The Haunted House
Kid quickly regained his composure upon seeing the shadowed figure emerge from atop the shooting gallery. He hastily stood up and examined his surroundings. The entrance shut and the carnival seemed to stretch on forever with no signs of escape. He then turned his attention back to the shadowy figure.
"Liz, Patty!" he ordered as they both nodded and transformed into their gun forms which he quickly snatched up before he took his Stance of "Sin".
"I'm assuming you're Ludwig von Tökkentäkker?" he asked calmly, his fingers ready to pull the triggers.
The man chuckled. "A little eager are ve? Don't you vant to have a little fun before you spoil everything? Go on, enjoy ze carnival and then come down to ze Big Top for the main event!" he declared, throwing something down and disappearing behind a smoke screen a second before Kid could fire a shot.
"Damn it!" Kid snarled in frustration. He sighed. "I guess we don't have much choice…"
"Yay! Woohoo! We get to have fun at the carnival!" Patty cheered.
"I don't think he was talking about the same kind of fun you're thinking," Liz sighed. "So can we come back out?" she asked.
"No, I think it would be safer if you stayed as weapons for now," Kid explained, stepping up to the shooting gallery.
The shooting gallery was a tall, rectangular box as one would expect a shooting gallery to be. On top of it was the words Shooting Gallery in big, gold-yellow letters on a red background. In between the words was a cyan and white target with a few bullet holes in it. The sides were purple with skulls of a 50s-style cartoon American family on each side. The counter was red with yellow flags beneath it and a red and white stripped tarp beneath completed the design.
Over the range of the shooting gallery was a yellow curtain with a black line running through a blue circle which had the words Fun for the Entire Family written on it in cursive. Upon approaching it, the curtain raised to reveal the attractions. The biggest and boldest words read Play All Three To Enter the Big Top! And there it was! — a large red and white tent that had yellow Big Top written over it. In front of the tent were three miniature versions of the other attractions. A rickety, Victorian-styled mansion was on the far left; it was labeled Haunted House. On the far right was a freakish face of a man with puffy cheeks, a little red curl of hair, and a straw hat entitled Freak Show. And finally, in the center, was a viciously spinning yellow and red Ferris wheel designated as Rickety Town.
Kid stood there and thought for a moment as he looked at the three moving attractions, trying to decide which one to do first.
"Let's go to the haunted house!" Patty blurted as Liz groaned.
"Really? Why don't we do that one last…?" Liz complained, not wanting to know what they might find in the Haunted House.
"I think Patty's right, we'll go to the Haunted House first, seeing as how we'll have to cover less ground than the other two," Kid said before aiming Patty at the haunted house.
"What? No! Wait!" Liz cried before Kid fired and struck the miniature building.
Kid, Liz, and Patty would find themselves floating in some void with gentle carnival pipe music playing in the background while ahead of them was a purple and black spiral.
"Where are we?" Liz asked with a hint of fear in her tone.
"I don't know," Kid said as a jester skull suddenly appeared and floated in front of them, its collar spinning as it moved about.
"Welcome to the Haunted House.Meet a ghoul who lost her head.If you'd like to stay and join us, You're always welcome — alive or dead!" the jester's skull recited in a comedic yet sing-song voice. He laughed maniacally as he disappeared.
The group then found themselves in front of a metal gate with two large, wooden doors with the words Haunted House written above it in neon red lights. As Kid approached it with his weapons drawn, there was a crash of thunder and a flash of lightning in the distance.
"Th-This place is really creepy," Liz said, her voice trembling.
"That's the point silly, it's a haunted house!" Patty tried reassuring her sister.
"I wonder what that jester meant by 'Meet a ghoul who lost her head'?" Kid wondered aloud.
Before Liz or Patty could respond, the large wooden gate opened up to reveal a large green hill with a long staircase that lead up to the mansion. Barren and gnarled trees dotted the hill with the occasional lantern hanging off of them. Kid stepped inside as the gate closed behind him and he looked around.
He suddenly heard a crack of lightning and turned to his left to see a small cemetery with tombstones and a small mausoleum hiding behind a tree. He then noticed that one of the graves was open and approached it cautiously.
"Kid? What are you doing?" Liz asked with a slight quiver in her tone as she subconsciously tried to get a grip on herself.
"I'm just making sure that nothing's going to follow us," he said, but before he could reach it, a loud groan filled the air and something emerged from the open grave.
