Monday, July 22, 2013

Episode 84: A Chateau In Darkness...

The image of tentacles dragging Kobayashi and the dead boy's body underground had barely had time to fade from Xeno's retinas before the wan, pathetic figure of Missy appeared in a window right behind the macabre scene. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked up and locked eyes with the gnome. She threw up the sash and wailed: "Can you help me????????"

Xeno immediately took guard, brandishing his cold-forged iron graveyard spears, prepared for whatever the sobbing blonde girl might be able to muster. Takemiya, sensing that some sensitivity might be called for, waived off Xeno's impulse to fireball the chateau and stepped towards the girl, offering help. But when the house itself opened a doorway where the window once had been, and Xeno saw the girl standing in a long, forbodingly-carpeted hallway, Xeno renewed his threats against the chateau, and nearly got decapitated by some flying slate roof tiles for his troubles. 

With a stern 'quit horsing around before you get yourself killed' look, Kobayashi followed Missy into the house and up a hidden spiral staircase. 

"It's Grandma," wept the girl to the old monk. "She's just arrived, and she's horrible, and she's doing something to my mother, and I think King was involved..." The two listened (Xeno had now, begrudgingly, caught up) while they climbed, and had now reached a second floor hallway. It was menacingly carpeted, lined with a rogue's gallery of fatal portraits, and completely sheathed in the most malevolent shade of mahogany imaginable.

At the end of the hall, the tinkling notes of a music box could be heard. Missy froze. 

"That can't be him... I saw him die!" Xeno crept silently towards the sound, grave spear drawn and ready to strike. 

The music stopped. The door opened.

"Hi guys! What's going on- OOOF!"

Quick as a whip, Xeno unleashed a spear strike right into King's solar plexus. With a strange splintering sound,  King fell onto his back, clutching his chest in pain. He raised a hand to protest, but before the words "What the fu-" could spring from his lips, Xeno struck again, this time... to the lips. Blood, spittle and teeth flew everywhere, as the boy fell back and onto the carpet. Blood oozed onto the plush, patterned pile but the carpet only gained credibility and style. Missy slid to the floor in mute agony as Xeno bent over the boy to loot the body. He found the splintered music box which had saved King from the first attack. A tiny ballerina lay within the shards of wood, as well as a diamond, faceted and almost perfectly spherical. Xeno pocketed them, and three of the boy's teeth as well.

Just then, a door in the middle of the hall opened, and the most eldritch of women appeared. Her silvered head swung quickly around to take in Xeno, the boy, the mutely blubbering Missy and Takemiya. She turned to the monk and with sharp, cold eyes whispered in a voice as dry as papyrus and smelling of Werther's Originals:

"What's such a dashing and comely gentleman doing outside my boudoir?" She stretched a skeletal hand out to Takemiya's shoulder and guided him towards the door from which had emerged. "Come, come into my room and let's have some tea..." Takemiya found her suggestion irresistible, even as he could see, out of focus and over her shoulder, Xeno being hauled bodily into one of the portraits. But this was not the first, nor second, time he'd seen Xeno get sucked into a wall fixture, and everything had turned out OK...

So Whistler's Mother had been a bit of a bitch, and her cold, clammy hands had no doubt taken liberties with Xeno while hauling him into the painting. He'd walk with a limp, and he was pretty sure he could skip his next prostate exam, but he also knew that he gave as good as he got, which meant Whistler would soon have a brother...

Xoe was sitting at a sturdy kitchen table, bathed in the smear of low sunlight that had squeezed its way through the panes of lead-lined glass that framed the scene. A maid in a starched white hat poured cream into a glass at her side. She turned as Xeno entered, and with a demure nod, whisked herself out of the room.

"The food here sucks," she intoned, chin dribbled with bright red smudges. "It all tastes of linseed oil and chalk. But still I must eat, as my child is ever hungry for more and more and more." Her hands were in constant motion, moving from her plate to her mouth to her grease-stained gowm. Her belly was huge. She didn't look up from her meal.

"Is there any way out of here?" Xeno blurted out a little more nervously than he intended. he had always prided himself on being cool when the going got weird, but this had now gone so far past weird as to be utterly certifiable. Xoe lifted what he hoped was the remains of a very large turkey leg and pointed off to his left. 

"There's a door over there," she said through a mouthful of greastle. "But it's one of those Dutch ones. Mind the knobs." Xeno slid over to what he hoped was less an exit and more of an Exit. Stage left, even. He pulled on a knob. The door swung noiselessly open to reveal an utter black nothingness. He glanced back over his shoulder to take one last look at his sister. She still hadn't looked up from her meal.

And that was not, in fact, a very large turkey leg.

"Screw this place from behind," he muttered as he plunged into the great dark unknown... 

Takemiya, being a monk, had avoided the undisciplined distractions of female attention for well over six decades. But even his untrained carnal senses were telling him that Grandma was all over his shit and if he wasn't careful, they'd be making the Heavenly Banging Cannons before too long. He was already suspicious of the tea, and as his eyes scanned the room for a neglected houseplant in which to dispose of the liquid, he noticed more than a few things. Firstly, there was no bed. Secondly, there was a wheelchair in the corner that looked as old as Grandma herself. Thirdly, there was a rocking chair in the middle of the room. Not only was that a weird place for a rocking chair, but there was a small spot of dried blood on the arm...

"So, my dear, will you be staying here for long?" Grandma batted her eyelids at Takemiya in a manner that would have made Ted Williams blush. "No," he said uneasily. "In fact, we are just waiting for our friend to finish her breakfast, and then we'll be going..." Grandma froze. An eerie glint came to her eye. "Oh," she whispered. "Her time has almost come... Amon will soon see the return of it's rightful heir before long. Let us go see."

And with that, Grandma led the monk out of her room and down the stairs to the kitchen. They left Missy quietly sobbing in the hallway. There was no sign of Xeno.