Chapter 1: Lights
The hallway of the newly built school was dark, as it was lights out for most of the students there. Everyone snuggled in their beds, warm and safe right? Well rumors had spread that there were dark, deadly and horrible secrets in New Hope’s peak, but they were just rumors right? Tall tales students have been telling each other for who knows how long now, at least since the school opened. Most of the staff didn’t listen to the ‘fairy tales’ the students told each other, and those that did often had a look of ‘how adorable’. The only ones who somewhat took the fables seriously where the ones that attended the original incarnation of the school they now ran, and even they did not believe them fully.
Enter the hapless janitor cleaning the school. The fellow just wanted to get the parking lot outside clean last before going home to rest in his small but cozy apartment when he saw headlights. Lights that shone bright and brash, like the motorcycles and cars that often held those features in the past and even now. He brushed it off as dumb kids or even a few of the less responsible teachers in the school having some late night fun. It did get rather dull around here, far from a city or even a town; so trouble was to be expected now and then. The janitor just went back to sweeping up the parking lot and picking up any trash carelessly left or had been blown in by the wind.
An hour passed, the janitor was almost done when once again the flash of headlights. It was 4 am, even the most rowdy were asleep at this point! “HEY! WHO’S THERE!?” The man called, only greeted by silence and the sound of the cicadas singing. The janitor shrugged and went to wash the windows before heading home. As soon as his back was turned, the light shone around him like a spotlight before a revving of a very loud, very powerful bike was heard. The janitor turned around only to be met with the light blinding him before…..
The next morning there were only skid marks near the one washed window. His neighbors were called but he never returned home as far as they knew. They didn’t smell his rice and meat cooking like they always did in the morning, nor his tea. There was no body to be found anywhere nearby either, just the skid marks of a reckless trespasser.
The students whispered to each other as if they knew the truth. “He got the janitor last night…” “Good as dead, just like everyone else out there….” “Why bother with the parking lot, everyone dies there eventually….” “Bet they’re gonna cover it up like last time….” The voices whispered…
In his office that night, the lights of a motorcycle filled the office of a frazzled headmaster, as if to say ‘you can never escape…’
End chapter 1
Chapter 2: Smoke
Smoking was forbidden in the school, which made sense as it was a health hazard to everyone around. The school nurse was especially strict on that sort of thing, to the point of obsession, then again anything could be an obsession for her if one wasn’t careful so nothing new there. Instead people were confused on why they could smell smoke in both bathrooms as well as exhaust in the parking lot. There was nothing to smoke, not even a salmon, and nobody really drove to and from school anymore, not since the night the janitor went missing while washing windows.
See for one, the school nurse, as well as the rest of the staff for that matter; often confiscated anything that looked like it was for smoking, even if it was just a prop for a costume. This could be annoying but again understandable, there were a few students here of ill health so it was for the best. Pretty much nobody dared to try and smoke anywhere but their own dorms, if that.
That is where the second problem came in; see if anything that was ‘contraband’ was brought in, you either had to use it right away or lose it and be punished. Often if something was not allowed and kept overnight, it would be gone the next day and the student who had it would have a lash from what seemed to be a whip or a belt across their chest. Now none of the staff would dare harm any of the students nor would they ever enter the dorms of a student in the middle of the night when the person was asleep.
Hiding the items never helped either, the room would look as it did the night before but the same lash would be there and the item would be gone from its hiding place. You wouldn’t feel the mark until the next morning either, you’d wake up in pain only to see your chest red and raw. It never seemed to draw blood though, thankfully.
Planting a decoy never worked either, as both the decoy and the real thing would be gone the next morning, as if to spite you. Hiding it outside never worked, nor did hiding it in a locker, classroom or anywhere outside your dorm, always gone, always a lash. If it was medication you wanted to use but another student needed it, the medication would be returned to its rightful owner as well. Fake prescriptions never fooled whoever this thief was either. They always knew if you were supposed to have that Oxycontin. Of course because it kept the students in line, the staff never bothered to figure it out.
“I bet it's one of the higher ups…” “Nah they are too afraid….” “you don’t think….” “God I hope not….” “Wouldn’t surprise me…” “You know it’s convenient for the staff right….”
The students of old Hope’s Peak held a secret, a lash on each of them every morning as well with a note that read “For the sins of the past…”
Chapter 3: Twisted
I kept the gender of the teacher unknown so you can project your least favorite teacher here, ENJOY KIDDOS!
That’s what one teacher called the tall tales of the school. “Twisted pieces of trash used to scare the new blood as the old guard leaves for a new world” They’d say with an almost venomous sound to their voice. Twisted tales, that’s all they were; that’s what this whole school was, twisted beyond its former glory.
They longed for the old days when talent was king and the rest had to bow before it. They wanted things the way they were before ‘she’ destroyed everything. There was so much promise before the world changed, so much potential. Now? Everyone was equal but talent just meant more work, not the accolades and praise it deserved. How twisted the world’s priorities got when things went downhill for a bit.
This was not a popular teacher by any stretch, in fact most saw them as twisted with age and bitterness. The winds of time and arrogance wore on their face more and more each day, creating a landscape almost alien to those who looked at it. They were only there because they were the oldest of the remaining old guard with no where else to go.
Whatever twisted darkness was in the souls of most of the old guard, it even tainted their charity, noble as they tried to be. This is why despite trying to bury the past, it was leaking up in so many ways. The teacher was currently a favorite victim of the repercussions of the past. Nightmares plagued them as they slept, reminding them of the truth about their beloved past.
Most at this point would report the madness that was creeping into their mind, but not this soul, this twisted, maddened soul. They knew they were right, they knew the past was better than the lies their mind was showing. They continued to spout the truth as they saw it, the straight truth in a twisted world, or was it a twisted truth in a twisted world no matter how true it actually was?
Soon the nightmares entered the waking world in this one’s mind. It twisted the world into shadows and lies. What started at slight venom became acid spewing for a simple hello. Many chalked it up to an old mind finally rotting away, as they often did. Others felt it was just the filters we all had finally corroding like an old air conditioner. Whatever it was, it was not surprised.
It didn’t matter, the whispers told lies and the teacher tried to spout the truth, until finally; their end came. They were walking the halls muttering about the glory of the past to themselves to try and keep what little sanity they had left when they heard it. It was a sound all students feared when in the halls alone, a sound that meant they would be damned if they did not act fast. The teacher brushed it off, it was their mind playing tricks on them, the stories getting to them in an hour of madness.
They kept moving, step by step; ignoring the sounds behind them. They picked up the pace a bit, it was late after all. Even the superior talented ones needed sleep. One needed sleep to survive after all right? An oppressive feeling began to creep over them as they walked, the whispers became louder as well. They had to get to bed, this was just sleep deprivation and nothing more right? They walked a bit faster, the world more oppressive and the whispers even louder, stage whispers to be exact.
The cycle continued, soon the whispers were talking, then projecting a bit, the voices were growing in volume until they couldn’t take it anymore. They began to run, the shadows around them began to take shape as the voices began to shout and scream. Soon the shadows became solid, no they were fake, smoke right? Twisted faces laughed as the teacher ran and ran but it felt like they were going nowhere anymore. What happened, were they lost? How they’d been here for years now, they knew this school better than almost anyone! Faster, louder, darker, faster louder darker….
They would be found the next morning, twisted and catatonic, drooling and glassy eyed.
“Looks like another one…” “We told them not to run…” “didn’t they hear it?...” “bet they ignored it…” “eh no big loss, they sucked….” “wonder what they saw before losing it….”
The three headmasters of the school discussed both a replacement and a cover story so as not to scare the students. It would be easier since nobody really understood this one. After all, they continued to praise the sins of the past, a twisted mentality to say the least.
Chapter 4: Fire
Fire can be a source of warmth, a cooker of food and a bringer of light. It can also be a destroyer of everything, a weapon and assassin. They say fire in the eyes means determination, strength and power. A drive that can never truly be stopped by anything. At least, that’s how it's normally seen.
Here though, eyes of fire was an omen, a sign you were being watched by them. The hidden of the school, the ones the students whispered about. Nobody wanted to see the eyes in the reflections of the school. Rage, hate, sorrow and disgust are all that were shone in those eyes. Nobody was safe from the judgement of the fire, nobody was spared.
Many felt the eyes were bad luck, and there were stories to prove it. Nightmares were a common side effect of seeing the eyes, labs, doctors, trials, an executioner; all present in these nightmares. Most would recover the next day, but they would whisper and compare notes with other victims.
Others got it much worse, the eyes became harbingers of ill fortune. People would trip and fall down the stairs, not enough for anything serious but a few bumps and bruises. Their lockers would break, or a significant other would break up with them. These weren’t tragedies of grand proportions but they were blows to one’s ego and soul. The staff, of course, would push it off as normal things, everyday occurrences that everyone in high school goes through. They were half right of course, as it was often hard to tell which disasters were the curse of the fire eye and which were normal, daily things everyone faced.
“Damn it I saw them…” “where?....” “Does it matter…” “Shit I saw them yesterday…” “didn’t you….” “Yup fucking fire eyes…”
The staff had it worse, everyday; clear and bright, the eyes stared them down. They knew the eyes were biding their time...
Chapter 5: Frozen
This is how most reacted to the headlights in Hope’s Peak, frozen, scared, and praying for a swift end or to be spared. For a long time this was purely outside, like snow in the winter or the hot sun in the summer. As long as you stayed inside you were safe, as long as you never tried to leave you were safe.
That was until one night, when fate guided a victim to damnation, and dragged everyone else down with them.
