You know how this story goes: it's Halloween, you're woefully under-concerned about why and how horror movie tropes come about, and there's a creepy house.
A creepy abandoned house, complete with big, old, rusty gate that screeches as it swings in the breeze and occasional reported lights from the windows. It's meant to be haunted. You don't know by whom or why, but it's common knowledge that the place has ghosts.
Every Halloween, a group of neighbourhood kids gathers outside it. They stand around daring each other to go in, but none of them ever does it. The windows are boarded up, but every now and again one of them will point at one and swear blind that they saw something.
You don't believe it, of course. Old houses creak, rats move in, light glints off the remainders of windows. There aren't any ghosts.
"There's no such thing as a ghost," you say to no one in particular as the throng of children stop you in your tracks.
"I heard it used to be an asylum," one of them responds.
"I heard it was an orphanage," another insists.
One of them--probably the oldest of the group--turns to you. "If you don't think there's any ghosts, why not go in and prove it? You could record it or something."
Did a kid just practically tell you to do it for the Vine?
[[Do it for the Vine.|House on Haunted Hill]]
[[Go home and forget about it.|You're a Coward and You Should Feel Bad]]You approach the house to the sounds of children oohing behind you. The gap in the gate is more than big enough to squeeze through and your shirt only catches briefly on the rusted iron.
The second stair up to the porch creaks as you step on it, but doesn't fall through. On closer inspection, that's a surprise. You're not sure how long this house has been abandoned for--you don't remember a time when it wasn't--but based on the rot and termite holes all over the porch, it's been a while.
The door's closed when you get to it, but it swings open the moment you make contact with the handle. It looks like it was never entirely closed.
Inside, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. The boards on the windows block most of the light from the street outside, and you didn't realise how well lit the yard was until you were in the front hall.
You get your bearings just in time to see something scurry past, an inch away from your foot. You tell yourself it was a rat.
Because you've just walked into your very own horror movie, the door slams shut behind you. Great. You get out your phone to use it as a flashlight, and plan your next move.
[[Try to open the door.|You Didn't Think It'd Be That Easy, Did You?]]
[[Start exploring the house.|I've Got A Bad Feeling About This]]You are a coward, and you should feel bad.
(link:"Start Over")[(gotoURL:"WhiteDudeInAHorrorMovieSimulator2k15.html")]You tug on the handle, but the door is stuck fast. Desperate, you pocket your phone and wrap both hands around the handle.
Pulling as hard as you can, you begin to feel something give. A moment later, the handle comes free from the door. You fall backward, hard, onto the slate floor of the front hallway.
A sickening crunch sounds as you hit the ground, but as you gather yourself together you don't feel as though you've broken anything.
You put your hand in your pocket to grab your phone, and hiss as a shard of glass embeds itself in your finger. Thankfully, your flashlight app is still working, and your other hand is steady enough to remove the glass. You're bleeding, but it's not so bad that you're going to need a hospital or anything.
Since the door isn't going to budge, you turn your attention to finding another way out.
[[Where to next?|I've Got A Bad Feeling About This]]Your choices for further exploration appear to be a set of stairs leading to a darkened landing, what looks like a living room to the left, a closed door on the right, or to follow the passage that leads further into the house.
They all look equally spooky at this point. (if: (history:) contains "You Didn't Think It'd Be That Easy, Did You?")[You're bleeding now, so you might want to look for a way out, but I'm not the boss of you.]
[[Try the living room.|Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!]]
[[Maybe you'll have more luck with another closed door?|Murder Kitchen]]
[[We have to go deeper.|Sunroom of Doom]]
The stairs creak as you head up them, but they seem to be in better condition than the ones outside.
When you shine your flashlight down the upstairs hallway, all you can see is a series of doors, and a window looking out into the yard behind the house.
[[Check the doors.|A Life-Sized Dollhouse]]
[[Look out the window.|The View From Above]]You enter what looks like a living room with a view out to the front lawn. Through the window--probably the one good window left in the house--you can see the neighbourhood children still watching the house. You wave at them, but they don't respond.
Maybe they think you're a ghost.
Aside from a couch covered in a dust sheet and a big, heavy bookcase, there's not much in here. The light from your phone catches something shiny in the bookcase, so you go over to inspect it. Maybe you'll find something to prove you've been in here.
