Written by Hazelcats
“The light! It burns!”
Arcana hissed, overdramatically covering her eyes as the door opened, pouring light into the dark room.
“Shut up,” Matt muttered, walking over to the kitchen island and dropping the three rather awkwardly shaped boxes there.
“Cliche, much, Arcana?” Stella called from the island, looking up from the stack of papers she was working on to the boxes with interest. “What’s in there?”
Grabbing the kitchen knife next to him, Matt started opening the box. “Stuff for tomorrow. Pumpkins. Candy. All that crap.” He scowled over at the living room, where Arcana, Malcolm, Arthur and Lucian were watching some horror movie. “Apparently the extremely unnecessary job was left to me because everyone else was busy with extremely important work.”
“Aw, poor baby,” Arcana cooed. “Are you mad?”
Malcolm snicked. Matt flipped them both off.
Stella raised an eyebrow. “You’re in a bad mood. What happened?”
“Everyone who lives in that damned city is an a**,” he growled, sitting down. “”Figures, though. Olympus and all, they’re all arrogant. I was almost killed on a dozen occasions.” “Ooh, even more than usual. Because of the holiday, maybe? All the drunks out. Be even worse tomorrow.”
Matt nodded. “Which is exactly why they can go out tomorrow,” he said, indicating his two half-siblings.
“You know you love us!” Arcana said, just as the zombies in the movie broke into the safehouse, causing extremely loud screams to ring through the room. Matt could hear someone shouting from another room to turn the volume down.
“What are they watching, anyway?” Matt muttered, setting large, bright orange pumpkins from the box onto the counter. Stella shook her head.
“Some old movie. From the 80’s, I think. Not sure.”
“It’s supposed to be one of those Olympian classics,” Arthur said.
“It’s not even scary,” Lucian muttered, obviously bored.
“Says the son of fear,” Arcana said, glancing over at him.
“So, you’re afraid?” Malcolm offered.
“I didn’t said that.”
Matt sighed and shook his head, turning away as they argued. “Where are the others?”
“Cal’s out, Kat’s looking for something-in the basement, I think, not sure-Rachel’s out with the Hunters, she’ll be here tomorrow, and Seth and Cole-”
Stella’s eyes widened. “Change the channel! Change it!”
There was a scramble for the remote as the four demigods watching the horror movie tried to change the channel, and only just managed to turn on Spongebob before the two kids entered the room.
“StellaStellaStellaStellaStellaBellaguesswhat-oooh! Candy! Candy! Can I have some, Stella?”
“Can I have some, too? Please?”
The two five and six year olds stared up at the counter with wide eyes, where the bags of candy Matt had gotten sat.
Stella sighed. “Seth, Cole, you two know you can’t have any right-”
A door slammed open. Matt could see Kat stumble into the hallway from the basement door. “Uh, guys, a-a little help, please-”
Arthur immediately jumped up and ran to her, taking the large, heavy box and carrying it over into the living room.
“Oooh! What’s that?” Seth hurried over, Cole stumbling after him.
“Found it downstairs,” Kat said, sending a thankful look to Arthur. “For Halloween.”
“Cool,” Arthur said. “Hope it’s worth it. That thing is heavy.”
Kat nodded in agreement, kneeling down to open the box. The inside was full of orange and black, as purple, green, red, and a variety of colors. There was a stack of dvds on the top. Decorations were stuffed in every corner of it.
“Cool!” Seth grabbed one of the dvds, squinting at the title. “Can we watch? What does it say-”
Kat quickly grabbed the case from him, not wanting the two children to see the obviously R-rated graphics on the front. She gave a small smile. “We can watch something later!” she promised. “Now, go play with Malcolm and Arcana.”
And as Seth cheered and the two ran for his siblings, Matt couldn’t help the smug look that crossed his face. Revenge.
“You know, I thought you were above dressing up. Being the youngest doesn’t mean you’re eight. And Katniss Everdeen? Seriously? You don’t even have the Mockingjay pin! And aren’t there going to be enough Hunger Games costumes?”
“Fire. Fire. Can no one get it right? And even if I was Katniss, the fire makeup and the hunting clothes aren’t exactly matching outfits. Didn’t you read the book?” “Once. Long ago. And fire? Where’s the rest of the outfit?”
“It was a group thing. Elements and stuff. And it was uncomfortable.”
“Didn’t have time.”
The best thing about Halloween was definitely dressing up.
Not Trick-or-Treating. That was just a trick for stores, pedofiles, and sadistic dentists used. No, no, the costume and makeup part was the best. Especially the makeup. So maybe it was weird to like that stuff. Maybe it was weird to walk into the base looking like some kind of weird Avatar LARP player, with the hunting outfit and the red and gold makeup. But screw it. She was tired. The minute she had entered the building from Olympus, she’d crashed on the couch, hoping to get a little sleep before anyone interrupt her.
Maybe she should just be thankful it was only Malcolm who saw her first.
“So,” Rachel yawned, sitting up and looking up at the glowing orange ball floating above her head. “Where’d the decorations come from? Thought you guys had everything up last time I was here.”
Malcolm glanced at the orb. “Well, that is something Kat found. She found a box of Halloween stuff in the basement. The other stuff is what Matt picked up on Olympus.”
She nodded, grabbing a dvd off of the coffee table. “Kat found this, too?” He nodded. “Hm. Never heard of it.” Rachel squinted at it. “Must be one of those Hephaestus Entertainment things or something.” She tossed it back onto the table.
“We’re watching it later,” Malcolm said, leaning back in his chair. “When Seth and Cole are out trick or treating.”
Rachel nodded. “Good, that’ll be-” she blinked. “Wait...who’s taking..” Malcolm was smirking, trying not to laugh. “Damnit. Fine. I figured. Just don’t watch Poltergeist while I’m gone. But 'someone is going with me. ”
Malcolm’s eyes widened. “Um-I-I can’t. You know, I watched ‘em yesterday, and, uh, I hurt my leg, remember? Hurts to walk long distance.”