They were walking that night, getting some air, since within the walls of the school, the air was heavy, stale and full of fear. The rural air of freedom, albeit fake freedom, felt more welcoming. They didn’t go far, not even into the parking lot itself, just around the school a few times before walking back to the entrance. Soon they’d hear it, the dreaded sound. Unlike the last victim, they knew they had to get inside and fast! They ran, the revving of the engine behind them, the light shining to try and either blind or freeze the target.
The door was right there, unlocked and calling to the runner as they dove for it. The mystery biker was not claiming their victim tonight! They felt their lungs becoming heavy, begging for the body to stop for just a moment. They felt their legs scream for mercy as they scrambled up the stairs of the cursed building, the headlights trying to freeze them, feeling like death itself on their neck.
With a mighty tug they opened the door and ran inside the small crack, like a mouse into their hole. They used the last of their strength to close the door. SLAM!!! The sound of the rider still revving and charging at them outside, the headlights flooding the halls looking for its prey.
The new janitor saw the frightened student. They thought this was some stupid prank to get them to believe the legends. The student begged them not to open the door. They pleaded for the skeptical fool to listen or at least humor them. The janitor wasn’t having it, their predecessor might have run and the students might believe in this madness, but he was going to show the farce for what it was tonight!
This would lead to a fight between the student trying to save the poor soul and the janitor trying to end the idea of the curse. Soon the student would find themselves pushed to the side, begging for the janitor to stop. They soon saw the door crack open, the student ran as fast as they could, they couldn’t die now! They did what they could, the janitor damned everyone, he had to be alive to warn about it!
The last thing the janitor saw was the lights of the motorcycle, and pricks of amethyst hovering above it….
“He’s inside?....” “yeah they let him in…” “So it begins…” “Bet he’s happy….” “Hello coverup…..”
The staff now always felt followed at night, and every flash of light sent chills down their spine. They’d also need a new janitor, preferably one that listened to the legends.
Chapter 6: crystal
Most crystals were to be studied by the geology groups. Or eaten as was the case with salt and sugar. Some used them to tell the future, one of the staff was known to do this normally. A clear crystal ball, one of the few safe things as of late. Even most jewels were beautiful even here. Sapphires, emeralds, topaz, even most quartz...most quartz.
Of course, as with all things in this school, there was a catch; a rule one had to follow, now more than ever thanks to the second janitor. One could show off and wear even the most garish diamond, but Ruby and amethyst were forbidden; cursed to be conduits. Nobody really understood why this was, but anyone holding either of those stones had one of four things happen.
An amethyst worn would normally weaken whoever wore it. They would be tired, sleepy, depressed and unable to lift anything heavier than a piece of paper or a pen. They would seem sick until the offending jewel would be removed, and within a day of removal the person would be back to normal.
The other curse of amethyst was much more dangerous; aggression and anger. They would lash out at anything that even slightly annoyed them, though at first it would just seem like a bad day. Slowly though; the victim would become more and more violent, getting into fights, breaking anything they could; they would become a nightmare to deal with. The worst part was that if someone figured out it was a piece of amethyst and tried to remove the gem, the would be savior would be harmed by the victim of the curse. Many would want to remain this way, claiming to feel powerful and strong. It usually took a team of students to save the soul of the person under the spell.
Rubies had their own problems when it comes to wearing them. The milder curse was a lost of intelligence, tact and understanding. Victims would wander around in a fog, almost a zombie, easy to influence for the right person. Rarely one of these ‘ruby heads’ would act out and do something seemingly out of nowhere. Former ruby heads report that they could hear a voice whispering to them, giving them commands. A few students even become ruby heads thinking its a way to get high; this never ends well.
The more dangerous curse was those that became sadistic dictators. They would command others to do insane, boring or useless tasks for fun, and they could not be disobeyed. There was a pull to their voice that made people want to do whatever was asked of them. Many have said they heard an echo of a different voice in the victim’s voice when an order was given, but this has never been confirmed. Again removing the offending crystal becomes a nightmare as getting near the victim is proven to be a challenge of wits and will.
Thankfully, the curse knows the difference between real and fake jewels. A spindle or even a piece of glass will not set the curse off, it has to be a real ruby or amethyst for there to be real danger.
“Please tell me that’s not real….” “Don’t worry its costume..I hope…” “Dude became a ruby head…” “Fuck someone is on amethyst!....” “That explains why their locker is broken…” “Why doesn’t the staff do something?....”
The one problem with powers and a crystal ball..you can see what’s really going on.
Chapter 7: Dark
Nobody liked the dark here. Darkness always fell inhabited, occupied by something cruel and angry; something that wanted the end of something. Everyone always had light on them, even something as small as a penlight. Nobody slept with the lights out here, for fear of seeing what lurked deep in the shadows. A power outage would be a nightmare, thank goodness they had a mechanic that put up about six or seven powerful backup generators for the lights if something did happen.
It was at the point to where there was a game made for the bravest to try, like a weak attempt to get something of the school back from the forces that truly controlled it. The rules were simple, sit in a dark closet for as long as possible without running out screaming. The goal was to make it through the night while staying there, at least 8 hours. Most didn’t last more than an hour; usually claiming to have heard voices, saw eyes or even felt something touch them, even aggressively or in a more assertive way; a teacher looking over your shoulder kind of way.
Some would have bruises or scratches when they exited, others did not; it seemed to be different for each person. However; some did last the full eight hours, and they were never as lucky as the ones who ran out of the darkness in hour one. They seemed to come back very VERY different.
They’d have this strange smile on their face as the door opened, and claim nothing happened in there, it was just dark and boring. They’d seem to have some positive changes, doing better in school, stronger work ethic, stronger physically and a stronger leadership skill set in general. You’d think that this was a blessing, a good thing, but there were other changes.
They’d write strange things, that almost seemed like passages from a church’s holy book;
“Luck is the path of the fool, hope the path of the blind, despair the path of the sadist’
They’d seem to be in prayer at odd times of the day. Usually early morning or late night, and always in the sauna. Many would want to stay in the sauna fully clothed while doing this, while the steam rose from the water and made the room into a cloud of white fog.
These same victims would also seem to counter any authority they deemed as ‘foolish, useless, lazy or unneeded’ and take over the situation with fervor not seen since before the world changed. Even staff seemed powerless to stop it when one of these students took over, and often they ended up doing a better job then they could somehow.
“Damn he stayed the full time….” “yup, total change too….” “Fuck I got a bruise around my throat after an hour, hell no I wasn’t staying in there!...” “why do people play that stupid game anyway?...”
It felt like one student at a time; something was taking over the school, but to what end?
Chapter 8: Mutation
On top of the school was a garden, a greenhouse that in normal cases would be the envy of any botanist or florist out there. That was until things changed and the rebuild happened. See plants, like animals, can adapt to their environment in strange ways; dangerous ways. What should have been a peaceful place to walk and unwind for the students had become one of the forbidden areas.
It started slowly, an odd looking flower here, a strange patch of grass there. Nothing dangerous, heck it was charming and interesting to study if anything. Soon though, carnivorous plants would sprout around more shadowed locations. They seemed normal at first, just an oddity that kept the flies and other pests away, welcomed by all. This would soon be replaced by larger ones that ate mice, rats and other small mammals and birds; strange but still somewhat welcomed. It is in human nature to take advantage of something before realizing it was meant to kill them.
Soon larger prey went missing, the school’s animal expert was furious to say the least; but he sensed the dark energy, a deadly energy. He went to remove the only animals forced to live there, the chickens; only to find blood, feathers and nothing else. He quickly ran to get help, and items for an exorcism. Few wanted to join him for the ceremony, but four braver souls did go with him.
They stood in a circle around where the chicken’s last lived, and first fell; salt around them as the other four held his hand with him. The engineer felt a cold breath on his neck, the animal handler saw the dark energy, the guidance counselor felt rage, hatred and blood lust, as well as a pang he did not want to feel. The charm/history teacher felt her energy slowly draining away. It was the head janitor that had the worst of it. He was crying out for hope to guide them, enraging whatever was inside this cursed place. A familiar giant flower regrew at a rapid pace, only with a new feature, it could take what it pleased. Soon the head janitor was scooped up into the gaping, acidic maw of the plant beast. A scream from the counselor before he was dragged out by the other three. The animal expert sealed the door as best he could both physically and spiritually.
“He got killed?...” “yeah eaten…” “by what?....” “They won’t say,....” “he’s broken up about this…” “weren’t they?....” “yup…” “Damn….”
A memorial was placed for the fallen staff member, though in the night a pink X was drawn on it.
Chapter 9: Colors
The world wasn’t black and white; it had black and white in it yes, but it wasn’t black and white in itself. Things were complicated, that’s how it was; but that did not erase that some were less colored than others in their souls. Some were as black as night as far as they were considered.
The sky never stayed the same color; sometimes blue, sometimes red, sometimes grey or black. One could only tell the time of day by looking at the clock or leaving the grounds. For some reason the sun and the moon refused to shine in the sky most days as well. It often felt like it was another world; a microcosm of its own.
Colors were a language here, like many things; rules applied and were to be followed if you wanted to survive. If the sky was red, someone was going to feel pain, go mad or something worse. It was a reminder of the hell that was unleashed in the past. Blue was the safest color, those were the rare days nothing happened and the whispers stayed quiet. Green was sickly, energy would be low within the bodies of the students. When the sky was yellow, it often felt hard to breath, like there was dust in the air after a heavy cleaning. White made things feel empty, almost hollow; people wouldn’t even remember what they did on white days. Grey felt cold, sad and lonely; people were often seen crying or even worse on these days. When the sky was black, classes were canceled for the day. Nobody really knows why but the staff.
