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[Other OPEN] The Halls of the Screwed

  • 25,607
    The Halls of the Screwed

    The Halls of the Screwed

    It seemed like a good idea at the time. You did your research. You checked the website. You even looked at TripAdviser reviews. It all seemed to check out and be legit. Against all odds, you somehow seemed to have won a draw you didn't even realize you'd entered. You seemed to be the lucky recipient of a stay at a luxury mansion; fully staffed and begging you to take advantage of its facilities to relax.

    But pools, hot tubs, trail rides and tennis courts can all go to hell because what you actually got isn't worth it. There are no staff. Not unless you count the ghostly apparitions you sometimes spot floating ominously down the halls. Luxury is an odd way to describe a dilapidated old building with creaking hallways and whispering walls. The nightmare creature stalking the halls with murderous intent doesn't really lead to a relaxing atmosphere. What's worse is that escape doesn't seem to be an option, every time you try to leave the grounds you just loop back around and come out on the other side of them.

    Which assholes wrote those bullshit reviews?

    Part One: The Arrival (Introduction)

    As the sun starts to slowly set on the horizon, as if drawn there by fate itself, the cast arrive at Purgatory Road at roughly the same time. A group of strangers all brought together by chance... or so it seems. Whether or not you anticipated seeing other winners is up to you, the letter/email/text/DM you received never specified if there would be other guests or the honour was yours alone.

    That's hardly the most pressing concern. The manor house sure is a lot more rundown looking in person than in the pictures. It almost seems abandoned. The garden is dead in places, overgrowing in others. The wood on the house is old and faded - decaying in places. The windows are grimy and dusty, it looks like nobody has opened one in years. They definitely haven't cleaned them recently. There's no welcome party to greet you. No lights are on inside. Even the name of the street is ominous. But here you are.
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    The Screwed Arrive

    Sergei groans. A brisk walk always cheers him up. Except today, for some reason. Perhaps it is the fact that Purgatory Road seems to be further away than he anticipated (he was never good at reading maps), or maybe the fact that he is alone. It's not really an attractive thought to go and spend time in a grand villa all by himself. He is definitely going to just be thinking about the lack of his friend's presence all the time. He's already tried not to. Several times. There just is no use. As such, lost in his own thoughts and eyes glued to the ground in front of his feet, he doesn't really look at the scenery around him until he is right at the gates of the mansion itself. And there, he realizes that he isn't alone, after all. But also that the mansion itself… Is a bit…

    "Uh. Excuse me. I've probably taken a wrong turn somewhere, but. This isn't Purgatory Road, is it?" he asks the first person he sees.

    "Sure is." Touka replies, hopping off the stone wall beside the gate and landing on the dirt path with a thud. "Hope you weren't expecting a warm welcome."

    Without waiting for a reply she walks up to the gate and jumps towards it, wrapping her hands around the iron bars and locking her feet in between them, pulling back hard. She'd been waiting outside, in the cold on her own, for half an hour now, and whilst she did appreciate not being the only one here her frustration was beginning to show. Hopping back to the ground she brushes the hair out of her face and throws her hood back, looking straight at the newcomer.

    "Anyway, the name's Touka," her voice is monotone, almost bored, "are you here for the weekend getaway too?" she says sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

    I'm not alone! Sergei thinks, and relief washes over him and makes him smile. Only to be abruptly replaced by concern again when his eyes flicker back to the mansion ahead. Or what should have been a gorgeous mansion.

    "I'm Sergei… But… I mean, I sort of was expecting a warm welcome, actually. This isn't exactly what I saw online," he says and points at… All that dreariness behind the gates. "Should we just go back to town and ask someone about this?"

    "You're welcome to. I'd rather sleep out here than go back into THAT town," Touka says bluntly. After spending more than five minutes in the town just outside Purgatory Road, she'd already decided that she'd had enough. It seemed… Dead. Void of life.

    "So Sergei, what was it? An email telling you you'd won a contest you never entered? Text message letting ya know the raffle numbers you didn't purchase had been drawn?" opening up the email she'd received on her phone, she continued "Did it look something like this?" she thrust the screen towards Sergei's face, the words Congratulations, you have won.. at the top in bright bold lettering.

    Sergei blinks as his eyes focus on the screen. "Yeah that's about right. And uh… You're right honestly, walking back at this hour… Ah, nope. Maybe it's not as bad inside as it looks on the outside, heh?"

    As he says that, he turns on his camera and takes a photo of the area from just outside of the gates. "This will look fine on a more, uh, honest Tripadvisor review later."

    "If it doesn't look better on the inside, it could be grounds for a lawsuit." From around the corner, passing through some woodland shrubbery, a tired-looking man walks up to the gate with a yawn and a wave. He brushes twigs and leaves from his wrinkled brown suit. "I've just been doing a lap of the grounds to see if I got the wrong entry point. It seems not. I take it you two are also lucky winners?"

    "Very lucky," Sergei says and swallows hard as he steels himself for actually entering this creepy looking place. "Who are you? How many did they send here? And what company was it again, I can't even remember actually. Can I see that again?"

