The glass case shatters into shards, and the young exhibit stumbles.
One more chance...
Her name is Liza Koshy. She's a black-haired, brown-skinned, wild-eyed twenty-something in a white blouse, white pants, a white button-down jacket with white frilly cuffs, and a white kerchief tied around her neck. A long time ago, she was a YouTuber, making people laugh with her content, but she was an Explorer when she died.
Where am I? Her eyes widen as she grows used to the unfamiliar feeling of oxygen in her lungs. She racks her brain for answers, but she only finds a blue bird and red blood and at least I did some good...right?
The rest is darkness.
Liza takes in her surroundings. What she sees disturbs her: a circle of glass cases identical to the one she just escaped from, each one exhibiting a frozen YouTuber. First, she recognizes DeStorm Power, whose death she remembers all too well, and then her heart sinks when she catches sight of Tana Mongeau, Gabbie Hanna, and Alex Wassabi. You all died too, huh? Did anyone get out of that place? Or did we die for nothing?
Justine Ezarik and Timothy DeLaGhetto are here too. Liza recalls hearing the news of the 2016 massacre that claimed both their lives (along with six others). Back then, everyone thought it was a one-off tragedy. Never Again. Until it happened again, and many more perished.
But...Colleen Ballinger wasn't dead when Liza died. Neither was Rosanna Pansino. Why are they here? What happened?
Well, Liza doesn't have time to wonder about that right now. Her friends need her. If she can bust their exhibits open...
Footsteps. The little brown girl scrambles to her feet and ducks behind a stump in the center of the clearing. Egyptian guards arrive on the scene, but fortunately for Liza, it's easy to overlook something as small as her, so it isn't long before the soldiers go their merry way. Alone once more, Liza catches the breath that's somehow been returned to her. She can't bring herself to take her eyes off her petrified friends.
No weapons here, she sadly notes. No sharp things. Not even a decent-sized stick. And it's not like I can just kick the glass. I can kick the bucket, but I can't kick the glass. She's unamused by her own joke. I don't wanna leave them behind!
"I'll be back," she whispers. "I promise."
She doesn't know if they heard her.
Apparently, the afterlife features a museum. Liza doesn't want to spend eternity looking at mounted lions, dinosaur bones, and various other collectibles, and she definitely doesn't want to be on display for the angels/demons/whatever to gawk at, so she needs to find a way out for her and her friends before it's too late.
I'm the Explorer. Finding things is my speciality.
She peeks around a doorway. The coast seems clear, so she takes off running down the hall, her heart going crazy in her chest as she tries not to think about all the ways this could go wrong. A noise brings her to a stop, and when she realizes that the Egyptian guards have reappeared, she darts out of sight, hoping against hope that she wasn't spotted.
Liza discovers the perfect hiding place in an eerie alcove of the museum. She shuts both doors behind her, effectively cutting her off from both potential threats and potential sources of help. Keep it together, Liza. She takes three deep breaths in a row. It's up to you to save your friends. It's up to you to escape this place. It's up to you to stop talking to yourself.
She turns around. There's a glowing green jar in the center of the room, and something about it seems otherworldly. It's like the kind of movie MacGuffin that will destroy the unworthy in spectacular three-dimensional living-color fashion.
Liza scrunches her expression. "What the hell is this place?"
Against her better judgement, she steps closer to the jar in order to get a good look at its contents. At first glance, there's nothing except for a lot of...water? Goo? Poison? Definitely a liquid of some kind. But when Liza squints at the jar, she sees something moving in there, and it's not a bug, either. It's something far more sinister.
It's a human soul. And not just any human soul, but the soul of Shane Dawson, who died in the massacre of 2016.
A closer inspection reveals that it's not just Shane who's stuck in that jar. Liza recognizes Lauren Riihimaki and Jesse Wellens, who met their ends at that fateful Victorian party, just like her. On top of that, there's...Safiya Nygaard? Manny Mua? They weren't dead before. That's four people in this place who shouldn't be dead... She gulps. Oh, Joey, honey, no. You didn't. Did you?
There's a small mirror not far from the jar, but it's not Liza's reflection that awaits her on the other side.
Joey Graceffa. Her friend. Her killer. Her last chance to escape the night for good.
He stares intently into whatever mirror he's looking through, his eyes puffy around the edges, his mind clearly deep in thought. He's a blonde now, and his outfit was obviously ripped straight out of the 70s. That, combined with the new souls here, can only mean one thing: it happened again.
"Joey!" Liza calls into the mirror. "Joey, are you there?"
His mouth unhinges in surprise. He's listening.
Liza trembles as she speaks. "This is your chance to make things right." She already forgave him for what he did to her, but if he can get her and the others out of here, she'll love him forever. "We need you. Please..." Her voice breaks. "Please come save us."
The doors swing open. In walks an imposing woman with a long face, harsh eyes, a tall black hairstyle, an elaborate headpiece, an outfit from a culture that Liza's too stressed out to identify, a spear in her hand, and an aura of powerful peril all around her. "What are you doing outside of your exhibit?" She sounds like the type of person who'd listen to classical music while dismembering a dead body. "There will be punishment."
Anger bubbles up inside Liza's unbreakable spirit. "What have you done with my friends?"
"There was enough room in my collection to hold them all," says the sinister stranger, "but I do enjoy feasting on souls when I'm hungry."
Not our souls, thinks Liza defiantly. Not us. Not after all we've been through. We're not exhibits for you to put on display, you crazy bitch!
Suddenly, the woman uses her spear to stab Liza in the stomach. Liza, who was under the impression that dead people can't feel pain, is quickly taught otherwise by the jolt of agony that shoots through her body as blood pools around her wound. No! She struggles to stay standing. Shock, fear, and righteous rage mix within her like an emotional soup. Not again! I don't wanna die again!
"Don't fight," sneers her attacker.
My friends...don't make me leave them like this...they need someone to stand up and protect them...
The woman slowly raises her hand. Liza can feel her soul being forced out of her body, presumably to be placed in that horrible jar with Shane, Lauren, Jesse, Safiya, Manny, and whoever else is in there. She screams like she's never screamed before.
Help us, Joey Graceffa. She doesn't know why her suffering psyche fixates on a Star Wars reference, but at this point, it's all that sustains her. You're our only hope.