Shiro. Napoleon just shook his head and began running again, but not before making sure the other two were still linked together.
"What about Ikkyu?" Shiro cried.
"Forget him! We need to move!"
As terrible as Napoleon felt for leaving Ikkyu behind there was nothing he could do. There was no point in getting captured over a soldier who had already fallen, though he could tell from the way his two companions were running behind him that they were beginning to lose hope. They felt heavier than before and seemed to be lagging.
"You owe it to Ikkyu to make it to the very end, men!" Napoleon called out to his friends. "He may be gone, but he would have wanted you to keep going and fight! So run like hell and get to the first floor of this mad house!"
The others didn't say anything, but Napoleon could tell by how they picked up their speed that he had gotten through to them. He silently thanked them as he found the next set of stairs.
"Floor ten, boys! Almost home!"
"Oh yeah, we're real close..."
"Sarcasm is not needed, Freud!"
Freud would have made a witty comeback if Shiro hadn't interrupted him. "I think I felt something touch me on the stairs, you guys!"
"What?" Napoleon called from the front while still running.
"Didn't you feel it?"
"I didn't feel anything." Freud said.
"I swear I felt something touch-GAAAAAAAAH!"
Napoleon actually had to grab Freud around his waist to stop him from trying to jump for Shiro.
"He's gone! It's over! Get a hold of yourself!"
"Sh...Shiro..." Freud said quietly.
"Let's go!" Napoleon nearly screamed, but Freud wasn't moving at all. Napoleon attempted to drag around his dead weight, but knew he wouldn't get anywhere if he kept that up. He turned Freud so they were facing each other and he could tell that his friend was thoroughly frightened. The fear etched on his face was unmistakable. Some people just weren't cut out for the battlefield.
"He was right next to me, Napoleon," Freud whispered in a shaky voice. "We were linked together, but they got him! They got him just like they got Ikkyu and we're next!"
"Listen, Freud," Napoleon said, cupping his hands around Freud's face. "I need you to calm down, all right? Just calm the hell down. Shiro and Ikkyu are gone, but you and I still have a chance. We can make it out of here, okay? If you follow me and stay close to me I won't let anything happen to you. Can you do that? Can you stay close to me?"
Freud nodded his head, though his face still held terror. Napoleon turned around and wondered how much of a burden Freud was going to be now. It surprised him that the psychologist, the one person who understood that this was all game, was so frightened by what had happened. Perhaps it was because he knew how the haunted house would affect people that he was affected so badly himself.
As Napoleon almost lost himself in thought he had walked a few paces before remembering to link arms with his friend. Though that plan had failed he knew it would make Freud feel better to have some human contact.
"Freud, link arms with me," Napoleon commanded as he stretched his arm behind him. He waited a few seconds before turning around when Freud hesitated to grab his arm. It was then that he noticed...
His friend was gone.
He stared into the never-ending darkness for a few seconds before he took off in the opposite direction.
And then there was one.
Ikkyu had been taken, Shiro had been captured, and now Freud was missing. Napoleon wasn't sure if Freud had been captured or if in his shock he had wandered away, but there was no time for a search and rescue. If Freud had indeed walked off on his own then it would only be a matter of time before something found him and took him away.
He had found the stairs and took the steps two at a time, jumping completely over the last three.
"Floor nine, guys," he whispered, refusing to entirely forget his fallen comrades.
As he ran through the labyrinth he was so sure he could hear noises coming from behind him. It sounded like someone was roughly breathing, almost grunting. He focused a little more on the noise and knew for sure there was someone following him. Whoever it was didn't have the skills of the others who took his friends away. This person was loud and was giving himself away completely.
Napoleon smirked as he slowed his running a bit. He had a plan already set in his mind. He almost laughed as the person behind him took the bait. Napoleon felt arms wrap around his chest, but he had quickly inhaled deeply, making himself a tad bit thinner. He slipped out of the person's grasp and dropped to the ground, swiping his leg to knock the intruder down.
"Don't ever touch me!" Napoleon called as he ran away. He turned a corner to find the stairs in front of him. Seeing the stairs was like seeing the gates of Heaven. He took the steps two at a time again and continued to run as fast as he could when he made it to the hallways.
