Thursday, September 19, 2019

Pakku Mansion

After a lovely Christmas break, it's time for a little ghost hunting! GlennMac called the group into his office, and introduced them to a new member, a Flight Mechanic named James Carrar. He handed them an address to investigate, a property that was rumored to be haunted; several people had tried to buy it, before being run off by "ghosts". The price had dropped to a mere $10,000, barely more than the property alone, even though the building was in good condition. If nothing happened, it would be scheduled for demolition soon. GlennMac had managed to get the electric company to turn on the lights, but there was no running water at the moment.

Reaching the property (with Austin's girlfriend and roommate in tow), they took a look around. The building was a very large, single-story home; they stepped inside, and started looking for ghosts. They hadn't gone far before the front door slammed shut! Shrugging, they continued their search. Every room's door was locked; they managed to break, pry, or pick a few open, but didn't find anything interesting, apart from some furniture, empty boxes, and garbage. Oddly, they kept scuffing over shards of some kind of crystal or broken glass.

Eventually, James and Will found a fist-sized glass sphere; it looked important, so they grabbed it. Out of the corner of their eye, they saw a flicker of movement! Lugging their recording gear with them, they chased the shape down one hallway and another, finally cornering it; they finally saw it for what it was - a bluish, dripping, humanoid shape! They approached, and it suddenly turned, growling, and ran for Alistair! Raising his hands in defense, he dodged aside, neatly flipping the creature over his head. It dashed off, moaning...

It was at this point that someone pointed out that the mansion sure looked like a Pac-Man map.

Gosh, really? Pac-Man? No idea why you would think that.

In the corner, they found another bobble; Alistair held onto this one. Looking through it, he realized that certain forms were clearer than before, while others were more... ghostly. Suddenly, they heard a scream from Alistair's roommate! Dashing towards the source of the sound, they ran into a figure clad in an orange jumpsuit. It slid to a stop and looked them up and down. "We-heh-heh-hell, now! What have we here?" Grinning, he fished in his pocket, and pulled out a metal plate with loops of wire - a poor man's brass knuckles. He took a swipe at James, who retaliated by swinging a heavy pipe wrench at him. The wrench slid easily through the ghost... Alistair, realizing that his glass ball might have an effect, held it out and tried to activate it. With a "WHUM", all the lights in the old house changed from flickering orange bulbs to slow-moving tongues of blue-white flame. The ball itself dripped blue light, glowing brightly. James took another swing, and this time, connected! Will, moving in from behind, pulled out his tazer-club, and let the ghost have it; shaking, the jumpsuit-clad jailbird crashed to the floor. Alistair, arriving with his glowing ball, pulled out his gun and shot the ghost in the head. The ghost's form vanished in orange smoke...

Meanwhile, someone else pointed out that the globes seemed to function like the powerballs from Pac-Man. Hmm, how strange.

Just then, they heard sounds from behind them! They turned to find... the roommate? Behind them? Huh. Searching further, everyone stuck together to investigate the rest of the house. It wasn't long before they found an oddly dead-end hallway. The wall and the end seemed to... fade in and out, almost. Alistair stepped forward and held his globe to his eye. The hallway seemed to continue on, unimpeded. Curious, he stepped through the wall! His girlfriend, already freaked out by seeming him headshot a ghost, absolutely freaked out. Screaming, she ran towards the wall, only to find herself catapulting into the hallway! She was so overcome by fear that a streak of white appeared in her hair.

Gosh, someone said. That hallway is EXACTLY like Pac-Man!

After a little exploration more, someone realized that the music I had been playing the entire time was the Pac-Man theme song. Finally, the pieces began to come together. James suggested that everyone look for the large room in the center; they did, and found another ghost - first, a pink-haired punk girl, who yelled at them for hurting her friend, Bashful. Using another globe, they defeated that ghost when James came up behind her and bashed her head in with his pipe wrench.

After defeating Pinky, they came to the center of everything. Alistair found a secret door, but no way to open it - and suddenly, the fourth ghost slid through the wall! Growling, the demonic form slashed at Alistair. James shrugged and moved on, realizing he wasn't going to be able to do much against a ghost, and reasoning that he already had proof enough of ghosts. Alistair took a good hit, shrugged it off with a chip, and decided that maybe he would NOPE out too... abandoning his girlfriend in the process. Luckily, Will got there just as the ghost entirely missed hitting her, and gave him a good taze. Furious, Alistair's girlfriend dug out a can of mace ad a set of cast's ears, and proceeded to beat the ghost to within an inch of its... death, I guess? She and Will finished it off, as well as the blue ghost that reappeared.

James, meanwhile, had a very Matrix moment when he finally opened the door - there was a brick wall behind it! Alistair hurried past, grabbing crystals off the floor, and showed James how they clicked together. If this was Pac-Man, then they surely had to collect all the dots, right? And so, they did. The whole team (except for Alistair's roommate, who was rocking back and forth and mumbling to himself about walls and ghosts) gathered every last dot. As they clicked together, the perfect globe they formed began once again to glow blue, and down the hall, they heard the door click open. Quickly, they hurried into the room; there, with a skeleton draped across the controls, was an old Pac-Man game, the screen showing the movement of the ghosts and party members. Just as the ghosts materialized inside the room, they unplugged the arcade. Shadow, the red ghost, was pulled into a black abyss; Clyde, the orange ghost, fled through a wall, but the rattle and slam of a jail door echoed behind him. Pinky paced back and forth, staring as she slowly vanished, mumbling, "No, no, I can't be dead, I can't be...!"

Last, with a heavy yet peaceful sigh, Bashful faded away into nothing.

As they left the room, they realized the other room doors had unlocked; inside, they found the body of Clyde, an escaped convict, who had tried to hide out in the house and gotten shot and locked in a storage room for his trouble; Pinky, forcibly overdosed in the kitchen; and Bashful, a writer who came to the house for its ambiance, and was drowned by... Shadow, a serial killer who died playing the only game he loved more than killing, and who, through it, managed to keep on killing after he died.

Unfortunately, all the recordings they had were muffled, static-y, or overexposed; every shot of a ghost was useless, and every recording of a ghost's voice was unintelligible. It was enough that the gang knew what was going on, but they also knew no one would buy that they had been fighting ghosts...

Still, GlennMac was pleased with the footage; "If nothing else," he said, "It proves that ghosts can't be photographed by conventional means! We'll have to just keep on trying!"

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