As you make your way over to the bookcase, it becomes obvious that it was the reflection from the glass in a framed portrait. There are several on the shelf, and you pick up a double frame to get a closer look.
The pictures inside are either both of the same person, or a pair of twins. They have dark hair and bright eyes, looking directly at the camera. The picture is old--black and white, the edges decaying even under their glass sheild. Making eye contact with the twins is uncomfortable for reasons you can't put your finger on.
Just then, the smell of smoke hits you. You turn to determine the source and see that the front hall is already engulfed in flame, trapping you in the living room. With nowhere else to go, you turn to the window.
(if: (history:) contains "Murder Kitchen")[You heft the hatchet you picked up earlier and run at the window, swinging for the glass.](if: (history:) contains "Murder Kitchen" is false)[You run to the window and bang on the glass with your bare hands, screaming for help]
(if: (history:) contains "Murder Kitchen")[[[The glass shatters with a crash.|Oop, Found The Ghosts]]](if: (history:) contains "Murder Kitchen" is false)[[[Your fists aren't enough to break the double-glazed window.|Burn, Baby, Burn]]]The closed door swings open when you touch it, and leads into what must have once been a kitchen. It's a large room, with plenty of working space, and a big, old-fashioned wood stove up against one wall. Everything else seems to have been cleared out long ago.
As you move the beam of your flashlight around the room, the glint of something in the far corner catches your eye. You make your way over to get a closer look, and find that it's a mid-sized hatchet. Probably for cutting up wood for the stove. (if: (history:) contains "You Didn't Think It'd Be That Easy, Did You?")[You could try to use it to break down the door.]
You pick it up, telling yourself that the dark stains are definitely not blood.
There's not much else in the room, and nothing else really catches your notice.
[[Keep exploring.|Front Hall Again]]
(if: (history:) contains "You Didn't Think It'd Be That Easy, Did You?")[[[Break down the door|Not With A Hatchet]]]The narrow hallway takes you to the back of the house and straight out into a glass conservatory, now overgrown with vines. There's just enough glass left uncovered to let you see the moon above.
The back door is wide open, offering access to the yard. You take a step toward it, but as you put your foot down, whatever you stood on rolls away and you lose your balance, falling back onto the concrete floor.
Stars flash in front of your eyes and your head pounds even as your vision clears. Whatever you tripped over crashes with a metallic clang against the wall, and the whole structure of the conservatory shudders.
You fight to gather yourself together enough to get up, but before you can manage it, you watch helplessly as a huge, broken panel of glass comes free from the rotting wooden frame and falls toward you.
The last thing you hear is your own breath whistling through the hole in your throat.
(link:"Start Over?")[(gotoURL:"WhiteDudeInAHorrorMovieSimulator2k15.html")]Of the doors you try in the hallway, only the one at the end of the hall seems willing to open. You burst through it when you throw your weight behind opening it, used to doors that won't budge.
When you get your balance again, you shine your flashlight around the room.
It's full of life-like, porcelain dolls. They cover the bed and a few plush armchairs, as well as being all over shelves and propped up against the walls. Their glass eyes glint as the light shines over them. They all seem to be watching you.
[[Get out of here.|Rats.]]
[[Investigate the room.|It You!]]You shine your flashlight into the yard just in time to see a shadow run across it. It was probably a cat.
The light of the flashlight is just enough to show a gap in the back fence, leading out onto a laneway that you're pretty sure wraps back around to the street. (if: (history:"You Didn't Think It'd Be That Easy, Did You?"))[It might be a good way to get out.]
[[Check the doors|A Life-Sized Dollhouse]]
[[Head back downstairs|Back In The Front Hall]]Having decided that the upstairs rooms are a dead-end, you make your way back down to the front hall.
[[Try the closed door|Murder Kitchen]]
[[Head for the living room|Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!]]
[[Go down the corridor toward the back of the house|Sunroom of Doom]]In your haste to escape the room full of dolls, you trip over a rug and land heavily on the floor--but only for a moment, before the aged floorboards collapse underneath you.
You crash through them into a room that looks like it may once have been a walk-in pantry, your head landing next to a huge bag of rice.
Before you have a chance to move, a bookcase--full of dolls--comes tumbling through the hole you left in the floor above, landing on your stomach and falling, as if in slow motion, onto your legs.
Pain makes your vision white out for a moment, and then it completely subsides. You're smart enough to know that isn't good.
