House of Mirrors
Scene Title House of Mirrors
Synopsis The mirrored maze of a haunted house has multiple faces of fear in store for the guests.
Date October 27, 2018

Jackson Heights

An author once wrote that children learn about death in October in the colder states in an essential, primal way children in warmer climates cannot. The trees fake their deaths and leaves fall, dead, to be burnt up like a sacrifice, filling the air with the scent of autumnal smoke. The harvest over, the nights are long and cold, giving way to darker thoughts that can be lit up, lightened, made acceptable, by jack o’lanterns and bonfires.

Even in New York in 2018, a city that has seen its share of terror, Halloween tradition is a way to laugh in the face of all the death witnessed. Children carve pumpkins, bob for apples, and have costume parties, their parents wanting to give them as normal of a childhood as they can. One enterprising group of parents created a “haunted house” in the hallways of an old school, each room a different “scare zone.” Laughter and childish happy squeals can be heard — nothing too garish, nothing too scary. Jump scares are caused by comical looking ghosts and ghouls on timed springs in one room. Another is the typical blindfolded tactile adventure through the witch’s hut, a teenage volunteer intoning in a spooky voice, “these are the eyeballs of her victims,” while leading a small hand into a bowl of peeled grapes.

The House of Mirrors is the last thing on the list. The signs leading up to it say “Go back!” “Reflect on your sins - if you dare!” “Only the brave will make it to the end!” The teen taking tickets here looks a little bored; one ear is plugged by an earbud though he keeps the other free to be able to take the tickets and give any instructions to those entering. “One at a time,” he says, gesturing to the door that leads into what was the multipurpose room once upon a time.

Once inside, it’s clear why it’s one at a time. Dozens — hundreds? of mirrors have been set up to create narrow hallways, a silvery maze that’s made all the more confusing by the sight of countless reflections of one’s self. Some are normal and others are warped, funhouse style. Red gauze on the lights overhead give the room an eerie red cast. Somewhere calliope music plays on a recording and now and then there’s the sound of maniacal laughter.


When she was a young girl in Japan, Marlowe Terrell was told of a day to celebrate mischief and allowing one’s inner demons to frolic - playfully - out in the open. Past one’s bedtime, even. By the time Marlowe experienced Halloween in the way she was told the tale, it was a day she about instantly fell in love. And she’s not alone in that sentiment, as the tradition extends to the “haunted house” set up that has drawn her and others to experience a series of innocently ghoulish delights, thrills and scares.

Marlowe’s played along, having joined groups in squeals and jumps at the scares set up. And, no doubt, gotten some ideas of her own to possibly set up some pranks in the Yamagato engineering department as a result. All innocent, really. Once she’s reached the Hall of Mirrors and has to slow down, the woman peeks past to the room beyond the bored teenage ticket taker. “Thanks man,” she tells him after passing the ticket over.

And steps in. The music bends her ear to it a moment, getting used to the red lit atmosphere and the sight of so many of herself in the mirrors. Never one to have shunned a mirror, she steps closer to one of the first and checks her makeup - a night look, even - before proceeding in to the seeming maze of many of her own reflections. She goes slow, making sure to not touch the surfaces for not wanting to dirty them.

One warping mirror that makes her backside look considerably bigger gets frowned at, but she pushes on.

For quite a few turns, there’s just Marlowe and a multitude of Marlowes, each shaped and sized differently but for those few interspersed that share her dimensions — even so, the mirrors reflect upon themselves, creating miniatures until there are too many to count.

Somewhere, a few rows over, a few hundred Marlowes away, someone cries out — it’s barely audible over the calliope music which seems to grow louder the farther Marlowe travels. The laughter seems to come from different corners, thanks to a recording that makes the most of stereo sound, no doubt.

Then she hears the scuffing of feet, heavy and tired by the sound, like someone near exhaustion.

The lights, which flicker now and then, stay dark a few more seconds than they have before.

When they come back on, in the mirrors reflecting her own image stands another figure. One that she instantly recognizes. One that opens a pit in her belly, a hollow feeling of anger and fear and helpless rage. The man in the mirror — the man behind her, if she were to simply turn and look — is dressed in fatigues, the archetypical drill sergeant, with cold blue eyes, blond crew cut, angry scowl.

The maze of mirrors has Marlowe going slowly, but not with any sort of worry about getting lost. It’s not supposed to be hard, to get through, right? The first sudden cry startles her nonetheless, the sound a harsh contrast to the tinkling calliope music. The sound of shuffling feet turns her in its direction, tensely expecting a jump-scare. Until the lights flicker, and she looks up. There’s been of lot of that going on lately, and not just for entertaining haunted house reasons but for power outage reasons.

When the lights come back on, she breathes out a soft sigh of relief she didn’t realize she was holding. That is, until she looks back to the mirrors and sees him. Her eyes round out as she recognizes the drill sergeant, and more, that he’s appeared in the mirrors like a spectre of her past come to haunt her. Marlowe gasps and stumbles backwards away from the mirror image and right into the physical form of the man standing behind her. That touch has her whirling around, and hands fly to her mouth to stifle a scream. But fear and surprise has her frozen in place for several seconds while her mind tries to justify the how of this happening.

There’s a deep, guttural grunt from the sergeant when she stumbles back into him, the power of the collision throwing him into a backwards stumble, too. His meaty, broad hand comes up to reach for her, in a desperate bid to keep his balance. She can feel his calloused fingertips slide across the fabric at her shoulder, snagging on the material, though he fails to make purchase. The back of his boots knock into the mirrors behind him, and send a few of them into the next hallway with a great crash, creating a new gap in the maze that wasn’t there before.

“Help me,” he groans out, his voice impossibly weak and needful, not the sharp bark of the sergeant she knew, and yet still the same tone and timbre. It’s his voice, but the key is off.

“Sergeant…” Marlowe stammers out a rank but not a name. She gives an involuntary shudder of her body, taking a couple of half steps shuffling back with a caught fearful whine in her throat. “How?” Her head shakes. She utters a soft “Impossible!“ before spying the gap in the maze made by the toppled mirrors there. Not waiting for an explanation from the solid specter, she quickly ducks for the gap, trying to scoot around Sgt. Calhoun.

“Please!” the sergeant rasps, the sharpness in the request more like the sergeant she’d known in her past — even if Marlowe had never heard him utter that word in his presence.

When she tries to dart around him, he steps forward, and that grasping hand grabs her wrist just as she’s about to slip through the gap in the mirrors. She can almost see freedom, safety… from where she stands, she can just see above the line of mirrors the familiar green block letters of the EXIT sign, somewhere ahead of her. If she could just push through the mirrors, the doors would be just fifty feet away.

The thick calloused fingers easily encircle her wrist. His palm feels clammy against her warmer skin, and his grip is tight enough to bruise.

“Please, miss,” he says again. Demands.

There, the EXIT sign provides a real point of hope for Marlowe when she spots it, and she’s turned, posed to run right on through and ignore the sergeant’s plea for help. Or was, until her wrist is snagged in a tight grip. Marlowe yelps, spinning back around and tugging her arm towards herself out of reflex. “The fuck! Let go!” she snaps back at the sergeant, eyes round and glaring with fearful anger. “You’re not supposed to touch! That’s not in the rules!” Whatever unspoken haunted house rules of engagement there might be in her mind, the physical contact is not cool for the woman. Her feet step back, and she tries to yank her wrist out of his grip.

At that snapping reprimand, the sergeant’s eyes go wide. It’s a strange thing, to see fear in this man’s expression, this man whose vitriol caused her so much fear and turmoil. But it’s there in his red rimmed eyes, his pupils constricted.

She’s successful in ripping herself from his grasp — there’s no real struggle; her wrist simply pulls out of slackening fingers as he stumbles back.