“That was three months ago. Maybe four.”
“You’re Cole’s sister! I am not related to them. Get someone else too.”
“You’re..like...his uncle. Or something. Cousin, maybe. And what about Seth? You’re his uncle!”
“Probably end up being his in-law, the way Stella and Matt look.”
“You mean the same way you and Annie looked before you started dating?”
His eyes narrowed. “We did not.”
“Not as bad as they are.”
“So you agree with me?”
“I do not-”
Cole came running down the hallway and into the living room. He gave a small cough (he seemed pale, paler than usual. Damnit. Was he sick again?), but he was beaming. “Rachel! Rachel! Are you gonna take me and Seth trick-or-tr-treating?” He squinted his eyes as he concentrating on trying to pronounce the word correctly. “Please?”
“I...” She hesitated. If he was sick again, would this be a good idea? It was Olympus...it wouldn’t be cold...but... The guilt of leaving him alone for over half a year came back again. Rachel gave a small smile. “Of course, Cole. You and Seth. Just...”
At that moment, Lucian walked in the room, head down, looking at a thick folder full of papers. Probably something for the Organization.Seth was right behind him, talking happily. Oblivious to the other three demigods. Perfect.
“Lucian!” Rachel smiled sweetly. “You’re coming with me to take Cole and Seth Trick-or-Treating, right?”
Lucian blinked, looking up. “Wha-”
Seth gasped. “Lulu! You’re going with us!? Really!? Really!? Are you gonna dress up!? You should dress up too, Lulu!”
Rachel smirked. “Yeah, you should dress up, too, Lulu.”
If looks could kill.
Whoever thought up the term ‘horror movie’ should be shot.
The Heroes Organization minus three (Cal was out doing gods know what, and Rachel had forced Lucian to take Cole and Seth trick-or-treating with her) was in the living room, all eyes glued to the tv screen. Screaming people and a deafening silence. All the average horror movie cliches wrapped into one, but it was just so scary and entertaining.
Kat couldn’t turn her eyes away.
Who in the world had such a twisted mind to film this? People could just be so...gross and horrible.
She really wished someone would turn the lights back on. Maybe it would make the movie a little more bearable. She’d do it herself, but...she just couldn’t turn away from the screen.
To be honest, Kat couldn’t remember what the plot was. Because every single scene was so terrifyingly horrible and brilliant, she would become so involved with the scene she’d forget everything else.
There was a scream. It might’ve been herself. Or someone else. Maybe both. Because mother of Zeus this movie..this movie...
The screen went black.
Seconds went by. Maybe minutes. Nobody talked. And then,
“Interesting movie.” Arcana. Her voice was a little hoarse with shock. Kat forced herself to look from the screen to the girl. She was gaping. “Yeah,” Matt said, blinking. “Interesting.”
Kat coughed. “I’m, uh, going...to go to bed..and..um...yeah...” She tried to stand up, but her body refused to move. She shook her head and forced herself to move, before realizing her hand was holding something. She looked down and blushed. She must have grabbed Arthur’s hand during the movie. Kat pulled her arm back, and saw the red fingernail marks in his hand.
“Sorry,” she murmured, frowning. Arthur shook his head.
“It’s fine,” he muttered, glancing uneasily at the screen.
Stella stood, pale, and turned the lights on. Thank gods. “It’s only six forty-three,” she said emotionlessly, staring at the clock hanging on the wall. “That’s not possible. The movie was two and a half hours. They-they left for Olympus at five thirty. The movie’s movies over. How..”
It took a second for Kat to figure out who she was talking about. Lucian. Rachel. Seth. Cole.
“The time was wrong on the movie case,” Malcolm said in the same dull tone as Stella. “That’s all.”
“It seemed like much longer,” Annie murmured, eyes wide. Malcolm looked over at her, frowned, and said something to her that Kat couldn’t hear.
“I’m going to bed,” Kat said, not realizing she’d already said so. She turned, closing her eyes, trying to get rid of the horrible images in her head, and walked toward the hallway. Toward her room. Completely monster-horror-killer-blood free. Safety.
That’s when the lights went out.
Malcolm winced, closing his eyes. His head hurt.
The movie had been kind of disorienting.
The darkness didn’t help.
Malcolm wasn’t scared of the dark. It could be nice, sometimes. But he liked to see his surroundings. To know what was going on around him. And he couldn’t even see his hand in front of his face.
Something grabbed his hand tightly. He jumped, turning, before he realized it was Annie. Had it been Annie who screamed? Or someone else?
“Who the hell turned off the lights?” There was Matt, extremely annoyed, and the sound of something clicking.
“I don’t know!” Arcana’s voice said irritably. “But they won’t turn back on!”
“This is a really, really sick joke,” Kat muttered somewhere off to the right.
More people started talking, the panic in the air rising, and Stella’s voice rose above the others. “Guys! Be quiet! It’s probably just a power outage or something.”
“But the base is enchanted!” Arcana argued. “Connected to Olympus. Olympus can’t get power outages! Can it?”
“If the gods got pissed off about something,” Matt muttered.
Someone sighed-Stella, Malcolm thought, but he couldn’t be sure. It was kind of hard when you couldn’t see anything-and he heard footsteps across the room. Then the sound of stumbling, drawers opening and something moving around, and click. A light appeared, Stella directly behind it, holding the flashlight.
“Here,” she said, tossing two more flashlights towards them, which Matt and Arthur caught. “There are some more in the other rooms and the basement, as well as some candles, but I don’t want to light any of them incase there’s something in the building, or if it gets knocked over. We can’t lose another base, especially to fire.
“Now,” Stella continued. “two of us can go down to the basement to check the switchboard and see if anything is wrong. Someone else can go out to Olympus or call Lucian and the others to see if there’s an outage there as well. If we still can’t find out what happened, then-”
There was a high pitched, long, drawn out scream.
And none of them had caused it.
