Really, Lance had not ever planned on coming back to Doctor Brain Heads semi-exploded mansion, but desperate times called for desperate measures. He had quit his old job a while ago and had tried to make it on his own, but was quickly running out of both computer parts and money to buy said parts. He specialized in retro equipment whitch, while people would pay you more to fix, it also cost more to fix. It also meant less clients. Sometimes he thinks he should have stuck with his old job, but when he looked back on it and realised the Doctor Scratch and Sniff wasn't the worst house call he ever had to make, he decided a few more dinners of ramen noodles was worth it. At least until today.
He’d gotten a call about a big job. Apparently, this guys father had tons of old computers and mechanical systems in his basement and he wanted to restore them for sentimental reasons. Only problem was that was going to take a lot of parts Lance didn't have. So of course he calmly and logically explained to the guy that it would be absolutely no problem, to come by next week, and then hung up the phone. It took a few seconds before the dollar signs behind his eyes stopped spinning and he realised he was screwed.
He leaned against his desk and ran a hand through his auburn hair. “Great job Lance, real smart move. You couldn't put together a light switch with the parts you have. You can't use gum to fix everything.” With that thought he remembered the mansion and his misadventure there. As if he could ever forget. He still had nightmares about that place. Now, that computer was a piece of junk. Only fit for the scrap heap or…
His head snapped up as he got a horrible wonderful idea. “Or spare parts.” He smiled at his own genius and grabbed up a duffle bag and the keys to his van before he was on his way.
As much as this place haunted his nightmares, it sure was harder than he expected to get back to it. Some things looked familiar, but others really didn't. He hate to say it, but if it was a dark and stormy night, it might have actually sparked more recognition. Finally, he made it to the long driveway leading up to the mansion. It looked just as blown to smithereens as he left it. Good. Hopefully there wouldn't be as many house guests this time.
Even with those hopes he still made sure his shoes were tied properly before he knocked on the front door, just in case you know? He listened closely from the bush he had jumped behind after knocking and at hearing nothing, brushed the leaves off of himself and tested if the door was locked. Wheather no one was here or no one had noticed him yet, either way he figured it might be best if he got in and out quickly and quietly.
He pushed to open the door, happy to find it was unlocked and then unhappy to find the hinges had been blown off in the explosion as it began to fall inward. He made a desperate grab for it, but was no use as it crashed to the ground with a sound like god’s garbage disposal and he cringed. He coughed slightly at the large cloud of dust it had thrown up and cautiously looked around, just waiting for that Hook Hand Card Door guy to come barrelling in out of nowhere. No such bad luck though, so he simply shrugged and whistled innocently as he walked further into the house, pretending that door was like that when he got there.
Now that he was in the mansion he was able to find his way around much better. He felt almost nostalgic for this place in a weird way. He saw a mass of bullet holes lining the walls and shivered. Well, not that nostalgic. He finally made his way to the room where everything started. The machine was lifeless and the screen was shattered. He ran his fingers around the large dusty outer casing. “I think that panel was somewhere- ah there it is!” The panel unattached with a satisfying click and he sat it down next to the machine. He turned his hat backwards and cracked his knuckles. “Okay Brain Drain, let’s see if you’re good for something after all.” He took a flashlight out of his bag before clicking it on, putting it in his teeth, and leaning into the monstrosity. “Euch, is his fing ish eve dirher hen lash dime.” He slurred around his flashlight. Luckily the light source was waterproof.
He was too busy trying to distinguish what parts were proprietary mad scientist hokum and what were parts he could use to notice the glowing eyes start to watch him from the shadows of the room. He picked up an odd looking chip from the board and shone his flashlight on it. “Is this some kind of modified X-90 or-“ It began to move and he shook it away. “Heeeiii! Spider. Real spider. Not a chip.” He huffed slightly and tried to calm his racing heart. The eyes watching him multiplied. He shifted through more of the debris and threw a few spare parts in his bag.
“Oh, is that a S series? Man those things are old.” He climbed slightly father into the machine to try and grab what looked like a red vacuum tube. He hadn't noticed that the eyes had begun to form shadows around themselves and come even closer. “Come on you stubborn little-“ the shadows seemed to be talking in hushed whispers.