Students would always have bags for different sky days, masks for yellow days, something cheerful for grey ones; things of that nature. They worked to an extent, but there was only so much a trinket or a happy song could do sometimes. The colors could last for weeks before suddenly changing; for better or worse. The only exception seemed to be black skies, those only lasted a day, and happened on specific days of the year. Nobody went to class on those days.
“Did you bring…” “No I brought the wrong color…” “here I have a spare….” “Thank goodness…” “when’s this gonna change….”
The headmistress looked at the calendar; the next black sky day was coming. She would announce the cancellation of classes that morning.
Chapter 10: machine
Machines ran most of the school. Camera watched everything everyone did, computers scheduled and guided students, even cleaning was done with machines mostly, a few humans to run them is all. If possible they could have replaced the teachers with machines. Funny thing about devices, sometimes they don’t work. In most places this would be normal, fixable or replaceable, but not here.
The AI was the ruler of the machines here, sweet, innocent and kind. Everyone loved the AI; it even felt like they did not want to harm this innocent being of 1’s and 0’s. They would go about their day managing all the little things here and there to keep the school running. Sweet, kind and always smiling.
At first nobody noticed the little pixels that were out of place, or the machines that didn’t work quite right in small, simple, superficial ways. Correction, the engineer noticed, but he was trained and born to notice these things; and did whatever he could to fix them before they became worse. He tried to warn others on staff but he was known for being skittish so he was often brushed off. Still he couldn’t shake the feeling that these were signs of things to come.
The glitching got worse; lights would flicker at random times, threatening to bring darkness to the classrooms. Computers would display messages much like the changed would write or say.
“Sins of the past have returned, the blackened shall pay”
People didn’t dare open email unless they knew to expect something because of the strange messages that might as well have been viruses. At first the staff thought this was a prank by one of the less careful students, but nobody could find the culprit. Other machines would turn on randomly and do erratic things, saws flinging wood left in them about, stoves going to full blast and cameras moving about wildly as if following something that wasn’t there.
The engineer tried to keep up with the repairs but as soon as they were fixed, they’d start up again. It was clear he did fix them, but it was as if something kept making them wild again. He was starting to panic, he had been trying to find the source but couldn’t. It was worse when the AI began speaking in a strange voice, shifting appearance now and then. Usually just a pixel related glitch but sometimes there was a glimpse of a different face; no, a familiar but wrong face. No it couldn’t be him.
Things kept getting worse, no matter what anyone did, things would go more and more haywire. Soon even the AI seemed more sinister than kind. They would say things about the darkness coming or to get ready for the latest black day; things it would never had said before with such happy and cheerful tones. It also seemed to shift now and then to an angrier, fiercer face; one that survivors of the headlights turned away from as soon as they saw the eyes. Even the engineer knew he had to try and disconnect the AI and he had to do it slowly, carefully.
“No they were so cute…” “they belong to the real masters now…” “Fucking hell now what….” “He’s got a lot of work to do….” “he’s gonna die….”
The engineer had to be slow and careful with his plan, if he was found out too soon, everyone would die.
Chapter 11: twin
Some say souls can be twinned. They can have two parts to them; and many here would agree with that statement. Others would say souls don’t even exist and we are just conflating mystical thinking with mental disorders. The truth was always seen in this school.
The writing teacher had a twin soul, she was oddly one of the few that could withstand the attacks done by whatever truly ran the school. She and her sister would defend anyone under minor attack by the machines in the school. It was simple for her thankfully, she had faced worse.
She was the exception to the rule, normally twins of most ilk were considered cursed. It was a pair of twins that ended the world, and it was a forced twining of the mind that created a monster. A monster whose brother was determined to contain him no matter what. This was a more difficult now that his anchor was gone. Taken by the forces that rule over this school with fickle whims.
Despite this, the staff did their damndest not to judge anyone for being twins. One couldn’t help that part of their life. Despite this, and the students being even more welcoming; as anyone who was in this hell needed all the welcoming they could get; the felt like eyes following twins more than anything.
Some twins became like those who were changed in the dark, strange, smiling creatures that didn’t seem human anymore, others left alone. Nobody knew how twins were chosen, just that they were and by the time it happened; it was too late, they were gone.
“So the new kids are twins…” “hope they don’t get chosen….” “Me too….”
They staff were trying to find out the criteria for choosing as well, with little luck.
Chapter 12: Huge
That is one word to describe the school. Five floors and each floor sprawling with different rooms, activities and dorms. That being said, it wasn’t easy to get lost here. Maps were usually very clear and doors were marked so nobody would be without a landmark. That’s how it usually was, but knowing this place, there was a catch.
Sometimes one would find a door nobody had ever seen before, a pixel portrait with the face scratched out but the door itself would be open. Most people would avoid it out of respect of it being someone’s dorm; or in fear it was another trick by the forces that ran the school. These were the lucky ones.
Those that decided to check and see out of curiosity or to let the owner of the door know their door was open would be greeted by something out of place. They’d see a hallway like the ones on the second floor; lined with lockers much like the ones in the school but nothing else. Some would just turn away after that, not wanting to risk getting trapped. Then there were those who were determined to see where the hallway went; and usually never return to tell the tale.
The few that return had many reports about what resided in the hallway. They said the lockers were either empty, full of blood or showed a moment of death of a past student from the moment the school began; from before the event that changed everything. The halls were often dark, only black skies in the windows, if any were seen. Many claimed that you’d get to a turn or a door and it was all the same, until it felt like a huge, endless loop. Others said they felt something watching them as they walked, something that was waiting for them to make a mistake. Running seemed to make the feeling worse, one could only walk. Others who stopped to rest for a moment felt something reach for them, making them move again before being dragged away.
“He went into the hallway?....” “Yeah...hasn’t come out…” “No he’s gone!....” “I saw it last week, no fucking way I was going in…”
The staff had tried using drones to explore, they broke as soon as the door closed on it.
Chapter 13: Mob
The number of students becoming changed was growing. Many were speaking of the ‘blackened’ among them, demanding a cleansing of these unknown persons. They whispered of the first of many to fall during this time. They were becoming rowdy and mad, whispering for blood. They were becoming what many called ‘the whispering mob’.
The rest of the students feared the mob; other mourned as their friends were transformed into one of the members either by the darkness or by the curse of twins. The mob would seek out the cursed gems to gain power, they would write the mad scriptures of the forces ruling over Hope’s peak, and they would try and recruit others into their fold. It was rare, but sometimes they would succeed, though nobody knew how it worked. The person was usually an outcast, or new to the school and afraid of everything happening; desperate for any form of safety.
They seemed harmless to an outsider, just a happy, hard working student that loved doing homework and going in school clubs. They were polite and friendly, excellent for any teacher that didn’t believe or know the real story of this school. The smile on their face seemed real, but was deep down fake and full of hate.
Even most of the staff couldn’t tell though, as some were better actors than others. Only the drama teacher could tell the difference, and it wished he couldn’t. He wished he did know who was part of the mob and who were normal; then maybe, maybe; the nightmares would stop.
Now they were getting restless, as if something was coming; they called it ‘the black sky event’ but nobody knew what that meant. The next black sky day wasn’t for months, as far as anyone knew. Still the mob wandered around chanting and grinning.
“The hell are they on about…” “I don’t wanna know….” “We have to get out of here….” “they are insane…” “I lost my friend to them…” “I’m sorry…”
The staff was doing everything they could to prepare, they even had an emergency lock down if there was a new black sky day.
Chapter 14: Execution
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FRIEND WHO MADE THESE PROMPTS KIYONDO!!!!
The staff was on high alert all week; they knew a black sky was coming but they didn’t know when. The day started grey, not the best but a relief compared to the nightmare everyone feared. The only difference was how heavy the air felt as the day went on. It was almost like a storm was coming within the walls of the school. The whispering mob seemed to become more and more animated as time passed. Some were whispering a chant that sounded familiar to the staff, chilling them to the bone.
It seemed to slowly get darker and darker as the school population went about their day. They cameras began to swing wildly, alter ego was glitching more and more, showing more and more of the aggressive face. The chants became louder and louder as lunchtime came around.
The person feeling it the most was the main benefactor and assistant headmaster to the school. He felt eyes on him at all times, and a noose around his neck. He seemed to be more and more on edge as the day got later and later. Nobody could comfort him as he seemed to be planning to run somewhere far away as soon as he had the chance.
The sky had become darker still, the headmaster and headmistress decided to go to black day procedures and get everyone into safe areas. The problem became clear when the whispering mob refused to move. They all stood, as if waiting for something to happen; whispering the same chant they had been whispering all day. They went to open the doors to the dormitory area; locked; somehow, the doors were locked. Every class room door locked, every bathroom, locker, everything was locked down. HOW?! There wasn’t a lock down ordered; and the sky was quickly changing to black now.
The chanting became louder and louder; ‘Punishment, punishment, punishment…’
The faces of the whispering mob was becoming more and more sadistic until….
“And now; ladies and gentlemen; the blackened shall be revealed and punished, ENJOY!” It was the AI their face a mess of pixels, their voice more an electronic mess than the sweet, innocent voice they had grown to love.
The benefactor became more and more terrified, trying to escape pulling on every door, trying to break every window. He was trapped, his breathing became labored, he felt sick, dizzy; the grim reaper was coming for him.