    He reaches for Touka's phone, on which she showed the message earlier. She hands the phone to him, pulling her headphones out of it with an audible hmph. As Sergei thumbs through the email, Touka turns her attention to the man in the brown suit.

    "He doesn't want to go in," she says, deadpan, pointing towards Sergei who is still frantically scanning the contents of the email, "but I'm sick of sitting out here. Do you know if we're waiting for anyone else, or do you want to get out of this weather?" she motions towards the dark sky, the clouds threatening to unleash a storm.

    Descending from the wall once more, Touka walks straight up to the stranger and, with all of her 5'4", got in his face. "So what's your name?"

    "Oh, right. I'm Milo Bell. It is a pleasure to meet you." Milo rummages around in his pockets looking for his business cards, but quickly establishes they are not present. He sighs, then continues. "Unfortunately, I don't know much about this situation. The email I received was not very specific."

    "You're right," Sergei says behind Touka, looking bleak. "I don't know why I didn't react to this before but uh… There are very few details of… Anything here. I sure hope they have beds and food at least?"

    "I would certainly hope so. It was certainly implied our needs would be catered to," Milo replies with another yawn.

    Adyson hauls the rest of her gear up the hill, already exhausted from her trek up to the designated location. When she breaches the top of it, she's met with the faces of the others. Quickly, she runs a hand through her hair and tries not to look so out of breath. She's immediately filled with adrenaline again and rushes up to the group standing outside, just catching the tail end of the conversation.

    "Well, I don't know about you guys but I'm ready for anything!", Adyson smiles as she glances around. "I'm Adyson!", she says cheerfully, unabashedly offering her hand to the group of strangers.

    "Sergei," the blond man in the group replies with a small wave and weak smile.

    "Milo," the sleepier man introduces himself again with a half-hearted wave.

    "Touka," the short, uninterested girl chimes in without taking her eyes off her phone.

    "This place looks perfect." Adyson says with a light, content sigh, a bit of nostalgia caught up in it. She gazes at the mansion, dark and foreboding. She buzzes with excitement as she seems to bypass everyone, transfixed. Approaching the wrought-iron gate, she brings a hand to the rusted surface, giving it a gentle pull. It doesn't move.

    She turns to Sergei, "Um, haha, little help?".

    "Oh, uh", he reacts and moves up. "I guess we're doing this, then," he says sort of over the shoulder to the pouting Touka, before he pulls together with Adyson.

    The pair pull with all their might, but the gate doesn't budge an inch despite the pair furiously yanking at its bars. Then, it very abruptly flings itself open as though it has a mind of its own, dislodging Segei and Adyson both in the process.

    Sergei, almost having fallen over, straightens back up and fumbles for his camera again to snap a shot of the gate. "You didn't need me at all!" he comments in Adyson's direction.

    I could've done that, Touka thinks to herself, watching the two.

    Adyson is taken aback, but recoils quickly. She looks at Sergei curiously. "I didn't..", excitement is visible on her face as she turns back to the group. "Don't worry, this happens to me all the time!" She says, as if it's the most normal thing in the world that a gate opened on its own.

    "Please be careful not to damage the gate," Milo interjects, "Destroying someone else's property is still a crime. Even in these circumstances."

    "I'd say there's already been some criminals here in that case," Sergei says and emphasizes his meaning by gesturing to the dreary structure behind the gate.

    "Yeah, isn't it awesome!?" Adyson concludes.

    After a short period of waiting around, Touka sighs heavily, plugging her left earbud in and selecting a song on her phone. "Alright then," she motions to the other three people standing around her, and then points down the gravel path leading towards the mansion.

    "Shall we?"​
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  • 25,607

    The Hunt

    Newly acquainted, the guests at Purgatory Road enter the premises through the mysteriously open gate and the hefty double doors that stand ready to accept them into the manor's halls. As dusk slowly subsides into evening, the guests quickly begin to learn that a more appropriate thing to call them would be victims.

    The things that go bump in the night here aren't just old heaters or rickety floorboards. Ghosts haunt the rooms of this mansion, and they have more than mischief in mind. Then there's the Matron... she will not rest until all that walk her hallways are dead. The hunt has begun.

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    The Mind Can Play Tricks on You

    Nothing. Nobody. Empty.

    Milo yawned again as he wandered about the house. He wanted to find his bedroom and deposit his bag and his laptop there but hadn't been successful. For one thing, it seemed like this particular mansion didn't follow anything resembling logic in how it was arranged. Sometimes he felt like he was passing the same room repeatedly, other times he felt like he was completely lost. It was a big house, but it surely didn't have that many floors and corridors.

    Despite this though, Milo was not having any luck in finding anywhere to sleep. Or finding any people for that matter. He'd seen the other guests from the gate wandering around sometimes, but he had yet to come across any staff members or other denizens of the building.

    It was looking more and more likely that they'd been scammed somehow. Although, Milo wasn't really sure what anyone was getting out of it. It wasn't like they'd paid for the trip and opening that email hadn't gotten him any viruses for his trouble. There were definitely laws being broken here but in his state of exhaustion, he couldn't drudge up many specifics from his memory.

