“So why are we doing this again?” Jyugo questioned with a blank look. “These costumes look ridiculous.”
He was decked out in a zombie costume, complete with makeup to give him the appearance of death warmed over. The dead eyed look was not an act however, as he was seriously regretting being dragged into this.
“Oh, come on, it’ll be fun!” Uno argued back. The gambler was dressed as a vampire, finished off with a cape, makeup and fangs.
“Yeah right, you’ll just end up running away screaming,” Jyugo scoffed.
“I heard there’s going to be lots of candy!” Nico exclaimed. The otaku was practically vibrating with excitement and wrapped up like a mummy. Dr Otogi wasn’t very happy with them for using so many bandages.
“Don’t be such a spoil sport Jyugo,” Rock said grinning widely. “I heard there’s going to be lots of food.”
Rock had the appearance of a werewolf, complete with fangs, makeup, extra hair and claws. His costume had been a real pain to apply and Jyugo was dreading the time when it would all have to be washed off.
“Of course, that’s the only reason you want to go Rock,” he replied, giving the older inmate a dead pan stare.
Uno was still disgruntled from Jyugo’s earlier remark and started shaking the younger teen. “You just don’t get it! How can I miss out on seeing sweet Kaguya all dressed up?!”
Oh, so that’s what his problem was. It made perfect sense to the escape artist now he thought, feeling beads of sweat starting to form at his hairline.
“Quit your whining already and hurry it up!” Hajime snarled at them.
“Kay!” All four of them chorused, giving him a shit-eating grin.
Hajime was absolutely fuming; he’d had the misfortune of losing a bet with Mitsuru and was forced to wear this stupid outfit. Of all the nerve, that fool got him a gorilla suit! He was so dead once this was over.
Nanba Prison, in all its great wisdom had decided to host a Halloween party at Building 5, and now Hajime had the dubious honour of escorting these four troublemakers to the vicinity. The Building 13 Supervisor was seriously going to murder someone.
In the control room, Mitsuru gave a load sneeze. “Hmm, someone must be thinking about little ol me,” he said looking positively delighted.
Samon was most displeased that his building was the one chosen to host the event and it was all Mitsuru’s fault. He didn’t have much choice in the matter though, the broadcaster had already presented the idea to the Warden, and been granted approval. There’s no way he was going against the Warden, and besides, it might be a good opportunity for some payback.
Shiro had agreed to help out with the cooking at Building 5 and the mess hall had been decorated with a Happy Halloween banner and a mostly orange theme. There were orange and black streamers, balloons, fake spiders and webs, and orange and red fairy lights. They also had pumpkin and skull shaped candle holders on the tables, as well as Halloween themed tablecloths and napkins.
The first people the cell 13 inmates almost bumped into on the way in, were Honey and Trois. They were both dressed as princes, complete with a cape, a crown and a sword. Honey also wore Wolf ears and a tail, while Trois had Fox ears and a tail.
“I thought you were supposed to look scary for Halloween?” Jyugo stated quite bluntly upon seeing them.
“How dare you! You barbarian!” Honey replied indignantly. “As if I would mess up my gorgeous looks for something so mundane.”
“Oh, please Honey, we both know that I’m the hottest one here,” Trois spoke up smugly.
“You bastard, Trois!”
“As if, everyone knows I’m the best-looking guy in Nanba,” Uno cut in.
Jyugo wisely chose to ignore the escalating argument between those three and looked searchingly around the mess hall for anyone else familiar.
Rock had already wandered off to chat with Shiro about the food and Nico was making a beeline for the candy bowl. The escape artist quickly went after him to avert the coming disaster.
“No Nico, you can’t have any candy until after dinner,” the escape artist tried to reason with him.
“Oh, come on, no fair!”
A very disgruntled looking Uno joined them not long afterward. “Come on Nico, you remember what Dr Otogi said, right?”
Apparently, Hajime had gotten annoyed with the bickering between Uno, Honey and Trois, and whacked all three of them on the head. Kiji, who was dressed as the Queen of Hearts, was really unhappy with Hajime for hurting his inmates and yelled at his fellow Supervisor, only to be ignored. This angered him further and he got right in Hajime’s face. The gambler quickly made himself scarce, so he didn’t get caught up in that dispute.