Kid took a step back as a zombie emerged from the grave; the zombie was tall, bald, and wore a pair of torn pants. Its body was visibly starved as its skin seemed to cling to its muscle and bones, making them visible. Meanwhile, its eyes were milky white and its mouth hung open, revealing sharp teeth and blood dripping down its chin.
Liz let out a little squeak as she closed her eyes and mumbled sweet thoughts as Kid looked at the lumbering creature with disinterest.
"A zombie? Really now, I thought Tökkentäkker would be a bit more original than that," Kid snarked. Raising his guns and shooting the zombie in the head and arm. The zombie's head exploded into blood as its rotted arm flew off before it fell to the ground, dead.
"That was a little too easy," Kid approached the corpse, its Kishin egg slowly emerging and hovering "Well, I guess it's better than nothing." Patty changed back to normal.
"I'll take this one," she giggled before taking the egg and slurping it up. "Ah, that makes eighteen!" she said with glee before turning back into a gun.
"At least we're symmetrical now," Kid said with a pleasant sigh as he holstered them both and returned to the base of the stairs. He jumped at a slight sound and drew his weapons when a coffin emerged from the ground and opened its top half, revealing nothing but a neon red sign over it which said Tickets.
"A little on edge, are we?" Patty teased, giggling.
"That's not funny, Patty. This place is creepy!" Liz defended.
"Indeed, plus you never know what kinds of surprises might be lurking about. I think we need a better view," Kid said, summoning his flying skateboard, Beelzebub, and using it to fly up the hill.
His trip was quickly cut short when a zombie on top of the hill threw the upper half of a corpse at him, knocking him off and sending Beelzebub flying off into the distance. Kid grunted as he hit the stairs and rolled down a little before stopping at a landing.
"Damn it!" he yelled in frustration as he quickly got back up and ran up the stairs, firing wildly and reducing the zombie on top to a bloody torso with legs.
Kid panted as he stopped and examined the mansion while Patty collected their nineteenth Kishin egg. The mansion looked like a much bigger version of the miniature with a blue and red color scheme along with a heavily dilapidated look. To the right was a sloping, double-door passage and opposite that was what looked to be the mansion's entrance. It had a small porch with pillars and a small roof. A rail ran between the two entrances.
Once Patty returned, the doors to the right opened and a flaming three-wheeled car that looked like something out of the early 20th century rolled out and passed in front of them before tipping over at the turn near the entrance.
"Let's hope that doesn't end up being us," Kid said as he continued to the entrance. But, before he could open the double doors, a zombie kicked down the left door and lumbered towards him. Kid shot it dead before collecting its egg and continuing into the mansion.
Inside the entrance was an arching hall that led to the foyer which, at the end of the hall, had a stand to the left and a door to the right. Kid slowly walked in, his guns raised and ready, looking for any signs of attack while following the rail embedded in the ground. He hoped it would lead to a possible exit. Upon reaching the end of the hall, he heard an almost inhuman cry.
Kid turned to see a tall, muscular bald man whose back was on fire. He was wearing a torn pair of suspendered jeans and a warped hockey mask. His right arm and left leg had metal cuffs with chains hanging off. The rest of his body was covered in burns and in his left hand was a chain gun. The hulking monstrosity smacked the other door off its hinges as he entered the mansion. He began firing his chain gun at Kid before he leaped out of the way, dodging the bullets and hiding behind a wall.
"What the hell is that thing?" Kid shouted as the monster continued shooting at the floor and wall near him.
"I don't know, but we better get rid of it fast," Liz said before Kid nodded and turned the corner once the firing stopped and began shooting at the creature.
The juggernaut staggered and growled at Kid's assault, but despite making hits and clearly causing it pain, the beast continued to soak up the damage. It prepared to fire its weapon again, but Kid quickly shot the chain gun, causing it to stumble.
"I can't keep this up forever, sooner or later he'll fire that thing again," Kid said as he continued pouring fire relentlessly on the dodged and ducked ever attack that came his way, returning the fire as quickly as he was able.
"Oh, I have an idea!" Patty suggested, changing back and jumping off Kid towards the monster, kicking it in the face. The hulking beast cried out before falling back.
"Well, that was…interesting," Kid said as he walked up to the fallen monster. Patty returned to her weapon form in the meanwhile.