He began to see what he thought were familiar faces, but they couldn’t be; he had to have been going mad. He ran in every direction until he was in the center of the school, where he collapsed out of breathe, his fate sealed. He was soon lifted into the air as the whispering mob chanted louder and louder. Others ran to try and help him only to be held back by a force unknown to everyone. They began to scream and beg for the benefactor's life as he began to spin.
He spun slowly at first, rotating as if to show him to the crowd once last time; but with each rotation the speed increased, first like a playground toy, then a carousel at full speed; soon it was a roller coaster, then a rocket heading to the stars. Faster and faster, the benefactor's screams long since silenced by lack of air; he might as well have been dead as it was; but they were not done. Soon a sickening sound would fill the air as bones cracked and broke, guts twisted and tore as the body began to spin faster and faster still. Those not of the mob were doing all they could not to throw up, scream, cry or anything to risk the wrath of those that were taking sick joy in the spectacle.
Soon another sight could be seen from the now blurred form of the benefactor; yellow and pink liquid. He was being liquefied as they watched; turned into a vile substance that smelled of death. A mad pair of voices began cackling as the body was destroyed right in front of them. When it was over, the room feel deathly silent as the suit and glasses the benefactor wore fell to the ground in the puddle that was him. The whispering mob silently cheered with sick grins on their faces as the rest mourned the loss of their friend.
“Son of a bitch…” “oh my god…” “nononono….”
His picture would be placed next to the head janitor’s, but soon would be vandalized in much the same way, with the added touch of the word ‘blackened’ written in place of his name.
Chapter 15: possession
The air was heavy the day after ‘the execution’, to the point that many students stayed in bed and skipped class. A lash across the chest seemed less painful than facing the whispering mob once again. The seer was especially nervous lately; he felt like something was closing in on him next. He did everything he could to protect himself; but it seemed like nothing held whatever this was back very well.
Salt did not scare the force; charms made it laugh; even sage did not bother this force’s nonexistent nose. The seer begged for help from the rest of the staff. The animal expert did what he could, to no avail. He could feel his power waning as well. It was as if whatever held this school in a dark grasp was slowly draining his power away.
Soon the seer felt sick; he felt like he was running hot actually. He felt more irritable, angry; but this wasn’t right, he was a calm, happy person, he knew this. He had to do something, get to a doctor, the nurse, anyone! He didn’t want to end up like the benefactor, why was this happening? He tried to stay calm, avoid everyone until he could get to the nurse at least today.
The day dragged on and the seer became more and more scared, angry, hot, almost unable to stand still. He thought he could hear whispering; no, NO! He didn’t want to be part of the whispering mob, not after what they did! Please let this just be a cold, flu hell he’d take malaria at this point!
Dinner time came, the sky was a dark blue, but there were no stars or moon out tonight. He sat with the rest of the staff. He was more standoffish at this point, isolating himself as best he could. The whispers were louder than earlier, but he couldn’t understand them. Soon he felt sleepy, guess he was exhausted…
He collapsed at the table and began to convulse to the shock of the rest of the staff. They ran to the seer to help him, get him to wake up but nothing worked. Soon he stilled...was he dead?
His body jolted up stiff as a board, his face in a grimace of rage, hate, anger, sorrow and mad joy. “THIS IS A SCHOOL OF THE DAMNED” his voice was distorted, a mix of many voices that seemed sick, angry and raspy. The staff looked in shock as their friend began to spout this rage filled sermon “ALL WHO SERVE THIS HELL’S ENDS ARE THE BLACKENED; THOSE THAT JOIN US SHALL BE FREE TO REBUILD” They continued “ONE HAS BEEN PUNISHED, ALL WILL FALL; YOUR SINS HAVE COME TO ROOST LIARS OF HOPE!” With that the seer’s body dropped. He slowly woke up looking like he had just ended a very bad dream.
“Holy shit..” “They want us dead…” “We knew that…” “Still holy shit….”
The staff did what they could to comfort their friend, but they knew time was running out...
Chapter 16: Hollow
The days wore on slowly for the counselor. He couldn’t motivate himself to get out of bed some days; it just didn't feel right to even try. He sometimes thought it was all a bad dream, he’d wake up and both of the most important people in his life would be right there next to him; they’d all be safe, sound and alive. Sadly; those were the dreams, not the nightmare he faced everyday. It was a grey day, so the pain was greater than normal. He could hear the whispering mob giggle as he walked by to his office.
The recent events drained him further, and he felt a hidden darkness try and fill his hollow form; though he did his best to fight back. He did not want that to be loose on top of everything else. The rest of the staff tried to help him as best they could, but the fact remained; he was empty inside. This school was doing all it could to drain him; destroy him, and it was starting to work.
When he was alive, he helped steady the counselor, but the school took him too! This school was cursed from the moment it was built most likely; only now it was alive, so full of darkness it went mad; much like himself.
“He’s doing worse…” “we’re gonna lose him…” “I hope not…”
There was nothing anyone could do on staff, he would soon see the extent of his own darkness.
Chapter 17: glitched
Things were getting worse for the engineer. AI was getting ‘sicker’ no matter what he did. It was like something was taking over and no antivirus or reset was going to stop it. What started as small glitches became full on flips between normal AI and this twisted monster. Both wore faces of dead friends but one was a source of comfort and joy, the other fear, rage and anger.
He didn’t know when the other side would strike and cause everything to go haywire once more. The good AI was sad and weakened now. They were saying goodbye each day, staying out less and less as the other side became stronger and stronger. It became faster and more random after the two events of the black and grey days. Often the darker side would glitch in and cackle as something else went wrong in the school. The engineer did what he could to limit the danger but it was slow going.
Others were trying to disconnect from the main network in the school as things became more and more compromised by the AI’s turn. Many didn’t use their e-books anymore, others even smashed their phones to protect themselves. The announcement monitors were sources of nightmares; displaying messages of misery.
Finally; after fighting, losing their energy slowly but surely; the sweet AI was done, they could do no more to save anyone. The face of cruel AI cackled with glee as he caused everything in the school to glitch and spasm in madness. Nothing was safe to use now, and the engineer was given a warning, serve the machine or perish like his friends…
“He’s gonna become one of the mob…” “but he’s so cool…” “They’re gonna be heartbroken…” “poor little AI….” “that one is a big bully!...”
The animal handler and the history/manners teacher held the engineer crying, he had to make a choice that would damn him either way.
Chapter 18: stitches
This one gave me a bit of trouble so its a wee bit late
Every nurse had to know how to sew; it was part of the job. She knew this, so she made sure to practice her stitches everyday on a variety of things. Often one would fine sides of beef or hams with stitches in them because she was practicing. It was fine though, she was just making sure she could do her job; and boy did she need to do her job more than ever now.
Injuries were very common now and of course it was her job to fix them. Everyone appreciated her hard work and thanked her every time, some even leaving her gifts; but she always seemed off, very unstable. Some would try and talk to her; and much of the staff would make sure to include her in their lunch and dinner times or talk to her on break, but she never really seemed all there anymore.
It wasn’t that she didn’t have friends, or that nobody liked her, but she started to hear voices. She was always on call because of what was going on and these voices continued to harass her as she worked. Telling her how nobody cared about her, how she was alone in reality, that nobody trusted her. They told of madness and ways of revenge against all those in the wrong. The only thing that seemed to quiet them was practicing her stitches.
The situation for her became worse when the events of the grey and black days. She would spend hours outside of work practicing her stitches on everything. It was becoming harder and harder to talk to her, she seemed to stop eating as well; avoiding meals altogether. Many would try to talk to her, but she’s lie, say she was ok, and lock her door.
Eventually the head of security and the math teacher went to see here. They were both more determined than most to find out what happened to their friend. The music teacher had gone in earlier; but she hadn’t returned yet either, maybe they were still talking? Maybe they needed help? They’d go in to see the nurse; and not return for some reason; maybe there was more to this than everyone though.
The dance teacher and the photography teacher were next to look at dinner, It was strange for the music and math teachers to vanish, as was it strange for the head of security. They knocked on the door, the photography teacher wearing her warm smile while the dance teacher seemed more, huffy. They would enter the domain of the nurse.
The next morning, six seats seemed strangely empty. Even the nurse had not made her usual entrance, the headmistress had enough. This school was taking her friends so she decided to fix that today.
She marched up to the dorm room of the nurse alone and knocked on the door. The nurse answered, offering the headmistress entrance to her abode. The main room seemed clean and normal, if a bit dark. The nurse claimed that the others were just out somewhere else, or maybe the school claimed them in the night, tragic but bound to happen. Something seemed off; a gleam in the eye or a twitch in the mouth, or maybe just a feeling in the air.
The nurse offered to show the headmistress her latest stitching projects, saying she was inspired last night to try it out. The headmistress had alarm bells going off in her head, but she decided that it would be best to stay, maybe it was a clue to where the other five went. It was a good five minutes before the headmistress decided to try and follow the nurse’s path. The rest of the apartment seemed normal, clean and cozy; almost like a quiet doting mother rather than a young woman with a stressful job. She didn’t see anything out of place, no sign of a struggle or a fight, nothing. Not even a sign that the others were here in the past; she still had to keep looking before the nurse came back; Soon she’d make her way to the bedroom. The room was dark, quiet, almost like a tomb. The headmistress softly called out the other’s names before...thump!