The scream faded, and there was pure silence, but the tension and fear in the room rose and screamed for attention, waiting, waiting for something, someone to crack and scream with it, and-
“What the hell was that?” Malcolm said, wishing his voice didn’t sound as strangled as he thought it did. Annie’s grip tightened.
“Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods,” she muttered. “That-that scream, sounded like..like..from the movie..didn’t it?”
“It couldn’t be from the movie,” Arthur said. “It must’ve been...someone left a tv on...”
“The power is out,” Arcana snapped. “The only thing it could’ve been is...”
“Rachel, Cole, or-or Seth.” Stella was shaking. “They are the only three who could’ve made that noise. But they’re not supposed..to be back yet...they...”
“They’re probably not even close to coming back, yet,” Matt said, stepping closer to Stella. “You know Seth and Cole. They’ll want to stay out as late as possible, especially Seth.”
Stella nodded, frowning. “Yeah...c’mon, though. We need to check this out. Follow me.”
Annie wanted to speak. Desperately. It was too quiet, and the fear inside her increased because of it. All she could hear was the group’s footsteps, and even they seemed muted.
Gods, it was terrifying. She tried to loosen her grip on Malcolm’s hand-she wouldn’t be surprised if her fingernails had cut his palm-but couldn’t. She couldn’t move except for her hands.
Annie didn’t scare easily. She was stubborn and proud. But that movie they had watched, oh gods, it was horrifying. And then that scream...
She took a deep, shaky breath. She felt Malcolm squeeze her hand. She looked up at him, and he gave a reassuring smile. She weakly returned one.
Stella stopped up ahead. “This is the end of the hallway,” she muttered. “There was no one in the other rooms. They’re either in this room, upstairs, or in the basement.”
“Please not the basement,” Annie murmured under her breath, too low for the others to hear.
“We can check upstairs first,” Arthur said, as if he had heard her. She really hoped he hadn’t.
Stella nodded. “Yeah,” she muttered, grabbing the door handle and, after a moment, pushing the door open. And...
Nothing. No screams. No crying. No insane knife wielding murders. Just...nothing. Matt looked inside.
“It’s clear,” he said, stepping into the room. “No one’s here.”
The others followed, walking inside. The room was mostly empty. One of the extra offices that was only used once every few weeks. Just a small desk, a chair, a couple empty boxes and a vacant closet.
Annie shivered. Gods, it was cold in here. She rubbed her arms with her free hand, and felt Malcolm wrapping his arms around her. She relaxed a little, but not much. It was hard to relax when the air around you was so tense.
“Come on,” Malcolm said. “Let’s go-”
The door slammed close.
Arcana swore loudly.
“Oh, gods,” Kat muttered. “Oh, gods, oh, gods, oh gods...”
Annie thought the exact same thing. Panic built up inside her, because oh, gods, oh, gods, doors did not just shut by themselves like that and this is what happened in the movie and oh gods oh gods oh gods oh gods-
Matt reached for door handle, but immediately pulled back, grabbing his hand and cursing in pain. Stella stepped forward. Malcolm’s grip tightened, stepping away closer to the door.
No, she thought. Don’t step away. Stay close. It’s dangerous.
“A draft,” Malcolm muttered. “That has to be it, right?”
“R-right,” Stella said shakily. “This only happens in horror movies. Just a draft.”
“This is a horror movie,” Annie whispered. “This is horror.”
“A draft wouldn’t have done that,” Kat said, eyes wide.
“She’s right,” Arthur agreed nervously. “We didn’t even...feel anything....”
“A draft wouldn’t make the door handle feel like it’s on fire,” Matt grumbled, gritting his teeth.
Malcolm stepped closer to the door, letting go of Annie’s hand. Don’t leave. He cautiously moved his hand closer to the door. “It doesn’t feel warm in the air around it, but....” He touched the handle.
He flew back into the air.
He crashed into the wall and slid to the floor.
She ran and screamed, shaking and sobbing, begging, because oh god oh god no no no no this wasn’t happening no no no oh gods oh gods why isn’t he getting up because he can’t be dead he can’t be he can’t be he can’t be oh gods oh gods no no no....
Malcolm stared at the ceiling, unseeing.
This is horror.
This is hell.
No one spoke as they walked through the hall.
The guilt was eating Stella alive. Her brother was dead. Annie was so distraught all she could do was sob and cry. And the look on Matt’s face....oh, gods. He probably hated her now. Stella did, so why wouldn’t he? She was leader. They were her responsibility.
And now Malcolm was dead, his body still laying cold and pale in the spare room.
They had to get out. That was their priority, now. Stella couldn’t let anyone else die. She couldn’t. They would go to Olympus and find help. Try to see if Lucian and the others were still there, or if they really had been in the Base. Gods, she hoped they weren’t.
She’d lost enough siblings already, hadn’t she?
Stella stared straight ahead. She refused to look at the others, especially Annie and Matt. If she did, she’d break down crying. They couldn’t afford to all be wrapped in grief. Not now. Not when there was still danger.
She took a shaky breath and kept walking, straight into the living room. It was the same, except now, the tv had turned back on. A fuzzy white screen, but it was on. Stella noticed Arthur walking over to one of the lamps, but didn’t fully realize it until he spoke.
“It’s not working. Does the light switch work?”
“No,” Kat replied. Both of their voices were off, dazed and full of grief.
“Doesn’t make sense,” Arcana muttered.
“It doesn’t,” Arthur nodded. “The tv...something’s..up...”
“No,” Arcana shook her head. “Malcolm....” Annie sobbed. “It’s like...” Arcana looked to Matt. “You know what I’m saying, right?”
Matt nodded, a troubled, hard to read look on his face. “Yeah..it’s like...it’s strange...Malcolm...” he took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”
“We need to leave,” Stella’s voice sounded distant, even to her. Devoid of emotion. “We need to get out of here. To get help. Before...before...we need help.”
There were some murmurs and nods of agreements, and Stella turned, walking towards the door that would lead them to Olympus. Stopping in front of it, she hesitated. Would anything happen? Would she be killed, just like Malcolm? Or burned, like it had done to Matt? She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, and reached for the door.
