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No one Escapes...Redemption?

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Niffty watched the tall man nervously. They had been standing and staring at each other for what felt like an eternity. The only indication that he was not a statue was the slight rise and fall of his shoulders, and the slow, nearly inaudible sounds of his breathing. She knew better than to scream or run…both would simply be an invitation for the tall man to put an end to her. She had a feeling that he wasn’t sure what to do either, which was why she was still alive. She steeled herself and broke the silence.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know this room was occupied. I did not even know we had a new guest today. What is your name?” She asked nervously. She waited. And waited. The stranger gave no answer. “I-I see…well, I’m Niffty! I keep things tidy…but I see that you’ve been doing a dandy job with that! If the window wasn’t open, I wouldn’t have thought anyone was in here at all!” She watched the masked man look over at the window, then back to her with that unsettlingly dead gaze. She cleared her throat. “W-well, I really need to get back to work. This is a big hotel, and I’m responsible for keeping it clean.” She was really starting to get frightened now. All he did was just stare at her, but she had a feeling he was simply sizing her up. She cleared her throat. “Are you going to let me leave now, please?”

The figure suddenly raised the knife and stalked forward with an alarming speed. She had been bracing herself to flee, so as soon as she saw him take the first step she was already running. There were no doors to the neighboring rooms, so there was only one way in, and one way out. Fortunately, Niffty was as quick as she was tiny, and as she darted by the tall man’s legs she just barely felt the blade coming down behind her. Had she been even a little slower, she would have been brained by the blade. She started screaming.

“Charlie, Sally, Max…someone help!” She shrieked. She didn’t dare look behind her as she sprinted for the elevator at the end of the hall. She didn’t hear any footsteps behind her, but then again, she hadn’t heard him when he suddenly appeared in the doorway. She franticly pressed the button to summon the elevator. The reflective metal doors showed her assailant mere meters away from her now. He was unnaturally quiet, but she could hear his breathing quicken as he closed in for the kill. He came to a sudden halt about 5 feet away from her and tilted his head upward. Niffty trembled, but she heard it: a low, hollow sound like wind through a train tunnel. The Demogorgon was travelling. She was relieved when the beast suddenly emerged from a fleshy portal in the ceiling and dropped down between her and the tall man.

“Snuffles! Oh thank Lucifer, I’m saved!” Niffty cried out in relief. The tall man was frozen, seemingly recalculating his approach. Niffty smirked as Snuffles turned his head to look at the knife wielding psycho.

“Get him, Snuffles!” She shouted. She watched confidently as Snuffles…whimpered and tunneled away into a floor portal, abandoning her. She blinked. “What?” She fell backwards as the elevator doors opened, and scrambled to her feet to mash the ‘door close’ button. The doors shut, and she mashed the button for the sixth floor. She needed to find Charlie before that man got to her.

 

“I know I left them here!” Max said as he surveyed the empty bathroom in his suite. “Niffty and I was gonna wash Snuffles. I reckon he must’ve took off, and she went after him.” He reasoned. Charlie stood next to him, along with Anna and Evan.

“Do you think he could’ve eaten her?” She asked worriedly. Max guffawed.

“Hell naw. Snuffles is a messy eater. Even with someone as small as Miss Niffty, there’d be blood n gore all over this bathroom!” He responded confidently. Charlie sighed in relief despite the grisly mental image Max had painted.

“Well, if he didn’t eat her, then I think your theory about Snuffles fleeing and Niffty chasing him is most likely what happened.” She took the opportunity to wrap a towel around herself, just so she wouldn’t be walking around in her swimsuit.

“She’s probably fine. Worst case scenario is that he chased her to another floor and then lost interest.” Evan said. The elevator opened at the end of the hall and Niffty came sprinting out towards the group. “Ah, here she comes now!” He said cheerfully. His good mood vanished when he noticed the panic and terror in the small maid’s eye. He’d known her long enough to understand that very little shook her. Something foul was happening.

“CHARLIE! THERE’S SOMEONE TRYING TO KILL ME!” The small maid cried, her large eye welling with tears of horror. “I was cleaning on the third floor and noticed a window open and I thought ‘no one is in here so I better close it’ but there WAS someone in there and they’re trying to kill me now and—”

“Whoa, whoa! Slow down, Miss Niffty!” Max said with genuine concern flooding his voice. Despite him not really feeling comfortable being doted on by the maid, he was starting to like being clean and wearing clean clothes—something no one had ever provided him. Evan was staring down the hall. The elevator had gone down to the third floor and stopped. He gripped his cleaver in preparation for an encounter.