Nico was still trying to argue his case about eating the candy, but he happened to catch Hajime’s eye and let out a startled squeak, quickly hiding behind Jyugo, who was caught by surprise at the abrupt action. Turning to see what caused the otaku’s flighty behaviour, he too happened to make eye contact, and swallowed nervously at the Supervisor’s sharp glare. The escape artist quickly turned away, feeling beads of sweat collecting at his forehead.
“Let’s go find a table,” Uno announced, bringing the younger two back to reality.
Jyugo breathed a sigh of relief. “Sure thing.”
Uno turned towards the seating area, only to let out a sudden shriek, and hurriedly tried to back pedal, almost knocking the candy bowl over in the process.
“What the hell, Uno?!” Jyugo exclaimed, alarmed by the gambler’s strange behaviour.
“Would you knock that off!” came an exasperated voice from behind him. “I’ve told you before, I am not a Jiangshi!”
“But you’re dressed as one!” Uno protested.
The escape artist grimaced slightly, he recognised that voice. Sure enough, when he turned to the source, he was confronted with a levitating Upa, directing a scornful look at the three of them.
“Master!” Nico cried out in delight and launched himself at the smaller inmate.
Upa dodged him easily and maintained his sour expression. Liang appeared behind him, looking just as annoyed.
Jyugo appraised the martial artist’s outfit in confusion. “What are you supposed to be?”
Liang and Upa both gaped at him in disbelief. “Are you kidding me?!”
“Oh! I know! I know!” Nico bounced excited. “He’s Sadako!”
“Who?” the escape artist asked blankly.
“You know! The girl, from the Ring movie!”
“Oh, her. I get it now,” he nodded to himself.
Uno finally recovered from his fright and moved up next to Jyugo. “Great costumes,” he said grinning at them, but refusing to make direct eye contact.
“Yours are interesting too,” Liang answered politely.
“Isn’t old man Qi with you?” Nico queried, looking around.
“That trash is where he belongs,” Upa said disdainfully, gesturing to the corner. There sat a miserable looking Qi, dressed in a cactus suit.
“Wow, that’s pretty harsh,” Jyugo replied, feeling a bit sorry for him.
“Don’t feel bad for him,” Liang said coolly. “He brought that on himself and Samon issued a fitting punishment.”
“Wait until you see Inori,” Upa looked incredibly smug.
“Sheesh, remind me not to get on your bad side,” Uno said nervously. “We were just about to go and find a table.”
They found an ideal spot, a bit secluded from everyone else, and chatted quietly while they waited for dinner to be served. Upa and Liang joined them, and Rock eventually showed up, taking the open seat beside the martial artist.
“It’s good to see you guys,” he said brightly.
“Hello Rock,” Liang answered.
“I suppose it’s nice to have company once in a while,” Upa replied in a haughty tone. “But please try to refrain from acting like a complete pig.”
“What did you say?!”
“Calm down Rock,” Jyugo tried to placate him.
There were some very interesting costumes being displayed. Yamato was a samurai, how fitting for him, Seitarou was a knight, and Tsukumo was apparently an assassin. Nico got pretty excited when he saw the costume, explaining that it was from a game called Assassin’s Creed.
Hitoshi turned out to be a princess, Kaguya wore a quite revealing witch costume, causing Uno to swoon, Houdzuki was dressed as an Egyptian Pharaoh, Kenshirou was a pirate, and Ahato was a butterfly. Mitsuru looked even more mischievous than usual with his Cheshire cat outfit, while the Warden had a very demonic look, and Samon was a devil.
The Daisen brothers looked really creepy, with Rokuriki as a ghost, Kokoriki as the grim reaper, and Youriki as a skeleton. Inori was very entertaining in his tree costume, since he had a lot of trouble manoeuvring, and they all had a good laugh at his expense.
Jyugo also swore he caught a quick glimpse of Kuu and Haku, both wearing tiny bat wings and devil horns. That was actually kind of cool and he wondered if Hajime knew. And as for Fuji-san and Kusatsu, he wasn’t sure what they were supposed to be, possibly something related to bathing, and would prefer to keep his distance, those guys were scary.
But the most incredible costume, belonged to Musashi, who had been transformed into a mystical phoenix, with red and orange feathered wings, and a feathered headdress, all with yellow accents. He was also wearing a black body suit, with flames painted on it, and his face, arms and legs were also painted.
“Nice costume there Musashi,” Uno said grinning widely. Everyone else affirmed their agreement with this statement.
