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Actual bandages, yeah, but dirty frayed and re-used. You've worn them before for several nights. You're naked in a few uncomfortable places, but it's a fact that tape and underwear you hope will rectify and have otherwise come to accept. Though you kind of feel like a grimy Fifth Element.\n\nAnd you really aren't on board with the [[smell in this room|smells]].
Not that you can really become an actress anyway. Actresses live in California. This is [[Ohio|Ohio]].
You walk forward, and your bare foot crunches on fallen leaves. The wind gets colder and is the floor dirt?\n\nYou thought you were inside.\n\nYou knew your room was on the second floor. It's possible this room is just larger than you thought it was.\n\nThere must be an [[exit or entrance or something]] but there is that strange, [[tinny sound]] whose source is no longer clear to you, except that it is somewhere in the fog...
"Guests aren't allowed to wander off the scare path," you say to the standing person. You sound surprisingly timid.\n\nThere is no response from the standing person at all. It ... he, you think? ... is merely standing there, a black silhouette against red-tinted spotlights.\n\nYou'll have to [[get closer|approach2]].
Unfortunately for [[you|whoami]], it's very dark [[here|whereami]].
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You walk in a straight line. The rooms here are arranged in a general path and it shouldn't be possible to get lost if you stick to guest walkways. There should be a chalk outline on the floor but you can't see it - as you look down, you see a broken twig and a patch of dried grass instead of the flooring you expected.\n\nYour feet are still bare, and you step on an acorn, feeling an unpleasant crunch as it breaks under your heel.\n\nTiny flakes of snow rush past your eyes in the fog. \n\nYou wonder at the possibility that you might be [[dreaming]]. But something still seems wrong.
You walk for a while hoping to wake up. The sound of music has drifted far away from you. You hear the sound of a car in the distance. \n\nThe fog parts away from you, and you find the blacktop of a parking lot.\n\nYou are outside the Haunted Firehouse, and no guests have arrived yet.\n\nIt's time to go to work.\n\nRe-oriented in the outside location, you pace forward with determination. You pass by co-workers and wave, but they don't seem to notice your arrival. The interior of the haunted house seems [[more well-lit|ghost]] than you remembered.\n
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The job you have here is to wait <<if $bodiesknown eq "yes">>in the pile<<else>> in a pile of zombie-like dummies on the ground<<endif>> until people come by. Then you leap out, and you scare them. \n\nIt's obvious why the room has to be dark. It's not very interesting otherwise. They'd see you coming.\n\nIt's been about twenty minutes since you crawled into the pile, and nothing is happening. It's quiet.\n\nYou could [[get up and look around]].\n\nOr you could [[keep waiting|stay waiting]].
It's human, you're fairly sure, because it is warm and has strength behind it. You kick back at whoever it is - out of reflex - and it hits something with a dull thud that isn't elegant. \n\nThere's a laugh as a body crawls toward yours and pins you down. He's - you're fairly confident it's a he at least - wearing a Halloween mask, a skull face, pilfered from the pile.\n\nYou scream, then, "No, cut it out!" but people seem to walk by in spite of your obvious distress. It's just part of the show: a monster attacking a woman. \n\nYou think you hear laughter.\n\nThen you feel that hand that was once around your ankle clamp over your mouth.\n\nYou breathe rough against gripping fingers and then you are \n\n[[resolved to silence.|credits]]
It smells like ash in here.\n\nIt smells like ass in here.\n\nDespite the unpleasantness of both, the thought rolls around in a funny way in your brain. Ass and ash. [[Ash|smells1]] and [[ass|smells2]].