She turned the knob.
It refused to move.
She opened her eyes, frowning in slight confusion. It was locked. She tried to unlock it. It stayed still. She shook the door handle, desperate, because oh gods, they could not be stuck in here, it had to open, it had to. This was an Olympus class base. Locks didn’t get stuck. It didn’t happen. So why the hell wouldn’t it open?
“The-the door,” Stella choked. “It won’t open!”
“Someone-someone could’ve just...just put something in front of the main entrance,” Kat said weakly. “It can’t be..just..just stuck.”
“No one would’ve done that,” Arcana said miserably. “We’re locked in.”
Stella backed up and slammed herself against the door. “Damnit, damnit, damnit,” she hissed. “Come on!”
“Stella,” She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned sharply, eyes wide, to see Matt staring at her sadly. He shook his head.
She slumped against the door, closing her eyes tightly. This wasn’t happening. This wasn’t happening. This wasn’t happening. This kind of stuff...only happened...in horror movies...
A memory. Someone speaking. It seemed so distant, but Stella knew it might have only been minutes before. The scream. Annie speaking. How it had sounded just like the movie.
Stella opened her eyes. No. It was impossible. The turned her head towards the television, the only working electronic besides their flashlights.
She stepped towards it, eyes wide. No way. No way. This wasn’t right, not right at all. She tried to convince herself that it was her mind playing tricks on her, that it was her brain trying to think of a reasonable solution.
It wasn’t reasonable at all. Not at all.
“Stella?” Someone was speaking, but she wasn’t sure who. The voice was distant. She took another step. She was completely focused on this new goal.
“Stella, what are you doing?” Ignore them, a voice spoke. She listened.
And then, only a second later, she was directly in front of the tv and it’s fuzzy white glare.
Stella reached out, eyes wide. No way. No way. She looked down, at the table, where a single movie case sat. She stopped her hand, turning towards the case. She picked it up. It was cold in her hands.
DVD case still in hand, she turned back to the tv. I wonder...
She touched the screen.
At first, nothing happened. At least, it didn’t feel like something was happening. But, somewhere off in the distant, she heard someone shouting. Calling her name. What were they saying? They were trying to tell her something.
And then, the case turned to flames. It hurt, it hurt, oh gods it hurt. She tried to drop it, but it stuck to her hands like glue. Stella shook her hands desperately, damnit, damnit it hurt, but it wouldn’t stop, and the pain crawled through her body like fire and damnit, damnit, damnit what the hell was going on-
And then it stopped, and the world became quiet, and it was peaceful and cold and nice, and someone started talking, and she felt an emotion she couldn’t describe, and...
It went black.
None of them had really known what was going on, at first.
One second, Stella was breaking down and trying to murder the front door, and the next-bam!-she decides to go zombie trance and attack the tv.
First, she had just walked over to the tv. Didn’t say anything. Then, she just picked up the dvd case, touched the television screen and started beating it like some kind of insane tv serial killer. They’d tried to stop her, but hadn’t even taken a step before she stopped, touched the screen again and just...disappeared.
Literally disappeared. Like she’d been sucked right into the television set.
What was this, Poltergeist?
Arcana was probably the most calm of the five Heroes. Kat was freaking out in the corner, Arthur was trying and failing to comfort her, Matt was trying to break open the tv screen, and Annie was sobbing in the background.
Arcana had tried to help Matt.
She’d nearly gotten her head taken off in the process.
So, as Arcana walked to find something heavy to break the screen because she was not just going to stand by and be helpless, she was thinking. About Malcolm. Stella. The current situation.
Something wasn’t right.
It had started when Malcolm died. He was very obviously dead. Didn’t breath. Didn’t move. No pulse. He was dead.
But her Hades powers hadn’t gone off.
She always knew when someone died. Her ears would ring so loud it would sometimes give her a headache. But nothing had happened. Matt sensed it, too. Maybe not as well, the grief for his brother probably pushing that little thought away, but he had sensed it. She knew it.
Then Stella disappeared and all memory of the power went with her.
(Really, if Arcana’s suspicions were right, they should seriously just make out already.) Finding a small hammer in one of the kitchen drawers, she turned around and walked back to Matt, who was currently trying to kick the screen broken, and silently handed it to him. He took it and, swinging it like a baseball bat, slammed it into the screen.
It shattered, glass flying onto the floor. Matt continued breaking the glass, both with the hammer and his free hand, until it all laid on the floor in tiny, sharp shards. He grit his teeth, dropping the hammer onto the floor and sitting on the couch, face in hands.
Arcana sat next to him, giving a small sigh. “You know they’re not dead.”
Matt muttered something Arcana couldn’t hear (it was probably rude and in Latin or Greek, anyways) and looked up at her, scowling. “I know that,” he snapped. “I just....” He scowled and looked down.
“Wh-what?” Annie spoke for the first since Malcolm’s ‘death.’ “B-b-but..he..he...”
“We didn’t hear their deaths,” Arcana replied simply, and sighed at Kat, Arthur, and Annie’s confused expressions. “We hear death. We didn’t hear Stella and Malcolm’s.”
Arthur’s eyes widened. “Your powers....but then....”
“What happened to them?” Kat finished solemnly.
The question hung in the air, silencing them all into thought. What had happened to them? There wasn’t enough outstanding facts in the two ‘deaths’ to help figure it out. Malcolm had been killed by a door, and Stella by a tv. Stella had been trying to get out the front door, but instinct told Arcana that wasn’t what had caused her disappearance, or at least, not directly.
“We should check upstairs,” Arthur said. “And on the way, where Mal-...” he glanced over at Annie. “Where the office is. It’s right next to the elevator and stairs.”
Kat nodded in agreement. “Yeah,” she said. “The office and upstairs first.”
“Yeah,” Arcana muttered. “We’ll do that. Let’s go,” she stood up and began walking down the hall, Matt next to her.
Despite the fact that the hallway wasn’t incredibly long, the elevator at the very end seemed like it was miles away. But in just a few seconds, there they were, standing right in front of the closed office door.