“I’m sorry,” he murmurs, before turning another corner and disappearing from sight.


It’s been a good long while since Weasel has really ventured into public, often preferring to avoid the bustle of life among humans. Occasionally, though, the small woman gets a wild hair and decides to go out and about to enjoy festivities that she normally shies away from. Pepe Le Pew is not fond of civilization, so the chubby little skunk is currently off at Park Slope, hunting himself some bugs for dinner. Ron, on the other hand, is currently curled in the girl’s pocket, sleeping off a large dinner of rabbit brain.

She’s never really been that frightened by things such as haunted houses — they’re fun, and she often ends up laughing at the feeble attempts at scaring her more often than not. Screams certainly aren’t something that come up often for the girl, but at least it’s all quite amusing.

Which is why some of Weasel’s limited income has been put toward this haunted house. Sometimes, people need to have fun in the spirit of the season. She waits her turn patiently, gives her ticket over quietly, and when it’s finally her turn, she steps in with a healthy amount of enthusiasm mixed with skepticism. Dark eyes trail over her reflections and the decor as she makes her way through, more curious about this take on the haunted house than anything else.

Now and then the lights flicker and the red-tinted, misshapen reflections make it hard to be sure of what’s a reflection of one’s self and what is something altogether different. But after a few moments and turns, it’s clear she’s not alone in this section of the giant mirrored room. There’s the sound of someone’s heavy breathing, footfalls too heavy to be her own on the tile floor below.

At the end of one “corridor” one of the reflections is distinctly not Weasel’s — an bespectacled elderly man in a lab coat holding a syringe stands there instead — the cant of the mirror would make it impossible for it to be her own reflection tricking her eyes — is it a cast member? An actual doctor who’s decided to brave the maze?

In the mirror, his head turns, as if to look in her direction.

For the most part, Weasel is amused — this is all so silly, just people dressing up and using, secret passageways to scare people. The glimpses of misshapen reflections brings a small grin to her face, as most people would start getting spooked just by that.

However, when she reaches the end of the corridor, Weasel takes a sharp breath in and her footsteps come to a halt, eyes squinting to make out the features of the doctor. She never did like doctors, and this particular one…he looks familiar. The syringe, mostly. She stays frozen for a moment, eyes wide, a familiar fear prickling at the back of her neck.

Nah, this is nothing. It’s just meant to be creepy, and doctors with syringes and glasses are creepy, right? With a swallow and a shake of her head, Weasel continues, though she’s walking a bit slower.

As she continues, the reflection of the doctor at the other end moves as well, and suddenly he stands in the middle of her path, moving toward her as surely as she is moving forward on the tile beneath her feet. The mirrors reflect him as well — it’s no mirror trick of light or smoke and mirrors. His gait is heavy, as if he’s been running, and his chest heaves.

“Miss-” he suddenly says as he sees her. He lurches forward, his empty hand reaching out, imploringly, like a beggar on the street.

The syringe needle gleams red in the red tint of the gauze-laden lights, the needle impossibly long, impossibly sharp.

“Miss, please, I need your help.”

Another sharp gasp escapes Weasel’s throat as the man moves along with her — and that gasp becomes a small shout as the man is suddenly in front of her, the young woman suddenly scrambling backward away from him. She ends up with her back up against a mirror.

In her pocket, the tiny weasel awakens; with a sharp chirp, he pokes his head out, looking for the source of his friend’s distress. He won’t do anything about it, but he’s curious.

And then, the doctor is lurching toward her, and Weasel screams, “Get the fuck away from me!” She skitters back, eyes wide, as the man comes closer; each step he takes, she does her best to stay well away from him. “No! Don’t touch me, stay away!

At the scream, the doctor stops, looking stricken. His eyes, bloodshot and faded blue, grow wide as he shakes his head, both hands up as if to gentle a rearing stallion.

The lights over head flicker again, this time staying dark a few more seconds than usual — she can still see the doctor a few feet in front of her. She can still hear his labored breathing. The rustle of his lab coat as he shifts his weight. When the lights come back on to cast their garish red hue, he hasn’t moved any further. Somehow.

“I won’t hurt you! I just need your help. Please. Somebody’s help…” he whispers, hoarsely, before he shakes his head. “Never mind… I’ll find someone else…”

He turns away, disappearing through a gap in the line of mirrors, into the next corridor.

The girl stops as he does, eyes wide as she stares at him, her face twisted in a combination of confusion and low-key terror. That was just a trick. That had to be. She watches as he slips through the gaps in the mirrors, her thoughts running wild with questions and curiosity.

“Why do you need help? What…what do you need help with?” She can’t help but be curious about this strange and terrifying person — it’s in her nature, the natural curiosity and fearlessness of the animals she communicates with bleeding through into her personality.

After a moment of hesitation, she follows the man, reaching into her pocket to gently scritch atop the head of the tiny weasel hidden within — at the same time, she reaches out to see if she can find any musteloids within range.

You know. Just in case.

The next corridor is empty of anything but reflections of herself, staring wide eyed every which way, a hundred Weasels of different sizes and shapes, all looking as confused and curious as she does.

Somewhere in the distance, there’s a crash, the sound of glass shattering into a million shards.

Overhead the lights flicker red-black-red-black-red. The calliope music, a juxtaposition of merry melody and minor key. The laughter cackles from different speakers, adding to the disorientation caused by glass and scarlet hues.

There’s no musteloids nearby, only the one in her pocket. She’s alone.


to try and be kids again, and that’s something Lance has latched onto like a drowning man— it might be the last chance he has. He’s done up like a skeleton in a bodysuit painted with white UV-sensitive paint. It’s a bit janky but it was cheap and mostly home-made, and it fits the season.

He’s been doing a bit of scaring himself, grinning past the white skull-face he’s painted on as he sneaks around the ‘scare zones’ to surprise others that’ve shown up between enjoying them himself. The Hall of Mirrors awaits, finally…

Tickets handed over, he waits his turn before bravely walks into the Hall of Mirrors. Bravery he’s got in spades. This should be a cake-walk— just jump-scares and spooky fun.


Even for a brave soul like Lance, the walk through the mirrors is a disorienting one, the eye tricking the mind to think the dozens of Lances that are repeated ad infinitum through the corridor belong to other people. It’s a strange juxtaposition of feeling both crowded and very alone at the same time. Every mirror reflects back a different version of the skeleton, some skinny and long, some short and stout. Now and then the lights flicker, the red tinged mirrors turning dark for split seconds of time. Now and then a sharp squeal from some other corner of the maze of mirrors cuts through the calliope music and cackling laughter, adding to the thrill.

It’s after Lance turns a few corners that he hears the rustle of fabric and the heavy footfalls of someone else in the maze. The breathing is quick and shallow. The mirrors show nothing but the skeletons that Lance has wrought. As he makes his way down the corridor, suddenly another figure joins his in the reflections he looks at. Whoever it is, is several feet behind him at the start of the hall.

Whoever it is, his face is covered in blood, the dark red made nearly black by the dim lights of the corridor. His eyes gleam a bright, vivid and cold blue. When his mouth opens, his teeth are crooked tombstones.

It is a face that Lance recognizes from long, long ago.

It’s an A+ haunt, Lance will grant, impressed by just how creepy the Hall of Mirrors actually is; the occasional squeal-yelp from deeper in the maze making him jump once, he shakes his head and tries to shrug off that creeping feeling of eeriness as he works his way through the maze.

The sound of someone else in the maze doesn’t bother him at first, although it has him keeping an eye out… and then he sees that reflection in the shifting lights, recognition from a very bad night many years ago hitting him. His eyes widen as time shifts back several years for him. “No— no way,” he breathes out as he stares at the image in the mirror, not that anyone can hear. That building panic has already snapped on his power, leaving him a silent skeleton.