You crawl back into your original room. You laugh to yourself with embarrassment. You'll try to pass it off to the others later that you did it on purpose, were being clever, were bored with the original pile.\n\nBut then you see that someone has already beaten you into the room while you were wandering. You [[jump in surprise|jump scare]] as you see a figure standing next to your hiding space-- \n\n
The room that is set up to look like a morgue is lit with a blacklight, along with two dim spotlights pointed toward areas of interest. If you looked closely enough, you'd see that most of the walls of "drawers" that contain bodies are just painted cardboard, but it's dark enough not to really notice this in the back. Near the front, there's a sturdier chest of drawers from someone's Ikea household.\n\nYou expected to find other actors here, but it seems deserted. In the central space, there's a wheelie cot that contains one body, set up for an autopsy. Probably a dummy like the rest...\n\nMaybe it would make sense to [[go back|get back in the pile]], or [[explore another room]], or [[check out the body|the body]]...\n\n
You try to get back to your starting position quickly, mentally kicking yourself for being so easily startled in a place where getting startled was the point. It isn't as if this is your first night, or anything.\n\nThe process of crawling back into the pile of dummies isn't as fast as you might have hoped. You have to push aside a hand and a leg and when you get into a reasonably good crouch you know the position isn't as good as where you were nestled in previously. Still, it's good enough for you to jump out, since you'll be starting the process again in a moment. \n\nThat was... just a practice run.\n\nSomeone is coming. You hear the noise of an approaching party.\n\nYour job is to [[leap out and scare]] them.
You walk closer...\n\nAnd you see that the person that you were approaching isn't a person at all. It's one of the corpse dummies from the pile.\n\nYou feel your brow furrow as you wonder, innocently at first, how it got up out of the pile and happened to be standing up over here.\n\nThen it raises one bony, plastic finger, and points directly at you.\n\nOr... was it pointing behind you?\n\nIt doesn't matter, because it was too late. You never saw what was [[behind you]].
With a start, you leap out of the pile of bodies. You cross the chalk barrier that separates the "stage" from the floor where those who expect to be haunted are supposed to travel through. Your bare feet hit cold concrete floor. The back wall of the room is lit with a few random, red-tinted spotlights, making your hiding place visible, but subtle. The dummies all shift when you leap out, collapsing into the gap left by your absence.\n\n\nOther than that, they don't move. Nothing was moving.\n\nYou're such an idiot, you tell yourself. But you still feel a little unsettled. You aren't sure you want to stay, and you take a look around the room.\n\nTo your left, barely visible in the darkness, is [[the black curtain|Run toward it]] that covers the otherwise open door of this room and leads to another set room beyond. There's some noise coming from there: a shuffle, a moan, a scream.\n\nTo your right is a house room you aren't stationed to, but which you remember is dressed up as a morgue. You know there's at least three other actors in that room. The open doorway is covered with [[shredded plastic bags|Run away from it]].\n\nOf course, to do your job properly, you should just [[get back in the pile]].\n\n
The door opens quietly; its shutting is muffled by the black curtain.\n\nAhead of you is an empty, cold stairwell, leading downstairs with an emergency light. \n\nThere's a break room and an exit. There's no route to either that wouldn't cross across the path of guests.\n\nSo you walk halfway down, run your back against a cold brick at the mid-point of the stairwell, and sit near-bare skin against the floor.\n\nIt's dark in here. You feel embarrassed for your lack of fortitude. But at least [[you survived|credits]].
