Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Halloween II: Freaky Friday

Friday morning, Toby caught sight of Mikey - in non-zombie form - coming out of a Junior-level philosophy class. He stopped him and asked if he was feeling all right. Mikey, somewhat confused, said that he was fine. Toby pushed, providing some details, and Mikey muttered, "Stupid!", then quickly excused himself.

Zac, Toby, and Will dropped in on GlenMac, who was of course quite interested in the developments. GlenMac suggested perhaps catching Mikey when he was changing from "model student" to "zombie monster," in case there was some obvious trigger.

Zac attempted to visit the young woman in the hospital, but was turned away. He did learn that she was barely conscious. He also left a Zombie Manual with the front desk...

Meanwhile, Toby and Will headed to BZT to check in on Steve. After facing a few very high students, they made their way to Steve's room, and found him playing computer games. Mikey was under a pile of ratty blankets, snoring. Steve laughed. "Bro, he never gets up before noon. He must've been on quite the bender yesterday, right? I don't know how he's passing, like, any classes!"

Toby asked a few questions, but Steve's information wasn't terribly useful. They left, again passing the trio of stoned students, who attempted to pass off their bong as a fishbowl ("Dude, like, I think he bought it!").

During supper, the group caught sight of Mikey in the cafeteria, studying; Zac hopped on his motorcycle and followed him north, to some apartments. Mikey was greeted at the door by a young woman, and the two sat down to watch some Netflix together.

Oddly, Toby noticed that Mikey was wearing different clothes. After classes, he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt; in bed, the one arm dangling out was wearing a T-shirt; in the cafeteria, he was wearing the same long-sleeved shirt. He hypothesized that one of them was not actually Mikey, but a doppelganger of some sort, bent on evil.

Returning to campus, Zac caught sight of flashing lights in front of Tyler Hall. Two police cars and a paramedic were parked out front; the police were just wrapping up. It seems someone dressed as a Zombie bit one another student! As Toby and Will walked up, Zac convinced the bitten student that his assailant was, in fact, a zombie, and if he didn't get immediate medical attention, he would likely turn into a zombie himself. The student, already frazzled, believed every word, and quickly convinced his roommate to drive him to the hospital.

Walking back to their dorm, Toby caught sight of Zombie Mikey! He shouted, and the three charged after him, Zac in the lead. They chased him around the washeteria, then came up short when he stopped and took a swing at Zac. Zac hauled his shotgun out of his backpack (laws be damned, there's a zombie loose!), and fired, putting some shot into the zombie's leg. Toby and Will tried to get a few punches in, but were mostly ineffective; even Zac's shotgun seemed to only scratch the creature. Zombie Mikey, meanwhile, landed a few heavy hits on Zac, staggering him. Realizing the fight was not going his way, Zombie Mikey dashed for the fence. Toby was right behind him, and in an impressive leap cleared the fence. Unfortunately, the zombie crashed headlong into the fence, and never made it over...

Toby managed to leap back over the fence, trying to head off the creature, as Zac took aim with his very last shell. He fired, and the shot tore through the zombie's leg. The creature stared down at the stump, then tilted over, landing facedown on the ground.

At that very moment, UPD rounded the building, mace and tasers at the ready. Someone heard the gunfire, and eventually realized it might not be fireworks. The three were taken in for questioning, and Zombie Mikey was quickly rushed to the hospital.

The three were released after sunup the next morning. Tired (and in Zac's case, quite sore), they headed back to their dorm. Toby, however, caught sight of... Mikey? He quickly caught up with the man. "Hey! Did you hear what happened last night? Someone got shot on campus!"

Mikey seemed nonplussed. "Oh, er... how terrible?"

Toby pressed, working more details in, and eventually telling him that the person looked a lot like he did. Mikey blinked. "Really? Just like me?"

After a little intimidation, Mikey broke down. Or rather... Richard broke down. It seems Mikey had a twin brother!

Richard explained that Mikey got a scholarship to come to school, but wasted his time partying, rather than studying. Richard, always passed over, started going to his classes for him, and even changed his class list. He was in the process of moving all Mikey's info into his own name, essentially pushing Mikey out of school to usurp his scholarship. However, as little as he liked his brother, he realized that something like this needed family. Sighing, he asked if Toby and Will would accompany him to the hospital, so he could check in on Mikey.

Though there was an officer posted at the door, Richard and the others were allowed in to see him. Mikey was in bed, his face and arms wrapped with bandages were the doctors had surgically removed the makeup. Somehow, it has begun to bond with his flesh. Under the sheets, it was obvious that his left leg ended just below the knee.

Richard walked over to his brother, who painfully opened his eyes. "Bro?"

Richard nodded. "Yes, Mikey. It's me. Man... what did you get yourself into this time?"

He reached out a hand, placing it on Mikey's shoulder, then leaned down to give his brother a hug. As he did so, Will and Toby could feel a charge growing in the room, like static buildup. A wind from nowhere blew past them into the hall. Before their eyes, they watched as Mikey's arms healed! They stared as Mikey's leg suddenly... grew back! For a moment, Mikey and Richard were surrounded by a faint blue glow, and the mystical energy seemed to fill the room, then all at once, it was gone.

Toby stepped outside, motioning for Will to join him. They paused in the hallway for a moment, before heading outside. At the end of the hall, they heard a snippet of conversation: "Just like that! One moment she's moaning and feverish, the next, poof, perfectly fine."

GlenMac, of course, had a few theories; perhaps Mikey had some sort of curse placed on him, forcing him to make amends with his brother; or maybe it was Richard that was cursed. Or, for that matter, maybe the skull really was the root of it all. A zombie certainly could consume things, but what would have healed the two who had gotten bitten? A broken ritual? Perhaps, or perhaps something more. He suggested handing the skull over to Dr. Wells, a physics professor, to study.

Up until this point, things have been... a little slow. Details and clues are out there, but they don't make sense on their own. After this point, though, things are going to start ramping up. This is a mystery, after all... I can't give it all away at once.

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