"Floor eight! Floor eight, guys! We're almost home!"
With each step he took he felt he was getting closer and closer to sanctuary. At this rate he would make it to the first floor in no time. Confidence built inside of him as he continued to run, though this floor was different than the others. There were more noises, banging and moaning and scratching. He shuddered with each noise that resonated throughout the hallway, but refused to falter even a bit.
"I'll get to the first floor for you guys!" Napoleon called, though just as a he said that he heard a most horrifying sound. It made him stop moving entirely which was probably the worst thing he could have done.
He was frozen to the spot even though he could hear the chainsaw getting closer and closer. Each buzz of the electric saw made Napoleon's blood run cold and even though he didn't feel completely frightened he knew his unmoving body was proof otherwise.
"Just calm down. Calm down. You need to calm down," Napoleon whispered to himself, though the chainsaw was getting ever closer.
"Calm. Stay calm. Just stay calm."
The saw was blaring now. It drowned out all of the other noises around him and struck him again with fear.
However, he refused to be defeated. With legs like jelly he finally managed to move. He wasn't running as fast as he was before, but at least he was moving. He searched desperately for the stairs. Nothing else was on his mind except finding the stairs. That would be the only way to escape the chainsaw that was obviously looking for him.
"I'm almost home. Just a little farther. Just a few more floors. I'm almost home."
He turned a corner and saw his salvation. There were the stairs with the brilliant glowing exit sign hovering over them. He had never been so happy to see an exit sign in his entire life. He ran as fast as his shaking legs would take him. He still heard the chainsaw behind him and simply prayed that he wouldn't be followed to the next floor.
He almost laughed out loud with joy when his foot hit the first step, then the second step, and then the third step. He honestly didn't think he would make it to the staircase at all. However, his victory was short lived as he felt something grab his arm, dragging him back up the stairs. As he struggled he fell, his legs kicking and his body squirming to be released from the tight grip.
"Let me go! Let me go!" Napoleon screamed. Fear and anger both overwhelmed him, but he never got a good look at his captor before he was thrown into the elevator, only seeing the doors close in front of him.
He rode down to the first floor and when the doors opened there were his friends, clapping and cheering for him as he walked out.
"Napoleon! Dude, what floor did you get to?" Ikkyu asked as he jogged to Napoleon's side.
"The eighth floor! I was on the stairs to the seventh! It was right there, but I got caught! The guy dragged me kicking and screaming to the elevator. I was so close! Man, that was scary!"
"Tell me about it," Ikkyu said as they made their way to their friends. "Freud stepped out of the elevator and nearly tackled Shiro! I think he really thought he was dead!"
"It was sweet," Elizabeth said with a smile. "Freud has a heart after all."
"Enough," Freud said, crossing his arms. "That was a lot more realistic than I thought it would be."
"What happened to you, Freud?" Napoleon yelled. "You just disappeared on me! Did you wander away or something? You freaked out and then suddenly you were gone! The psychologist shouldn't have been so scared knowing it was all just a game!"
"Oh...Napoleon?" Nightingale spoke up, interrupting them. "What's that on the back of your shirt?"
Napoleon turned his head as best as he could to see his back. He smiled. In his excitement he had forgotten all about it. "That's blood! I tripped in it while running through the hallways."
"Blood?" Elizabeth screamed.
"Yep! And now it's your turn, ladies! Get your buddies and get moving!"
Elizabeth and Nightingale looked towards the ominous elevator doors waiting to take them to thirteenth floor. They had said they would do it...no backing out now.
Dowager and Himiko weren't far away so the two girls got them and told them they were ready. All of the girls, even Himiko, looked nervous and frightened. They all took a deep breath and held hands as they hesitantly walked into the elevator. The last thing they saw before the doors shut were their friends waving them good-bye.
Just a note...I suppose Freud was a little out of character. Though unlike a lot of ASC fans I believe Freud isn't a complete emotionless rock. It just takes a lot to get him to show that emotion ^_^
Anyway, I'm curious to see what people thought of this cause I actually really enjoyed this! I hope you did too and I do intend to write about the girl's adventure in the haunted house so stick around. ^_^