Paralysis for a few moments— and then he’s lunging forward, rather than back, desperately moving for the next turn in the maze in terrified flight. Hopefully without hitting too many mirrors as he goes.

“Wait,” rasps the man — The Monster as Lance and his Lighthouse kin have come to think of the man that terrorized them so long ago. “Wait, young man- I just-”

He follows. He cannot move at the speed that Lance does, but staggers after. Somewhere up ahead, Lance’s heel knocks over one of the standing mirrors, sending it crashing down into the tile. Somehow — miraculously — it doesn’t create a chain reaction of thin silver dominoes. The sound is mostly masked by the calliope music that turns more and more sinister with every turn Lance takes.

A moment later, Lance’s terrified ears pick up the sound of someone crunching thrown that glass, a raspy shout of pain echoing through the corridors of glass. “God damn it, kid, I just need…”

Whatever he needs, Lance is too far away to hear — but the exit is obscured by hundreds of skeletons leering back at him, in hundreds of sizes and shapes. That they are all him is probably not very comforting.

It’s after that first mirror’s crash gives him a moment’s respite — the crunch of feet through glass telling him where his opponent is — that Lance recovers from that initial panic, moving to step around behind another mirror, moving in the perfect silence that’s his to control even if he’s probably moving in circles in here.

Maybe he can’t find the exit,but with all these mirrors, without sound, the Monster can’t find him either. The realization that this is a better hunting ground for the teenager than the killer starts to sink in, and after a moment he briefly breaks through the silence.

“What the fuck do you want?”

Immediately after he calls that, the silence wraps around him again, and he keeps moving, keeps hiding his location in a hundred refracted skeletons.

A weapon. That’s what he needs.

There’s no response to that demanding question, but the world outside of Lance’s silent bubble isn’t silent. He doesn’t add to the ambient noise, cloaking himself the way he does, but it’s clear there are others in the maze, somewhere, when a scream cuts through the tinny sound of the calliope music.

It’s somewhere off to his left. Close — if he could cut through the mirrors rather than winding around them like a rat in a maze.

The lights flicker. Red-black-red. The maniacal laughter follows a second later. So attuned to sound — and its absence — Lance finds himself subconsciously picking out a pattern. The laughter follows every other flicker of the lights.

If only the Monster were as predictable.

Another crash of mirrors, another seven years bad luck for someone — if they live — comes from somewhere to his right and behind him.

The crash is to the right, the scream is to the left. It’s not a hard decision, knowing the source of the crash after all.

Fingertips find only smooth glass in that direction, so Lance follows it swiftly, moving as fast as he can without risking running face-first into a wall, trailing his hand along the mirrored wall beside him. “C’mon, c’mon,” he breathes desperately under his breath, “Where’s the next opening…”

He finds one, and hopes it’ll lead him closer to the scream of fright - and, he hopes, escape.
Following the mirrors, his hand eventually finds the gap wide enough to let him slide through. Direction, though, has very little meaning in here, when every surface glitters back distortions of reality and self, the hundreds of mirror-image skeletons and the flickering lights turning order on its side. He winds through the corridors, but it’s hard to tell just where the scream came from — he doesn’t find its source.

Remnants of other guests litter the floor here and there — a scrap of flimsy costume fabric here. A candy wrapper there. Eventually the floor reveals the smudged, bloody shoe prints leading off to the right. And from where he stands, he can see far above the mirrored walls the green letters of an EXIT sign to the left as well — he can almost picture the double doors so common in rooms like this, in school multipurpose room. If he can make his way there, he should be safe.

He can do this. He can do this.

The scraps and remnants are probably just careless guests, and not the detritus of victims left behind, but Lance’s imagination is running wild as he hurries through the maze; navigating skeletal reflections of himself and strobing lights, he wishes for the first time that he had Squeaks’s ability in here. She’d be through the maze by now. Trusting — relying — on his silence to keep him safe.

Catching sight of those glowing green letters for the exit, he hesitates — and then leaps up, a foot kicking off the opposite mirror-wall to push off and grab for the edge of the one between him and that sign, pulling himself up in an attempt to flip over it to safety.


Tania has been touring the house for a while, entertained but somewhat disappointed. She'd never been to one of these as a child, and she was expecting something a little less… funny. But it hasn't been so much that she left early, just that she's walked through it very much like she were a judge intending to rank it later instead of a participant.

When her turn comes for the hall of mirrors, she enters with much the same attitude. The images in the mirrors are amusing, the maze is a nice touch, the atmosphere is effective. Her fingers trail along the mirrors, tapping at corners and intersections.

Now and then, the lights dim; the red-tinge of the mirrors grows dark for a second or two. The effect is a little dizzying — a multitude of Tanias of various sizes and shapes accost the eyes from all angles, making the narrow hallways created by the mirrors to feel a little claustrophobic, like she’s in a crowd. Even if the crowd is all versions of herself.

The first sign that something might be amiss is a few spots of red on the tile floor below. A drop here — a drop there… not so much that it seems deliberate, not a part of the decor.

The calliope music and the cackling laughter make it hard to hear, but soon Tania’s ears catch the sound of someone else in the maze nearby. Footfalls too heavy to be a child’s sound, on the other side of the wall of mirrors. The sound of wheezing, shallow breathing is faint, so faint it might be just her imagination.

It's that moment when she's too far in to turn around when it all hits her. The dizzying effect, the crowded feel. It reminds her of the days before the war, when she was often ill and Eltingville was getting crowded. She stops to lean against a mirror, just to regain her bearings. And she sees the blood on the floor.

Frankly, it looks too real to be a part of this haunted house.

She pushes off the mirror to follow the drops of blood, stepping carefully and quietly now that there is something to be nervous about. The labored breathing makes her pause, like she might be thinking of turning around, but she reconsiders after a moment and carries on trying to find the source.

As she turns a corner, the cant of a mirror reveals not her own image but the reflection of a reflection of someone she knows too well.

Someone she hoped she would never see again.

Not the most frightening of visage or stature — at least to those who don’t know him — Michael Valentin’s form in the mirror turns at the sound of her footfalls. The short, average-looking man steps into her path and stares at her, his blue eyes cold and cruel.

“Miss, I need your help,” he says, his voice the same as she remembers, though raspy, labored, and speaking English rather than Russian. “Please…”

His hand reaches for her, a smear of blood across the back, garish and gleaming red-black in the ruddy tint of the room.

His isn’t a face that Tania ever expected to see again, really. And was happy to have it that way. Seeing him there doesn’t help with that all too familiar feeling of the past creeping up on her. It’s hard to say if she even hears him calling for her, as she doesn’t react until he reaches for her. She takes a few quick steps back, away from him. She closes her eyes, trying to tell herself that it’s just the haunted house getting to her.

But the fact of the matter is, even if he is really here, even if he is really lying on the floor bleeding out, she would rather leave him there than lift a finger to help him.

Hostility is easier than fear, but it’s the latter that has her picking a direction to run.

“No, don’t go!”

There’s more strength in his voice — almost panic, which is something she’s never heard in it before, either. She can hear him behind her, moving after her. His footfalls are heavy, each one a struggle from the sound o fit. She can hear him breathing — laborious. Wheezing.

But she is young and agile and he is not. She doesn’t have to look to know when he knocks into a mirror and sends it crashing to the ground, the scintillation of a thousand shards louder than the cackling laughter and calliope music for a single, shattering second. She can hear that he falls to his knees and she can hear him hiss with pain.

It’s a challenge not to cry out at the crash, but Tania is intent on not letting him find her. There are people she would turn back for, even people she doesn’t particularly like, but when he hits the floor, it’s a relief for her instead of a worry.