The beast stumbled closer — too close for comfort. It hefted up the chain gun and took aim. It fired, just barely missing its intended target.
"Thanks, Kid!" Patty replied while Kid examined the creature; its soul did not appear out of its body.
"Is it dead?" Liz asked. Kid shook his head.
"Unfortunately, it seems the monster is only unconscious. Let's hope it stays that way," Kid replied before turning and heading further into the mansion.
As Kid ventured to the end of the entrance hall, the closet to the left suddenly opened up. A zombie wielding a bloody knife popped out. It caught him off guard and managed to slash his shoulder while it flailed about, causing him to let out a grunt. Kid quickly dispatched it by blowing its head off.
Kid clutched his arm as both Liz and Patty transformed back, Patty once again claiming the soul while Liz tended to Kid.
"Are you hurt badly?" Liz asked with concern. Kid shook his head.
"I'm fine, it's just a cut," he said before taking his hand away, revealing a bleeding but shallow cut.
"Are you sure?" Patty asked as she returned to the both of them.
"Yes, it should heal on its own. Now, let's go," he ordered before they changed back and continued into the foyer.
The foyer was a large, decrepit room with torn wallpaper and a dirty, wooden floor. It was lit by various tall candelabras in the wall, which had two axes facing opposite directions on them. The room was decorated with various Gothic portraits, some small scattered tables, an old-fashioned clock on the wall just above a striped couch, a polar bear-skin rug, two bookshelves, and a Goliath fireplace. Next to the couch was a pair of double doors and just above them both was a balcony. To the left there was a staircase that led upward.
A particular object of note was a large portrait to the right of the fireplace. The portrait was that of a little girl in an orange dress with a white apron. She was holding a bloody axe behind her and clearly had a deep red bloodstain on the apron near her skirt.
"I wonder who that is." Kid said as he approached the portrait.
"I don't know, but she's kind of creepy," Liz mumbled.
Suddenly, the front of the bear-skin rug opened to reveal a trap door, which released a swarm of bats right into Kid's face. Liz screamed as the bats blinded Kid and took a nip at his cheek before the trap door closed and the bats flew off into a hole in the ceiling.
"Damn it! I have to be more careful," Kid said before looking up at the balcony and seeing a zombie about to throw the upper half of a corpse at him. He quickly shot both the zombie's arms off. It fell over, dead.
Kid turned to see another one of the old cars on the rail — this one not on fire — go into a lowered part of the mansion and into another room. Following it, it led him to a curved hall with two couches facing opposite sides, a bookshelf next to another couch, a fern behind the two and a trunk. Following the turn at the rail, he stumbled on an axe embedded in a cabinet counter. Next to it were two chairs facing a piano with two candelabras on top and a large portrait of an owl looming over it.
The chairs suddenly turned around, Kid quickly drawing his weapons before seeing that there was nothing in the chairs.
"Well, that was pointl— " he was cut off when the owl portrait fell and a ghastly figure flew towards him. The wraith wore a tattered, grey, hooded cloak with no visible lower half. Its face was a scowling skull with sharp teeth. It was coming at him while slashing its long, gangly arms which were equipped with sharp claws.
Kid hastily ducked as the wraith flew over him. He turned and shot rapidly at it. The wraith letting out an unearthly cry before disappearing and leaving its soul. Liz then cried out before changing back and fleeing towards the entrance.
"That's it! I can't take this anymore! If we're fighting ghosts, I'm done!" she cried. Kid and Patty quickly latched onto.
"You can't leave, sis, we need you!" Patty pleaded as Liz flailed and tried to escape their hold.
"Let me go! I need to get out of here!" Liz said, continuing to tug herself out of their grasp.
"Liz, get a hold of yourself. The sooner we get through this mansion, the sooner it will be over," Kid tried reassuring her. Liz sighed — half a sob — into the ground and nodded.
"Okay," she said, changing back into a weapon while Patty collected the soul and changed back as well.
Kid proceeded and came upon a narrow, winding hall with hands sticking out of the wall at head-height, trying to claw at whatever passed by. He ducked and rushed through the corridor, the hands barely touching him as he soon made it out. At the end of the hall he found the upper half of a corpse beneath a large, webbed hole in the wall. To the left of this passage was a long, dark hall dripping with blood. To the right was a pair of blood-soaked kitchen double doors. The corpse itself was that of a man. His face was frozen in fear while his torso was seemingly eaten with some flesh missing and the ribs sticking out.