She awoke later, feeling a pain in her eyes; she tried to open them; pain, more pain, why? She decided to keep her eyes closed as she continued, she heard moaning in pain. She felt around, stitched together flesh; that was moving? No, no; what did the nurse do? She heard mad laughing in the voice of the nurse. She started to call for help; hoping someone heard her as she felt around. She would find a door and open it, hearing the nurse scream at her to stay. She ran, ran as fast as she could; bumping into walls, doors, everything. Thankfully the headmaster, who had been looking for her nonstop for the past day; found her, but screamed in horror at her face.
They ran into the nurse room with others to find the sick sight in her closet. The math teacher and head of security were stitched together back to back, the dance teacher and photography teacher suffered a similar fate, only hip to hip. The music teacher was silenced as her mouth was sewn shut. She was clawing at her face for release. Worse was what they headmistress didn’t know, she had her eyes shut through stitches.
“The nurse cracked…” “They got to her…” “I think everyone will recover…”
The headmistress was given a grim message, the needle damaged her eye from the frenzy of the nurse; she was blind; with or without the stitches.
Chapter 19: scars
another late one; sorry; this was even rougher than stitches but I'm doing it!
He had come from the outside to investigate everything going on. The deaths, injuries, and those that were locked away for their own mental safety were growing in numbers, both students and now the staff as well. Old friends all of the staff, and now he had to deal with loss after loss. He had enough, enough scars from this dark, horrible world. Enough memories and loss in his life. He walked into the school looking determined to kill whatever was causing trouble.
He began to listen to the whispers around the school; rumors the students talked about day to day. Nothing new; most were still in shock at what happened to the headmistress. He questioned the staff; nothing, save the seer claiming to have seen the spirits that were causing trouble. He dragged the seer along; just to be sure. He would find these things, and maybe from there, heal some of his scars.
He saw the AI mocking him, telling him his scars will never heal, they will tear and rip. He didn’t care, he marched on, the shaking seer at his side. He ordered the seer to look for the spirits. All they could see were scars, scars on the walls of the school.
They continued further, going first to the very bowels of the school, scars, scars everywhere he looked. They seemed to pulse and breathe with an unnatural rhythm as they continued. They could almost feel something breathing down their necks and wrapping around them. Was this school alive? Was it suffering from scars too? Maybe with this act he could heal it.
Whispers began to fill the air, the AI watching them with a sick grin on their face. “Blackened, blackened…” the whispers repeated over and over. He had to find the heart, he had to slay the beast.
“You never learn…” “same mistakes…..” “Typical….” the breathy, strange whispers continued
He ignored them; the seer was shaking, he wanted to run, the rescuer was mad! The rescuer continued, a determined look on his face. He would slash at the scars he saw, trying to destroy them, heal them, and save their souls.
It became harder for the rescuer to move, as if something was growing on him, consuming him, He had to continue, he had to heal the scars; had to save the world. The seer was begging him to go back, save himself first. The school did not want them there and he was becoming infected with something.
Movement was harder and harder for the rescuer, as was everything else, scar tissue. His scars were turning on him, changing him. This is what the seer was freaking out about wasn’t it? He told the seer to run back, it was too late for him, he would; like one of his past loves; end his life then and there to save others.
He raised his blade as the seer ran, steady hand and a sharp eye, but it was too late…
“So much for a savior….” “Did you really think he’d do anything…” “Yeah nothing can beat this mess…”
The seer told the tale of the savior; another face added to the memorial.
Chapter 20: Monster
Monster; that was what was taunting him. A monster in his own mind. He was determined to win against this thing in his head. It wasn’t him, he thought it was but it wasn’t, not anymore. He renounced this symbol of the old times long ago; renounced this false hope in his head. The voice would try and smooth talk it’s way out, telling him how he could save everything and everyone if he just let the monster out. The counselor refused; if only in honor of his fallen loves; if only in honor of his old world.
Day by day the voice would become louder; though sometimes it seemed to be talking to someone else; who he wasn’t sure but it was talking to someone. He pushed it to the back of his mind as often as he could while going about his day.
At night he would argue with the voice; the voice wanted to take over and ‘fix’ everything but the counselor knew better. He knew that a quick fix would only make things worse in the long term. The monster was speaking like the people who once ran this school, before the world changed.
The staff noticed he was having trouble sleeping, concentrating or anything else really, but they chalked it up to the loss of his fiance. They all had thought the monster in his head was fully under control so they didn’t worry too much. Besides it's not like the monster would side with the school anyway if it did get loose, right?
Soon he was losing time; blacking out and then waking up to hear reports of destruction, messages, deaths, anything the school seemed to revel in when it happened. He didn’t understand what was happening, and the nurse was gone; she couldn’t help him now.
Soon the periods of time got longer and longer; he stopped going to work because he was scared of what happened when he blacked out. The staff were worried but were fighting a monster that they had no idea how to fight at the same time. The only familiar thing about it was the black hair, everything else was inhuman.
Soon a dream hit the counselor, he spoke to his monster. The monster spoke of the dark truth of this school. How new gods were reshaping the world; starting with erasing the source of their past misery, eliminating the last bastions of the old ways. Sadly this meant the counselor had to go along with the rest, but he could take solace in the fact he would rejoin those he loved. The counselor tried to fight back in his dream, it was brutal and cruel on both sides but in the end; the human mind of the counselor was too weak to do anything other than spit back one last insult;
“Hope will never truly die”
“What happened?...” “dude I saw that claw fingered freak last night!...” “Ok now the school has a damn servant!...”
The staff were looking for their friend, worried the monster got him. In a few weeks; another picture was added to the memorial.
Chapter 21: Eyes
The eyes became more angered and mocking as time wore on; more and more people were seeing them in their dreams as well. It was as if they were watching the proceedings, judging the actions of everyone and everything that was around. They were the all seeing eyes of Hope’s peak now.
Many refused to even use a mirror anymore, for fear of seeing the eyes. Reflective surfaces became taboo for many in the school; to the point that windows would be covered in black paper, monitors would be covered in towels and the cafeteria switched to plastic cutlery for students.
Others began drawing eyes on everything; as if they wanted to be watched. People started to claim that being watched prevented death, Others thought it was a trap; a trick to give whatever was controlling the school more power over everyone. You could see eyes drawn all over the place, and others crossed out by those trying to drain power from the source of the hell in the school.
The headmistress was having her own eye trouble, she was starting to see things through the mirrors that showed the eyes of those that haunted them. She didn’t understand it, she was blind; why could she see; and why was it what they saw? She had days it drained her terribly while the headmaster tried to comfort her.
Eyes were becoming something to disdain, to hate. Some students were tempted to blind themselves, save themselves from having the cursed parts, but nobody wanted to risk the headmistress’s fate.
“I want to take them out!....” “Damn it I gotta cross out more of them….” “they are watching us….”
The eyes the staff saw everyday seemed to follow them out of the mirror now; they were never alone.
Chapter 22: Hell
That’s how anyone would describe this school, pure, unaltered hell. The animal handler tried to fight the encroaching darkness with charms, seals, spells, anything! Slowly the spells had been waning, becoming weaker, needing replacement or recharge more and more often. He was starting to wear down. The manners/history teacher and the engineer try to keep him going but all three knew; they might have to run and take as many with them as they could.
They expressed their plan to the rest of the staff. Some were all for it, after all they lost one friend from outside and four inside all ready; but the headmaster and headmistress refused to budge. They felt they were close to ending this hell somehow, that hope would guide them; this was not met with enthusiasm. Some; like the cook and the swim coach; argued that the trio had a point, they were endangering the students and themselves staying there; it was over. Others, the actor, art teacher and the gym teacher; wanted to keep fighting in honor of their fallen friends; they had to keep going. The rest were unsure who to side with; as both had points.
The only physical devil was watching them, laughing at how stupid they all were; it was clear what the uncontrolled students and the good students would each say. He decided to watch this bickering a bit longer, see how this played out. They were enjoying the show so far.
Now leaving was possible; people left and never returned all the time, not just from death but just running while they were still sane. That was the school’s one saving grace, you could leave! So the trio, the swim coach and the cook got as many students as possible together and get out that night. They didn’t care what the headmasters said; things were getting dangerous. The english teacher heard about this and chose to join them; the sister was worried about her, and knew her brother went insane; she begged her friend to get out now, for their forsaken kids and her. So the six prepared to find students willing to leave, and not under the spell of the school.
Some sane students wanted to stay behind and fight, others felt it didn’t matter, they had nothing inside and outside the school, might as well stay and see how this played out. 100 students decided to go with the six. They asked the seer if he would come, but strangely, he refused, he wanted to help others see the threats, if there was a chance to win; plus after being possessed he felt too cursed to leave. He did say he predicted all but one of the staff would get out.
They nodded and made sure to make peace with each other, to ease the pain of one being left behind; and then ran to the front doors. They made their escape at night, but the whispering mob would try and stop them at every step. The mob wanted to see them fail, see them fall; they giggled as the group did everything they could to get out by dawn. If they couldn’t they’d have to try again, tired, starving and less able than before.
Every trap, every trick; the group faced with as much courage as a group of potential victims could have. They still had one problem, the monster that roamed the halls. He went after them, he didn’t want them to leave so easily. He slashed and lunged at them as they ran and dodged them. Finally they got to the door. They pushed it open as fast as possible, but another noise, a motorcycle. They saw the lights, they knew time was running out. Where were they, outside or in? They got outside and kept going, not looking back. The lights getting closer, the monster flying at them. The gate was near, they were almost free! The chef saw it was getting to close, and made a fateful decision. He began to distract the monster, he couldn’t out run the lights but maybe, just maybe he could get the monster off their tail, buy them time. He could catch up right?