He is supposed to be dead.

His hisses and calls urge her to go faster, trying to find the exit or the entrance or any way out of here. She isn’t picky.


Apparently Jim dares tonight. Hey, it’s Halloween, right? Why not. He went through the other stuff, and while maybe it’s a little bit strange to have a grown man going to a Halloween carnival clearly meant mostly for children by himself, well…he’s here anyway. What are you going to do about it? Nothing, that’s what. You’re just reading this.

In any case, he waits for his turn, and when it comes he starts inside. The mirrors make him pause for just a second, but he lets out a little huff of laughter as he examines his face in one of the warped ones, moving back and forth to watch the reflection twist and distort, before he continues on. It’s a little bit claustrophobic, but that’s never been one of his particular fears, so it’s more strange than creepy for him, at least for the moment.

The lights flicker, shifting the red-tinged reflections to something darker, now and then, and somewhere in the distance someone squeals then laughs at some surprise or another. The mirrors make the maze all the more complex, obscuring the gaps between the standing mirrors by tricks of light and reflection; it’s easy to pass the break in the line when another mirror reflects Jim’s features back at him in the next “hallway” over.

A thousand Jims move with the man as he moves along the hallways. Eventually, there’s the distinct sound of a mirror breaking, a hallway or two over, followed by someone shouting out, “God damn it, kid…” followed by the gravel-crunch of glass beneath shoes as someone with a heavy, staggering gait makes their way closer and closer to Jim’s location.

Suddenly at the end of the hall stands a gaunt man in an austere black suit, his face impossibly emaciated, nearly skeletal. A rigor-mortis grin stretches too-thin lips too-wide to reveal gray, decaying teeth that match the gray, inhuman eyes. Long fingers on a long, bony hand reach out to Jim.

“Please, mister,” he says — a strange thing to hear, given the figure that faces Jim is not one he’s ever heard speak, either in his imagination or on the television show the ‘gentleman’ comes from. His voice is raspy; the plaintive sound incongruous to the forced smile.

Jim continues to walk through the maze of his own reflection, bumping up against it now and again with a little chuckle each time, partly annoyed but mostly amused. It’s all in fun, right? He watches himself shift and distort with each step, turning his head when some other movement catches his eye, though it’s mostly an instinctual reaction, and it always turns out to be himself.

That is, until he sees that figure at the end of the hall.

“Shit!” He staggers back, bumping up against one of the mirrors that makes up the corner he’d just turned, his hand shooting out to feel for the opening to get out of the line of sight of the suddenly appeared thing. His heart is suddenly threatening to beat out of his chest as he lurches to the side to get down that hall and away. The slightly weird thing just became something totally horrible.

The creepy thing about the Gentlemen is their silent floating movement, but Jim might prefer that to the sound of this Gentleman following him.

“Wait!” comes that raspy voice.

The figure trails after Jim, who doesn’t have to look back to hear that sound of glass grinding against tile, shards of glass no doubt embedded in the soles of the man’s shoes. It’s like nails on a chalkboard, sand in teeth, hackle raising and grating on nerve and spirit all at once. The man’s breathing sounds labored, his footfalls so heavy, so strangely different from their source material.

Without looking, Jim knows when the Gentleman turns the corner a few seconds after he does. Ahead of him, a dozen mirrors of different sizes and shapes at the end of the corridor reflect the dark figure lurching after him, that terrible bony hand reaching out now and then.

Jim just turns and starts to run then — or as much as he can where he is. The bumps that had been kind of an amusing annoyance before now become a frustration that is barely overcome — accompanied by bruises that will surely show themselves tomorrow. “What the fuck what the fuck what the fuck!”


His knee hits one of the mirrors hard enough to make him gasp, but even as he’s trying to recover he’s still attempting to limp away. He catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror — wide-eyed with terror, and the figure catching up to him. Or maybe it isn’t. There’s really no easy way to tell. “Go away!!” he yells — or tries to yell. Between the fear and the pain, it’s thin and reedy and not at all like his normal voice. He doesn’t notice, though.

His gasp is echoed from the Gentleman behind him. A look in the mirror reflects back that heavy, furrowed and wrinkled countenance — the smile is gone and instead is something else.


As Jim yells out, thin as it is, it seems to have a powerful impact on the man in pursuit. He stumbles back, his hands up, thin fingers trembling as if they were twigs caught in a heavy wind. He turns away, and lurches away. In the dim, reddened light, he leaves partial footprints, crimson staining the beige tile floor below.

The man disappears around a bend in the hallway.

The disappearance of the figure ought to make Jim less scared — but in this place, it only makes it worse. It could be anywhere, or at least it feels that way, even though it can’t really be anywhere, can it? There’s only one way in and one way out. Or, one assumes anyway.

However, it’s not comforting. Jim looks around frantically, continuing down the hall as quickly as he can without crippling himself. He has a hand out in front of him to make sure he doesn’t smack face first into a mirror, and at this point either front or back is okay with him — his only trajectory is out.

Jim can hear the man’s retreating footfalls, the glass-embedded soles growing fainter as they move in the opposite direction until they are overtaken by the other noises of the maze — the maniacal laughter cackling, somewhat humorous at the beginning, has grown much more ominous.

The maze, like any maze, is meant to frustrate those held captive within. The flickering blood-hued lighting and the reflections upon reflections of the frightened, harried-looking Jim add to the sense of foreboding and claustrophobia and disorientation of the giant room. The calliope music overhead sounds eerie in its minor key, and somewhere in the back of Jim’s mind, he realizes it’s because it’s being played in reverse. Someone must be a Bradbury fan.

That knowledge doesn’t help ease the feelings of panic and fear.


A mischievous smile crosses the lips of Eve Mas as she hands her ticket over and winks at the teen before patting his back in passing, “You're great you're great.” People need love.

The seer in question enters the House of Mirrors with a curious expression on her face, she remembers.. doing things like this with her parents, was it them? Wrinkling her forehead, Eve rubs it and stops as she sees all the mirrors and the red light. Inching forward Eve snickers at her reflection, “Behave Mas.” Holding her finger up to herself with a glint in her eyes.

It’s a dizzying display of mirrors and hundreds of Eves, each way she turns, the warped glass twisting and turning her form in grotesque and amusing ways. The reflections make the narrow corridors feel closer than they are. Though Eve walks alone on this path of hers, the multitudes of herself make it feel like it’s crowded with people — even if they are all variations of Eve.

Perhaps it’s like a look into her mind.

Somewhere in the distance, there’s a crash of glass — the sound is sharp, the sound of the creation of a thousand shards from one single image. Someone is having bad luck in the maze — perhaps disoriented? Or frustrated? Whatever the reason, it’s only a moment later that she can hear someone’s heavy, raspy breathing on the other side of the corridor she walks along. If she could reach through the glass, she might be able to touch the person. Her instincts might be to find whoever it is — a man, from the sound of it, out of breath, on the point of collapse, even, but then she hears it.

“I need help.”

She knows this voice. It’s spoken to her so recently. Adam Monroe’s.

Eve takes a step back from the reflections of herself before she snickers, “Fix your mug silly, it's your own!” Slapping herself lightly before she leans forward to touch the reflection’s nose and the reflection blinks and snickers just as Eve does, “Well you're me—” the crash has Eve snapping around and she lifts her hands as if to ward off a attacker but no attacker just.. more of her and a rasping breath.

The woman squints her eyes, the chaotic nature of this place indeed reminds of the maelstrom in her head, burdened with traumas and the weight of her ability as well as a host of things that lead to the warped world that Eve lives in.