“I’m not going in,” Annie said suddenly from behind her. Arcana turned to see her standing a few feet behind the group. “I won’t.”
Arcana nodded, understanding, and turned back to the door. She pushed it open. There was nothing there.
Nothing. Nothing at all. The desk, the chair, the boxes, all of it was gone.
The constant silences really weren’t helping calm Arthur’s nerves. And this? This was just creepy.
Right now, the silence screamed confusion. What happened? Was this the wrong room? Was it some kind of sick joke? Where was Malcolm? The furniture? The same place Stella had gone? And where was that?
Kat broke the silence. “How...”
“I don’t know.” Matt’s voice was emotionless.
Arcana took a step forward. She kneeled down, frowning. “Arthur. Mind pointing the flashlight over here?” He nodded, walking towards her and directing the light down on the ground.
Arcana squinted over it, waving her hands around the room. “Nothing. He’s just...gone.” “Just like Stella,” Kat muttered.
“And we’ll get him back,” Matt said, his voice a little cool. Determined. “Just like Stella.”
Arcana nodded. “Exactly. Let’s go look-”
She was interrupted by a scream.
Kat gasped. “Annie!” She turned around and ran out the door, the rest of them following. Annie was nowhere to be seen.
“Wh-what....” Arthur stammered. How could Annie just disappear? She had been their just seconds ago!
“She’s gone,” Arcana said. “Like the others.”
“We can’t look for her,” Matt said, shaking his head. “We have to find what is doing this, before we all disappear.”
“But...but she’s not dead, right?” Kat asked, eyes wide. Both shook their heads.
“No,” Arcana said gravely. “Not yet, anyway.”
Kat really wished they had taken the elevator.
They had has a small debate over whether to take the elevator or the stairs. The elevator was quicker. Nothing could push you down the stairs. You could save your energy better.
But then you could also get stuck there. Or it could break and fall to the very bottom. Or fill up with water or blood or some other kind of ungodly fluid.
But at least you could rest.
All she really wanted to do was sit down and cry. She was terrified.
That movie had done something to her.
She didn’t know what. She just..felt different. Kat knew the others were miserable, but she also knew she felt worse than any of them. It probably sounded selfish. Self-absorbed and concerned. But it was true.
She was seeing things.
Kat didn’t say anything. The others would think she was crazy; they obviously didn’t see it. But she could see through the Mist. It was one of the advantages she had on a mission. She could warn the others. She always warned the others.
But not now.
Kat couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing. It would only be for a second, or out of the corner of her eyes. Whenever she looked back, it was gone. Whenever she tried to say something, something stopped her. And whenever she tried to think about it, her head hurt.
Gods, her head hurt.
That made her feel guilty. A silly little thing like a headache stopping her from possibly figuring out this horrible mess? The others would hate her. Or laugh. Maybe both. But it made her dizzy and sick and just absolutely miserable to the point she’d feel like she was about to pass out.
Walking up the stairs made it worse.
She took a deep breath, holding onto the railing. She was in the back of the group, behind Arthur. It was a bit of a relief, Kat thought as she brushes tears from her eyes, being in the back. Kat didn’t cry easily. She didn’t want the others thinking she was weak. She was already mortal and not a demigod.
It was like a weight was lifted off her shoulders when they reached the top. She leaned against the wall, brushing the hair off her face and taking a deep breath. “Where to first?” She asked, hoping her voice didn’t sound too off.
The others must not have noticed her hoarse voice or red eyes, because they said and did nothing about it. “If we split up, we’ll cover more ground quicker,” Matt said. “But that’ll probably get us all killed.”
“We’re already gonna die,” Arcana argued. “We’ll just split up for this hallway and meet back up. We’ll still be able to hear and see each other.”
“Let’s just split up,” Kat muttered. She realized it probably wasn’t the best idea, but with less people around, maybe she could concentrate on those things she kept seeing without getting such a horrible migraine.
Matt sighed. “Fine. Die, if you all want to,” he muttered before turning around and walking down the hallway. Kat could see Arcana roll her eyes in the faint light and follow him.
Arthur glanced at her, and she shrugged and started walking the opposite direction. Arthur followed.
“So,” he said after a few moments, shining the flashlight through the hall. “You okay?”
“Wh-what?” she blinked. He had noticed?
“About Annie,” Arthur explained. Oh. He hadn’t noticed.
“Yeah,” Kat said. “Yeah..she’s fine. Not dead. Matt and Arcana said so themselves.”
He nodded. “Yeah. But still. You seem...” he hesitated, searching for the right word. “Skittish, I guess. I dunno.”
“Oh,” she muttered. “Well, yeah. Never know what might be watching us...” Kat glanced quickly over her shoulder. Had she seen something? She turned back, shaking her head. “It’s just, I dunno...that movie’s just freaked me out. Not helping the current situation.” And there it was again. Headache. Like she’d figured something out and it had disappeared before realizing what it even was.
Kat stopped, pressing her hand to her head. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes tightly. Ow. Ow. That hurt. She breathed in and out again. The pain dulled. She sighed. “Kat? Kat?”
She looked up. Arthur was frowning at her, concerned. “Kat? What happened? Are you okay?” “Fine,” she murmured. “Just...a headache. That’s all.”
He opened his mouth, no doubt to question her even more, but was quickly interrupted by the sound of footsteps. Down came the hallway was Arcana, who came to a quick stop. It might have just been the light, but she looked paler than usual.
“Arcana?” Kat stared at her with wide eyes. “What happened?”
Arcana looked up at her, face deathly serious. “Matt’s gone. And we need to get out of here. Now.”
Lucian was never doing this again.
He didn’t want to take them to Olympus in the first place. It was that harlot Rachel that made him do it. He didn’t care about Halloween. Americans made such a stupid big deal about it. It was just another day to him.
But not too Seth.
And now he was stuck carrying the so-heavy-it’s-about-to-break bag of candy in one hand and Seth on his back. Seth may have been hyper in the day, but at night, he was practically dead to the world.