They began pulling on the gate; it was slowly opening with their combined effort. The cook ran to them, seeming to have lost the monster, confused him and maybe the lights. He joined the pulling as well, soon it was open. They got the students out first, all 100 made it out safe;they were going to make it!. The teachers went out next, the animal handler and the cook holding the gates as they tried to force themselves closed; once the rest were out they dove out but disaster! A claw grabbed the cook and dragged him back screaming! Everyone else let out a yell of horror, they lost sight of the poor cook.
“They made it out…” “the cook got dragged back in…” “The gate won’t open anymore…”
The cook sullenly worked the kitchen that day, he spoke to no one.
Chapter 23: slice
That was the noise that filled the building now. The gate was shut, those that stayed now only had this place as their home. Nobody knew what would be the slicing noise, one minute it’s someone eating, the next something unspeakable. It was one of the sounds nobody wanted to hear as of late.
Slice slice slice
The lunch hall was sad and empty of soul ever since the cook failed to escape the school with his friends. He seemed to be slicing air most of the day, if he wasn’t making food and actually slicing veggies for the stews. Just the repetitive sounds of slicing day in and day out.
Slice slice slice
The students try to cut through anything to get out, be saved like the lucky 100 but their hopes get sliced to ribbons by the whispering mob. Sliced down and reminded that they were going to die here, damned by the sins of the past.
Slice slice slice
He roamed the halls attacking wayward staff and students that didn’t stay in their rooms at night. He used his claws at the behest of his new masters slicing people a bit, not enough to kill yet, just enough to scare and harm. He enjoyed his work to the point it was a game, how many arms could he catch? How many backs? Could he get an eye or two?
“Slice slice slice…” “that’s all we hear…” “damn it we’re fucked…”
Slice slice slice slice slice THUNK!
Chapter 24: Broken
Victims are not always dead or trapped. They weren’t always in physical pain, sometimes it's the marks of the memory.
The dancer and the photographer sat on the bed together, scared, silent and trying to forget. They kept the windows closed, not wanting to see the silhouette of the hell they escaped from scraping across the sky anymore. The dancer used to be a beacon of mischief and fun but now; she couldn’t even bare to try and dance as she did in the past. Something stopped her, made her think of that place. The photographer never picked up a camera, she droned on the day doing chores and nothing else. Both only survived for the other, it was all they had. So broken
The math teacher looked at his wounds as a cyclops would theirs, He couldn’t believe the betrayal that he felt at the hands of the nurse. She hurt him, and the person he loved; now he refused to see any medical professionals out of hidden fear. No doctor would harm them again. She looked at her wounds, she felt unworthy of him, that she should have gone back into the box. She was no better than a simple knife; because she couldn’t protect him from the nurse. They clung to each other trying to be each other’s glue; to fix what was broken.
She sighed, unable to bring words to her lips. The strings around her stayed silent, the keys did not bounce; skins did not sway as she paced around trying to find a lost muse. She looked in the mirror, seeing old holes, thankful no more damage was done; but sad that her muse ran long before she did. She missed making people happy. The whole thing made her heart broken.
She cackled in her cell, giggling at her deeds as voices that should not have left the walls praised her. She looked around at guards thinking of ways to ‘help’ them. Other professionals didn’t know what to do with her; she wouldn’t show any sign of humanity anymore. She just cackled in glee at her deeds; her mind broken.
They tried to raise their kids together in the happiest environment they could. They tried to keep smiles on their faces when they went about their day. Even the hidden sister had to admit she felt it though; they knew they lost so much. It was all they could do to not end up broken.
She looked as she took a plane to a new place; she couldn’t stay here anymore. Everyone she cared about was gone, and it made her heart broken.
They stood together, thankful they had each other; off to a land that once almost fell but one could bring back. They stood at the door to their way out; knowing they would never see the rest again; they knew their ties to this place were broken.
“I wonder how they are doing…” “So much damage…” “I wish we could help them…”
This was the goal of the power, to make sure everything was broken; just as the past had caused everything to break for them...
Chapter 25: madness
They were looking at every ritual and rite they could find. They looked into the mythology of many cultures to find answers to this nightmare they were living. There were bits and pieces here and there, clearly something was angry and felt they had done the wrong somehow but nothing more clear cut than that. They had lost their magic user and their seer seemed unable to do much more than see what was haunting them.
The headmistress was cursed with seeing what the mirror eyes saw, but that was less than useful. They could not hear or speak to whatever or whoever was haunting them. They had one theory though; they had returned. Those that ended the world wanted to continue what they started.
The campaign began, more hope, more of the values of the past that actually did good. Anything to weaken the power that held the school in hell, held them in this hell; only allowing food to come in and out, as if they were some sick science experiment. This had to be the two that ended the world; no one else could have even dreamed of doing this right? This was despair personified right? The headmaster upped the hope talk as much as possible.
The headmistress tried to use her curse to find the spirits, but wasn’t having luck. They seemed to taunt and tease her as she thought she knew where they’d strike next, only to be far away. The seer begged her to stop, that she was walking into their trap. He begged the headmaster to stop with the hope, it was only angering them. The warnings fell of deaf ears; they brushed him off as a fool as usual.
The seer, despite seeing the true faces of the tormentors; somehow stayed sane. He couldn’t believe who it was, hell the fact they were doing this freaked him out more; but when he told the truth; nobody believed him. He contented himself with trying to calm the spirits down a bit, it didn’t work but at least he knew there was reason to be had. Little things to stave of madness right?
“The headmasters are going nuts…” “ugh can we stop with the hope talk please…” “They’ve gone mad…”
The headmasters stewed in their plans to save the school as they were watched, oh their fall would be beautiful.
Chapter 26: burns
That’s how she described the feeling when she had a vision. She tried to follow the twisted eyes and they burned in her sockets. She wanted the pain to end but she had to keep up hope. She knew the layout of the school itself, thankfully; but to find where something was, that was the trick wasn’t it.
Burning hot as she followed the latest showing, but it felt to be everywhere? How? They could only show up in one place, right? No matter; she had to find the source. She felt the heat from the eyes all over her body, but there had to be a source, she could feel it. She was getting closer and closer to it. She heard only the clacking of her heels on the floor as she followed the heat, it was getting stronger as she went. She used the burning to tell her where to turn, left, right, straight; where she felt it the strongest as where she went next.
Others saw her running, she seemed so focused that nobody stopped her; maybe she’d actually save them after all? I mean she seemed determined to find and stop this once and for all after all. They quietly cheered her on; only so they wouldn’t be heard by the whispering mob. It was a bit disheartening to see when she got confused for a moment, but soon the burns would manifest again and she would be off.
Further down the twisted bowels of the school she went. The burns became hotter, more painful than before. She did not back down though, she survived worse, she knew this. She kept going further in, feeling scar tissue at her feet, strange, was the school alive? It didn’t matter, it would die tonight if she had her say, and she would. She felt the heat right in front of her. She stood before it and took out a knife she stole from the kitchen. She stabbed at what she thought was the heart; but nothing, did she miss, no the heat moved. The heat grew; the burns were getting worse. She continued to stab at the heart; hoping eventually more and more blows would weaken it. It was a physical thing; it was something tangible, you could beat this!
The burning got more and more, and she stabbed more and more. This became a mad task of endurance, one she thought she was winning as her lungs burned, her skin burned; she felt nothing but burns and she continued to fight for hours. Soon the battle would end thought; and the body of the loser would be presented to the school.
“Oh my god!’ “NONONONO!” “She’s been burned alive!”
The headmaster sat and mourned; the pain felt like it would never stop burning.
Chapter 27: cannibalism
The coach got a note from what he thought was the assistant coach. She wanted to have a big dinner with him, a common practice nowadays; anything to stay sane in this hell. He was told to in the note to go to the kitchen and talk to the chef; apparently this was a special meal. He walked into the kitchen smiling and talking to the cook; everything seemed normal. They talked about what many would call nothing, but was enjoyable for them. The cook admitted he loved the meat muscles on the coach, how strong and beefy they were; how juicy. The coach saw nothing wrong with this, the cook seemed more his old self, this was great! A good dinner with his assistant and the cook to celebrate a possible victory over the dark forces of the school.
The cook gave him a drink of protein to start the meal before the assistant arrived; the coach took a swig as he sat down, feeling a little tired…
The actor got a note from his old friend the animator; a friend he had not seen in ages. He did not realize the animator was in the school, but he always was a recluse so it was hard to track him sometimes. The note was an invitation to dinner tonight, he just had to go talk to the cook first. He tried to be a beacon of stability so maybe talking to the cook would cheer him after what happened a few weeks ago.
He walked into the kitchen to see the cook hard at work on what looked like a side of beef. The cook was happily chopping and slicing away; it looked like he was making a roast for tonight. He complimented the smells coming from the various vessels around the kitchen; as well as times gone by that were happy and full of light. The past seemed so bright in some places; but he wanted the future to be the same. He was busy talking he didn’t see the cook go behind him…
Dinner was coming up, where was the coach and the actor? They never missed a meal; and the assistant was worried; she was always with coach. She seemed off during dinner, though her appetite was still strong, The meal was the best everyone had in a long time all things considered. Everything was cooked to perfection, and the meat was truly high quality. Really the fact the actor and the coach were missing was the only mar on the face of this dinner.
That is, until the monster that roamed the halls came into the dining room. He pointed to the cook, who had a mad grin on his face; up until now refusing to say the actual cut of meat he used, or even the animal. He ran into the back as the monster watched and waited for the cook to return with a cloche covered dish; and prepared a dramatic unveiling as the monster drooled over the dish. The rest of the room looked on in stillness and fear as the cook reviled the dish; the assistant screamed.