“Who was trying to kill you?” Charlie asked. Niffty wiped her eye. Anna noticed the elevator now too. It was coming back up to the sixth floor. She grabbed a hatchet from her belt and stood next to Evan.

“I have no idea! He wasn’t any of the guests I know! He’s tall as Philip, wears a white mask, and carries the largest kitchen knife I’ve ever seen!” She blew her nose on a handkerchief. Max’s one good eye widened, and Evan knew who was coming even before the elevator doors opened and the knife-wielding figure emerged.

“Michael.” Evan growled. Anna wound up her arm in preparation to throw, and Max stood next to his two fellow Fog-Dwellers with his chainsaw roaring for blood.

Despite being sectioned into “circles”, the various districts of Hell were not layered like pancakes, as Dante’s Inferno and others have depicted. They were, however, divided by various natural and artificial barriers that required infrastructure or direct teleportation to move between. Most of these were geological; rivers of acid, volcanic mountain ranges, and lakes infested with unfathomable horrors were just a few of the various obstacles that made the cities of Hell feel even more cramped and uncomfortable. One of the relatively navigable barriers was the vast swampland that connected the circles of Gluttony and Wrath. It was a lair of monsters possessed by hatred and hunger; Wendigos, cannibalistic warriors, and deranged gourmets all fell here when they arrived in Hell. Naturally, Alastor knew the area like the back of his clawed hand. His early years in Hell were humble in comparison to the reign of horror and blood he later unleashed—and would one day unleash again. He chuckled fondly as he remembered some of the various clearings and groves where he had made his first kills in the new life that damnation had given him. Alastor didn’t mind the muck and mire of the bog…in fact, it was nostalgic! He had lived in New Orleans when he was a mortal, and whatever remnants of his meals that were unfit for consumption he’d happily feed to the gators in the bayou a short distance from the city. He was snapped out of his walk down memory lane when he spied a pile of bones.

“What have we here?” He mused, walking over to the pile. Immediately he recognized he had been mistaken. It was no pile; it was a voodoo totem. A hex totem constructed from human femurs, bound with ropes of dried intestines and ligaments, and topped with skulls whose sockets glowed with orange light. This was no ordinary object of layman Voodoo like a Gris-Gris bag. This was power…and a statement. Someone had staked a claim to these marshes…and they had the power to enforce their claim. When he had studied Voodoo with the Voodoo Queens of New Orleans and their Witch Doctors, he had learned many things about these deceptively primitive looking structures. Such totems carried incredible power for those who constructed them, and often needed a bit of added security to guard them. He scanned his surroundings, grinning when he spotted a triangular sigil etched into the muck.

“Might as well have her come to me.” He chuckled. He prodded the muddy sigil with his microphone stand/cane. An emaciated figure came screeching from the murk. Disheveled, clawed, caked with dried mud and blood, the Hag had come to punish the one who dared approach her totem.

 

Charlie watched in shock as Anna’s hatchet hurled towards the porcelain white mask of the one Evan called “Michael”. Her shock turned to disbelief as the imposing figure simply raised an arm to block the hatchet. He didn’t even flinch as the blade buried itself in his forearm with a sickening crunch. Charlie knew this was a fight they could not win…which left only one option: diplomacy. She steeled herself and took a few steps forward with her friendliest smile.

“H-hello! Welcome to the Hazbin Hotel! I’m Charlie.” She said warmly. She felt her blood run cold as the black pits that acted as Michael’s eyes turned on her. Evan and Max roared and charged forward. “STOP!” She cried, getting them to halt in their tracks. Max looked over his shoulder at Charlie with fear in his eye.

“Charlie, I know you’re really nice n’ all, but…” Max shuddered. “Michael ain’t like the rest of us. He ain’t even like Snuffles! He’s just mean!”

“Max isn’t exaggerating. We all tried to talk to Michael Myers…he responded with either silence or violence. We would not even know his name if it weren’t for the fact that one of his victims had also been taken into the Fog. Carter ended up learning what she knew of him when he electrocuted her in a Trial. We all just keep our distance from him, and he did the same after he realized he couldn’t kill any of us.” Evan growled, not taking his eyes off Michael for even a second. “But the rules have changed, shitboot! The Entity is dead, and we can hurt each other! There’s three of us and only one of you! Do the math, Michael! I’m pretty sure Anna’s hatchet just broke your arm, so you are already losing this fight!”

“Evan…please let me try. I have to try.” Charlie implored. She saw his scarred shoulders rise and fall as he let out a defeated sigh.

“For the love of god, please keep your distance from him.” Evan muttered.