A Christoween Carol
rating: +12+x

Overseer Stretch: Andrew, we've got some unfortunate news.

Overseer Andrew: Huh?

Overseer Stretch: Do you remember the Halloween and Christmas parties you scheduled for Base Beta?

Overseer Andrew: Yeah.

Overseer Stretch: They're both scheduled for tonight.

Overseer Andrew: Really? They were 2 months apart when I first scheduled them… Time must be acting up again in Eleven.

Overseer Stretch: Andrew, what are we going to do? People have been looking forward to both of those for a long time. Should we reschedule?

Overseer Andrew: No! I already bought my costume! And my Secret Santa gift!

Overseer Stretch: Then how are we going to solve this?

Overseer Andrew: I've got it!

Overseer Stretch: Oh?

Overseer Andrew: Picture this: "The Base Beta Christoween Party!"

Overseer Stretch: Andrew, you're a genius!


Overseer Andrew: Stretch, I need some ideas for Christoween decorations. Do you know anything that works for both Halloween and Christmas?

Overseer Stretch: Let's see… There's uh. The skeleton guy from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Overseer Andrew: Jack Skellington?

Overseer Stretch: Yeah, him!

Overseer Andrew: Santa was also in that movie, so I'll put him down too.

Overseer Stretch: Oh! There's also the three ghosts from The Muppet Christmas Carol. That's not really a Christoween movie, but ghosts are pretty spooky.

Overseer Andrew: Of course!


The Beast of Level 5 carefully opens the door to the hotel room.

"Hello! I hope I didn't startle you… I'm the Gentleman, the owner of this estate and—"

The Beast notices that the man in the room is motionless and seems to be covered in heavy iron chains.

"I could have sworn I called dibs on this one."

The phone rings, and the Beast picks it up.

«Hey, uh, Mr. Bossman, One of our guests just died and I don't think it was one of us who killed him…»

"I know. I just got here and now he's laying on the bed, covered in chains. Did you see anything before he died?"

«No, uh, he just started mumbling something like "My aberidge was my downfall", and—»

"Avarice?"

«Yeah, I think that was the word… and then he just fell over and I lost sight of him.»

"And what about the chains? Did you see where they came from?"

«No sir, but maybe they're the aberidge he was talking about?»

"I see. I will investigate further. Thank you."

«Yeah, of co—»

Click.

Suddenly, the chain-covered figure lets out a cry.

"Aaaaahhhhhh"

"You're alive?"

"No. I am dead, haunted by the sins of my past; haunting those who sin in the present."

The figure rises above the bed, a specter.

"You will someday be like me, Beast. Walking the earth, forever weighed down by the chain I forged in my life."

"Wait…"

The Beast looks at a calendar in the corner of the room.

"God damn it. It's Christoween again, isn't it. This is the third year in a row where Halloween has fallen on Christmas."

"Are you not listening, dear Beast? It is your loss. Because you too will die one day. It may not be tomorrow or the day after that. It may take until the heat death of the universe, but we all fall down eventually. And when that happens, you will have to bear the burden of your voracity, but yours will be a million times heavier than mine. That is, if you do not change your ways."

"Yeah yeah, I remember now. Three ghosts. Don't be greedy. Got it."

"You will shortly be visited by the three ghosts of Christoween and—- Oh. You've done this before?"

"Yep. They come here every Chistoween and bother me. It's such a drag."

"My time is running out, but I will leave you with my advice: Heed their words, dear Beast, for if you do not—"

The specter disappears into a plume of smoke.

"I guess now I just need to wait for the other three."

Sitting on the bed, the Beast gets a knock on the door.

"Ah, that should be the first one now."

The door opens it, and a spirit made of candle wax with a head of ghostly flame flits through. It stops with its back still to the Beast.

"Show yourself!"

The ghost does not turn around.

"I am the ghost of Christoween Past."

"Right. I remember you from last year."

"Rise, and walk with me."

The Beast stands up and walks with the spirit through the doorway, which now shows a bright white glow rather than the hallway outside.

The Beast and the spirit appear at a crossroads. In front of them, a child with the face of a squid and a cute little suit stands next to an adult whose head cannot be seen.

"Daddy, when I grow up, I want to run a murder hotel!"

The adult does not respond. The child looks sad.

"Daddy, why don't you love me?"

"A child. Alone. Unloved."

"I don't think this was my childhood… I mean, I've been working here so long that I don't really remember, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it."

"There is dissonance, for how could such a pure child become what you are today?"

"Yeah no. This isn't me."

The child continues pulling on the adult's hand and then sits down with tears in his eyes.

"Walk with me."

The Beast and the spirit walk through a doorway that has suddenly appeared next to them. Again, into the white.

Now, the two appear in an office wherein a squid-headed adult sits at the desk.

"Hey, this is my office. Wait, is this from last year?"

"Here you see Christoween one year past."

There is a knock on the door.

"Is that the first one?

The door opens it, and a spirit made of candle wax with a head of ghostly flame flits through.

"I am the ghost of Christoween Past."