“You can sit here,” Jyugo said happy to see his adopted big brother. “There’s an open spot.”
“Sure,” Musashi replied ruffling the younger inmate’s hair. “How have you been Jyugo?”
“I’m alright,” he pouted at Musashi and tried to swat his hand away.
“Well that’s good. Try and stay out of trouble, would you?”
“I’m not that bad,” Jyugo grumbled.
“Right,” Musashi said sarcastically.
Because they had some fun activities planned, dinner started much earlier than usual, and they all settled down when the skeleton platters were served. Shiro had gotten very creative with the arrangement of the meat, cheese and crackers. There was also dragon’s blood punch for refreshment.
After enjoying the platters, the first task was pumpkin carving, and Hajime could already tell this was going to be a complete disaster. Fortunately, it at least ended without any bloodshed, and the results were very interesting to say the least.
Uno’s pumpkin looked decidedly feminine, while Nico’s fairly resembled Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Jyugo tried his best, but his pumpkin turned into a deformed, lopsided mess, and Rock was only interested in trying to eat his, with Seitarou trying desperately to stop him.
Tsukumo somehow gave his pumpkin a masked look, Honey and Trois’ pumpkins ended up very sparkly, Liang’s pumpkin was ghostly, and Upa’s was transformed into a cactus of all things. Qi got banned from participating because his pumpkin carving was inappropriate. Samon was furious, and when Inori got involved, it only made things worse for both of them.
Musashi’s pumpkin looked extremely sinister, and in the case of Fuji-san and Kusatsu, their pumpkins appeared to be more of a threat to people who disobeyed the bath rules. Jyugo swallowed nervously and tried to pretend he didn’t see anything.
After the pumpkin carving, the next activity was creating paper lanterns. Nico attempted to make a mecha out of his paper, which quite obviously didn’t work out very well and Seitarou helped him make a new one. Jyugo’s lantern was an epic disaster and Uno helped him fix it; meanwhile the gambler’s own lantern was pink with a bunny girl design, and Rock’s lantern was purple with pizza slices.
Honey and Trois’ lanterns were once again very sparkly, with women’s underwear designs, which earned them a harsh scolding from Kiji. Tsukumo’s lantern was magenta with a ninja design, Liang’s was red with peach dumplings, and Upa’s was teal with cactus patterns. Qi was not allowed to participate. Period. And Samon was still in a very foul mood.
Musashi’s lantern literally looked like it was on fire, and Jyugo completely ignored whatever Fuji-san and Kusatsu were doing, since it kind of looked like blood was involved. He really didn’t want to know.
Once the activities were finished, they returned to the mess hall for the next course. The Chefs’ served pumpkin soup, with the sour cream creating a spiderweb on top, and brimstone bread cob loaf. It looked and tasted amazing.
The Supervisors gave a prize for the best design and Musashi was the winner. They all agreed that his pumpkin carving and lantern were awesome, and he chose a book on the origins of Halloween for his prize.
The next activity was, pin the spider on the web, and it was rather disastrous. Jyugo completely missed the board, Nico was too distracted and kept harassing Upa, Rock was distracted because he was still hungry, and the only person who actually got remotely close to the goal was Uno. Everyone else pinned their spider in scattered areas of the web, until it was accidentally blasted off the wall because Upa got too annoyed with Nico.
Apple bobbing came next, and Jyugo was left completely scarred, Nico soaking wet, and Rock was trying to eat all the apples. Honey made the mistake of teasing Liang after the martial artist’s hair got wet, and received a chop on the head. Fuji-san and Kusatsu were only interested in bathing in the tubs. It ended up turning into a complete mess and they didn’t calm down until Hajime lost his temper, and whacked everyone.
Halloween bingo went a lot smoother and everyone had fun. Uno was ultimately the winner and ended up getting into an argument with Honey over cheating allegations. Kiji had to break them up before things escalated, and gave them a stern lecture.
The next course was, roast beef with cranberry gravy, creamy pumpkin and scalloped potatoes, and roast vegetables in spooky shapes: sweet potato jack-o-lanterns, beetroot witchs’ hats, potato ghosts, and carrot bones. They were also served more of the dragon’s blood punch.
Rock was the winner of the apple bobbing and chose a bag of Halloween treats as his prize. The gambler was declared the winner for both the pin the spider on the web game and bingo. He chose some quality hair products as his prize.