    Hence his looking for a bedroom. He just wanted to lay down for a couple of hours. It had been a long drive and now he was looking at doing it all over again in the morning. Hours of time wasted that he should have been spending on cases. He would have been if he had just stayed at home and gone into the office like a sensible person.

    Milo stopped his walking in something resembling an open lounge. The hallway widened up a little and a window seat sat in an alcove overlooking the grounds below. Milo thought he could faintly see the shadow of one of the other guests creeping about the yard beneath. They wouldn't find anything there. Of that he was confident. But whatever floated their boat.

    As for himself, Milo slumped down onto the window seat, depositing his bags at his feet and slouching against the inside edge of the alcove. He yawned again. Fine. He'd just rest his eyes there for the time being. It was better than nothing.

    When Milo opened his eyes fifteen minutes later, it wasn't because of the kink forming in his neck. It was the touch of an icy hand on his cheek. His lids flitted open and he felt his heart leap into his chest.

    A deathly pale woman was looming over him. Although pale wasn't the right word. He could see right through her. Surely there was no way. His tired brain was just playing tricks on him.

    She smiled. Milo smiled sheepishly back.

    Then the woman screamed. A blood curdling, ear-splitting, inhuman scream that sent shivers running down Milo's spine. Milo screamed too as he leapt to his feet, abandoning his bags and sprinting down the hall. He barely even noticed he'd run straight through her.


    mrs. van mccann
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    Touka and Sergei go exploring;

    The mansion was dreadful. Sergei pushed the front door open and entered a big lobby like hallway, the other visitors filling in behind him. It was absolutely nothing like advertised. The floors had cracks, the doors he could see were slightly ajar or even unhinged, and there was an odour of something old and moldy pervading throughout.

    "Uh…" Sergei began, but just couldn't find a way to continue.

    "It's like the set of a horror movie." Touka said bluntly, taking her headphones out and pocketing them, along with her phone. As she walked around the lobby, passing her hands through the spiderwebs clinging to the wall, she noticed that it seemed a lot bigger on the inside than it had from the outside. Reaching the reception desk, she spun around so that she was facing Sergei and the others.

    "Who wants to explore?" she asked with a twinkle in her previously uninterested eyes, a slight smile creeping onto her face.

    Sergei didn't really want to explore. But he also did want to try to find someone - anyone - who might be working here. And he really didn't want to risk being left alone somewhere.

    "I'll come," he said. "Where do you think we have the best chance to find some… Staff?"

    Touka looked around the lobby, noticing the build up of dust on the counter and the rusty looking bell, taking note of all of the different exits of the room. Through a crack in an almost broken door she saw what appeared to be a dining table.

    "If I had to guess, I'd say the kitchen. Hotel guests need feeding, gotta be some staff working in the back right?"

    "Right. Yes! Let's go there first," Sergei said with false courage.

    The two of them left the other two and ventured towards the broken door. Well, almost broken. They managed to pull it open without much issue. The dining room had maybe been wonderfully fancy at some point. Currently it was woefully mismanaged.

    "Really. Nobody cleans this place? I'm not saying I'm much better with my own home but…" Sergei poked a table and it creaked under his simple touch and colored his finger dusty. "Actually, I am much better, nevermind."

    He snapped a couple of photos of the sad room.

    As Sergei explored the rather uninspired dining room, touching tables and muttering to himself as he did so, Touka slowly made her way towards where she assumed there would be kitchen staff. She'd forgotten to eat before she made her way to the mansion, and could feel her stomach rumbling. Reaching an open servery door she peeked her head inside, but instead of a bustling kitchen she was met with the rancid smell of rot.

    "Hey, Sergei!" she yelled, climbing through the opening and falling with a thud to the other side, "come check this out!"

    Sergei saw the girl disappear through the servery door and half panicked.

    "H-hey don't just crawl in! What if there's, I don't know… A squatter here? And you spook them!"

    But he made his way over and reluctantly put his head through the hole to see what Touka had found, hands clutching the camera.

    "Don't just stand there, climb in!" Touka hissed quietly, pointing towards a large silver fridge with the door slightly ajar. A vicious red liquid was seeping from it and pooling up on the floor, and she began very slowly making her way towards it.

    Inch by inch she shuffled closer towards it, and with an outstretched arm she reached for the handle, only to be caught off guard by the sound of an ear piercing scream emanating from somewhere within the mansion. She leapt backwards, and the fridge door slammed shut.

    "WHAT WAS THAT?" Sergei screamed. "AND WHAT WAS THAT?" he added, pointing at the fridge. He had clearly seen it slam shut without Touka doing the action.

    He stumbled backwards himself, back into the dining room, and spun around, only to find that the room wasn't empty anymore. In front of him, at one of the tables, looking like she was having a calm dinner, sat a pale lady. Very, very pale. She had her back to him, only her long pearly white hair visible.

    "I- what…" Sergei stuttered, and half-consciously snapped a photo with the camera in his hands.

    The click, or maybe his words, made the lady freeze. And slowly, her head spun around. What faced Sergei was not a woman's face with a raised eyebrow. Not even close.

    He screamed again, and kept screaming as he ran back towards the lobby as fast as his feet could pedal him.