She was wondering when he would show up. “I didn't prepare my speech yet Adam you really have the shittest timing.” Eve doesn't put her hands on her hips though they reach back as if to reach for something for support, now? Was her thought, how rude to strike around the time of her favorite holiday. Catching herself the woman snickers and shakes her head, “What do you want sneaky sneak?”

“I just need help! Out — I need out of here,” says that voice — she realizes now he lacks the accent, but it’s definitely the tone and timbre, if breathless and raspy.

A hand grasps at the mirror she looks at, pulling it aside to force a gap in the hall made of mirrors, and Adam’s face peers at her. His eyes are bloodshot, his high forehead sweaty.

“Do you know the way out of here?” he says, reaching a hand out to her. Imploringly.

It’s smeared with blood.

Rearing back Eve takes a breath and shrieks, “You're not!” Where is his accent, what was that.. like poor Jibram..? But this time it was Adam tormenting her. “You find your own way out you goose turkey, I'm outta here!” And the tall, pale woman shrieks and cackles as she runs in the opposite direction of the man and that gap in the mirror. Eve’s heart pumping wildly from the adrenaline of it all, she doesn't look backward, she just pushes her self forward.

The wild woman strains not to look back but she can't help but take a peek.

“No, don’t-” but she’s off, and he begins to follow her. As she makes the turns and twists, it begins to feel more and more claustrophobic — the mirrors in this section are canted at crooked and confusing angles. A myriad of Eves seem to crowd the hallways, different sizes and shapes making Eve feel she’s in a room full of people, and yet so very alone — except for the man pursuing her.

She can still hear him, somehow, beneath the cackling laughter and the flickering red-black-red of the lights. The lights flicker and go black for far too many heartbeats and she loses track of where she’d seen the gap to let herself into the next corridor.

When the lights flicker back to that hellish red glow, she sees her reflections are no longer alone; Adam has caught up to her. He reaches out and touches her shoulder, his fingers gripping her desperately.

“You're gonna have to try better than that buddy boy!!”

Racing away she fools herself briefly into thinking she's bested this thing whatever it is but no plunged into darkness Eve stops and pinwheels her arms to make sure she doesn't fall forward suddenly afraid there's an endless chasm just in front of her that she couldn't see.

Backing up a few paces she looks over her shoulder to no avail, eyebrows shooting up in panic before she’s shaking and her head tilts back so that when the lights flick back on and Adam and holding onto her shoulder she screams bloody murder and punches and kicks at the man to release her, movements fueled by fear but honed by experience, “OUT!!”

He yells too, and falls back, his head cracking against one of the mirrors behind him, splintering it into a spiderweb of sharded glass. He groans, reaching up to touch his head, his fingers coming away bloody.

It’s then that Eve realizes the mirror she knocked himself into doesn’t topple, because it’s lodged against a wall, A wall means the outer edge of the maze. She can find her way out.

And sure enough, straining her eyes in the dim red light, she can see the upper edge of the doorframe of doubledoors, a green EXIT sign, no longer lit, above them.


It’s been an age since Delilah had been to an honest to goodness event like this one; she pulls herself to more and more of them thanks to her son being the age he is. The perfect spot between wonder and skepticism, almost. Fun fairs and festivals are always more fun for her if she gets to actually participate, but otherwise she takes the time to mingle with the parents. October seems to really start up the season of holidays, begun by September’s attempts at harvest festivals. It only ends after the year turns, and for Delilah it’s a few months where they can breathe. Winter will be harder this time, and she is glad to have the distraction.

There is a gaggle of children at the line to the House of Mirrors, and Walter stands with a few of them, chattering away to schoolmates. At one point, another boy turns around to Walter’s mother and triple-dog-dares her to go in before them. They seem to put on some laughing faces, but at least with her own son, Dee can tell that they are just intimidated by going in alone.

And of course, to show them that it’s perfectly fine, she goes first, kids laughing gleefully behind her when she pauses to stick her tongue out and cross her eyes before going inside. “Scaredy cats! All of you.”

Most of the children love Walter’s mum cause she’s young and weird. A Cool Mom.

On entering the first hallway, Dee can’t help a wobble as she adjusts to the myriad of glass and the hundreds of reflections in the crimson light. It reminds her of a dark room. Except with a gritty recording and someone laughing in the background. They absolutely did a wonderful job setting it up.

“God, I hope that’s one of the funhouse mirrors.” Delilah pauses in front of a reflection that looks way too lean for her like, turning partway to check her backside in a normal mirror. She tugs up her jeans with a note of defiance before moving on.

It’s a disorienting journey through the corridors made of mirrors. Now and then the lights flicker and the multitude of shapes of a hundred Delilahs make it feel like it’s a crowded hallway, despite her being very much alone — at least in this section of the large room. But soon she gets the sense she isn’t alone, that there’s someone near, perhaps on the other side, in the corridor beside the one she’s walking. Somewhere below the din of laughter and calliope music, she can hear another person’s breathing. It sounds almost panicked.

When she turns the corner, the mirrors reflect her image back: lean and stretched out Delilahs, round and short Delilahs, a few that are true to form. About halfway through the corridor, the angles of the mirrors shifts. Those glass surfaces are empty of her form, an infinite number of other mirrors reflected within… until suddenly a shape fills them.

It is not hers.

The face is one that is all too known to her. A heavy brooding brow, red-rimmed blue eyes, a lean and hungry countenance, a beard that only serves to emphasize the wolvishness of Samson Gray, as he was ten years ago.

Hand on the edge of the glass as she turns corners, Delilah slows down when the lights blink above her; she doesn’t want to run into a mirror. That would be the least embarrassing thing, though.

She has to listen a little harder past the other sounds to pick up the breath, but she does. It’s a nice touch, she thinks. But, unfortunately, she knows that they were only letting in one person at a time.


A squinted look comes when she reaches the space filled with warped mirrors, one hand still trailing against the glass beside her. As soon as her own shape disappears, she freezes, brows lifting and chin tipping to look back over her shoulder. Is this a dead zone? Where they are all just right for not seeing her? Clever.

No sooner does she think this, someone else is there, blotting out the space where she’d been a moment ago. To her credit, she is already frozen in place when a chill crawls down her spine. Hands clench at her sides, lips pressed pale. Delilah’s eyes flash with a mixture of fear and rebellion, the red of her hair a deep crimson in the light. He is very much the same as when she met him.

That’s the problem, though, isn’t it? He is the same. How long has it been? Another touch creeps across her back, but she doesn’t back down from the reflections despite wondering who he’s been hunting to get something like this.

“You’d best think hard about what you do next.” As much as it is a warning, she also hopes it’s a simple reminder of her own kindnesses to him.


… is probably not what she is expecting Samson Gray to say.

It’s almost a croak and pleading as he reaches for her. “Please, miss, I can’t…”

Samson Gray steps forward, his gait heavy, too heavy for his rail-thin frame, staggering, as he moves toward her, his hand stretched out, like a needful, grasping claw.

The closer he gets, the more real he seems — not merely a trick of the light. No smoke and mirrors by someone with a sick sense of humor, this. His blue eyes, rimmed with red, are rheumy, whites yellowed. There’s the smell of smoke and yellow stained nicotine fingers and teeth. Blood speckles dot that outstretched hands like freckles, like he might have just killed someone.

The first word is enough to tweak at her heartstrings, concern flickering through. Once upon a time she wouldn’t hesitate. Delilah’s features crease in a troubled expression at what he says, and she takes a step back when he takes one forward.

“Samson,” She starts, words caught behind her teeth a moment later. The smell of smoke on him is much the same, and the flecks across his hands brings her attention inward at his pleading reach, then the blue of his eyes. They might have been far more intense, once, but now they only draw pity from her. Delilah saw the start of his deterioration, and now… she can’t afford to be kind.