...You remembered that you wanted to be an actress. But you don't think you were the star of this film.\n\n[[END|credits]]
There's no moaning or weeping, just the click-clack of plastic and scrape of fabric as all of the bodies join together into a single unit. Three or four arms move out and pull as the bodies become one, legs conjoined and tangled around each other. \n\nThey - it - reaches for you, snagging just slightly at a loose bandage around your leg. The mass of things all dressed and made up to look something like you. It can't be real but the place is real...\n\nYou take a breath and try to open your eyes in the dark. You are aware that you are standing on a concrete floor in bare feet and the doorways to either side of you are open. To your left there is [[a black curtain|try escape]] - to your right a [[curtain made of plastic|try escape]] - ahead of you the [[mound of dummies|try combat]] that's collecting itself into a twisted ball of limbs and faces.\n
On the cart is what looks like a man's body, laying face up, staring at the ceiling. His face is gray, and there's dark makeup smeared around his eyes to highlight the "dead" effect.\n\nHis chest is carved open, pinned aside, with a red trickle of blood streaking dramatically across an old, cut-open shirt.\n\nNone of this is out of the ordinary in the Haunted House, though it's usually a job taken by a realistic dummy. From this distance and in the blacklight, it's hard to say for sure, but a [[touch could|touch it]] reveal the truth. You get a [[bit closer]].\n
You're moving closely toward the body on the cart. You don't reach out to touch it, keeping your hands to yourself. It is a cold, pale, person, lying back staring at the ceiling. \n\nYou've seen a lot of people dressed as zombies or bodies this weekend. You've seen a real body only once: the body of your grandfather sleeping peacefully in a box. You remember him looking painted and phony, like a store mannequin. Even faker than the dummies you crawled away from.\n\nThis body is some in-between thing. It too looks phony, but only phony because the makeup put on the man to make him look like a corpse highlights the fact that he is in fact a corpse. You weren't sure at first. But certainty and dread roll across you when you smell actual blood. The trickle spills from a chest that's torn open and splashes red onto the floor. \n\nYou could [[try and slowly]] back away - you could turn and [[run immediately]]...\n
It's very dark, and [[stuffy|smells]], hiding beneath the pile of [[corpses|corpses]].\n
The Girl in the Haunted House
The other actor stops chuckling when he sees you're really distressed. "Wait, I was just messing--" \n\n"Don't do that!"\n\n"You're off your mark," says the corpse-man, and he drops his voice to a bit of a mutter. His makeup rig is too stiff for him to entirely sit up, but he grabs at your shoulder - and you think you recognize him but can't remember his name, from practice, Tony or Tim or something.\n\n"I'm --" But of course you're off your mark. It's just a few minutes to showtime. "Did they change up this room - didn't you --?"\n\n"Yeah, look, if you can't hang on, forget about it, go downstairs and get a pop or something." The corpse-man grabs your shoulder again, though it's only rough because he's off balance. He gestures you toward another curtain on your right. You recall a fire exit. You [[stumble toward it]].
Quite mindlessly you walk back to your beginning spot. And you keep walking even as you notice people not noticing you.\n\nYou try to jump out at them again.\n\nThey don't have the reaction that you expect. They don't jump back and scream, or even giggle. They don't grab at you or back away.\n\nBut they do shiver, a little roll up their spines as if something they couldn't really observe had happened.\n\nYou wonder why you even bothered, or how long ago was it that you stopped feeling cold or stopped breathing. When you reach out to touch one of the children, like you aren't supposed to do, and your hand goes through, it barely even bothers you.\n\nYou were supposed to haunt the house after all.\n\n[[END|credits]]
The warm light isn't quite enough to blind you, but it's a heck of a contrast to your adjusting eyes. You streak over toward your own locker, feeling a sudden burst of speed and panic take you over as you reach for your [[cellular phone|call police]].\n\n
The path to your right is "deeper" into the Firehouse, a room that's designed to be visited after yours. Where your room is a solitary affair with a single scare - you - the morgue room has three actors stationed to moan and groan... and, if the setup is working properly, a couple of bad animatronics in body bags. They honestly don't work half the time, and with the lights on, you always found the room ridiculously comical.\n\nYou might feel safer in there. You could scare with the other actors and feel less derelict in your duties.\n\nYou part the tattered plastic curtain and sneak into [[the morgue.|wander2]]
They're supposed to check for that at the entrance, you think to yourself in a quick flash when you see the glint of a switchblade.\n\nWhat they were supposed to do matters very little when what someone wasn't supposed to do is headed for your neck.\n\nHe probably didn't intend to be that on target. \n\nIt doesn't even really hurt.\n\nYou hear screams and a scramble. The boys look confused. But then your hair is covering your eyes and your face is rushing to greet the floor and you don't know what else there is to see.\n\n\n[[END|credits]]
You're not really in the correct position now, but you growl at the newcomers anyway, feeling a little awkward and lame.\n\nOne of the dudes in the group isn't so much scared, as he seems kind of amused. He reaches over and runs his hand across your ass. It's sloppy and a little shaky, but it's clear he just wanted a grab. \n\nGuests aren't supposed to touch the actors, but, [[it happens|deal]].\n\nActors aren't supposed to touch the guests, but, you really want to [[just deck him]].