Before Kid could comment, a giant spider appeared out of the hole and attempted to jump on him but he shot it and completely destroying it.
"Giant spiders? This place is just getting silly now," Patty joked before they heard a familiar cry.
Kid turned to the left hall and saw the monster from earlier run out from the darkness. He seemed slightly bigger this time and his chain gun had been replaced by a cannon. The cannon fired off strange skull-like projectiles which Kid shot at, causing them to explode.
"Looks like it's time for round two," he said. He started firing a barrage of energized bullets, causing the monster to stumble and growl.
Just as before, the monster took the shots, but they didn't seem to do much damage. It then began to mount and fire its cannon. Kid quickly shot it in the face, causing it to recoil. The shot to the face broke the monster's mask, revealing a hideously burned and deformed, skull-like visage. Despite Kid's heavy barrage, it managed to fire off three more skulls. Two of them were dispatched but the third managed to hit Kid and knock him onto the ground.
"Kid!" Liz and Patty cried as Kid groaned and sat up, trying to regain his balance.
"Ugh, it's like he's just soaking up the shots…" he said, while tried to stand while the monster approached. Liz noticed something.
"Try shooting it in the legs!" Liz cried. Kid looked at her gun, puzzled. "Its legs are thinner than the rest of its body, maybe shooting them will knock him down," she explained before Kid nodded and began focusing on firing at the monster's legs.
The monster roared and grunted as the shots began wearing down the flesh of its legs, exposing the bone before causing it to fall to its knees.
"Liz, you're a genius!" Patty complimented as Liz chuckled.
"Thanks, sis," Liz replied before Kid cleared his throat.
"We're not quite done yet," he said. The monster, still on its knees, raised its cannon and prepared to fire. Just then, Kid shot two energy bullets down its cannon, causing it to explode and destroy the monster's left arm along with the left half of its torso and head. It let out one last cry before falling down for good this time, its rather large soul slowly drifting out.
"We did it!" Patty cheered as Liz came out and claimed the soul for them.
"And that makes twenty-three," Liz said triumphantly as she swallowed the Kishin egg.
"Twenty-three...?" Kid said before dropping to his knees and letting his head fall to the ground.
"Um, are you ok, Kid?" Patty asked as Kid cried a little.
"Twenty-three is so… asymmetrical!" he cried. Liz sighed, picking him up and smacking him a couple of times.
"Snap out of it! We need to get moving!" Liz shouted as she continued to try and beat some sense into him.
"Alright, I'm better," Kid said after taking a deep breath. Liz and Patty returned to their weapon forms before they proceeded into the kitchen.
Inside they found a wide open kitchen with a long counter, a fridge and a sink directly in front of them. To their right, they saw a shelf with various broken china next to a large fireplace and a table with two zombies eating a corpse directly in front of it.
Kid killed the two zombies before looking left and seeing another zombie hacking at a severed limb on a butcher's block; a bucket full of severed limbs sat in front of the block. Behind the zombie was a 19th century stove. A zombie in a chef's hat was standing over it and cooking something. Kid nearly became sick as he caught the scent of burning flesh and, upon actually looking around, realized that the entire tile floor and the walls near the butcher's block were covered in blood.
Kid killed the other two zombies quickly before Liz and Patty hurriedly claimed the four souls and returned to their weapon forms, wanting to get out as quickly as possible. They followed the rail in the floor to an incline at the end of the kitchen, which led to a set of double doors. Kid pushed through and found himself back in the foyer from before. A single zombie wandering about.
"Hmmm, I wonder where we go next?" Kid asked, dispatching the zombie and letting Patty claim its soul.
"Maybe we should go —" suddenly the trap door opened up again and a bear-sized spider came rushing out, snatching up Patty and crawling upstairs.
"Patty!" Kid and Liz cried as Kid ran upstairs after the spider, following it down a winding hall with double doors. He managed to shoot it twice upon reaching an intersecting corridor, killing it and causing it to drop Patty.
"Patty! Are you alright?" Liz asked, worrying as she transformed back and rushed up to her sister.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Patty responded with a groan. Liz hugged her tightly.
"Don't scare me like that ever again," Liz cried as Kid breathed a sigh of relief.
Kid looked around, hearing the slap of several feet against the ground which seemed to be coming from one of the halls.