“I have to think about my son- - ” The back of her shoe bumps against a mirror wall, and both hands come up in front, defensive. Brown eyes seem to gloss over, the black of her pupils widening. The red light seems to do something odd to the skin under her eyes, an unnatural sheen. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

His head shakes vehemently, a vigorous shake like a dog gives when wet, a strange gesture on a man who always seem so deliberate, so methodical in his mannerisms.

“No, no, no. Miss, I don’t want your so-” he begins, stepping forward again, that pleading hand still outstretched, still grasping for her.

But then the mirror rattles behind her when her heel bumps against it. The reflections held captive in the glass shiver and tremble, and his rheumy blue eyes dart that way. “Oh, God,” he groans, before looking back to Delilah — it’s then he sees her eyes growing black, the strange sheen. The danger inherent in the woman standing before him.

“Don’t hurt me,” he wheezes, before he turns to stumble away from her in a hurry, his bony, pale hands reaching out to follow along the mirror’s edges to help him find the gaps that make up the maze.

This seems wrong, somehow, but Delilah’s sense of self preservation seems to be winning despite the man’s pleads for her. She remains against the mirror as he steps forward, the sheen at her eyes matching the slick shine of her hands. If the maze contains any blacklight, the patches of secretion will begin to show visibly.

Dee keeps her hands out, palms down in a gesture of the taming sort. And now? Now he’s begging for her not to hurt him before trying to get away. This isn’t right at all. He’s a wolf, not a mongrel. The redhead takes a breath, wiping her hands across her jeans and stepping cautiously after Samson. She can follow the sound of his breathing if not his frame, one hand finding gaps just as he had.

“Samson— then what are you doing here?!” If not for her or her boy? Delilah’s voice holds a waver, clinging to the fear for her family despite her pursuit.

But the next corridor is clear of any sign of him — a hundred Delilahs peer this way and that in mirror image of her own movements. Somewhere in the distance there is a crash of glass as a mirror meets the tile floor. A thousand shards. Years of bad luck — or someone’s violent end?

delilah_icon.gif jim_icon.gif lance_icon.gif marlowe_icon.gif tania_icon.gif weasel_icon.gif

One by one, the mazerunners make it through a pair of doubledoors that are not the official end of the maze, but the end of the maze that they’ve pushed or broken their way to, by some means or another. Unfortunately, this room empties into another, a long, narrow corridor that leads to another pair of double doors — which is clearly boarded up from the outside, the old and dilapidated wood boards visible through gridded glass.

A single, flickering emergency light above head, which seems to threaten to give out at any minute, and not because it’s been tricked out by the haunted house’s owners. It simply is on its last legs. It’s enough to see by — and to see there’s nothing else in the room to lodge the doors or act as a weapon.

Unless they can push themselves out of the boarded up doors, the only way to the rest of the school, is back in.

Following sounds of footsteps and movement, Weasel emerges first, her tiny companion perched upon her shoulder at this point; curiosity has overridden fear at this point, and now she and Ron Weasely want to find out what the frightening doctor dude wanted — and why he has a needle. She has a knife in her boot, in any case — if he tries to touch her with that needle, she’ll probably win that showdown.

The teenager pauses in the entrance to the corridor before she quietly makes her way to the boarded up exit, blinking up at the flickering emergency light with a frown on her face. “Where did you…” She shakes her head, turning to look behind herself, before reaching up to try the door. She’s certainly not strong enough to force it.

Really would be nice if there were some damned raccoons around, but there are probably too many people outside for their tastes. All the same, she reaches out again, searching for any musteloid minds that may be within her range. Just in case.

She’s not sure when she started running, exactly, but Delilah only realizes that she is when she thinks she finds the exit. The redhead comes barreling into the open space, unknowing of Weasel in the dead end ahead.

Samson!” It’s like shouting into the wind.

Nobody’s there. Not the one she was following, in any case. Just a girl. Delilah is panting some, hair covered in flyaways and face flushed. Her face has a dull shine- not like sweat, but like the in-between of candlewax. It’s on her hands, wiped frantically on her thighs when she comes back to herself. Dilated pupils nearly the size of her irises contract again, blinking into normalcy.

“I- - Sorry- - Hey there?” Delilah addresses Weasel with a shaky laugh. Fun stuff, right?! Right?

The third time those doors come swinging open, they do so in eerie silence as Lance literally hits them while rolling up from hitting the floor, whirling back to face the doors as he backs up into the hallway, hands moving instinctively into a combat stance, eyes wild with adrenaline’s rush through his veins.

The realization there’re other people there have him turning his head, and he falls back out of his stance with a sudden furrowing of his brow, “…Dee? Weasel? What— we need to get out of here, there’s— there’s a guy in there, a— Monster— “

He looks down to the boarded up door, then back to the doors he’d come through.

Tania stumbles into the corridor, glancing over her shoulder before she turns to realize there are other people here. But she doesn't know them, and they don't know her, so there's no pause to chat. Just a look over each of them, as if assessing how useful they'll be if things get worse. But.

All she knows is that she isn't going back in there.

So she starts for the other end. Apparently she would rather try her luck at breaking through boarded up doors than just walk the other direction. As soon as she's close enough, she tests the doors, giving them a shake to see if they’re loose enough to open.

Marlowe exits the maze into the dimly lit corridor in a completely uncomposed stumble. Eyes wide and looking like she saw an actual ghost or worse, the woman shoots a look back over her shoulder first to see if the man she'd fled from is following. But then the activities of others up ahead and down the corridor yank her attention to who's in front of her. And seeing someone familiar, even if vaguely so or imagined, sets Marlowe hurrying for the other end of the corridor as well. "Tania? Tania!" The others also get passing glances, visual checks to make sure they're real.

The boarded up doors get a look over too. Marlowe frowns at the barricade and reaches out to lay fingers on the door and manipulate the materials there.

Next to come is Jim, it seems. From the look on his face, he would much rather have exited much earlier than he had, but there you are. We can’t always get what we want, as they say. But one thing he does not want is to go back inside, and as soon as he pops out into the corridor he gets as far away from where he’d just come out as he possibly can. “Jesus, jesus, jesus…” he mumbles, his usual calm nowhere to be found, despite him sucking in a breath or two. He registers that there’s people, but he doesn’t really pay attention to who, or whether he knows them, or anything of the sort. He just starts toward the end in an attempt to find a way out.

“I don't want to help!!”

Eve’s loud roar proceeds her running headlong into the corridor almost colliding with Jim's back, “God heavens above and the lord Satan below.” Clutching onto the back of Jim’s shirt with a bone white grip. “Psssst, Brother Seer. Hi, hey there. Let's shoot the doors down. We must fleeee!!!”

The doors slam open again and stumbling out next is a lean man in an expensive suit. His skin is pale, his hair platinum blond, his eyes blue. He has a smear of blood on his hands and is staggering, out of breath — another guest of the House of Mirrors? But even those in the narrow, claustrophobic corridor who do not recognize the face of Adam Monroe recognize the sound of that breathing, wheezing, for they heard it in the mirrored room.

“Help me-” he begins, reaching out a hand to grasp at Eve, who can feel the air displaced but is just out of reach.

And then, his skin begins to move — first noticeable on his hand, it’s almost as if someone is tugging the fingers wider, pushing them shorter. A look at his face reveals a terrifying, grotesque display as his features shift before their eyes.

The man, no longer Adam Monroe, no longer anyone but flesh in flux, groans and puts that morphing hand up to his head.

Delilah’s entrance prompts Weasel to suddenly turn around, slamming her back against the door with a fearful look on her face. That doesn’t last long, however, as she turns out to be a normal (if weirdly waxy-looking) human who is not a doctor with a needle. She lifts a hand to sheepishly wave at the woman.