“Want some?” Said Rachel-the-harlot to his right. She was holding up a king-sized bag of M&Ms. “I am not letting Cole have this much candy. The people back at Base can eat it. I’m assuming you aren’t letting Seth eat that much either?”
“Why?” Cole muttered sleepily, stumbling and yawning after Rachel.
“It rots your teeth,” was her simple explanation.
Lucian grabbed the bag of candy. That harlot would not get it back. Rachel glanced at him, obviously a little annoyed, but simply reached her hand into the bag he was carrying and pulled out a Heath bar. “Trade,” she said, tearing open the wrapper.
“So,” he said, looking at the red and gold designs on her face. “What’s with the makeup?”
“The Hunters. Costume contest.”
“The Hunters have costume contests?”
“I know. I was shocked, too. You’d be surprised at the costumes they had there. I was almost positive this one b*tch would get kicked out. But, alas, she did not,” she sighed.
Slutty Hunters dressing up for Halloween?
Well, okay then. That was an...interesting thought.
Very interesting mental picture.
They walked through the HQ doors into the main lobby. In the back was a door leading to the actual Base, which lead into the kitchen and living room. There were some other entrances that lead to other places, but this particular door was what everyone used. Rachel quickly punched in the keycode, pressed her thumb onto the scanner, and there was a click. She pushed open the door and they walked inside.
It was dark.
“Why the hell are all the lights off?” Lucian muttered, flipping on the light switch.
“Dunno,” Rachel said, frowning. “Must be from the movie. But I don’t hear the tv on, and it’s not that late.”
He shrugged. “They could’ve switched rooms. Especially if they knew we’d be home soon. Don’t want them seeing any of those movies.”
“Or they could be trying to scare us,” she muttered. “But Stella at least wouldn’t approve. Not with Cole and Seth. So they probably just switched rooms.” Setting the candy bag on the counter, she walked into the living room, before freezing. “They didn’t,” she whispered.
“What?” He put the bag next to the other and followed her, before stopping as well. “Holy-”
“Shh!” Rachel put her hands over Cole’s ears (He had tried that once with Seth. It didn’t work. At all.)
“Do you not see it?” He said angrily. “They-they-they murdered my baby.”
“You’re baby? I was the one who bought the thing! How could they do this? And just leave it there! That television was high definition!”
Setting Seth down on the couch, Lucian walked over the shattered remains of the beloved tv and kneeled next to it. “They killed my baby with a hammer,” he said solemnly.
“This was one of the Parkers,” Rachel growled. “I know it. It’s always a Parker. Sometimes a Phan or a Lohse. But Parkers are always involved.”
“You’re saying Stella helped with this?”
“I said sometimes. And I was mainly talking about you and Stella. Together. But that’s not the point! We need revenge.”
“For what?” Cole muttered, looking up sleepily. “What happened to the tv?”
“Nothing, Cole,” she said in a much nicer tone. “Go lay down on the couch while me and Lulu talk.”
Cole didn’t protest. He yawned, nodded, turned around and sat down on the couch. He was out almost instantly.
“What made them do this, anyway?” Lucian said, looking around angrily. “Were the movies seriously this scary they had to go and kill him?”
“The government murdered my baby. They murdered Ruth.”
"His name was Dave.”
“I was going to watch Zombieland with Ruth tonight.”
“I still remember all the Sundays we spent together.”
“She was like the halfway dec-the sister I never had.”
A few tearful moments later, Rachel stood up. “They must’ve been watching this,” she said, pointing to a dvd case laying on the ground near the television. “What the hell is it?” She picked it up. “I’ve never heard-”
Rachel gasped and dropped it, eyes wide. “Ow! Ow! Oooowww! That fricken hurt!” Lucian stood up. “What hap-”
“Look at my hands!” She opened her hands up to the ceiling, to reveal bright red cuts across her palms and fingers. A small white light glowed around it. They were starting to bleed.
Lucian stared down, shocked and a little confused. “What...” He looked down at the dvd case. Hmm. He bent down and picked up the case. It was warm in his hands, but it didn’t hurt.
“This looks familiar,” he muttered, turning the case in his hands. He opened it. It was empty.
“You’re concerned about that?” Rachel demanded angrily. “I was just attacked and I’m bleeding. And it looks green.”
He looked up. “You don’t see the white-” his eyes widened. “Oh!” Lucian dropped the case onto the table and quickly grabbed Rachel’s hand, letting them go a few seconds later. The bleeding and white glow were gone. The scars were not.
“Strange,” he muttered. “The scars should be gone, too. Must be a really powerful spell.” “Spell?” She said in disbelief. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“The dvd,” Lucian explained. “They’re pretty common on the black market. Lots of different varieties. What it does is-”
He was cut off by a long, blood curdling scream.
Rachel’s eyes widened. “What..”
“And that would be the side effects,” he sighed, gritting his teeth. “C’mon, we need to go-”
It went black.
“I don’t know,” Arcana snapped. “We’re just walking, you know, checking the rooms, and bam! They come out of nowhere! Like, what the hell? That’s not freaking possible! At all! And Matt’s all stunned and sh*t and he thinks they’re actually them and gods, he’s such an idiot and-”
“Woah!” Arthur said, shaking his head. “Slowly. What happened?”
“The others! Malcolm! Stella! Annie! They just appeared! And they look normal and stuff but they don’t ‘cause they look like glowing or something but Matt was stupid and they attacked him and then they all just disappeared into thin air and they’re like freaking zombies or something but they’re not and what the f-”
“Arcana!” Kat snapped. She was not helping the headache. “Calm down.”
Arthur nodded. “We’ll go and get help. But like you said, we need to leave. Before any of us disappear, too.”
Arcana sighed. “Yeah, yeah, right. It’s just not possible. Like...”
“We know,” Kat muttered. “Impossible.”
“Come on,” Arthur said, turning around and heading toward the stairs. “Let’s go. Keep your guard up.