Surely, though, the noise will be enough to alert people outside, and you're still hanging onto your phone.
Your hand is heavy and akward, but you manage to unlock it and punch in the local emergency number. Your finger hovers over the dial button and you will it to press down.
Just then, something scurries across your hand. Surprised, you let go of the phone as you move your hand away from the rat, and it skitters across the floor. Did the number dial? You have no way of knowing.
Your head spins and there's a dull throb in your legs. You can't wiggle your toes, which isn't really a surprise.
With consciousness fading, you try to force yourself to concentrate on staying awake. You concentrate on the way the cold floor feels under you, on the smell of mold that hangs in the air, on the...
On the scratching of tiny claws all around you.
You feel hundreds of furry little bodies swarm over you just before your vision fades to black. Your last conscious thought is of a YouTube video you saw once where rats stripped a dead cow clean in under an hour.
You are much smaller than a cow, and these rats are starving.
(link:"Start Over?")[(gotoURL:"WhiteDudeInAHorrorMovieSimulator2k15.html")]You tip-toe forward into the room, sweeping your flashlight over the floor just in time to avoid standing on a doll sitting right in the middle of it.
You only intend to step over it, but something makes you bend over and pick it up. Dolls are creepy at the best of times, and a room full of them in a dark, abandoned house doesn't help make them seem any more friendly.
Nothing catches your interest as you sweep the room again, to you turn your attention to the doll you picked up, almost having forgotten it was in your hand already. You wipe its face on your shirt to remove the thick film of dust. Maybe it'll make a good souvenir?
You shine your flashlight on the face of the doll to examine its features.
Its... incredibly familiar features?
Wow, it's almost as though someone made a doll that looks.
Before you have time to contemplate this, you catch a whiff of smoke.
[[Uh-oh.|Burn, Baby, Burn]]Before you have time to think, flames seem to be everywhere.
(if: (history:) contains "It You!")[You dart for the door, but the floor collapses there before you can escape. Flames lick at the rotten remains of the wood.
You back up, terrified, and find yourself bumping into the bed. All your panicked mind can think of is to get as far away from the flames as possible, so you crawl under it, peering out as more of the floor gives way.
The room begins to fill with smoke.](if: (history:) contains "Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!")[You look around the room desperately for something to smash the glass, but there's only the couch, the bookcase, and the creepy framed portraits. In desperation you bang one of the frames against the glass, but all that achieves is smashing the frame.
Shards of glass embed themselves in your hand as the room fills with smoke]
[[Shit.|Well Now You've Gone And Burned To Death]]As the smoke fills your throat and the heat of the flames becomes unbearable, the last thing you see is (if: (history:) contains "It You!")[the face of the doll that looks like you, untouched by the flames and unaffected by the smoke, staring blankly.](if: (history:) contains "Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!")[the neighbourhood children peering in the window, their eyes glinting in the dark.]
Before the world goes black, the last thing you hear is (if: (history:) contains "It You!")[the tinny, mechanical sound of a doll laughing.](if: (history:) contains "Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!")[the sound of their laughter.]
You burst through the window, clothes catching on shards of glass as you do so.
The grassy lawn doesn't even begin to break your fall, but you manage to roll far enough away to be safe before the whole house goes up in flames. You watch it burn for minutes, transfixed by the show.
So much for the haunted house.
Bruised, battered and bleeding, you pick yourself up and turn to limp toward the gate.
The neighbourhood children are still there, watching the house burn silently.
"Hey, hey!" You shout at them. "Someone call the damned fire department."
They turn to look at you, almost as one. Two of them catch your attention, though you're not sure why they look so familiar.
Then you remember the twins in your portrait, and your blood runs cold just in time for the children to vanish.
So, where to next?
[[Down the hallway.|Sunroom of Doom]]
[[Up the stairs.|Doors]]
[[Into the living room.|Creepy Portraits Everywhere, Hooray!]]You rush back into the front hall and take a swing at the door with the hatchet you picked up in the kitchen.
The blade, worn and blunt, bounces off it. The door barely shudders with the impact.
[[It was worth a shot.|Front Hall Again]]CONGRATULATIONS! You survived the haunted house! Ping [[@queerlyobscure|https://twitter.com/queerlyobscure]] on twitter if you want a personal congrats and thank you for playing! (Or if you found a bug or if you just wanna say hi).
Seriously, thank you for playing, and Happy Halloween!