Then, suddenly Lance is there, and her eyes widen. “Lance!” Immediately, the girl gravitates to his side and grabs hold of his arm, turning and watching as everyone files in — all the while clinging rather tightly to her brother. “I didn’t see a monster, it was — it was that stupid doctor I always told you about.” Her voice quiets as the others file in, all equally terrified.

Then, the bloody man comes out, and she turns, watching with wide eyes. That breathing sound — she remembers that from the man she chased in here in the first place. And he’s changing, turning into…some kind of gross flesh monster. She glances back at the others gathered, before turning to stare wide-eyed at the man. “He’s Evo,” she proclaims, ignoring the politically correct term.

The tiny weasel on the girl’s shoulder slips down into her pocket as she takes a tentative step toward the man, reaching one hand out for him to grab. “Hey, it’s okay. You’re okay. How can we help?” She always was brave to the point of stupidity.

The series of people that pop out of the maze behind her has Delilah stepping back to take a better look at the whole picture. They'll definitely have to go back that way. She looks between the faces she knows- - Tania, Eve, Lance, Marlowe- - and the ones she does not. It looks like the young lady knows Lance, so at least she's friendly. The other she has no hints to.

Dee breathes outward with a steadying sound, wiping at her face with now dried hands to get anything else off of the surface. "Okay, people, just- -" She doesn't have time before yet one more person is stumbling from the house of mirrors. "God- -" there aren't a lot of words for what she sees. He's like a wax figure in the sun, warping under heat. The breathing is just as it was in the mirror-halls. But this is absolutely not Samson Gray.

"Careful, you don't know what he does yet.." Delilah puts a hand out to tug on the back of Weasel's top, though not committed. She wants to help him too, but…

There’s a slight flinch from Lance every time those doors burst open, just waiting for the monster he’d seen to come crashing through— arm brushing out to urge Weasel back in a protective instinct, his gaze on the doors. “Okay, there’s got to be some way out of here, there…”

Then that last person stumbles out, and as flesh flows like wax his eyes widen, “Whoa. Did he— is that who I saw in— who the fuck are you, man?” Suddenly angry at having been duped like this, he steps forward, “Why are you chasing us and scaring us like this?”

Marlowe's focused on the barricaded doors so when the flux-fleshed man appears, she's not looking that way. It's the reactions of the others that cause her to turn an ear first, then the rest of her gaze. A mistake, really. The sight is particularly gut-churning for someone as concerned about appearances as the woman. With a gasp, she steps back against the boarded up doors. Speechless, she stares at the mutating man, mouth agape and eyes round.

“Eve?!” Jim turns quickly, and despite the fact that he hasn’t ever seemed the type to shoot any sort of doors down before, he doesn’t even argue. He puts an arm around her without thinking, half-protective — sort of — and half freaked the hell out. He starts them toward the doors, to do something…though he happens to turn as the man-thing comes out as well. “What the fuck?!” There’s shock as well as fear, now. This wasn’t what he saw before.

His eyes widen as whoever it is starts to shift, rooted to the spot as his expression shifts again, this time with confusion. Too much happening at once. Can’t process.

“AAAAAA NO YOU DO NOT!” As his features twist and Eve clings tightly to Jim’s arm with wide eyes the seer kicks her leg out and stops short and the man groans and continues to shift into someone else.

“Broken…like poor Jibram..?” Eyes search for Jim's before she finds her other friends looking over at the other ones. “Shall we help him?” Her eyes are looking over to the shape and the man looks up at them. Eve’s mind is racing but she doesn't go to attack any further. Yet.

Tania turns from the door as well, but ends up pressed back up against it when she sees what has come out of the maze with them. It takes her a few moments to remind herself not to be scared, that something else is going on here.

"He's hurt," she says, because he most certainly was within the maze, "I think he might be stuck between… forms." She is up on her expressive knowledge, but still she seems uncertain that's the word. She turns back to Marlowe, putting a hand on her friend's arm to get her attention. "You, work on the door." Because that's what she's good at. She turns to the others, to cross back over to where Jim is standing. She doesn't know everyone at her brother's hospital, but she knows a lot of their faces. "He was bleeding when I saw him."

The skin molds itself into something new — the features rearrange, the chin elongating, the hair sprouts longer, grayer; even the clothing shifts with skin and coloring and skeleton, and Weasel finds herself staring at the doctor she had seen in the maze. “Just- can’t-” he begins, as if trying to catch his breath, but his back arches backward and he falls to the ground in obvious pain as another shift bends his body.

It’s horrific to watch, like something out of a horror movie, the skin almost undulating as it rearranges itself into each new face. Limbs lengthen, teeth decay, skin sags and retracts. Marlowe finds herself looking at the drill sergeant. The infamous face of Michael Valentin creeps its way onto the shapeshifter’s body. The madman of Lance’s youth stares back at them, blood drenched as he was in Lance’s memory, but very much corporeal, no illusion. Here in the flesh. Samson Gray’s long, wolvish face stares at them for a moment, before his eyes begin to roll backward. Another painful wave of skin and hair retracting, fingers lengthening, and the emaciated, craggy and pale face and form of one of The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampie Slayer’s Hush episode begins to twitch and tremble.

He’s seizing.

Jim looks conflicted — after all, this guy was just chasing him around the Hall of Mirrors looking like the stuff of his nightmares. His gaze shifts to Eve, though, at her question, and then to Tania when she says that he was bleeding. His mouth presses a little bit tighter as he comes to some decision, and then he nods once, turning back toward the man just as he shifts into his current form.

When that happens, it seems that some of Jim’s resolve fails him, and he takes in a sharper breath, cringing back just a little bit. However, the beginning of the seizure seems to snap him out of it, and he moves reluctantly but quickly enough away from Eve to turn the man onto his side. “Make sure he has room,” he says, as he looks quickly at the watch he’s wearing, then back to the seizing Monster of the Week. But what a monster, amirite? Once he’s done that, and swept a quick glance around for anything that might be a danger to someone convulsing on the floor, he just waits, kneeling in such a way that the man can’t turn back over on his back and get his airway blocked somehow.

“He’s— he’s a shapeshifter?” Lance drops back a step as the man’s flesh undulates and twitches, and as Jim steps forward he relaxes a little— this doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat anymore, although he’s still staring at it in a bit of horror. “Shit. Did he lose control of his ability?”

His brow knits as he looks to the others, then back, unsure what to do. Fortunately someone here has medical knowledge!

As Delilah reaches out and touches Weasel’s jacket, the young woman barely turns in her direction; there’s suddenly a rather loud chirping sort of squeak, and a little blur of brown fur suddenly darts out from her pocket, and a pair of tiny jaws with tiny, sharp little teeth chomps down hard on her hand. The little weasel lets out another angry squeaking sound, clinging to the back of Weasel’s jacket and shaking its head vigorously, before darting right back into the pocket it was hiding in, probably to drool and hate everything.

Weasel glances back briefly at Delilah with a small look, before her attention is rather quickly drawn back to the melting man. “He — I think he’s turning into what we’re scared of?” She frowns, turning to look around with wide eyes. She is by the man’s side rather quickly, though she doesn’t know what to do aside from taking his hand. “I don’t know, think happy thoughts?”

She’s a bit panicked — while Weasel is an odd creature, she doesn’t like seeing others suffer.

Delilah is not nearly quick enough to avoid being bitten. The tiny animal sinks its teeth in and there's a yelp of pain, naturally; unfortunately for Ron, Delilah hasn't washed out her pores and his protective attack simply results in Dee's skin flushing with a wash of heat and a defensive mucus. Now she's all slick again, shirt and hair sticking, irises almost black.

The look from Weasel is answered with one of her own, as she clutches her hand to her chest and juts her chin out. No time for fighting, but there is absolutely a feeling of 'LATER'.