The inmates had the opportunity to go trick or treating as the next activity, which made Nico incredibly excited and Jyugo felt indifferent. Neither of them had been able to go trick or treating when they were younger.
They went in groups and it was stipulated that participating guards would give them treats when they asked. Musashi joined the cell 13 group, and Tsukumo was with Fuji-san and Kusatsu. It turned out funny to watch them, because Jyugo kept fumbling and forgetting what he was supposed to ask, and Nico was so hyper that the guards couldn’t understand him. Their friends found it adorable.
Everyone else was able to participate without any problems, including Qi, although Samon was watching him like a hawk. He went with Liang and Upa, who kept giving him major stink-eye. Honey tried to pick another fight with Uno near the end of the event, but he received a sharp glare from Kiji, and wisely chose to keep his mouth shut.
The final activity was the haunted house, which had been set up temporarily in Building 5’s exercise yard. They knew that some of the guards had been assigned to scare them and Uno had been dreading this event since the start. Seitarou offered to look after the candy they received whilst trick or treating.
Since they were the last group to go through, after seeing everyone else get scared and hearing the screams, this only added to Uno’s nerves. Even Musashi got scared, and had to be escorted outside by an awkward looking Kenshirou, though apparently that had more to do with a rogue frog, which somehow made its way inside the house.
“Would you stop that?!” Jyugo said already getting annoyed with the gambler’s clinginess. He was also feeling pretty on edge, but would never admit to it. “Nothing has even happened yet!”
“S-shut up, dammit! I can’t handle what I can’t handle!”
It was a typical looking haunted house setup. An imposing structure with windows covered in dust and cobwebs, a wrought iron fence and gate, spooky looking dead trees and a graveyard in the front. The fact that tonight happened to be a full moon only added to the sinister vibe.
“Wow, they went all out,” Rock said looking impressed. Nico nodded in agreement, eyes sparkling with excitement.
They walked up the short dirt pathway and were almost at the front porch, when Uno abruptly let out a loud screech, causing the others to jump because of the unexpectedness. He then launched himself onto Jyugo’s back, almost making the smaller teen faceplant.
“What the hell, Uno?!” Jyugo snapped at him in irritation.
“Something grabbed my ankle!”
“I don’t see anything,” Nico replied, looking around in confusion.
“Let’s just keep going,” Jyugo grumbled.
The guards watching on the monitors howled with laughter and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. “Things are getting interesting,” Mitsuru said with a cheeky grin.
On the inside, the haunted house was rigged like a maze, and certain rooms or passageways would be locked until the inmates cleared them and could advance onward. The front door locked behind them with a click, once they stepped inside, there was no turning back now.
Uno continued to hide behind Jyugo, clutching onto the back of his shirt. The entryway was covered in spiderwebs and a giant spider dropped down as they walked under the arch, scaring the gambler once more.
“It’s not real Uno,” Rock said shaking his head and continuing on.
This pattern repeated slightly, they would enter a new room, a skeleton or something would pop out, and Uno would scream his head off. But when the inmates were about halfway through, things suddenly changed up.
It started with Rock, he was suddenly grabbed by something, yelled in surprise, and then got pulled into a secret passageway.
“Rock!” The other 3 cried out in shock.
One by one, they were all separated and pulled in different directions. Jyugo could hear Uno screaming on the opposite side of the house. Just how big was this place anyway? He wondered, starting to break out in a cold sweat. He continued on through the passage and ended up being chased by something resembling a devil, but managed to escape into the next room. What the hell was that?
They all ran into similar obstacles, with the exception that Rock got angry because he was getting hungry again, so he tried to steal a bone from the skeleton that was pursuing him. Nico was laughing joyfully and skipping down the hallway to escape from a ghost. Uno’s soul was ready to leave his body and he kept screaming at the top of his lungs, while dashing all over the place and being chased by the grim reaper.
All of the guards were finding them so entertaining; they were rolling around on the floor laughing. “That’s so funny, I can’t believe they’re falling for this!” Tomato said gleefully.
Jyugo was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed in this place, it was bringing up some bad memories which sat just below the surface of his consciousness. He flipped out, when a big furry hand grabbed him out of nowhere and lashed out violently in an attempt to escape.