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With your knees wobbling slightly you rush into the mound of dummies and check against them with one shoulder. A hand grabs for you, and you keep lunging, as you feel a leg roll underneath your foot. \n\nYou trip, tumbling down into the pile and there's a push from some errant, plastic limb as your face is shoved hard into the cold concrete.\n\nIt's the [[last thing]] you remember for a while.
You run in the direction of the sounds, through the black curtain --\n\nThough it's only natural that the sounds were other actors and the screams were the customers who came here to be scared. You nearly slam into a larger woman. You can't see her well, but get the impression of hot breath and a black cat on her sweatshirt. You startle her more than she does you, and she screams again! So it's easy enough to write your sudden appearance off as all part of the show here... though the other actors in the room, dressed in skull masks, may give you an earful later for the screw-up.\n\n\nIf you really felt like leaving your room you could still try that plastic curtain on the [[opposite side|wander2]] and head into the morgue, but...\n\nYou'd save face if you just went back to your original hiding spot and [[did your job|jump scare transition]].
--It really is just an actor in makeup, after all, like yourself, but you still feel so keyed up from walking this short distance that you come close to screaming.\n\nYou put your hand over your mouth and try to swallow it.\n\nThe man disguised as a corpse laughs. A little fake blood sprays from the clearly plastic tear on his chest.\n\nYou back away with a confused expression... You whisper harshly: "Not funny."\n\nBut he is [[still chuckling|laughing]] at you in spite of your protest.\n
The conversation you have with 911 dispatch is weird.\n\nA murder in the haunted house? Sure.\n\nIt takes a while for them to believe you.\n\nBut soon there's lights and sirens and evacuation. There's confirmation of your suspicions and a uniformed cop holding your shaking hand. There's hundreds of disappointed and confused guests, a weird guilt that you could've tried something...\n\nThere's a bumpy ride home at night in the back of a friend's van and an\n[[uncertain survival.|credits]]
You gather up your bravery, walk over, and put a hand on the body on the cot.\n\nIts hand, without warning, suddenly snaps over and [[grabs you --|pretending]] \n\n
There's nothing all that interesting for miles, except the community college, and your place-of-seasonal work, the Haunted Firehouse. \n\nYour current location within is on the second floor, hiding, in the dark, in a pile of [[corpses|corpses]].
You hear yourself screaming, your voice sounding far away to your own ears. You feel your arm fall down to your side, but you can't find the strength to move it again. It feels detached from the rest of you. The other arm reaches out... scraping for whatever it was that jumped you, but whoever it was is already gone, a blur moving into darkness.\n\nYour body drops to the floor in a heap. You see blood running red onto the floor and splashing your unmoving hand. \n\nA beat passes, and you realize you are still awake. You hear muffled giggles, and then a startled scream. The curtain to your left opens.\n\nA squad of people shuffles in: hesitant, tourists. They cringe and gawk at the scene in front of them. You let out a moan, and reach... you scream for help.\n\nAnd they hear you. But they don't <i>really</i> hear you, looking at your body like an oddity, laughing to themselves with relief, and moving on to the next room.\n\nYou are going to die here. And it was all part of the show.\n\n\n[[THE END|credits]]
You jump out of the pile, letting out your best fearsome moan--\n\nA couple of teenage girls are there, and one middle-aged woman who must be chaperoning them. You don't get a clear glimpse of any faces with the room's uneven light, but the girls seem to be sufficiently startled. One grabs her mouth and another grabs one of the others. They hurriedly shuffle back to the next room.\n\nYou turn to go back into your spot. This is the process you'll repeat all night. Pretty simple, really.\n\nBut as you turn to slide back into position, you see someone is back there against the wall, standing up.\n\nYou really aren't supposed to speak, but you could perhaps [[gently explain]] that the audience isn't supposed to be standing backstage.\n\nUnless you're not sure if that's a guest. You could just [[get closer]].