"You don't know if he can affect you too." Delilah explains more clearly this time, moving over after Weasel and standing aside while Jim administers aid/ Her hand is bleeding but she keeps it tucked against her side, and she noticably avoids getting too physically close. "No wand here, sorry. Hey mate, if you can hear us, you'll be okay, just concentrate on your breathing- -"

"I can help, if you need an extra hand," Tania says, coming over to stand nearby Jim, but with space. "War experience." Rather than any sort of proper education. But, it may help and she's willing. She glances at the others, holding her hands up some toward Weasel. "Please try to be calm," she says, nearly unnaturally calm herself, "it won't help him if we're panicking." Delilah gets a grateful nod for her intervention, because anything to help him out— and then them out— is appreciated.

Seeing the visage of Sgt. Calhoun even for another moment, Marlowe flinches and looks away as if her whole being was trained to not meet the eyes of the man. The woman sucks in a breath as Tania touches her arm, the limb tensing on contact. But then she looks back to her cooler-headed friend, nodding once at the instructions given. Anything to not have to look back up to the stuck shapeshifter. She turns around, placing her hands on the doors behind her and with a moment’s focus, warps the materials with a flashy, arcing blue-white energy around the metal doors. The metal peels back into an arch rather solid door front, allowing for free passage through to exit the building. And though she feels the urge to run out first, to run away from the monstrous being behind them in the corridor, Marlowe stays. She steps aside, allowing for anyone else to head out upon their choosing.

As the man convulses, protected from further hurting himself thanks to Jim’s quick work, his body continues to shift, faster and faster, into almost an impossible blur of the various faces and forms that they’ve already seen. The features shift so fast that sometimes it’s a motley assortment of features — Valentin’s eyes with Lance’s Monster’s nose…the cragged pale skin of the Gentleman combined with the long, lean and bearded countenance belonging to Samson Gray.

Finally, and almost abruptly, the flesh and bone coalesce into one last form — presumably the man’s own, not one borrowed from the dark recesses of the minds of those he’s come across in the maze. Short, stocky, ordinary. His body comes to rest and his eyes flutter closed for a moment before opening again — ordinary brown, not the gray zombie-esque eyes of Jim’s Gentleman or the bloodshot eyes of the Monster. He looks exhausted, grateful. Sad.


The source of some of that blood is visible now — he’s clad in jeans, a sweater and flip-flops, one of his feet cut from walking through broken glass courtesy of Lance.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers, and tears leak out of the corner of those sad brown eyes. “I just.. I got claustrophobic. I didn’t think this would happen. It hasn’t been this bad in years…”
Weasel takes Tania’s advice to heart — when she sees that her and Jim have it under control, she draws back, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a very unhappy and distressed little weasel, who is drooling profusely and pawing at his mouth. “Ron, you poor guy,” she mumbles concernedly, petting the little thing and wiping at his mouth with her shirt.

A frown is offered to Delilah. “Sorry, I didn’t tell him to do that. He’s protective, and we’re bonded, so he noticed you grabbing me and acted..” She sounds genuinely apologetic, glancing down at the woman’s bleeding hand. “You should rinse that off.” It’s not like she’s worried about the little creature leaving behind any diseases, but that doesn’t look so good — this is a tiny creature that likes to kill rabbits, after all.

Dark eyes turn to the man as he seems to settle, and Clara looks a bit relieved. She reaches down and touch his hand gently, before moving over to Lance’s side. “We should take him to a hospital.” She hates hospitals, but this guy could probably benefit from one.

The anger’s all washed out of Lance now, replaced by sympathy as he watches the out-of-control shapeshifter being tended to and then finally regain control; a little grimace twisting his lips, one hand raking back through his hair. “Yeah, you’re right,” he says quietly in agreement, stepping over, “Let’s get you out of here and to the hospital, buddy, you’ll be okay in no time. Sorry for, uh, for panicking.”

Sheepish, but then, everyone else did too!

“I’m Lance,” he offers as he moves to help him up once the seizing’s over, assuming the medics let him, “Shit happens, c’mon, it’s gonna be alright.”

Delilah watches the ensuing seizure with a dread fascination, somewhere between revolted and curious. How is he doing all of that? Everyone seems so unsettled by him. She gives Weasel a semi-understanding look, still irritated at the bite, which she holds out to her side, but she can’t fault the little thing. She remembers how empaths are with their bonds.

“I’ll deal with it.” Is not exactly a forgiving answer, but it’s what she gets. Delilah watches as Lance offers an assist for the older man, who gets more of her pity than the critter does. She would help too, but between Jim and Lance there are plenty of hands to get the guy where he needs to be.

“Lance, I’ve got to go, you guys got this, right?” The redhead is already heading in a backstep for the ‘door’ that Marlowe has made, and she holds her hand against her as she walks, giving him one last look. “Lemme know how it goes. I gotta get back to the kids.”

She has no idea how long they’ve been in here, but she’s sure that someone expected her to get out by now.

“It’s alright,” Tania says with a gentler tone. “I’m sorry we all ran.” There’s no hard feelings for the fright, especially not given the state the man is in. “This man works at the hospital,” she says with a gesture toward Jim, “he’s very good. The patients ask for him all the time.”

That may or may not be true, but she’s just trying to keep the man’s spirits up. And Jim seems to have a better bedside manner than her brother does.

She doesn’t crowd him, either, but sticks close by. Likely she will do so all the way to the ER.

With the arching exit created, Marlowe stands to the side looking worried as the others attend the distressed shapeshifter. Hand covering her mouth, she takes on the role of silent bystander observing the scene, until she gets it into her mind, finally, to get help as well. “Tania, I’m going to call someone over. Be right back.” And off she goes to retrieve the staff working the haunted house, to let them know there’s an actual emergency in the mirror room.

Jim gives Tania a grateful look for the offer of help, and he might have taken her up on it, but then the man is coming to, of course, and he turns that way, now with more of his usual aura of calm. Not completely, of course. It’s hard to turn off that adrenaline once it’s been turned on — that is, until the crash. Time enough to worry about that later. “Don’t worry about it,” he says, his tone mostly just gentle. “Things happen.”

He doesn’t stop Lance from helping the man up, and he assists as well, though doesn’t let go until and unless he can move under his own power. That cut on his foot is angry, to say nothing about the seizure. “I’d like to get you to the ER and get that cut taken care of,” he says, “yeah? We’d just like to make sure you’re going to be okay.” Speaking for everyone, but it probably applies. He looks from Tania to Eve, and then Marlowe, before his eyes find each of the others’ as well.

“Oh my… a flashy shifting penguin!” Eve looks enthused and she crouches to look at the man, all demeanor of fear but a distant memory as she tilts her head and leans in with a slanted grin on her face, “Don't worry Oogie Boogie, we’ll get you to the right place. I'm the Murderimp.” She whispers softly to him while looking over her shoulder and looking over to the others.

A shapeshifter of some kind, how delightful! “A real Oogie Boogie man!!” Clapping her hands together she looks over to the rest of the SLC-Expressives in the room. “This is our brother in blood! Gifts are gifts even when they seem like a curse.” No harm, no foul for Eve with the man, she frowns though because he looks so… helpless but he wasn't helpless at all

The man looks weakly about, moving to sit up as he stares at those around him. He nods at Jim’s words, offering Delilah a feeble wave as she makes her way to the exit to get back to her child. Lance’s introduction pulls his eyes that way and he smiles.

“Dale,” he says, as Eve introduces herself as the murderimp, and his eyes widen a little. His laugh is nervous and tired. “I’m sorry I scared you all. You all have some scary things in your heads, I guess.”

His expression grows sad again. “I suppose we all do, these days.”

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