"I'm sorry to break up this reunion, but I think we have company," Kid announced as Liz and Patty nodded, changing back into weapons. Another one of the huge spiders came crawling down the hall and attempted to jump at Kid, but he shot it to pieces.
Shortly afterwards, there was a loud creak and Kid turned to see a portrait of a white woman fall forward on a mechanism, revealing a red-lit hidden passage that lead upwards. Curious, he crawled up the passage and, after getting passed a false wall on another mechanism, found himself in an attic. The attic was small and mostly empty with only an empty wardrobe, a red trunk and shelf with some dusty books but what really caught Kid's eye was a hole in the roof.
Climbing out and onto the slanted roof, he quickly jumped onto a nearby platform which turned out to be a widow's walk between the mansion's spires. Looking down, Kid could see a second graveyard and a large mausoleum in the center of it. He turned around and was confronted with a wraith barreling towards him. The wraith managed to scratch Kid's other shoulder with its sharp claws before he shot it down and let Liz claim its soul this time.
"Son of a bitch! I swear these things are just popping out of thin air," Kid complained as he examined his injured shoulder. Luckily, the scratch was only shallow but it still bled.
"You sure you're going to be fine?" Liz asked with mild concern. Kid nodded. Liz changed back as they continued onward.
Kid decided to head into one of the spires to see if there was a way down when one of the cars came out and pushed him off the roof and into an open grave below. He hit the ground with a grunt, dropping Liz and Patty as pain shot through his back. Upon sitting up in the open grave, he noticed a tombstone over it which read Rest in Pieces.
"Cute," he groaned weakly as he picked up Liz and Patty and climbed out of the grave. He managed to stand up and push in his back.
"That was quite a fall, Kid," Patty pointed out as Kid stretched.
"I'll be fine. I've taken worse hits," Kid reassured, looking at the large mausoleum he saw from the roof. The mausoleum had four entrances over it, all blocked by iron gates, and a crest of two axes crossing over one another. Suddenly, Kid felt a strong presence as pink energy surrounded the mausoleum.
"I am Evil Marie!" a distorted, feminine voice declared, one of the gated entrances blew out and a ghoulish woman floated out. She was a tall and pale, very well-endowed woman clothed in a pink, corseted Victorian dress. A blue bow tied around her waist, and a tall powdered wig sat atop her head. Her face wore a toothy grin with sharp teeth and she had a visible, bleeding scar across her neck. She wielded a bloody axe, she held with her crimson-stained hands.
Kid's nose dripped a small trail of blood as the woman flew over and started slashing at him with her gory axe. Kid regained his composure and started shooting at her before she could swing. She let out an almost aroused noise as she teleported far up into the air and behind him.
"Kid, behind you!" Liz called and Kid turned to see Evil Marie start throwing axes at him, which he quickly dodged, but not before one could graze his arm. He grunted as he poured fire into her, causing her dress to visibly rip and deteriorate before she let out another odd noise and teleported again.
"Damn it, why don't you hold still?" Kid cried out in frustration. He turned and saw her running towards a nearby bridge. Kid quickly circled around the mausoleum and to the other side of the short bridge where they met up and began to fight again.
Evil Marie licked the back of her axe head before she started slashing at Kid once more, occasionally nicking him on the arm. He shot at her with full force. Her dress eventually gave way to a black leather belt corset which caused Kid's nose to bleed more heavily. After taking some heavy fire, Evil Marie then teleported over an obelisk-shaped grave and summoned a pillar of blue energy as she cackled.
Kid drew a bead on her and continued his barrage while Evil Marie fired blue balls of energy at him, which he either dodged or shot down. As he concentrated on hitting Evil Marie, a ball of energy blindsided him and hit him in the chest. It knocked him onto his back and to near unconsciousness as Evil Marie laughed.
"Kid, get up!" Liz and Patty cried. Kid barely managed to sit up and aim Liz.
"Come on, you can do it!" Patty cheered as Kid fired one last shot at Evil Marie, hitting her right in the face and blinding her with her own blood.
The blue energy pillar disappeared and Evil Marie cried out as she fell forward onto the obelisk gravestone. It impaled her through the stomach, killing her. Her blood began trickling down the obelisk and into a small pond around it. The pond and a nearby creek were stained red. The last thing Kid saw before he passed out was Evil Marie's strangely pink soul emerging from her body.