They hurried quickly and quietly through the hall and down the stairs. Kat tried to stay calm. The others were fine. They weren’t dead. Arcana would have said if they were dead. They were still alive. There was still hope to save them.
Now they just had to keep it burning.
They reached the bottom. Arcana looked down the hallway. “We’ll take the back entrance,” she said. “The other one is probably still locked, and if it isn’t, we don’t want to risk what might be hiding there.”
The turned to the right and continued jogging through the halls, quiet and alert. The farther they got, the more relieved Kat felt. Nothing was jumping out. Her headache started to leave her. They were almost to safety. They could get help. They weren’t going to die.
We’re not going to die.
“There’s the entrance,” Arthur said as they turned a corner, pointing at a small door at the end of the hallway. “We’re almost-”
Kat cried out, falling to her knees. She kneeled over, grabbing her head. Ow. Ow. Ow. Oh, gods, oh gods, it hurt. It felt like something was trying to microwave her brain from the inside, trying to turn her body inside out. Her blood was fire. She screamed. Pain, pain, pain, that’s all there was, pain. Something was laughing. It was the worst thing she had ever heard. They were laughing, laughing at the pain. Oh, gods, oh gods, oh gods, it hurt it hurt it hurt-
She gasped, and her eyes snapped open. She was lying on the floor, shaking. Arthur was above her. She lifted a trembling hand to her face. It was wet, but whether it was from tears or sweat, she wasn’t sure.
It was probably both.
Kat tried to speak, but found she could not. She took a deep breath and choked out, “Wh-what happened?” Her voice was hoarse, as if she hadn’t used it in years.
“Arcana was taken,” Arthur said, frowning. “You were knocked out.”
“She-she was? I don’t...how did I...”
“Shh,” He shook his head. “You’re safe. That’s all that matters. Now, we need to get out of here.”
All that matters? Kat was confused. Arthur wouldn’t say that. Why did he seem so nonchalant about this? She looked around, frowning. They were in a large room with several boxes and crates. It seemed familiar. “Where are we?” she murmured, glancing up at him.
“Basement,” he replied. “It’s safe down here.”
Safe? Hadn’t she wanted to avoid the basement this entire time? In the movie, the basement was where an entire group of people had been violently and sadistically murdered.
She looked at Arthur. “We need to leave,” she said. “To get help.”
Arthur shook his head. “No. We stay here.”
Kat shakily stood up. “No. We need to leave.”
Arthur stood as well. “Do you want to die?”
“I want to save my friends.”
“You can’t really do that by dying, now can you?”
She narrowed her eyes. “You’re different. You’re acting different. What’s wrong with you?”
He smirked. “Nothing’s wrong, Katherine. Actually, everything’s perfect.”
Kat stepped back, clenching her fists. “Who are you? You’re not Arthur.”
‘Arthur’ laughed. “Oh, but I am, Kat. Trust me.”
“Where are the others?” She demanded. “Where’s the real Arthur? Tell me!”
He stared at her, and Kat wished she could slap that stupid ugly amused smirk right off his face. “Oh, don’t worry, Kat. You’ll be with them soon enough,” he promised, grinning. And out of nowhere, a knife appeared in his hands. Long, sharp, and deadly looking. It seemed to glow in the dark room, giving of a strange white light that seemed to brighten the entire room.
She turned her head quickly, looking over her shoulder with wide eyes. Oh my gods. That light. That’s what she had been seeing. And they were here. Glowing, white shapes that floated in the room, constantly changing, never quite distinguishable, but always forming some kind of terrible thing.
Like it was straight from a horror movie.
“You’re not real,” she whispered. “You’re not real. You’re just my imagination. An illusion. You’re a trick!” She shouted, voice rising with every word.
“Oh, we’re very real,” Arthur grinned, stepping toward her with that very sharp, very real looking knife. “You just said it yourself. Because everything in your mind has to be real. You make it real.” He laughed, insane and evil, and raised the knife, and Kat knew it wasn’t real, that he couldn’t hurt her. But the headache was back and she was frozen to the spot and fear took over her entire mind and the world was getting brighter and brighter and brighter...
And then, a loud explosion, a shout, and the lights went out.
Kat would’ve woken up peacefully if it hadn’t been for all noise.
She didn’t open her eyes at first. She wanted to stay like this. Warm. Happy. That perfect time between sleep and awake.
Apparently, the world disagreed.
Sighing a little, she opened her eyes a little, before immediately closing them again. It was bright. It hurt her eyes. Waiting a few moments, she carefully opened them again, blinking to adjust to the light, though her head still hurt a bit. She sat up, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
“Oh, look, she’s awake,” a voice said. “Finally. Maybe I can leave.”
“You know Stella will make you stay in here,”
“She should make herself stay in here. She was the one who got possessed.”
“That was Arthur.”
“Maybe. I don’t know as much as the others. I died first, remember?”
The first voice gave a small laugh. “Wimp.”
“You were trick or treating. You saw nothing.”
Kat turned to the voices, staring. There was Malcolm, whose arm was in a sling, and Rachel, sitting in chairs with playing cards on the table and in their hands, arguing. “Um, guys?” Kat was surprised at the hoarse quality of her voice. She coughed, trying to clear her throat. “What...”
They both turned towards her. Rachel sighed. “I’m stuck on nurse duty. Totally unfair. I was injured, too. You’re in the infirmary.”
She blinked. “What-” The events of Halloween night came crashing back to her. Oh.
“You-you guys are okay?” she asked with wide eyes. “Where are the others? Are they dead? Where’s Arthur? What-”
“Woah!” Malcolm shook his head. “Calm down, Kat. Everyone’s fine and inside the Base. Arthur is right there,” he pointed to a bed on her left. There Arthur was, asleep, and looking like he’d been through hell and back.
“What happened to him?” Kat murmured, frowning with worry. “He got possessed by the movie spell thingy,” Rachel said, shrugging. “Happened to Stella, too, it just wasn’t as powerful then. Though she should be resting in here, she’s Stella. Working on fixing all the screwed up sh*t that happened last night. Don’t know why she can’t just do that in here. Malcolm’s here. We’re playing cards. It’s easy to multitask.”