In his urgency, he wasn’t able to properly navigate the next corner and after smashing into the wall, he crashed heavily to the floor, letting out a pained whimper and allowing his pursuer to catch up. The large figure grabbed him once again and he struggled wildly. Recognising that the inmate was having a panic attack, the Supervisor was forced to break character, before the teen went berserk.
“Dammit No. 15, calm down!” he yelled authoritatively.
Jyugo ceased his thrashing upon hearing that voice. “H-Hajime?”
Hajime removed the head of his gorilla suit, piercing the inmate with an intense stare. “Yeah, it’s me.”
The escape artist, was still clutching at his chest and trying to regulate his breathing. Hajime kept a hand clasped on his shoulder, keeping him grounded. He waited until the teen had completely calmed down before speaking again.
“Come on, let’s go. Everyone else has already made it outside,” he said matter-of-factly, guiding Jyugo towards a passage.
It was only once they started moving that Jyugo registered the slight wetness on his face, and he hurriedly wiped away the lingering tears. Hajime kept a close eye on him, but didn’t say anything, for which the escape artist was grateful.
“There you are, Jyugo!” his cellmates called out in relief, when he joined them outside. “We were getting worried.”
Uno frowned at him, registering that something evidently happened, and he directed a suspicious look at Hajime, but the Supervisor was giving nothing away. He’d have to ask Jyugo about it later.
The other guards who participated in the haunted house, also joined them outside, and were revealed to be: Samon, Rokuriki, Kokoriki, and Youriki.
“You guys were hilarious,” Samon spoke up looking way too pleased with himself.
Kokoriki joined in with Samon’s mirth. “You scream loud, pretty boy,” he said smugly.
“Shut the hell up! You bastard!”
Rokuriki was sweating nervously, Nico hadn’t been scared of him at all, and Youriki was glaring hard at Rock. This fool tried to eat his costume.
When Samon tried to start on Jyugo, he received a warning look from Hajime, and immediately backed off. The escape artist was still acting a bit awry and he didn’t need this idiot monkey triggering the kid.
Everyone made their way to the mess hall for the final course: dessert! Rock was already drooling, just at the mere thought of it. And it turned out to be better than expected.
They had sugar cookies, in the shape of ghosts, witchs’ hats, pumpkins and skulls. There was also a vanilla sponge cake in the shape of a ghost, and a haunted house chocolate mud cake. For refreshments, they had a choice of pumpkin spiced latte with whipped cream, or hot chocolate with spider marshmallows. It was delicious!
Seitarou and the other guards returned the inmates’ candy, and Nico ended up on a major sugar rush. The otaku was practically bouncing off the walls, but he disappeared at some point and caused a great deal of alarm for his friends. Until they found him passed out asleep, underneath a table, with his face resting half in the stolen candy bowl.
“Just how much candy did he consume?!” Uno exclaimed in shock.
“Hell if I know,” Rock replied nervously.
Jyugo also zonked out before the night was over and had his head pillowed on Musashi’s lap. The flame user was completely unbothered by his presence and kept one hand resting on the younger inmate’s shoulder.
“Did something happen?” he questioned Uno in concern.
“Yeah, I think so. While we were in the haunted house we got separated, so I’m not sure of the details.”
It was getting pretty late, so the guards deemed it time to wrap things up. The gambler said goodnight to everyone and the members of cell 13 headed home. Because Jyugo and Nico were both dead to the world, they had to be carried back to the cell. Rock carried Nico under his arm and Hajime held Jyugo draped over his shoulder.
Uno was able to remove all of the makeup from himself, and the younger teens, before putting them to bed. Rock’s costume was another story, no amount of wipes would be enough to remove that. In the end, Hajime allowed him to use the shower in the Guard Office, so the futon wouldn’t get messed up.
“Make it quick,” he said sternly.
They were both exhausted and relieved to finally be settled under the covers. “Good night, Hajime.”
“Behave yourselves, you brats,” was all he said in response.
The day was finally over and Hajime was dying for a cigarette. But first, there was a more urgent matter to attend to.
“Hey Yamato! I’m leaving you in charge for a bit. I have a meeting at Building 5.” For once, Hajime decided, he could tolerate the idiotic monkey, just for a little while.
“Haha, of course Supervisor. Have a pleasant evening,” Yamato replied, giving him a firm salute.
When the next morning dawned at Nanba Prison, there was a rumour going around, involving Mitsuru and a giant turd.