“He's the one who-”
“Did you see what he did to-”
He finally jerked back out of the machine triumphantly with his prize. “Ah ha! Take that you stupid...old…” He tried to clear the hair from his eyes and tilted his head. “Is someone ominously whispering?” He turned around slowly to find himself surrounded by shadows and glowing eyes. His head seemed to retreat between his shoulders. “Eep.”
The shadows soon solidified themselves into the various witches, vampires, ghosts, demons, spooks and specters that he had encountered last time he was here. As his eyes franticly darted around he thankfully didn't catch any sign of Doctor Brain and his lackey Felix, so, small miracles. He cleared his throat and laughed slightly. “Hiya guys, how's business?” He fiddled with the tube in his hand before realising he was still holding it and dumping it into his bag. He looked around frantically for an exit as he started to back up. He spotted the vampire who had almost made him choke on his own hat. “Hey Vivi, nice hair, love the new look.” The vampires seemed to glare at him through the darkness.That seemed to have been the wrong thing to say as everyone at once seemed to lunge forward and converge on him.
He yelped and fully expected his life to be cut short at the expense of some outdated computer parts, but then he realised that while he was being pushed around roughly and the loud clammer of everyone talking around him increased, he wasn't really being injured. He hesitantly opened one of the eyes he'd closed in fear and took in his situation.
“What kept ya so long?” A ghostly man who was almost sure had nearly skewed him several times before poked him with the tip of his sword.
A skeleton tapped his head questioningly. “Yah, I was hoping you could give me a hand with organising my books like last time.” With that he let out a shaky crackle as his bones rattled.
The large vampire woman grabbed him up by his scruff above the din and purred at him. “Hey shuga, you never did finish your spa say. How about next one's on me?”
He just looked at her and then at the crowd of monsters not seeming to be actively trying to kill him. “I am so confused.”
The vampire cocked her hips. “How come shuga? You made such a big splash coming in here like ya did and then just up and leaving. Especially after what you did to the doctor and his lackey. Ya got spunk and we respect that.”
Lance sputtered slightly and flailed. “You all tried to murder me.”
She scoffed. “Oh shoot, what’s a little cartoon violence between friends.” Lance was abruptly dropped back into the throng of monsters, shouting happy greetings like they were old friends. Lance was even more confused the before. Various voices from around the crowd called out as he tried to find some way to escape the crashing wave of them.
“Bring back any presents?”
“Have any new tricks?”
“What’s the bag for?”
“You moving in soon?”
It was the last one that caused him to stop his search and scoff. “Moving in? Why would I do that?”
Again Vivi stepped in to explain like he was profoundly stupid but that she was used to that in men. “You got rid of the former house owner shuga, by all accounts you'd be fair in running this show now if you wanted. Good timing to, doctor had a stick stuck up somewhere he didn't even have.”
He couldn't believe what he was hearing. What kind of weird code of ethics and/or land ownership was that? Did monsters have wills? Did monsters have lawyers? What were the implications of this? He shook his head and his eyes spun.
Vivi rolled her eyes once again. “Come on, give the kid some breathing room. He's a human, he probably needs that sort of thing.” Everyone stilled and backed up a few steps, apparently sheepish they had forgotten. Lance looked around jerkily. How was this even more messed up then the first time he got here?
Vivi looked at her wristwatch. “Well, I hate to run, but i don't want to leave the shop unoccupied for too long. Barber might get creative with the hair gel again. Man doesn't even have any hair…” The rest of the various monsters seemed to disperse back to their nooks and crannies after giving Lance some farewell too hard smacks and pokes. Vivi was the last to go and she winked before leaving. “Hope you'll stay for dinner, Croc says he's been dying to serve someone new.”
Lance shook out if his stupor and cocked his hips. “Yah, I bet.” With that she left the room and he was left wondering what just happened. They actually expected him to want to stay here? In this creepy old broken down house? With crazed monsters who he wasn't sure if they wanted to kill him or not? And free...food? It was probably rotted and disgusting. Most likely totally unfit for human consumption but...ramen.
He shook his head with a rattling noise. “Nope no, nope no no no no.” He packed up his stuff and put it back into his bag starting to march out the door. He had had it with this crazy place and its crazy inhabitants and its crazy seemingly endless supply of both advanced and outdated technology. He slowed his walk. And lack of rent payment. He was now standing in place rubbing his face. He looked up at the cracked monitor and saw his own distorted reflection.
All those video games he played had told him everything he needed to know about being your average basic mad scientist. He smiled crookedly as he got a horrible wonderful idea.