Kat blinked. “Movie spell thingy?”
“Lucian or Cal can explain it,” Rachel said. “Too confusing. But apparently the movie you guys were watching was some kind of illegal hex thingy. The kind of thing a really, really screwed up demigod would use as a prank. It must’ve gotten lost in the basement. It was really powerful, too. When Lucian and I got here, I picked up the case and it got my hands.” She held out her palms, showing several thin, white scars. “Knocked us out when Lucian tried to explain it.”
It had been...a joke? A prank? That’s what it had been? Anger built up inside Kat. How could someone do something like that? How could...wait. “Cal?”
Malcolm nodded. “Yeah, Cal. He got back to the base, saw Lucian and Rachel passed out, the spell, heard you and Arthur fighting. Went and stopped. Said he’d read about the things in a book.”
“Oh,” she muttered. She’d have to thank Cal later. He probably saved their lives, or at least, their sanity.“That makes sense...”
“Anyway, when Cal stopped the thingy from possessing Arthur and all the white lights and stuff, he checked up on you-you were unconscious-made sure you were okay, all that,” Rachel continued. “He said you were the last one standing because you’re a mortal. Controlling the Mist and stuff. Apparently the spell always attaches itself to someone to control its power.”
Kat looked down, guilty. She had caused all that? It explained the headaches. The white lights she kept seeing. But, gods...all of that...
“It’s not your fault,” Rachel said quickly. “Lucian and Cal said it always happens. It probably would’ve been Lucian had he been there. It could’ve been anyone, really.”
“Oh,” she muttered, the guilt still not going away. She shook her head and looked up. “What happened to your arm?”
Malcolm looked down. “Oh,” he said. “Yeah. Crashed into the wall, remember? Arm kinda broke the fall. It’s not broken, but, hell, might as well be. I’ll be useless in missions for the next few weeks.” He scowled.
Kat opened her mouth, about to say something, but Arthur beat her to it.
“What?” a voice muttered to the left. “Where am I? What’s going on?”
“Morning, Arthur,” Rachel said, leaning back in her chair.
Kat turned, to see Arthur sitting up, rubbing his head. “What happened,” he muttered. “Where’s-” his eyes widened, spotting Kat. “Oh, gods. I remember. Gods, Kat, I’m sorry, I didn’t-”
Kat shook her head. “Arthur, it’s fine. Really. Don’t apologize.” She gave a small smile. Arthur opened his mouth to protest, but at Kat’s stern look, sighed and sunk into the bed. “How long have I been out?”
“‘Bout the same amount of time as Kat,” Malcolm said. “Halloween was just last night. It’s almost four in the afternoon, right now.”
Kat’s eyes widened. “I slept that long?” she said in disbelief.
Malcolm shrugged. “You guys had a rough night. Everyone did. We all slept in.”
“Right,” Arthur muttered.
“So,” Rachel stood up. “You guys want something to eat? We need all the Halloween candy gone before Cole and Seth’s teeth rot for the rest of eternity.”
The living room was quieter than usual, but with all that had happened the day before, it was surprising there was this much noise.
Lucian was sitting on the couch, glaring at the small, low-quality tv that now replaced the old HD 105” flat screen (he kept muttering something about a Dave), Arcana and Matt sitting by him, the latter continuously glancing back into the kitchen. Cole and Seth ran around the room. Stella was sitting at the kitchen island, head bowed over a pile of papers, looking completely exhausted. Cal was in the corner, reading. Rachel was sitting at the kitchen table on her laptop. Malcolm and Annie sat by her, talking quietly.
Kat and Arthur walked into the room. Honestly, all Kat wanted to do was go and rest. But it felt wrong. She had to be out here, even if just for a while. Just to make sure everyone was okay. That everything was fine.
As she walked in, Kat glanced over at Cal. He looked up, as if sensing she was there. Kat gave him a small smile, and mouthed, ‘Thank you.’
He nodded and shrugged, as if it were no big deal, and went back to his book. She sighed and went to sit down in the kitchen, Arthur following.
“Whatever the hell you people did in the basement, it’s screwing everything up,” Rachel muttered. “The power’s all weird.” She scowled, turning around and unplugging her laptop charged, shaking it, and plugging it back in. “This is the only thing I can do to get it to work. And I have to do it every five freaking minutes.”
Kat smiled apologetically. Rachel sighed and went back to her work. Kat leaned back in her chair, sighing. Just a few more minutes, and she was going to bed. If she could sleep, anyways.
“Uh, hey, Stella,” a voice behind her said. Kat glanced behind her. Matt was leaning against the kitchen island.
“Yeah?” Stella said, looking up.
“So, um,” Matt coughed. His voice was a little hoarse. “Later, you, ah, want to go out? Like, on a date?”
Stella blinked. “Oh, um...” She gave a small nod, blushing bright red. “S-sure.”
“Damnit!” Malcolm swore suddenly, scowling. Rachel laughed.
“Yes! Yes! I knew it!” She grinned. “You owe me twenty bucks, now, Parker.”
Said demigod scowled, reaching into his pocket, pulling out the money and reluctantly giving it to the Huntress. She smirked.
“Wait,” Matt’s eyes narrowed. “What are you doing?”
“They were betting on your love life,” Arcana called over from the couch. “Rachel thought Matt would ask Stella out. Malcolm thought he wouldn’t work up the nerve and Stella would have to ask herself.”
“You bet on our relationship?” Stella said in disbelief, anger and annoyance shown obviously on her face.
“Your what?” Lucian turned from the tv, eyes narrowed.
Rachel snickered. “Ooooh, they’re gonna get it now.”
“Can I be there when Lucian lectures them?” Arcana asked hopefully.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Stella shook her head. “What the hell-”
Then, the tv pictures flickered, went fuzzy, and the lights went out.
|The Heroes Organization|