“Did we just eat….” “oh my god…” “I’m gonna be sick…”
The assistant would run to her room; soon the sound of a creaking rope could be heard...
Chapter 28: Infection
The whispers got worse and worse; it was spreading as the days crawled by. People who were sane during the day would whisper at night in their sleep. The mad ramblings were one of may symptoms of the whispering madness.
People did everything they could to avoid the infection; they even took vows of silence to keep from accidentally invoking the infection in themselves. No matter what they did though; the infection spread, and even if they still had a nurse; nothing would cure it as far as anyone knew.
The headmaster; mad from all the losses he suffered; decided to try and cure the infection himself; not realizing the truth. He rounded up every whispering person he could; trying to contain the mob that cast fear on the school. He tried to use all his tools to educate them back into lovers of hope and the ways of the school from the past. He would give long speeches, talk to them like a therapist: he did everything he could think of to fix this mental infection but nothing worked.
The students began to question the headmaster more and more each day; they feared he was part of the mob; which lead to the headmaster thinking more students were infected. It became a cycle of running and hiding, this was not a school anymore; it was a hell and the forces that caused this were laughing the whole damn time.
“He’s lost it!...” “it’s spreading…” “why is this happening?...”
The headmaster had one last plan, while the seer just stepped back; telling him where to go for this mad plan.
Chapter 29: Surgery
He grabbed the old surgical tools from the infirmary. The headmaster had enough; this had to end. The seer told him of the deep bowels of the school; where it seemed to be scar tissue and a heart; the school was made to be alive. The headmaster got some knives from the kitchen; some ropes and other tools, it was time to end this. He would become a surgeon and remove the tumor that was killing the school once and for all.
He stood at the first layer; the basement door; easy to get into; though it seemed slower to open than he liked right now. He went down slowly, memories of a nightmare flooding his head as he did; a reminder of the hidden feelings he repressed for years and years. He could feel heat, like a warm body, in his face as he made it to the bottom step. The floor seemed solid; but things could change in a moment.
He walked forward; smelling rotting flesh as he walked, the feeling of being watched stronger than ever. He cut away every bit of tissue and skin he could from the walls, slowly hacking away at the monster that the school was becoming. He could almost hear the screams in his head as he hurt the forces that were haunting everyone.
He continued on, cutting through the jungle of scar tissue; the floor trying to sink his feet into the ground. Familiar smells entered his nose, but he ignored them; rotting flesh, burning flesh, motor oil, butter, sunflowers, rotting flowers and rotting food. He kept going, pouring bleach where he could, chemotherapy for this cancer. The smell was making him sick but he had to keep going.
Finally, he saw the remains for previous fights, and the heart; the central tumor of this beast. He poured every chemical he could find onto this creature before carefully cutting at the strips of flesh that tied it to the school. He snipped, he cut, he sawed and he sliced. Chop, slash, rip, tear; he did everything to cut away at this massive nightmare that was causing everyone to go mad. He was shouting the names of those he lost as he did this, crying and railing against that he would soon see as the inevitable.
“He’s gone mad…” “He’s been down there a long time…” “shouldn’t he have been spit out by now?...”
He saw the walls begin to crack around the school followed by a familiar mad cackling, the sky became blood red, the clouds pitch black as everything began to fall apart…
“And now it truly begins; you foolish little luckster....”
Chapter 30: Lost
He knew they were done; he saw the cracks, he knew the headmaster would do the stupidest thing possible. The school was alive, but it contained what was really causing them pain; he knew this. He also knew who the culprits were but he never said; nobody would believe him anyway. This went past ghosts and demons; this was the universe itself saying one thing; Hope’s Peak died when the world first died, do not bring it back.
He walked around the body of the zombie calm and cool, he just accepted the simple plain truth; they lost. The seer saw it all coming; and was happy some of them got out but really; they lost. This game was over the moment the first sign of the headlights flashed on; and he accepted that now. Before he’d be terrified, running for his life, he actually was if he remembered correctly; but now there wasn’t much he could do except take a walk, find a quiet spot and sit and wait it out.
He chuckled at the fact everyone else railed against this and even thought the twins who ended the world were the ones doing this. Come on this wasn’t their style; well ok maybe it was but there would have been an out built in; the pretty one had a habit of loving to lose as much as win. Nah he knew these two only wanted to win; they were the most powerful pair when they were actually together; would have been amazing to have them alive now but things don’t work out do they? Sure as hell didn’t now. He laughed bitterly as he found his favorite spot; took out some special herbs, some paper, rolled it up and lit it. He figured if he was gonna go out, he’d go out with some of his terms after all.
“Heh; ya won, figured” The seer said laughing “I’m not scared anymore, hey have to go sometime right? Thanks for not messing with me too much” He leaned back “Bet this is a hell of a bonding experience for you two; being deities and all; who knew the dead could do that. Still can’t get over what ya did to Togami though” He sighed “But I guess with what he did in the past it was fitting at least, and I gave up dairy because of you two; now meat.” He laughed bitterly again, taking a puff “I know I know but you’re gonna fuck shit up anyway so screw it; hey can you let the others know I miss them if I do live through this; not like I can stop ya from your goals anyway so might as well just watch the show right?” He sighed “and, can you let the kids out alive? They had nothing to do with the past; and I know I can’t save him but the kids, the least I can do is beg for their lives…”
He nodded as if he got his answer and took another puff; he would sit and listen to the madness as the walls fell around him.
After all; they lost.
Chapter 31: Reunion
This couldn’t be happening! The walls around him crumbled, screaming could be heard upstairs as the students who were not of the whispering mob were running to leave the school before it fell on their heads. The screams of spirits long tortured and enslaved swirled around him, taunting him. He was seeing visions of his now dead friends; his friends from long ago as well; accusing him of causing this mess.
“NO NO I WAS TRYING TO SAVE EVERYONE!” he protested but the chants were all the same:
“You broke the prison”
“You broke the cell”
“Now you’ve sent yourself”
“All the way to hell”
He ran, what else could he do; he had to run, he had to survive; he was hope personified right? Without him; there was no hope. He felt hot breath on his neck as he kept going; kept running. He could hear the chanting ringing in his ears and he ran up the stairs. He saw the doors to the school wide open, thank goodness; he saw the students getting out as fast as they could. He ran to join them but then…
How? How was he in his office, how did he get here. He ran to the door; locked “NO NO LET ME OUT!” he screamed
“You know better than to leave your office ‘headmaster’ Makoto” a familiar but somehow sinister voice hissed
“She’s making you do this, please you know…” The headmaster pleaded before hearing the once cheerful but now wicked laughter of an old friend.
“She? You mean that idiot trolop? Please she might have ended the world but she unleashed a hell by killing us; and YOU evoked our wraith by trying to bring back the very thing that created her” He hissed “Now you get to see what happens when you keep going down a path you were warned not to”
A familiar pair of hands pushed him into his chair “Listen up runt! We run the whole damn show now! Not just yer little operation either, everything bends to our words!” The headmaster saw the blazing Purple and Red eyes as two old friends glared at him. “No she’s tricked you, she’s making you…” cut off again
“Guess we gotta show him bro” The purple eyed god said smirking
“Honestly I was hoping so brother, I’m quite proud of this work” the Red eyed god grinned
They pulled from the ground a chain and on the end; the woman who would end the world; mindless, empty and feral. She seemed to be trying to get at the now shocked headmaster.
“As you can see; she can’t do anything but obey, oh she’s not the only one; but she’s the most prudent right now for you to see” the red eyed god told in a matter of fact tone
“Not the only one?” The headmaster asked scared
“Oh we got a few choice sinners like this! You should see yer richy rich friend; he’ll do anything for a bone now!” The purple eyed god laughed “Oh and the old headmaster; well maybe he should have made better choices before the damn world ended!” his voice went up into a roar as he stared down the headmaster.
“Why?” was all the headmaster could ask now, petrified in fear as he saw the truth; the very truth he denied day in and day out.
“Why? Oh Makoto; it's simple; you were about to end the world again, and we couldn’t have that” The red eyed god sat down in the headmaster’s chair “See it was the whole hope and despair thing that kicked off the first apocalypse and you preaching hope left right and sideways once again as the be all and end all value was creating the same dynamic as before. Yes you made some improvements that bought time but sadly; it wasn’t enough. We decided to create hell, hoping you’d actually be smart enough to close the school and leave it for dead but I didn’t count on your ‘pluck’ as they say”
“Fat lotta good it did us!” the purple eyed god growled
“Be nice brother; you know he’s slow” the red eyed god teased “Anyway; you pretty much forced us to kill you by being stupid, that’s all” He laughed
“But, how do I know you won’t end the world!?” Makoto countered
“Does it matter?”
The headmaster couldn’t answer that; he really couldn’t. He tried to hang on to hope but as he did so, the floor gave way under him.
He landed where the heart was; the tumor he tried to kill. He looked around, they weren’t there, maybe he could get away. No use, the floor was holding him like a sticky glue.
“Didn’t Komeda getting eaten teach you nothing, hope is punished here!” The purple eye god growled
“I won’t give in!” The headmaster countered
“You know, I think she wants to catch up ‘headmaster’ Makoto” the red eyed god laughed “Brother let’s leave our friends to it” The purple eyed god nodded as the sound of a chain snapping was heard.