Your school isn't far from home, so you've been coming home a lot of weekends. College is expensive for all the little reasons, so you got a part-time job.\n\nIt's three weekends before Halloween. A pretty busy season for the [[Haunted Firehouse|to scare]].\n\n
You break with a lunge and run toward a curtained entrance. The sound of your feet slapping against the floor is almost as loud as the sound of your breath in your head.\n\nAnother hand from the pile reaches for you. It grabs your ankle with a shockingly strong grip --\n\nThough the strength wasn't really important. The problem was that you were running and with this disruption, even as slight as it is, you trip and sprawl forward.\n\nYou do not fall well. Your head slaps against the concrete of the floor and you see a [[blossom of light|last thing]] against the darkness.
You're dressed in something like loose bandages and feel a little cold and uncomfortable. You're supposed to be one corpse of many, but you're the only one that can actually move.\n\nThis is a little weekend job. It's only a few hours, but it's [[reasonable party money|to scare]] at least. Halloween is a busy party season.
You back away from the body carefully. You're trying to watch your back, but...\n\nYou don't really see what got you. You just feel it. A blade that drives in between your shoulders. At first, it's just ... cold. And then the cold feeling travels [[all the way down your spine|stabbed]] and becomes something more desperately acute.\n
You carefully walk across your chalk line and toward the person standing up behind it. It looks like a male shape, facing the wall rather than you...\n\nYou walk over and reach out a hand. "Excuse me--"\n\nHe turns around suddenly -- and you startle as you see -- a teenage boy with a bit of black makeup smeared under his eyes. [["Boo."|jump scare]]\n\n
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You become acutely aware of the hands of one of the mannequins. It's pressed up against your aching thigh. Slowly, in a spot where you feel numb, it shifts. It slides down in a manner that seems uneffected by gravity, but not driven by muscle or breath...\n\nYou really want to [[GET OUT OF HERE]]\n\nBut it's your job to wait - you could [[endure it]].
As dull as it is you continue to wait in the darkness.\n\nYou were a little early for work this evening. Maybe the front doors haven't opened yet. No one is coming.\n\nYou try to listen for noise, but it's muffled by the pile of fake bodies on top of you.\n\nYou [[wait|waiting3]].
So you break the rules and you do. \nA nice wide swing of your right hand toward the teenage boy's head. You figure it won't hurt him bad and it will serve him right.\n\nYou just didn't see that his friend [[had a knife]].
You keep moving. \n\nYou'd really like to find another person in here. Anybody, someone who can comfort you and tell you you aren't crazy. Another black curtain separates this room from the next in line. Under the curtain you see some of the output from a fog machine wafting toward you, and you hear the sounds of tinny-recorded intentionally-spooky pipe organ music being piped in from somewhere.\n\nYou don't remember what that room is. But you push aside the curtain and enter.\n\nAt once, you feel colder than before, self-conscious about your almost-nakedness in this mummy-like costume. The biggest problem is that your feet are bare, and the fog from the machine rolls low, billowing clouds onto the floor. You cross your arms across your chest. It's thick, and you can't see more than a few inches in front of your face.\n\nYour only choice is to [[follow the music]].
No, you can't, really. It's not your job.\n\nIf you were out of the pile when people came in, you couldn't leap out and scare them, and the whole enterprise would be ruined. You're paid to do one thing, and that is wait.\n\nHere alone, with your thoughts, under a pile of mannequins painted to look like dead bodies.\n\nYou have to [[keep waiting|stay waiting]].\n\n
And you never saw anything else.\n\n[[END|credits]]
So you fall end-over-end through white, fog against your skin. \n\nIt's a long way down.\n\n[[END|credits]]
The boys are laughing at one another as they move on. You're a little shaken up from the way you've been treated and touched, and just trying to endure the job for the rest of the night.\n\nYou wordlessly work your way back to your little hiding place, more tired than you feel like you have earned in such a short time.\n\nWhen you move back into the pile, you settle down, feeling that familiar ache in your legs. \n\nAnd then you feel [[a hand]] around your ankles.
You're 20 this year. Wearing not much more than [[bandages|bandages]]. Hair stringy, lots of dark and messy makeup, on your face and on your body. Your boyfriend always teases you about being too short, in that loving way. But it still gets on your nerves for real, because you're worried that a short girl can never become an [[actress|actress]]. He's still back at college. You're just home for [[the weekend|weekend]].