The Beast at the desk says nothing.

"Rise, and walk with me."

"Follow them."

The Beast and the spirit follow the past Beast and the past spirit through the white doorway.

The present two are at the crossroads now. They watch the past Beast and the past spirit who in turn watch the child and the adult.

"Daddy, when I grow up, I want to run a murder hotel!"

"Why are you showing this to me again?"

"I am simply showing you a Christoween one year past."

"But it's the same thing as this year."

"Perhaps that's the lesson. After all this time, you still have not changed your ways."

"What?"

"My time is nearly up. We must be going."

The two walk through the white doorway.

The Beast appears back in the room, but the spirit is nowhere to be seen.

"It seems that's it for that one."

The Beast again hears a knock on his door. It slams open.

"Ho ho ho or treat, bitch!"

A figure in a green robe with a full beard and a glass of wine loudly stomps into the room.

"Ugh. Just what I need."

"It is I, The Ghost of Christoween Present. Now are we gonna have some fun or what?"

"Sure. Let's get it over with."

They walk through the white doorway.

The two appear outside of Base Beta.

"Oh shit. Looks like the M.E.G. is hosting a Christoween party! We should crash it! It'll be fun!"

"I don't think it's really my type of deal."

The M.E.G. members walk by and begin talking amongst themselves.

"Christoween?"

"Yeah, heard the M.E.G. are cutting costs on the holiday parties after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day incident and they decided to celebrate two holidays in the same day."

"Well, to be fair, Halloween did fall on Christmas this year."

"Yeah, but that doesn't mean they had to put them at the same time."

"Well, they can't put it tomorrow because that's Thanksgiving, and the first three days of Hanukkah are the day after that. Plus, I already got my Halloween costume and my Secret Santa gift."

"Fair enough, I guess."

"Damn. They don't seem happy, do they? If only there was some cool-ass gentleman to brighten their day."

"No."

"Whatever you say, B. Let's go to the next part."

The two observe another group of Level 11 denizens walking around a costume store.

"I know! Maybe I can dress up as the Beast of Level 5!"

"I don't know man. I feel like that's the type of thing to get you merc'd by the Beast himself. I believe the saying goes 'don't speak of the devil or else he might appear' and that probably goes double for dressing up as him."

"Wait, but the Beast seemed so nice in his article, he even called himself 'The Gentleman'."

"Nah, that's just a front so that he can come in and kill you. The Beast is mad scary, bro."

"Damn, homie, they're all calling you a Beast. How does that make you feel?"

"Well, I would prefer the Gentleman, but it's just a side-effect of working in the industry, I suppose."

"What industry is that?"

"Hotel ownership."

"I see."

They both stand awkwardly in silence for a couple minutes.

"Well, I gotta head out now. I have another haunting at 7 and a party at 8, but you should totally change your ways or something. Okay bye."

And with that the Beast was again left alone, awaiting his third and final visitor.

The door opens without a knock and a figure in a dark hooded cloak flits soundlessly through the doorway.

"And you are the Ghost of Christoween Yet to Come, I presume?"

The ghost does not answer, but simply motions for the Beast to follow it through the doorway.

"Very well."

The two stand on a grassy hill with the setting sun to their backs.

A single silent figure lowers a coffin into the ground, tears welling in its eyes.

The gravestone has no birth or death date but simply reads:

The Gentleman

They watch as the coffin is lowered and then stay until the sun sets.

The crying figure is still there when they leave.

"That's it? That's the final hurrah? A scene of my funeral that may or may not be real?"

The shrouded figure says nothing.

"I have an idea. Let's make a deal. If I spread Christoween cheer today and today only, you and the rest of your company stop visiting me every Christoween. Does that sound like a deal?"

The shrouded figure says nothing but holds out a pale hand. They shake.

"Alright, it's a deal."


Two men stand in a decorated auditorium. Each in costume: one dressed as a Partygoer, and the other as a GNK Droid.

Overseer Andrew: Okay, the Christoween party starts in 5 minutes, do we have everything?

Overseer Stretch: Gonk! I mean— Yep! I think that should be everything.

Overseer Andrew: Let's see, we have costumes and gifts and decorations—

Overseer Stretch: Yep, I'm impressed that you were able to get a life-sized replica of Jack Skellington as well as every muppet from A Muppet Christmas Carol on such short notice!

Overseer Andrew: Well, as you know I have my contacts. We sure had quite an adventure today, didn't we!

Overseer Stretch: We sure did!

Overseer Andrew: Yep, so we should have everything— Shoot!

Overseer Stretch: Huh?

Overseer Andrew: We forgot the candy! And we have just under 5 minutes until the party starts!

Overseer Stretch: Oh no!

Just then, the two notice something strange. Under each of the pine trees, decorated carefully with little bats and pumpkins, there are large boxes. On each of the boxes is a note:

From the Terror Hotel Staff — Happy Christoween!

Overseer Andrew (shaking one of the boxes): It's full of… candy?!

Overseer Stretch: It's a Christoween miracle!

From out of sight, The Gentleman smiles.


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