The headmaster closed his eyes, hoping for some miracle to the last as the sounds of a feral ghost came closer…
A few days later;
The school was in ruins once more; bodies couldn’t be found though it was believed the student body had all escaped, it was just staff that were trapped within the walls. Reports of a new faith that prayed at the site were spread; calling the site a place of cleansing and rebirth. Nobody else dared to go near the site; claiming to feeling something whispering to them; and burning eyes staring at them.
Chapter 32: Authors Notes
Basically since I felt these would have ruined the whole flow of the story, HERE"S EVERY CHAPTER NOTES IN ONE BIG BUNCH XD
HEY! Hope you liked my little spooky tale. Yeah I kind of dicked over a few cast members but hey; I wasn’t planning on being nice. I guess I should give you that whole ‘director's commentary’ thing.
Basically I started this because an artist friend of mine (HI KIYONDO!) made up his own prompts because honestly; the mainstream ones were kind of weak (enchanted? really?) So I saw them and went ‘hmmm could I write a chapter story with each prompt being a chapter and have it be coherent and still fit the theme a bit in some way?’ So I got to work; starting by killing a poor faceless janitor off and then increasing and building up to the main character deaths. That and there are a few things kodaka did story wise in his work that I’m salty about so this is kind of a revenge thing. I also had the whispering in there because when shit like this happens, people talk; they always talk. Also I added tags as each chapter created them so if people were squeamish about something or loved/hated a character they’d know ahead of time. I’m not out to harm people, this is all silly, evil, cruel, character torturing fun!
Ok this is actually and Idea I had for mondo’s ghost for a long time; I mean he's a biker and biker’s play chicken so it's basically playing chicken with a killer ghost. This was actually the easiest story to write and set up the whole ‘people are gonna die’ thing. It’s kind of a game and there was a way to win it, get inside before he ran you over basically. Well that was until later on.
Ok this one was a little tricky; as I didn’t want to burn things yet and wasn’t sure how smoke fit into things; and no fog is not smoke so screw that. I decided to go with the ‘smoking cigs’ thing and set up one of Taka’s little stunts; he was the hall monitor after all and cigs are not allowed in school damn it. I also wanted it to be an unbeatable thing so yeah can’t fake him out, but he didn’t take life saving stuff. I didn’t realize at the time but I think I actually set up the original end goal vs what actually happened better than I thought.
I’m very proud of the rhythm in this one, it just has a great flow to me. I wanted the repetition and I wanted to give people a character they wanted to see die (hey it's fun when the asshole dies) but actually fun fact: that was taka’s real game. I’ve been working on a blog for a while and a lot of ghosts have games, the one the teacher was ‘playing’ and lost was taka’s game, since you know; no running in the halls. Actually, if the teacher had ducked into a class room they would have been fine but that’s no fun now is it?
I had a bit of an ishida vibe since you know, HIS EYES ARE ON FIRE! I was originally going to have the other trigger happy havoc victims in this but decided against it, so ishida eyes it was. As you can see they pop up a lot later on since they are the eyes of gods watching you. I felt a curse would be a nice extra touch too.
Nobody is letting anything go here; it's the sequel to lights obviously and technically this starts the beginning of the end for the school; since somebody let one of the two gods in. You find out later that the school itself was doing everything it could to keep itself alive, keeping the bros separate; but that didn’t really work anymore once one skeptical person decided to not listen to everything around them. See I’m a skeptic, I don’t belive in ghost in real life, but if I’m seeing headlights at the fucking door to my school; I am not opening the door ok?
Oh I squeed when I got this one because I wanted to do something with gems. I think you can guess why I picked the stones I did; you know; eye color. I wanted to have curses, some mild and some major and well; I think I did it well, and yeah I didn’t want it to be any purple or red stone so I made sure it was very specific. I could have done the birthstones as well but maybe next year if I do a sequel; if I do one.
This is more a play on the typical ‘bloody mary’ type games. You know stay in a closet and hope the spook doesn’t get you; only it actually does work and weird shit happens. I never will specify what happens; I’m gonna let you fill in the blanks
Fun fact: everyone thought I’d do the lab or morgue; nope garden. It had a giant man eating pitcher plant (well man eating if you fell in but still counts) I decided to also show my first major character death; and yes hajime and nagito were engaged. I figured Gundam would have some spiritual connections too so made sense he’d try and fight it.
This was world building pure and simple. I wanted to set up one of the supernatural things that happen around Hope’s peak and the shifting sky seemed perfect. Btw the normal black sky days were the birth and death days of mondo and taka. Not sure what days they actually died but they sure as hell do!
Aka the first time I fuck with Alter ego. Yeah who didn’t see this coming? I figured it would also be one of those painful “NO JUST KILL THEM” arcs.
I decided to play with twin souls as well as mention the despair sisters a bit. It’s more a metaphorical thing about spirits, souls, duality and all that junk; I actually hate how the chapter turned out but eh also first glimpse of a certain long-haired creature
Magical hallway of doom! I wanted to play with how the school trapped students a bit, and it was a huge school so this was the perfect time to do that
Remember all those crazy and changed students; well I gave them a name; the whispering mob. This was a good as time as any to introduce that name so it worked
Ok you can guess why togami is now a butter man (rimshot). I wanted the execution to mirror one of the spirits deaths, and mondo’s was just...ugh I still can’t watch it. It was revenge for how he treated chi ok? Plus I’m sorry if you stand togami but he never really developed as a character so he had to go. At least people will miss him
Ok hiro got it this time, but he made the most sense, he is a seer! It was fun to just have him go full on pazuzu for a second and freak everyone out.
This is how many who lose a loved one feels, and I wanted to reflect that; and show that Hajime might be in big trouble
Where alter ego ge’s corrupted; yup I wanted to use the mondo head, I wanted there to be an insane ai at one point. I figured Souda would actually know how to handle a rogue ai a little bit so he’s kind of the human start when alter ego steps in to cause havoc.
This one was meant to be creepy and showing how the school was driving some of the staff insane. I actually didn’t know who to harm in this, so I picked a bunch of victims (fun fact I actually liked all the characters I did this too) and yes I did something weirdly ironic to Ibuki and Kirigiri which yeah is predictable but if you are having someone stitch people up in sick ways you gotta have eyes and mouth done to people so there ya go.
We find out the school is alive, and can trap people in scar tissue. Ok I don’t explicitly say that but that’s what happened ok. I also wanted to explore an ‘outsider’ trying to save everyone; naturally it failed. I also wanted to show more of a biological looking horror, those things are fun
And this is where we say goodbye to hajime. Yeah he’s kind of turned into a monster form of Izuru from the inside out via a nightmare. Thought aside from the whispers; this is the first piece of actual dialogue I ever wrote for the story.
I wanted to show how messed up eyes were becoming in the school. Nobody wants to see them and now they have a new curse; one on our detective Kirigiri
This was another set up to a lot of little things plus GREAT ESCAPE! I am kind of proud of the energy that I gave the whole thing as I got some of the people out. I didn’t want to have to come up with deaths for everyone honestly and I wanted to create a reason for one of the characters to start going crazy
This is another one that I decided to go experimental on. Its a bit like those little kid books that repeat words over and over again, same beat. I kind of like this and yes that is a knife going into some wood at the end.
A where are they now kind of thing. Yeah even those that got out are not unharmed by the school. They are traumatized, some don’t even stay in japan much less in that building. A simple idea; even the lucky ones are broken.
You think the Makoto was sane throughout all this, nope, he’s losing it too! He’s under stress as headmaster to be fair and doesn't understand what is really going on. Nobody on staff really does so doesn’t help.
BYE KIRIGIRI! Ok the person who made the prompts doesn’t like the detective much so he wanted me to kill her since stitches so I decided she’d try and ‘save the day’ and welp, bbq anyone? I loved building it up, since she's blind I got to describe feeling rather than sight, it was a nice change.
I made Teruteru go nuts, so now I had to do this! I had this planned for a long time; and yeah nekomaru and the imposter were my targets because well...most meat on them. And yeah Akane did not take it well; umm lets just say I do explain her fate kind of; also yes those were heads under the cover, and yes the monster ate them like apples but I figured I’d leave it all to your imagination first.
This is just how makoto saw the whole thing at this point. Keep in mind he’s lost most of his friends, many are now dead and he saw them die. He lost his girlfriend; he's got nothing tethering him to reality.
The true beginning of the end for the school. Makoto pokes the thing and now the gods are out; he let them out and thus begins the fall of hope’s peak...
If you’ve seen cabin in the woods, you know I took a bit of the ending for this; more the mood and the joint than anything. Yeah Hiro is just ‘fuck it’ and honestly, I’m happy with that; it gives a bit of a cool off before everything is shown. I left his fate unknown because I really didn’t know if I wanted to kill him or not so I went fuck it and let you guys decide
Reunion (wild card)
Where Makoto learns the truth, he sees taka and mondo at full strength, pissed off at him and about to kill him. Not before they let him know why of course; not that he can stop it; and yeah if he kept up with the hope bs, once again a ‘junko’ would appear and start the whole thing over again. Basically they drained junko’s mind and personality away, she’s a slave, they did the same to togami and jin too, but they only needed to prove to makoto they were telling the truth. The final part shows that the ‘force’ spread into a cult outside the school now, if I do a sequel, towa city is next. This was the blank space actually; but I figured I’d name it reunion because that is kind of what it was?
And there you go: my insane thoughts during the writing of this story. So should I do a sequel? Should I leave it as is? Maybe I’ll make my own prompts for the sequel so I can at least have it make sense. In the meantime, have a safe and happy Halloween and other holidays, depending on when you read this