<<silently>><<set $bodiesknown = "yes">><<endsilently>>They are not really corpses, which any close scrutiny will reveal. They're lots of dummies, with rubber skin bits, and scraps of bandages wrapped around them. Many have plastic skulls attached to their frames, and a couple have rubber human masks. Your face is the only complete face. Plastic-skeleton bones are jabbing into you as you try not to move too much, laying in [[wait|wait1]].
You want to kick his stupid ass for freaking you out, but it's just some kid, younger than you. He probably snuck in while you were repositioning... and he laughs as he backs away behind the chalk line that separates guests from the show. Five more [[boys]] are coming in from the curtain around the corner.\n
You strain to hear the music, which, though you thought you were following it, seems quieter now. It beckons you forward in the fog. The sound of an organ... but it doesn't have the presence. It's a recording of someone playing an organ. \n\nYou step feet before feet. You squint as you see a filmy shape move with a flicker of white. And then you put your foot down onto not the ground, but [[nothingness]].
It's not the kind of tar ash from a cigarette, or the clean natural ash of burning wood. It's a phony smell of ash - the scent of lit pyrotechnics drifting from controlled burn performances somewhere downstairs.\n\nYour room is on the second floor of the Haunted Firehouse.\n\nYour exact hiding position is in a pile of dummies. The dummies are made up to look like burned bodies... and so are you. The smell of fire adds a little to that illusion, but can't quite entirely cover up the smells of cake makeup and hairspray and your own body, a body you are left alone with in a room full of phony bodies.\n\nYou could [[get up and look around]], stretch your legs.\n\nBut you probably should [[stay waiting]] in the pile.
Amanda Lange
You blast out of the room at high speed. You run back through your previous station, and in fact, past crowds who were coming in to get scared. You beg for them not to enter the area, trying to tell them something's wrong... but it's tough. After all, they came here expecting this, and treat you like you're just part of the show.\n\nYou find the emergency exit. There's a locker room, unavailable to guests. Two flights of stairs down in the darkness. One door to your right -- you have to cut across a patron line in dim light, but you know which way to go--\n\nYou [[turn on the light]] in the locker room.\n\n
The plastic hand continues to move up your leg. There's a halt to the motion, and you are sure at that point that it's merely gravity driving it. It was just an ordinary shift.\n\nAnd then you feel it again, at the numb spot... \n\nThe plastic bone hand running just one finger down your thigh.\n\nIn the slight glimmer of red light behind you, you see the motion of the fingers, certainly plastic and cheap at that, bending in a shockingly living way. They move with thought and purpose driven by no motor or muscle.\n\nThen another hand, from another body, grabs at your breast.\n\nYou can't stand it anymore. You [[leap]] out of the pile of bodies and jump back against the wall.\n\n\n
Thank you for playing.\n\nThis piece was written by Amanda Lange and is part of the [[Fear of Twine|http://fearoftwine.com]] exhibition.\n\n\nIf you want, you can track me down [[on twitter|http://www.twitter.com/second_truth]], or read [[my blog|http://secondtruth.com]]. \n\nYou can also [[Restart|Start][state.restart()]] the game to see some other possibilities.\n\n
Gross human body smells. The sweat of a hundred humans pacing through here, their fear and anxiety. It's not terribly pleasant. But some of that is your own smell too. You've been buried down here for at least twenty minutes and it isn't very comfortable.\n\nBuried, because you're hiding in a pile of dummies. The dummies won't hold up to close scrutiny, but, in the darkness, they look like a pile of burned corpses. You are one burned corpse among many, but the only one that is supposed to move.\n\nIn waiting for people to pass by, you're left alone with your thoughts in the darkness under a pile of unconvincing bodies.\n\nYou could [[get up and look around]].\n\nYou could [[stay waiting]] for them.
You wait.\n\nYou adjust your knees beneath your body so that you are in more of a crouch. You're aware of an ache in your thighs and try to adjust to be more comfortable, but there's the leg of a dummy between your own legs and the position is awkward.\n\nStill, it shouldn't be [[long now|waiting2]].